I do not own Doctor Who or Justice League. Just making sure you all got that!
(Word of warning, it's an experiment, just take it as it goes… there IS a reason why, trust me.)
Next day, Arkham Asylum had, once more, spent another night in complete peace.
Aparecida did not like it.
She had enough experience to know that, when the patients, even the high security ward ones, were all behaving calmly, that was a bad sign.
She checked the reports from the security, the list of present staff members and made her own report to Mr. Casey, going to deliver it herself.
Mr. Aaron Siafi Casey was one of the newest additions to the staff, an advisor appointed by the newest Mayor. He was a man of severe expression and tanned skin, in charge of overlooking and implementing new security measures to control the Asylum, while improving the performance of the staff as a whole.
His office was just down the hallway, not that far from Aparecida's.
"Good morning, Head Nurse", he greeted her as usual, in his grumpy voice.
Aparecida never liked being called by titles, however, she had stifled a laugh this time as she noticed, once more, that Mr. Casey had milk foam in his bushy mustache.
The man was very strict – and odd – in his choice of beverages, either hot milk, tea or plain water.
"I actually needed to talk to you, 'Cida'", he said, tapping a pen in his desk.
"Oh, really?", she asked, trying not to stare too much.
"Yes. Have you seen Nurse Dale recently?"
Aparecida took a moment to think about it. Christian Dale was one of the newest additions from Gotham University Hospital. Great kid, smart but had been having trouble with directions inside the Asylum.
"Last I saw him, he was leaving home, yesterday", she recalled. "Went to the showers, first, I think."
Casey made a throat noise. "Yes, well, he did not make his security check before leaving. This is his second time this month."
Ever since Mr. Casey got his job, he had been making some new security checks and investigations about the staff background.
He said he wanted to root out any suspicious characters and disloyal employees.
'Arkham needs to be rid of its fame of incompetence', he told her once. 'Its people need to be professional, vigilant, trustworthy.'
And, despite the many inconveniences, it eventually did pay off.
There had been way less bribes or criminals trying to infiltrate the staff in the last few weeks. Sure, there still were some riots and casualties, but they were kept to a minimum, and, in most cases, they happened because someone got either too careless or something entirely unpredictable occurred.
Some say there was even an attempt against his life once, but it was never confirmed or properly denied by the man himself.
"I'll talk to the kid, Casey", she said, in a soothing voice. "You know he's just a rookie."
"That's no excuse", he warned her. "You know he's competent, and Callahan needs more experienced folk in the night shift."
Sarah Callahan, the night shift Head Nurse. She had been in charge for longer than Aparecida, and, despite her age bordering the sixties, she was one of the toughest 'cookies' in Arkham jar, Cida had to admit.
She pulled a chair and took the seat. "These new kids need time, Casey, you know that", she told him. "Chris, Shirley, even Tori, who's been here for almost a year now, it's already hard to get any intern to work here, unless they're really good or really desperate. And nobody can prepare them for…"
Aaron Casey looked at Aparecida, his penetrating gaze under the grayish eyebrows. His message was quite clear:
'I know what you're saying, I like it the least, but you will have to do it anyway'.
"All right, I'll push Chris a little harder" , she conceded, "but at least give him another month of training".
Deep down, Aparecida did not want to put the young nurse at the night shift, for both the lack of staff she was already facing and for the kid's sake.
But she also knew that, no matter how bad her job could get, it still wasn't as bad as Callahan's.
The Night shift was wisely called 'Death Zone Shift' by the older staff, and for a reason. It was the time most inmates got loud and violent.
Things got much more dangerous at the night times in the Asylum and people eventually got hurt.
Good people, competent people.
And Callahan herself was a living proof of it.
"That still doesn't solve the night shift problem on the short term", he reminded her.
"I'll see what I can do, maybe I can convince 'Buck' to work for a couple weeks with Callahan."
"'Buck' Braines?", he asked, raising an eyebrown and taking a more comfortable seating position. "Don't like him."
"Oh, I know he's keeping an eye on my spot for some time now…"
"That's not what I mean", Casey cut her comment. "William Braines is a little too rough, in my opinion."
"Oh. Yes, I heard the stories, we all did, but you can't say that, for sure", she pointed it out.
"You know the man does not have a temper, but he does look inclined to apply force, sometimes too much force, in many cases."
Aparecida recalled the event about 'Jackal' Jack, three months prior, the serial rapist who tried to escape after slashing an orderly's arm with a make-shift scapel. Buck Braines was the one who tackled the criminal patient down, 'accidentally' pinning him down by the neck, almost crushing Jack' trachea in the process.
Nobody could prove it had been an intentional act of harming the criminal, and Buck was known for his experience and quick-thinking, but Mr. Casey, nonetheless, had been keeping the nurse under close investigation. He had found many other similar cases were, though strength was required to stop a hostile patient, a little too much of violence was executed, from Braines' part.
"He wouldn't be my first choice to keep next at thrashing patients, for his sake and for theirs, as well."
"That's the best I have to offer", Aparecida said, defiantly.
They had a little staring contest, until Casey looked up and gave a small grin.
"Damn, woman. Okay, fine, I will give the kid a little more warming up time", he took the no longer steaming cup of milk next to his telephone. "I've been wanting to have a talk with Warden Kane about the need to hire more people to the Asylum, Sarah's been complaining even more than you."
Mr. Casey took a sip, so Aparecida decided to bother him a little further.
"Sarah, eh? She's still playing hard to get, isn't she?"
Casey gave her a smile in return, a milky smile, in fact. "That stubborn girl, keeps saying she's too old for dating, can you believe it?"
"Oh, now, let me tell you when I first started, she was quite fond of parties, in fact…"
And they both stayed there for a couple more minutes, talking about love and life, a brief moment of peace in one of the most dangerous places in Gotham City, none the wiser of the dark times that were soon to come...
Oh, I can hear you folks, brandishing your pitch-forks and your lit torches, calling me a monster for the lack of update and the absence of the Doctor.
Well, yeah, I'm sorry.
This interlude is just a way to put things on hold, for the next part is getting written and I don't want to get confused.
Soon, the Doctor will return.
And things will be explained.