Hey guys so this chunk of a more-like-a-oneshot-than-a-drabble was written BEFORE The House of Hades came out. So we're going to ignore the developments regarding Jason's cultural identity/relationship with Rome and assume that he and Piper had a long-distance relationship until he retired from the legion. Kay? Cool. Also that's why Reyna's last name is different, and I didn't want to change it as to avoid confusion.

Also I'm bad at writing newspaper articles, so maybe this wasn't a good idea for a format, I don't know. JK Rowling inspired me though, what with Half-Blood Prince opening with all the articles... Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters portrayed below.

Other disclaimer: This one ended up a bit more graphic and sweary than I thought it would, but I'm content with it.


Kidnapping

In the style of Jason Grace and Piper McLean

For HecateAfan (who's an anon- so I hope you're still lurking around here somewhere because I can't tell you that your prompt got posted and that stresses me out...)


February 14 2021:

First Greco-Roman Legacy since 1846 born in Apollo Medicus Hospital

By Rebecca Castle

NEW ROME, CA- Piper McLean, daughter of Aphrodite and Grecian wife of the Honourable Jason Grace, has given birth to a baby girl yesterday in the maternity ward of Apollo Medicus Hopsital last night, February 15th.

The little girl, name unknown, weighed 9 lbs, 9 ounces at birth according to an aggressive and annoyed healer. She is the first child of the Grace family but more importantly the first recorded child to be a legacy of both Greek and Roman heritage since 1846, years before the American Civil War and the separation of both demigod nations.

"Whether or not more half-breed legacies will be born after the ice was broken is a mystery," says Fabiola Gretch (bookkeeper of New Rome). There have only been four other similar marriages since the War with Gaia though many long-distance relationships and flings can be seen amongst legionnaires and campers. One of them has ended in divorce.

Jason Grace and Piper McLean are the first mixed-heritage couple to have gotten married since the Unification of Camps. They were, controversially, married according to the tradition reserved to veterans of proconsular status (such as Jason Grace who served as both praetor and consul to Rome before retiring).

Details, such as the baby's name and health, have been kept under wraps by the hospital. Eyesight witnesses state that several other veterans of proconsular status have been seen going into the hospital, such as Chief of police Reyna Lopez Guerrero and Percy Jackson.

New Rome has to wait and see for more details.


Experts Struggle to Classify Newborn Baby

By Jonathan Leban

The recent birth of the Honourable Jason Grace and Piper McLean's daughter raises interesting questions to the bookkeepers of New Rome.

Firstly, will this little girl be entitled to the health care, school tuition and infrastructure disposability reserved to the inhabitants of New Rome? New Rome has always prided itself with being a safe community for veterans of the Twelfth Legion Fulminata and their descendants. Piper McLean, the child's mother, however, is not a resident of New Rome but rather of San Francisco where she holds a position as meditator for the organisation Amnesty International. The child was born within the city limits to assure a safe delivery, but farther than that? Will her father's prodigious legacy be enough to secure her a life in New Rome if her parents seek it?

Secondly and perhaps most importantly at all, will the child be allowed to enrol in the Legion once it comes of age? The senate can already be heard pondering about this and wailing in the distance. Some may agree that any relation of Jason Grace, remarked as one of the most daring and revolutionary praetors ever to walk the principia, should be encouraged to enrol in the Legion.

Thirdly, how will the child be classified in New Rome's census? Will the little girl count as a Roman legacy? Or will the Grecian blood in her veins cause the creation of a new category? A similar dispute went on once the traceable Greek Ancestry of legionnaire Frank Zhang was unearthed. This child's classification will set a precedent, so the senate has a good reason to get its togas in a twist.

Fourth, what is the ethically correct way to describe a child that is both Greek and Roman? Mixed-race, mixed-nationality, mixed-heritage and half-breed have all been thrown into the air during conversations. But what is politically correct? Confirmation from the parents of the child may seal the deal for that particular question, unless the senate grabs hold of the issue first.

Until these unexpected and hard questions are grappled with and put to rest, the staff of the New Rome Gazette would like to congratulate the Grace family on their first child and wish them the best of luck.


February 15 2021:

New Rome Celebrates

By Carrie Flesher

New Rome celebrates as the birth of the first child of the Honourable Jason Grace is announced. Name and visuals aside, pink balloons can be seen dotting mailboxes, gates, doors and patio railings to celebrate the child's gender.

Discounts on most baby merchandise can be spotted all around town.

A three day weekend has been granted to most civil servants and many shops are closed for the day.

Legionnaires have not been seen training in the Fields of Mars and are assumed to be celebrating as well.

The New Rome Short'n'Sweet wishes the Grace family the best of luck with their new addition.


Perimeter Set Up Outside Hospital

By Caesar Tuzzi

The Fifth Cohort has set up an unarmed perimeter outside of Apollo Medicus Hospital in the event of the birth of the Honourable Jason Grace and Piper McLean's first child.

"It is just a precaution," Centurion West McAllister tells the press as they swarm the legionnaires on rounds. "Now get away from my men."

A precaution that is nor random nor without reason.

Several different incidents regarding New Romans sneaking into hospitals to sneak peeks at the newborn infant of ex-praetors or high ranking officers (see: the man who jumped off the senate to get into the hospital while the Honourable Lucilla Reagan was in labour).

Furthermore, Anti-Unification protests have been roaring in result of the first mixed-heritage birth of the millenia. It was nearly impossible to use any of the roads leading to the senate. Seperationist New Romans were sporting purple clothes and signs with logos such as 'When did the Greek stop smelling?' or 'Graecus is still an insult!' Cruder and perhaps more cruel slogans include 'How is Unnatural for a name?' or 'Congrats it's an abomination!'

City official and long-time colleague and friend of the Honourable Jason Grace, Chief of police Reyna Guerrero (also of proconsulat status) reaches out to New Rome and its inhabitants.

"I expect the same kind of discipline and respect from the veterans and legacies of this city as I would from legionnaires in the ranks of a cohort," she said. "This child is of nobody's business until it is made such and respecting the privacy of both the parents and infant would be both a human and proper thing to do."

The New Rome Gazette urges all of its readers to follow the message given by the police.


Betting Pools Getting Out of Hand

By Tony Lemay

Betting pools relating to the name of newborn mixed-heritage demigod have been disbanded down town today after two civilians were injured in a fist fight related to the spelling of 'Elisabeth' if the name of the newborn mixed-heritage child.

A woman insisting that Elisabeth would be spelled with an 's' is in hospital after receiving a nasty blow to the head by a man insisting that Elizabeth would be spelled with a 'z'.

The child is the first daughter of the Honourable Jason Grace and his Greek wife Piper McLean.

Monetary refunds are not guaranteed by the New Rome Police Department to those who have participated in the pools.

Further betting pools described as being 'more than friendly exchanges within a school, friend or work group or family' will be shut down by police and accompanied by very expensive fees.

One cannot help but wonder if these fees will be poured into the purchase of baby clothes for the newborn that seems to have decidedly thrown normality out of New Rome.

What do you think about the betting pools? Should the New Rome Police Department pay fines for police brutality? Have you put money down yourself? Write to us! At the New Rome Short'n'Sweet, we want to hear from you, readers!


From One Generation to the Next: Praetors' Message

By Rebecca Castle

The current praetors of Camp Jupiter, Julia Green and Reese Blanca, would like to congratulate the Honourable Jason Grace and Piper McLean on the birth of their newborn child.

"There are as many pink balloons here in the fort as there are in New Rome," Praetor Green promised. "From everyone in the legion: best of luck with the baby. The Fifth Cohort has been dispatched to enforce security around Apollo Medicus hospital and any other location in which the baby may reside until further notice, and will be dedicated to that task until further notice."

A particularly cute anecdote to make this message heart-warming; Julia Green, legacy of Venus and Vulcan, was babysat by Jason Grace as a child while she grew up in New Rome.

"Jason Grace and Reyna Lopez Guerrero may not have been the praetors to serve before us, but they definitely were our most valuable assets while Julia and I established ourselves in the principia," her male counterpart Praetor Reese Blanca says.

As most New Romans can remember, there have been two other sets of praetors before Jason Grace and Reyna Guerrero have had two successors. Thomas Pierce and Jenna Mark were selected for the praetorship at Grace and Guerrero's retirement and were soon poisoned. Their successors, Fabian Nighten and Vincent Ryan, were overthrown by the praetorian guard after nearly plunging the fort in civil war and discarding the rule stating that a praetorship must be shared by a female and a male legionnaire- an ensuing struggle in which Green and Blanca were heroes.

"We are eternally grateful for their help and wisdom and guidance, and the fort as a whole is more than dedicated to ensuring the safety of this child," Praetor Green promises.


February 16 2021:

New Rome Finally Gets the Information It's Been Yearning For

By Rebecca Castle

It's with a storm of approval and denial that Apollo Medicus hospital have released the birth certificate of the newborn baby girl of the Honourable Jason Grace and his wife Piper McLean. Or shall we call her by her name?

[photograph of the birth certificate]

Name: Ava Thalia Grace

Sex: Female

Place of birth: New Rome, Bay Area, California

Weight at birth: 5,5 lbs

Length at birth: 15 inches

Date: February 13th 2021

Father: Jason Grace

Status: Son of Jupiter

Occupation: Threat Assessment Manager (federal gov.)

Mother: (Maiden name) Piper Violet McLean

Status: Daughter of Aphrodite

Occupation: Amnesty International Meditator

Signature of mother:

Signature of father:

Signature of doctor:


The Greekest name in Apollo Medicus' History

By Jasmine Bell

Not a name that popped up often in the betting pools, but Ava Thalia Grace is the name of the first mixed-heritage legacy of the century.

Of course, over 80% of the readers of The New Rome Short'n'Sweet seems to have seen the middle name coming- a touching homage to the elder sister of Jason Grace and the leader of the Hunters of Artemis.

However what gets the panties of most New Romans in a twist is that 'Ava' is an old Greek name in origin, meaning 'like a bird' . A name that has a much more latinised version ('Eva').

The Short'n'Sweet's editing team seems to think that a deal was struck. If the last name was Grace, the first name was Greek; if the last name was McLean, the first name was Latin. Wouldn't surprise us from the country's most controversial mythological couple.

Write in to our editors with your theories on the meaning of the name!


February 17 2021:

Home Sweet Home for Baby Ava and Media Exhausted Parents

By Flavia McGrath

Escorted by the chief of police herself and members of the fifth cohort, Ava and Piper Grace have been discharged from hospital and heading to the couple's New Roman home.

Emerging to a crowd of journalists who were promptly ignored after a short wave, the exhausted but happy looking parents were escorted by members of both police and legion. Women all over grumble as Piper McLean looks good as ever, sporting a faded sundress (ripped at the hem and under the sleeve as many daughters of Venus have bitterly noticed) and no baby fat whatsoever. Installing the baby seat in the car and driving away himself, Jason Grace seems to have melted the hearts of most parents.

The couple will be returning to their New Roman home according to sources, handling Ava's first few days at home in the safety of New Rome and the beauty of the white, sunny villas established as the traditional homes of praetors.


February 19th 2021:

Media threatened to be Shut Down

By Rebecca Castle

A journalist from the teen gossip tabloid Rome in a Day was arrested by police after having been found climbing the side of a villa in the city's East.

In what was described as a merciless struggle, the journalist was spotted by a legionnaire who called police. The journalist, whose name hasn't been released from the public, was ripped from his perch and thrown to the ground until police could arrest him. Reportedly, the journalist had been trying to sneak a picture of the infant Ava Grace.

The journalist would have succeeded if his plan to make the climb while the change of guards would have been executed properly. However the journalist had mistakenly climbed the neighbour's house and had been behind schedule- or right on time depending on whose point of view.

Jason Grace, for the first time since the birth of his daughter, spoke to the media alongside Chief of Police Reyna Guerrero. He refused to reveal information or anecdotes about his baby girl, but gets straight to the point.

"It's a time of great change in our household," he tells media. "So much is going on at the same time, that's what having a newborn's like. We don't need the extra pressure of having to lock every door and window, shut out the breeze, hesitate to open the door, and pull our curtains. Although we feel honoured and blessed by all your support, Piper and I would like to please ask both the media and people of New Rome to respect the privacy we feel that we need and deserve."

His old co-praetor is much more direct with the media.

"The New Rome Police Department doesn't use weapons due to the laws given to us by Terminus," Chief of Police Reyna Guerrero said. "Our methods function otherwise. If shutting down the media and banning any kind of printed gazette to ensure that everyone is safe from intruders has to be done, it will be- and no monetary compensation will be given to any affected companies. This is the last warning- a warning that shouldn't even have to be given."

The New Rome Gazette would please ask our readers to respect the privacy of the Grace family as requested and to please report and boycott any unofficial pictures or information circling.


February 20 2021:

Legion Effort Doubles to Contain Downtown Protests

By Flavia McGrath

Most New Romans have already had the sense to avoid shopping or dining downtown nowadays, but it is strongly advised to stay clear of New Rome's downtown in the next few days.

Violent protests, including the burning of Camp Half-Blood shirts and Greek laurel wreaths, have been spawned from what started as peaceful (albeit rude and annoying) protests enchained by the birth of Ava Grace.

"This city is a safe haven," Chief of Police Reyna Guerrero says to the media in her third press conference in three days. "The Police Department is currently working with the Senate to determine penalties for those who disrespect the origin and purpose of this city,


February 22nd 2021:

Senate Lays Down Rules

By Jasmine Bell

The birth of Ava Thalia Grace, the first half-Roman and half-Greek legacy since the 1800's has laid down some interesting questions that the senate has scrambled to resolve as the demand for answers grew.

Children who are half-Roman and half-Greek will now be officially referred to as Children of Both Gods as the media has gotten in the habit of doing.

The child will have the right to join the Legion if she passes security clearance and a basic Latin test when she comes of age, as well as if she attends elementary school in New Rome.

What do you think of these new rules? Is there anything else that you would have included? Write to us at the New Rome Short'n'Sweet.


February 24th 2021:

Missing Child in New Rome

By Rebecca Castle

NRPD and the Legion scramble to try and locate the infant Ava Thalia Grace who has gone missing from her parents' home last night.

The child's mother, Piper McLean, was assaulted and knocked unconscious sometime around 11:00 and 11:30 PM while the father, Jason Grace ex-praetor and consul of home, was out running errands. The child was taken from the family home which was defiled with distasteful graffiti. Piper McLean has no recollection of the events preceeding the kidnapping. She is in critical condition at the Apollo Medicus Hospital where she became a mother only a week ago, with a blow to the head and bloody knuckles, her fingernails nearly pulled out.

Police have found no trace of fingerprints other than those belonging to Ava's now terrorised parents in the house. They also lucked out on footprints. However blood had been drawn from the attacker in a last defense on Piper McLean's behalf. It has been identified as the blood of legacies, which is a nonspecific blood type from which DNA evidence cannot be drawn.

Mass arrests of known participants of the downtown Separationist protestors have been held, and search warrants for the homes of aforementioned seperationists have been granted.

Greek demigods have been allowed in the city to participate in the search. The authorities in San Francisco, New York and Lost Angelos (the latter being the hometown of both parents) have been warned of the disappearance. A state-wide Missing Child Alert is in effect. Terminus has doubled the severity with which he allows newcomers to enter the city. A senate meeting is currently being held to form a tactic with the police and the Camp Half-Blood representatives.

If anybody has any information about the disappearance, you are urged to call the emergency Iris Message Line that can be contacted with the emergency line: 'O Iris, Save Ava Grace'.

In a macabre turn of events, the picture at the left –the first picture ever released to the public of Ava Grace- is solely released to desperately try and locate the missing child.


Reyna hung by the door as Jason and Piper clutched hands and received the brief from the huddle of healers that had been supervising them.

"Well, your stitches are clean and solid," a healer said. "We think that you may have suffered a slight concussion but you should be able to recover from that without a problem."

"Where is she?" Piper asked. Part of her was frantic.

"I don't know anything on that front, ma'am," the healer said shyly. "The cuts on your face seem to be scarring fine thanks to the nectar. However... well, they're in very unusual places."

"Not places that you aim for during a fight, yes I was totally disfigured on purpose- where is my daughter?" Piper said. "She's missing. That's not an answer, I need details."

"Piper, calm down," Jason said. "They just want to give you answers about you first. Hear them out, then they'll tell you."

Piper's shoulders were stiff and she looked about ready to kill every single person in the room.

"The cuts on your stomach," the healer said after determining that it was safe enough to continue. "It nearly looks as if... as if..."

They looked at each other and Gwen finally said it.

"It nearly looks as if they were trying to cut something out."

Piper's hand levitated over the layers of bandages. "My..."

"Yes. Judging from the grafitti on the walls of your home, we think that the culprit tried to cut out your womb."

Piper and Jason exchanged terrified looks.

"That's vile," Jason said.

"Yes, well... that does seem to be the reoccuring theme," the healer said nervously. He seemed young. Probably fresh out of the legion and in medical school at the moment.

"If there was graffiti, police are checking the handwriting, right?" Piper said. "That's good. That's... that's a piece of evidence."

"Piper we can't ask everyone in New Rome to write profanities so that we can make a match," Reyna said from the door. "Besides, evidence is pointing that Ava isn't in New Rome anymore."

"Where is she then?" Piper said.

Reyna wet her lips. "Out of New Rome."


February 25th 2021:

Missing Infant Sick

By Rebecca Castle

Although twenty calls have been forwarded to the 'Save Ava Grace' IM line, there is still no news regarding the mixed-heritage child who was violently abducted from her home last night.

Parents have been officially cleared from the list of suspects, as well as neighbours. Nearly 100 separationist protesters are still detained in Police headquarters or in the fort.

At a press conference, Chief of Police Reyna Guerrero updated the press on the plan to locate the child.

"Whoever did this in the name of Rome will pay," she said. "We will find this criminal and he will be brought to the hardest justice available by Roman law. In the meantime, we ask the public to hide nothing. Things that are hidden can and will be found, and there will be prices to pay for complicating a crucial criminal investigation."

The child, now eleven days old, has been missing since around 10:30 to 11:30 PM on the twenty-fourth. As if the abduction of a child couldn't be terrifying enough to the public, important information was given to the public.

"Ava Grace was born with lung problems," she said. "Healers are still estimating the damage that will occur if she goes without the medicine she was taking at home, but there will definitely be permanent, life-altering damage to her lungs if she isn't given proper care as soon as posible."

The child's battered mother, injured in the fight preceding the kidnapping, was released from the hospital today with stitches in the back of her head and several other injuries still visible. There has been no statement from the child's parents.


Reyna's office door closed behind them and only then did Tristan McLean receive the permission to take his hood off.

"Look," Reyna said marching to the other side of her desk and settling into her chair. "The reason I had my men sneak you into New Rome, Mr McLean, is because I think that you could help us help Ava."

"Why are you close? It doesn't matter, I'll do it," he said automatically.

Reyna closed her eyes and breathed deeply. "We... We have made progress but in my books I would have gotten the dogs out and traced down the sick guy who took her within three hours. But it's not in policy. I'm going to try to blow this case up so it's as big as it possibly gets. Show the abducter that it's a big deal. Make it known. And what better way to do that than to touch the mortal world with this case?"

"Tabloids," Tristan McLean said, understanding where she was going with this.

"As many as you can find," Reyna said. "Let me send an official report out first, though."

"Easy," Tristan shrugged. "Anything else?"

Reyna took a deep breath. "Take care of your daughter and son-in-law. I can't do both."

"You know I'm trying."

"I know, I know. Terminus is hard. But I'm going to sneak you into the hospital with Piper and manage to keep you in New Rome. You'll have to stay alert, but they need someone that they know here, someone from the outside."

"I can do that," Tristan said getting up. "Which way is-"

"One more thing," Reyna said.

"Sorry. Yes?"

"Prepare yourself for the worst," Reyna said.

The hairs on the back of his neck stood straight.

"The worst?"

"24 hours after a child is abducted we assume that they're dead," Reyna said, her eyes fierce. "Personally I think that Ava is still alive somewhere. But I can't tell them that and see them crash."


Tristan McLean's Granddaughter Reported Missing

By Carole Lemieux

New York City, NY- The infant granddaughter of blockbuster actor Tristan McLean was allegedly kidnapped from her parents' Californian home yesterday.

The eleven day old baby named Ava Grace was kidnapped. The actor's twenty-seven year old daughter was found severely injured in her home as a result of the abduction.

The female infant is described as having dark hair and blue eyes, weighing in at 6.5 lbs and measuring 18 inches long. She is extremely vocal and rarely silent even during sleep- cooing, grunting, and humming.

The identity of the abductor is unknown, but possibly destinations are believed to be San Francisco, Los Angelos and New York City.

Anyone with information relating to the whereabouts of Ava Grace is urged to call 911 or the Missing Child Emergency Phone Line.


Infant Kidnapped from Californian Home Revealed to Be Tristan McLean's Granddaughter

By Mohamed Kannan

San Francisco, CA- The San Francisco Police Department issued a Missing Child Alert for a female infant named Ava Grace after a violent kidnapping from her rural home in the Bay Area resulting in her mother's hospitalisation.

Ava is described as an eleven day old female with dark hair and blue eyes, 6.5 lbs and 18 inches long. She is extremely vocal and rarely silent even during sleep- cooing, grunting, and humming frequently.

The child was born with a defective lung and requires medication. Doctors fear that if she is withheld from the medicine for too long the damage will be irreversible.

Possible destinations for the child include all major cities in California but particularly San Francisco and Las Vegas as well as New York City. Police have been unable to find any evidence on the crime scene related to the identity of the abductor although a domestic abduction has been ruled out.

What's more, the child is the granddaughter of actor and activist Tristan McLean who will be appearing on Alain tomorrow morning to discuss child kidnappings.

Police urge citizens to report any unusual activity by either dialling 911 or calling the following emergency tip line.


February 26th 2021:

Oracle of Delphi Speaks Prophecy on Lost Child

By Melissa Snow

Camp Half-Blood is in turmoil after the Oracle of Delphi, Miss Rachel Elizabeth Dare, released a prophecy about the kidnapped half-Greek, half-Roman child Ava Grace.

You will greet the child in the arms of her captor

Far from home but only ten steps from a fever,

In his arms the child shall weep

In the arms of her mother the child shall sleep.

Write in to the New Rome Short'n'Sweet for your take on this prophecy as the senate, ex-auguries and scholars across New Rome scramble to find meaning in these words.


By Rebecca Castle

At a press conference last night, Chief of Police Reyna Lopez Guerrero confirmed that the NRPD is using the prophecy communicated from the Greek camp to aid in the search for the missing infant Ava Grace, as well as answering other media questions.

"Ava Grace is of Greek descendence even if only partially," Guerrero revealed. "Many seem to be forgetting that the demigods of Camp Half-Blood are combing through New York at present, still looking for this missing child and doing more than their part to assist.

"Furthermore, here is what has been confirmed and approved by investigators as a whole. Ava Grace has most definitely been kidnapped by a male. Race and identity elude us, but we are looking for a male abductor.

"As for the prophecy's line concerning a fever, we are searching all locations near hospitals or clinics although that line is still being looked into. We are issuing warrants to houses ten addresses past hospitals in any direction. The NRPD apologises for the inconvenience ahead of time but we are looking for a child who would be very sick by this point in time and cooperation is the best route."

When asked if the parents of the child, the Honourable Jason Grace ex-praetor of the Twelfth Legion and his wife Piper McLean, were involved with the search, her answer was firm.

"No," she said. "Mrs. McLean is in no health to be searching at present- may I remind you that she gave birth twelve days ago and that she was severely attacked only two days ago. As for the father, he is one of our biggest sources of information when it comes to who this child was and who may be a suspect. Given the presence of foul play in the abduction, they cannot be allowed to get involved no matter their competence."

In a surprising turn of events, the parents of the child are both speaking with the media for the first time since her abduction. Mrs. Piper McLean takes the mic, now with a gross scar stretching from above her ear to her jawline on each side of her face and stitches in the back of her head.

"This is no longer, and never was, a question of beliefs. We are at a crossroad, faced with questions of values," she said. "It's not about if you believe in the unification of Greece and Rome anymore. It's not about if you believe in Greco-Roman marriage anymore. It's about if you believe in human decency. If you do, please bring my daughter back. Just drop her off at the fire station or in front of a clinic- it doesn't matter. Please bring her home."

Jason Grace was far less diplomatic in his approach.

"I'm not as patient as she is but I am as desperate," he started off by saying. "Ava will be found sooner or later; we can only hope that it'll be sooner. And if you happen to be the one with her… it's not going to be good. Just bring her back and the charges may be less severe. I don't know, just do it."

When asked about the health of the child, her mother suddenly becomes troubled.

"Ava was born a month prematurely," her mother said. "She was taking a special formula to help her nutrition wise, as well as medication to treat her for Chronic Lung Disorder. Those two things aren't wildly rare in preemies and they were controlled so that she was healthy and getting better. Without these medicines, if she's still alive…"

Unable to finish the statement, Mrs. McLean was escorted offstage and the press conference was cut short. Experts say that judging from the assistance that she received while walking, Piper McLean was sporting an abdominal wound.

The search for Ava Grace becomes feverishly intense as police try to beat both the abductor and the child's health to the punch.


February 27th 2021:

Political Turmoil Adds Insult to Injury

By Rebecca Castle

The senate has, by a majority vote that cannot be vetoed by praetors, ruled that no matter what is recommended by the NRPD, Greek envoys of Camp Half-Blood will not be permitted to participate in the search for Ava Grace within New Rome or while allied with the NRPD. This has caused an uproar in Camp Half-Blood.

"Ava is just as much a child of Greece as she is of Rome," Elina Davidovna, the current leader of the Aphrodite Cabin (a position once held by Piper McLean) says.

"It's always this way. We always get to stay with the legion, but we're never with the legion when foreign exchanges bring us to California," a camper tells us angrily.

"Bad enough that she disappeared on Roman grounds and in a crime involving a Roman conservative," an unnamed camper tells the New Rome Times, "But now they're locking us out of an investigation? This isn't about who gets to bring her home and who finds her and pride- this is about bringing her home, period."

The complex and intricate political scandal that will follow this abduction is being studied by scholars and feared by most of New Rome's citizens.

"Relationships have been good thanks to the praetors," a woman tells us when we interview her at the baths. "We don't need to go back to the roots- to the rocky, uncomfortable distrust that's been roaming around. The senate is making a mistake. One day they'll all have children, and they'll look back at this vote and be so ashamed that they did nothing to help somebody else's baby, and pray to the gods that if their child ever needs help someone will be there."

To add some more insult to the one already poisoning the injury, protesters have gathered in the forum once again, this time protesting that the NRPD is devoting too much of its resources to the search for Ava Grace.

A rushed looking Chief of Police is annoyed to face our reporters when we ask for her opinion on the matter.

"I don't have time for petty protests," the Honourable Reyna Lopez Guerrero tells us. "If they want us to stop searching for Ava Grace; fine. But it's up to them to get off their high horses, do something productive and save this child's life before she is gone forever, because the NRPD definitely isn't stopping until she is found."

Officer Dakota Komendat blushes as he answers. "It's against the values of Rome to turn against our own, and by osmosis no matter what conservatives like to think: Jason, Piper and Ava Grace are our own."


Reyna was done playing the nice detective in the nice office. So she borrowed a uniform, grabbed Dakota and got into a patrol car and procedures be damned, she drove out into San Francisco on Annabeth's tip and damn was she succesful.

She heard the crying and coughing from upstairs, saw the imperial gold in the man's hand. She saw the little dart of his eyes as he prepared to make a run for it, and immediately kneed him in the testicles. It sounded stupid, but it had him too distracted for a second to react. She forced him to his knees. Protocol went out the window. The only thing she could do was get him out of the way and run upstairs to the crying baby.

"Hands behind your back," she said. "I said hands behind your back I will not repeat myself!"

"I demand to see a-"

"You can't do that until you're under interogation," Reyna said. "Hands behind your-"

"Let go of me!"

Reyna slammed him against the wall- which may have been overkill, but she was out of it.

"Hands behind your goddamn back or I'll put them there for you!"

She grabbed his wrists and pulled them back anyways.

"Eric Quain," she said. "You're under arrest for the assault of Piper McLean and the abduction of Ava Grace- you have the right to remain silent, everything that you say can and will be used against you."

She didn't wait for his reply and handcuffed him to the bottom of the stairs just as her partner wandered in from the back door, gun raised.

"Call for backup and keep an eye on him," she said before charging up the stairs, gun held out in case Quain hadn't been working alone. Quain, Quain, Quain, she should have known it was Quain. He was a total nobody, with no possible link to Jason. But he'd been a journalist, one whose articles had gotten him fired from the New Rome Gazette at that...

The baby was laying on the hardwood floor. Her arms and legs were all tucked towards her and her eyes squeezed shut as she alternatively cried and coughed. The blinds were pulled shut. She was wearing stained, soiled pyjamas that Piper had probably just changed her into when she got taken and Reyna may not be a mom but she knew that that kid was not in good shape. She yelled over her shoulder that she'd found her, and Dakota relayed the information into his radio. She snatched up a yellow blanket from a corner and picked Ava up as carefully as she could and held Ava to her chest. For a second she stopped moving, she just held Ava to her chest and breathed because they'd found this baby alive. Reyna would get to tell Jason and Piper that their daughter was alright.

The second that back-up from San Francisco and New Rome had arrived, she and Dakota were out of there with the baby in Reyna's arms and no ambulance would have been quicker.


Missing Infant Found

By Jasmine Bell

Against all odds Ava Grace, missing since late in the evening of February 23rd, has finally been found after around 96 hours of intense search.

Following a tip received from an unnamed child of Athena, the New Rome Police Department headed to 38th avenue San Francisco.

"It's what the oracle said," the daughter of Athena, who would prefer not to be named as to avoid stirring the pot, said. "Ten steps from a fever. Thirty eight degrees Celsius is considered a fever for newborns."

And yes, in fact, Ava Grace was found on 38th avenue, at the tenth house after an unspecified intersection.

The name of the abductor is still under wraps as the case is under investigation, but according to rumour it would be Mr. Rick Quain, a legacy of Mars and Apollo.

The child was rushed to Apollo Medicus hospital and placed on a breathing tube. She was severely underweight, dehydrated and malnourished. Both of her legs were broken but in a daring attempt to save her, parents agreed to allow healers to intravenously give the newborn a tiny portion of nectar dilated with sugar water.

Any idea who the tipper is? Where do you stand in the scandal? What charges do you believe the abducter should be faced with? The New Rome Short'N'Sweet wants to know what you think! Write to us!


Piper slipped her hand through the holes in the incubator. It was a total accident, Ava was sleeping and too young to have any kind of control over her limbs, but Ava's fingers brushed her own. Piper's entire body melted. She craned her neck to look at Jason.

"She's going to be okay," she said. Except it wasn't a mantra anymore. It was something that had actually come out of a healer's mouth and a cop's mouth and an augur's mouth (a very sweet augur who'd run down from the fort to tell them) and another medic's mouth... It was true now.

"Yeah," Jason said simply.

"Unless she takes after you," Piper said. "Then we can expect her to start eating office appliances, and that won't be pretty."

Jason laughed and kissed her forehead.

"I think that we'll be fine. I wouldn't be worried, at any rate. Looks like she'll be taking after you anyways."

"What are you basing that on?" Piper scoffed. "The way that we both sleep with our mouths wide open and our faces squished up? She looks more like you. And don't you make this cheesy," Piper said. She felt it coming. She could nearly reach out and...

Jason kissed her. "Most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Like her mother."

...Touch it. There it was. That cheesiness that Piper could only return with a kiss.


March 1st 2021:

Man Convicted for Kidnapping of Ava Grace

By Caesar Tuzzi

Now that Ava Grace is safely hospitalised in New Rome, once again in the care of her parents, the New Rome Police Department has been able to focus on convicting the man responsible for her abduction.

It has been confirmed that Rick Quain, 35, legacy of Mars and Apollo, was responsible for the abduction. The man pled guilty during an interrogation with the Chief of Police; although he said that he didn't feel guilty about his actions.

"That child is an insult to all us legacies. We already get insults enough; don't need that half-breed amongst us," he insisted.

Seeing as he pled guilty, Quain has been automatically convicted to 50 years of incarceration for charges of child abduction, obstruction of justice, the assault of Piper McLean, hate crimes, and dishonouring the legion. In 25 years if he is released at his first parole hearing, he will not be allowed to live in New Rome any longer and will be exiled from the Bay Area. Before Quain can be properly jailed however, he is to receive a proper trial, which will be executed once Ava Grace is safely transfered from hospital and an evaluation of the harm done to her is finalised.

The man's plan was to slowly starve the child and abandon her body in San Francisco to be found.

Currently, Ava Grace is in hospital. Her recovery is not expected to be full, but healers expect her to make it.


March 2nd 2012:

Drama at Apollo Medicus: the case of Ava Grace

By Flavia McGrath

Ava Grace, hospitalised following a violent and agonising 96 hour abduction, has taken a turn for the worst.

She was placed on a breathing machine after her safe recovery to help her immature lungs function. What healers hadn't expected, however, was for one of her lungs to have burst in the violence of the abduction.

Pneumothorax is a condition in which air gathers in the area between the lung and the chest wall, preventing the lung from taking in as much air as needed. Lung collapses vary in severity depending on the size, and can be caused by burst air pockets or fluid sacks in the lungs, asthma, lung infections, causes in pressure during diving or flying, or even just spontaneously in healthy individuals.

Ava Grace was placed on a test tube to evacuate the air in her chest. Trauma related to blunt force is expected to be the cause of this lung collapse. It is highly possible that a rib pierced the lung. Healers are still evaluating her case, but do not expect the collapse to be fatal given the circumstances.


March 3rd 2021:

Worst Case Scenario Becomes Reality

By Jasmine Bell

Following a chest X-ray performed to check up the collapsed lung of Ava Grace, the newborn's parents were hit by another piece of bad news following the child's kidnapping and safe return.

It was discovered that the infant's second lung had been under too much pressure from the air build-ups in the infant's chest. Both of the child's lungs have collapsed; the second one nearly entirely. Healers have little hope of healing.

Though it is possible to live with one functioning lung only, Ava Grace's other health complications make her future uncertain.

To sign the best wishes card, drop by the New Rome Short'n'Sweet's headquarters.


March 4th 2021:

Ava Grace Dies in Hospital

By Rebecca Castle

It's with a heavy heart that officials from the neonatal intensive care unit announce that Ava Thalia Grace passed away early in the morning.

Her sudden death was not entirely unexpected; the child had suffered a rare double lung collapse following her violent kidnapping. Weak from birth, the child's lungs were nurtured by medication that she was suddenly pulled from during her four day abduction. The consequences have proved to be fatal.

"Ava Grace could easily have died the minute she was born," Dr Gwendolyn Holly declares as she reads the hospital's official statement. "She could easily have died during her abduction. Realistically, police were not expecting to find a baby but rather a body. She fought for her life from the second she had it given to her, to the second that it was taken. Ava passed away relatively peacefully with her family surrounded by her family at 2:30 this morning."

Second degree murder charges have been added to her abductor's crimes, convicting Legacy of Apollo and Mars Eric Quain to a lifetime in prison without parole.


March 5th 2021:

New Rome Mourns

By Jasmine Bell

What started as an exciting birth and escalated as a terrifying abduction ordeal is now the nightmare of any parent. Ava Grace, barely a month old, daughter of the celebrated veteran Jason Grace and his wife Piper McLean, died in hospital due to injuries sustained and/or caused by her violent abduction.

Balloons that were pink and gay what seems to be only days earlier are now black. Some were released into the sky. All banners displayed on the Fort are black. New Rome's cries of outrage are joined by protests from the East coast, where demigods and Greek campers alike are claiming that sufficient measures were not taking and that the entirety of the Roman senate should be trialed for obstruction to justice.

The New Rome Short'n'Sweet would like to give the Grace family our greatest condolences.


"Grace," Reyna snapped from the door, completely Officer Lopez Guerrero in her strict bun and business casual neutrals. Her gun belt -though empty and purely symbolic- was around her waist and her badge hung around her neck.

He squeezed Piper's hand though he still wasn't sure if she realised when he came and went, and got up to follow Reyna out. They went down the elevator and Jason realised that they were going to the hospital director's office.

"Look Rey, if I have to sign some other hospital paper I'm not in the mood," he said. "Just make a big pile for whatever needs to be signed and we'll handle it later I need to-"

"Cry," Reyna said, dragging Jason into an empty hospital room with one hand and pulling the bun out of place with the other. Her hair tumbled back into place. They were sixteen years old and in the Fort again. "You need to cry but not anywhere near her, not in front of her."

He did. And he was pretty sure that he'd never cry harder in his life.


March 6th 2012:

The Prophecy's Final Meaning

By Flavia McGrath

Deciphering the prophecy related to Ava Grace's abduction is only easy now that all is said and done.

The first line: You will greet the child in the arms of her captor. This line is self-explanatory. The child was with her abductor, legacy and Roman veteran Eric Quain, when members of the legion and the NRPD located her.

The second line: Far from home but only ten steps from a fever. The tip, believed but not confirmed to originate from Annabeth Chase daughter of Athena, indicated that the avenue on which Ava Grace was located was equivalent to the temperature considered a fever for a newborn, thirty eight degree Celsius. The child was found on the tenth house down 38 Avenue in San Francisco.

The third line: In his arms the child shall weep. Ava Grace's crying helped emergency responders locate her in her home.

The fourth line: In the arms of her mother the child shall sleep. Ava Grace died in her mother's arms early in the morning of March 4th of this year.


Hate Crimes: Ava Grace's Real Cause of Death

By Bobby May

My column strives to discuss the most pressing issues on the minds of New Romans, whether that be as citizens of the city, ex-legionnaires or American citizens. Here I speak of a subject that pains me on a personal level.

You've got to understand this first. Jason Grace and I served in the legion together. We were best friends from the second I entered the legion and he was there to welcome me. I supported him for every daring move he made in the senate. When he disappeared for the skein of circumstances leading up to the realisation of the Prophecy of Seven, I barely slept. I was one of his best men when he married Piper, and I still remember that day crystal clearly because of how happy they both were. Piper was beautiful; Jason was smiling uncontrollably for the first time in his life. So this one column, dear reader, might be a bit fuzzy and deconcentrated, and very, very angry.

The second time in my memory that Jason Grace couldn't keep a straight face and had to smile was when Piper told him that she was pregnant. I know, because I saw him a few hours later and couldn't help but comment on the look on his face. That's when I found out. Before Ava Grace was even named or gendered or any of that, her parents loved her. Throughout baby room decorating, arguing over names, morning sickness, juggling appointments, safety concerns and complications related to Ava's lungs before she was even born- they loved her. When she was born they could only love her more. Ava Grace would have grown up one, lucky child.

There was nearly a third time when I saw Jason's stoic nature nearly dip and change- when Ava went missing. I got the call early in the morning hours on behalf of Reyna Lopez Guerrero (who was acting as Chief of police and not best friend at the time). Jason was nearly panicking and getting frustrated. That's right folks. Frustrated that he couldn't leave New Rome and tear the world apart with his bare hands and panicking for the safety of both members of his small family.

But still: straight faces were kept and the investigation went on.

About the investigation, about why it happened anyways... Every single person wonders "why" when tragedy strikes. Why do people do this? Why would anyone lay a single hand on a child or a human being that someone else loves? Perhaps it's worst in New Rome, since everyone within Terminus' borders know how hard the struggle to live happily is for children of the gods.

Often the answer to this question remains a mystery, but here's how I see it.

If Ava Grace's mother had been any Roman woman in the world, that little girl would be alive and passing off gas as smiles right now. I'd get to write about the wars in the south instead of a critical issue that shouldn't be an issue at all. If Ava Grace's father had been Greek, she'd also be fine but settled on the East coast and nobody in Rome would know her name or particularly care.

Ava Grace was attacked because she was, and forever is and will be, a Child of Both Gods.

Which is preposterous for three arguments that I can bring up.

1) Interracial marriage has been legal in the United States of America since 1967. But I'm talking about their demigod race- a new issue for everyone, although it really shouldn't be. Why would New Rome reverse the constitution of the United States about an issue like marriage which, hint hint, none of our parents or ancestors were particularly good at? Why would New Rome even care what kind of marriage occurs within its walls as long as it's healthy, when most demigods struggle their entire lives only dreaming of one day settling- Piper and Jason being no different.

2) All legacies and demigods have 'mixed heritage' as the senate is so nicely phrasing it. My mom's from Vietnam. Don't know about Mercury, but I kind of like to think that he isn't Vietnamese and identifies himself as Italian or something on censuses.

Legacies are even worst if you're a caveman following this mentality. They're a mix of four possibly different ethnicities. If I were to have a kid right now, assuming I wasn't gay and that the child's mother was an American daughter of Bacchus: she'd be Vietnamese-American, American, Italian (or Roman, fine) and you could trace Bacchus to Dionysus to Osiris, thus also making this hypothetical child Egyptian. That's a lot when you write it on paper, but really every legacy in New Rome or Camp Jupiter carries some form of his mega-jigsaw puzzle. That's the point of Roman mythology. Roman mythology is literally made up of other mythologies put together and modified this isn't news, so why are we being picky about purity you big giant mob of hypocrites?

Anyways: point is, we're all 'of mixed heritage' to believe with. Before 1967 we were all 'abominations'. SO KNOCK IT OFF. Ava Grace was none different than any other child born in Apollo Medicus Hospital, yet she had her name on signs during protests in the forum. Her jigsaw got her killed- that was the only difference.

Who cares what kind of heritage Ava Grace had? Her birth was none of our business to begin with- the media kind of just imposed itself upon her family because she was a special snowflake.

Okay Forum-bound Protester. I hear your "but Roman legacies are expected to power the legion and she wouldn't be able to do that" and raise you a "heritage has been proven to matter very little to the performance of a legionnaire or who that legionnaire is as a person." Seeing as the second option is clearly far too advanced for the globe, we shall talk about a legionnaire's performance.

While it's true that children of Mars and Bellona seem to have natural battlefield abilities and yes, I do know that Jason Grace's leadership skills stem from his father being Jupiter... The GP (General Public) has to stop thinking that a legionnaire's heritage matters on the battlefield! A daughter of Venus and a daughter of Ceres will both look the same on the battlefield. There is no noticeable difference unless you know aforementioned legionnaire personally- that's why the cohorts function with mixed groups of individuals. Unlike the Greeks, we Roman demigods don't inherit as many spectacular powers from our parents unless we're doomed to be bounced from prophecy to prophecy endlessly.

I could do this with every argument I've heard in the last months, but I am getting way too emotional and involved in this post. I'm going to wrap it up.

So you know what, it never did matter what heritage Ava Grace had. She was basically killed for nothing. Out of ignorance and racism. There, I said it. Eric Quain, by murdering that little girl (also don't any of my dear readers dare tell me that it was at the second degree, he did it) not only proved to be a gigantic douche but is also officially racist. That's all that hate crimes are; they're racists, misogynists and assorted supremasists getting put in jail for their close-mindedness. Not what I would dare to hope for from an empire founded on the ruins and knowledge and ideas of a patchwork of civilisations, now is it?

Maybe Ava Grace was more Roman than the entire lot of New Rome. Shame on you.

(Also this is probably the one column too many, the one that I'll get sacked for. To which I say, adios hermanos, I do not regret writing this).


March 12th 2021:

Trial Gets Tense

By Caesar Tuzzi

The trial of Eric Quain who abducted barely two week old Ava Grace in mid-February came to a dramatic close today as violence errupted in the courtroom.

The legacy of Apollo and Mars was convicted of kidnapping, the second degree murder of Ava Grace, hate crimes, dishonour to the legion and assault and battery of 27 year old Piper McLean. He is convicted to a lifetime in prison with parole in 50 years, though he will never be permitted to remain in New Rome or the Bay Area ever again.

The charge has been delayed because of accusations of illegal procedure and police brutality during Quain's arrestation- to which Chief of police Reyna Lopez Guerrero has pled guilty but the court has forgiven due to extraordinary circumstances.

The convict's final statement in court maintained that Ava Grace, the first child of Both Gods to be born in the last 200 years, was a disgrace to all legacies who deserved to die and that he did the genetic poole of New Rome a favour by eliminating her disgrace.

Quain was promptly punched in the throat and mouth by the victim's father, legion veteran of proconsular status Jason Grace, who broke Quain's jaw and nearly snapped the cartilage of his throat- thus expediating the convict to the Apollo Medicus Hospital for a few days before his emprisonment can truly begin. For the first time since the abduction, the father has spoken out of line by telling Quain that if he could do to him exactly what he'd done to his daughter he'd do it a thousand times. He had to be escorted out of the courtroom, but no charges have been laid on him.


"That was stupid," Reyna said. "Absolutely stupid Grace, even by your goddamn standarts!"

"I know," he said. He'd spent part of the afternoon in a chair in an interogation room and now Reyna had moved him to the chair in her office, planning to make this interogation a thousand times worst.

"You're an idiot and you're so lucky that I don't have to lay any charges on you," Reyna said. "And then you yelled at him too? Jason, you were sounding like you would have downright murdered him if you'd have had the chance!"

"Yes I would've," Jason snapped. "And even then, never would he have had to hear his mother ask what would have happened if she'd have held on tighter so really, even if I'd broken his goddamn throat after all he'd have been more alive than I'll ever be!"

Silence. In all her legislative crap, the rush to get everything legally and properly done to make sure that investigations and trials went well... Reyna had lost her sense of reality and checked herself out of the bigger picture.

"Piper said that." She wasn't sure if it was a question or a statement herself.

Jason looked away. "The doctors took Ava from her arms. I kissed her forehead. Touched her hair. They walked out. She asked me what would have happened if she wouldn't have let them take her."

He readjusted himself and ran his fingers through his hair.

"So now Piper's mad at me, but I'm still mad at the world because I had to hear that. I had to hear someone ask if..."

Jason couldn't finish he just groanned into his hands.

"And then I had to hear someone say that girl -that my daughter- deserved to die and yeah, I wanted to kill him," Jason said raising his head to look at Reyna. His eyes were watering but Jason probably wasn't even realising it. "But I wouldn't have done it, Rey. I swear I wouldn't have."

"I know," Reyna said softly. "I know. No charges, Jason. It's fine. It's over and we can move on."

"What would have happened if we wouldn't have let her go?" Jason asked softly.

"They would have had to take her by force," Reyna concluded after some thought.

"Story of our lives," Jason said.


Private Funeral Held for Ava Grace

By Tony Lemay

It was revealed a day after all was said and done that Ava Grace was buried yesterday, in a San Francisco cemetery.

It was a private affair as the child's parents, legion veteran Jason Grace and daughter of Aphrodite Piper McLean, still strive to stay away from the media hype. Less than fifty people are thought to have intended, including most of the Seven from the Great Prophecy, the current praetors of Rome, childhood friends, Chiron the centaur and even Lupa herself.

The New Rome Short'n'sweet asks civilians to please refrain from circulating images or rumours about this event if any are at hand.