You probably noticed this, but I've gotten a little tired of watching the farce the "justice system" has turned into.
The events of the investigation of B in summary:
We reacted as detectives, and no-one was used to cooperating with anyone else, so it was a herd of cats.
B was trained as a detective, so us reacting as detectives and treating crime scenes like we usually would furthered his game.
I got sick of seeing people I was attached to used as his toys, and decided to tally what we had available to us that we could use to our advantage to take away his game board.
The plan for the manhunt was mine ... I talked to several of the others, mentioned a few ideas, and got agreement that some of it was a good idea, but no better ideas suggested, so I ended up taking charge of the manhunt - we had numbers, a means to communicate easily without being heard, and someone that could track by scent, so there was no reason to continue playing his game.
I suspect it was a good thing - we had a team ten strong, and I can think of at least two that wouldn't have been willing to help if Mello had been the one taking charge, and a few others he wouldn't have even thought to ask.
I know I'd been saying I was going to not try to be a direct part of the legal system, but considering that I got John watching my back on the manhunt, I think I can pull the diplomatic angle while working from within, and it's something that group SORELY needs.
Honestly, they also need direction, and while I don't exactly want a position of open authority, if nobody else steps forward with ideas or attempts to coordinate, I've hit the point of taking matters into my own hands - I'll do it.
Mello is, politely put, a pain in the ass to work with. He's overly paranoid and I strongly suspect an inferiority complex; mixed with mafia tactics, that's not a good thing. I doubt it helps that in his time with the mafia, he apparently did enforcer work; B was mimicking different people's methods in the Manor - the third killing was clearly modeled after an organized crime hit, and Mello admitted it was a jab at him.
He means well, and has a clear distaste for his past, but it's still the majority of his training, and people in an absence of other structure will fall back on what they're used to. I'm not going to directly lock horns with him, but if it comes down to a conflict over ideas of how things should be run, I don't think it'd be very hard to sway things my way; it's amazing how many people will answer to you when you treat them with respect and are reasonable instead of being hostile and habitually condescending.
I'm not sure he even has a clear plan, so as long as I'm actually keeping active on organization and pitching in, I don't think he'd even notice if I took most of the way over.
Of the team:
Ichabod is an excellent investigator and, from what I've learned of his background, a forensics genius. He's not a people person or a leader and he's aware of this, but he's good for quiet backup - he's from the late 1700's, with self-made equipment I'd placed nearly a century ahead. I'm more than happy to leave him not taking any kind of spotlight; a quiet observer can be invaluable, and honestly, if we organize roles, he's the best suited to doing any kind of forensics work we might need; I want to shove books and information on modern chemicals and research at him and leave him in charge of the labs, so the rest of the team can focus on what they're better at and not worry about it.
Tom is going to be incredibly useful - he's young and inexperienced, but is an undercover cop with field experience, and has shown objectivity and an ability to not only work with others, but bring in outside help; he's the one that found our tracker, and was the only other one I saw on the team openly acknowledging that the riot was not an enemy. He's not a leader, but has admitted as much, and has expressed willingness to work with different systems and respect the differences that exist in the Manor.
Misora is from Mello's world - she's law enforcement, and was apparently coming out of a nasty case when she arrived. She's ended up in a partnership with Tom. She's intelligent enough, and while she has a temper and some ability to hold grudges, she has responded to counsel for keeping that in check; she's also much more willing to share information, and acknowledged that excessive secrecy was going to be a problem - I will note that Mello knew about B's presence for apparently a long time, yet said nothing, to the rest of us until there'd been more than one killing, which troubles me - particularly since Shiki's death was textbook to B's normal methods. If I can manage to get things divided up by skillsets, I'd put Misora and Tom as the open, visibly active "cops"; Tom can balance out and check any knee-jerk reaction of hers, from what I've seen, and they'd be much more capable of earning respect instead of just demanding it.
Mikami, the prosecutor, assisted - I wouldn't force him into field work much except when needed as an extra set of eyes. I haven't been able to interact with him as much as I'd like, but so far he's very focused, very intent, and has been straightforward; honestly, I wouldn't mind, in some disputes, letting the attorneys work at what they're used to - acting as an extra set of mediators in settling disputes.
John volunteered to help with the investigation from the first killing - I think I've had it confirmed that he has no interest in conflict for his own sake; if Mello is left in charge, I don't doubt he'd be more than happy to lead a rebellion, and honestly, working with Mello myself, I'd likely pitch in with John. He has a temper and would make a dangerous enemy, but he's willing to be reasonable and would also make a good ally.
Tris assisted with the manhunt - she's a very powerful mage on her world, and also setup a barrier to protect those that couldn't protect themselves on the last few days; there was another individual involved in that I didn't get to see or hear much of. Her powers focus on weather and the elements - but she can see the traces left by other supernatural effects. She's prickly and antisocial, but has given some signs that control of her powers requires internal discipline and self-control, and she's objective; I ended up sending her partnered with Mello not because I expected them to get along, but because I trusted Tris to treat the mission as more important than potential personality conflicts, and that she did well at, including giving us an open broadcast when Mello deviated from the plan without warning and left the first floor unwatched.
Conan remains someone that is useful directed the right way, but stubborn - I admit, given his past tendencies towards dashing into things without planning, it was intentional to give him orders to be mobile and covering openings that were unexpected, just for the sake of putting him doing what he'd do anyway.
There is an arrival from our world that might help with reigning him in - Heiji Hattori, who I've worked with in the past. He's outwardly temperamental, but it's more bark than bite; he's also prone to playing stupid when he isn't - I've seen him play the fool just to get someone to underestimate him and give themselves away. He's stubborn and quick to act, but he's flexible, pragmatic, and has shown willingness to be objective even in spite of his own feelings on a matter... and he's used to working with Conan, frustrations and all.
From his past record, I think he can be trusted to take things more calmly than he might let on, and to deal with people better than much of the team has in the past; part of where he draws his occasional fool act seems to be an honest sense of ... not exactly humility, but recognition that he can be wrong.
I think B made a few grievous errors with his victims.
For one, Shiki is, about as I expected, taking it with all the grace of a live grenade. I've already spoken to him on this; his only real target is B, and I'm confident his retribution for how he was treated will only strike once to make his point, but he has said that anyone who actively gets in his way can't expect mercy.
Honestly, I can't even call this being entirely lawless so much as resorting to what passes for "laws" where he's from - and given his past behavior, B really should've known that some of his victims wouldn't take the assault lying down. We may need to include recognition in the rules that if you start a fight with one of the more dangerous sorts like that, you really should've seen coming that it wouldn't go well for you.
I don't think telling him not to aim at B for his one strike is an option, not without making an enemy of someone more than capable of doing a great deal of damage, and to be honest, it'd be a signal to B that treating people here as sheep and victims isn't a smart idea. Shiki's agreed to wait for an opening and not just go after B now where he is; the others aren't targets unless they interfere. This does leave me with the thorny problem of who on the team would accept not interfering, or at least, how to arrange it so that no-one on the legal team who'd get themselves killed is in a position to get in the way without it undermining what we're doing.
As unstable as the system is right now, I think the first part is the bigger issue.
(Also, yes, I am trying to mind keeping the peace somewhat - if Shiki doesn't get some resolution to what happened, we are going to be dealing with walking time bomb intent on re-asserting his abilities as a predator, instead of someone controlled and reasonable, and I'd rather have him manageable than worry about protecting B from harm resulting from his actions.)
His second victim, I'd imagine, is also liable to do something...
Considering that, while I haven't met the man alive...
He had a very well-kept and very functional, if outwardly ornate to fit his station, revolver, a collection of various blades, and a pair of long-bladed scissors that had human blood in the joints, old enough to date back to whatever happened to cover him in blood when he arrived. From the testimony of Oz, who apparently knows him, he was another individual that, under normal circumstances, would NOT have been easy prey.
I've seen Apollo's notes from his encounter with Vincent, and he claimed the blood on him when he arrived came from self-defense, which tripped Apollo's ability to tell when someone's hiding something, although he was apparently telling the truth that the ah, victim HAD attacked him and an apparently defenseless girl.
So basically, we have someone who has a previous incident all of a couple weeks ago of reacting to an assault by killing the attacker very messily with scissors, apparently at a point when the attacker was no longer a threat.
He also achieved something that is worth note - Apollo will outwardly flounder, but not much actually rattles him.
Vincent managed to scare him, not on an outward flail level, but on a "something is very not right with this person" level.
I'm currently hoping it's kept to retribution against B and that he's not inclined to start trouble with others without provocation; I think it's a certainty he'll be out for revenge, and that it will be MUCH less straightforward and clear-cut than Shiki.
As far as punishments go - you're right; the death penalty is useless. Allowing some degree of reasonable personal retribution might be a necessity, or we're going to have rebellion from individuals that place value in such, and honestly, attacking someone that's visibly dangerous is a bit of a Darwinistic act. I don't feel like protecting people from THAT kind of stupidity. We can't rely on keeping people boxed either; not only is it a strain on our resources, but it's basically just a matter of time and the Author's whim before she either directly does something to free the person confined, or we end up with a 'field trip' and the confinement is rendered moot. We have enough people with technical ability that I think our best option may be a house-arrest system of some sort - some kind of worn device that allows for tracking with listening devices for monitoring, and alerts to us if it's tampered with or removed. We'll never have a perfect solution, but a period of confinement followed by ensuring we can respond quickly if they try something again is probably one of the best things we can hope for at present and actually enforce.
We definitely need to include people like Tris and ... judging by the explosions at the fourth wall, Soma, just for the sake of having a way to respond if someone with powers decides to take advantage of the fact that most of the legal system are "normal human".
Updated notes on Light Yagami - I do know his agenda now.
He is from Misora and Mello's world. While Misora's willing to share information, she was cautious on a specific case that she brought up as how she knew it was B again when Apollo died, since there was a variance in methods - that the variance was actually B preserving his pattern of mimicking how other people in the Manor killed.
Apparently, they have a serial killer who is very methodical that has a way to - likely supernaturally, from the sound of it - kill people via heart attacks; someone highly intelligent and cautious, that has apparently taken up the pattern of killing "criminals" ... or anyone that could be deemed guilty of a crime possibly ... or people that get in the way.
Given the tremendous list of suspects, my prior experiences and conversations with Light, and the fact that B only mimicked people that were in the Manor, I think it's safe to say he was mimicking Light.
I'm still overjoyed that Mello knew of two serial killers in the Manor and didn't think it was important to share this with the other people trying to keep law - I caught that he knew something about Light and tried to pry it out of him, but the most I got was "keep an eye on him", and there was never a word breathed of B.
I'm unsure how much of a threat Light is - from my interactions with him, he doesn't seem the type to like to directly dirty his hands, and we don't know yet if his normal methods work in the Manor.
Either way, whether or not he's a threat will depend entirely on how attached he is to what he was doing back home, and how willing he is to accept that he's in a different situation now; given that there haven't been any random heart attacks, he's at least pragmatic enough to be holding off for now. If he's willing to shelve it, then I honestly have no problem with him. I'd be a horrible hypocrite if I did badger him over it when he was putting it on hold, considering that I was thinking the best way to deal with Gin, who may very well be the death of me, was to play on pragmatism and get him cooperating. I suspect it may be easier to get Light to put conflicts back home aside for the time being than Mello, if I've read his behavior right.
Ah, I've been working on some sort of profile on the Author - I never thought being subjected to fangirls back home would turn out to be useful in this manner, but her actions so far are consistent with that idea, if we assume she is, in fact, a teenage girl that somehow has power over this place.
Her attention span isn't that long. I've seen writers work for months or years on a single idea, yet she barely keeps her focus for a month on even a large idea.
She's not actively malicious. If she were intent on causing suffering for its own sake, we'd be thrown into much nastier plots much more often; you don't want to know some of the things that I've seen crawl out of the minds of fangirls before that were just writing stories. The range of people drawn in here points to eclectic interests - depending on how she's aware of us to write us in, if she's treating us as fictional characters she's borrowing instead of actual sentient entities, then it'd probably mean that in her version of whatever world she's in - which, from the holidays she observes and the customs attached, I'd guess is a fairly contemporary Earth to my own, likely in the US - we're all pre-existing works of fiction. It's not an alien concept to theories of alternate or infinite universes, which we've already had to accept considering what we live with, and the Plot Bunny slipped and tried to cover that the faceless beings we met were "her characters", so whatever works she's drawing from to find us, she's not the original author. If we take that into account, then that means that the wildly different backgrounds we're from are things she's been exposed to as fictional entertainment, so she's not very genre-bound, although this might tie back to the lack of focused attention span.
Judging by the bigger plots she's pulled, and the details she's glossed over about some of her villains and kidnapees, I'd say we're dealing with a romanticist; she's aiming for stories where the Good Guys overcome challenges, and isn't thinking too hard about the uglier details of things like Albert Fish or what some of us may've done in the past. The way we're thrown in with people who would probably be antagonists if their lives were a fictional work, I'd bet she's probably a sucker for a good redemption story, or the stories where the heroes and the villains have to band together to fight a Greater Evil.
Going by network posts, the presence of a few people from what would have to end up as horror stories if fictional does lead to some worrying potential if she has a darker mood - I, for one, will not be surprised if we end up facing a zombie apocalypse scenario one day.
Oh, and I have a confession. I'm not actually in a big hurry to get home myself - it's personal issues with what we're up against there; when we get home, I'm going to be right back up against Gin and his organization. Most of my potential allies are here; of the lot of us, I'm the most easily visible target with the fewest connections I could use to avoid them and the fewest escape routes - if they decide to start getting rid of us, I'm probably the first to go unless I can forge a few other alliances.
If I can't get some level of cooperation with some of the others from my world, by hook or by crook, I'm not going to live to see twenty.
I'm not entirely thrilled with what I'm stuck working with in some cases, but I don't exactly have a choice but to either find a way to get them willing to help, or find a way to use them effectively.
And back home? I don't have much opportunity to approach most of these people without it being glaringly obvious and visible, and an action liable to get me shot.
I'll help other people find ways to get sent home, if there is a way other than the Author losing interest, but I can't really afford to myself just yet.
- S. H.