All things considered, Parson felt that Sair was on the right track now--not the safest track, perhaps, but the correct one. That was something so few of these political types seemed to comprehend. Always worried about avoiding conflict, but sometimes, conflict was necessary. Sometimes, a little bloodletting now prevented future disaster.
And Jackson was not a stupid man. Or even an incompetent one. But that was the kind of hard truth that the Radiant Sentinel would never be able to accept. As much respect as Parson had for this man, as much as the Vanguard needed more people like him, there were still some things that Jackson needed to be kept in the dark about. For the good of all.
“The other marshals will never agree to stop Blacksong,” said Parson. “Isn’t it about time you got on board with everyone else? Even your wife has a horse in that race.”
“That may be true,” said Jackson, “but Sanko is free to do as she pleases.” His expression hardened. “You, however, are not.”
Parson realized where this was going and had to stop himself from wincing.
“I have a job for you,” the Sentinel said, reaching down beneath his desk. He pulled out a box, and from it, he retrieved a pen and notebook and pushed them both toward Parson. “Actually, I have several jobs for you, but first, you will provide a full report of your activities in Sair. Spare no details.”
Parson frowned. Of course it would have to be handwritten. If it was sloppy, Jackson would no doubt force him to rewrite it. Or perhaps the marshal would just “accidentally” light it on fire.
“Once that’s done,” Jackson went on, “you will be handling the local call-ins and write-ins. You will investigate every request thoroughly, no matter how trivial it might seem. The point of this, in case that is not already clear to you, is to remind you of who it is the Vanguard is protecting. I’m sure a bit of time at the bottom of the ladder will do you some good. And of course, I will be expecting full reports on each of your investigations. Additionally--”
Parson’s frown only deepened as he listened. If he had one weakness that he’d never quite been able to overcome, it was paperwork. And boy, did Jackson love his paperwork.