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Catering Requisitions

Posted on Sun Jan 22nd, 2023 @ 13:33 by Valjean Beaumont & Jhanvi Dhar
Edited on on Mon Jan 30th, 2023 @ 10:54

Chapter: Prologue: Dawn of Avalon
Location: Secretariat
Timeline: Morning, Thursday, September 24th, 1992
1490 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

Normally an early bird gets the worm type of guy Valjean had a bit of trouble settling into his regular rhythm now that the summer break was over and that last Saturday it had gotten late during the faculty mixer, it had him off track for the entire week. Now that there were more students coming in over the weekend and next week he had taken stock of the supplies to make sure he had everything he needed to serve up the coming week of three meals a day. For the past week at least he could manage with the supplies and setting aside some of the order in preparation. It was just the staff and a handful of students already back at the Institute. But it was a good time to prepare for what was sure to come the week after. Hundreds of hungry mutant teenagers, all with dietary requests and restrictions, and most of them utterly unimpressed by the food he was able to produce for them. Not to mention some of the more gluttonous members of the staff and student body.

He made his way over to the secretarial after taking stock of the kitchen supplies, a deep frown on his face, clearly displeased with what he had found. He gave the door a single knock before swinging it open and stepping inside. "Is mademoiselle Cavendish here?" His French accent was still quite thick despite having a British mother and being back in the UK for several years now. He looked at the direction of the head mistress' office but then returned his dark gaze to the young woman behind the desk.

It had taken a week or so but Jhanvi had just about got the small office nook functioning the way she wanted it to. Aesthetically, it was still sparse, with very little personalisation because she wasn't the type to adorn her desk with photographs or festoon the walls with uplifting quotations and artwork, but the filing system was more efficient and there was more shelving for the asset register, at least, and associated health and safety documentation. Discussions, invitations really, to 'brighten up the space with whatever she wanted' had been met with inaction that, oddly enough, bordered on silent protest. Casting titbits about herself around and then leaving them haphazardly in the general public's view wasn't Jhanvi's idea of settling in. Intrusion unnerved her.

And so it was from behind a very tidy and completely impersonal desk that the woman lifted her attention from her work to consider the new arrival. The scarf often worn around her head had settled down on her shoulders for now but a full, unhindered view of her face didn't do much to alter perceptions of its expression. Placid, unflinching calm.

"The Head Mistress is currently preparing for the arrival of students," she replied. "She is unlikely to be in her office until after lunch."

"You are the new secretary, non?" Valjean immediately switched focus. "The kitchen is running low on supplies faster than anticipated." He took in a deep breath to prevent himself from cussing out who he might expect was the culprit of the latest diminishing supplies. "I'm missing a gallon of milk and two dozen eggs." He walked closer to the woman behind the utilitarian desk. "The order for new supplies is probably already underway but I need you to contact them and double the amount of eggs and milk." He shook his head. Who could possibly digest so much in so little time.

Several gentle blinks seemed to absorb the rather effervescent request. "You...have misplaced groceries?" Far from inclined to be an alarmist, Jhanvi nonetheless wasn't always the best equipped to see the logic between the lines.

"Non, non, non." Valjean shook his head at that assessment of his issue. He was an organised and meticulous cook, he did not misplace groceries. "We have someone using the kitchen as their personal pantry and they eat a lot more than anyone can take into account making produce orders. And they always eat the stuff that's used in pretty much every meal." He knew how to run a professional kitchen for large groups and how to work with limited budget, but Wakefield didn't have so many mutants among its general population. "So I would like to order these things and a security camera."

One again, the request barely sent ripples across the secretary's expression, though this time Jhanvi did raise her eyebrows just slightly. "Amending your grocery order should be relatively simple, though it will obviously impact your long-term budget and may require you to renegotiate that allowance at some later point with the Head. Asset requisition, however, is an entirely different process." She paused, a little awkwardly, and then pointed out. "There is paperwork involved."

There was a certain frustration bubbling up inside of Valjean at the seemingly laissez-faire attitude of the new colleague. Not only was it making his job more difficult, it also made it seem as if he wasn't in control of his own kitchen. Which is something he most certainly was. "Which I'm sure you'd be all too happy to help me with." He commented sarcastically, resisting the urge to roll his eyes at the fact. "Can you not reprimand this hyène? He should stay out of the kitchens."

It would have been easy to assume that Jhanvi was not one to rock the boat. So much of her insular nature yearned for anonymity, hardly surprising given a very early capability for presenting as anyone but herself, that it was reasonable to suppose she'd prefer to avoid confrontation where possible. Default to the loudest protester, duck and weave and do whatever was necessary to return her world to the tranquillity of silence. A person wouldn't be wrong for expecting things things; it was just that Jhanvi herself wasn't always in full, cognizant control over her instincts.

"Why would a security camera be necessary if you already know who the culprit is?"

Her eyes were eerie, that was the biggest issue. When the rest of her body language suggested deference, those unnatural pools of aquamarine against a dusky backdrop held another expression entirely. Dissection. Analysis. There was a reason Jhanvi often avoided eye contact; other people and their mannerisms were too easy to consume.

"Because, clearly, I cannot be a hundred percent sure." This time he couldn't suppress the eye-roll. Valjean took a deep breath through his nose and tried to return to a slightly neutral smile. "It is not your fault, but it's frustrating. And I'm sure there's future colleagues and students that might see the kitchen as their personal pantry." He fold his arms waiting for the woman to produce the aforementioned paperwork.

"Have you attempted to speak to them about it?" Peacekeeping wasn't Jhanvi's specialty but asset requisition, not to mention the implication of purchasing equipment simply to catch out staff and students, wasn't going to navigate Cavendish's authorisation processes easily. Nevertheless, the secretary turned and pulled down a folder she had only just recently finished compiling. "If you have suspicions, perhaps approaching the accused will produce more immediate results."

Valjean looked at the woman a bit wearily. "I'm already viewed as the foul tempered French cook. This doesn't help my reputation." He knew that his proposed approach didn't do much to dissuade that notion, but at least then he had proof to justify his anger. He looked at the requisition form and rolled his eyes again. With a bit of effort he created a copy of himself, which stood there a bit with clear discontent written all over his face. "Will you fill out the form please, while I get back to work." The prime Valjean asked his duplicate before he turned to walk out of the office and get back to trying to conjure up something without milk or eggs.

"What would you like me to list under Applicable Security Risk?," Jhanvi called after him, the lift in her tone skirting away from outright mockery whilst, at the same time, holding a tremor to its curiosity that impinged on its innocence.

"There's no need to yell," The duplicate that he had left behind leaned forward, "malnourishment, law suits from children's parents, greatly increasing the chances of a stabbing incident." He leaned over to glance at the form to already try and think ahead for the next few questions. "We'll be here a while, huh."

Realising that she wasn't going to dissuade him, even though Jhanvi had a reasonable hunch that Cavendish was going to require exactly what she'd already suggest he try first before authorising anything, the secretary sighed inwardly and picked up a pen, flipping it towards the duplicate.

"Just be aware that this will require an authentic signature." Clones did not count, at least not on her watch.

It was going to be a long afternoon.


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