Riftline 1.1

//Maas//

“I said get one the ground!”

“I didn’t do it! I didn’t do anything!”

“Get on the ground sir or we will be forced to fire!”

“Fuck you!”

The early morning crowd pressed against the police line to get a better view of the transpiring confrontation, others pushing past the spectators to get on with their day. A little over a dozen cops had their firearms trained on a single man who stood at the ready to attack, left hand having flames emitted from his palm which licked up between his fingers. The scene was unfolding in a busy square of the lower class sector, crumbling buildings shoved together tightly, signs hanging from any place the eye would see them, the glow of it all washing the place in various colors. There was no sunlight in the Slums, that was a luxury for the upper districts. Buildings were stacked on buildings, walkways pieced together, and condensation from the breathing population created its own constantly drizzling ecosystem.

In the center of the courtyard, behind the man, was the statue of a long forgotten hero, the golden nameplate stolen and the stone cracking from age. The body of a young Elven woman had been strung up using the statue’s outstretched arms, her hands taped to her face to cover her mouth, legs bound together. Behind her were thousands of stained glass shards that hung in the air by placement magic and arranged like fairy wings, illuminated by a floating ball of light just above her head. It would have been a beautiful piece of living art if the woman as alive, the fact that a giant hole was were her heart was supposed to be said otherwise.

“Last time sir! Get on the ground! Now!”

“Make me, bitch!”

The man hefted his arm back in preparation to throw a fireball but was stopped short by his arm being encased in ice. An officer had stepped forward, shooting two more sheets of ice from his hands to encase the suspect’s legs and freeze him to the ground. From there it was easy to apprehend him, cuffing and tossing him into a car to be whisked away from the prying eyes of the public. The investigation started in the next second, the area being completely combed over.

At the precinct the man was escorted by two Orc police officers to a holding cell, the familiar violet glow of the magic suppressing rune emitting off his handcuffs. It was nearly an hour before the lead detective back at the crime scene determined that the man in custody was to be held for more than just questioning. When they arrived to booking the Human cop behind the desk piled with paperwork busted out laughing.

“Oh the Captain is gonna be so mad at you, Maas!” she teased him, “What did you do this time?”

“Shut it, Perzewski.”

The Orcs were rather confused by the brief conversation, even more so when they were waved back towards the door, the woman holding it open for them. Perzewski pointed a finger down the hall to the elevator, “Take him that way boys, seventh floor.”

The Orcs continued to drag the man, disgruntled by the break in protocol. The officers of the fifth precinct in the Canned Districts knew that the seventh floor was for joint operations with less than a handful having ever set foot there. Before the elevator doors opened Maas mumbled the keycode the panel prompted for, one Orc stabbing it in with a fat green finger. It opened up to a cluttered floor plan, desks lining the walls with one long meeting table in the middle, and flickering holograms everywhere. There was nothing marking what the area was for, not even a sign of who was stationed there. A few detectives still waking up were milling about as the three came in, Captain Rahmi in a separate windowed off office at the far end. The raised voice was instantly recognizable, anger rattling the walls.

“Maas!” Rahmi came lumbering out of his office, the Dragonkin clearly perturbed since his neck ruffles had fluffed out, “What part of ‘plainclothes’ don’t you understand?!”

“I don’t understand the ‘plain’ part, does that mean I don’t get to wear bedazzled pants?” Maas quipped, slipping out of the Orcs’ hold to immediately turn to his dust-covered desk on the right and fish out the universal handcuff keys from the top drawer. Releasing himself from the hold he tossed the set back to the Orcs, who were now more confused than ever.

“Go! Back to your posts!” Rahmi waved off the two, who were more than happy to leave the whole thing behind them, “Maas, you’ve been arrested three times in the past year. That doesn’t look good for us. You’re supposed to be a goddamn wallflower.”

“It’s not my fault this time, Captain,” he put they key back in his desk drawer, shrugging off heavy trench coat to throw over his chair. Rolling up the sleeves of his hoodie to his elbows he passed his boss to sit down at the meeting table, the raised sleeves showing off his left cybernetic arm with the right covered in one massive tattoo of ancient script. Fatigue started to seep into his tone, “I don’t even know how I got there. One second I was at Loise’s bar, the next I’m being told I’m going to be shot if I don’t surrender.”

Rahmi’s face softened a bit, now just growing concerned. Thick scaly tail swinging he set a chair just right to flop down next to Maas, “That’s out of your routine, you should still be at Loise’s right now. How long between the bar and being arrested? Did you eat or drink anything there?”

“I don’t know what time it is now.”

“It’s five in the morning.”

“Minus the time at the scene I would say nearly six hours. I remember the last time I looked at the clock it was just past one o’clock,” Maas ran his black carbon fiber fingers through his charcoal hair, golden-yellow eyes glazing over as he tried to recall last night’s events, “I got there at eight to start my shift, I was stage security because Ronald was out so I was in the back of bar. I was surrounded by the merchandise so someone should have seen something. I remember Dezi handing me a bottle of water, it was still sealed. I think I drank some as I watched her go on stage for auctioning. She got almost three grand last night. Then it’s just cold concrete, getting up in middle of Florence Square with the cops already there.”

“Not to get off track here but I find it peculiar that you remember more of Dezi than anything else at the bar.”

“What can I say? I watch her back she watches mine, she’s been really useful.”

“I’ll get the case file, I’m assuming there’s more to this than arresting you just for sleeping on the sidewalk.”

“There was a dead Elven woman strung up like a Prophet on the statue.”

“Arrested on grounds of suspicion of murder, I can’t let you walk out of here now and go back at it, Maas,” Rahmi scratched at his forehead scales, a low rumble starting up in his throat, “We’ll put you up for a few weeks in the Luxury Districts, take some time off. You’ve been under for seven years as it is.”

“Captain, a woman was just murdered and posed like an authority figure, and someone tried to frame me for it. I’m working on this case,” Maas argued.

“Do I have to pull r-”

“Don’t say it.”

“I will if-”

“Don’t!”

It was then the voice of a fellow detective interrupted the two, yelling from his desk, “Take the goddamn vacation Maas! You’re making the rest of us look bad! Fuck!”

“Shut up, Reinhardt!” Rahmi shouted back, slamming his tail against the tiled floor before looking back to Maas, “This is a direct order. You’ve dodged time off for long enough. You’re taking this damn vacation and if I find out you’re not enjoying it I’m going to put you on desk duty.”

“There’s the real threat,” Maas jabbed at his finger, “Fine, you win. Two weeks so my ‘name can be cleared’. But then I’m right back in it. Deal?”

“Deal.”

Maas pulled himself up from the chair to fish his badge out of his desk, satisfied enough that he wasn’t forced off the job for a month. Rahmi disappeared into his office for a moment before tossing a go-bag onto Maas’ desk and handing him his standard issue firearm.

“Didn’t you just say it’s a vacation, Captain?”

“Knowing you, it won’t be.”

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