It’s rather insulting, the way this reptilian man is looking up at Autumn. His yellow eyes are locked on to her, with no intention of breaking contact. On top of that, the freakish fangs poke through his slimy mouth that’s curled up into a snarky smile. It’s obvious he thinks he’s smarter than her, yet she can’t let herself look afraid. She is a high-ranking detective, after all, and this cold, dark interrogation room is the perfect place to get information out of people.
And so, she begins with, “Mister Marshall Fence. You have been given an extremely high position of power that allows you access to all sorts of information. You know many things the public does not, so can you tell me what exactly happened on the night of May twenty-first?”
His scaly eyebrows raise up at her before he responds, “Detective Banks, thank goodness it’s you conducting this interrogation and not that weird young man with the tattoo. Tell me, what was his name again?”
“Mister Fence, please answer the question.”
“Right,” He hisses. “You see, I was in my office, doing my usual job of assisting the president. And so, he asked me to go fetch him some coffee and I agreed. The kitchen is just past the high-security vault, and as I was passing by, I noticed the door to it was gone.”
Summer flinches slightly. “Just... gone? As in someone stole the door?”
“Precisely,” Marshall answers. “Whoever stole it was very precise with their theft. There was no damage or anything, it was just taken clean off the hinges. So, I looked inside and one of the presidential eggs was gone. Evidently no one saw anything, and all the security camera footage looked completely normal.”
“Normal? What did your cameras show?”
“The same thing they always show. A perfectly intact vault with some employees occasionally passing by to get the president his coffee.”
Nothing about this man’s story feels believable, yet Autumn knows he has no reason to lie. Without a presidential egg, there will be no election in a few years and most reptilians need elections in order to keep their jobs. Otherwise, they will have no live among the humans, and no reptilian wants to live among the humans. And so, she looks back down at his snarky, green face and fails to see any trace of dishonesty in his eyes.
“Okay,” She sighs. “Thank you, Mister Fence. We will escort you out.”
Marshall stands from his seat, giving Autumn a grave reminder that he’s a good eight feet tall; definitely not someone to be messed with. Despite how dim the room is, she knows exactly where the door is placed and begins leading him there. Before they reach the exit, the man quickly whispers to her, “This was the shortest interrogation ever. Next time, they should get the actual police.”
Normally, Autumn would let a comment like that slide, as the ABI had been under constant criticism since the day they became an official group. However, knowing the vice president himself did not approve of them feels rather shameful, as she at least wants most of the reptilians to approve of her group’s work. She says nothing as they approach the door, yet the statement latches itself into her mind, bothering her more than she allows herself to show. She feels out the door handle and pulls it open, squinting to protect her eyes from the sudden inflow of light.
The two walk down the narrow hallway, still in an uncomfortable silence. She carefully treads ahead of her scaly superior, as to not be intimidated by how small she feels next to him. In this practically empty space, Autumn Banks is vulnerable for the entire time it takes to walk all the way down to the door at the end of the hall. While Marshall certainly isn’t involved in the crime being investigated, there’s something off about him that makes Autumn just a bit uneasy. Besides, of course, the fact that he’s a lizard man.
When the walk to the door finally ends, she carefully takes her ID from her pocket and places it underneath the door’s scanner. It unlocks with a click and they step outside to find a luxurious, gold-painted limousine parked outside to take Marshall back to the White House.
“Good luck with the case, Detective Banks,” He bids. “I trust you and your associates will find the egg and restore balance to our political system.”
“We will do our best, sir,” She assures him.
And with that, the vice-president reverts to the overly expensive ride he found himself. Autumn feels exceptionally poor as the automatic door opens for him and he swiftly enters to listen to some rather loud rap music coming from inside. As the door closes, she gets one final look at those creepy yellow eyes that will probably haunt her nightmares for the next few days. The limousine finally drives off, leaving her feeling totally relieved.
Autumn promptly turns and heads back inside, quickly unlocking the door and slipping inside, only to immediately be frightened with a, “Hey, boss.”
After taking a moment to catch her breath, she manages to look her pop-up employee in the eye. Ryder Santana stands before her, the newest detective in training; one who shows a promising amount of talent. Still, the talent doesn’t stop him from being an annoying kid.
“Hello, Ryder,” She breathes. “Is there something you wanted to speak to me about?”
“I just wanted to know how your interrogation went,” He says, those big brown eyes beaming with excitement. “You really talked to one of the major reptilians. And it didn’t even take long!”
She sighs, wishing she still had that innocence. “It didn’t take long because I don’t think he’s guilty. Granted, not much about this case makes sense, not even what he told me… but reptilians need their presidential eggs. He doesn’t have any reason to lie to me.”
Ryder nods, still looking rather excited. “What does his voice sound like? Does he really sound like he does in the videos, or does he use a voice filter, so he sounds less like a reptile?”
Autumn can’t help but laugh, as his excitement is rather amusing. “No, Ryder, he really sounds like that. All the reptilians just sound like normal people.”
“I need to stop reading those conspiracy theories.”
“Yes, you do.”
She begins to head back down the hallway when she’s once again stopped by Ryder’s voice.
“Boss, wait,” He pleads. “I was actually supposed to tell you something important.”
She turns and faces him again. “What is it?”
“Our associates at NASA found something very interesting,” He explains. “It’s some sort of… tear.”
“A tear? What’s torn?”
“The space-time continuum.”
At that moment, Autumn immediately contemplates quitting her job.
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