The bullpen was noisy, as it usually is in the daytime, uniformed officers booking criminals, those criminals arguing, and plains clothes detectives discussing cases or just talking. The mix was close to fifty-fifty humans and Furred, as well as men to women, and about thirty-seventy detectives to officers.
"Well, well, well," someone said behind Connor. The slimy tone marked him as Wally, whose desk was two over. The cougar didn't bother looking up from his report to see what the human was commenting on this time.
"Will you look at that." The human's speculative tone made Connor look up and look around to find the target of his attention.
He was looking at a human woman standing by the bullpen's entrance, and he wasn't the only one. The room fell mostly silent as every officers and detective watched her. Some of the handcuffed criminals asked what was going on.
She was clearly uncomfortable in her brown suit, playing with the collar of the white shirt she wore under it. Connor thought it fitted her, the suit's color was a little lighter than her hair, and didn't hug her curves too closely. He did think she should go for a thicker shirt; he could just make out the black shape of her bra.
Wally wolf whistled at her, and other men joined in, making her blush. Only the humans did, Furred muzzles weren't shaped for whistling. Connor turned and glared at the human, who just grinned at him.
A stout human woman stomped out of an office and slammed the door behind her. The plaque with 'Captain' on it caught the light.
"Alright, that's enough!" She yelled, crossing the room to join the woman. She took her hand and stood next to her, facing those in the bullpen. "Listen here. I know none of you can recognize her now that she's out of uniform, but this is still out very own Rita Mendis, only now she's Tiranis' Police Department's newest Class-C Detective."
Applauds shook the walls. This time Connor joined in, standing after a moment with the others until everyone was up except the criminals.
"Enough of this!" the Captain shouted.
The ensuing silence reverberated.
"The lot of you have wasted enough time, get back to work. You all have cases to close." She gave Rita one of her rare smiles, squeezed her shoulder and headed back into her office.
"Looking good," Connor told Rita, as she reached the desk facing him. His smile was broad, but he wasn't showing any teeth.
"Thanks." She returned the smile for a moment, then grimaced as she pulled on the collar. "But this suit is really uncomfortable."
"You didn't have to go with a suit, you know. You could have gone for something more casual," Connor said.
Her face reddened slightly. "I know, but you look so professional in yours. I just want to follow your example."
Connor looked at her thoughtfully. "I've always worn a suit, even before I was in uniform, that's why I'm comfortable in it." Today his suit was dark brown, with a light blue shirt and golden tie that matched his fur. "How you act will go further to establishing your professionalism than how you dress. Just take Wally as an example."
The man in question stopped leering at Rita to frown at the cougar. He too was wearing a suit, gray, but it was rumpled, his darker gray shirt was wrinkled. He was unshaven, his blond hair was unkempt, looked greasy and his eyes were bloodshot.
"What are you trying to say, Connor?"
The Cougar smiled. "Nothing, nothing at all."
"Hey Mendis, how come you're still partnering with golden fur here? I get you had to for the last year, but your training's over, you passed the exam. You can pick whoever you want." He gave her an open mouth smile, and Connor rolled his eyes.
"Detective Brenfort is a good teacher," Rita replied, looking him over and then sitting down. "I'm just a Class-C, I still have plenty to learn." She looked at Connor and gave him a small smile. Again she played with the collar, this time undoing the top button.
"You're not going to learn much working missing person cases," Wally said, looking down at her chest.
Connor felt like growling but held it in. He hated it when people didn't show others proper respect.
Wally waited a moment, apparently waiting for a response from Rita. When she didn't look at him, he left.
"You know," she said, once the man was out of earshot. "I really thought he'd take me more seriously now that I'm wearing civilian clothing."
"Civvies, Rita. We call them Civvies. And Wallace is incapable of taking anyone with breasts seriously. He just has to be to keep his thought to himself in here because if the Captain hears another complaint about him, he's going to find himself back in uniform."
"The way he acts, I'd think he's a sleazy lawyer." She pulled on the shirt. "And Missing Person is as fine a place to be as any other. Even once you're done teaching me, I might just stay here."
Connor considered her, then stood. "In that case, let's get going, we have a new case." He grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair and put it on in a smooth motion.
"Who is it?" She asked following him.
"Jarrod, J, Nantos. Human, nineteen, been missing for thirty-six hours."
"Are we meeting his parents here or at their home?"
"Their home. His mother is too distraught to travel, and his father doesn't want to leave her alone."
As busy as the bullpen was, the noise level went up once they left it for the reception area. The three desks there were occupied, with people making complaints, and others waiting for their turns or yelling about being ignored for someone else. Once outside, the sound of traffic came across as soothing in contrast.
The morning sun shone on the metal and glass high-rises surrounding the white building of the police station. The light refracted off the glass and bathed the building in rainbows.
The police station was a subdued building of only three stories, housing all the main departments of the city, as well as the jail. It stood before the park of Bright Mornings. Which had been established to commemorate Mathias Wilson, whose sacrifice brought light back to the city, back in four-eighty-one. There was a bronze statue of the badger erected in the center of the park, and Connor liked going there every few days to remind himself that it wasn't just the Heroes who made a difference in the world.
The summer breeze was cool as they walked down the steps, and Connor could smell the coming rain, in spite of the clear sky. They'd reached the parking low when an older man called from the sidewalk.
"Rita! Dear!." He headed for them, using a cane to help with his limp. His white suit fitted his wide frame well.