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You don't say murder. The gray rag reporters always tried to get that word out of the monitors, for sensational effect, but they had been carefully drilled in the fact that you never called it murder until the investigation was actually complete and they had someone to point a finger at. Author's Notes
"It was an unfortunate incident," was all Urti could say, scowling at the license the reporter provided. It was a stretch to allow a journalism license to explain why the man was lurking around between the licensing office and the railyards at this time of night, so late in winter. "Why were you here again?"
"I was hoping to catch the license manager of zoning and properties for a few questions before he left for the night," the reporter said, gloved hands spread wide in innocence. "He was very late in leaving the building, and brushed me off; I was headed home in this direction."
The housing license matched that claim, and Urti know for a fact that Lalya had been working over the years-end break, and had left late; he was a hard figure to miss, now that he was licensed and dressing as a woman. Urti looked at the sketch book, trying to decide if he should confiscate it, or if the dramatic charcoal sketch of the body in the bank of snow and the investigating monitors would be considered public knowledge. If he took the sketch, it was likely the reporter would simply draw it again from memory, and possibly exaggerate the scene, with the long, featureless body, even further. He handed it back in defeat and went back to thumbing through the man's licenses.
"It's one of the railrage murders, isn't it," the reporter said, practically salivating over the term as he slung the strap of the book over a shoulder.
"It was an unfortunate incident," Urti repeated, but the distinctive whistle pull-cord around the victim's neck had been clear even in the rough sketch. "It's being investigated."
He could hear the murmurs of the monitors in charge of the crime scene conferring around the corner, and looked up from the licenses to see the reporter trying to lean in and hear more. He stuffed the license back into his pouch without finesse. "Your name has been recorded," he said in warning, and nodded with no uncertainty towards the entrance to the alley. "If they've got further questions, you'll be contacted."
Urti snorted. "Have a nice night, Citizen." He positioned himself between the monitors who were shining lanterns about the area and folded his arms across his chest. "You don't really want to attract the attention of men who are looking for the cause of an 'unfortunate incident.'"
The reporter knew a dismissal when he heard it, and took the hint. "Thank you, Monitor," he said formally, backing away. "I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help."
Urti frowned after him and turned away. The third of these unsolved events was likely to put their head of investigations in a thunderous mood, ready to scream bloody... well, you didn't say murder... even when you meant it.
From a prompt by Deirdre M. Murphy at (some) Muse Fusion.