• Published 12th Mar 2019
  • 683 Views, 62 Comments

Return the Night, or no Deposit - totallynotabrony



Detective Fit is stuck on a case involving a spree of anti-lunar graffiti. There are no clues, and Fit is getting desperate. Desperate enough to call the craziest consultant he knows.

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Chapter 3

Fit met Haven coming in the door of the station the next morning and they went to their desks. He had just sat down when the door burst open and Mirror walked in, dragging an earth pony stallion behind her.

“Hey, I got the graffiti artist from the latest scene here,” she said loud enough for the whole office to hear.

Fit was back on his hooves immediately. Mirror had been dragging her prisoner in a headlock. Fit crossed the room and relieved her, snapping some cuffs on the perp.

“W-wait!” called Haven. “Who is this? What evidence do you have?”

“Let’s get this sorted out,” Fit said to her, tilting his head towards the ponies in the rest of the room looking on with varying levels of surprise. He ushered Haven and the detainee down the hallway towards an open interrogation room. Mirror peeled off and went into the observation room, on the other side of the one-way glass.

Fit was as confused as anypony else, but he was acting as if on autopilot following Mirror’s announcement. Was that leftover instinct from the Guard?

He put the suspect down in a chair and sat across the interrogation table. Haven, looking twice as bewildered as Fit felt, paused, but after a moment sat beside Fit.

Silence reigned before Fit swallowed and remembered that he was a cop facing a suspect. “What’s your name?”

“Slider,” said the pony in cuffs, also looking bewildered. He was scruffy, probably even before Mirror had dragged him in.

Fit went on. “What did you do?”

“I can explain. I didn’t have anything to do with-”

“Wrong!” boomed Mirror’s voice through the intercom.

Slider winced. “Look, I was paid to paint that, okay? I don’t know anything about it.”

“Who put you up to it?” Haven asked, apparently getting through the confusion enough to participate in the conversation.

“I don’t know. I got an envelope in the mail with instructions and some money. It said I would get more if I painted what it said to paint where it said to paint it.”

“Where’s the letter?” Fit asked.

“I threw it away.” Slider shrugged nervously. “I didn’t think I would need it.”

“How much money?” Fit asked.

“Just a couple bits.”

“Wrong!”

“Who is she?” Slider demanded, gesturing as best as he was able to the one-way glass.

“Answer the question,” Fit ordered.

“Fifty bits. The letter said another fifty would be coming my way.”

“Did you get it yet?” Haven asked.

“No.”

“We should check his mail,” said Fit. “Maybe it’ll come today.”

“It’s just paint,” said Slider. “I’m not in trouble, am I?”

“We can charge you with criminal mischief,” said Haven. “Though maybe you can help us.”

“We’ll need to talk about it,” said Fit. He and Haven got up and left the room.

The two of them paused outside, catching their breath for the first time. Mirror joined them.

“How did you find him?” Haven asked.

“It was pretty easy,” said Mirror.

Haven stared at her, and then looked at Fit.

“Don’t ask questions you may not want to know the answer to,” Fit said.

Mirror clicked her tongue and winked, pointing to Fit.

“Can we do this?” Haven asked. “We have no idea how she got this information. We don’t know if Slider is telling the truth.”

“We can watch his mailbox,” said Fit. “If the money shows up, it’ll corroborate Slider’s story. Plus, we can see what clues we can get from it.”

“How do we know she didn’t make Slider say that?” Haven said, gesturing at Mirror.

“She got here yesterday,” said Fit. “The postmark on the envelope will tell us when it was sent.”

“But she’s known about it since you sent her that letter!” Haven argued. “None of this evidence will hold up in court!”

“You’re not after Slider for a simple case of criminal mischief,” said Mirror. “You’re after the big bosses behind the anti-Luna messages. If you don’t have any evidence against the small fry, then don’t charge him with anything.”

Haven looked at Fit accusingly. He held up a hoof. “I don’t see a problem holding Slider for a couple of hours until the mail shows up. Especially if this is the big break we’ve been looking for.”

Reluctantly, Haven nodded. “All right.”

She was usually such a stickler for rules. Maybe this case was getting to her as much as it was Fit.

Haven called an officer and made arrangements to transport Slider to a holding cell. It wouldn’t be difficult to look up his home address so they could intercept his mail.

Fit headed back to his desk to write down what he had just learned. Nosey News was standing there. “Did I hear something about you catching the graffiti artist?”

“We haven’t charged anypony,” Fit said.

“Oh, but we’re going to,” said Mirror, sliding between him and Nosey. “Though maybe not for what you might think.” She gave him a wink. “Stay tuned.”

“Oh, and who might you be?” Nosey asked, pulling out his notebook and smiling in a way he probably thought was suave.

“LIeutenant Cracked Mirror. That’s C-R-A-C-K-E-D M-I-R-R-O-R. I’m with the Lunar Guard and I’m here to help.”

Haven came back. “Mr. News, we’ve told you before, you aren’t allowed to be here!”

“Sure, sure,” said Nosey. He left, still smiling.

“Well, I’m off,” said Mirror. She followed Nosey out, leaving Haven sputtering behind her.

“What was she doing?” Haven demanded of Fit. “Now Nosey is going to tell the whole city about her!”

“I’m sure she knows,” said Fit weakly. “She has a plan.”

“Oh really? Did she tell you what it is?”

“No,” he admitted.

Haven shook her head. “If she hadn’t just brought us the first potential lead we’ve had so far, I would have already told her to go home. As it is, we still don’t have any solid evidence and nothing she does makes any sense! Not to mention, her motivation is questionable at best and I still haven’t seen any reason to trust her.”

“That was uncalled for,” said Fit. “I trust her. Isn’t that enough?”

Haven took a breath. “Okay. I have faith in you, partner. But you need to know where I stand. I can’t see any method to her madness.”

Neither did Fit, though he wasn’t going to admit it after only just getting Haven to calm down. “Let’s just take this linearly. We’ll go to Slider’s place.”

Haven nodded and the two of them headed for the door. On the way out, they stopped at the records department and got Slider’s address to guide them across town to his home of record.

Slider lived in a shabby apartment building on Fetlock Lane. His name was on one of the mailboxes in the lobby. A note was taped to it that read “Art for sale.”

“An artist,” mused Fit.

“A starving one, it looks like,” added Haven.

They went to find the building manager. When they told him who they were there for, he snorted. “Figures. Two months behind on rent. I was going to evict him this week, actually. A bed and three squares probably don’t sound too bad to him right now.”

He used a master key to open Slider’s mailbox for them. There was nothing inside it.

Fit and Haven waited around for a few minutes and their patience was rewarded by the appearance of the mailpony. “We’d like Mr. Slider’s mail, please,” said Haven. She lifted the badge hanging around her neck to show him.. The mailpony shrugged and gave the mail to her.

She and Fit went through his mail. Ads, a magazine, what appeared to be bills. Nothing that seemed to have any money inside it, or even a check.

“Maybe it’ll come tomorrow,” Fit said.

“Unless we charge Slider, we can’t keep holding him,” Haven reminded him.

“Everypony’s going to want to,” Fit replied. “It’s the first arrest we’ve ever made in connection to the case. He even admitted to it.”

“He admitted to that one because he was paid to,” Haven pointed out. “One count of criminal mischief might get him jail time, but can we make that stick? Sure, he admitted to it, but really all we have is his word. An arrest in a high profile case like this is good, but it also carries the risk of a lot of embarrassment if we’re wrong. A judge would want to see Mirror’s evidence.”

Fit glanced at a newspaper the mailpony had dropped off, and did a double take. Nosey News’ article on the graffiti artist had made front page. Somehow. He’d only found out about it a bare few hours ago. Fit picked up the paper and held it for Haven to see.

Loony Lunar Lithographer Lockup!

A graffiti artist who painted an anti-Princess Luna message has been caught, said Lieutenant Cracked Mirror, of the Lunar Guard. It is not known at this time if this suspect was also behind dozens of other graffiti pieces of the same theme appearing all over Manehattan.

Well, the news was out. If Slider had indeed been working for money, his benefactor would now know what had happened. They’d probably never send the other fifty bits, or contact him again. Unless Slider gave the police more to go on, the trail would go cold again.

Fit and Haven turned for the door. A pegasus mare wearing a messenger bag came in. She seemed to be in a hurry, but pulled up short at the sight of the two of them. Her eyes went to their badges.

She spun around, something inside her bag making a clacking sound. She kicked the door closed behind her, briefly holding up Fit and Haven. Outside, she shot into the sky.

As soon as they made it to the sidewalk, Haven also got airborne. Fit ran in the direction he’d seen the fleeing mare go, ducking between pedestrians on the sidewalk.

There was no way he could catch up from the ground, even if he had been exclusively working out with cardio. Haven wasn’t slow, but she was also cautious. A feeling of doubt and anxiety started to build.

The suspect was out of Fit’s sight in thirty seconds. Haven appeared, winded, after another two minutes. Fit slowed down. Haven landed beside him and growled, “She got away.”

Other than suspicious behavior, they didn’t have much to go on. It was possible the mare had a can of spray paint in her bag, but just having it was nothing more than circumstantial. The two of them headed back to the office with nothing to show.

“Why did she fly?” Haven grumbled. “What could we have even charged her with? We never even got the chance to properly identify ourselves before she bolted. She could say she had just remembered a very important errand.”

Fit didn’t reply. He didn’t have an answer.

Mirror was hanging around the office when they walked in. Haven stopped short, staring openmouthed. Fit cleared his throat. “Uh, ma’am? Could you come down?”

She let go of the lighting fixture from which she’d been hanging upside down. Her wings came out and spun her in a little flip right side up before she plopped down in Fit’s chair.

Bulldog glared from across the room. “She’s been up there since you two left, annoying the hay out of me.”

“I didn’t say a peep,” countered Mirror.

“You didn’t have to.”

Mirror turned to Fit, standing up to let him have his chair. “Did you find anything?”

“Nothing physical,” he replied. “But a mare came in, saw us, and took off like a rocket.”

“Oh really?” Mirror smiled. “What did she look like?”

They gave her the bare description they’d gotten, to include cutie mark. It had been a close look, but a brief one. Mirror nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.” She walked out.

“Where could she possibly be going?” Haven asked. “Does she know how many ponies live in this city?”

Fit was cautiously optimistic. Mirror had brought in Slider, after all.

Later that afternoon, he went to the gym after work. The chase earlier hadn’t been a complete enough workout. He did his usual regimen and walked back to his apartment with Tree Hugger afterwards.

After dinner, she gave him a shoulder massage. He felt like he needed it.