Veronica Mars works at NYPD 12th precinct after Castle and Beckett left.
– What are you up to Veronica Mars ?
Veronica turns, raises her head and meets detective Rory’s inquisitive eyes trying to peeve on her computer screen. He always tries to push her to the fault because she has chosen Espo as a mentor instead of him. She quickly strikes some keys and her search is replaced by the internet page of RhymeZone showing the words that rhyme with fuck. Rory bends over her, reads her screen and snorts.
– Very funny. I saw you searching files on a child kidnapper’s page. You havn’t enough security clearance to go through those files. I’m reporting to the captain right now.
Veronica strikes a few more keys before grabbing her Hot Dog. She sees the fat stain on her files and shivers. Muck… and schmucks… Yuck ! Wow. I should give a shot at poetry more often, she thinks.
Detective Esposito enters the bullpen, a grim expression on his face.
Veronica jumps to her feet and tries to follow him when a tall woman pushes her from behind without apologizing. Veronica is tempted to say something but she knows better than to piss off some obviously self conscious woman who uses every bit of her power to show the rest of the world how miserable it is.
Mrs Sufficient rushes towards Captain Gates’ office and enters without notice. The boss looks annoyed but flashes her political smile number 14, the one that says “One day I’m gonna slap you dead like an annoying bug, but in the name of the greater good “Hi ! How are you doing ?”.
Gates raises a hand and answers her phone. She nods several times and gives the speaker to Mrs Sufficient. It’s her turn to nod several times.
In the afternoon, journalists enter the precinct and head to the conference room. The Mayor’s office logo has been added next to the NYPD one on the talking stand. Gates walks toward the stand but is stopped by Rory. From Veronica’s desk, it looks like he wants to talk to her but she waves her index in front of his nose. Rory’s fidgeting as if he could not wait to tell on Veronica.
Mrs Sufficient takes advantage of the situation and places herself in front of the microphones. Then taps them with one finger, replaces her locks behind her shoulders and rattles her throat.
“Yesterday morning, 911 received a call reporting the presence of a corpse in the Northern section of Central Park on Malcolm X boulevard. When police officers arrived on location, they found the dead body of Stewart Manning, 57 years old. Two gunshot wounds in the chest, the OCME estimates the time of death between 10 pm and 2 am the previous day.
We believe Mr Manning was in town to investigate a lead on the disappearance of his grand daughter Faith, who has been abducted 10 years ago.
The Mayor’s Office and the NYPD asks any person who has seen mister Manning during the hours preceding his death or who can offers us information about the crime to call the 12th precinct standard. They can also reach us via the internet. The Mayor’s Office and the NYPD are working hands in hands in order to bring justice to Mr Manning’s Family, his wife Rose Manning, and his daughters Lizzie and Grace Manning. We also hope to bring them joy in finding Faith Manning and bringing her back to her family. Let’s all work together to make this city and this country a better place. I will not take any question, thank you for attention.”
The mayor’s spin doctor ends her speech on a tremolo. She almost sheds a tear. Almost.
Espo approaches Veronica at her desk and takes a seat near her.
– Geez, she’s taking the “call me stupid” game to a whole new level.
– Yep, to infinity and beyond.
Veronica is pulled back to her past for the second time of the day. Images of the loss of her friend Meg Manning come back to her mind. She also remembers how she tried to help her escape her family but to no avail. These memories are still sore. She’s brought back to reality by the sight of Gates walking Mrs Sufficient out of the precinct, escorted by two uniforms.
When she comes back in the bullpen, Gates stops by Veronica’s desk.
– Detective Esposito, may I have word?
Espo follows the boss in her office. Captain Gates sets herself behind her desk and Espo faces her on the other side. His eyes do not leave hers and he stands arms crossed on his chest.
– Victoria, I thought we agreed on a no private meeting policy at the office, Espo says between his teeth.
– Javier, this is not about us, she answers while grabbing a file on her desk. I want to talk about the Manning case.
– What is it ? he asks, now bending above the desk.
– Further details came in from primary investigations on the crime scene. Manning had a note in the pocket of his coat referring to a certain Chardo Navarro. I know you’ve crossed path with him in the past.
– Espo shakes his head and rubs his eyes with his hands. His shoulders drop.
– Don’t interrupt me, please. Gates walks around the desk and waves her mahogany fountain pen under his nose. Are you in any way related to this crime? she asks dryly.
– No. I didn’t know Chardo was out of jail, Espo replies breathing heavily.
– That’s not all. Manning was from Neptune California. We have to run this investigation with the San Diego Police Department. Their liaison officer is adamant we send Veronica there with you. You see where I’m heading ?
– Both designated cops have ties with the victim or the crime scene. You want us to work by the book. I get it.
– No stain on the file.
A knock on the door interrupts the conversation. Detective Rory’s head appears in the door frame.
– What is it detective? the Captain asks with a tight jaw.
– I’d like to report a crime.
Gates sighs. Rory reports three crimes a week, petty ones, and rarely solves any. She hands a file to Esposito before he leaves the Office.
– Get your badonkadonk off my desk, rookie, he roars as he sees Veronica.
-Espo, your sight must be flawed, she answers on an ingénue tone. My rear is no territory for some surburbian language experiment, it is the expression of the finest atavism of my lineage, Pi licensed/law school graduates/police academy alumnae. There are very few of us, we’re national treasures.
– Right now, you’re endangered species. Move.
Veronica jumps off the desk and sits on former detective Ryann’s chair.
– So, Obiwan, what are we to do with the Manning Case ?
– Not much right now. But the moment will come when we’ll need your legendary sleuth super powers to enter the game.
– Flattering doesn’t work with me, honey.
– Yes it does, that’s why you condemned yourself for some hard training when you chose me.
– I still havn’t been trained for using the latte machine. That’s harsh, Veronica complained.
– Starbucks isn’t good enough for you ?
– Nah. I want to feel that I belong here. Even Rory knows how to make himself a latte. And we don’t like him, do we ?
– Hum… I might have replaced the coffee in his box with the content of the dumpster behind Charly’s Hot Pot.
– I miss detective Ryann too, Veronica says as she pads her mentor on the shoulder.
Five minutes later, Veronica watches the captain leave her office, cross the bullpen and stop by her desk. No need to wonder why she suddenly feels the need to control her computer. The little sucker has reported everything to mommy. Rory always wants to be her favorite.
Gates takes the mouse and scrolls down what seems to be the browser history record. Veronica smiles. She pulled a Van Clemmons on her Mozilla. As Gates clicks on the day links, she lends on pictures of Espo surrounded by little unicorns, pink hearts and “Esponica” hashtags. A smirks appears on her face. She doesn’t like smart asses but she always acknowledges a good security system when she sees one.
– Detective Esposito, it sure looks like you got yourself an adoring rookie. You must be a great mentor. She should be your partner on the Manning Case.
As she raises again, Gates’ gaze scrutinizes the room until it crosses Veronica’s. Gates touches one branch of her glasses then points her finger at Veronica. She got out this time but she’s not off the hook. The captain is watching her.
– So… Espo. What do we do now ?
– Pack our bags. We’re flying to San Diego tomorrow.