Nova looked around the room slowly, paying close attention to all four of her suspects. They were all attempting to look very busy at their desks. One of them hadn’t refilled the coffee pot like you were supposed to. As the newbie, it would be her job to refill it unless she could determine the criminal.
There was Hank, studiously typing away, but Nova had never seen him drink anything but Run Oolong or Pitch Black tea. Steven was a better bet. He was lazy and Nova could see him now browsing an internet shopping site. A coffee mug sat on his desk. Was it still steaming? Marie too was a likely choice as she was the previous newbie. No doubt she wanted to pass on those responsibility to the newest officer.
“Settling in, Detective?”
Nova jumped as a the deep voice interrupted her musing. Her new boss. Head of this merry band of SIA agents.
“Um, yes sir,” she stammered trying to calm her beating heart. It was true, she’d spent the last week in orientations and shadowing her coworkers around. Her desk was organized how she liked it and apparently she was bored enough to be creating crimes in the office for her to solve.
“Glad to hear it. I’ve got your first case.”
Nova’s heart leapt again, this time in excitement as he dropped the manila folder on her desk.
“Read this over. The team will be meeting in an hour to kick it off.”
“Yes sir.” She itched to open it. The folder wasn’t thick probably only a few pages of information. The front label read: Dolwing 12-3. Was that a person’s name?
“Oh, and Pigglewiggle?”
Nova turned to look at her chief. He was standing behind her with a slight smile on his face. He held a coffee mug.
“We’re out of coffee.”
Armed with fresh coffee, Nova read over the incident report in anticipation of the meeting. Yesterday at about 2pm, the Newcrest Dolwing Museum had reported the theft of a prize painting, the Ana Stasia. Most likely the theft occurred the previous night but as the painting had been replaced by copy, it went unnoticed for most of the day. The forgery itself was not professional, while the images matched, the brush strokes were all wrong. It was easy to tell if you knew what you were looking for. Nova had to assume that was the case, the two photos included seemed identical to her.
Nova had heard of the Ana Stasia. It wasn’t as famous as the Mona Sims or Simonet’s Water Lilies, but most had heard of it. The Dolwing had the painting on loan from Monte Vista and had extra security in place to prevent such a theft. Security which the thieves had hacked effortlessly. There was no evidence that the alarm had gone off or that the system had been tampered with.
After the meeting where the boss announced the new case and that Nova was the lead investigator, she returned to her desk and started her own working file. She called the museum and scheduled an appointment to visit the next day. She also requested assistance and evidence from the local precinct and then spend the remainder of her day looking through similar cases. She found, this wasn’t the first time art had gone missing from the Dolwing, but it was the most famous painting to go missing.
Home sweet home. Nova thought dryly, dropping her bag onto a chair and flopping onto the couch. At least for a few more days. The Niwa Long-Stay Hotel had all the creature comforts of home without actually feeling like a home. She was looking forward to signing her lease in two days and moving into her own place.
She pulled her phone out of her pocket.
Nova sighed and tossed the phone onto the coffee table. Nebula was having a lot more fun on her vacation. She wished her sister was here so they could talk in person. Not that she could say much about the case yet. The Dolwing didn’t want to announce the theft yet nor did she. The longer the thief thought he’d gotten away with it, the closer she could get before he knew she was on to him.
She wished she knew someone in town to celebrate with, but she’d been here only a week and had been too exhausted at the end of the day to go anywhere or meet people. The promotion had come as a welcome shock. One day she’d been an ordinary detective in Oasis Springs, the next a member of the elite.
“Pigglewiggle!” Nova looked up from her computer at the shout.
“Ah, the voice from on high. Glad it’s not me,” David said with a smirk.
Nova stuck her tongue out at him, but quickly rose and headed towards the chief’s office, wondering what this was about. When the chief shouted, you jumped, he wasn’t know for his patience or his kindness.
“Yes, chief?” She peeked her head through his door. He was sitting at his desk per normal, but he was not alone. Another man stood in the corner of the room. Nova didn’t recognize him although in a sports jacket and fedora, he could only mean trouble. The question was trouble for her or for others?
The chief gestured for her to sit and she did so giving in to another sidelong glance at the fedora’d stranger. He seemed oddly at home in the chief’s office. Which was unusual. The chief was an intimidating man. Who could ignore that kind of power.
The chief fussed with the manila folder on his desk. Sliding papers out and then back in. Nova watched the show alarmed. Was the chief … nervous? Surely not. He cleared his throat. “I’ve got an interesting proposition for you Pigglewiggle,” he said at last.
Nova let out the breath she was holding, tension flowing from her. Good back to normal. Same old overbearing ton and ‘I’m right and you’re dirt attitude.’ Was this a new case? Her caseload was already larger than most of her coworkers.
“You’ve got that new Johnson case,” he was reading the page he’d pulled from the folder. Whose’s file was that? “Bit of break-in, petty thieves…”
“A bit more than petty. They took over 200,000 simoleons worth of electronics.”
“You have a suspect.”
“Yes, there’s a gang in town that’s been flashing a lot more cash than normal. They’ve been know to work the area-”
“-Good, good.” he interrupted. “Would you turn it over to Hayden?”
Nova froze. Turn her case over to her coworker? What was going on here? “I guess.”
“The rest of your cases are just small fry compared to that. We can redistribute them. Ah.” he looked up at her dumbfounded expression. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Mr. Farrell here has a proposition for you.”
And the chief expected her to take it. She turned to look at this Mr. Farrell. He nodded slowly, his eyes sparkling in amusement.
She met Mr. Farrell at the Red Dot, a new diner that had opened up downtown. He still hadn’t told her anything, and the searching she did that afternoon – now that her case load was nonexistent – turned up very little.
Guy Farrell, mid thirties, lived in Willow Creek. Married. No kids.
“Who are you?” Nova asked after they’d ordered.
“Doesn’t really matter who I am. What matters is who I work for.”
Nova waited. Guy waited. The food arrived. Nova broke first. “So, who do you work for?”
Nova took that in. The Sims Intelligence Agency. That explained a lot. The chief’s nervousness, the lack of data in the the police databases. Interesting proposition.
“You’re telling me the SIA wants my help?” Sure, Nova knew she was good. But she wasn’t that good. She’d only been on the job eleven years. There were other detectives far more experienced than she.
“Yes and no. Basically I’m here on a recruiting mission. You remember the Evan’s case?”
Nova wondered how she would forget. She didn’t fail often. She’d tracked down the lead of a underground smuggling group. They’d poked their noses too far above ground and gotten lazy about hiding their tracks. Illegal goods, llama pelts to be exact, had been accidentally sold to a Mrs. Martha Evans. She’d thought they were alpaca. Perfectly legal. When she’d been caught she could ID her sources. However when Nova arrived to arrest the ringleader, the girl was gone.
“It was good work.” Guy said. “You only missed her by a day. Local police forces tend to be slow to move. Imagine what you could do with less red tape.”
“You want me to work for the SIA because I failed to catch a smuggler.”
“I don’t want you.” Guy said raising his hands. “NICE wants you.”
“Newcrest International Crime Elimination. They’re a branch of the the SIA responsible for those types of of border crossing crimes. Your little llama smuggler was connected to the underground in Appaloosa. Your little investigations here caused her to panic and she was captured in a sting trying to return home. Think of it as a thanks.”
- Nova and Nebula are generation 6 from my completed Pigglewiggle Legacy and in other Sidelines stories.
- Guy Farrel and the SIA agency is courtesy of Jes2G. You can read more about it in her story F.I.S.H
- The exterior of NICE was created by TART4CUS and can be found under Vogue House.
- The Cafe was created by TheSimSupply and can be found under Burger Joint.
- The Niwa Long Stay Hotel was created by me, ra3rei, and is available on the gallery.
- Added bonus, Rory Gilmore is one of Nova’s new coworkers.