'In my office,' three of the most feared words a police officer could hear when used in conjunction with their name. The same three words that Harley Finnegan now heard. He knew it couldn't be good. He slowly left the conference table and headed towards the captain's office.
"Close the door behind you," the captain added as Harley followed slowly behind. Those watching couldn't help but see the image of a dog with his tail tucked between his legs.
No one laughed. They knew all too well what those three words meant, they were just glad it wasn't them.
Finnegan slowly closed the door behind him, and then turned to face the captain. "Sir?"
"Have a seat Finnegan."
Finnegan looked up at him, tilting his head slightly. "This isn't about the Burger Soy incident is it?"
"Should it be?"
Finnegan shook his head quickly. "No sir, not if you say it isn't."
"It isn't-- the woman dropped the claim that you'd been anything less than proper."
Finnegan nodded. One person's word against his shouldn't matter-- but there were still people who would take a human's work... any human's word over his. It was a relief that it wouldn't be a problem this time.
"Finnegan, will you please take a seat-- I didn't call you in here to chew you out."
Finnegan took a seat, obviously relieved to hear that. "They why sir?"
"Detectives need you for an undercover operation...."
Finnegan's ears picked up slightly and he almost growled at the thought. "No... no way.!"
Captain Ruiz gave Finnegan a puzzled look. "Finn- most beat cops would give their left nut to do real detective work... "
Finnegan merely shook his head, his face had gone pale, his eyes wide.
Finnegan paused as he gained control of himself. "No sir... I... I did some undercover work before..."
"I didn't see anything in your folder..."
Finnegan studied the captain for a moment.
"Sir... You know about me right?"
The captain paused and then his eyes widened slightly as he remembered one fact that records had been very careful about revealing.
"You're a shifter..."
"Canine... Dog-- its why I work with the K-9's as much as I do... I understand them... "
"And the case?"
Finnegan shook his head. "It was a joint investigation with the ASPCA... I was supposed to be the ‘man inside'-- report what I see going on at one of their treatment centers...."
"Something went wrong?"
"Something went very wrong," Finnegan answered with a slightly indignant tone. "My backup didn't come when signaled... several animals were euthanized and I was almost neutered!"
The Captain bit his lip to keep from laughing. It wasn't funny-- and yet... and yet it was, in the way only something so ridiculous could be funny.
"Sir... " Finnegan called.
"Sorry Finn-- just not... not the sort of thing you really think about..."
"Believe me-- I think about it... a lot...."
The captain nodded. If it had been him-- he'd be sensitive to it to...
"It's nothing like that. At least I hope not-- no this involves 4th district... something odd's been going on... animals have turned up missing... two patrol dogs just... lost it... "
Finnegan's eyes narrowed. "Muncie and Rex... " He nodded. "They wouldn't talk about it...even to me..."
The captain paused and realized that Finnegan was referring to the dogs and not their handlers. Of course-- the handlers could tell him something was wrong... but the dogs...
"Would you be willing to take a few days-- go down there... nose around as it were..."
"As a dog, or an officer?"
"As a citizen... it may be nothing but..."
Finn nodded. "I've seen what it did to Muncie and Rex... Better I go that one of the other K-9 officers with a dog... "
The captain nodded. "That's what I thought.... But only if you want to..."
Finn smiled. "Something's effected two very good officers... I'll see what I can do-- when do I start?"
"Tonight if you don't mind."
The Captain gave Finn a very serious look. "That urgent."
Finn took a deep breath and nodded. "Very well then... tonight."
The Captain smiled "You be careful Finnegan-- no heroics..."
The veiled threat and concern in the Captain's voice was not lost on Finn. "I'll have a report for you tomorrow."
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