Emma Swan briefly closed her eyes and took a calming breath. Starting a new job felt a hell of a lot like the first day at a new school. Considering she’d attended six high schools in four years, she knew how to handle first-day jitters. She opened her eyes, followed quickly by the car door, and slid out from behind the steering wheel. A quick check that her detective’s shield was still on her hip as she leaned back into the car and grabbed her bag, slinging it over her shoulder. Last, she grabbed the pistol and holster from the deep back pocket of the front seat and slid it underneath the waistband of her jeans, reassured by its weight pressing against the small of her back. Not bothering to lock the door of the yellow VW bug, she turned around and took in the sight of her new office.
Storybrooke Police Department was definitely a step down from Boston PD. The building was about a quarter of the size and as she understood it, so was their staffing. Eight officers, four detectives, and one lieutenant were the full time staff. They were supplemented by the county with a crime analyst, K-9 unit, and medical examiner. Emma knew there would be nowhere to hide if she started out badly. She squared her shoulders and walked in through the back door.
She’d stopped by briefly to introduce herself the week before. Most of the officers and detectives had been out or coming in later, but given that it was almost six o’clock in the evening she was surprised to find the place once again deserted. “Hello?”
In the officer bay there was a single open desk. It was edge to edge with another desk that was eerily tidy with what looked like a precisely arranged desktop, including a tucked away keyboard and a neatly contained assortment of pens. She inwardly groaned. Keeping a neat desk was not high on her list of priorities when working a case, but she had a feeling her new partner thought differently. She set her bag down and took in the rest of the bay.
Case boards, a couple of flat screen TVs and general building security feeds were ever present. The other desks all looked much more familiar with folders and case files piled haphazardly on corners, computer screens with multiple post-it notes attached to them, unkempt cords crammed through hidey-holes, trash cans with take-out food containers and balled up papers. At least if she was disorganized, she wouldn’t be alone.
Wondering what had called everyone out, she started towards the back room where the lieutenant had gestured towards during her brief tour. He’d called it The Shop and said that someone whose name Emma had already forgotten could usually be found in there. She knocked on the door and heard a cheery female voice bid her enter.
Emma eased open the door and saw a young brunette wearing headphones wave her further in. The Shop was crammed with multiple computers each with about three screens a piece, maps of the city and county adorned the walls, and one corner was dedicated to radios. In the middle of it all, the young brunette typed away on a keyboard with one hand while hitting a radio mike with the other. “Tracker is up and running. Audio test is good.”
“Copy,” a voice echoed back out of the radio.
She finally took the headphones off and turned to Emma. “Hi, you must be Detective Swan.”
Emma shook her outstretched hand. “And you must be the analyst?”
“Belle French,” she said with a bit of an accent. “Delighted to meet you, but you’ve come on a really busy night.” She held up a finger as she listened to the radio traffic for a moment. Deciding it wasn’t directed at her she continued, “We’re running a last minute op based on a short fuse tip out of Boston. It’s all hands on deck. David, sorry Lieutenant Nolan, went to the diner for a quick bite. He said you could meet him over there and just jump in with him tonight.”
“Oh, okay,” Emma said, stepping out of Belle’s way as she slid her chair over to a different computer. “And uhm, where’s the diner?”
Belle looked up at her, realization dawning. “Oh! Right! Sorry. Yeah, you just go out the front door of the building, turn right, and walk about three blocks. Granny’s diner, can’t miss it.”
Belle nodded, head already buried back in her work as Emma let herself back out. Grabbing her bag with her gear in it, she headed for the front door. She shook her head a little bit as she walked; she’d been certain Storybrooke was going to be slow compared to Boston but it sure wasn’t starting out that way.