The message comes through that there's an active crime scene in progress by the library. Oreola is hopping through the crowd, messaging Dorkidoria & Maliquent like !!!!!!!!!
A dead body on campus, finally something to actually do. As she heads in that direction she scrolls the TL. Early reports saying it's pretty bloody and gross too. Nothing wrong with that.
It's already a long line of people waiting to view the crime scene by the time Oreola gets there, but she sails past most of it to where Dorkidoria & Maliquent are holding their spot. Unless you are physically there when a murder happens (in which case you are probably part of the crime scene & dead & it doesn't matter anyway) there's a line to see it. Typically it's only a few moments after the discovery of a body that the zonnys fly in and set up the perimeter. Then teams are let in to view the scene based on seniority. You get 1 minute (more on particularly widespread or horrific scenes) to peruse, take notes, pics, whatever.
When Oreola joins her friends they do their 3-way handshake, the high-fives powered a little more aggressively by the nervous anticipation of the first Mystery Death of the season. The mood in the line is a whole mood. The thrill of being back at it for a new season, solidarity complaining about how annoying the underclasses are being. Everyone's psyched.
Oreola spies some first years trying to hover nearby the scene. It's no rush to be in line, it's going to be a while for them. She's tempted to yell SEE BITCHES THATS A WHAT A MYSTERY LOOK LIKE OK but who cares. Honestly if she was a first year now she wouldn't even wait in line at all. Like it's maybe good experience to see the scene real up close now and again, but you're not in any danger of contributing anything real and for the most part you'll learn faster by watching what the other teams do. Soak it up, learn shit, build your brand, then focus up in the later years. Crime scenes can get pretty soggy by the time the first years get there anyway. Real putrefaction hours.
Oreola had been an entire mess her first season, barely studying, just running around like a headass taking selfies with dead bodies, having fun, just excited to be on a show. Not taking it seriously as a way of setting herself apart. It might have been her way of coping with it, who knows. But it changed, a lot, her 2nd season. When Encased.Woooo turned up as one of the victims during The Jealousy Disease. When you have to investigate a crime scene for one of your teammates, one of your best friends, that's different. You don't get through that unscathed. She took it more seriously from them on.
People said that the mortality rate was actually lower at the Academy compared to other schools, because the students there lived so much closer to death, half expected it around every corner. Oreola wasn't sure. It just felt like it was everywhere all the time sometimes.
There's still a few teams ahead of DOM - Relevant Factors is in there now - but they begin a cursory investigation as they start to edge closer.
It's. Gross. There's a body, but it's definitely not a whole body. Blood everywhere, walls, floors. More than you'd think. There's been some bloody ass scenes at the Academy in Oreola's time there but this is a situation. Most of the floor around the scene is covered in blood, dark and clingy, they're going to be walking right through it.
They start putting on their investigation outfits. Paper jumpsuits and rubber booties. This year sponsored by Deep_Meaning. Oreola holds up the back. New logo swashed across the whole back of the outfit. Good for them.
As Oreola slides her legs into her suit she makes a face at Dorkidoria. "Grisly as fuck, bro."
Dorkidoria curls her lip. "Make sure my shit is secured TIGHT, I'm not tryna get none of this on me."
"Initial deets on the vic," Maliquent says, scrolling. Oreola and Dorkidoria listen attentively.
"UBI: ChilisHo. 2nd year. He was presumably on his way to Psych class when this happened, from the looks of his schedule. Killed, uh, right here, pretty obviously."
"Witnesses?" Dorkidoria asks.
Maliquent shakes his head. "None, looks like."
"Causation?" Oreola asks.
Maliquent scrolls a bit. "Zonny footage is...inconclusive."
Dorkidoria & Oreola look at their screens so they can see what Maliquent is seeing. It's grainy, unedited footage from a zonny that was clinging to the wall, presumably following the vic. We see ChilisHo walking along the hall. He's looking at his screen, can't see what at. He passes an alcove, keeps walking, and then suddenly he's falling forward, fast. Sort of like he was pushed but sort of like something huge pulled his legs out from under him. The angle from the zonny never shows exactly what. Then there's blood everywhere, then the footage ends.
"Huh," Oreola says.
"We're next up," Maliquent says, nodding to the crime scene.
Oreola's brain is processing. Super weird to not see what actually happened. They tripped over something? Or someone was down on the ground waiting for them, crouched out of sight? Doesn't seem likely. Everything about this was already weird and bad, in an extra tingly way.
"Here we go," Dorkidoria says."
Oreola fits her face mask over her mouth (scent infusion by Bonometh, works good af) and follows Maliquent past the perimeter.
Once they're inside they immediately split off to different parts of the scene. Some teams get real particular about division of labor: one person on interrogations, one person on forensics, one on research, one on muscle, one on branding, etc. On large, complicated cases it's easy to see the appeal of a dedicated system like that. But Project DOM considered themselves a team of generalists, and it's just one dead body. One minute is plenty of time, as long as they split their focus and cover as much of the scene as quickly as possible.
Dorkidoria goes to the wall to examine blood splatter. Maliquent steps back to focus on scene/context. Oreola examines the body. She approaches it slowly, cautiously. You're not allowed to touch anything or take anything. Mess with the scene, disrupt its sanctity in any way, and you're gone, out of school, out of everything. The Thornes. It's about the most disrespectful thing you can do.
The body is torn up. Like, violently. Not just dead or broken, but torn at. She can smell it even through the reticulated jasmine of the Bonometh mask. One of his legs is half missing, barely connected to the torso, which is ripped open, the insides spilling out. There are teeth marks, on the legs, on the torso. But what even has a mouth that big. There's literally nothing. So what does that even mean. Something terrible happened here. It looks like it was bitten but literally nothing has a mouth that frightening. There's nothing with a mouth that big.
Oreola forces her brain to stop jumping ahead. She kneels down, into the blood, to get onto the same level as the body. She looks at the wounds, the blood matted in the victim's hair, the tears at his legs, the wounds on his arms and neck. No judgment, just seeing. This was not a clean, calculated death. This was just a thing that happened. This might not have even happened for a particular reason.
The minute goes by fast, Oreola just sitting with the body, taking it in, trying to feel what her senses tell her about the moments leading up to this death. The scenes were always very well captured, by the zonnys, by the other students. She tended to not take many pics of her own. Mostly she just tries to be there, feeling something.
Then her screen buzzes and it's time to go. The next team will come through here, and then more after that, until eventually the line is done. The zonnys will clean up the scene. There'll be a nice video at the end of the season remembering all the victims who died in the course of solving the mystery.
Oreola exits the scene, stripping off her blood-soaked jumpsuit, staring off at nothing. She's seen a lot of dead bodies and a lot of people killed for a lot of different reasons but this is weird. Everything about it is weird. Genuine mystery for sure.
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Cutie Cutie Ghost ShowHumor
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