Fort Weyr - Lake Shore
This lake shares many features common to mountain lakes — a brilliant blue jewel nestled amongst the rocks. The waters are crystal clear, and the north shore slopes gently before abruptly falling away into the depths. This lake does have one significant differentiating feature, however. The south shore of the lake is a tumbled mass of rubble, rock and earth of an ancient rockslide smoothed only by the elements in the intervening years. This rubble, as well as the rather sheer east and west faces, makes for the north shore to be the only one easily accessible. Springs arrival is noted by the disappearing lake ice. As it melts it breaks up into smaller icy bergs. These bob randomly throughout the choppy waters, slowly disappearing as the temperatures rise. They also frequently provide sport and entertainment for the bathing dragons. The emerging shoreline is inviting, though the water remains chilly for their human counterparts. As spring draws nearer to summer, the waters begin to feel quite invigorating with Rukbat's growing shine.

Someone has called for a guard — specifically a 'competent and experienced' guard — to come to the lake. This call actually went out in two directions; one, from a panicked and antsy young-but-adult green to other dragons, some of whom may have been able to suggest that someone send a guard that way, and two, through brownrider Se'ras who had been bathing his Zemnenith alongside the green in question, and actually went to the guardhouse to get someone. He was friends with a few competent and experienced guards, after all. It's evening, now, and growing dark but Naisanith remains by the shoreside, Tiye nearby in her typical leathers and tank top getup lacing and unlacing her fingers. Both members of the pair are agitated and distress shows clear in Naisanith's eyes.

The guard fetched was one Se'ras had been friends with since before they were guard or rider. It's also one Tiye's passingly familiar with: Alister, looking considerably less worse for the wear than he did just after Inri's flight. Looking considerably more official than he did the last (first) time they met, as he strides out toward the lakeshore in his neat guards' uniform. His expression is practiced, assuring (reassuring) without being patronizing, but he startles slightly as he recognizes the complainant. "T— I mean— Se'ras said there was a problem." He bites back a ma'am or a miss, reflexive, and just waits for her to — answer. (Pretends this isn't slightly awkward: he didn't call, he didn't write—)

She's a wingrider, she's an apprentice, Tiye is probably not a ma'am. Of course she recognizes him, because hooking up with someone during a flight and then having to bandage the face that they got banged up in a fistfight with the Weyrleader right after is not something that anyone would actually forget, but she is preoccupied by Naisanith's concern. "Yes," she says, not even smiling; there is recognition in her eyes, enough that he will know she hasn't forgotten him and also isn't peeved, but she is having a bad night. "Our straps are gone. I was out on her back giving her head a good scrub and we came back to the shore and poof, no straps. They were expensive." She should not have left them unattended.

There is clear relief in Alister's expression as he recognizes Tiye's for what it is — lack of enmity for the lack of contact post post-flight hookup — but it doesn't last: it switches to concern and consternation alike as she explains the situation. He does not say she shouldn't have left them unattended; he probably wants to, though. Instead he says, "Were there any witnesses?" because he may still be a little wet behind the ears and not, uh, mature enough to not end up in a physical misunderstanding with the Weyrleader, but he's a professional, damn it. "It sounds like you weren't looking at the shore, didn't see someone take them?" he lifts his eyebrows at her, then looks back to the shore, "But if there was anyone else out here when you were, maybe they saw who or what," he's not discounting mischief of the non-bipedal sort, it's clear, "took them."

"A few of my wingmates were here, too — I don't think Zemnenith saw, either, and Nai didn't. But Nagmiath, I think he was watching. Not that I'm sure how useful a witness a dragon is." Never mind the fact that Alister would have to find Gr'ant, and Tiye isn't remembering to actually offer the rider's name. "And I cannot imagine why someone would do that. Who steals straps? What are they going to do with them, anyway, have them reduced to raw materials? They were very obviously mine."

"Can you give me a description of them?" Alister has a little notebook, which he fishes out and flips open. First goes in Nagmiath, which he probably even spells right, with a blank space for the rider's name to be filled in later. (Don't worry, he'll ask). "With eggs on the Sands, it could be someone getting a head start on," his expression twists to something of genuine distaste, "pranks. Or it could be someone willing to take the trouble to reduce them to raw materials. You pissed anyone off lately?"

Tiye does. It's a good description, even — dark brown leather, 'Naisanith' embroidered on a neck piece, a couple of distinct joins. The thought of it being some kind of prank certainly ends in a displeased face. "There's only, like, I think one candidate so far, someone who got nabbed up a couple hours after the eggs were settled in — the guy was drunk — I hope the plastered candidate did not steal my straps."

"…okay, probably not the drunk then," Alister said, a little distracted-offhand — but for a good cause! His focus returns after he finishes writing down the very good description, and he skims back up his notes to ask, "Was Nagmiath's rider on the beach as well? They might have seen something, or might be able to help jog the dragon's memory," a wince here, too, for the unreliability of draconic long-term memory. "You didn't actually say whether or not you might have pissed someone off."

"Oh, yes. We were all washing dragons — Gr'ant, that's his name, I'm sure they're back at their weyr now." Helpful, because Alister can get to Gr'ant's weyr. Tiye will probably offer, eventually, to at least bridge that problem. "So he may have seen just enough to be able to be of assistance. I can't remember offhand, but Nagmiath's usually pretty smart and Gr'ant has sharp eyes. Unless you have a romantic partner who's a bit possessive," she adds, unable to not mention the personal interlude now because it became semi-relevant, "I can't imagine I would have. No angry patients or wing screwups. My mother doesn't like that I Impressed but that was ages ago and I can't imagine she would send out a guerrila strap thief. I'd need those if I were to move home."

Alister seems almost a little bit disappointed that Tiye doesn't have a NEMESIS lurking in the wings; that would make this whole investigation so much simpler, obviously. "It was probably random, then, rather than targeting you specifically," he manages to swallow back his sigh, but only just. "A crime of opportunity. Can you show me where the straps were?"

There is leading, now, and gesturing — to the foot of a small pile of stacking stones where the straps in question had been left, an identifiable spot off the lake shore but not one that a lot of people would notice. There are lots of little piles of stones alongside a mountain lake, after all. "They were here," says Tiye, and Naisanith follows after, getting what Alister might find to be just a little bit uncomfortably close. "Along with my oil paddle and hat which are, as you can see, still here," and not let out of her sight. "I'm sorry we didn't do anything that would obviously make people want to steal from us, almost, because I suppose that would make it simple— do you want her to move."

"Er," Alister says, distracted from the job of investigating the area around the disappeared straps for something … helpful and obviously clue-like, presumably … by the green's crowding. "I just don't want her to accidentally disturb something, or cover something up —." His glance back is less nervous than a Hold-born kid's might be, but there's still a little bit of trepidation — he doesn't really KNOW Naisanith — in the expression. "Is she — curious? If she wants to know what I'm doing I can walk you through it out loud, but I don't know if it's that INTERESTING, really."

"She is," Tiye confirms, though what exactly Naisanith is curious about isn't clarified. Much: "She tends to be curious about everything, really. Likes to understand processes, and investigating a … would you call it a crime scene? That's a new one. It would at least be interesting to her." A way to say that Tiye realizes that it isn't something she really wants to hear about in the level of detail that Naisanith might.

Alister actually is a clever boy, so he catches what Tiye is laying down; as a result Naisanith gets a pared-down explanation delivered in his best Sergeant Alister Teaching Moment voice. (It's kind of adorable. Don't tell him that, though). "What we're doing here is we're taking a good look at — yes, Tiye's right, it's technically a crime scene — the crime scene, so that we can see if the perpetrator — that's the person who did the thing we're investigating, in this case stealing your straps — left any evidence behind. That, along with anything the witnesses saw, could help us catch the thief or thieves and recover your straps." He side-eyes a look to Tiye as he finishes, eyebrows raised. She follow?

Naisanith makes a sort of whuffling noise that is attempting to communicate, but Tiye does the words part for her as well as the more understandable body language bits with a nod. "She likes your long words," says the greenrider, "and thinks you are very helpful. Well-informed. Or that she is now well-informed, it's one of them." The dragon is continuing to watch Alister's hands with relatively rapt fascination.

"I do try." is offered back to Tiye with a slightly-cheeky grin that's much more reminiscent of the young man who flirted outrageously and pointedly (and successfully!) while bleeding from the nose and bottom lip than it is of the On Duty Guard investigating a crime. He crouches down, surveys a particularly unispiring patch of rocky ground, then reaches out to carefully pick up a — piece of thread? Looks like probably a piece of thread. "This look like it maybe could have come from your straps?" He looks hopeful that it isn't just some random bit of trash.

Tiye is expecting to be saying no, because that's ridiculous, that there'd just be a piece of stray strap-bit lying around — but when she actually looks at it more closely (and Naisanith is doing the same, though she is not offering feedback) the greenrider looks incredibly impressed and says, "Actually, yes. That's the embroidery floss her name was done out in. I don't suppose it's left a convenient trail of bits? Though that might mean they were disintegrating, which wouldn't be a very big help either." Naisanith audibly snorts, and is then all about getting into Alister's personal space again.

"probably that would have been more helpful if it hadn't been found where we know the straps already were, but it's definitely — something." Alister manages to look both pleased and a little bit sheepish, because, really, maybe like a few feet in a directly from where the straps were but anyway. He presses the piece of evidence against the front of his notebook to make sure it doesn't get lost, and reaches into a pocket of his uniform to withdraw a small glass jar; the string goes in the jar, the jar gets closed, and then put back into his pocket. He's sure to do it where Naisanith can watch, but it's when he looks up from putting the jar away that he realizes just — how closely that watching is taking place. "Does she — I mean, I'm sorry, would you like your eyeridges rubbed, or something?" This is usually the reason for a dragon playing personal space invader with him.

Tiye laughs, unable to help herself; it's not a laugh at Alister's sheepishness, or a laugh at his careful evidentiary handling, but at his question. (As well as being a bit endeared by the fact he was making sure to do things where Naisanith could see.) "She absolutely would, if you're offering," the greenrider replies, which doesn't explain why she was doing it initially. "She's — like I said, she's curious, she gets in people's faces when she gets the chance and they're not seriously injured. You can ask her to back off. Or rub her eyeridges, that would be preferred."

Alister grins in response to Tiye's laugh, and his cheeks go a little bit pink as he opens his mouth to say something — then thinks better of it, remembers the circumstances, who knows — then doesn't. Instead he says, "No, it's fine, you just always want to be sure, you know? Some dragons will get in your face, but if you touch them, they get all touchy. Didn't want to get on her bad side." His scritching is clearly inexpert, but sincere and not unpleasant. "We should look and see if there's anything else that's clearly part of the straps, or something that looks out of place — I, I mean, I should look."

"You and your trainee the dragon can look," Tiye teases, as Naisanith leans into the scritching, letting her eyes close. It may not be the tried and true hand of her lifemate, but it's certainly not bad. She makes a noise low in her throat, and then Tiye makes a face at her. "Unless — well, either way you can finish looking."

"Unless what?" Alister asks around Naisanith's head as he puts some muscle into it — he's not rough, but he is thorough — to make up for how quickly he stops. "Okay, you want to look for anything that looks like it might have come off of the straps themselves, or the person who took them — stuff that seems out of place in," he gestures to the whole lakeshore and stonepile motif. He picks a likely direction based on ease of passage, and starts carefully walking forward with his eyes scanning the ground.

Does he actually expect Naisanith to look? Whether or not he does, she clearly thinks so, and so she is in fact trying to. How good are a green's eyes, anyway? Tiye, not so sure she is going to contribute much to hunting for a thief's path, only says, "Well, unless you wanted this." She pulls a white knot from her pocket — the white knot from her pocket, she was only carrying around one despite the fact Naisanith Searched four for Kayeth's clutch — and dangles it in the air, waiting for his visual attention. "It'd require that you pass the mystery of my straps off to someone else for the time being, but Nai seems pretty confident you're a good call."

"Why would I pass it o— oh, shells, is it a conflict of interest because we slept together after the flight? I swear, I can be objective, and my superiors know it." Alister still isn't looking at Tiye, so he's missing the context of the conversation entirely; he darts forward a few feet and, some distance from their original position, crouches down to pick something up off the ground. It's a bit of metal, a little twisted; it looks like it may have spent some part of its life as a buckle of some sort, and there's that same hopeful look in his eyes as Alister turns to offer it to Tiye for visual inspection. Which is when he sees what she's holding, and goes still. It's a nice little tableau, really: greenrider with knot extended, guard on knee with possibly-buckle upraised. Eloquent as ever, Alister says, "Er," and, "I thought you were talking about something else."

"How on Pern would I know," Tiye drawls, still dangling the knot from two fingers in front of him, looking bemused, "if it were a conflict of interest. Why would I know that. I'm not Thunderbird and I'm no Guard." So really, asking her that would be kind of useless, and thinking that she might bring it up, also a little unusual, but at least Alister is very dedicated to his task at hand and they've got evidence of that. Also evidence of what might possibly be a piece of the missing straps. "Wonder if that is my this-might-be-loose-someday buckle, but you would've had to hit it against something or pull it off to —" Either way, she takes it to look at it, and is … still offering the knot, waiting for a clear refusal or acceptance. Sometime today.

"If you can't identify it, we could ask the Smith who did your buckles if they'd recognize the work," Alister is still talking, still pulling out a jar and carefully jamming the bits of metal into it, but he's watching the knot she's dangling like it might bite him. "Well," he says after coming to some sort of decision, "It could have been a conflict of interest, because I was thinking of asking you out." He tucks the jar away, then reaches out for the offered knot, but doesn't take it yet — just rubs the cording between his fingers. "I think if Inri knew I'd been offered a chance to Stand for one of her clutches and refused, there's not enough jewelry in the world to dig me out of the hole of offense it'd cause." He curls his fingers around the knot, finally, then looks her in the eye and says, "Guess asking you out will have to wait, won't it?" while grinning like the dumb idiot charmer he totally knows he is. Little shit.

Little does he know — or maybe he does know — that that's similar to what happened to Inri when she was Searched. Not that the person who asked her to stand was about to ask her out, because it was Th'ero, but the person she was Searched alongside was. (And did, during the hatching.) Tiye doesn't comment on it, not quite; she's just laughing, as Naisanith offers up a contented croon. "I know who made the buckles," she agrees, finally, and then, "And I suppose it will. Could be turns before you find out what I'd say." For now he gets to keep the knot and the maybe-buckle, though that second is likely going to be turned over to the Guard proper.

"Do I have time to write up my report before I'm," Alister's still grinning, a little bit chagrinned but a little bit delighted too, and he looks up at Naisanith rather than Tiye for, "relocated?" because the dragon said she liked it when he used big words. "I can send Idiocy with it if there isn't, but I'd hate for this to end up unresolved because he's living up to his name."

Happily, Naisanith snorts again. It really is a happy snort — she's a dragon, a snort isn't automatically something disdainful. "Oh, you're welcome to finish up anything you need to finish up," Tiye says, "I can walk you to the barracks like — whenever. Can follow you to the guardhouse, too, and linger outside and then take you to the barracks. It's whatever works for you, really. On Search there is a considerable amount of patience with people required." Not that as a Healer she wouldn't normally be patient with people, surely.

"That means you'll have time to give a statement too, good, it's best when it's fresh," even having accepted the knot, Alister's having a hard time adjusting his mindset. Maybe after they've taken care of the actual business part of everything. "That's good. Come on, let's," he extends an arm, elbow crooked, for her to take; his grin is irrepressible, "go."

"Naisanith gets to give one too, right?" Tiye asks, as she takes the proffered arm and comments not at all about propriety (this is totally proper, he's just being polite). Not in terms of contact with a newly-minted candidate, anyway. Maybe about dragons giving statements. "It's just that she'd really like to. And I hope you won't be too slow to pack a bag once you've filed all of this — er — this."

There's a moment of silence broken only by the sound of their walking as Alister processes this, but it's broken by a laugh and a, "Sure. Sure thing. She can give a statement, I'm sure someone will take it." Even if it does end up being him. "I'll be quick," he assures, too, as he leads the way to the guardhouse, "after all of this is taken care of. Wouldn't want to be accused of shirking my duty." Really, he just wants to make sure her case doesn't fall between the cracks. Because that would make the Weyr look bad. Obviously. (Naisanith totally gets to give a statement; the captain who takes it down while Alister packs his bags even manages to keep a straight face through the whole thing).

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