Date: October 11, 2014
Atsuro and Kenta investigate a crime committed by an agent of the Silence.
Konoha Village Administration
As Atsuro enters his office this morning, he's surprised to discover that the door is unlocked. He steps into the office, unused key still in his hand, and spots someone silhouetted against the large window at the back of the office. "Hey!" Unfortunately, the stranger, already alerted by the sound of someone at the door, has the window open. They take one glance back at Atsuro, then hop out the window. Atsuro runs across the room, but by the time he looks out, the stranger is already gone. Before he calls security, he sniffs around for the intruder's scent, but it seems that it's somehow missing.
By the time Kenta arrives at Atsuro's office today, the place is already in quite a state. Members of the building's security and the village's police mill around the hallway and the office, examining various objects that might have been involved in the crime. Inside the office, the crime scene is still perfectly preserved. A file folder lies opened on the desk, ostensibly left there by the stranger. Another item being examined by the police is a large safe on wheels — Kenta might have heard of this already. Because of the threat posed by the Silence, some sensitive documents are being transferred to more secure areas. Atsuro had some in his filing cabinet, and these ones were moved to the safe yesterday. The safe was scheduled to be transferred to a more secure location this afternoon.
Atsuro and Taizen themselves are standing outside the office in the hallway, speaking with a few of the men. Atsuro seems to be giving his statement, "…came in around ten and the guy was already inside — left the door unlocked…"
Kenta had been surprised to find all the commotion when he arrived to perform the work that Atsuro had hired him for. The place is usually so much quieter than the hospital and much more peaceful. While he enjoyed his shifts at the hospital, this secondary job had always been a nice change of pace. It's actually a little annoying to find the peace interrupted even before it started, especially since he had been looking forward to it.
Unfortunately, annoyance doesn't cover what he feels when he finds out that someone had broken into the office. The information in there is usually not so sensitive than anyone would target it. But that safe… Kenta doesn't know what's inside of it, but it must be even more important than he realizes. The young medic-nin stands around quietly for a little while to listen to his senpai discuss the break-in with Konoha security. He's going to have to ask Atsuro what's in that safe afterwards. Without realizing it, Kenta starts drifting towards the file folder on the big desk. He knows better than to touch it, since it's evidence, but he stands there studying the pages left exposed in a very obvious manner.
"Hey, kid!" A burly police officer walks up to Kenta. "What do you think you're doing? What, is this /your/ office? Scram!" Fortunately, Atsuro has just finished talking to the police for now. "Hold on!" he says, "He's… my assistant." Never gave the job an official title, but it works well enough for now. "He's allowed to be here. He won't do anything he shouldn't." The officer nods and heads back to his post.
"Morning," says Atsuro, "Don't worry about it too much. There was a break in just this morning." He nods to the file. "They think that's what they were after. It's not really anything huge. Just a record of an inter-clan incident. But they thought the Silence might come after it." He shrugs, "Guess they were right. But it seems like I came in at just the right time — no pages missing."
He thinks for a minute, then turns to one of the men nearby who's dusting his desk for fingerprints. "You done the folder yet?" he asks. The man stands up straight and salutes. "There were no prints on the folder, sir." Atsuro raises an eyebrow. "He had to have handled it though. Was he wearing gloves or something?" The man shakes his head, "Sorry, sir. I'm not qualified to make that sort of statement."
Kenta scowls at the officer that called him a kid. He turned eighteen just a few weeks ago and he's a Chuunin! On the other hand, he doesn't want to cause an incident and make trouble for Atsuro, so he keeps his mouth shut. Kenta turns to bow to Atsuro and Taizen instead. "Konichiwa. I'm glad that nothing went missing, but I wonder how the intruder managed to get here without anyone noticing. I hope that it wasn't a traitor that did this. Did anyone get a good look at him, Atsuro-senpai?"
Kenta bends to look at the files left exposed again, but he still doesn't touch. "Can you tell me what the incident detailed in the files were? If it's something very serious, it might be someone from one of the clans that broke in instead of an outside organization like the Silence. It'll be hard to prove without finger prints though. The person -must- be wearing gloves, unless he burned the pads of his fingers off to remove the prints. That's an unpleasant process. Or… umm… could be a puppet, I guess. It's rare to find a puppet user outside of the Land of Wind. Did you catch a scent?"
Atsuro shakes his head. "They're still asking around, but security says nobody suspicious went through the lobby." He stops for a moment, realizing that that might indeed indicate a traitor. "Tai and I saw him for a second, but it was too dark to make anything out. Actually, I said him, didn't I? Well, it was a guy, at least. But that's all I saw. He jumped out the window and then pretty much disappeared."
He takes a moment to think when Kenta asks about the files. "Well," he says, "You work in this office right now, so you're involved. Okay. One of the Aburame representatives noticed that the Hyuuga were being paid more for similar services. It's mostly sorted out, but some of the important meetings were held in camera. The police figured that it would make a good target for the Silence — government hiding things from the people and all that."
"He nods, "No scent. Both Tai and I checked a few times; couldn't find anything anywhere. Along with no prints… this guy managed to hide his tracks pretty well."
"I can't imagine that anyone in the Aburame or Hyuga clan would do something like this, but there's still a low possibility of that. It's not for moral either way if we can't at least apprehend the culprit. It's going to be very hard to do without a good description or a way to trace the person though…" Kenta's brow furrows while he absently watches the Konoha police scurry around doing their jobs. "Do you think that the person will try again? Maybe we can set up a trap for him. On the other hand, he'd expect something like that already." The young medic-nin's gaze lands on the safe. "I wonder how he got the safe open anyway. I bet you made sure that it's completely sealed tight and hard to break, Atsuro-senpai."
Atsuro glances at the file. "If that's the only thing he was after, he might be screwed. Not so easy to nab something once you've got the police focused on it. But we do have a possible traitor in our midst." He frowns and looks around, "You'd thing a head detective or someone would've showed up by now." He shakes his head when Kenta mentions the safe, though. "I didn't really have much to do with it," he says, "The police are managing that. I just handed the file over. I don't even know the combination. They're the ones who put it in."
No sooner has Atsuro finished saying that than they hear a loud clearing of the throat. "'scuse me." A man in the uniform of the village police walks over. Obviously an Uchiha, he has black hair and eyes, and stands a few inches taller than Atsuro. He's lean but muscular, and a katana is sheathed at his hip. "Inuzuka Atsuro?" he asks, "I'm Uchiha Hango. I'm in charge of all cases that occur in the village administration building. You can rest assured that we will find the person who did this. Head Detective Menboku has even stopped by to observe." He points to the door. "However, since we already have your statement, we'll need everyone not on the investigation team to leave."
Another man who seems to have shown up at the same time as Hango stands by the door with his hands clasped behind his back. He also appears to be an Uchiha. He wears the uniform of the village police, but it's highly decorated and it seems that he's of a higher rank than Hango. He's older too, and his hair is more of a salt-and-pepper type, as well as his neatly trimmed beard. This is probably the Menboku Hango spoke of. "That includes you three," Menboku says.
Kenta bows at the two Uchiha when they approach. He listens gravely while they give their orders. Unlike before, the young medic-nin isn't offended by their briskness. The problem that he had with the other police officer is that he was extremely disrespectful, which isn't quite the case here. After Kenta straightens up, he tugs gently on Atsuro's sleeve. "We should do as they say, Atsuro-senpai. The Uchiha police force are much more experienced at solving these types of crimes than almost anyone else in the village. I bet that if anyone can get to the bottom of this, they would be able to. Ummm… hopefully I didn't mess up any evidence by coming inside. I was just thinking of helping and not much else at the time." Kenta shifts his weight from foot to foot in discomfort.
Atsuro opens his mouth to protest, but shuts it again as Kenta suggests they leave. "All right," he says, "Better leave this to the pros. Good luck and everything." Hango nods to Kenta. "I'm sure it'll be fine. But if anything's out of place, we'll have to arrest you. Ha ha! Seriously, though. Tampering with a crime scene is an extremely serious offence." He pauses to give Kenta the evil eye, then smiles to Atsuro, "Anyway, please leave."
Soon enough, the three of them find themselves out in the hallway. "Well," says Atsuro, "I kinda wanted to hang around and see how it developed. Not much we're going to learn out in the hallway." He glances over to his office door, where one of the officers has just finished examine the lock. "Am I gonna need a new lock?" he asks. The officer looks surprised for a moment, but shakes his head. "No, sir. No signs of forced entry. No fingerprints either, except for yours. And someone named… Akiyama Kenta?" Atsuro pauses. "Oh," he says, "Don't worry about that. Nothing suspicious about that, actually."
The officer frowns, "Well, Detective Hango might want to talk to him anyway." Atsuro glances at Kenta for a second. "Uh, well, I'm sure he's around somewhere… Good luck!" He puts a hand on Kenta's shoulder and starts guiding him down the hallway.
Kenta opens his mouth to say that he's Akiyama Kenta, but finds himself bustled off before he can get anything out. Further down the hallway, the young medic-nin tries to dig his heels into the ground. It doesn't help much. Atsuro's kind of much stronger than him. "Umm… Atsuro-senpai. Don't you think that we should tell the police that -I'm- Akiyama Kenta? What if they think I'm the culprit and try to arrest me when I get home? Grandmother will probably stun the lot of them with a jutsu and then it'll all become very messy." Kenta's a little anxious, since it's the first time that his name's linked to a crime like this. Missions are somewhat different. Sure, people (and things that can't be called people) sometimes try to kill him, but none of them has tried to -arrest- him yet. "Do you think I should hand myself in? I mean, I didn't do the crime, so I'll probably just get locked up for a few hours, but at least things will get cleared up."
Not wanting to hurt Kenta, Atsuro eases off once Kenta tries to stop them. He glances down the hallway in the direction of his office. He lowers his voice. "I'm not so optimistic they'd let you go that quickly," he says, "They can establish that you had access to the office. From there, they just need to fill in a couple of blanks to get you to the safe." He pauses, "Here. Let me show you something."
He leads Kenta down the hall, then down the stairs to the lobby, where the guard post is. He walks up to the guard on duty behind the counter. "Hey," he says, "Who could even get into my office? They'd need a key, right?" The guard nods, "That's right, senpai. The office owner gets two keys, and then we have a master key in the security office. It's out right now. Probably one of the police officers has it, for the invesigation." Atsuro nods, "Awesome, thanks." Atsuro walks out of the guard's earshot, then gives Kenta a meaningful look. "So if you think of what the culprit would need to get into the building, then into my office, then into the safe… I'm not just being paranoid, right? If we add up everything we know so far, it looks like the culprit would have to be…?"
A suspicious look appears on Kenta's face. "But… that wouldn't make sense. They're the ones that we should trust the most. On the other hand…" The young medic-nin's voice trails off as the unease in him grows. "I hope that the safe is still ok back in the office with so many people watching the proceedings. Atsuro-senpai, I think that you should make sure to check everything after the police finishes casing the rooms for clues. We won't want any of the documents to get misplaced by… umm… mistake while they work. It could happen if they get distracted by something."
Atsuro nods. "That's a good point," he says, "It can't be /all/ of the police. But I think at least one of them must be a traitor. We just need someone who security would let through, who could get the master key, and who would know the safe combination." He pauses for a second, reaching up to rub his chin. "The police haven't investigated the gardens yet," he notes, "That's where the culprit would have landed when they jumped out the window. I didn't see anything from up in the office, but maybe we could find out more if we checked it out."
That thought will have to wait for a moment, because an Inuzuka and his nin-dog enter the building just as he's finished speaking. "Atsuro-senpai!" says the chuunin, "Your office… someone broke in!" Atsuro looks over to the staircase back to his office. "Thanks for the heads up," he says. "Wait, my office in the clan compound?" The chuunin nods. "Yeah, the guard noticed it while he was patrolling. Someone turned the place upside-down!"
Kenta nods his head up and down. "I want to take a look at the garden, but we'll have to do it quickly before anyone else thinks about the place. The only thing that I worry about is if they see us and arrest us for interfering with a crime scene. Hokage-sama might demote the both of us at the very least…" The young medic-nin shifts from foot to foot. He opens his mouth to say something else, but is stopped by the arrival of another pair of Inuzuka.
Kenta's eyes grow wide. He glances between Atsuro and the other Inuzuka. "The -other- office too? This can't be a coincidence. Atsuro-senpai, maybe the thief is after something else. Maybe it's not really the safe, but something valuable in your possession." He worries at his bottom lip. "Should we still take a look at the garden? The police will probably be over at your other office too very soon."
Atsuro shakes his head. "If they haven't blocked it off yet, they can't blame us for checking it out. Same for the other office, really. It'll probably go to the Beta Clan before it gets to the village police. So there's still time for a sufficiently high-ranking Inuzuka to get in there and have a look." He glances to the chuunin. "Oh, uh. You can get going. We're just conducting an investigation." The chuunin salutes and heads off with his nin-dog.
Atsuro looks back to Kenta. "Let's check the garden first," says Atsuro, "I have less ways of forcing myself in there if they tape it off or something. And the wheels are already in motion for that investigation. The office… well, it's my office. I can just shove my way in. For a little bit, at least."
"This was your office too and they shoved you out," Kenta points out to Atsuro tentatively. He concedes a moment later, "But I guess something that happens on Inuzuka grounds is considered more of a clan issue, so they have a little less authority there…" He's not completely sure if that's the case or not, but he's willing to bow to Atsuro's expertise, so he follows along. The young medic-nin reaches back to pat the medical pouch resting against the small of his back. Medics and police investigators share a lot of the same tools in their fields of study. In fact, some of the medics at the hospital specializes in investigative forensics. Kenta doesn't have the same expertise, but at least they don't have to worry about having to fumble the evidence to get a good look at it.
"Well," says Atsuro, "Then I guess we'd better get to the gardens real quick!" He leads Kenta out of the building, then turns as soon as they're out the door. They follow a path that goes around the building. On the other side, they find the gardens. Being the gardens of the most important building in the village, everything here is immaculately kept, with no dead plants, trees and shrubs perfectly trimmed, and all the plants perfectly arranged.
Atsuro looks up at the side of the building for a minute, then points to one of the windows. "That's my office there," he says, "So the thief would have landed… here." He walks over to a spot below the window. Indeed, the juniper here has some branches that look to be recently broken. "But that's weird. If they landed here, they would have had to walk out." If one looks for a second, it becomes obvious what's got Atsuro confused. Someone who landed here would have had to trample through more plants to get out. But not a single leaf looks out of place, aside from where Atsuro walked in, and the damaged juniper. But as Atsuro inspects the bushes, he fails to notice something glinting in the bushes by his foot.
Kenta looks around the area, but tries not to step on anything. He's too concerned about leaving clear signs of their involvement. The young medic-nin frowns at the broken juniper branches. "A shinobi could have landed on the bush and then jumped back up onto the walls to run away. That's very visible though…" He flares his nostrils to take a deep sniff of the surroundings. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't detect anything unusual. He's not an Inuzuka. "Neither of you smell anything at all? How can a thief manage something like that?" Kenta frowns at the juniper bushes some more. He reaches into his medical pouch to take out a magnifying glass and some small tweezers. It's not flesh and splinters that he's examining, but they could still be useful. Wait, is that a glint of reflected light? Kenta bends down to get a closer look at the object that caught his eyes.
The glint is coming from a small piece of metal. In fact, it's a key. Atsuro sniffs at the bushes while Taizen lifts up his head and just smells the air. "Nothing," says Atsuro. "And this was only an hour or so ago. There should still be something there." He kneels down and pulls away part of the juniper. "Jackpot," he says, "Well, sorta." He moves out of the way so that Kenta can see. There's a pair of footprints, arranged as if someone had landed there from a short fall. The sole of this person's footwear is identical to plenty of pairs of ninja sandals in the village — fortunately, distinct from Atsuro's own footprints. Perhaps more importantly, though, whoever was here landed and didn't move their feet at all afterwards.
Atsuro looks at the key. "What's that you've got…?" He looks directly into Kenta's eyes. "Bet I know where that came from."
Kenta holds the key up with the tweezers to give Atsuro a better look at it. "Is this the master key that you were talking about earlier? Whoever was using it must have dropped it when he landed." The corners of the young man's lips turn down. "I bet there are no new finger prints on the key either." Kenta glances curiously between the key and the footprints on the ground. He's not tracker, but they really don't look disturbed at all after the initial creation. Suddenly, the young medic-nin blinks. "Atsuro-senpai, what if the thief was a clone? He can break in, get out and get dismissed without moving from the landing spot. It doesn't explain the scentless issue, but that's one possibility. It's a much easier explanation than anything else that I can come up with."
"That's what I was thinking," says Atsuro, "We can try it in a random door or something when we get the chance. Do you have a bag or something to keep it in? Might still be worth checking for fingerprints, just to make sure…" He starts to walk out of the garden. "Anyway, I think that's all we need to find here. Let's check things out at my other office." He suddenly stops walking for a second. "That actually makes a lot of sense. Make a clone, give them the key, send them off. Then he jumps out the window, hits the plant and the ground, disappears, and drops the key." He shakes his head. "I didn't really try and smell until after the clone was gone. I don't know how clones work, but wouldn't the scent disappear too?"
He walks out onto the main road and starts heading in the direction of the Inuzuka village.
Kenta looks disturbed by all of this. "That makes things even harder. Plenty of people know how to make substantial clones." He reaches back with his left hand to stick the magnifying glass back into the medical pouch and rummages around until he fines a clean roll of gauze. The sterile material is used to wrap up the key, which he also sticks into his pouch along with the tweezers. Kenta jogs to catch up with Atsuro and Taizen. "You know a lot more about clones than I do, Atsuro-senpai. If you think that this explains the scentless aspect of the case, you must be right. Maybe the person that did this even created several to search different locations at the same time to throw people off. He can go somewhere visible with his real body, so that he'll have an alibi." Kenta is beginning to dislike the culprit even more. Smart criminals are the worst.
"That's true," says Atsuro, "But we know a lot more about this person than just clones. I bet even most members of the police wouldn't be able to do what this guy did. We just have to see what the evidence tells us. And we've still got one more place to gather evidence." After a walk, they reach the Inuzuka village. Atsuro leads Kenta to the clan administration building.
In the lobby, Atsuro stops at the front desk. "Hi," he says, "What's this about my office?" The woman at the desk widens her eyes. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Atsuro-san! I was away from my desk for just a short time… I heard there was another break in. I bet this one happened first. I was gone for about five minutes about half an hour before you would have reached your office. An detective came by not long ago. I think his name was Uchiha… Hango?"
But when they arrive at the crime scene, Hango isn't there. A couple of Beta Clan members stand outside the office. "Senpai," says one of the guards in greeting. "I just wanna check the damage," says Atsuro. It looks pretty bad. The wood of the door is splintered in several places and the finish of the jamb has been scraped away near the knob. The door is left mostly shut, but it's clearly not going to be able to completely close until serious repairs happen.
"Oh," says Atsuro, "Would you mind checking for fingerprints on a key?"
Kenta follows silently behind Atsuro and Taizen as they approach the ransacked office. He nods to various Inuzuka that he recognizes, but most of them are strangers to him. He mostly keeps a serious expression on his face and stick as close to the Jounin as possible to make it clear that he's in the building under their authority. The sight of the damaged door makes him stop short.
"The break-in here was done with a lot less finesse. It must be because the person that did it doesn't have a key for this door." Kenta brings up the gauzed wrapped key from his medical pouch and presents it to whichever security person that Atsuro indicates that he should hand it to. He glances around the area. "Umm… I wonder where Hango-san went. He must have left the other detectives casing the other office and came here while we were looking around… elsewhere. He didn't mention this break in while we were talking to him, so the report about this one must have reached him around the same time that we found out."
One of the guards accepts the key from Kenta and heads off, down the hallway and out of sight. Atsuro gently kicks the door to open it wider and peeks into the clutter of his office. "Totally different methods, actually. Whoever searched this office didn't know what they were looking for. Whoever was in the other one knew exactly what they were doing, though." He looks at Kenta for a second and frowns.
"Actually, that is pretty wierd. I can't quite figure out the timeline. This break-in happened first, but somehow nobody noticed it until after the other break-in? And then Hango got here before us and concluded his investigation in… what, five minutes?" He looks over to a guard. "When did someone first notice the office had been broken into?" he asks. The guard salutes, "The hallways are patrolled every half-hour, senpai. The patrolman first noticed the door about twenty minutes ago." Atsuro frowns, "But, I reached my office at ten. And this break-in would have happened at around half past nine…"
"Senpai!" The guard Kenta gave the key to approaches. "There were a lot of fingerprints on here, but they were all smeared from use. But we determined that the most recent prints belong to someone named Uchiha Hango."
Kenta peeks into the office after Atsuro does and grimaces. It's going to need some work to put to rights away. He pulls back carefully to avoid catching his face on the splintery edge of the door frame. "The timing of everything -does- sound very suspicious, Atsuro-senpai, but we should keep an open mind about who could have done it. I do agree that Hango-san is the topmost person in my mind right now…" The young medic-nin nibbles on his bottom lip. "It -could- be a Henge, but it'll have to be a very good one. And if no one saw the investigator leave, we can be facing a clone here also. Maybe…"
Kenta's turns swiftly when the guard approaches them. The information about the fingerprints make him suck a breath through his teeth. "That's a little -too- damning. It makes it very likely that our first guess is the correct one. Atsuro-senpai, what should we do? We can't just go up to him and accuse him of breaking in to steal sensitive documents, can we? We still don't know what was being searched for."
Atsuro frowns. "That really does seem to be where this is heading. So we are going to have to accuse him somehow. But you're right. We need to have a watertight case before we confront him. I think we've investigated everything we can. So let's see what questions we still haven't answered, and see if we have anything that can answer them."
"First, let's consider the timeline for the two crimes. We thought that this office was broken into first, then the other office. Then I discovered the break-in at the other office before the break-in at this one was discovered. Then Hango got the message about the break-in at about the same time we did, and he came by to investigate, but then left before we got here."
He shakes his head, "That's pretty strange, though. If it had happened like that, the guard should have noticed the office being broken into half an hour earlier than he did. Plus, why would Hango leave so quickly? It seems like this break-in must have happened at a different time than we thought, and Hango must have come by at a different time too. So what was the real order of events then…?"
Kenta folds his arms across his chest and rocks back onto his heels. "It's not very difficult to mess with the timeline if the thief really can use shadow clones. This is pure speculation, but maybe two clones were created. One was left here and the other at the Konoha administrative building. Both places were broken into at the same time. The one at the other office didn't find anything and disappeared when it hit a juniper bush. The one here was probably here longer in order to break inside, because it had no key. Maybe it found what it was looking for, marked the location and released itself to avoid having to get out undetected due to the building starting to fill up. Then, the thief, possibly Hango-san, started up the investigation at the other office in his real body. He comes over here at the first excuse to check out the scene, but really to pick up the marked object. Once he has it, he satisfied his goals and left." The young medic-nin flushes slightly. "I know it's very unlikely that I'm correct. I just want to bring up a possible scenario."
Atsuro shakes his head. "It's not a bad theory," he says, "But Shadow Clones take a lot out of you. And they make things more complicated too, not just for us, but for the culprit. I think he'd only use as few Shadow Clones as possible. And, to be honest with you, there's nothing in this office that would be of much value. I'm just an advisor at the clan, so I don't have any special records or anything. There isn't anything one of a kind here, either…" He knits his brows. "The thief was probably interested in my file. It's just that me showing up meant they couldn't get away with the file anymore. They just left out the window like that on the spur of the moment to try and hide their identity."
He suddenly looks up at the ceiling, as if he's had an idea. "So then, let's turn our thinking around. Just say my assumption is right: Hango didn't need anything from this office, but he came here anyway. Why's that?"
"You're not just an advisor," Kenta protests. "You and Taizen-senpai are two of the most important people in the village. Now with Taiki-sama gone, I bet you have to handle even more issues related with the Inuzuka clan." The young medic-nin mulls this over as a potential reason why the thief would be interested in Atsuro. He tentative offers another line of thought. "Umm… maybe if Hango-san is the culprit and he didn't need to take something from this place… maybe he -put- something here instead? Is there anything inside that doesn't belong to you or shouldn't be here?" Kenta pokes his head through the doorway again. Of course, -he- won't know what's different. He only visited this particular office a few times. It's absolutely Inuzuka territory. "You can smell him on all the things that he touched, right?"
"I didn't even think of that," Atsuro admits, "I was so used to the culprit not having any scent." He walks into the office and takes a sniff. "Yeah," he says, "He's been in here." He pauses for a second, "He must have known what he was doing. He was so subtle about the other office, so why would he have been so obvious about this one?" He walks back out of the office and shuts the door. Then he walks a little down the hallway so that the guards aren't right there to hear their conversation again. "You know what bugs me about this case? Two different offices broken into with two different methods. By two different culprits, in a sense. But the other break-in was so meticulously planned and this one looks like he just did it. So what if he was improvising for this one? Like, I catch him in the other break-in, then he comes here and breaks in here too…"
"That does seem suspicious, doesn't it? There are better ways to get through a door than to break it like that and throwing things are inside makes it too obvious…" Kenta's brows furrow. "Wait a moment. What if this break in happened -after- Hango-san visited? The Inuzuka guards didn't notice anything wrong before you ran into the thief at the other office and their patrols are often enough that they should have noticed if it happened before. Hango-san got here before us too, but only for a short while. Did the guards say that the break-in was noticed around the same time as the visit? Hango-san probably went back to the other office almost immediately." He starts scuffing his feet against the floor. "I'm beginning to suspect that this isn't supposed to be anything except a distraction. While we're here, we can't keep an eye on things at the Konoha administrative office. If Hango-san is after a document, he'll have a second chance to steal it as soon as the other police officers are gone. He also outranks most of them, so they won't even question why he stays behind to check on something. Maybe we should head back too."
Atsuro considers this. "That seems reasonable," he says, "We had him partly figured out before we even came here. But if we hadn't figured out he was the culprit here too, then we would have ended up with a different narrative." He starts to walk down the hall, out of the building. "We should probably get back there," he agrees, "But let's keep getting things in order so that we can be sure we'll nail him." He thinks for a second, then says, "Well, first. What's the evidence that it had to be him? Or the evidence that it couldn't have been someone else."
"Well, we found the fingerprint on the master key," Kenta points out thoughtfully. "That's what led us to suspect him in the first place. It's the only key besides ours that can open the door to your other office and it was dropped by the thief. The person that opened the safe also knows the combination. Both are known or accessible to a police officer with sufficient rank or resources to get access." The young medic-nin paces slightly back and forth. "It's also most likely that Hango-san came here to break into your office after the other event. There's no really good explanation for that unless he has ulterior motives. The police simply aren't supposed to do that at all. Even if he's not the thief at the other office, this should be enough of an offense to get an investigation going on him to see what's up. For one thing, it could damage clan relationships or smear the integrity of the police force in the public eye."
Atsuro nods in agreement. "That's all pretty damning," he agrees, "And not only is it suspicious for him to be here, it's /not/ suspicious for him to have the master key or to be in the other building. So it would have been easy enough for him to get into my office there. And not so easy for him to do it here. He's the detective for that building specifically. Nobody would question him."
By now, they're heading past the gates of the Inuzuka village. "We also know that he had a clone helping him do the deed," says Atsuro, "He's probably used that to create an alibi for himself. So if he does have an alibi, what facts can we use to show that it was a clone?"
"The footprints in the garden and the lack of scent are the biggest details. The fact that there are no signs of the thief after he landed on the bushes indicate that he either disappeared at that moment or flew away. Even if he jumped up and landed somewhere else without touching the rest of the plants, he would have left traces of dirt from his shoes on other surfaces. -Flying- away would be too visible also. Plus, I don't know how clones work very well, but if a clone disappears, maybe the scent does too." Kenta hurries after Atsuro and Taizen as he goes over those facts. "Until we're presented with new evident that goes against this hypothesis, this really is the best explanation."
"I think we've got it," says Atsuro, "It might be tough. This guy is a detective. He could have some tricks up his sleeve. But, we know what really happened, so we'll get him." They walk back to the administration building. There, waiting in the lobby for them, are Hango, Menboku, and a whole host of the village's police. "Ah ha!" Hango declares, immediately marching over to Atsuro and Kenta. "There's our culprit. Akiyama Kenta, please come with me for questioning."
Unlike the last time he was forced to consider this possibility, Atsuro is much more calm. "Oh?" he says, "Not even an hour and you've already figured it all out. Gosh, you've had a busy morning." Menboku seems to notice the implied accusations, because he immediately steps forward as well. "We intend to interrogate this boy," he says, gesturing to Kenta, "And if our suspicions are reasonable, then you have no way of stopping us. If you have something to say, say it directly."
Kenta frowns. Really, does he look so young? Or are these police officers just too old? He clears his throat softly and clarifies, "I'm actually not a boy. I'm eighteen, a Chuunin and an experienced medic at the hospital." He pauses a second for that to sink in, for what it's worth. "I also didn't break into Atsuro-senpai's office to steal documents. I don't even know the combination to the safe, which is only known by ranking members of the Uchiha police force." He clears his throat softly and takes a single step back, so that he'll be standing slightly behind Atsuro. "Umm… maybe you should explain, Atsuro-senpai." The details will probably sound more believable coming from a prominent Jounin who -hasn't- been accused to breaking in to steal sensitive documents.
"And," says Menboku, "We will find out how you knew the combination during questioning." Atsuro holds up a hand. "Actually, it's impossible for Kenta to have been the culprit. He was with me when the other break-in occurred. And why would I lie to protect someone who'd broken into my office?" Menboku takes another step forward. "We will base our conclusions on evidence," he says, "Not guessing games. You had him working for you; security would not pay him any attention, and he had the key to your office. The only other key belongs to you, Atsuro-san. Unless this is your confession, Akiyama must be the thief."
Atsuro looks over to Kenta. "You're going to need to show them this time, Kenta. You've got the evidence that shows another way for someone to unlock the door."
Kenta glances at Atsuro, but nods his head in agreement. "Umm… Menboku-san, you forgot to mention the third key." He reaches into his medical pouch to bring out the master key, which he had rewrapped in protective gauze. He holds this up, but doesn't pass it to any of the police yet. "Atsuro-senpai and I found this outside the window of the office. It was on the ground where the thief landed. It's also the master key to -all- the locks in the administrative building, which is accessible by ranking police, just like the safe combinations." Kenta wiggles the key in the air a few times.
"We also found evidence that the thief disappeared as soon as he landed on some bushes, which is probably also around the time that his scent disappeared from the crime scent. The first can be achieved in a few ways… a few very detectable ways, but the second is much harder. Atsuro-senpai is a master of the shadow clone technique. This sounds very much like the result of such a clone technique, which means that the thief sent a clone to do the dirty work while remaining in the public eye to make an alibi," Kenta adds.
The young medic-nin sucks in a sharp breath. Now they're coming to the gist of the matter. "Did you know that Atsuro-senpai's office at the Inuzuka administrative building too? Pieced from accounts by the Inuzuka guards and the building secretary, it happened -after- the break in here. It also happened around the time that one of your officers, namely Hango-san, paid a five minute visit to the place. Atsuro-senpai, Taizen-senpai and I went over to check things out soon after that. This kept us out of the way for a potential second attempt at the files in the safe. And did you know that this master key…" Kenta waves the key again. "Was last held by Hango-san and very recently at that? There are fingerprints on it.
"What?" says Hango, "Of course it wasn't me! I'm in charge of keeping this building safe." He points to Kenta. "Besides, the information can't be reliable, coming from him. A criminal will say anything when they know they've been caught." Atsuro shakes his head. "This information all comes from reliable witnesses," he says, "Kenta pieced it together, but I was there with him."
"Stop right there." Menboku's arms are folded, and he gives Atsuro and Kenta both a hard stare. "This is an extremely serious accusation. Now, Hango was with me at the police station when we received word of the break-in. We had to take care of some other business first, but he didn't have any chance to leave the station and do this second break-in. I was watching him during the investigation. He didn't leave the room, except to come down here and accuse Akiyama, which we did as soon as he realized that Akiyama did it. Your theory explains how he could have created an alibi for the first break-in, but are we to suppose he had a second Shadow Clone running around too? Maybe he had a third one to break into your house."
Atsuro looks to Kenta. "We didn't really think of that," he admits in a low voice, "But it was definitely the real Hango that did the second break-in. So how can he have an alibi?" Menboku adds, "Incidentally, there are a number of people, some of them being right here with us, who can confirm this. So I hope you aren't planning to name me as an accomplice." Atsuro frowns and closes his eyes. "This case has two of everything. Two break-ins, two culprits, two… investigators."
"Umm… that does give him a more solid alibi, Menboku-san…" Kenta says, sounding a little worried. He also flashes Atsuro a look of consternation. How could Hango go to vandalize the other office and still stay here to investigate this one using his real body? The young medic-nin shakes his head and his shoulder slump slightly. "I definitely didn't do this. Would you please at least take a look at the key?" Kenta steps forward with the key held out to the senior-most officer. But before he reaches Menboku, the medic-nin suddenly cries out and starts pitching forward. He flails his arms wildly to try to regain his balance, but still ends up staggering sideways and toppling forward… towards Hongo and maybe with more force than a typical fall should.
Atsuro begins to protest. "I don't think the key — " He stops as Kenta suddenly falls onto Hongo. "That was an accident!" he says loudly. Geez, this situation does not look easy to salvage. Hongo stumbles backwards from the force of Kenta's half-tackle, falling over an end table and landing in a heap. Then suddenly it becomes much more salvageable as his crumpled form vanishes, leaving behind only smoke. "This whole time," Atsuro begins, "he was — wait, but where's the real one then?" He and Menboku seem to come to an answer at the same time and dash over to the stairs in nearly perfect unison, followed shortly by the rest of the police.
When they reach Atsuro's office, they find the safe wide open and Hongo hugging an armful of file folders to his chest and desperately trying to get out the window in that stance. Atsuro jumps forward and tackles him, pulling him away from the window. Hongo struggles, but Menboku, with impressive speed, dives in to help Atsuro, then snaps a pair of handcuffs on him the moment his arms are in the right position.
Menboku stays in the office until after Hongo has been taken away. "I owe you both an apology," he says, "And my gratitude. I never imagined that one of my own subordinates could betray the village like this."
Kenta brushes himself off and quickly follows the rest of the group up to the office. He squeezes in just in time to witness the real culprit getting tackled. He was half expecting his ploy to not work at all and for those handcuffs to be on -him- instead. It's a relief that he had come to the correct conclusion. Nevertheless, Kenta doesn't let the relief show on his face. Instead, he bows towards Menboku. "You owe me no gratitude, Menboku-san. Nor do you have to apologize to me. The only thing that I hope you'll do to the best of your ability is to conclude this investigation and bring the force of justice down on the traitor. I find it revolting to think that a member of one of Konoha's most noble and vaulted clans would stoop to stealing important documents from his own people."
Menboku closes his eyes and exhales loudly. "Yes. It is most disturbing. Given what he was trying to steal, he was almost certainly working with the Silence in some capacity. In any case, thank you for your help. Your detective work was most impressive." He gives Atsuro and Kenta a light bow bow, then walks out of the office. Atsuro stays quiet for a moment. After a few seconds, though, he breaks into a smile. "Huh," he says, "So solemn when you just proved yourself innocent. And got a criminal caught to boot. Nice work figuring Hongo out." He claps Kenta on the shoulder. "It's almost lunch," he says, "I think I'll be buying."