Tukiko washed her hands. Behind her, the Haven mortuary staff, as ever assisted by a small gaggle of students, stripped Magrat's body.
Tuki was aware, but not aware of what was going on behind her. For now, she would continue to wash her hands until someone told her Magrat was ready.
Word had come down to the staff and students that the dead girl was possibly an acquaintance of Seeker Troy,
so the deceased was being shown considerably more respect by the attending mortuary staff than would generally be paid to the corpses that travelled through Haven's educational halls
like units on a production line.
The body was also part of a police investigation, so everything they removed was bagged and labelled ready to be taken off and examined by other experts with other students.
Despite being an acquaintance, friend, or even a relative of the distinguished pathologist who would be carrying out the autopsy,
Haven was still a place of learning and every patient and body in the place, without exception, was still a teaching aid.
Tukiko looked at her reflection in the cracked mirror. She did not like what she saw there, staring back at her, accusing. Yes, she had cried.
She had been upset, still was in fact, because the last thing she wanted to do was to look at what lay on the table behind her.
The red-rimmed eyes in the mirror bored into her. The tight, hard line of the reflection's mouth twitched in an anger aimed right back at Tuki.
And her reflection was right to be angry, wasn't it? After all, who had brought Magrat to Hope?
Who had exposed her to the hate, hidden just below the surface of the ideal everyone in Hope fought to achieve? Who had...?
A noise behind her. She brought the view in the mirror into sharper focus, her own body thankfully hiding that of the girl she had betrayed. The staff were looking around, confused.
Some of the students were crying. The senior mortuary attendant turned to look at her.
Dammit. Tukiko closed her eyes, fought to get her emotions under control. Not now, please, not now. More noise behind her, people leaving, their steps uncertain on the tiles.
A wash of calm flowed through Tuki. She opened her eyes and concentrated even more firmly on washing her hands.
Sometime later, probably just a minute or two, a voice from behind.
"Seeker Troy? Everything is ready."
Tuki dried her hands. She took a deep breath, turned around and approached the shiny stainless-steel table that dominated the centre of the room. There was... something... on it.
Her assistant for the autopsy started the recorder and gave Tukiko a nod.
Tuki reached for the waiting knife.
"The subject is a female adolescent aged fifteen, one five, years. I will begin by..."
Preliminary Autopsy Report
Time of death: Between 6 pm and 8 pm the previous evening.
Cause of death: A single thrust to the heart from a long-bladed knife approximate length of blade 270mm with a pointed end. Approximately 15mm wide with bevelled sides.
See attached diagrams for angle and depth of penetration.
Other injuries: Multiple other stab wounds (14), size and shape suggest from a second knife. See attached diagrams for estimated length and shape of blade.
Bruising consistent with punches and kicks but no evidence of any blunt implement being used. Resulting damage to ribs (2 broken) and lower internal organs damaged.
Broken nose and lower left orbital cavity. All injuries not from stab wounds are consistent with a beating by two or more people.
Marks on the body indicate the body was prone during the blunt force attacks.
Notes: No sign of any sexual interference. Clothing had not been undisturbed. 1 blue and 26 white chips found in pockets.
Muscle damage consistent with the body being manhandled during the period of rigour mortis.
Post mortem lividity suggests the body lay on its back and side with the legs beneath the torso for several hours before being moved.
All injuries other than the fatal wound occurred several hours post mortem.
Unusual findings. The length and shape of the killing blade suggests an uncommon style of knife, similar to a poniard but sharpened along both edges.
Small amounts of black grease and rust found in the hair and on the clothing. The grease is aged but of a consistency similar to axel grease.
Seeker Tukiko Troy, Lead Pathologist.
As Dr Troy was writing up her report, Hope's constabulary was gearing up the investigation. Before Hyle's mayorship, murders were part of life.
Now, they were so rare that recently hired Chief Constable,
Shadwell 'Shadow' Bartosiewicz had to organise a hunt for the relevant paperwork and the old recording device used to record interviews.
Once they had the bare minimum, he and Sergeant Alana began the interviews.
All interviews started the same way, with the interviewee confirming their name, their occupation and who was present in the room.
They were also offered liquid refreshment, which was not a normal part of the procedure but provided a way of gaining fingerprints.
Nurse Maisie looked annoyed. If you were to ask people, they would tell you, after checking over their shoulder, that Maisie only had two expressions, annoyed and disapproving.
She sat down and stared at the unhandsome saturnian face of the Chief Constable. Shadwell tried a welcoming smile.
"It seems our meetings are getting a bit of a common theme to them...
I don't want to take up much of your time, I'm sure you have plenty of important things to be getting on with, so let's get started.
Two nights ago, the trainee doctor, Magrat, was murdered in town sometime between the hours of 6pm and 8pm.
I have your initial statement here, you told a constable that you were at the clinic between those hours but that no-one could verify that, is that right?"
"Well for a start, Magrat was training to be a medic, not a doctor. And yes, I have plenty of things to be getting on with."
Shadwell noticed that Maisie hadn't actually answered the question. He continued.
"Unless I'm mistaken, the clinic has a single entrance, no? Would the Lightbearer guard not be able to vouch that you were inside during your stated time?"
Maisie folded her arms and pursed her lips. Shadwell persevered.
"It says here that...you smiled at people on your way back home." He looked sceptical.
The head nurse shifted uncomfortably on her seat.
"Look Chief. Maybe I didn't stay quite as long as I made out to your constable. Truth is, I went into Flag for supplies.
Not that I'll get any overtime for it, or even thanks but it took my mind off Magrat leaving. Okay?"
"You mentioned that yourself, Tuki, and Magrat were saddened at her impending departure. So, despite the rocky start noted in your statement, what was your relationship with Magrat like?"
Hope's head nurse smirked.
"I don't know how many teenage girls you know, Chief," she glanced at Alana. "But you have to start off letting them know right away who is boss.
But aside from that, we got on fine, we worked well together. We were a good fit."
"You must have spent a lot of time with her during work hours. Did you notice anything that may be important to the investigation? Anything at all."
Maisie leaned forward conspiratorially.
"Well, keep this under your hat son, but one or two folks in town might not have liked her quite as much as you'd expect.
"And did you know much about her time outside of work? Young girl like that must have made some friends at least, had things she liked to do."
This made Maisie swallow, and for the first time, the Chief Constable might have noticed a crack in her formidable armour.
"Magrat had to be back in that damn camp by sunset, that was the rule. But she was popular with the old biddies in town, what do they call themselves, the Hope Springs Old Guard or some such.
" She managed a wry grin. "She told me she even liked the tea."
Shadwell paused. Everyone in the room was picturing what it would be like to have to return to the raider camp every evening after sampling the freedom of Hope. He pushed his own thoughts aside.
"What happened during her last few days in town. Anything noteworthy?"
"That's the sad thing. Magrat'd just about won everyone over, except for the usual suspects of course, like the Barrets and that asshole in the store."
Maisie signed the forms and left, after giving Alana a good look up and down and showed them both a grand example of her other expression.
When she had gone, Shadwell sighed. Alana nodded to the water glass on the table.
"She never even touched it."