“Are you watching it?” a very annoying scrap of metal said from behind the seat Cassandra sat on, clearly not able to read the room. Of course, she was watching it. The woman had been watching those past few minutes without blinking, making sure to capture every second of it.
“Yes. I hope you are watching it too since that might shut you up long enough for us to not lose our jobs,” Cassandra stated, enraptured with what she was seeing. The woman had even gone so far so as to speed-watch all the previous segments shown in the report. It was an hour-long show, after all, and they had been saved for the latter half.
Burglaries, a few murders, and what was apparently a case of arson set off by a disgruntled janitor had already been discussed, with all of them having a few shocked faces to match. The reporter’s hearts had truly gone out to a lot of people, though Cassandra had begun to wonder just how many times that thing had been cut up and shared. While the phrase might just have become a common use at that point, some viewers had to have noticed the sheer repetitiveness of it.
Turning off her own thoughts, though, Cassandra dove into the world of news reporters rambling on. The music on the show had turned down, faces especially more sombre than before, and a frown going down the forehead of one of the anchors truly showed that a serious topic was about to begin.
‘In other news,’ the male anchor began. Cassandra knew he had a name but it was so generic that she just couldn't hold on to what it actually was. ‘A series of break-ins have occurred in the smaller border cities these last few days. As many of our readers know, these burglaries have been increasing in size and severity over these last couple of weeks. However, the recent case has certainly to be the biggest of them all. Isn't that right, Kim?’
Ah, yes. One of them was named Kim. Three letters. Just enough for the woman to not care at all.
‘That’s right, Tom,’ another anchor said, presumably the mysterious being called Kim. Those pure-white teeth did nothing but look unrealistic on the woman. They even glittered a small bit, though that might just have been closer to after-editing. ‘It is currently estimated that a single sweep of robberies is going to cost shop-owners an estimated half-billion dollars worth of repairs. This is not due to the items taken but instead what has been destroyed in the process of the robbery. The civilians who found the site of the robbery has noted this down as being akin to a flood of glass shards, the building in question having many decorations centred around glass paintings. All have been destroyed.’
‘Half a billion dollars?’ Tom the reporter commented. The man even shook his head in shock, an example of bad acting shown prominently. There was no chance they hadn't started at that figure many times before that very same day. ‘It must have been a horde of thieves down there!’
Oh, how Cassandra wanted to send in a complaint about them needing to shut up and just giving out the news. Those bits of time where they commented on things did not make them seem more human. It just annoyed everybody involved. Cassandra wanted to hear about death and destruction and not how everybody was having a great day talking about it.
‘Not exactly, Tom. From what we are hearing, these robberies are actually all performed by a smaller group of criminals,’ Kim corrected. ‘Robberies of these types have apparently been performed in a larger capacity by these people the last couple of weeks, each with them gaining access to shops with close to no issues. Truly a terrifying time to be a shop-owner.’
Ignoring that piece of information about the size of the group, Cassandra couldn't help but gulp at the not-so-indirect jab at them not doing a good job capturing the thieves. Having opened up the comments on another page, the officer could see citizens from just about everywhere streaming in with hate about the force. Some were calling for them to be fired, others calling them heroes, and a large part heavily blaming it on the automations. Not the worst balance to have, though Cassandra was sure the opinions could shift with time. It always did at times like these, though she had trouble figuring out which side it would fall towards.
‘You couldn't be more right, Kim,’ Tom agreed wholeheartedly, looking ready to go right into a product advertisement. ‘Already, several companies have expressed displeasure at the police’s actions towards these criminal streaks. Some have gone so far as to threaten to leave the country due to expenses being piled on them. Insurance companies are similarly threatening the cancellation of several company-insurance deals if this is not dealt with properly and swiftly.’
They just had to blow things up more than was ever needed. Cassandra could hardly believe how much pressure was being put on setting them up on a bad light. This was supposed to be an intro to an interview with the chief officer, yet they could hardly contain themselves in shit-talking the force as much as they could.
Looking over to the public opinion, however, Cassandra did see some reason in the words. The people were loving it, shouting for a lot of things to happen, some more violent than others. While the illegal promotions of actions towards the force were censored, somebody thought it wise to leave them up for just enough time for people to see that they were being removed to begin with. That only let more hate towards the police be created. The populace hated being silenced, after all. The woman could hardly think about it all.
‘More about this news is Olivia Ross on the scene,’ the reporter finally said after another bout of commenting on the event. Cassandra barely listened to it, focusing on the hate being spread on the commenters. The rate of them being sent out was increasing with time. Not a good thing in the current climate. The woman was sure that some calls from higher up would soon come in, too many complaints reaching their ears. ‘Olivia, would it be possible for you to describe what it looks like down in the town?’
The view changed from inside the studio to a live feed of the town in question. Looking outside the car window, Cassandra could see what was being shown herself. The woman, now known as Oliva… something, was standing with a microphone in hand, looking as serious as one needed to be at what had transpired. Grunwald was to the side, having appeared without her notice, looking at the camera with a similar gaze. From the way he had straightened his back, the officer looked to be a towering figure compared to the reporter. That was a good look for the man, though there was a chance that it could have set him in the light of being a brute. Something to note down, at the very least.
‘Thank you, Kim,’ the reporter on the scene said. ‘I am here at the scene, and I must tell you how saddened I am by what I have seen. People here have been in the full drive of cleaning up the mess made by these horrible people. Glass shards have been shovelled up by the bucketful, and windows have been covered up to make sure no more products will be ruined by the climate, perhaps a futile effort seeing as much has already been destroyed.’
The reporter just couldn't stop herself from adding in that last bit. It seemed to have been ad-libbed, not meant to be there at all. However, the show needed to go on, with the view being cut over to the side to allow for a simultaneous view of the reporters over at the station.
‘Oh, dear, that does sound terrible,’ the reporter called Kim commented, clearly not understanding how much that had been said already. Not that most commenters understood it there, a literal flood of hearts being sent. Emotions were clearly easily changed. ‘Glass shard by the bucketful? Would it be possible to have a look at this scene?’
… A tense silence was had for a second. That comment and request had clearly been prepared beforehand with there being a clear expectation of them then panning the camera to show a street of devastation and destruction. But, and Cassandra curled her lips upwards at this, they couldn't do that now. They had spent so much time cleaning the street that the station had nothing to show.
‘The street has already been mostly cleaned, though I am sure that we can send in a few pictures of how it looked a few hours ago as soon as the police release them,’ the reporter stated, hurrying along to give this message. None of the reporters seemed happy about that, but it didn't stop them from hurrying over that bout of comments about how terrible it must have looked.
The camera did actually start to pan to the side, but that was quickly stopped in its tracks. Apparently, there was a lacking desire to show off the street empty of destruction, ice, and general danger. Maybe they didn't want the listeners to have an accurate look at what it actually looked like?
‘With me, I have Officer Grunwald, the man overlooking the cleaning operation and the general state of the city,’ the reporter stated, going forth with the part of the interview that was.. actually an interview. It seemed that they must have had some time to fill out. That was the only real excuse that Cassandra could have made for their case.
Looking over the state of the comments one more time, it was clear that the interview part wasn't being taken that well. Even if no questions had been asked or answered yet, the people around the country were already putting a lot of hate on the man. And while it might have been shown, it was clear that Grunwald was having a look at those comments as well. He had told Cassandra he would do as much earlier in the day, after all.
‘Officer, would it be possible for you to recount the events that made you aware of this event having occurred?’ the reporter asked. Instantly, Cassandra was a little unsure of what would be said. Which side of the story would they go with? The one they had in the morning or the one that they had only discovered later on? Which would make more sense to tell out loud?
‘Well, ma’am,’ Grunwald began, pausing slightly to show respect to the elderly lady. There was a slight twitch on the reporter’s face but that was kept down to a minimum due to the camera angle. ‘This morning, a concerned citizen called in about having found the street in a state of destruction. This was met with an immediate response from the officers at the station to go down, log the damages, search for any immediate clues of who did and how it was, and finally make sure that no civilians would enter the street to attempt to plunder.’
Cassandra had to cringe slightly at the last comment, knowing that she wouldn't have trusted herself to say it with respect. Sounding like the thing stopping the general populace from stealing was an inability to so was not something the general populace liked to hear. However… from the comments, it seemed that most saw that as reasonable, though a few were angry that the citizen who reported it wasn't arrested. Ignoring the latter, it seemed that the opinions of those who lived in the outskirts were apparently mostly negative. They were already seen as criminals, making the caution surrounding them seen as perfectly reasonable. How perfect an example of the country’s unity.
‘There have been comments about the number of robbers being low. Does this mean that they have taken little of the stores’ contents?’ the reporter questioned.
‘Indeed. While I am not in a position where the actual items are to be released to the public, I can firmly state the items taking price in the lower ranges of a few thousand dollars,’ Grunwald said, clearly stretching what a few thousands of dollars could mean. Casandra had personally stated it to be closer to twenty-five thousand dollars, but… he technically wasn't wrong so there was no need to be angry about it.
‘With so much destruction surrounding this robbery yet so little of value taken, do you currently believe that these actions done by the robbers had a different goal than simply stealing?’ the reporter asked. Cassandra blew air out of her nose at that, the question hitting harder than expected. But, Grunwald was looking as professional as ever, hardly even blinking at the question. The comments were already flooding in with theories, some clearly having been written before any information was actually written. Secret agents, government conspiracies, and all other curious things were being said. Cassandra had to sigh loudly at most of it, knowing so little of it was true.
‘While setting anything in stone at this point would be unwise in our position,’ Grunwald began, ‘we can put out a strong statement that…’
The man had stopped, staring blankly into the air for a few seconds. The reporter looked on without comment, only beginning to open her mouth for a question just as the man continued talking. The comments were aflame.
‘...While suspicions are clear and well-understood, we will get to the bottom of this.’
‘That is the best answer we can expect currently,’ the reporter said, changing over to looking directly at the camera. ‘Tom, Kim, are there any questions the studio has for the chief of police?’
The reporters started to talk amongst themselves. Cassandra didn't bother listening, seeing on the feed that Grunwald was looking over the left. Looking over to her own right, their eyes met.
‘An alarm has been started on the outskirts of the city. Likely an opportunistic robber,’ Grunwald sent to her directly. ‘I need you to go check it out discreetly. We cannot have anything happen while we are on the air.’
Cassandra nodded at the man before Grunwald went right back into his professional persona, answering a slew of questions that the reporters had for him. In a similar state, Cassandra turned on the car and drove off into the receding light. There was a shop to visit and a couple of people to catch. She only hoped it wouldn't cause much trouble.
The day had already had enough of such things.
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