The loading dock door opened at the knock, revealing the coroner for Van Buren county, Shanika Daniels. She was dressed in scrubs with a mask pooled around her chin, and looked rather irritated.

“Dr. Daniels,” Jen started, “we have-“

“New intern?” Shanika said, looking over at Alan, who gave her a knowing nod. “Listen, sweetie, it’s Ms. Daniels. Or Shanika, I really don’t care.”

Jen cocked her head. “Don’t you have to be a doctor to be a coroner?”

“You’re thinking of a medical examiner, sweetie. Coroners are elected. I’m the only one who ever runs.”

“Don’t let her modesty fool you,” Alan said. “She might not have the piece of paper from med school, but Shanika knows her stuff thanks to the school of hard knocks.”

“Enough chitchat. We’re on the clock here, and I’m moonlighting. Show me what you got.”

Alan swept the tarp off the back of the truck, revealing the limp form of the creature they’d shot near Providence MBC Of All Nations. It’s tentacles lolled a bit as it as jiggled, causing Jen to jump back a bit.

“Whoa, we’ve got a looker here,” Shanika said. “Definitely a new one. Haul ‘im onto the gurney, I’ll give you a discount for a novel critter but you’re gonna lose most of it because of the tentacle surcharge.”

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