Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine, the worlds are not.
Summary: CSI/B:tVS. An unusual case prompts Grissom to give his team The Speech. 800 words.
Spoilers: General for CSI (Las Vegas); post-"Chosen" and "Not Fade Away" for the Buffyverse.
Notes: For kerravonsen, who requested "CSI/B:tVS, Grissom, paradox".
"I'm telling you, Grissom," Nick said, shaking his head as he began summing up what the team had learned from the evidence collected in their latest case. "None of this makes any sense. The angles of the wound tracks are all consistent with an attacker of Ms. Burkle's height, but the force used to make them is all wrong; no woman her size has the muscle mass to do that much damage."
He paused then, and glanced at Warrick; the older CSI nodded and continued the litany of contradictory facts. "We know the perpetrator entered through the skylight before attacking Mr. Jones, but there's no evidence that she used a ladder or even climbed the walls; there isn't a single fingerprint on the drainspouts or windowsills that doesn't belong to a resident of the house."
"Similarly," Sara put in, "the attacker gained entrance to the compound in the first place apparently by leaping over an eight foot stone wall. We found indentations in the lawn just inside the wall that could only have been made by someone of Ms. Burkle's weight dropping from a considerable height, and the footprints leading away are all her size, but the moss and vines on the wall itself weren't disturbed at all."
Greg spoke up next, brandishing a sheaf of papers. "And then there's the DNA evidence. We know Mr. Jones fought back; there was biological material under his fingernails. Whatever it came from, though, isn't even remotely human." He shook his head in frustration. "It doesn't even match any animal species in the databases we have access to. Fortunately, the blood on her is all a match with Mr. Jones, otherwise, we'd have no believable reason to continue holding her as a suspect."
Grissom pursed his lips thoughtfully as he considered the data. "In other words," he said slowly, "what we have here is the definition of a paradox: an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises. All the evidence suggests that someone of Ms. Burkle's height and weight committed the crime; she was spotted leaving the scene by an eye-witness; and the blood on her clothes matches the victim. Therefore, she must be the killer. And yet, the evidence also suggests that the perpetrator must possess levels of strength and agility beyond a woman of Ms. Burkle's stature-- ergo, she couldn't have been the one wielding the blade."
"Exactly," Nick said, frowning down intently at the evidence spread across the lab table they were congregated around. "We have to be overlooking something."
"Not necessarily," Grissom said, then glanced speculatively at the only CSI who hadn't spoken up. "Catherine, what's your take on all of this?"
Catherine blinked, then narrowed her eyes at him. "You're suggesting that this case has something to do with, ah, the people that oversaw my extracurricular activities when I was a teenager?" she asked, cautiously.
At his nod, she continued, acerbically. "My take is that our suspect is going to disappear into federal custody along with all the evidence, in less than twenty-four hours, on orders from very high up the food chain. Someone with a British accent will come in and tell us all that we couldn't have seen what we saw and feed us a bunch of bullshit that we'll put in the files because it's a lot more believable than the explanations we came up with. But the truth is, she really is that strong, that fast, and that inhuman."
The others all stared at her with various levels of disbelief. "What do you mean, inhuman?" Greg asked, speaking for the group.
Grissom could still remember the days when he'd innocently believed that humans were the dominant lifeform on the planet, and that magic was a thing found only in fairy tales. Then he'd spent a few years as an assistant coroner in Los Angeles, and his worldview had changed forever. Later, when he'd become a crime scene investigator in Las Vegas, he'd discovered one of his new co-workers desperately defending herself with rusty reflexes and a wooden stake; the incident had cemented their early friendship.
Grissom had spent the rest of his career in the City of Dreams resolved to rule out supernatural influence in every case he touched, and for the most part he'd been successful. The non-human underground tried very hard not to rock the boat here, hoping to blend in. Every once in awhile, however, something like this did come up-- especially where it concerned the deceased Mr. Jones' employers, the law firm of Wolfram and Hart. His team would be grateful for this educational experience, later on.
"The story starts like this," he said, repeating a story he'd heard his rescuer in Los Angeles, and later, Catherine, tell. "The world is older than you know..."