Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's Note: I had started this particular fic a long while ago, that sorta fit the premise for this challenge. Yay for me. I never finished it, but this challenge helped me. Yay again! So this is in response to the TalkCSI Fanfiction challenge that had to include a toothbrush, a rotten apple, one CSI hugging another person, a package of Nicorette and a crime scene created around water. This is what I got.
They had seen some strange cases in their day, but this had to be one for the record books.
Vegas had an unique way of surprising its inhabitants again and again. Captain Jim Brass was once more amongst the surprised. Unusually speechless, he simply pointed ahead, not sure what to make of the scene before him. CSIs Warrick Brown and Sara Sidle both squinted their eyes as if that would make what they were seeing any more reasonable. The amazement wore off, albeit slowly and they began their trek in the sand toward the "victim".
Warrick stared at the porpoise over his sunglasses. Yeah, that's right. A porpoise. He remarked sullenly, "Just when you thought you had seen it all . . ."
". . .You find a dolphin in the middle of the desert," Sara finished, a slightly bemused smirk on her face. They both stood about a foot away, eyebrows raised and brains still calculating their bewilderment. It was a dolphin alright. It was lying in what appeared to be an old kiddie pool with just barely enough water to cover its fins. Sara kneeled down next to the sea creature and wondered aloud. "Still looks fresh, all things considered. Maybe been dead for about a day?"
"Maybe. Robbins would know more than us about time of death," Warrick shrugged, deciding it best to snap a few photos.
"Right, because Robbins does routine autopsies on dolphins for kicks and giggles," Sara joked, before finally beginning a closer inspection of the damage to the deceased porpoise. It seemed to have been gutted along its stomach, but that wasn't all. She frowned, noticing something strange. "Warrick?"
"Yeah?" he replied, still preoccupied with taking photos.
"What is this . . . implanted near the skull?" she asked curiously. He took a long look, then shrugged not knowing what to make of it. She mused aloud, "It looks like a computer chip of some sort."
"That's different," Warrick commented.
"And cruel," Sara added sadly, the fascination of finding this sea critter so far from water still building. It was even more intriguing to see this device lodged in its skull.
Sara stood up, spied Brass near his car, then called out to him with an amused smirk, "Hey, any idea how we're getting this dolphin back to the morgue?"
"Hey, that's on you!" Brass called back, grinning himself. "I've got a 419 to rush to, but Officer Mitchell will be here until the coroner arrives."
"Okay," Sara said, before turning back to Warrick. "I think we should take a sample of the water. For all we know, it's just from a recent rain shower, but you never know what you may find."
"Speaking of finds," Warrick added, dipping a gloved hand into the pool and pulling out an object. She kneeled next to him again, as he described it. "Plastic, punched out holes. An empty gum pack?"
"Nicorette," Sara corrected promptly, before adding bashfully. "I know some people who know some people who are trying to quit. The packaging looks exactly like that."
Warrick just smirked, his tongue in cheek as if in disbelief. "Okay, right. So our dolphin was trying to kick an old habit?"
Sara gave him a half nod before suggesting, "Or the killer was."
Warrick entered the autopsy room, pulling a lab coat off the wall on the way in. He spied their chief medical examiner holding an apple and promptly teased, "Eating in the morgue? Is that allowed?"
Robbins sighed, before setting his potential snack down, "Probably not, but with all the bodies rolling into here, I haven't had time for lunch. Besides, the damn thing is rotten."
Warrick offered up a sympathetic smile.
"You're here for Flipper, I assume," Robbins joked.
"Yeah. What can you tell me?" Warrick said, slipping on the lab coat and making his way over to the slab. The dolphin was just barely fitting on the surface.
"I can tell you that kidnapping and killing this dolphin was a federal offense," Robbins quipped, handing a jar to Warrick. In the jar was the dislodged computer chip.
"Federal?" Warrick repeated. "You mean, this was a real crime and not some prank?"
"As silly as finding a dolphin in the middle of the desert seems, this was no ordinary dolphin," Robbins confirmed. He pointed at the jar. "That is a tracker; a device to keep record of the dolphin's location and whereabouts. Before you ask how I know this, I'll tell you. I got curious, made a few calls and had some friends check out the serial number on the underside. It's Navy."
"Huh," Warrick said with awe, taking a closer look at the chip in the jar. Then he glanced at Robbins, amused. "You've got ol' Navy buddies, huh Doc?"
"They didn't call me Ol' Peg Leg Robbins for nothing," Robbins replied, completely deadpan.
Warrick grinned. "Is that all?"
"I did find something else lodged in the throat. Quite strange, actually."
"Could this case get any stranger?"
Robbins shrugged, "Apparently so. It's a toothbrush. I bagged it and sent it to DNA already. Maybe Wendy can work a miracle and pull up a profile for you."
Sara strode into DNA quite curious to see what Wendy found, if anything. She leaned on a table and announced her presence, "You paged?"
"Yeah, just wanted to let you know I sent the toothbrush to trace. There was gunk on it, but it wasn't human," Wendy explained. "Considering where you found it, I expected to at least pull up cetaceous characteristics, but I got nothing."
Slightly disappointed, but still hopeful Hodges had some useful information, Sara left DNA in search of a lab tech most considered annoying. For some unknown reason, she found him amusing. That is, until she stepped foot into his lab. He saw her, popped up out of his chair and literally attacked her. He wrapped his arms around her tightly and she froze, her arms still at her sides and her eyes wide with fear and confusion.
"You're hugging me," she stated plainly. Okay. Scratch that. He wasn't amusing. He was annoying!
"That I am," he agreed. "Now hug me back."
"Hodges," she said, trying to escape his grasp.
"C'mon! Hug me back and then I'll let you go. Once I let you go, the embarrassment will be over and Wendy will stop laughing."
Sara rolled her eyes and reluctantly wrapped her arms around him. He gave her another squeeze before pulling back. Now his hands just grasped her shoulders and his smile was borderline creepy. "Man, that felt good. That felt good, right? It was like a rainbow wrapped around us in a pretty bow!"
"You're still touching me," Sara pointed out.
"Sometimes, you just need a hug," Hodges said cheerily. "A rainbow hug."
"Okay, what drugs are you on and can I have some?" Sara smiled.
"Oh, this drug you most definitely don't wanna get hooked on," Hodges said, now reverting back to work mode and completely pulling back. "This drug is the reason I hugged you. Now it's time to guess just exactly 'what drug I'm on'."
"I see. The trace on the toothbrush was a hallucinogen?" Sara guessed.
He cleared his throat, "That's right. A hallucinogen. A drug that makes one want to spread the love and every STD known to man. You also see lots of pretty colors. Like a rainbow."
"Okay, give me a hint?" Sara said.
"Okay. Double Jeopardy time. This semisynthetic psychedelic drug is synthesized from Lysergic acid derived from ergot, a grain typically found on rye."
"What is LSD?" Sara smiled, knowing the answer almost immediately.
"You are correct."
"So why was there a toothbrush laced with LSD lodged in the throat of a dolphin?" Sara mused aloud.
Hodges shrugged, "Hey, I just run samples through a computer. I can only do so much."
He pounded loudly on the door. "This is Detective Jim Brass of the LVPD! We have a warrant for your arrest!"
Both Warrick and Sara had their guns drawn and at the ready. "Ol' Peg Leg Robbins" got a call from one of his Navy friends. It turned out, during Hurricane Katrina, about 20 dolphins were lost in the chaos. All of these dolphins were used in a Navy program that trained the animals to find mines and other dangerous weapons out at sea. The trackers in the skull relayed the location of these mines.
One of the scientists on the project also mysteriously disappeared during the natural disaster. It turned out he was a long time resident of Las Vegas. A resident just recently spotted on security cameras at a casino on the strip. Word on the street was this man was a huge LSD drug runner. Through his work at the lab in New Orleans, he found a new kind of drug mule. The dolphins.
"Dr. Jack Kilnor! We know you're home! Just open up and make this easy for everyone!"
There was a loud crash at the side of the house. Warrick and Sara turned around, guns raised to find Jack jumping his fence and making a run for it.
"We've got a runner!" Warrick yelled. He holstered his gun and started to tear across the lawn.
Jim yelled for the other CSI to follow him. "Sara! Hop in the car!"
It felt like he had been running for hours, but Jack was no match for Warrick's speed. The CSI tackled the perp to the ground. Jim's car roared up alongside the curb, while Warrick struggled to hold Jack still. He noticed something on Jack's arm and said, "I see you're on the patch now, Jack. What? The gum wasn't fighting off the cravings?"
"Get off me!" Jack seethed. Before too long, Jack was in the back of the squad car, his head hung low and a craving for cigarettes on the tip of his tongue.
Warrick and Sara watched the confession through the two-way glass.
"When the hurricane hit, I had no place to hide the drugs. One of the dolphins was in the tank and so I found the only thing on me. A toothbrush we used to clean their mouths. I stuff a bag in the throat using the brush and the damn thing eats it! Anyway, I let it go out to sea. I later found it washed up dead on the Texas shore."
Jim grinned, clearly amused. "Okay, okay. I am curious. Why did you drag that thing all the way to Vegas? Seriously. You could've left it on the beach."
Jack rolled his eyes. "I couldn't fish the drugs out there and I couldn't drag it back to the labs. Not with all the water damage. I had better tools here that could do the job. Look, I didn't think you guys would find the damn thing! I thought it would just rot in the sun."
Warrick glanced at Sara, his expression saying it all. She could only smile in agreement. Yeah. Sometimes the criminals were just that stupid.
"He's got a Ph.D in engineering. He had a steady job, lots of cash. Selling LSD on the side just doesn't make sense," Sara mused.
"Using the dolphin as a drug mule doesn't make much sense either, but hey, that's what he did," Warrick said with a small laugh. "I guess one things for certain. Dragging that dolphin out here was his only mistake."
Sara smiled. "Yeah. Everything else, he did on porpoise."