Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers.
The Ties that Bind
Prologue: Another Night in Vegas
Flashing red and blue lights, the thick smell of copper in the night air, the thrill of the chase beginning; yep, this was her job.
Peyton Callaghan stood proud with a silver case in her hand. Before her was the recently deceased body of Hector Anderson, a thirty-one year old, Caucasian male residing the vibrant city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Apparent cause of death was multiple stab wounds with a serrated blade, but the official COD wouldn't be disclosed until the coroner did the autopsy. His hazel eyes were open and vacant, no poetical hemorrhaging that indicated that there was suffocation involved with the death. From the amount of blood that the victim lay prone in and the smearing of hands and feet, it was apparent that this was not a body dump. There was still sweat on his upper lip. His body was still a little warm due to body temperature and the warm air. The coroner pronounced time of death around an hour ago so all the evidence that would be on the body from the crime was still fresh. Looking around, she observed her surroundings like a field CSI should. She was greeted by the Las Vegas desert, an empty convenient store, and a kick-ass Peterbilt semi with custom painted flames sitting almost twenty feet from the body.
The teenage clerk in the store said he didn't see or hear anything, which was pretty conclusive since the boy's headphones were cranked up to deafening levels for Slipknot and Slayer. The 911 one call that had been made was anonymous and from the tone of the voice it was not the kid unless he used a voice changing device, but none was found. Anonymous tips were always suspicious, but this one was just odd. Simply saying that there was a homicide in the middle of a parking lot and providing the address the call wasn't long. The voice was deep and rather scratchy if not electronic sounding, but definitely male. She was suspicious in the fact that it wasn't uncommon for suspects to use devices to change the sound of their voices to prevent identification. Sighing heavily, Peyton knelt down to examine the body.
She looked up at her boss, Jeffery Eillis, with a grin. "Dirty fingers nails is a good start," she said, "I'll test for blood."
"Stabbing," Jeffery mused, "Crime of passion?"
"Given the state of the body…I'd say so."
Jeffery lifted the jean coat away from the body and cringed at the carnage. Peyton seemed aloof she quickly jotted notes on her clipboard. "He has a lot of defensive wounds on his hands. Check it out."
Sure enough, there were many deep cuts and lacerations on the man's palms. Whoever killed him had a difficult time. This man went down fighting. But the there was a strange positioning of the body. His hands were up over his head. The call tipped off two assailants. From the victim's position and the strange voids in the blood pool it seemed that the other one intervened and held his arms down while the other went to the stabbing.
"We won't know how many times until the autopsy. I already tried counting," she said softly, "But I can tell you that this was serious overkill."
"I can't believe no one heard this guy scream or anything," Jeffery spat angrily.
Peyton wordlessly pointed to the vic's mouth, aiming her flashlight. "Cotton fibers around the mouth," she said. Reaching forward with a pair of tweezers she examined them more closely, "He could've have been muffled."
Looking out to the deserted road, Jeffery sighed, "What was he even doing out here?"
"Well," Peyton smiled slyly, "we wouldn't have a job if people already knew. But we do already have a suspect."
"The guy who made the call," she replied as she stood, "Apparently, he was the only one to see something."
"What about the kid in the store?"
"I already have a guy with him," she explained, "Kelly's looking for blood on his cloths, but he let us have a DNA sample voluntarily."
"Hmm," was all that Jeffery said, his attention elsewhere, "Look at this."
Kneeling down once again, Peyton held her flashlight over the body, watching as he reached forward with a pair of tweezers, lifting a strand of long blond hair from the victim's shirt. Thankfully enough, there was a skin tag at the end indicating that the hair had been pulled out, probably during the struggle.
"Our guy's a brunet," Jeffery said.
"Bag it," was Peyton's simple reply.
The three Las Vegas CSIs stuck around the crime scene for hours, even after the body was removed and the sun had begun to rise. Every so often, Peyton found herself looking up at the truck in the dark corner of the parking lot. No one would just leave a truck like that alone. The whole thing looked custom and yet a driver never returned to claim it.
"Hey, Tony," Peyton called to a cop standing near the store.
Immediately, detective Tony Miller rushed to her side as she stood before the truck, eying it as suspiciously as her. "What's up?"
"Why don't you run the plates for this guy," she suggested, "This truck's been here for hours and no one's come around asking for it yet."
"I'll get on it," he agreed before lifting his cell phone, "Yeah we got an abandoned 18-wheeler at the Robinson Party Store. Plate number is OPR 1M31. Model? Umm…"
"Peterbilt," Peyton provided simply, "I'm thinking 379, but don't quote me on that."
"Umm, it's a Peterbilt semi, maybe a 379. Broaden the search from that," Miller said whilst giving a strange look to the twenty-five year old woman who was staring up at the truck it admiration. "Yeah call me when you get it. Right. They said it'd be a few minutes."
"This is probably the most badass truck I've ever seen," she stated.
"You see a lot of these?"
"My Dad," she replied, "He was a truck driver. He drove one of these for a while."
"You're Dad?" Miller repeated, "Oh yeah, I remember now."
They only had to wait a little while for Miller's call to come in. Peyton watched his expression falter into shock and then confusion. She waited patiently for the call to end and what came out of his mouth next was startling.
"This license plate doesn't exist," he said, "Whoever owns this truck doesn't exist."
"There is no truck registered under OPR 1M31."
Peyton stepped towards the truck's driver-side and shined her flashlight on the door. There was blood on the door handle. "Jeffery!" she called.
Her boss ran over and examined the same spot. "Well, hello Dolly!"
"This truck is unregistered," Peyton said, "I'll have trace look into as soon as we get it back to the lab."
"Right," Jeffery agreed, "Can you get a print off that?"
"I'm sure as hell gonna try," she replied. Turning to Miller, she smiled sweetly. "Can you get us a tow-truck? We're gonna have to take the big guy with us."
Miller already had his cell phone to his ear. "I'm on it."
Not long after he made the second call, Peyton was watching as the truck was hauled away. The body of Hector Anderson was on its way to the autopsy table, but her interest was in the truck. An unregistered truck in the middle of nowhere, without a driver, looking mighty fine and expensive, and with blood on the handle was very suspicious to her. She hadn't even submitted the blood to DNA testing, but she was riding on it belonging to the victim rather then the killer. If it was the victim's then the killer must have tried to get in the truck either as a "get away car" or they owned it. But on the chance that it was determined to be unknown then there was a chance that the killer was sloppy in their work. Either way the truck was a key peace of evidence.
Jeffery had already left to get in on the autopsy, but Kelly was making her way towards her carrying her crime kit at her side. "What do you think?" she asked with a thick southern accent, "Robbery gone bad?"
"I don't think so," Peyton admitted, "I mean, the wallet was full and the guy was wearing Rolex."
"True," Kelly admitted, "So, we're probably looking into a personal job."
"Most likely. Let's get a hold of the vic's bank records. Check for any recent withdraws. And let's go check out where he worked."
"What about the family?" Kelly asked softly.
"What about them?"
"They should be notified, Peyton."
"Whatever," she shrugged, "Go with Miller to pick them up. We need a personal ID anyways."
"Can you be anymore insensitive?" Kelly spat before stomping away, but not before shoving plastic bag in Peyton's hands.
Peyton frowned. She was insensitive? Really? Well, okay, maybe a littler, but she was just doing her job. She looked at the bag filled with the victim's car keys and wallet. She plucked out the wallet and opened it. Her stoic expression faltered. A family portrait of the victim, his wife and there three children, one, of whom, was still an infant. She inhaled deeply as she looked down at the blood stained concrete where the man had been stabbed multiple times and bled to death. Placing the wallet back into its bag, she picked up her case, stocked full of evidence and bypassed the crime scene tape heading for her car. Kelly may think she was insensitive, but she couldn't allow herself to make the case personal. She wouldn't last in this career if she did.