Before you start, I have to warn you that I feel really bad about doing this, but it was the only logical next step. Don't hate me.
- - -
Six Months After the Events of "Undercover"
…Fifteen Minutes After the Officer Down Call
CSI Stella Bonasera stopped her car near the crime scene tape that blocked off a small street. She had responded to the officer down call, and those were the calls that every law officer dreaded. The thing that scared her, however, was what she saw outside of the tape. Homicide detectives Jessica Angell and Don Flack were standing by a small brick wall just outside of the yellow band. Angell looked ill.
That wasn't a good sign.
As Stella walked towards the two, she noticed that Flack looked upset as well.
That wasn't a good sign, either.
As Stella got closer, Angell, looking very frustrated, kicked the brick wall nearby. It was out of character for the usually cool-headed female detective, and a cold sense of foreboding washed over Stella. Flack grabbed his partner's shoulders, pulling her away and making her look at him.
"We'll get the son of a bitch, you know that."
Her voice unusually hostile for talking to Flack, Angell replied, "She saved our lives, Don, and we can do nothing for hers!"
"I know, Jess. I know." Flack sighed, releasing Angell and running a hand through his hair, clearly agitated.
Her dread deepening, Stella stopped in front of them. "Who is it?"
Angell just closed her eyes and shook her head. Flack jerked his head in the direction of the tape.
Stella ducked under the bright yellow wrappings and approached the body. When she got close enough to identify the victim, her dread intensified to pure horror.
Andrea "AJ" Blaine, the sixteen-year-old undercover detective that had helped the New York Crime Lab on a case nearly six months ago, was lying on the ground. Her blue eyes stared at nothing, and her blonde hair was streaked with blood from the bullet wound in her head. In a slice of macabre fascination, Stella noticed that the teen's blue jacket and black shirt lay perfectly, revealing her service weapon and her badge, gleaming in the rising orange sunlight that only seemed to appear in the suburbs of New York.
Stella heard footsteps behind her, and a whispered voice muttered, "Damn…"
Fellow CSI Dr. Sheldon Hawkes was standing there, looking startled. While he hadn't had direct contact with the girl during the Cobra incident, Hawkes still knew what she had risked to save CSI Lindsay Monroe. Hawkes looked at Stella. "Angell and Flack wouldn't tell me who it was."
Stella gave a sad nod. "They both owe her their lives."
"She shot the guy that was going to kill them, right?"
"Yes. Of course, AJ never seemed to think that they owed her anything, but you know them- they're proud of their job and don't like being made helpless in any sense of the word." Stella gave a small laugh. "I guess it doesn't matter now, does it?" She looked down.
"That's why we need to solve this one, Stell." Hawkes knelt next to the body. The former ME was very helpful when it came to on-the-spot preliminary CODs. "One shot to the head… no defensive wounds… I'd say she was killed about an hour ago."
"The question is, how does a trained and armed cop get murdered without even drawing their weapon?"
- - -
When Danny Messer walked into the crime lab, the first person he saw was Lindsay Monroe. The CSI was sorting through files for a recent case, absentmindedly muttering under her breath as she read the many pieces of paper. She already seemed a little cranky, which made what Danny had to tell her all the harder. Stella had called him from the most recent crime scene, the officer down call, and sadly informed him that the victim was none other than AJ Blaine, who had been part of the main reason that Lindsay was still alive after being kidnapped by a drug gang six months prior. Lindsay had had the most contact with the teen when they were both being held captive, and her life had almost been taken if it weren't for some quick thinking on AJ's part.
Lindsay looked up from her folder and flashed him a smile. Danny couldn't help but grin back, despite the fact that he knew she wouldn't be smiling soon. He let his smile fade. Lindsay noticed, and tilted her head inquisitively. "What's wrong?"
Danny sighed. Here comes the fun part… he thought, bracing himself. "Lindsay…" He paused, and saw that Lindsay now looked worried. "AJ Blaine is dead."
Lindsay just stared at him for a long moment, her mouth slightly open. "What?" she whispered. "How?"
"She was murdered."
"She was only sixteen, Danny…"
Danny just nodded. Lindsay leaned against the lab table, her head bowed. "What can we do?"
Danny put his hand on her shoulder. "We catch the bastard that did it."
- - -
Mac Taylor was used to seeing Brigham Sinclair angry. In fact, everything that he could blame on the crime lab made him almost gleefully angry, if that was even possible, ever since Mac had essentially blackmailed him into dropping the internal investigation into Mac for possibly pushing a suspect off of a roof. Today, though, his vengeful attitude wasn't directed at Mac.
"This case is important, Taylor. This is one of our own. Not only is it one of our own, this girl was sixteen. She had talent that a lot of veterans don't even have. She would have made a fantastic homicide detective. I want the perpetrator as soon as humanly possible, and I swear that if you screw this up-"
"Chief, I knew AJ Blaine. She worked with my team during the Cobra incident. You don't need to tell me how important it is that we find her killer."
"You'd better know, Taylor. You'd better know."
- - -
"You know, I bet Tiger did this," Angell muttered. She was standing off to the side watching Stella and Hawkes process the scene.
Stella glanced up at her. "Hm?"
"AJ warned us that he'd be back, remember? She said that he didn't like to lose."
"I suppose that, if this does have anything to do with Cobra, he'd be our first suspect. That doesn't mean that it has to be him, though."
"We should talk to Garin," Flack, standing next to Angell, said. Keith Garin was the former leader of Cobra, now in prison for a lengthy number of charges. "He might know something."
Stella nodded. "That might be a good idea." She noticed that Angell had suddenly tensed. "Jess?"
Angell looked between Stella and Flack. "I just remembered the other thing that AJ said." She looked at Flack. "That Tiger would be coming after us next."
- - -
Sorry that most of the chapter was a repetitive "we need to catch the killer" monologue. I wanted to establish where everyone was, and the fact that Angell and Flack are very very unhappy by this turn of events. Which, I'm sure, at least a couple of you are, too. Someone had to die, and it had to be either AJ, Angell, or Flack. Side characters are, unfortunately, at the bottom of my priority list. And, yes, she is definitely dead. Don't start messaging me with how "cruel" I am for killing a sixteen-year-old. CSI has killed people younger than that before. If you aren't happy about it, I'm sorry, but that's just how this has to be.