Music blared and strobe lights flashed as many people shook -- or pretended to have something to shake – on the dance floor. Three people, sitting together and trying to converse over the din, didn't look like they belonged there at all. The youngest of them, and the only male, seemed to be very uncomfortable.
"I still do not understand why it is necessary for me to be here," he mumbled.
"Zack, what part of 'you need to get out more' don't you understand?" said the most at-ease of the group.
"We feel you should… connect with more people," explained the third person. "After all, you are no longer my assistant, but are fully qualified at your position. Soon, you could be accompanying Booth and me on our trips to other states. Then, you could be able to do that by yourself or with someone else."
"Yes, but why here?" griped Zack.
"Because you should learn to function like a normal earthling."
Zack opened his mouth to object when a thin, gorgeous, and scantily clad woman approached him. "You are so cute!" she sighed.
"What kind of cute do you mean?" inquired a clueless Zack. "The kind of cute people use when discussing juvenile animals or the cute usually associated with hot? …Not the temperature or spicy hot, but one I assume relates to pheromone levels?"
"I… I'm not sure," she said, confused. Her composure then returned. "I guess a little of both. You know, a yummy kind of cute. Yeah, that's it. You look yummy."
Zack involuntarily leaned back, away from her. "Please use a different method to communicate your compliments."
"I work at the Jeffersonian, solving murders from victims' remains. I've worked on several cases involving cannibalism. I have no way to tell if people will actually… eat me."
"O…kay?" said the woman, backing away. She turned and disappeared into the crowd.
"Zack, that is exactly what we're talking about," said Angela. "You really need to work on your people skills. You will need to talk to normal people, sometimes in places like this. You need to learn how to discourage people who are hitting on you without hurting their feelings and know how to avoid doing that when you're interested in them as well."
"I don't have any idea what you are saying," said Zack. Angela looked at her colleague, Temperance Brennan, for support but received only a raised eyebrow and amused look. "You two should get married," she said, resigned.
The next day, Brennan arrived at work to find her partner, Seeley Booth, waiting for her. "Bones! Hi. We've got a new case," he said, shoving a collection of files into her face. "Multiple women, 15-20 years old. They were killed in almost identical ways."
"Great. Why is this our problem?"
"Because they weren't all from just one state. On this map here, you can see they were in Arizona, California and Nebraska. Also, most of them were minors."
"How many are there?"
"Let's just say a lot. And they just keep coming in."
"So we're looking for a serial killer who doesn't look like he's going to stop anytime soon?"
"Apparently so. And there are too many bodies to ship here and do the whole examine-every-square-inch thing you do."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying we have ourselves a field trip."
"But where would we be going? If the bodies are as spread out as you say, won't we have to be moving constantly?"
"Good point, but most of the victims were found in one area, and that's where we're going."
"Okay, fine. …Let's bring Zack!"
"Because he needs practice communicating with people and so maybe he could eventually go on these little outings by himself or with someone else."
"Oh, yeah, he desperately needs that."
Brennan smiled triumphantly and started to walk away from Booth and to her normal working place. Booth rolled his eyes, took a deep breath, and pursued her to continue the argument. "Wait! Doesn't he have experience with that from Guatemala and all the other places you've gone?"
Brennan did not even turn around to reply, "The only people Zack interacted with there were dead. This way, he will learn to participate fully in cases. Besides, if there are so many victims to examine, we'll need all the help we can get."
"Fine. You win. But, back to the case, an interesting thing popped up. The women murdered had just about nothing in common. They were from all over and didn't know each other or have any connections. We don't have a single suspect."
"Interesting. When are we leaving?"
"In two days. I already have our tickets. I guess I should get another one for Zack. I hope they've sold out. They probably haven't, though; we're not exactly headed to a popular place."
"That reminds me: where the hell are we going?"
"Nice little city called Sunnydale."