AN: I just want to say that my thoughts and prayers are going out right now to the family of a sweet little girl who passed away from leukemia this week. Her auntie was my best friend for quite a large chunk of my childhood. Heaven has one more angel watching over the world.
Sorry I didn't reply to any reviews from last chapter. I do read them all, and they are awesome! It keeps me motivated to write!
The setting sun cast colorful rays of light through the tiny window across from his cell. The reds, yellows, and oranges painted a lively picture against the dull, concrete walls that surrounded three sides of the 6x9 foot room. Two-inch thick metal bars separated his room from the main thoroughfare of the death row cell block. He sat on the foot of of an extremely uncomfortable bed, a small blanket lay folded atop of his pillow on the opposite side. Next to the bed stood a stainless steel sink; a matching toilet on the other side. The room smelled of dust, sweat, and urine.
Oh, how he hated this room. It was the epitome of all things he abhorred.
When he first arrived to the prison, the only time he was allowed to leave his cell was for a shower, an 8 minute escape from the monotony of staring at the wall. After he was placed into his permanent cell (about 2 weeks after his arrival), he quickly learned the hell his daily life would become. Breakfast would arrive at exactly 6:30 every morning. Lunch was an 'unofficial' meal handed out in a paper bag, usually consisting solely of bread and a lunch meat of unknown origin. Dinner was handed out at 7:00 every evening.
About an hour after breakfast was provided, the guards came by to let prisoners out into the yard. Any prisoner seeking this temporary release from their cell would undergo a very thorough strip search. He decided very quickly that he'd rather spend his time in a cell instead of the yard. It just wasn't worth the humiliation to go spend a few minutes outside with 60-70 other inmates whom were prone to violent outbreaks. And the guards liked to use their guns in an attempt to control those fights. Even though the guards weren't shooting directly at them, there were several instances where prisoners were on the receiving end of a bullet.
No, he didn't need to deal with all of that crap. So he chose to spend his time in his cell, thinking. He was an intellectual. Thinking was what he did best. He usually spent the days napping. He spent his nights, awake, sitting on his bed, deep in thought. The noise level of the prison decreased dramatically during the late night hours, so it was much easier for him to think without distraction. Occasionally, another prisoner would start screaming in the dark of night, but it was always short lived. And he continued to think. Think about what he'd done, how to improve things. Think about Dr. Brennan, how to make the most of his revenge. Think of life outside of the prison walls, how sweet it would be to once again walk as a free man.
That's how he knew exactly what needed to happen during his appeals to be acquitted of all charges. And if that failed, he had a well thought out Plan B.
There was no way in hell he was going to continue his stay in prison. He needed to get out. Freedom is a very precious thing, one he aimed to acquire by any means necessary. His lawyers have been working tirelessly on his appeals. Jada Dumaine, a young african american female, is the head of his legal team. She was the brightest law student in her class, landing a job at one of the top law firms immediately upon her graduation. Fortunately, his uncle worked for the same law firm. Uncle Frank, an admittedly brilliant man, just happened to be Jada Dumaine's right hand man. He had visited the prison at least once per week for the past two years.
"Howards," an approaching prison guard yelled. "Get up! Your lawyer is here."
Tristian threw his legs onto the floor, looking at the prison guards with disgust. He knew the routine. Stand up. Keep his hands where they could be seen at all times. One guard unlocks the door of the cell while another, unarmed, guard walks in holding the handcuffs and ankle chains. He gets chained up, a little too tightly. And the guards walk him down the grimy, brick hallways until they reach their destination.
Sometimes it'd be for a meeting with the wardon. Sometimes, he'd meet with one of the several psychologists asked to evaluate his sanity. There were a few times that he'd been brought into a room to speak with any civilian visitors he had. There weren't many, minus his mother and Uncle Frank. And how could he forget the many visits he received from the very lovely Dr. Brennan. He enjoyed those visits the most. Oh, how he couldn't wait to be alone with her again.
Each time he was let out of his cell, the guards enjoyed roughing him up a bit along the way to their destination. They'd trip him if he walked too fast. He'd be shoved into the walls should he walk too slow. They'd 'accidently' elbow him, hard, in either the face or the ribs.
He hated this place. And he couldn't wait to get out, one way or another.
This time, it was his lawyer sitting at the metal table in the small visitor's room. Tristian raised his eyebrows in an unspoken question to his lawyer, whom smiled and nodded his head in return. The guards unchained Tristian and quietly left the room to offer some privacy between the inmate and his attorney.
"Good news?" Tristian asked, once the door was closed and they were finally alone.
"Sure is, kiddo," the man smiled at his client, whom also happened to be his only nephew. "I just got out of a meeting with the judge, prosecutor, and ADA."
"And?" Tristian prompted.
"Although you should just feel grateful that you were lucky enough to just have been granted an appeal to begin with," his uncle explained, "I was successfully able to persuade the judge to move up the trial date, despite protests from both Caroline Julian and ADA Montgomery."
Tristian breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Uncle Frank. When is it?"
"Monday," Frank smiled. "That gives us 5 days to prepare. And lucky for you, Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan are currently out of town on a case. But unfortunately, the prosecution has apparently drudged up a witness."
"A witness?" Tristian smiled, already knowing who that witness would be.
"Yes," Frank nodded. "But we can work that in our favor. From what I gather, the witness...a Ms. Morgan Johnson...had been officially declared deceased nearly two years ago and was said to be a victim of the crime you were convicted of. With her now found to be alive, we can challenge the prosecution's credibility on all matters regarding the evidence."
"They were wrong once," Tristian agreed, a cocky grin on his face, "they could very well be wrong again. They've got no credibility."
"And we'll make sure the panel of judges knows this," Frank continued. "Now, they're still aiming that Ms. Johnson was a victim of a crime perpetrated by you; but, as I understand it, she's having memory lapses. Apparently there is a great deal of time she cannot account for. Ms. Julian has added her to the list of people testifying, but she'll have to undergo a psychological evaluation first. We can use that against her. The FBI psychologist, a Dr. Sweets, will be performing the psychological evaluation for the prosecution. Jada is in the process of procuring a psychologist for the defense to evaluate Ms. Johnson's condition."
"I'm sure Ms. Johnson won't be a problem," Tristian smiled, overly confident. "However, it is quite unfortunate that she'll be testifying."
"This actually bodes very well for you, Tristian," Uncle Frank assured him. "And, should everything go as planned, you'll be released by the end of next week. With the lack of evidence, we'll definitely be able to overturn your conviction."
"Good," Tristian replied. "Thank you, Uncle Frank."
"Anything for my nephew," Frank smiled. "We've got an evidentiary hearing on Friday, so there is a small chance you could be released then."
"I'm sure the prosecution won't let it end that easily," Tristian scoffed. He was quite for a moment before voicing his next thought aloud. "Um...if things shouldn't go as planned..."
"Then all the appropriate steps have been taken for the successful execution of Plan B," Frank answered.
Back at the lab, the squints were crowded around one of the computers on the on the platform, listening as Angela explained her findings on the identity of the victim that had previously been identified as Morgan.
"Alright, so I ran our new findings through missing persons," Angela stated, "and nothing came up. This girl has been missing for at least 2 years, and apparently no one had filed a missing person's report."
"So, basically you found nothing," Cam concluded.
"Yes," Angela admitted. "But I wasn't willing to give up so easily. Somebody, somewhere has to be missing this girl. It's just too sad to think otherwise."
Hodgins walked closer to Angela, wrapping his arm around her waist. "That's what I love about you, Angie."
Angela smiled in reply, then continued to explain her findings. "I figured, because of her age, that I should check into children whom recently aged out of the foster system. The skull was pretty damaged, but I managed to create a general likeness to run through the program."
"If she had no real family, it would certainly explain why there wasn't a report filed," Cam agreed. "But a general likeness search would most likely yield multiple candidates."
"There were a few matches," Angela admitted. She pulled up four photos. "Kailee Burch. Kristina Ortiz. Megan DeSoto. And Nevada Perez."
"These appear to be a match to our victim. How accurate are these results?" Cam questioned.
"Fairly accurate," Angela said.
"Excellent work, Angela," Cam commended. "Send this over to the FBI."
"There's more," Angela grinned. She turned to the computer and pulled open a file. "I checked into these girls, just to see if there's been any recent activity. Kailee Burch is currently a waitress at Cantina Marina. Kristina Ortiz has recent hospital records on file; she just gave birth to a baby boy. And Megan DeSoto is an assistant at Dunlap Associates."
Cam nodded her head. "So that leaves-"
"Nevada Perez," Angela finished, pulling open a new file. "She would've been 19 when the victim was murdered."
"Get this over to Agent Perotta," Cam stated. "See if we can get medical records for Ms. Perez to compare to the remains. Hopefully, we can match-"
"Alright you brain trust genius people," Caroline's voice echoed, bouncing off the walls of the Jeffersonian, as she interrupted Cam. "I need you to get to work on the evidence for Tristian Howards' appeals. And I need it done yesterday."
"We're already on it," Cam replied. "May I ask what's the sudden hurry? We still have months before he goes on trial."
"No, you don't," Caroline answered. "Our evidentiary meeting is on Friday."
"But that's only 2 days from now!" Hodgins exclaimed.
"Yeah well, his team of defense lawyers were able to push up the date of the trial," Caroline explained. "And it starts Monday."
The team stood in shock as they absorbed this new info.
"What are y'all doing standing there?" Caroline asked. "Get to work!" Caroline turned to the computer screen that displayed the file on Nevada Perez. "What's this?"
"Possible ID on Tristian's victim," Angela answered. "Nevada Perez. I'm about to email the file to Agent Perotta."
"Good, get on that," Caroline ordered. "Do we have any word on when Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan will get back?"
Cam shook her head.
"Well, then get them on the phone or something," Caroline stated. "We need to get 'em back here before the whole world goes to hell in a hand basket."
Booth and Brennan had just returned to their motel room for the night, after speaking with head of security at the hospital and inquiring about surveillance camera footage from nearby shops and restaurants.
"You're positive Angela will be able to find something off of those security tapes?" Booth questioned, carelessly tossing his jacket over a chair in the corner of the room.
"Yes," Brennan replied dryly, "if there's something there, she'll find it."
"It's just...that's a lot of footage for her to sift through," Booth stated.
"Booth, we mailed it overnight for her," Brennan explained. "It'll arrive to the Jeffersonian tomorrow, probably before Ange even gets there. She'll have all day to start analyzing the tapes."
"Yeah, you're right," Booth said. "If we're lucky, she'll find something pretty quickly and we'll have arrests made and be home by the end of the weekend."
"Yes, I find I'm quite looking forward to that," Brennan spoke softly. "I should call Ange and check on-"
Brennan was interrupted by a beeping of her cell phone. She quickly dug it out of her purse and looked down at the message.
"It's from Cam," she informed Booth. "She want's us to set up a video conference with them."
Brennan walked to her bag and pulled out her laptop, setting it up on the desk. It took a few moments before the image loaded clearly.
"Dr. Brennan, thank you for logging on so quickly," Cam greeted.
"Of course," Brennan replied. "Is there something you needed?"
"Sure is, cherie," Caroline answered as she stepped into view. "I need the two of you back here. Pronto."
"But we haven't solved the case yet," Brennan protested.
Caroline shook her head. "Well, get it done. Quick."
"Caroline, what's going on?" Booth asked as he walked to stand behind his wife.
"We got a court date set for Monday," Caroline explained. "We meet with the judge in 2 days to discuss viable evidence."
"Court?" Brennan questioned. "For which case?"
Caroline sighed. "Tristian Howards' lawyers pulled a last minute stunt to push up his court date."
"And it starts in 2 days?" Booth asked, alarmed. "Are we even going to be ready for that?"
"We better be, cherie," Caroline answered. "I got the squints here working on overdrive. But we need you and the lovely doctor here to help us."
"We sent security tapes by overnight mail to the Jeffersonian for Angela to work on," Brennan explained. "If she finds something on that, we could make an arrest."
"I'll get working on that as soon as they arrive, sweetie," Angela's voice sounded through the speakers, despite the fact that she couldn't be seen on screen.
"If we don't get anything by tomorrow night," Booth said, "I can try to hand the case back over to the locals. They got what they need from us...well, Bones; an ID and cause of death on the victim. The rest is just case work. I'm sure they could handle it."
"And when you come back," Caroline stated, "make sure you bring Morgan Johnson with you. We need her on the stand. And before that can happen, she needs to go through two psychological evaluations."
"Two?" Brennan questioned. "That seems highly unnecessary."
"One for prosecution to use, and one for the defense," Cam spoke. "It's standard protocol in situations like this."
"Alright, I'll speak with her tomorrow," Brennan agreed.
AN: I wrote this chapter in a few chunks. It probably reads that way. Sorry if it doesn't flow too smoothly...