Disclaimer: I do not own CSI or its affiliated characters. Characters not in the series are my own.

A/N: This is the second story in my series, Chronicles of Las Vegas. It's not necessary to read the first story, A Midsummer Nightmare in order to understand this story but if you want to go through from the beginning, that would be your starting point. :)

They had closed up half an hour ago, but he still had work that needed to be done and he felt that not having the stress of a constant influx of customers would get the job done faster. He sat alone in his dimly lit office, possessed by the monitor of his computer, typing faster than his brain could process. Every now and then he'd stop for a moment and delete a line of what he had written, deciding it was not good enough. He contemplated over the day, it had been an eventful one to say the least, his schedule was packed and there had not even been enough time to change into a less formal outfit.

A photo on his desk caught his attention, it was of his wife, a beautiful woman of his age, long brown hair complimented her emerald green eyes, and her facial features were perfect in every aspect. He was holding her and his daughter in her arms, a spitting image of himself; she had his brown eyes, his button nose and his mousy-brown hair, although hers were braided into pigtails.

"I'm sorry I missed you again, babe," he spoke to the photo of his daughter. It was the third night in a row he'd been forced to do overtime at the restaurant, business wasn't booming as usual, it had been a tough year so far finances had decreased and he'd been forced to lay off a few staff. He hated doing that, but it was a necessary evil to keep the business alive.

The man got up to make himself a cup of coffee, however the pot was empty which meant his supplies had run out for the night. Conceding defeat in favour of sleep, the man shut down his computer and grabbed his coat as he prepared to leave. The office was a tip, but then again he could leave it for the cleaning staff to mop up in the morning. He approached the door but then he heard a knock on the door, just before he had reached it.

"Who's there?" He called out. It was almost quarter to one, 'who on earth knocks at this time?' He thought to himself.

"It's me," the person on the other side replied. He was sure he recognised the voice from somewhere but he couldn't match it to a name or face.

"Who's me?"

"Just open the door and find out, you fool," the person behind the door said in a light-hearted manner. He decided that he had to leave anyway so he had no choice but to open the door, still attached to the chain, to see a familiar face standing there.

"Oh," his face brightened up, he unchained the door and invited the man inside, "it's you, you should have said before! Come in, come in."

The sun shined brightly on what was looking to be another sweltering Friday in June, despite only being out in the sun for less than ten minutes, Catherine was already starting to feel hot and sticky in the dry Nevada climate. She could see that Greg was similarly feeling the same, today he was sporting a cap which she knew was generally abandoned unless absolutely necessary.

The two of them were ushered towards a room on the far right side of the restaurant where they were greeted by Jim Brass, notebook and paper in hand, "cleaning crew found him," Brass pointed to a couple of tall ladies both babbling their statements to Officer Mitchell. "The victim is a Mr Roland Herriot, owner of the imaginatively named Herriot Steakhouse."

"Yeah, I've eaten here a couple of times," Greg said looking around the room, "they do a mean sirloin."

"Yeah, well I think you should get food off your mind before you go in, it ain't pleasant."

The two of them were led under the crime scene tape and into the office of Roland Herriot. The room was a mess; papers lay scattered on the floor, books had been taken off the shelf and flung anywhere, various decorations lay shattered on the floor as if the room had been hit by a tornado. Greg immediately moved to the left hand side of the room to take photos. The body lay on the floor behind the desk, a pool of blood had emerged from the head and David was crouching over it, recording various observations. Catherine noted the large amount of blood spatter which covered the walls around them. Brass was right, Hazmat were going to be busy.

"Okay David," Catherine walked over to where he was crouched, "tell me about the body."

"Liver temp was ninety-two," David read off his notes, "suggests TOD was approximately four hours ago, means lividity isn't fixed yet. Could you err, help me roll him." Catherine complied, making sure the body didn't flail around as David examined, "large head wound and a second smaller wound at the back of the head, possible blunt force trauma, consistent with the blood spatter around the room. No signs of a gunshot wound or any stabbing, I'd say your victim was beaten, by something heavy."

"Thanks David." Catherine continued to process the room, taking photographs as she examined the blood spatter and searched for anything which could inflict the damage visible to Roland Herriot's head. Something quickly caught her eye; the computer monitor on the desk looked askew, not in line with the position of the desk. Furthermore, she noticed a small amount of what looked to be blood on the corner of the monitor. Testing with hydrogen peroxide confirmed her findings, whether it belonged to the victim was another matter. "I got blood here."

"There's blood everywhere, Cath," Greg pointed out. He bent down and looked at each of the books which had been discarded on the floor, "it's pretty obvious there was a struggle here. But judging from the position of these books, I wouldn't say they were accidentally knocked off, they look as if they were thrown off by someone. It looks like whoever was in here was searching for something."

"Krabby Patty Formula?" Catherine joked, Greg gave her a blank look, but then again he'd never had a growing child, "don't worry."

Greg smiled to himself; he was reminded of the weird looks many of his co-workers had given him having said something unrelated or inappropriate. "I got a bloody shoe impression," he took a photograph of the print, "hey, do you have any Fluorescent Blood Lifting Strips? I haven't restocked yet."

"Preparation Greggo," she smiled at him, "I've got a few in mine, just have a look in my kit and no, you're not gonna find what I think you're thinking of in there."

Greg smirked and went fishing around for what he needed whilst Catherine looked around to see if there was anything which could have been a murder weapon. Intact snow globe, no. Piggy bank, unlikely, it was still in one piece. Russian nesting dolls, unlikely, there were no signs of blood on them. There weren't any instruments around which could have been used; the killer could have bought his own weapon.

"Catherine," Brass had re-entered the room, moving out of the way to let David push the body out on the gurney, "I'm moving half my guys out. We got another four-nineteen out on Industrial; let's just say that Hazmat will be having a very fun day."

"Okay, we'll be finishing up here shortly anyway," she lifted off one last print from the bookshelf and turned back to Jim. "This city just never sleeps."

"Well, it's all good for the job."

"Oh man, I hate it when we get the early morning callouts," Nick complained to Sara as they got out of the Denali, "why can't they wait til after shift's over to dial nine-one-one?"

"You know how it is Nick," Sara responded, "we get everything from midnight to eight am. Prime time."

There was no hiding the frustration in Sara's voice, she too, was annoyed at being called out just half an hour before shift was due to end and following an uneventful seven and a half hours of paperwork and playing "flick the paper ball into the waste basket" she just wanted to go home and put her feet up. Worst of all was that this was the third time it had happened that week, which meant that yet again she was going to have to pull a double.

"This city just never sleeps," she muttered to herself.

The two CSIs were led round the back of a plumbing shop where there were two police cars and several unis standing around the crime tape. The CSIs were greeted by a Detective Vega who looked grim and particularly tired in the morning heatwave. "I hope you have a strong stomach," he warned them, "I already got two of my units puking and it ain't because of the heat."

Sara and Nick walked under the tape and approached the body of a white male who couldn't have been any older than twenty-five. He was dressed in sports attire and his cap was covering his face, the Rolex on his wrist suggested he was rather wealthy. It would have looked like he'd simply took a nap in the shade were it not for the fact that his torso had been sliced open, like a 'Y' incision, from the throat all the way to the naval, the skin folded over showing off his internal organs to the world.

"Nice," Nick said sarcastically, "Thanksgiving's not supposed to be for another five months."

"It looks like someone tried to perform an autopsy on him," Sara said, ignoring Nick's comment, "only they lost interest and just, dumped him here. I presume they dumped him, there's not nearly enough blood at the scene for this type of wound."

"Well whatever it was, it must be some kind of crime of passion, or something symbolic," Nick concluded, "if you're gonna kill someone, you do it quickly, you generally don't waste time cutting them open."

"Could be torture?"

"Maybe but I mean this could have been done post mortem, we'll have to see what autopsy tells us." He adjusted his cap, keeping the glazing sun from blinding him as he took a closer look at the body, "Chrysomya rufifacies."

Sara gave him a blank look, "Can you say that again? But not in gobbledigook?"

"Has your husband not taught you anything?" Nick laughed, "Blowfly larvae, these fellers have started hatching which suggests this guy's been dead about twenty-four hours, possibly less if he's been out in the heat all day, that generally speeds up their life cycles."

"Grissom would be so proud," she teased.

"Yeah, well I bet you didn't know that the female blowfly can smell blood from ten miles away and she can lay up to five hundred eggs at one time and over two thousand in her whole life."

"Don't push it. Hey, I got some substance here by the dumpster, but I don't think it's blood." She knelt down and sniffed it, "urine." At that moment Sara's pager began beeping, which forced a frustrating growl out of Sara, "Damn it. Suspicious death in Henderson. Could be suicide. Sorry Nick, I'm gonna have to go to this one."

"Seven fifty-three as well, bad luck. I should be alright on my own for this one. Enjoy."

Nick watched as Sara walked over to one of the officers who would take her down to the scene in Henderson. Nick turned his attention back to the scene and began taking photographs and looking for anything out of the ordinary. He found a few gravitational blood drops; perfectly circular leading up to the body but there was no sign of any blood spatter elsewhere on the scene.

"Hey Vega," he called out to the detective who was taking a statement from a distressed elderly woman, presumably the owner of the plumbing shop, "did you get any ID from the vic?"

"No not yet," he replied, "Shop owner says she's never seen him before and found him as she was taking the trash out. I haven't checked the body for ID, not until the coroner's here."

"I'm here, I'm here," came a high pitched voice belonging to David, who had arrived on cue, "sorry I'm late. Oh and was that Sara just leaving then?"

"Yeah," Nick replied, "she got called out to another scene. You're gonna have a fun day."

David sighed and replied forcefully, "this city just never sleeps." He walked over to the body and crouched down beside it noting, "Hmm, looks like someone started without me."

"I estimated that judging by the larvae beginning to hatch on the body that he's been dead no longer than twenty four hours, could you confirm that?"

"Well, the body's no longer in rigor mortis which suggests he's been dead a while, but lividity isn't fixed which suggests your body's been moved. I'd probably estimate a TOD between twelve and twenty four hours."

"How about taking a liver temp?"

"Well judging by the nature of his wounds, his internal organs have become more exposed to the elements; it won't get you an accurate time of death."

"Okay, thanks Super-Dave."

Nick proceeded to conducting a sketch map of the crime scene, taking more photos of the scene to refer back to. In reality, there was nothing else to collect really and he was just waiting for David to release the body. He saw David patting the body down and that he had pulled out a wallet, handing it to Nick. "I got some ID of the vic."

"Let's see then," Nick muttered to himself as he walked towards Detective Vega whilst sifting through the victim's wallet. "Got a few bills in here, plenty of cards, rules out robbery as a motive. The victim is a Mr Joseph Huyt, twenty four years old and is residing in, Victorville, California?"

"Victorville?" Vega responded, equally surprised, "well Vegas attracts people from all over, one massive tourist trap."

"Yeah," Nick nodded in agreement, "well, we know someone certainly lured Joseph Huyt into that trap."

"Your victim put up quite a fight," Doc Robbins began recounting his findings to Catherine, who stared at the lifeless body on the slab, "I found multiple defensive wounds, bruises on the knuckles and some skin underneath his fingernails. I've sent that to DNA."

"Well that'll certainly give us a suspect," Catherine noted, with a hint of optimism, "what about the contusions all over his face?"

"Well, your victim took a bit of beating before death, but I suppose you're wondering what your COD is." Catherine nodded and Doc Robbins continued, "your victim suffered multiple blows to the head. This," he wandered behind the body and indicated the smaller wound, "looks to be caused by a fall or a knock, and was not your fatal wound."

"I have a feeling I know where that came from," Catherine said, remembering the blood she had found on the side of the computer monitor.

"This smaller wound was followed up by someone repeatedly smashing his skull. Now the weapon wasn't your conventional weapon. It shattered. I found fragments of what appear to wood in the wound cavity, I'll need you to get this to trace." He held up a dish of what looked to be wood chippings, "but your COD is multiple blunt force trauma which fractured the frontal lobe, causing massive haemorrhaging at the top of the skull to occur."

"Well if that's true we're potentially looking at a crime of opportunity."

"Not necessarily," Doc Robbins responded, "well I'm no CSI but there's no saying they couldn't have used his gun or knife or whatever they brought with them."

"Well, the office suggested a struggle and you're saying the victim defended himself. Maybe the killer had to improvise?"

"Maybe so," Doc Robbins chuckled, "but I think that is something you should be talking to your sidekick about."

"Sorry Doc, I'll let you go back to chopping bodies up," Catherine joked making her way towards the exit of the morgue, "oh and just to warn ya, you've got another on the way."

"I look forward to it," he replied sarcastically without looking up from his notebook, "you have a good day."

Catherine left the morgue, ditching her scrubs in the cloakroom and making her way up to Trace, with the wood chippings in hand. She had a vague inkling she may have already encountered the murder weapon but she couldn't always rely on their judgement. She saw David walking towards her; he was wheeling in Nick's body dump for autopsy.

Just as they crossed paths, David lifted the sheet off the body, exposing the mutilated corpse beneath it, "someone started my job without me," he chuckled to Catherine.

"Ooh, tasty," she joked back to him, "Doc's looking forward to it I can tell you that."

"Well I hope he's not got anything planned later, I've got another one to pick up in Henderson."

"Busy morning," Catherine replied, David simply nodded at her and carried on walking. She paused for a moment, trying to remember where she was heading to, muttering herself, "God, I love this job."

Tears were falling from her emerald green eyes as the woman sat weeping across the desk from him. She was an attractive woman although she was obviously trying to hide her features during her time of grief. This had always been his least favourite part of the job; Jim Brass was not widely recognised for his compassion and abilities as a shrink. He passed a box of tissues to the bereaving widow of Roland Herriot, adding softly, "just take your time, there's no rush."

Samantha Herriot quietly took a tissue and dabbed her eyes with them, sniffling slightly she managed to regain some of her composure, "okay," she sniffed.

"When was the last time you spoke to your husband?" Brass asked calmly.

"Y-yesterday morning, just before he left for work," she discarded the tissue and pulled another one out of the box, "But he called me last night, saying he was going to be staying late again."

"What time did you receive this phone call?"

Samantha paused in thought for a moment before replying, "it was, it was around ten thirty, so I went to bed, thinking that he'd be lying next to me when I woke up this morning."

"Okay then," Brass responding, jotting what she had said into his notepad, "and you didn't notice anything strange about this? Your husband wasn't being agitated or nervous at all?"

"I didn't th-think anything of it really, he's been staying late a lot recently, and he's needed to sort out some issues w-with the restaurant. We had a couple of lawsuits last year following a small outbreak of food poisoning in the restaurant; he says he still keeps getting death threats from them. You don't suppose any of those people had some involvement do you?"

"They might well do, we'll be looking into them. Is there anyone else who had something against your husband?"

"Urrm, well there was some rivalry with the owners of the nearby restaurants and bars but not enough to want him dead."

"You'd be surprised at the lengths people go to, to get someone out the way." Samantha gave him a look of horror, and in those eyes Brass could see the joyous spirit that Samantha Herriot once had diminishing away in just a matter of moments. He never contemplated really just how a few little words or actions could flip someone's life upside-down.

"Okay Mrs Herriot, that's all I have to ask for the time being," he handed her a card, "if you've got any questions, feel free to give me a call. We'll keep you updated as best we can."

She took the card and thanked him quietly, collecting her stuff to leave Brass' office, but before she left she turned back and asked him quietly, "can, can I see him?"

Brass hesitated slightly, he firmly agreed with the coroner in thinking that nobody should say goodbye in an autopsy room, but the look on Samantha Herriot's face and her breakdown when he had gone to bring her the bad news said it all.

"Akers, would you take her down to the morgue please," he said reluctantly.

Akers nodded and escorted the woman out of Brass' office. Brass heaved a heavy sigh and sat back in his chair staring at the mountain of paperwork which had accumulated on his desk. He noted the paper at the top had been designated a priority; he knew also that whatever it said, would require a large dosage of coffee beforehand; or possibly a nice, cool beer.

A/N: That is the end of Part 1 of the story, the second part will be up sometime tomorrow. Feel free to tell me what you thought of it and I hope you enjoyed the story and stay tuned for the rest of it! :)