59:39 , 59:38 , 59:37 , 59:36 ...
Nobody questioned Catherine as she ushered everyone into the layout room, CSIs, lab techs, even Judy the secretary was called in but from the look on Catherine's face whatever the problem was, it was urgent.
"We have a serial bomber on our hands," Catherine said.
"Oh god," Mandy cried out, "where's this one hit?"
"It hasn't, yet, we have one hour to find it and disarm it and I have an idea where it might be. Archie, what time did the bomb detonate this morning?"
"Seven twenty-five." Archie called out from behind Nick, rummaging through his notes.
"I've got a strong feeling that Marie Freybould was not the intended target in this attack."
Nick finally clicked onto what Catherine was talking about, "yes, because she was delayed on the way to work by the crash on Flamingo."
"That means she should have been in her office when the bomb went off," Sara also began to understand where this was going, "so then NevadaTelecom appears to be the intended target."
"That bomb explosion looked way too big to be targeted at just one person," Greg said worriedly.
"That's exactly what I'm thinking," Catherine called out to them, "Judy, I want you to call NevadaTelecom and tell them to evacuate the building as quickly as possible and tell them to stand well back, also I want a copy of surveillance tapes from the past hour of anyone who's entered or left the car park." Judy nodded and rushed off to make the call, "Sara, Nick, Greg and I will move out to NevadaTelecom, ready to process in case the worst happens. Ray, I don't want you fainting out there, I want you and Mandy to find the blueprints to the building, and find out where Marie Freybould's parking space is, and I think her car may have been chosen for a reason."
"Okay boss," Ray and Mandy said in unison, going off to research the blueprints.
"Archie! The lab got a call directly from the bomber himself, I want you to analyse the call, I thought I heard someone start an engine on the other side, see if you can identify the car from the noise." Archie nodded and followed Ray and Mandy out of the lab. "Hodges and Selma, Brass sent over a list of disgruntled employees that may want something against the company, I want you to do some research into them and see if you can find anything."
"And what can I do?" The sole remaining lab rat, Bobby Dawson asked, looking slightly dejected at being left until last.
"I need you to contact the coroners, get them out at the scene, then grab a spare kit and latex gloves, you're on field rotation."
Catherine ran off to get ready to go out into the field, leaving Bobby standing flabbergasted on the spot for a moment. A sense of excitement hit him as he realised he that field rotation couldn't have come up at a better time.
56:45 , 56:44 , 56:43 , 56:42 ...
"Brass," the homicide captain answered his phone, currently unaware of the situation as he was driving back to PD.
"Jim, it's Catherine," he heard on the other end of the line, her voice expressing concern and anxiety.
"Oh hey Catherine," he responded, casually stopping at a red light, "I faxed that list of names over to the lab and I found..."
"Jim, we've got another bomb set to explode in just under an hour," Brass felt his heart somersault as he heard the news, "I need bomb squad, ambulances, fire brigade, units outside the NevadaTelecom building ASAP."
"Understood Catherine, I'm on my way now." He hung up the phone and turned on his sirens causing the car in front to pull over. Brass executed a skilful U-Turn and began heading back out towards the building he had just left. He pulled out the radio and began speaking into it, "Dispatch, we have a ten-seventy-nine, requesting bomb squad, ambulances, fire department and all stand-by units to three-eight-three-two Howard Hughes Parkway ASAP, I repeat, three-eight-three-two Howard Hughes Parkway."
Without even listening to Dispatch's response, Brass continued driving straight for his destination, fearing the worst. Along the way he also requested Vartann's presence as well as that of many units who'd been sent out to speak with the suspects which Michael Wan, the worker at NevadaTelecom, had given to him.
Brass pulled up outside the office around ten minutes later and was relieved to see that ambulances and many units had already arrived. Still no sign of the bomb squad however and Brass had lost track of the time as he had sped down Las Vegas' roads and boulevards to get there.
"Everyone away!" Brass called out, "I don't want a single civilian within three hundred foot of that building!" He shouted to some of his units as they frantically set up the crime tape around the site.
People had begun pouring out of the building in a panic; Judy's call had reached one of the secretaries in the office who had in turn triggered the fore alarm. The expressions on peoples' faces as they stumbled across the front lawn were a mixture of both fear and utter confusion. Brass caught sight of Bradley Kiefers who was storming across the lawn looking enraged at him.
"I want to know what's going on here," he snapped at Brass.
"Mr Kiefers I need you get behind the tape," Brass replied calmly.
"I am not moving until you tell me what's happening."
"I say again, get behind the tape," said Brass, with anger apparent in his voice.
"And I say again, I'm not mo..."
"I suggest that if you don't want to be going home tonight in a matchbook, that you get behind the yellow tape," Brass yelled at Kiefers, who conceded defeat and moved out of the way. "God damn it, where are the bomb squad?"
45:22 , 45:21 , 45:20 , 45:19 ...
Sara fired up the Denali as Catherine and Bobby scampered into available seats, piling their kits in the back seat. In the event that the bomb was to explode at least they would already be at the scene and could begin to collect and document as quickly as possible.
"Urrm Catherine," Bobby asked hesitantly, as Sara reversed sharply out of the parking space, jerking the passengers sideways, "are you sure I'm qualified to be out here on a case like this?"
Catherine umm-ed and ah-ed for a bit before confidently saying, "No," adding, "but you gotta start somewhere."
"Catherine, did they say it was at Howard Hughes Parkway?" Sara asked from the driver's seat, not entirely sure where to go.
"Yep, just follow Greg." She indicated to the Denali in front of them which had just switched on its sirens and had begun to pick up speed as it pulled out of the car park. "Be thankful it's not Nicky driving, he'll be on the other side of the road and doing seventy, at least Greg keeps to the right."
Sara remembered hearing stories from Ray about the time he drove him to Venetti's to catch Jeckyll the previous year, and how Ray had joked that he was more certain he was going to die on that trip than he was in hospital following his stabbing. Catherine's phone began ringing as they zoomed along the roads of Las Vegas, doing at least twice the speed limit.
"Willows," Catherine answered her phone. The person on the other end was speaking loud enough for even Sara to hear over the noise of the sirens.
"Catherine!" Mayor Grimmle began yelling into the phone, "I've heard you've evacuated an office, taken a lab tech with you and deployed three quarters of the emergency services at once, all of which were without my authorisation! Tell me, what the hell are you doing?"
Sara looked over at Catherine for a moment and saw she had a huge smirk emerging on her face. She answered coolly, "saving your ass."
43:01 , 43:00 , 42:59 , 42:58 ...
Mayor Grimmle slammed the phone down furiously and stormed down the corridors of the crime lab, stepping into the AV lab where Archie was processing the phone call which Catherine had received from the bomber. The mayor spun Archie's chair round to face him, sneering, "Care to tell me what the hell is going on?"
"Listen for yourself," Archie played the phone call through to the mayor and his expression changed to a look of horror.
"Why was I not the first to know?" He exclaimed to the lab tech, who was both unnerved and confused as to why the mayor was intent on asking him.
"Because with all due respect, sir, you were busy ranting about how poorly I was doing my job," Ecklie walked into the AV lab, saving Archie from probable death.
"You let this happen, Conrad," the mayor hissed, "and god damn it, if this stunt fails, don't even bother coming into work tomorrow."
He slammed the door behind him and strode away, fuming under his breath. Several lab techs had poked their heads round the doors, wondering what the commotion was all about. Ecklie ushered them away, telling them to go back to their jobs.
"What is the deal with that guy?" Archie asked.
"Oh, don't mind him, he's just like every other mayor we've had," Ecklie said casually.
"Yeah, but still."
"Have you managed to extract anything from the phone call?"
"Sorry, call came from a disposable cell, but I'm trying my best to identify the type of car he used."
"Okay, keep at it Johnson," Ecklie began walking out the room but stopped for a moment and turned back to the AV technician, "you're doing a fine job, by the way. Keep it up."
36:12 , 36:11 , 36:10 , 36:09 ...
Catherine's phone began ringing again. They had gotten in contact with Brass and he had told them that the bomb squadron was still at least ten minutes away, due to the fact they were relatively low-staffed and the fact they were called out earlier in the day as well.
"Willows," she picked up the phone.
"Catherine, it's Ray," Catherine noted that even if he hadn't said who he was she could easily identify him from his deep voice, "Mandy and I looked at the history of the Nevada Telecom building. It has a unique feature where the main office is situated above the car park for aesthetic purposes."
"Well that's debateable," Catherine muttered.
Ray continued talking, "Hold on, I've got more. Ten years ago, the building was deemed unsafe due to improper construction design with the pillars and the company was ordered to reconstruct the pillars."
"Let me guess," Catherine said, "they paid off a huge sum of money to the city to drop the inquiry."
"You're half there; they only replaced the pillars on the ground floor. There's no record of them touching those on the upper floors of the car park."
"Hold on, how many floors does this place have?"
"Three parking levels, five levels of office space. If our bomb's as big as the one which went off earlier, I think we're looking at some serious damage, if one support column fails, the added stress on the others surrounding it could cause it to fail too."
"Do you reckon one of our disgruntled employees knew about this design flaw?"
"I'm almost certain of it, but you can narrow your search down to cars on the second and third floors and I reckon he'd have parked as close to one of the pillars as possible."
"Thanks Ray, I'll pass the message along."
"Is there anything more I can do to help?"
"You and Mandy can help Hodges and Selma go through the backgrounds of our suspects, but if you're feeling faint you go and take a break do you understand?"
"Yes boss." Catherine hung up the phone and contacted Brass on the radio straight away with the information which Ray had given them.
"How much crap have we landed in?" Sara casually asked.
"I'm up to my shoulders in it," Catherine responded.
34:36 , 34:35 , 34:34 , 34:33 ...
Greg's heart was pounding with both excitement and dread as they sped along the strip, flashing lights and sirens sounding out to all the cars which had braved the congestion along the strip.
"Hold tight," he told to Nick who was seated in the passenger seat, "I'm turning British for a moment."
In that instant he swerved onto the wrong side of the road where traffic was considerably lighter. The scene up by Flamingo had been cleared but the southbound direction was still closed. "Sara is gonna be so pissed off at you," Nick chortled as he looked in the interior mirror seeing that Sara who was following close behind was grumbling and panicking at the prospect of driving on the wrong side of the road.
Once they had turned back onto the right hand side of the road Greg began to relax a bit more, relieved that they were closing in on their destination although concern hit him as he hadn't anticipated what he might see.
"So when're you gonna tell us about your trip to LA," Nick said, breaking the tense silence between them.
"I don't think now's the best time," Greg replied calmly, without taking his eyes off the road.
"C'mon man, ever since we got back from the scene you've been far more reserved, it's as if you're hiding something."
Greg snorted, "I'm not hiding anything, and I've accepted everything which has happened, I'm just getting settled back into the job."
"How about we talk this over a few beers? It's Thursday today, and you know who works on Thursday."
Greg rolled his eyes as Nick incessantly tried to bring up the blonde barmaid with the enormous breasts who Greg had spent the entire night goggling at two weeks ago. He was thankful that Nick hadn't told everyone that Greg had unsuccessfully tried to get the girl's number only to be politely turned down.
"Fine, but you buy the drinks."
It became obvious they had arrived at their destination; hundreds of workers were stood opposite a tall office building looking confused and shocked. It looked like no apparent damage had been done yet but there were still plenty of police units around telling people to back away from the building. They were accompanied by three ambulances and a fire engine so far, he also saw David and Doc Robbins arriving alongside them in the coroner's van. Greg pulled up and he and Nick hopped out the Denali and grabbed their kits. Another Denali had pulled up alongside and the three occupants also quickly exited their vehicle and walked over to where Nick and Greg were, still behind the crime tape.
"So far, so good," Nick said cheerfully, observing the scene.
"Yes, but the fireworks aren't due to start for another half hour," Sara reminded him as the bomb squad finally arrived at the scene pulling up right in front of the building as men and women began hopping out of their vehicles.
30:16 , 30:15 , 30:14 , 30:13 ...
"Captain," A tough-faced woman approached Brass, "Nora Morrison, I'm the person in charge of my unit; I need to know what my guys are dealing with."
"Oh yeah, hold on a mo," Brass was caught off guard for an instant, he fumbled around for his notebook and found the details which he had noted from Catherine when she had called after Ray had told her about the poor foundations. "Pipe bomb, set on a timer..."
"What type of timer?" She asked quickly, tying her hair back into a bun.
"Digital, I think, if it makes a difference, it should be in the hood of the car and they reckon it'll be on the second or third floor, close to one of the concrete pillars."
"Did you get a make and model of car? Plates?"
"Not yet, but we'll update you as soon as we find it."
"Okay, and I presume it's the same type of bomb used earlier, dynamite with silica?"
"Thanks captain, oh and one more thing, how long do we have left?"
"Under half an hour. Be careful up there."
"Thanks for your concern captain, but we regularly play with fire, it's just another day in the office."
"Let's hope it's not your last," he muttered to himself sadly as Nora went back to her trucks to put on her blast suit and watched as many of her co-workers, armed with a scent dog, ventured into the car park, with the possibility of never coming out.
22:55 , 22:54 , 22:53 , 22:52 ...
"I think I got someone!" Selma cried out causing Ray and Mandy to pause what they're doing and go over to what Selma was looking at. She had brought up a file on the monitor and began reading, "Larry Durman, worked at NevadaTelecom for eight years, fired three months ago for being arrested for dynamite possession. Charges were dropped."
"Looks like the charges were dropped as there was no evidence to convict him," Ray continued reading, "I remember this guy! I think that particular case was handled by days, I'll go and talk to Ecklie about it."
"Oh and there's more!" Mandy said excitedly, "his neighbour happens to be, Marie Freybould, victim number one. Easy target to go for and I reckon he could have easily planted the bomb during the night."
"We got the bastard!" Selma exclaimed. "Although surely his epiphelials would have found a match in CODIS?"
"It says he refused a sample of DNA and the charges were dropped before they could get one," Mandy pointed out, "typical days."
"We should look up his vehicle information and financial records, maybe we'll give them all some help finding that car which contains the bomb!"
Hodges turned around in his seat, "well I've already found our bomber's plates. Nevada, Zero, Six, Six, King, Robert, Paul. He drives a red Ford Fiesta."
"I'm on it," Selma quickly got her phone out, realised she hadn't yet inputted Catherine's number and called out to the rest of them, "anyone got Catherine's number?"
Hodges sighed, taking out his phone saying sarcastically, "Well, if there's no other person."
21:09 , 21:08 , 21:07 , 21:06 ...
Catherine had begun pacing up and down anxiously awaiting news from the lab regarding the bombing and so far nothing had come through, she looked at her watch. Just over twenty minutes until detonation. When the phone did ring a couple of seconds later, her mind had wandered away.
"Catherine, are you gonna answer that?" Bobby asked.
Catherine's eyes suddenly widened with realisation and she picked up the phone. "Willows."
"Catherine, it's Hodges, we reckon we've got an identity on our bomber and his car."
"Just give me the car, David!" Catherine stuttered.
"It's a red Ford Fiesta; plates are Nevada, Zero, Six, Six, King, Robert, Paul." Catherine quickly jotted down the registration plate, "our guy is called Larry Durman, once suspected for..."
"Thanks Hodges that's great!" Catherine quickly said and hung up the phone and immediately got on the radio, without bothering to use standard procedure she picked up the radio and said, "the car you're looking for is a red Ford Fiesta, plates are Nevada, Zero, Six, Six, King, Robert, Paul. Nevada, Zero, Six, Six, King, Robert, Paul."
17:52 , 17:51 , 17:50 , 17:49 ...
Up on the second floor of the car park, Nora Morrison heard the radio broadcast and sent her unit out to find the red Ford Fiesta with the correct number plates. She noted that there were about two dozen pillars supporting the floors above, and many of them did indeed look damaged and improperly maintained. She became worried as it looked like the columns would not be able to withstand the explosion. She had seen the surveillance of the bombing that morning and the fact that they were more enclosed would only magnify the force of the explosion.
She looked left and right but couldn't see any sign of a Ford Fiesta, let alone one which matched the plates. "Morrison, there's no Ford Fiesta on this floor," she heard her second in-command Mickey broadcast from the third floor. Even the scent dogs hadn't picked up anything yet. Her units around her shared the same looks of confusion, dread and fear, thinking that maybe, they were looking for the wrong car or worse, they were looking in the wrong place.
16:31 , 16:30 , 16:29 , 16:28 ...
There was growing concern amongst the CSIs, the police units and the spectators as no news of locating the bomb had come through yet. What if there was no bomb, Catherine thought to herself. She rather liked the prospect was it not for the fact she would most certainly be suspended and demoted at the very least.
"I got sight of him," a voice was heard on the radio, "I see the guy you're looking for."
She saw Brass pick up the radio and talk through it, "where are you officer?"
"Desert Inn Road, I just saw him pull out of Valley View Boulevard, red Ford Fiesta, Nevada, Zero, Six, Six, King, Robert, Paul. Shall I pull him over?"
"No, just keep a close watch on him."
Then, the realisation struck, this wasn't who they were looking for. Their one big lead, their primary suspect, driving away into the distance...
14:44 , 14:43 , 14:42, 14:41 ...
A/N: Oh look, another cliffhanger, I'm such a meanie!
A 10-79 is standard police code for a bomb threat. Oh and whilst my story may be slightly flawed by the fact the dogs should quite easily pick up the scent in the car park, I've gone for the theory that the dogs are bored and fatigued having already been sent out earlier that day, thus reducing their effectiveness. ;) It's also great for dramatic purposes!
The fourth and final part of the story will be up tomorrow! Feel free to review and let me know what you think! :)