Brass peered through the interrogation room window at the large Hispanic man who Sara had attempted to 'seduce' at the nightclub earlier that evening. Sara herself had now showered and had dressed herself into a more formal attire, more suited to her job. Brass noticed the woman on the man's right talking to him frantically, the man didn't appear to be giving any notice to her at all; his beady eyes stared at the door transfixed, awaiting Brass to step inside and begin the interrogation. Brass knew the man wasn't scared, they'd met several times before and nervous was not a word to describe Juan Menard.
"Wait out here a moment," Brass said quietly to Sara. "I'll warm things up a little. That woman there," he pointed to Juan's attorney, "right piece of work she is, just you watch."
"So I just wait out here until...?" Sara faltered.
"I'll give you a signal," Brass said, mockingly putting his hand through his almost non-existent hair. Sara rolled her eyes and left to go and stand in the observation room. Brass checked to make sure he'd brought the appropriate files with him and confidently strode into the interrogation room.
"Jimmy!" Juan called out with delight, "how're you doing my man?" The attorney gave Brass a cold look as he sat down whilst Brass tried to ignore Juan's attempts to turn this into a casual conversation.
"Let's cut the crap, Juan," he said gruffly, "where were you on Tuesday night?"
"Don't answer that," the attorney hissed at Juan, she turned to face Brass giving him another cold stare which Brass could only liken to a vulture, a particularly ugly one. "Captain Brass, are you aware that you have no right to hold my client, especially given the methods which were used to bring him into custody?"
"Mrs Mothrot," Brass said bitterly, proudly displaying his disgust towards the woman.
"That's Mrs Mothert!" She intervened, appalled by Brass' blatant error.
"My bad," he muttered uncaringly, "anyway, I can assure you that the operation earlier this morning went through the appropriate paperwork and was signed by the..."
"I understand you used members of CSI to assist you," Mothert sneered, "who are not supposed to take part in such..."
"I can assure you ma'am, it's all approved here in the paperwork," Brass said tossing over a piece of paper, "signed by Mayor Grimmle himself. Whilst you are correct in thinking that CSI are not supposed to intervene with LVPD events such as these, it was necessary in this case. Juan knows all us cops, don't you Juan?"
"Jimbo here's my biggest buddy," Juan spoke cheerfully.
"I advise you to remain quiet Mr Menard," Mothert hissed. "But am I right in thinking that one member was taken in by CSI Stokes? He shouldn't be doing the duties of police..."
"CSI Stokes has been trained appropriately with LVPD in the past, his skills were necessary," Brass spoke up rapidly. "Besides, our very own Officer Mitchell bought Juan in, and I'm talking to Juan, so let's get back to business. Where were you Tuesday night, Juan?"
He sat back and confidently shrugged his shoulders, "same as every night, go to a few clubs with my boys, check out all the pretty girls." Brass gestured to Sara, signalling her to come into the room. The door opened carefully and Sara made her way to the table taking a seat next to Brass. Juan's eyes began to light up, "hey baby, you remember me?" He pulled up his sleeves revealing the many tattoos which lined it. "You looked sexier your little blue gown."
"Shut it," Brass said irritably, Sara pulled out a photo and passed it across the table to Juan. "You recognise this girl from your daily prowl?"
Juan studied the photo carefully. A young woman, in her early twenties lay dead, spread-eagled across the ground, a bullet wound in her head. What the woman was lying on alarmed Juan slightly, a cross had been painted on the ground, the woman's body positioned like a crucifix. Painted around the body, were large orange embers emitting from the cross, similar to the design on his chest.
"Never seen her before in my life," he declared, sliding the photo away from him.
"Wow, wasn't expecting that," Sara said sarcastically. "Let's see your Picasso then," Sara pointed at Juan's chest where the tattoo was situated, "come on, I know you're not shy."
"What physical evidence do you have which places my client at the scene," Mothert leered.
"Is that it?"
"Well I doubt it's coincidence. Did we mention she was also raped before she was shot? Several times? We found multiple semen donors, none of whom we got a hit off of in CODIS."
"Yeah," Brass continued, "and it just so happens that we don't have any members of Los Ángeles de la Muerte in our database."
"But that doesn't prove that my client was involved," Mothert protested.
"Rape and murder is not our thing," Juan spoke.
Brass looked at him surprised, "so calling yourselves The Angels of Death is just for show then?"
"I know some of our members have dealt with drugs or had violent histories, but there's good reason why we're not on record."
"Well we can prove your innocence if you give us a DNA sample," Sara said to him, taking out a swab.
"Go to hell bitch," Juan declared angrily, "you think I'm that stupid to think that I'll be out of here just by opening my mouth. I know what you people do with DNA, if I give in, I'm a marked man, I mean, you could pin me for just about everything."
"So there are other offences then?" Brass asked interested.
"I ain't saying nothing, Jim, and I know you can't hold me forever. In a few hours I'll be outta here, like Free Willy, riding the waves off into the sunset."
"We're done here," Mothert declared, she rose from the table and whispered into Brass' ear, "you don't stand a chance, you've got nothing."
Brass smirked, "well if we can't get anything from the big boss, we've still got six of his minions to talk to, whether they're dead or not."
Greg put on a pair of scrubs and made his way to the morgue. Unlike many of his colleagues, he rather enjoyed visits to autopsy, having a secretly gruesome interest in forensic pathology. Whilst he wasn't one to dissect dead animals he'd find, he'd like to say he had a fondness to this part of the investigation and had he not gone down the DNA route, he'd have certainly considered becoming a coroner. Or a rock-star, he thought to himself.
His cell phone began beeping, someone had left a voicemail. Greg hesitated whether to listen to it or not, he hadn't received a letter for the past week now, they'd found a new method of communication, whoever they were. Greg took a deep breath and pressed 'one' to listen to his messages.
"Hi Greg, it's me," a cheerful female voice could be heard playing. "Just rang to say that I'm still waiting for your call. Call back, okay."
Greg closed the phone, relieved. It had only been Amy after all. In any usual case, whenever a woman had given him her number he'd be one to call straight away, but he knew there was something definitely odd about Amy Griffin. She seemed to know him, but he had no idea who she was. On the day he'd given her a lift home, he'd asked how she knew him, and she kept changing the subject. She'd even called him Hojem, and Greg could only think of two other people who called him that, his Papa Olaf... and them.
Greg figured he must be going mad, she was pretty, no, she was gorgeous and practically begging for him and he was turning her away. Greg guessed that maybe some of that was down to her being too suspiciously clingy but also, he felt a little wary with women since his encounter with Ellen earlier that year. Get it out your head, Greg, they're not all out to get you, he had to keep telling himself every time he kept thinking about it.
Shaking off his thoughts he passed through the double doors which led to the morgue where he noticed that Doc Robbins had just finished stitching up the body. "Greg," he said cheerfully, "I guess you'll want the reports from Mr Ellis."
"Fire away, Doc!" Greg replied, bearing a large grin.
"You weren't investigating the Joseph Huyt case were you?" Doc Robbins asked to which Greg shook his head, "well COD in both cases was exsanguination due to blood loss. Your victim was sliced open with a small blade precisely five millimetres wide which was identical to the blade used in the death of Joseph Huyt."
"That's a grisly way to go," Greg commented, "so the deaths of the other guy and Matthew Ellis are pretty much identical?"
"Not exactly," Doc Robbins said. "I found two noticeable differences between the cases. Take a look at the back of the neck, what do you see?"
Greg peered at the back of the man's neck; he noticed that there were slight burns which were dotted along it. "These look like taser burns."
"I also found some adhesive residue on his wrists and ankles, just like last time, only Joseph Huyt wasn't tasered."
"So do you reckon this guy fought back?" Greg asked.
"I didn't find defensive wounds on either body. Joseph Huyt was an able man; I reckon he could have easily fought off the attackers, which makes me think he was initially controlled in another way."
"I never determined it, although when I did a preliminary tox on him I found nothing unusual, my guess, chloroform, that's metabolised quickly."
"Maybe they couldn't get any? Or they went for something more reliable," he noticed another mark on the back of the neck, "hey Doc; did you note the bruise on his neck as well?"
"That's something I was just about to point out, petechiae bruising, I deduced he had a pendant of some sort. Interestingly, when we spoke to Joseph Huyt's girlfriend, she noted that his Star of Joseph pendant was missing."
"So our killer likes to take souvenirs. You said that the other guy was Jewish, right? Nick found some ID in his wallet at the scene, I recall him belonging to a Baptist Church in North Las Vegas."
"I suppose you want me to talk about the ribs now then," Doc Robbins placed some x-rays on the board behind them.
"What about the ribs?" Greg asked. Doc Robbins passed him a photo showing the body on the autopsy table, from what Greg could see the rib cage had been prised open, exposing the chest cavity and internal organs inside. He began to pale as he realised a strange familiarity about the corpse.
"As you can see," Doc Robbins began talking through his findings, however to Greg, it was only background noise as he attempted to remember where he'd seen this before. "The fracture lines on the bone radiate away from the main source which indicate that these wounds were peri-mortem. Unlike last time where it appears the ribs were cut by the same tool used to slice the victim open, the wound track suggests something like a saw was used to separate..." Doc Robbins stopped talking for a moment, realising that Greg wasn't paying any attention. "Greg? Something wrong?"
"No," Greg looked up, giving Doc Robbins a slightly concerned look. "There's something I need to look up quickly." Taking the photo he walked briskly out of the morgue without saying a word.
"Greg?" Doc Robbins called out to him, but he received no response. "Oh well," he said tapping the dead body of Matthew on the shoulder, "it's just you and me Matty."
David poked his head round the corner of the office, "Hey! I'm here too!"
Vartann received a page from Catherine, instructing him to meet her in the layout room as soon as convenient. The layout room, that generally meant it was case related and he was disappointed that probably means they wouldn't be able to have a one-on-one chat. It had been a while since he'd seen her, far too long, it appeared that they're days off appeared to not coincide with each other, and the one time they did both get a day off they had both been called in to work this very case.
He was hoping to ask her to move in with him, he'd asked at the end of last year and she'd respectfully declined at that time and then the subject was never really brought up again. Maybe if they did live together they'd certainly see each other more, it would be convenient for both of them because they both worked nights and they had no interest in starting up a family between them, not when they both had grown-up children now.
"Detective! Detective!" A frantic voice called out to him, Vartann turned around and saw that the voice belonged to Norma Wainwright, the mother of Claire Wainwright, the victim. Standing next to her was Claire's younger brother, Lucius. Vartann looked at the two of them pitifully; he'd interviewed them both twice over the past week relating to Claire's death, back when they had no suspects. Now they had some in custody, he knew he'd have to give them the update. Norma looked at him pleading, "please tell me you've found the monsters who took my daughter."
"We believe to have found the perpetrators who are currently under interrogation," Vartann explained to them. "We're awaiting CSI to confirm this however."
"So you expect us to wait some more then," Lucius, the younger brother snapped, "we've waited two nights for information, that's long enough! Is this how you treat all your victims?"
Vartann frowned; this kid clearly had no idea how things were run around here, "with all due respect Lucius, "you're not the only one who's having to wait for answers here." He summoned a nearby officer standing by, "Officer Denison, could you brief the Wainwrights regarding progress through Claire's case?"
"I'm Officer Langley," the officer said, tiredly, obviously used to the fact they were often confused.
"You know everyone gets the two of you mixed round, I'm told I'm needed urgently, just fill them in with the details but don't mention any names."
"No problem Detective."
"Archie!" Nick joyously walked into the A/V lab patting the lab tech on the shoulder as he took a seat beside him. "Please tell me you've got something?"
"Nope," the lab tech replied sharply, continuing to run work for another case from Swing.
"Come on Archie, don't mess with me, we always get something from A/V."
"I wasn't kidding, but I'll show you the only thing which stood out to me," he muttered bringing up a file from the surveillance camera overlooking the nightclub. "I analysed this footage from around nine am yesterday up to when you guys start arriving. The only vehicle which turned into that alley way was a GMC Savana at four fifty-eight pm. It pulls out of the alleyway two minutes later."
"Did you get any plates?"
"Nope, the camera angle's all wrong. I can tell you it's a first generation, built between ninety-six and o-two but that's all I've got, sorry."
"Damn there must be hundreds of those in Vegas alone, let alone elsewhere."
Detective Vega walked into the room, "I hear we've got a new slice 'n' dice case. I took a look into our previous suspect in Huyt's case, Geoffrey Nugent."
"And?" Nick asked hopeful.
"He's dead. Car accident, three weeks ago, Days handled the case."
"That's a reasonable alibi," Archie muttered, not looking away from his screen.
"Who else did we have?" Nick asked, trying to remember suspects from the previous case, "what about the crazy hobo?"
"Still in jail for lashing out at me," Vega commented, "and it seems implausible when you think about it. I heard Sanders is investigating as well, you checked on him recently?"
"Why, what's up with him?"
"I saw him alone in your office, frantically engaged at the computer, he didn't look to well."
"Yeah, well I hope he's found something because at the moment, we've got nothing."
The layout room had been plastered with photos and documents relating to Claire Wainwright's case. The CSIs stood around it along with Detective Vartann discussing the case and identifying if there may have been another perpetrator.
"Alright guys," Catherine called them all to attention, "let's run through the case again." There was an elusive groan from the rest of the members of the team at this announcement; they'd been through from the beginning several times now and it had begun to get tedious. "Claire Wainwright, twenty-two years ol, leaves her house on Tuesday night with a group of friends around seven pm."
"We talked to all her friends, they were all at the Tangiers, barman confirms they were there and denies seeing Claire," Vartann spoke. "We can rule them out."
"Claire says she's feeling tired and decides to go home early," Ray continues the story. "She leaves her friends at around ten pm and calls for a taxi."
"But the taxi never picked her up," Sara finished off for him, "the coroner puts her time of death between ten-thirty and eleven-thirty. Juan Menard claims they were out Tuesday night as well but that's as far as he's talking."
"I spoke with Julio Carne," Vartann spoke up. "He claims they were in Pigalle all night. I spoke with the bouncers, they confirm the gang were there but one of the guys got chucked out for getting a bit raunchy with one of the girls. They all left shortly afterwards."
"What time was that?" Catherine asked.
"He said around ten pm," Vartann answered.
"Pigalle is what, six or seven blocks away from where Claire Wainwright was found dead?" Ray spoke. "That's perfectly logical when considering the time frame."
"Okay," Catherine talked again, "the coroner concluded that Claire had been raped, she was errm, covered in semen," she remarked disgusted. "Selma spoke to me and said she'd found five donors and they weren't a match to the five friends who Claire went out with."
"She was also shot," Sara said, "but we didn't find a gun anywhere near the scene."
"Bobby Dawson determined the bullet was a thirty-eight calibre and that the pistol was most likely a Bersa Thunder Three-Eighty," Ray read the ballistics report. "I know it's flimsy, but that pistol originates in Argentina which happens to be where..."
"Yes Ray, that is flimsy," Catherine chuckled.
"Juan said something that murder and rape was 'not their thing,'" Sara pointed out. "That seems partially true, I mean, Los Ángeles de la Muerte have never been convicted of anything, although we have suspected large drug involvements, murder and rape is not on their repertoire."
"Hey!" Selma suddenly burst into the layout room looking giddy; Catherine could tell that she was jumping up and down a little with excitement. "I think I've got a breakthrough!"
"I hope this is good Selma," Catherine said.
"It is, trust me!" She talked quickly. "I decided to do some further analysis to your spunk samples..."
"Semen samples, Selma," Catherine reminded her.
"Sorry boss. Anyway, one of our guys has, how should I put it? He has a rather small army."
"Oligozoospermia," Ray said. "One of the main causes of male infertility around today."
"Yes, well I got a call from the hospital where one of our Backstreet Boys is staying. They did some blood tests and discovered a combination of Zinc, Vitamin C and trihydroxyflavone, which in combination are components of Semen Enhancement pills. The name of your hospital guy is Nicholas Ilsez, I reckon he's one of our five donors."
"Good work Selma," Catherine congratulated her, "Lou... sorry, Detective Vartann, could you and Ray go to Desert Palms, have a chat with this Nicholas Ilsez, I reckon we might have enough for a warrant for his DNA. I'm thinking if we can get one to cave, the rest will be dropping like flies."
"What's up, G?" Greg looked up and saw Nick as well as Doc Robbins standing in the doorway of the office which he, Nick and Sara shared.
"I think I've got a breakthrough with the case," he replied, trying to not sound concerned although it appeared that Nick and Doc Robbins saw right through it. Selma knew about his situation with the letters and now the voicemails and it would only be a matter of time before he'd have to speak with them about it. "I need to talk to you all about something."
"What, about the case? Home? Family?" Nick asked.
"Mainly the case." Greg took in a deep breath. "I've called in someone to help us with it."
"You did what?" Nick yelled at him with surprise. "Come on Greg, you know better than to do things like that without passing them through the rest of the team!"
"Don't worry, I'm going to tell you both everything, in fact, I'll tell the whole team."
"Is this related to why you left autopsy earlier?" Doc Robbins asked.
Greg nodded. "The method in which our two victims were killed is very similar to a method of execution said to have been used in Norse mythology."
"Norse mythology?" Doc Robbins asked confused.
"Yes. Well, not everyone believes this was used, but it has been widely documented, Papa Olaf used to tell me about it to freak me out sometimes. The execution was performed by cutting the ribs from the back of the spine, pulling them outwards to represent bloody wings. Then the victim would be cut open, and their lungs would be pulled out."
"But our victims ribs weren't cut at the spine, they were cut at the sternum," Doc Robbins commented.
"That was an alternative method; it was supposedly difficult to break them from behind so sometimes it was done from the other way. This execution was known as Blood Eagle, as represented by the bloody wings when the ribs have been pulled outwards."
"What's up Greg, usually when you get a breakthrough you're all joyous and happy, especially if it's related to your interests, Norse mythology should be right up your street!" Nick told him, confused by Greg's unnatural behaviour. "You seem a little deflated. What gives?"
Greg felt sick but he knew he'd have to spit it out at some point. "There's more. It's a long story but I'll just get to point quickly. Someone wants me dead."
A/N: That was the end of Part two, I hope you enjoyed it! Part three will be up sometime tomorrow! The feedback so far has been fantastic! A massive thanks to everyone who's reviewed so far, keep them coming! :)
I'd just like to put a little dedication to anyone affected by the heinous attacks in Oslo yesterday, as this story will delve into Norway a little I feel I should mention it. RIP to the 92 who lost their lives.