Disclaimer: I do not own CSI or its affiliated characters. Characters not in the series are my own.
A/N: This is the seventh story in my series, Chronicles of Las Vegas. Make sure you read the previous story, Blood Eagle (1x06) first, because this story directly follows on from it, which will allow you to fully appreciate the context of this story. :)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM.
Thursday, January 16, 1941
A lone man walked down the silent and blacked out streets of the British capital city. Even though it was a freezing twenty-one degrees, it did not faze the man although he still donned a large, winter jacket to protect him from the wind. He'd been walking for around an hour, along the way meeting virtually nobody except for perhaps a few members of the Home Guard or the odd homeless person, whom he would toss a penny to out of sympathy. People tended to stay inside in the winter evenings, but more so nowadays where it was unsafe even to venture out on a summer night.
He turned into a road which was unfamiliar, by that, the environment was unfamiliar, he made the route often but this was the first he'd seen it in this sorry state. Where once there were ordered terraces now lay in a disorganised concrete rubble, a haunting reminder of the devastating normality.
"You alright, son?" The man jumped as he saw a member of the Home Guard approach him. He was elderly and beginning to bald but strangely comforting, warming up the cold atmosphere around him. "It's not safe to be on the streets at night." He gestured to the houses lain in ruin behind them, and added solemnly, "three nights ago, there were fifty-two families living here."
"I'm errm... on my way to a friend's," the man replied naturally, forgetting he was no longer in his native country.
The Home Guard officer looked at him strangely, "you have a peculiar accent," he commented suspiciously.
"Urr... I'm from the North," the man hastily replied.
"Ah, you're Scottish," the Home Guard officer said satisfied. "I shoulda known. Run along now, Scottish or not, the Luftwaffe aren't gonna spare you any mercy."
The man quickly took the opportunity to walk away and continue heading towards his destination. Ten minutes later, he reached an area full of pubs and speak-easies; he approached a particular one with a red varnished door and knocked three times. A slot in the door opened and he felt a pair of eyes scan him thoroughly, having passed the 'test', the door opened to him and he was allowed entry.
The man descended down a candle-lit staircase into an open cellar type room. Five men were seated around a circular table in the room, playing cards and smoking cigars. They were the only people seated in the room; the man at the door followed him down the stairs and assumed his position as barman.
"Ah Hojem you made it," the man sat directly opposite the entrance cried out joyfully. He too had a foreign accent with matching blonde hair, although he sported facial hair and was a little older than Hojem. "Please, come and join us."
Hojem cautiously took a seat next to the man, whose name was Strasse. The barman came over and offered a drink to Hojem although he politely denied it, "no thanks, Grimsrund."
"So," the British man sat next to Hojem, Lewis, spoke up. "Shall we talk business?"
"What business is there to talk about?" Stasse said. "Quisling's just given us the job of recruiting and informing him of information regarding a counter-attack by the Allies."
"Shouldn't we be reporting this to Terboven?" Another man at the table spoke up.
"Terboven is not our leader, and never will be!" Strasse cried out causing the remaining men around the table to shush him to keep his voice down. "Sorry, it just makes me mad that the Nazis don't think we could rule ourselves."
There was the sound of unanimous agreement from around the table, although Hojem only contributed half-heartedly. At that moment, the faint yet distinctive sound of air raid sirens began to blare from the street above, although the men did not panic, for they were safe in this cellar. A few moments later the sound of knocking could be heard from the top of the stairs causing Strasse to roll his eyes.
"That's probably Poulsen, late again as usual," Strasse said in an annoyed tone. "Grimsrund, if you'd please."
They all watched Grimsrund climb the stairs to look through the door but a moment later they heard a loud crash, footsteps rapidly descending the staircase and the full sound of the sirens began to echo around the cellar. In an instant the room was filled with officers from the Home Guard all with loaded rifles pointing at the men around the room.
"All of you against the wall!" One of the Home Guard officers hollered to them. "Hands where I can see them! You're all under arrest for espionage as well as crimes against the country"
Hojem felt a sense of dread as he faced the wall, he felt an officer gruffly force his hands behind his back and felt the cold handcuffs encase his wrists. The sound of sirens began to magnify and the sounds of footsteps running along the road could also be heard. Hojem felt the officer move him away from the wall and push him towards the staircase. However the two of them were halted by the officer at the door, who simply pointed to Hojem. A sense of relief swept over him as his wrists felt freedom.
A look of horror emerged on Strasse's face upon seeing this exchange. "You!" He cried out. "You betrayed us?"
"You betrayed your country," Hojem smugly replied to the enraged Strasse.
"You're a dead man!" Strasse called out as he was led up the staircase, he shouted back in Norwegian. "You better watch your back, Hojem!"
Heeding to Strasse's advice, Hojem leaped up the staircase and back into the cold London air. He looked at Grimsrund, who also had not been arrested and tipped his hat to him, before taking off into the shadows of London's streets as the street returned to an eerie silence that was only interrupted by the distant sound of falling bombs and the oscillating wailing of the air raid sirens.
The wailing sirens of an ambulance passing by awoke Greg from his daydream. Was it a daydream? He looked around and found he was seated in the back of a police car. What was he doing here?
He quickly cast his mind back to the events earlier that evening. He'd helped catch some guys in a nightclub and then he'd begun investigating a series of gruesome deaths. The Blood Eagle. His mind clicked back into action as he recalled what had happened in the apartment. The door was unlocked, the air conditioning was left on, and his food had been taken from the fridge. And then the phone rang. He shuddered as he remembered the cold voice on the other end.
"You better watch your back, Hojem."
Then he remembered grabbing his pistol, which lay in the drawer by his bed. He had loaded it and taken the safety off. He remembered the butterflies he'd gotten, this was the closest he'd come to actually firing his weapon other than his qualification test. He looked into the bathroom where he saw the body of the serial killer's latest victim, displayed to show the true Blood Eagle. There was writing on the wall. DON'T. TURN. AROUND. He remembered hearing a noise, before gripping the pistol tightly and prepared, for the first time in his career, to shoot with intent to harm if necessary. He turned around.
Although he could feel someone, or something move behind him, he found himself looking at his empty hallway. The noise, he quickly realised was the bathroom door, which would automatically close slowly behind him emitting an eerie screech. Greg let the door close as he saw something on the back of it. More blood. More writing. Made you look.
He was being toyed with; Greg could feel the puppet strings tugging at his limbs as he carefully made his way towards his home phone, trying hard not to contaminate the crime scene. Before dialling nine-one-one, he paused for a moment. What would his colleagues think? What would the CSIs find? Could this be the end of his career as he knew it? The career he had fought desperately hard to obtain? The efforts he had made to convince his superiors that he could move from lab rat to field mouse, the first such move in the crime lab's history?
As he sat in the back of the police car, he realised his senses had come to him, he had done the right thing and had called the police department, but that proved little comfort to him as he had watched his apartment block overrun by law enforcement and he pleaded to himself, that whatever they would find, he would get out of it in one piece.
"Hold out your arms, please."
Greg complied as his colleague circled him, taking photographs of his clothes. Although he had figured that she knew he couldn't have been culpable, it was still necessary towards the investigation, it made him feel uneasy, it made him feel like the perpetrator.
"I'm sorry Greg," Sara told him sadly. "I'm gonna need your clothes and your shoes." She pointed to his feet and to his displeasure; he noticed the crimson bloodstains licking the sides of his shoes. He nodded to her and she told him. "Uh, I can look away as well?"
"Well it's not like you haven't seen everything," Greg chuckled to her, remembering an incident in his first year as a CSI where the two of them ended up having to be decontaminated by Hazmat.
Sara replied with a smile and a smirk, before her face returned to its glum expression as she handed him the orange overalls reluctantly. Great, he thought to himself. If this doesn't make me feel like a criminal I don't know what will. Sara could sense the bitterness in his expression. "You're going to be alright, Greg," she told him, hoping it would bring a few words of comfort to him.
Greg nodded sheepishly, not really taking in what she had said but allowing himself not to get too worked up as he stayed seated in the interrogation room in his orange overalls. Sara had become occupied with bagging Greg's clothes. There was a sinister silence which filled the room, in Greg's eyes at least, Sara was far too indulged in her job to make conversation with him although he partly knew that was general procedure for the job.
"Catherine pulled some strings, didn't she?" He spoke up, breaking the silence between them.
"What do you mean?" Sara replied.
"You shouldn't be working the case," Greg began to explain. "I'm the first witness, the first suspect, this case is too personal."
"We're facing a serial killer Greg, and Nick has worked the previous two cases relating to them, it was pretty logical really rather than briefing the whole of Swing shift."
"I presume I'll be pulled off the case then." Sara nodded to him and a twinge of disappointment hit him, although it was hardly surprising. "I know you'll do a great job."
"Thanks Greg. As much as I'd like to let you go, until we've finished processing the scene we can't let you go." She sighed and told him with gritted teeth, "Also, someone from Internal Affairs would like to speak with you concerning..."
"Internal Affairs?" Greg cried out with disbelief. "Surely there's not enough evidence yet to say that I had any involvement with this murder."
"It's just standard procedure..."
"Standard procedure? There's nothing standard about this investigation! Why should there be a need for Internal Affairs to sneak their noses into..."
"Look Greg. Just bear with us, it's for your own good." Sara snapped at him collecting up everything she had collected from him. "I shouldn't need to tell you that the whole team is hoping the evidence doesn't point back to you."
With an irritated glance at Greg she strode out of the room, leaving Greg alone with the overseeing officer, whose presence did very little in relieving the tension in the room. When the door had fully closed, the officer, whom Greg recognised to be Officer Highcliffe walked over to where Greg was sitting and bent down, scratching his stubble and he whispered into Greg's ear.
"You know, it's not fair is it, don't worry buddy, I'm on your side."
The words again proved to be little comfort to Greg who remained transfixed in his seat, staring into space as he absent-mindedly tapped his fingers on the table to the rhythm of Feel Like Makin' Love.
Ray entered the apartment to discover that his colleagues were already using valuable time combing the entire scene. He had been due to take the day off and had a scheduled check up in the afternoon but he had cancelled it upon hearing from Catherine that one of his co-workers was in trouble. Ray knew that this was far more important and that Greg would do the same for him.
His first destination was to the bathroom where to his surprise both David and Doc Robbins had placed the body on a gurney and wheeled it out of the apartment.
"What did you learn from the body?" Ray asked Doc Robbins.
"Well, he certainly didn't die here," Doc Robbins responded. "Lack of lividity showed that he was moved here. The body also shows similar characteristics to the previous two cases. The victim's wallet and IDs were left on his person, cash still in the wallet and I also found adhesive residue on his wrists and ankles."
"Who's the victim?"
"Here's a name you'll recognise, Dirk Faversham."
"Dirk Faversham?" Ray asked surprised. "You mean the Dirk Faversham who was a candidate for Goodman's successor. I recall he was an avid supporter of communism."
"The very one," Doc Robbins replied idly, signing off on his notes.
"He had some pretty extreme views. It looks like this could be a case of political motive."
"Or a possible act of McCarthyism," Doc Robbins notified. "We suspect this is the work of the Blood Eagle killers, possibly related to a far-right fascist group from Norway."
"Norway? Now I've worked some pretty strange cases but I don't see how you've linked those together."
"You probably ought to read up on your notes then," Doc Robbins laughed to him tapping the briefing which sat in Ray's hands. "How are you doing anyway? How's it going with... you know..." he faltered off but Ray knew what he was hinting at.
"Not too bad actually, getting to the gym has been pretty difficult," he admitted glumly. "And I haven't been able to run anywhere near as much as I used to be but it's been alright this week."
"That's good to hear," Doc Robbins smiled to him as he began to walk away. "You know, you should probably consider going back to being a pathologist, nowhere near the amount of work and stress as being in the field."
"It's still the same number of dead bodies though," Ray pointed out. "Why, are you thinking of retiring soon?"
"Hell no," Doc Robbins chuckled as he walked away. "Know this Ray; I am never going to retire."
Nick brushed sweat away from his forehead as he and Catherine searched the bathroom and the kitchen for any signs of the killers wandering through Greg's apartment. "I've got to admit Catherine; I've never seen this place look so tidy."
The two of them exchanged smirks as they looked through Greg's eccentric livelihood, tossing porn magazines, old coupons and various books relating to surfing aside. "I've got a coin collection here," Catherine said. "Robbery certainly wasn't a motive."
"Well if you look at the bathroom you'll see it seems as if they're trying to mess with Greg." He indicated to the writing on the wall and the back of the bathroom door.
"I already tested all of that," Catherine told him. "The coroner stated that it's likely the victim was slashed across his back, the lack of blood spatter confirms that Mr Faversham was not killed at the scene."
"Killer could have cleaned up?"
"If they did, they did a pretty damn good job of it; I didn't identify any bleach substance used. The writing, although I determined it to be blood is not from a human donor."
"What is it then?"
"Well that's an easy purchase from the butchers, not necessarily a common one though, that ought to be worth following up." Nick began to dust for prints along the refrigerator and unsurprisingly he managed to obtain many. "Greg said in his statement that the food from his fridge was stolen, maybe our thieves left their own little treats behind." He pulled the prints using five pieces of adhesive and filed them away. "So I see you've taken over my case, what gives?"
Catherine began to laugh to herself quietly, "Well Nicky, this is a pretty big case. High profile victim, serial killer and a dead body found in a CSIs house. This is now a priority, heck, I've been pulled off the Juan Menard case to do this." She added sweetly, "but you can write up the report if you want to."
Nick mockingly scowled at her as he walked through an open doorway into the bedroom. "So," Nick smiled to himself as he looked into the room, "this is where the magic happens."
"Don't bother Nick," Catherine snorted, "you won't find anything."
"So you say, you were driven home by Detective Monaghan shortly after nine pm, my question is, if your shift ends at eight and you're maxed out on overtime what on earth were you doing in this lab?" The cold eyes of Internal Affairs investigator Clark Newton focused on Greg's own.
"I uh... I had a busy shift and I just dropped of..."
"So you were sleeping in the lab and working under fatigue? Do you realise that worker fatig..."
"Clark, Clark," Brass, who was stood beside Greg halted the investigator's accusations. "This is related to the enquiry concerning the death of Dirk Faversham not relating to the work effort of our CSIs."
"Captain Brass," Newton sneered. "I am merely trying to unravel some context into the situation and sleeping on the job does not qualify as a reasonable alibi."
Sleeping on the job? Greg thought to himself, how could he imply that someone who often put sixteen hours of their work day into protecting their county could essentially be a couch potato?
"Actually Undersheriff Ecklie can vouch for that, it was he who actually sent for Detective Monaghan to take him home!" Brass spoke up. Despite the situation, having Brass on your side in an interrogation was always a great boost to morale.
"You know, this isn't the first time that dead bodies have had a way of finding their way into your life, is it?" Newton asked bluntly. Greg felt the hairs on his neck stand on end and a surge of anger begin to erupt from him like a catastrophic volcano.
"You know what, this is a waste of time," Greg snapped, rising from his seat. "You can't prove I did anything, you're just trying to cover the department's ass, like you did with Demetr..."
"Sit down Sanders," Newton barked at him. "Or I'll have you fired right now." Greg froze for a moment, shocked at the aggressive tone of the Internal Affairs Investigator.
"Just sit down Greg," Brass told him quietly as his cell phone began to ring. "Brass."
"Do you realise how much shit you got this department into Sanders with that?" He snarled referencing to the Demetrius James case. "Any defence lawyer will use this to seize a chance to question our investig..."
"This talk is over," Brass firmly told the man seated opposite who returned a look of utmost perplexion.
"What do you mean this talk is over?"
"Coroner's report shows the victim's time of death was around two am. Greg Sanders was assisting in a police stake out during those hours. Please refer to the appropriate paperwork for confirmation and so far we do not have enough evidence to hold Mr Sanders blah blah blah, come on Greg let's go."
Greg felt himself being whisked away by Brass and out of the door being closely followed by Newton, who was enraged of the abrupt closure of their conversation, shouting down remarks to the two of them to which Brass chose to ignore.
"Thanks Jim for..."
"It wasn't just me Greg," Brass told him before lowering his voice to a quiet but warning tone. "However in future I'd advise you to keep your cool with these things. Clark Newton may be a crap IA investigator but he's got a lot of influence with the superiors. Don't dig yourself into a pit."
Greg nodded and Brass patted his shoulder before walking away to talk to the still furious Internal Affairs investigator. As their shouting diminished, Greg quickly realised that although he was no longer a suspect. He couldn't go back to his house and he couldn't go back to his job and there was still a hidden menace out there playing their game and now, Greg felt more vulnerable than ever.
A/N: Well, I don't quite think this is what you were expecting but I can assure you that things will get pretty interesting from part two onwards. ;)
I'm sorry about the delay with posting this story up. I hope I can be forgiven though seeing as it's still the 12th for some of you readers. Hope you enjoyed this chapter and continue to read on also I'd like to say a massive thanks to everyone who reviewed and favourited Blood Eagle, I really appreciate all your support with the series!
Part two will be posted sometime tomorrow evening. I know this probably doesn't quench your thirst for answers following a long three week wait but I can ensure you that you'll be getting some soon. :)