"I'm Melanie Hayworth from Channel Seven news bringing you a breaking story. Electoral candidate Dirk Faversham, notorious for his radical left-wing views was found murdered in an apartment complex last night. Details are currently sketchy but sources reveal a shocking revelation that the Faversham was found in the home of Greg Sanders, a member of the Las Vegas crime lab, who was involved in an affair in which he ran over a college student in the process of saving a man..."
Melanie Hayworth was abruptly silenced as the news report was switched off by a tired looking Logan Grimmle, recently elected mayor of Las Vegas. He wearily turned his attention towards the two occupants of Catherine's office, Catherine herself and Ecklie. He poured himself a cup of coffee messily, only half of the hot water actually making it into the mug.
"Are you going to tell me what you're actually doing to keep the media off our asses?" He asked them both gruffly, taking a swig of his hastily-brewed coffee.
"CSI Sanders has been pulled off the case," Ecklie answered plainly, looking over at Catherine and hoping that she could elaborate his point.
"Anything else? I was gonna do that myself you know."
"We've processed the crime scene and the body is finishing up in autopsy as we speak," Ecklie continued although Grimmle didn't appear to show any further hints of satisfaction with their initial efforts.
"We found various prints at the scene which are currently being processed," Catherine spoke to the mayor, in a professional manner. "A/V is currently tracing a phone call which was made to CSI Sanders prior to discovering the body. The coroner has determined that the victim's TOD was two am yesterday, whilst CSI Sanders was on shift. We found pigs blood in the apartment which was used to what we think, taunt CSI Sanders."
"Taunt?" Grimmle asked, confused by the latest revelation. "What do you mean taunt?"
"We believe that CSI Sanders is being targeted by a serial killer," Ecklie replied.
"Serial killer?" Grimmle yelped in surprise causing both Catherine and Ecklie to take a step back. "Why the hell has nobody informed me of a serial killer? And why has nobody told me that Sanders is supposedly in danger?"
"Mayor Grimmle," Catherine spoke up over the mayor's booming voice. "These are revelations that have been made less than twenty-four hours ago, I myself was only informed when I got called onto shift today."
"Okay tell me about it, quick, before the media has a field day with it."
"The murder of Dirk Faversham is related to those of Joseph Huyt and Matthew Ellis," Ecklie explained to the mayor hurriedly. Huyt died over a month ago and Ellis was found dead yesterday morning. Both show signs of being killed in the same manner."
"The method in which they were killed was supposedly a ritual style of execution dating back to the Viking era... and Norway," Catherine informed the mayor who was becoming increasingly confused as the information was released to him.
"Norway?" He exclaimed, bewildered. "Okay, I'll just let you carry on with things. But I want this nutcase in. Fast. Then we can afford to let slip to the media." He downed the rest of his coffee and made his way out of the office. "Oh, and I want Sanders on guard until this case is wrapped up, this department's not losing any more CSIs."
"Why are the grumpy ones always our superiors?" Ecklie asked Catherine once the mayor was out of earshot.
"You know, he reminds me of you," Catherine told him; Ecklie gave her a sorrowful look, obviously slightly offended by her remark. "Years ago, I mean, you've gotten better now."
"Thanks for elaborating," he said sarcastically as the two walked out of the office into the lab area. "Did you get anything else from the scene then?"
"Surprisingly, yes," Catherine admitted. "As well as the prints which were found on the fridge door we found various hairs, a peculiar piece of trace from the victim's clothing and a couple of shoe impressions."
"Why is that surprising?"
"Nick said in the previous murders they found hardly any evidence at all, not a single piece. But now, we've got prints, trace, shoe impressions, hairs, possible epithelials..."
"Couldn't these belong to Greg?" Ecklie inquired.
"I reckon a lot of them will do, but we did find some size thirteen shoe impressions, Greg's a size twelve. Maybe the killer's getting sloppy?"
"Or maybe, the killer wants to be found."
Nick walked into the prints lab cheerfully and stood by the doorway waiting for Mandy to notice him. Having not been able to detract her from her work he cleared his throat which prompted a mixed look of surprise and happiness to erupt on Mandy's face.
"Hey," she cried out. "I got the results from all those prints you asked me to process. Twenty-seven in total, not quite a record."
Nick chuckled to himself and walked up to Mandy to retrieve the results from her outstretched hand, only for her to snatch them away just before he reached out to collect them. "Oh no," Nick shook his head. "You're not making me sing for them again."
"But you have a lovely voice," she smiled back at him cheerfully.
"Come on Mandy, this is a pretty big case," he replied impatiently. "We really can't afford to be wasting time."
"Fine, fine," she relented, handing over the results to Nick and commenting on them as he read them. "Nineteen of the prints came back to Greg. Three of the others were partials obtained from the fridge, came back unknown. The other five you collected from the door I got a full profile on and they are a match to the partials on the fridge."
"Good work Mandy."
"As always," she called back to him as he exited the lab.
Nick walked down the hallway of the crime lab to see if Hodges had finished analysing a trace sample that had been found on the body but he was intercepted by Detective Vega who looked a bit worse for the wear.
"What's going on, Nick?" He panted, having apparently made it back to the lab as fast as he could. "I've been told there's a third victim..."
"You've been told correct, Sam," Nick replied as the two of them sped down the corridor towards the trace lab. "Brass wants to see you as soon as possible, once we identify these guys we'll need to go in thick and fast."
"Understood," Vega nodded back to Nick simply and dashed off back towards the police department.
"COD, like in the other two cases is exsanguination due to massive blood loss," Doc Robbins reported to Ray as he closed up the body of Dirk Faversham into one of the cooling vaults. "A distinct difference between this case and the other two is that the ribs were detached from the spine, instead of the sternum."
"Why has the killer sudden changed his or her MO?" Ray inquired to the coroner.
"I don't know for sure but in this case, it appears that the traditional Blood Eagle procedure has been performed as opposed to the variation previously."
"So perhaps they wanted to make it appear to look more authentic?"
"Exactly so," Doc Robbins confirmed. He put down his notepad and picked out a chart, examining it. "I found another key dissimilarity with this body compared to the others. The lungs were missing."
"Was that part of the execution ritual as well?"
"Yes, in most cases, also I extracted trace within the wound tracts of the victim as well as the trace found on the victim's clothes in the external examination. I'd hazard a guess and say it's your standard table salt, which was added to the wounds to induce more pain."
"I was always told that the Vikings were savages yet I brushed those comments away," Ray grimaced slightly as details of the elaborate execution were revealed to him. "Now, I can see where they were coming from."
"Ritual killing or not, I'll still never understand why people think it's so necessary to inflict so much pain on someone simply because it's symbolic," Doc Robbins said, shaking his head disapprovingly.
"What else did you find on the body?" Ray asked, changing the subject away from the gruesomeness of the killings.
"Everything else seemed pretty consistent with the other victims. The victim was tasered and likely kept under control using chloroform, preliminary tox came back with nothing suspicious."
"Chloroform metabolises quickly though, that makes sense," Ray concluded.
"Exactly. The incision wound tract was no more than 5 millimetres in diameter which suggests that some sort of box cutter was used to make the wounds. The fracture lines on the ribs radiate away from the initial break suggesting the ribs were separated peri-mortem."
"Weapon of choice?"
"A saw, most likely, I can't tell you exactly what type though, possibly a Stryker saw if they were aiming for a cleaner cut. Similar to what I've got," he lifted up the tool which sat on the table beside them. "I can tell you that in the Matthew Ellis case, I found clear hesitation marks around the ribs, I did not find such a mark this time."
"The killer knew what he was doing."
"Most probably. Let's just hope this is the last of them because I'm getting fed up of having to look at them again."
Hodges was bent over a microscope in the Trace lab having been sent a sample which had been collected from the clothes of the dead body. He stifled a yawn, he was tired, this was supposed to be his day off and he'd been called in due to an 'emergency' which only turned out to be having to save Sanders' ass as usual. He turned a page over in the seven-hundred page encyclopaedia he had been using as a reference. It was entitled 'The Complete Collection of Mosses and Fungi' and Hodges found himself groaning at the sheer number of species there was.
"You had any luck yet, Hodges?" Sara asked him, she was sat on the microscope next to him, having a look at the trace sample which Doc Robbins had acquired from the wound tract.
"So far, four hours, no wait," he glanced at his watch. "Five hours, and four-hundred and thirteen different species later and still no luck."
"That's a shame," she commented with actual little sympathy rising from her chair. "I'm all done."
"Why do I always get the difficult samples?" Hodges whined, Sara had been examining for less than fifteen minutes.
"Suck it up, David. Think of the overtime you'll be getting," she nudged him light-heartedly although Hodges maintained an understandably grumpy expression.
"Hey, any new results?" The cheerful voice of Nick Stokes could be heard talking over the general silence which usually embraced the Trace Lab. Hodges groaned at the prospect of having to explain that he hadn't identified his sample yet.
"Well the sample which Doc Robbins sent over was a mixture of sodium chloride and sodium silicoaluminate," he heard Sara explain to Nick. "Basically your standard table salt, basically what Doc Robbins expected."
"Okay, and how about your sample Hodges?"
"It'll get there faster if I don't have you CSIs hovering over my shoulders every ten minutes," he hissed to Nick irritably, not even glancing up from the microscope.
"Whoa, whoa, okay then, I'll come back later." Nick said backing away from him as he and Sara headed out of the lab.
"Has he taken his medication today?" Hodges overheard Sara asking Nick as they left.
"You might want a valium for him."
"I heard that!"
"Come on Sleeping Beauty, wake up."
Greg felt a pair, no, two pairs of hands shoving him. He opened his eyes dazed before he suddenly felt himself falling. Eh? He hit the floor after a short drop and blinked a few times before realising he must have fallen asleep on the couch in front of the TV in the break room. He looked down and saw that he must have changed out of his orange overalls. Thank god, he thought to himself, at least I don't feel like a criminal anymore. He rubbed his eyes and opened them to see that Nick and Sara had quickly occupied the now vacant couch.
"Hey, what was that for?" He asked them both groggily, slowly stepping to his feet.
"We can't have you lounging around the lab all day," Nick explained to him. "It gives a rather unprofessional look of the crime lab."
"Yeah and where else can I go?" Greg answered bitterly. "I can't go home because my apartment's still being ripped apart, I can't do my job because I've been pulled off the case and I can't go outside because there're some crazy fascists out there who are trying to kill me."
"Actually, you can still go out so long as you're supervised by an LVPD officer," Sara pointed out to him.
"Great, so essentially I have a parole officer, you know they might as well lock me up, at least that'll increase my life expectancy."
Nick got off the couch and began fumbling around in his back pocket; he pulled out his wallet and brandished some money in front of Greg. "Look Greg," he handed the money to Greg. "Here's twenty bucks, go and get some breakfast, get some for your bodyguard to freshen you both up. Or if you don't want to go far, there's a Starbucks across the road."
"And another three round the corner," Sara remarked.
Greg opened his mouth to protest only Nick interrupted him. "Look, just go. Take Officer Highcliffe with you, you'll be in good hands. Ring us if you have to."
He paused for a moment and looked at the money in his hand before nodding and accepting the offer. "Thanks Nick," was all he said. Nick gave him a wink and went to retrieve his sandwich from the fridge.
Greg left the break room in search for Officer Highcliffe when he felt his cell phone buzz. He took it out and flipped it open and groaned when he saw that the message was from Amy Griffin. What is with her obsession with me? He groaned as he bitterly regretted the day he had given her his number, putting the growing concern in the back of his mind that maybe there was a more sinister reason as to why she was after him. She had called me Hojem, he thought before shaking his negative thoughts away, presuming that being a paramedic she had somehow stumbled across his name in some sort of record.
To his surprise, he saw that there were actually two messages, and Amy Griffin was not the sender of the second message. One new message from Peter Grimsrund? A moment of excitement hit him, maybe he'd found out who may have been involved, maybe he had more information, but this excitement dwindled as he realised that he couldn't have any involvement with the case at all. Nevertheless, curiosity got the better of him and he opened the message:
"I've got some interesting information regarding the death of your grandfather; I'll be at the lab in half an hour."
Greg felt his throat tighten; he had been so fixated on the Blood Eagle murders that he hadn't even stopped to think about his grandfather. A sudden wave of panic overcame him as he thought what might happen if his co-workers or worse, Ecklie, found him conversing with an advisor relating to the case he wasn't allowed to work on. He quickly grabbed his phone and texted back:
"I'm off-duty; meet me outside the Starbucks opposite the lab."
He headed to PD to search for Officer Highcliffe, he hadn't even reached the door when he'd already received a reply reading:
"Which Starbucks opposite the lab?"
Catherine was walking back towards her office when she heard her name being called out to her and footsteps running up behind her. She sighed, assuming it was Ecklie or Grimmle reminding her how important it was for her to catch the killer. The last forty-eight hours had been manic and even with the load of the Juan Menard case being lifted from her shoulders; the next forty-eight could prove to be even more stressful.
She turned around and came face to face with, to her surprise, Archie from A/V. He looked flustered and it had been apparent he had been looking for her for a while. "I had a look at Greg's phone records including the last caller before he discovered the body."
"What did you find?" Catherine asked eagerly.
"It was the first time this caller had called Greg's home. I managed to trace the number but unfortunately it's come back to a disposable cell phone. Probably lying in a bin in Vegas somewhere."
"Well that implies that whoever phoned him somehow knew him pretty well, or managed to find his number somewhere," Catherine concluded. "But otherwise that's a dead end then."
"Sorry it couldn't be any more use to you." He said beginning to turn away.
"Actually Archie," Catherine called out to him. "Did you get the new surveillance footage?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"Well Brass managed to seize some footage from the apartment block from the last twenty-four hours, see if you can get anything off that."
Greg sat on a bench which overlooked the side of the road outside the coffee shop he'd arranged to meet Peter Grimsrund. His 'bodyguard', Officer Highcliffe sat next to him, obeying orders to ensure Greg wasn't in any danger. The sun was beginning to peek up from behind the dominating towers of the Las Vegas hotels, but the street was still considerably empty.
Greg saw a car pull up to the pavement near to where they sat; he didn't bother to identify it as he saw Peter step out of the driver's side. "Greg," Peter called out to him with delight, coming up to him and shaking his hand. "Glad to see you're alright, I heard what happened on the news."
"Yeah," Greg said sadly, accepting the Norwegian's handshake. "You know, I'm not supposed to be discussing the case, I've been pulled off it."
"Well I did a bit of research and found something I thought you might be interested in," Peter replied, pulling out what looked to be a large photo album. Greg could tell it had only been touched again recently, it was still showing traces of dust along the sides. "Besides, this isn't related to your case at all."
"Urrm..." Officer Highcliffe piped up. "I feel like I'm intruding somewhat, you want me to get us some coffee?" Greg gave him a look of concern and he quickly added, "oh don't worry, you're still in my eye line and I won't be gone long."
"Okay then, get me something strong please," Greg caved.
"And you, sir?" Highcliffe politely asked Peter.
"Oh oh-errm, just a Hot Chocolate will do me great thanks," Peter responded.
"So what were you going to tell me then?" Greg asked Peter curiously who was busy watching Highcliffe walk into the coffee shop.
"Oh, sorry," Peter fumbled, concentrating himself back on what he was about to tell Greg. "Anyway, as I told you when you came down to LA, your grandfather represented the Norwegian resistance during the Nazi occupation of Norway." Greg nodded, remembering back to the talk they had had at Papa Olaf's funeral. "What I thought you'd find interesting to know is I recently found a picture of him in London during the Second World War."
He opened the photo album and sure enough, Greg could see a younger Papa Olaf smiling at the camera, surrounded by seven other men standing outside a quintessentially British pub. "Who were the others?" Greg asked Peter, as his fascination of his grandfather's heritage increased.
"Well they were..." Peter began only to find himself being interrupted by Highcliffe who had poked his head out of the coffee shop.
"Tall or extra tall?" He shouted across to the two men from the door.
"Oh, any will do," Greg replied back quickly, eager to find out more about Papa Olaf being in London. "Sorry, what were you going to say?"
"Well, I reckon they were all fellow member of errm, the resistance stationed in Britain, who were trying to liberate Norway at the time," Greg noticed Peter's uncertainty increasing and his hands beginning to shake. "But you'll have to speak to someone else about it."
"Someone else?" Greg inquired, confused as to what Peter was talking about. "Peter, are you alright?"
"Actually, no," Peter replied feverishly.
"What's up?" Greg asked, beginning to worry about Peter's behaviour.
"I can't say."
"No, go on."
"Look Greg," Peter said shakily. "I'm really, really sorry."
Before Greg had time to think of a response he felt a sharp intense pain emit from his upper shoulder. He unknowingly let out a yelp of both surprise and pain and felt himself falling to the sidewalk. He quickly realised that he was completely immobilised and felt his hands being restrained. Oh god, he thought to himself, trying to distract himself from the pain, I'm such an idiot.
Within seconds he felt himself being flung into the back of Peter's car, although it appeared to be a bit of a struggle for Peter, Greg paid little attention, he was focused on trying to wriggle himself out of his invisible restraint. As the door behind slammed shut and the engine started, he knew his death warrant had been signed.
When the car began to move, he knew he was being taken to his execution.
A/N: I am really, really, REALLY sorry about the lateness of this update. Jetlag hit me harder than I anticipated and an unexpected trip this weekend left me unable to update so I'm sorry for keeping all you patient readers waiting even longer! I promise I'll try and get the next update done ASAP (hopefully by tomorrow) but I've had a pretty stressful weekend!
Hope you all haven't lost faith in me! Keep the reviews and comments coming in everyone! Thanks to everyone who has done so so far!