Disclaimer: I do not own CSI or its affiliated characters. Characters not in the series are my own.
A/N: This is the eighth story in my series,Chronicles of Las Vegas. It's not necessary to read the first seven stories in order to understand this one but if you want to go from the beginning,A Midsummer Nightmarewould be your starting point. :)
The roaring fireplace lit the room with bewildering eloquence, showing off the sophisticated décor and the many riches that lined the living room of Goushi Miura, which harmonised the architectures of many Eastern nations but in particular his own Japanese heritage. Inhaling slightly, Miura gently lifted the mug, which sat on a small table adjacent to his perfectly moulded armchair, to his lips, gently sipping the beverage it contained.
Frowning slightly, he quickly returned the mug to the coffee table and forcefully swallowed the hot liquid.
"Suki!" He called out towards the slightly ajar doors at the side of the room. A small lady of Japanese descent poked her head around the door with initial curiosity, before realising her employer wanted more than her presence as she briskly walked to where he sat. "You can't make me take those," he told her sternly, pointing at the mug which sat innocently on the table.
"Sir," Suki spoke softly, politely asking, "may I have permission to speak?"
"Granted," Miura replied, taking a biscuit from a tray which sat next to the mug of rejected tea.
"With all due respect, sir," she whispered slowly, unsure if what she was about to say would be the wisest thing. "You have a big meeting tomorrow, potential customers from Korea and Thailand; you need as much r…"
"I can sleep fine," Miura cut her off, taking another bite from the biscuit. "Just get me another tea," adding warningly, "but this time without the pills."
Sighing ever so slightly, Suki acknowledged her instruction, picking up the tea and carrying it through the doors and down an elaborate set of marble stairs to the staff kitchen. Once there, she casually poured the waste down the sink, leaving the mug on the side to be washed at a later time.
"What was it this time?" A husky voice, one of a South African accent emitted as one of her colleagues walked up to her, "too cold, or too weak?"
"Neither," Suki replied as she put away some clean dishes which had been left on the side. "He's not taking his pills again."
"Ah," said the South African lady, Wanda, assisting her colleague putting dishes away. "The classic spike his drink method. I see he no longer falls for that."
"Not for that one," Suki exclaimed, a hint of satisfaction in her voice. "I'm gonna need some help moving him."
The two exchanged smirks as they left the kitchen and headed back into the study where Miura now lay slumped in his seat with his mouth hanging open and one arm lay limp over the side of the armchair. A half-eaten biscuit lay on the floor directly underneath his hand, leaving a cluster of crumbs by Miura's unflattering sleeping position.
"The biscuits?" Wanda asked curiously. "I am so using that next time."
"For a sixty year old… with an eighty year old body… he's pretty damn heavy," Wanda panted as her and Suki heaved the limp body of Goushi Miura up the ornate marble staircase to his room.
"Agreed," Suki said strenuously, in between frequent breaks for heavy breaths. "Couldn't he have had an elevator installed when he designed this deathtrap?"
Ten minutes of immense heaving and teamwork later, Suki finally pushed open the double doors which led to Miura's master bedroom, a room which continued to emanate the obvious power and wealth which Miura possessed. With one final push, the two women managed to launch the sleeping man across the room, as he ungracefully stumbled onto the bed falling into a face down position across the width of it.
"I think that will do to be honest," Suki panted.
"Agreed," Wanda nodded. "I can't believe it though, one hundred and twenty servants…"
"Slaves," Suki corrected her.
"True, but still, where the hell is everyone?"
"Well, a load of them have Thursday off, Rita's performing, Faye is still on maternity leave and Stefan is on a date with some guy he met at the bookstore."
"The one with the goatee? He's gay?"
"He sure is," Suki nodded. Miura suddenly let out a loud snore, startling both ladies. "I think we should let Sleeping Beauty rest here."
"True, and we don't want to be locked in all night, not in this house."
The two women briskly walked out the room, Suki turning back and saying in a mockingly sinister manner, "Goodnight Mr Miura," as she closed the double doors, encasing her master in a room of darkness.
"Come on Sara, you've had your hand on that piece for ages," Nick muttered impatiently, folding his arms impatiently as Sara pondered on her next move.
"Don't you know that chess is a patient sport, Nick?" Sara quipped, removing her hand from the queen. It had been a slow day at the lab which was proving to be merciful on this day particularly, for Ray had taken a sick day and Greg was still on temporary leave following his ordeal weeks before, although his colleagues had visited him over the past month, the shrink had not recommended him to return as of yet. With Catherine still following up from a breaking and entering, it left only Nick and Sara on stand-by.
"Chess isn't a proper sport, Sara," Nick remarked, laughing to himself. "Football, baseball, hockey, those are what I'd call sports."
Sara giggled as she moved her bishop to take one of Nick's knights, remembering a similar conversation she'd had before many years ago. "I'd have to agree with you there."
"Well look who decided to show up to work today," Nick called out delighted as a tall blonde figure strutted into the room, taking a seat beside them. "I thought you said the shrink was keeping you at home a bit longer."
"Well luckily," Greg smiled as he received a 'welcome back' hug from Sara, continuing as he glanced at his watch, "as of, two hours ago, I've been given the all clear. Quick little chat with Ecklie and Catherine and I'm all good to go."
"They let you back just like that?" Sara asked.
"Well Catherine wanted me back in the lab. Zero chance there, and as for Ecklie, I think he was just relieved he didn't have to hire a replacement," Greg noticed Nick pondering over his next move and pointed out a possible move, "by the way you can checkmate her if you move your rook there."
"Damn you Greg," Sara scowled as Nick followed Greg's suggestion, winning his first match against Sara. "You can go and shove your high school captaincy title where the sun don't shine."
"Now there Sara, there's no need to be a sore loser," Nick teased.
"I'd like a rematch," she told him, before turning to Greg. "And an apology."
"I'm sorry you're terrible at chess Sara," Greg snorted with Nick who was also sniggering at Sara's annoyance. As annoying and childish her colleagues were, she had to admit it was good to have them all back together on shift.
"Okay guys," Catherine walked in, a single file clutched in her hand, "your day's just become slightly more interesting. Four-nineteen just outside Desert Shores."
"Ooh, rich bitch," Sara said, raising an eyebrow in interest. "Who's getting it?"
"All hands on deck," Catherine replied hurriedly. "Get your kits. I need you out there in five minutes, god help us if David Phillips beats us to a crime scene."
"No… no officer, I-er… I didn't kill him," Brass raised his eyebrows as he extracted the first-witness' statement. He studied the man closely, tall, young-looking, slurring his words and appearing to be incapable of keeping himself stable. "I turned up early for my shift at work… I-er… I got inside and there he was lying on the floor. So I was like "whoa! Dude… you had way too much to drink" and he was like, not moving."
"So that's when you called nine-one-one?" Brass eyed the man up and down.
"Well no, I… I, thought he was just passed out. So I was like "Dude! Wake up!" and he was still like, not moving. Then Mayla showed up and was like, "oh my god! oh my god! Call nine-one-one you moron, and then she like, chucked me out."
"We're going to need to speak to this Mayla," Brass informed him professionally, trying hard not to snap, as the drunken witness began to stroke his police badge.
"Oh er, she's over there," he pointed to a young, black woman who was currently being questioned by Vartann. "She has some fine African booty."
"Mr Wallis, is that your car?" Brass pointed to the red Honda Accord planted against the branch of an oak tree, the front of the car crushed by an obvious crash.
Wallis giggled and nodded sheepishly, "that was some wild night," he exclaimed before toppling over face first on to the granite by Brass' feet.
"Hey Akers, take Mel Gibson here downtown, breathalyse him, charge him for DUI," Brass ordered to the officer who acknowledged them before getting to work.
Brass walked further down the drive, past where many detectives were questioning the numerous servants who worked there to the front of the extravagant mansion. He saw the vehicles from the crime lab make their way through the grand entrance gates, pulling up next to Brass' car already positioned on the drive. Catherine was first out of one of the cars; she walked briskly up to Brass, crime scene kit in her hand.
"What's with the media circus outside?" She asked him flustered, indicated to the large amount of news crews and reporters restrained behind the iron gates they had passed through.
"The victim's name is Goushi Miura, major entrepreneur, one of Vegas' richest and most influential," Brass answered her question.
"Hey I've heard of him," Nick appeared alongside them. "There was an article about him in a recent paper, he owns a huge transportation corporation. You could ask him to move the whole LA and he'd have a big enough fleet to ship it."
The three of them began to walk towards the front door, past a long line of workers waiting to be questioned. Catherine frowned as she walked past them, curious about the wide ethnic diversity of the workforce.
"Is this a crime scene, or some kind of UN summit or something?" She asked.
Nick jumped in again with an answer, "I read that whenever he made a new deal with a company in a certain part of the world he'd hire someone in that location to work in his mansion. Look, he's got people from the US, Europe, Austalia, Asia, even parts of Africa."
"If you can't take over the world, enslave it," Catherine said in a slightly bitter undertone as the three of them walked through the enormous entrance doors into the lobby of the mansion, ducking under the second set of crime tape.
The entrance lobby strangely resembled that of a palace out of a Disney film. Enormous oak doors opened up to a large room with an ornate marble staircase as the centrepiece, which branched in two to the upper floor as well as the bedrooms. On the ground floor were two separate corridors running parallel either side of the staircase leading to the kitchen and the servant quarters. Even grander doors led to fine rooms which Miura no doubt indulged in, a portrait of him was mounted above each door and archway; paintings which reflected not only expressed power and splendour but more obviously arrogance and narcissism.
"Looks like he wasn't afraid to make himself his number one fan," Catherine remarked, looking around at Miura's choice of décor.
"You've got competition," Brass whispered into Nick's ear.
"Now just because I've read about him, doesn't mean…" Nick began to argue defensively only to be cut off by Catherine.
"Tell me about the body David," she asked the assistant coroner, who was kneeling beside the lifeless, withered corpse of Goushi Miura lying at the foot of the stairs and in perfect juxtaposition relative to the largest and most elaborate portrait of his mounted on the wall where the stairs branched.
"Rigor is just starting to take effect," he commented. "Suggests he's been dead around about three hours. Liver temperature confirms that."
"That would put his TOD, around three am," Catherine said.
"Nine-one-one call came a little before five," Brass said, looking through his notes. "That's when the first workers arrived and unlocked the mansion."
"So if they're to be believed, that would suggest we have a possible intruder around," Nick deduced. "I'll go check the perimeter for any possible breaking in or out points."
"If the house is locked up overnight, that would suggest Mr Miura would head off to bed wouldn't it," Catherine pondered, looking at the body. "If he died at three am why is he still wearing his business clothes? I don't know many people who sleep in their suits."
"Well lividity is fixed, which suggests he died here," David remarked. "He's got a bit of a nasty head wound, looks like he's lost a lot of blood."
"I don't see much blood here though," Catherine pointed out. "I've got a few drops heading here." She walked towards the marble staircase, noting how clean and well-polished the stone floor was.
"Excuse me ma'am," she heard Brass suddenly call out. Distracted, she turned and saw Brass bounding over to a woman who had emerged from the kitchen, a mop in her hand and ready to be used. "You need to be on the other side of the crime tape."
"I urrm… I need to clean mess," she replied. It was apparent the cleaner's English was poorer than many of the other workers. "Mr Miura doesn't like messy house."
"With all due respect, that's the least of his worries. I need you to step outside now ma'am."
"No, no it's so dirty, I need to clean…"
"I can't let you do that ma'am," Brass growled beginning to get more irritated. "This is a crime scene and I need you to step outside now. You realise anything you clean will compromise our investigation?"
"But this house is such a state…"
"I've had enough, I'm taking you outside," Brass muttered, grabbing the cleaner's arm and despite her protests, he was able to pull the cleaner aside and remove her from the crime scene, past a confused looking Greg and Sara who had only just arrived.
"Hey, you solved it without us, what gives?" Greg said, watching Brass take the cleaner away.
"Not a suspect just an inconvenience, don't worry there's still plenty of work for you to do," Catherine reassured him. "Nick's doing the perimeter. We'll start off downstairs and work our way up."
"Alright," Sara acknowledged, she indicated to the rooms either side of the staircase. "I'll go right, Greg, you can take the left. Judging by the size of this place, I guess I'll see you in three hours then."
"Hold on a moment Sara," Catherine called out, keeping low to the floor. "I think I've got some drops heading upstairs. David, do you reckon that head wound could have been the fatal blow?"
"Can't tell for sure until a full autopsy is done," he called back, finishing up his initial external examination.
"I've got more blood up here," Catherine called out as she slowly began to ascend the staircase. "A few drops here…"
Suddenly Catherine felt the floor beneath her disappear, she let out an impulsive shriek as she impacted against the ground and began sliding downwards. It was only until she hit the bottom of the staircase that she regained her composure and realised the gravity of the situation. The staircase had literally folded inwards forming an impenetrable hill of marble, out of the corner of her eye she saw a figure run into the entrance foyer.
"If you want to live another day, I suggest you get yourselves out of here right now!" He shouted to the CSIs, all of whom were still in shock at Catherine's incident. "Get out, now!"
Catherine saw Brass standing behind the man, looking as if he was agreeing with the sudden stranger. Realising it was for the best, she reluctantly left her post, ushering her team out of the mansion and back behind the crime tape. As she left the scene she looked back in realisation. This was no ordinary house. This was no ordinary murder.
A/N: I'd like to apologise for taking so long to update and get together a new story. It's been a busy couple of months, I've been away, my laptop's broken and I've gone to uni, so this series has taken a backseat. However, I hope this assures you that the series is far from dead and I will continue updating, although unfortunately, these updates will not be as frequent as before or as regular. Nevertheless, I shall give you all a rough indicator of when the next update will be.
The next chapter of the story will be posted sometime within the next 2-4 days so keep checking back. I'm sorry I'm not able to update as regularly or frequently as I'd like to, but I simply don't have the time to. However, I will definitely be continuing the series and have big plans ahead and there won't be a 2 month gap in between!
I hope you enjoyed this slight revival anyway and I seriously thank you for your patience! I'm sorry it's taken this long to get anything posted. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and tune in to part two! :)