"There better be a good reason for this," Catherine told the mysterious man as they made their way across to the front lawn, her tone showing no hesitation in showing her displeasure at the delay. "The longer we delay, the more distance our killer gets from us!"
"I can assure you ma'am, this is for your own safety," the man told her, although she showed no sign of relaxing her attitude. "And it's likely to be related to your investigation."
"Well you better start explaining then," Brass intervened, raising an eyebrow. "Mr… Young, right?"
"That's right captain, I was a close advisor to Mr Miura and in particularly to his security," Young began talking. "Mr Miura was a very… paranoid man, he didn't like to make public appearances, he spent the majority of his life fearing for his life."
"So where does the fancy staircase come into it?"
"It's part of an elaborate security system Mr Miura wanted implemented into his house, I was his designer and consultant."
"Why not just hire bodyguards?" Catherine asked.
"He didn't want human presence around, more susceptible to corruption. His words."
"Does Mr Miura have a next of kin who can be informed?" Brass asked Young.
"Mr Miura and his wife have been divorced for a while, his family chose to stay and live in Japan."
"Now why does that not surprise me," Brass retorted sardonically before shifting the conversation forwards. "Tell us more about the security system."
"It's essentially a series of unsuspecting traps which could incapacitate a possible intruder," Young went on to explain. "For instance, there's the staircase system, the suit or armours, the ice corridor…"
"You know, big spooky mansion, old guy living alone, traps set around the place, our killer's got to be a man in a mask," Brass muttered to Catherine. "Anyway Mr Young, you know it's an offense to set up a trap for a possible home invader?"
"What?" Young asked in disbelief. "Since when has it been a crime to protect one's self in his own home?"
"It is when it's pre-meditated, and even more so when it tries to incapacitate the CSI team I just sent in there," Catherine explained to him, her voice beginning to rise as the anger began to bubble up inside her. "As a designer of this security system, you're looking at some jail time sunshine."
"Okay, okay, okay," Young stepped back, slightly panicked. "I'll make a deal with you. Information for a… urrm… a lesser sentence."
"That's for the DA to decide," Brass told him. "But we need you to shut that thing off. We want everything about this system: blueprints, data logs, the lot."
"Sure thing, anything you need, I'll get my team on it right away."
"One more thing," Catherine warned him, tossing Young a pair of latex gloves and shoe protectors. "Don't contaminate my crime scene."
"Well, body's coming out," Nick observed, watching as David and an assistant wheeled the corpse of Goushi Miura out of the house, smirking to himself as the gurney collapsed, much to the frustration of the coroners. "Hope that means we should be in soon."
Him, Sara and Greg were sat down on the vast lawn outside the mansion, watching parts of the investigation go on around them. Wallis' car had been towed back to the lab and the number of servants being questioned had dropped significantly, some of them simply leaving the premises whilst others were taken downtown for further questioning. Young's team had entered and left several times, having to dash back every now as the relatively tranquil setting was disturbed by an irritating siren of some sort blaring from within the house.
"This sucks," Sara said stubbornly. "How long have we been waiting, two hours now? And it looks like," she glanced at her watch, "we're now on overtime."
"Aw come on Sara, it's not all bad," Nick smiled at her. "Here we are, away from the city, taking in the sun and the setting. I have to say, I would love to live out here."
"I'm with Sara I'm afraid," Greg said, having finished a mouthful of his sandwich. "Having spent the last three weeks doing pretty much nothing, believe it or not, I'm starting miss fingerprint dust."
There was a momentary silence between the three of them before Sara broke the silence once more. "Catherine's pissed again," the three of them turned their heads back to the front door, observing as their boss once more began to kick off at one of the members of Young's team, having apparently screwed something up again. "Yep, it's gonna be another long day."
Catherine paced up and down the driveway, trying to take the reality of the situation in without infuriating herself. Two hours? It's taken them two hours to turn off a bloody alarm system which the guy invented himself! She shook her angry thoughts away; she had to keep her cool. An irritating chirping informed her of an incoming call. She looked at who was calling:
Groaning to herself again, she picked up the phone, trying to hide the frustration in her voice, "Willows."
"Catherine, I sent you out there three hours ago, we haven't even got a body back yet," Ecklie's voice showed a hint of both annoyance and anxiety as he spoke down the line. "What's going on up there?"
"The coroner's heading back to the lab, we just had… a minor setback," Catherine replied, shaking her head as she spoke.
"Minor… setback? Oh god, who stepped over the line this time?"
"No, no, it's nothing to do with the team," Catherine assured him. "Umm… the crime scene kind of… tried to kill me."
"The crime scene did what?"
"Look, I'll have to call you back," Catherine told him as she saw Young approach her. "Nice talking to you…" she abruptly hung up the phone and walked towards Young.
"It's all yours now," he told her. "All alarms have been switched off and we managed to disable the security system…"
"You mean the booby traps," Catherine butted in. "And about time too."
She walked away from him and headed towards the front door, reluctantly passing by Vartann on her way. She heard his footsteps behind him, "Errm Catherine, can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Later," she told him, instantly realising her words were harsher than she intended. She stopped walking and faced him. "Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude, it's been such a hectic day and we've just got our scene back."
"I understand," he replied, smiling. "Later."
He gave her a small peck on the cheek and walked away. Catherine paused for a moment, forgetting what she was here for, for a short moment only though, quickly getting her mind back into gear as she saw her colleagues walk towards her, all of them tired, fed up and looking very sunburnt.
"Okay then," Catherine called out to her rather unenthusiastic looking team. "Sara, Greg, you continue snooping downstairs, Nick and I will take the upstairs."
"And what if the house tries to kill us again?" Sara inquired.
"I've been assured that the system has been completely shut down. Just watch your step."
Once inside, the team got straight to work. With a two hour delay and their shift digging well into overtime, they all felt exhausted but performed their task dutifully regardless. Catherine frowned as she made a further discovery on the staircase, following the blood she had initially found before they had been evacuated.
"I've got a blood trail," she called out to Nick, who was examining the area at the bottom of the staircase. "Take a look at the blood drops."
Nick walked two-thirds the way up the staircase to where Catherine was stood, kneeling down, he examined the drops which she had pointed out. "Well that's strange," he remarked. "It looks like the blood has smeared, as if it's flowed down the stairs."
"Exactly. Blood is about ten times more viscous than water, and there's simply not enough of it to be able to naturally flow from the top of the staircase to the bottom."
"Which means that, assuming the blood belongs to Miura, he set off the staircase trap. David mentioned he'd sustained a head wound, perhaps he bashed his head as the staircase gave way?"
"Maybe, but we still need to hear whether it was fatal from autopsy," she approached the top of the staircase and saw more blood drops, leading to the right hand branch of the staircase. "I've got some more drops here," she called out to Nick. "Gravitational blood drops it seems, it looks like there's more to be told up here."
"Right behind you Cath," Nick responded, hopping up the stairs two at a time. "I'll just collect a sample of this for Selma."
The melancholy chill that tied itself to the depths of the coroner's office found itself being wafted away by the nonchalant whistling of a blues tune as the office resident joined in with the music emitting from the stereo. Even on his first day of the job many years ago, Al Robbins never found himself wanting to move away from the morgue, not even after the most disturbing cases did he even consider quitting. It was his job after all, and he knew not a lot of people could face it as he could.
He signed the bottom of his preliminary report of Goushi Miura, satisfied with another hard day's work. Just as he placed his pen down, he heard footsteps outside immediately followed by the opening of the doors to the morgue.
"I thought I could hear the sounds of Charley Patten," a mellow voice emitted from behind him.
"Your ears deceive you, Ray," Doc replied without turning away from the body. "Blind Lemon Jefferson, The Cheaters Spell, one of his last ever recordings before his untimely death at the age of thirty-six. Acute myocarditis."
"My mistake," Ray replied, putting on a pair of latex gloves. "My blues knowledge it appears isn't as up to scratch as I'd hoped."
"Hmm," Doc agreed. "I thought you were taking a sick day."
"Well I'm feeling better now and life's too short to be withering away in bed," Ray pointed out to Doc, approaching the body on the slab.
"I won't tell Ecklie," Doc told him reassuringly. "But seeing as you're here, I'm sure there's no harm telling you about Mr Miura's COD."
"Numerous fractures around various parts of the body, ulna, some of the ribs, and a dislocated shoulder. All of these appear consistent with a fall and happened around the time of death. The victim also suffered a single blow to the head with a large, heavy object fracturing the parietal bone and causing severe bleeding."
"So blunt force trauma was COD?"
"Blunt force trauma was certainly significant but I don't think it was the main factor contributing to his death. I noticed the vertebrae and spinal cord had suffered severe strain, it's likely that the brain was subjected to abrupt and aggressive lateral movements, eventually rupturing the temporal lobe. COD was an eventual subdural haematoma also combined with a large amount of blood loss."
"Abrupt and aggressive lateral movements?" Ray asked. "I'm not entirely sure what exactly could cause injuries like that."
"Me neither," Doc Robbins replied, becoming increasingly curious with a jar left on the side filled with what looked to be Miura's stomach contents. "Internally, Mr Miura was in decent health, one of the healthiest I've ever seen for his age."
"The Japanese lifestyle is considered one of the healthiest globally," Ray commented. "Generally, it consists of a lower fat intake, alcohol consumption and studies have shown that genetically, Japanese men are less prone to developing lung cancer. Almost makes me wish I'd grown up there instead of South Korea. What did he have in his stomach?"
"I'm still waiting for tox but notably I found a half-eaten cracker, tea, some beans and that's all really."
"Good for the heart," Doc glanced at Ray in an almost warningly manner.
"Well, clearly they didn't do Mr Miura much good."
"Hey Catherine, I managed to get some information about this whack-trap from our knights in shining armour," Brass walked over to the redhead who was still gathering what looked to be cast-off from the walls. "Okay, the system kick-starts itself at eleven-thirty every evening and switches itself off at five am, just before the morning shift arrive."
"Well we know that's screwed up," Catherine scorned as she stood up to face him. "We were here well after five am and the place still tried to kill us."
"Security guy explains that the system has to be shut down manually once it's been set off, which can be done via a control panel in Miura's room."
"But Goushi Miura was dead; he couldn't have switched it off. Why did he even leave his room if the security system was still running?"
"He'd have been pretty much dead the second he stepped out his door," Brass commented, reading from a booklet which Young had handed him. "You see those two statues there," he pointed to a pair of statues flanking each side of the door replicating what looked to be suits of armours. Both carried what looked to be large batons in their hands. "Guess what their job is."
"Whack-a-mole," Catherine replied bluntly. "I'll make that my next stop."
"Once you get past MC Hammer you've got some turntables, rotating both clockwise and counter-clockwise at one-hundred-eighty RPM."
"I don't think I want to hear any more."
"Tell me about it," Brass sighed. "Judging by how nuts Japanese gaming shows are, I wouldn't be surprised if this guy was trying to make his own version of Total Wipeout."
"What was that about the turntables again?" Nick, who had been processing further down the corridor shouted down.
"They spin clockwise and counter-clockwise, set off by pressure. Sounds like they'll mess you up pretty good," Brass replied.
"Okay, well I just got off the phone with the coroner," Nick informed them. "He mentioned something about the vic having injuries consistent with abrupt and aggressive lateral movements. It sounds like our vic took a spin."
"What else did the coroner mention, Nick?" Catherine asked, her initial hunch seemingly becoming a reality.
"Numerous fractures around the body, consistent with a fall and our vic did take a tumble," Nick said, as he recapped his conversation with Doc Robbins. "Oh, and blunt force trauma. He said it was only a single blow, but the wound seemed large. I haven't seen anything which matches that description yet."
"Don't worry Nicky. I think I have an idea. Jim, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"That depends on what you're thinking," Brass shrugged.
"I'd say our victim was killed by his own security system. First, he sustained a blow to the head. Then he took a spin, I assume his wound at this point was bleeding and the centrifugal forces caused the cast-off. Victim then falls down his own staircase and then just, bleeds to death."
She looked around to Nick and Brass for confirmation, both of whom appeared to buy her explanation, nodding in agreement.
"It looks like an accident to me," Nick added, looking over to Brass, who remarked.
"No winners this time."
Sara stifled a yawn as she found herself checking over the same chair again. It had been a long day and in the three rooms she had processed that morning she had found precisely nothing which suggested that neither Miura's death had occurred there nor, apart from the various artefacts in the grand living room, suggested reasonable motives for a murder.
"Somebody's been hungry," Sara told herself quietly, picking up a fragment of what appeared to be a biscuit or cracker from the floor beside the armchair. She realised that it was probably irrelevant but anything was better than nothing at all.
"Hey Sara, come and check this out," she heard Greg shout to her from a room opposite hers. Hoping that maybe he'd found something a little more noteworthy than a few crumbs, she picked herself up and walked to the room across the elaborate entrance hall.
She walked into a room which could obviously be described as a small library, or even a study were it not for the fact that the entire room look like it had laid untouched for years. It was something she could see Grissom indulging himself in. A few bookcases were dotted around the edge of the room with an ancient, mahogany dining table in the very centre. Dust was abundant throughout and it was obvious that Miura was clearly interest in preservation over praxis.
"Well somebody upset the servants," she joked as she walked over to Greg who was kneeling beside a bookcase on the near-side of the room. "What have you found then?"
"Easy, just find the odd one out," Greg beamed at her.
Sara rolled her eyes; trust Greg to make her work more than she had to. She glanced at the bookshelf and read the titles. Ancient philosophy, economics, a bible, mathematics, none of them really standing out to her.
"I don't know Greg, just tell me," she gave up, much to his satisfaction.
"Look at all these books, it looks like they haven't even been picked up for years, possibly decades," he pointed out a single book on the shelf which was third from the bottom. "But it seems we have a dust void on this one."
He put his fingers along the spine and attempted to pull out the book, but to their surprise the book simply tilted backwards and locked into place. An eerie creaking sound filled the room as the entire bookcase slowly swung forwards, revealing a darkened staircase descending below the house.
"You've got to be kidding me," Greg groaned. "I'm starting to believe the Addams family are responsible for the guy's murder." He looked down the seemingly bottomless staircase and back to Sara, anxiety etched on his face. "I don't think I want to."
"Will you do it for a Scooby Snack?" Sara teased.
"Fine," Greg scowled at his colleague. "But ladies first."
"Ever the gentleman, Sanders," Sara retorted, switching on her flashlight and descending the staircase, Greg following closely behind.
The staircase spiralled for what appeared to be a few metres underground before emerging onto a corridor, lit creepily by gas lanterns along the wall. After walking for a few seconds, Sara felt a door in front of her. Heart beating slightly, she pushed it open with a great deal of strength; it was heavier than she anticipated.
Then it hit her.
A smell she had become accustomed to in her many years at the field. She fumbled around on the walls and to her surprise she found a light switch. Flicking it upwards, the room began to flood with light, revealing what looked to be a cold war style nuclear bunker, underneath the house. However, the bunker itself was not what was drawing Sara's attention.
"Greg… I think you should call back-up," Sara whispered slowly, as she transfixed her eyes on the body of the young woman sprawled across the blanket which lined the floor. Arms bent out of place, blood soaking onto the blanket, eyes completely frozen in fright reflecting the last moments of her life.
A/N: I know, it's late again. Maybe if I didn't tell you when I'll update I'll get it out in good time. :P
Anyone tuning into Season 12 at the moment? What are your thoughts? Personally, I think Danson has given the series the kiss of life it needed; I am LOVING the new stories, the return of the CSI-family feel and general humour of the show which was embraced in the earlier seasons!
Anyway, hope you enjoyed part two, thanks for all the reviews thus far and sorry for keeping you all waiting again. Keep checking back soon for part three!