Disclaimer: I lied about the cool shoes. I don't own the shows or shoes.
Site 34 - Brooklyn
As everyone waits, Brennan turns back to Angela.
"Angela, is one of my interns there?"
Angela nods and leaves the frame for a second. She returns moments later with Wendell. As Brennan talks to him, the others finally give up and sit down.
"Mr. Bray... can you go to modular bone storage and retrieve the contents of box 447 for me?"
"Sure, Dr. Brennan. Anything in particular?"
"No, please bring the entire box."
Wendell nods and does as she asks. Brennan turns to face everyone, moving the laptop around so that Angela can continue to participate.
"Um, Bones? Can you give the rest of us a clue what's going on?"
"Do you remember our second case together?" Brennan asks Booth.
"Cleo Eller, sure, Bones. What does Cleo Eller have to do with anything?"
"I had just come back to DC from three months in Guatemala, helping identify mass graves from their civil war. When I was there, I found remains that didn't fit with the others. Dental floridation and other markers on one set of remains indicated non-Guatemalan origins. I brought the skull back immediately and had the rest shipped back to the States for further study."
"Yeah, I remember the skull," Booth says.
"However," she continues, "after you had me detained at the airport, I was unable to continue my research." Castle and Beckett both look at Booth, but he shakes his head in a not-now gesture, so they go back to listening. "After Eller, I meant to return to my work, but our partnership took precedence."
"Dr. Brennan," Wendell interrupts, coming back into frame. "I hate to … um … box 447 was empty."
"I assumed as much. Please inform Dr. Saroyan that during the break-in a partial skeleton was stolen. I assume nothing else has been found stolen during the break-in?"
"Ah, no, but IT does believe that your files were accessed, though they can't tell what was done to them."
"Thank you, Mr. Bray. Please inform Dr. Saroyan immediately."
Wendell shakes his head, but leaves as ordered.
"Box 447 contained the remains I brought back with me. I had an opportunity, due to an increase in free time a few months ago, to revisit my findings."
"Light caseload?" Castle asks.
"I was attending fewer after work dinners and similar events," Brennan says, and she and Booth share a quick, sheepish look.
"I was able to identify the remains as a male of Hispanic and Lebanese, approximately thirty-five years of age, from the western part of Texas, with injuries consistent with service in the United States military, as well as exposure to a bombing in his early twenties."
"Shit. Are you saying what I think you're saying, Bones?"
"Ummm...?" Beckett says, shrugging and shaking her head with confusion.
"Martinez was born in El Paso. As a West Point cadet, he was visiting his father, a Marine Colonel, and mother, a Lebanese translator, at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut," Booth says.
"He was there for the embassy bombing," Beckett says.
"Yeah. Lost both his parents, but pulled twelve people out of the wreckage, even while heavily injured himself. Won a bronze star before he was even commissioned." Booth turns back to Brennan. "So what you're saying is that you found Martinez."
"I didn't know that at the time, but yes, it is a reasonable conclusion, as the victim died from a gunshot sometime in summer of 1997."
"So the guy in the picture was the real Martinez, and this new guy..."
"Who we now know of as General Martinez..."
"...is an imposter."
"Worse. He's an imposter who's about to be America's highest ranking spy."
"Angela," Brennan says, turning to the screen. "Can you do a facial recognition screening against the later General Martinez's face?"
"Sure, sweetie. But who do I compare him to?"
"Any pictures you can find of followers of Montt or members of the URNG prior to 1996."
Angela frowns. "I guess I can try."
Castle speaks up as Angela goes to work. "But how did they know you'd figured it out?"
"My research in this area must be cleared by the U.S. government or the U.N. before public release, due to the political sensitivity of the work. And as General Martinez was my prior contact for this material, and because I wanted the Army's support in tracking down the victim's specific identity..."
"You sent your report to him, to forward to the right people," Booth says as she nods. "And a few weeks later, Taffet get antsy in her cell, wins an appeal on claims of suppressed evidence, and whoever this guy is who's pretending to be Martinez knows things are starting to fall apart on him..."
Booth stands up, runs his hand through his hair. "... and so he sends Broadsky to clean up. That's why Broadsky was so adamant that he was on the right side. He's got a four-star general telling him what to do, so of course he thinks he's right."
"Guys," Angela interrupts, "I think I found something."
They all turn to the laptop as the screen changes once again. General Martinez's official picture has returned, and next to it, this time, is younger version of the same man. The younger man is dressed plainly in camouflage and standing next to an older man in a gaudy general's uniform.
"Yes, that is the same man," Brennan says immediately.
"Right," Angela says. "So the man on the left, in the peacock garb, is General Montt, and our imposter here is really Colonel Esteban Garcia Marco Favaretto."
"Damn," Booth says.
"Sorry," Castle says, "I seem to be the only one without a degree in Guatemalan history."
"General Montt is the once and former president of Guatemala and is currently serving out an eighty year sentence for genocide against indigenous peoples. Favaretto is a half-Spanish, half-Brazilian Colonel and and one time head of Montt's secret police."
"Yeah, the one that everyone called 'El Carnicero,'" Booth adds.
"The Butcher?" Beckett asks.
"Yeah," Booth answers.
"He was known for his execution-style, which included several types of dis..."
"He was as bad as they come," Booth says, interrupting. He stands up.
"Okay, so," he says, "The civil war ends, and the CIA has a problem. They backed the wrong guy. Not only the wrong guy, but a very very wrong guy. So they need to clean-up. They send Bracken and Taffet..."
"You think they were CIA?" Beckett interrupts.
"Yeah. From what you said, their military records were so thin they had to either be pasted on after the fact by someone, or they were almost immediately loaned out to the CIA or NSA or something, and their entire records redacted. Either way, their presence in Guatemala, combined with the total lack of details in their military records basically screams CIA."
"So...," Booth begins again, "...The CIA … they send Bracken and Taffet to go identify and tell Martinez's squad who to kill. But then they find Favaretto, and they recognize that he's a fellow member of their little psychopath club, with the added bonus of looking exactly like the uptight Colonel they are stuck with..."
Booth is rolling now, in the full story-telling-mode that Beckett thought only Castle had.
"So they all make a deal. They kill Martinez instead of Favaretto. Favaretto takes Martinez's place. Martinez teaches them the tricks of the kidnapping and torture trade, taking them out of the realm of the Raglan and McAllister days, into full on Gravedigger mode. They use the ransoms to fuel Bracken's rise. At the same time, Favaretto uses Martinez's position to rise through the ranks, until he gets what he wants, which is run of the CIA. With Favaretto as the head of the CIA, and Bracken up for the Chair of the Armed Forces Committee, The Butcher is going to have carte blanche to take the CIA back into Guatemala and finish what Montt couldn't..."
"Okay," Beckett says to Booth, "You're starting to sound like Castle. How the hell could Favaretto even pull off an act like that for fifteen years?"
"It's not as tough as you think. Both of Martinez's parents died in the bombing. He's got no siblings. He was a field Colonel, so he didn't interact with many people regularly, save his men, and other than Broadsky, nobody stayed in the unit longer than twelve months or so, and most of them would never interact with him more than a few words now and then anyway. When you're a Specialist, a Colonel is closer to God than anything else."
"And it all works, for years," Castle says, "Until Temperance finds Martinez's skull, and you and I find Coonan and Lockwood, and they find Taffet, and we find Bracken, and it all starts getting too close." Castle shudders for a second. "You investigated your mother's case for years, and it was fine. They didn't care if you found Raglan and McAllister or any of it. They just cared that you found Coonan."
Beckett can see the wheels of guilt rolling in Castle's head. She wouldn't have found Coonan without Castle's money. She shakes her head, silently communicating to him that it isn't his fault. Neither Booth nor Brennan notice, but Castle seems to calm down a little.
"So they start cleaning house. Broadsky in one direction, Marks in the other, both thinking they are acting with the backing of the Army and the U.S. Government."
"They're backed by a Senator and the soon-to-be-Director of the CIA - they are backed by the government."
"Hey," Booth says angrily. Castle shrugs an apology, but doesn't take it back.
"Booth," Brennan says, distracting him away from Castle. "We don't have any evidence."
"You sayin' you don't believe it, Bones?"
"No, Booth. I'm saying we no longer have any evidence. Every person who was there is either dead or on Bracken and Favaretto's side. They have the remains. They have destroyed the paperwork. They have my files."
"But we know."
"Yes, which is why they will most likely continue to try and kill us, but even if they fail... we abducted a sitting U.S. Senator … we won't be able to testify. And even if we do, and somehow succeed … you served under Favaretto for years. If he is convicted, then all of your actions as a member of The Program would be up for indictment."
Booth waves that off with his hand. "I'm more concerned about getting this guy than what might happen to me, afterwards."
"She's right though," Beckett says. "We have no legal way to go after Bracken or Favaretto. Hell, they don't even have to come after us anymore. All they had to do was scare us enough, and we ran around, tampering with our case while they went and cleaned up the last of the evidence."
Castle looks around. Both Beckett and Booth are spinning themselves into circles, and even Brennan seems confused as to what to do next. But Castle can't seem to stop thinking of a phrase.
"Before the devil knows you're there..."
"Huh?" Booth asks.
"Country lyrics, really, Castle?"
Castle stands up. "They don't have to come after us, but they will. These guys have spent fifteen years using the same trick over and over again. They're reliant on it. So they'll try again."
"And that's a comfort?"
"No. That's a strategy. If they want to come after us … I say we let them."
A/N: I wrote a 900 word story in an hour this week. It got 25 times the views this story has gotten as a whole. But I'm prouder of this one, so thank you for sticking with it, the 20 or so of you, I see checking each chapter.
A/N2: Montt is a real person, though the rest of this is, quite obviously, completely made up and shouldn't be considered related to real life in any way, shape, or form.