Novation Productions Presents Season Six Episode Seven
Friday, shortly after midnight
The drunken, giggling revelers swayed out of the 'Taboo Mausoleum' bar, the glow of the garish neon lights turning their faces into hideous masks. Most of the folks were attempting not to stumble as they made their way to their various vehicles. A woman separated herself from her group, giggling as she waved to her friends, then staggered to her own car.
A sudden flash of lightning lit up the night, momentarily blinding the crowd, shocking them to a startled standstill. An echoing of the thunder masked the roaring sound that seemed to be coming closer. The partiers shook off the stupor that had gripped them, and continued weaving toward their cars, trucks and vans.
Thud of metal on flesh, tires squealing on pavement, a scream of horror rent the night and pulled the gathering Goths from their drug induced stupor, just in time to see a dark monster speed off into the distance leaving a broken person in the street.
The shrill screams from several women reached the other clubs nearby; their alarmed patrons erupted from the doorways. Their cries of distress brought other figures from the other clubs, who raced to where the victim lay in the middle of the street. Though less than sober, the three that reached her first were able to perform first aid and call emergency services.
The group of Goths continued to perform CPR that kept the unconscious girl alive until the EMTs and paramedics arrived and took over from the civilians. In short order, they had stabilized the girl and whisked her into the ambulance. As it headed toward the trauma hospital, the newly-arrived forensics team started to work the area.
A tall woman crossed her arms over her chest as she stared balefully at the sedan that pulled up to the site and at the tall sandy-haired man that stepped out of it. Her long straight hair, black makeup and split dress gave her the appearance of an avenging demon, which was further enhanced by her darkening expression. "This ends now!" she spat in anger and frustration.
"Twisted Illusions," another Goth sighed with exaggerated drama, "you've been rocking the boat ever since someone started to target us."
"No, Dead Pleasures," Twisted Illusions countered, shaking her head. "I've just been making a few waves. But I intend to start rocking the boat. I'll capsize it if I have to."
Edward Miles sighed and rubbed his eyes as he got out of his sedan and walked over to where the traffic police were taking statements from the Goths and other witnesses, and the forensic crew, headed by Serena Chang, was collecting evidence.
"Sorry Eddie," Serena said as she shook her head. "Still nothing to work with."
"Why should I expect anything more?" Eddie shrugged as he walked around the scene. Turning to the officer directing traffic, he asked, "What's the word on the vic?"
The grizzled traffic officer shook his head. "Touch and go. She was lucky that this group was still around and was halfway cognizant to perform first aid. Maybe when she regains consciousness, she can tell us what she saw. If she saw anything."
"I'll take any break I can get," Eddie sighed.
"So when are you going to get off your ass and do something?" a female voice demanded.
Eddie closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. The small headache he had been fighting since he had gotten the call was beginning to escalate. The headache was the first step his own personal demons sought to play on him during difficult cases.
"Ms Lenz, I am doing something," he began.
"Then why are there still Goths getting run over by this sociopath?" The irate woman forced her body into his personal space. "When are you going to do more than come to a scene where a Goth is run over and just look? When are you going to do something, like arrest someone?"
"What do you want me to do?" Eddie demanded. "Just grab some driver off the street and haul him in?"
"Don't be an ass," she snorted. "I want you to catch the sociopath that has targeted the Goths."
"Then find me some damned evidence that I can use to find this sociopath and arrest him!" Eddie snapped back.
"I've given you plenty of evidence," she retorted heatedly.
"That led nowhere."
"Then someone here isn't doing his job to the fullest."
"That's enough, Sam." Serena Chang came up to the two battling people.
"It's not enough!" Samantha Lenz, otherwise known as Twisted Illusions, protested. "Look around you. How many times in the last five months have we come to scenes like this and collected evidence –"
"I said that's enough, Sam," Serena repeated sternly. "If Eddie couldn't do anything with the evidence we collected, perhaps we messed up somewhere."
Sam's temper increased. "You know that's not true!" she spat.
"And you know it's not true about Eddie either," Serena continued calmly, firmly. "Now, if you can't act professionally –"
"I'm not on duty; you can't tell me how to act," Sam snapped.
"If you can't act professionally, even if you're off duty," Serena retorted, "I'll have you escorted off the premises. Think about that."
"You can't –"
"Try me." Serena glared at the Goth-dressed forensic technician. "Now, get back behind the yellow barrier, please. You're risking contaminating the crime scene."
Serena turned and walked back to where her technicians were working on collecting what little there was to get off the street. Sam glared after her superior, then turned on her heel in a huff and joined her friends. She might not be able to rock any boats here, but there was still the station.
Friday, 2:30 AM
Homicide Captain Harold Stone, a stocky man in his late fifties with graying black hair and hazel eyes, watched as Eddie Miles paced back and forth in his office. He glanced at the floor, wryly thankful it was tile and not carpet. He let the detective continue to vent his frustration with his latest case, figuring he'd give the man another five minutes, then give him a verbal kick in the butt and get him back to work. The man was not a showy detective, but he had a decent closure rate. Steady Eddie, as he was called by his coworkers, was nothing if not tenacious, chasing after his quarry until he caught the perp.
Or, the captain sighed as he watched the man's frame seem to shake minutely, until the man confessed he was hitting the wall. It didn't happen often, Stone admitted to himself, but it did happen. When it did, Eddie would come to his office, pace until he was fatigued, or started shaking, then ask the captain to give the case to someone else or get him some help.
"Has that Lenz woman been harassing you again, Eddie?" Stone asked, hoping to derail the man a little. "Because if she has, I'll have another talk with her supervisor. I'm getting tired of hearing her jumping on you when her department can't even give you anything to work with."
"Yes, she's been bugging me," Eddie acknowledged as he sank into a chair across from the captain. "But Serena's been riding herd on her. No, Cap, it's me. Usually I can get a handle on a perp; with this case, I can't even get a clue. It's time for someone else to try and get this creep off the streets."
"And who do you want me to give this case to?" Stone asked resignedly. "I mean, everyone here has a pretty full plate."
"I know that." Eddie frowned at his superior. "I wouldn't wish this case on anyone here anyway. Why not kick it up to Major Crimes? They seem to be able to catch whatever we can't."
"You sure, Eddie?" Stone stared at the man. "I mean, I know the Goth community is really upset about this, but you could step back for a bit, look at some of your other cases, then come back to this one."
Eddie shook his head. "And let more Goths be crippled or killed? No, Cap, I can't let that happen either. Let Major Crimes work on it; perhaps they'll see something I've missed."
"You rarely miss things, Eddie."
"Well I sure as hell am missing something here!" Eddie frowned at his captain, his green eyes snapping angrily. "And I won't be able to live with myself if another person gets killed while I'm spinning my wheels."
"They might have the same problem that you're having," Stone noted. "And more people might still die, or be injured."
"I know, and it'll still eat me up," Eddie admitted, "but at least I'll know that I've done the right thing letting another set of eyes look at the case. Please, Cap," he begged. "Give it to Major Crimes. Get this nutcase off the street before any more Goths get murdered."
Jim Ellison stared at the damaged Volvo that was parked next to his vintage Ford pickup truck in the precinct garage, then watched the driver who was getting out of the car. The rear fender was pushed up over the tire, the trunk crumpled up near the back seat.
"What the hell happened to your car?" Jim asked his guide.
"Someone backed into it," Blair answered glumly.
"That I can see," Jim snorted. "How did it happen?"
"Some jerk backed into it," Blair repeated, his tone sharper. "I found it this way when I got out of the library last night after I'd spent all day in class."
Jim raised an eyebrow. "And no one saw anything?"
"Of course not," Blair snorted. "No one ever sees anything."
"Didn't the guy who hit you even leave a note?"
"Are you kidding? And admit to being a crappy driver?" Blair exhaled. "And have his – or her – insurance rates go up? Hell no. Instead, I'm having to turn it in on my insurance, and I'm going to be the one whose rate is going up."
"Sorry to hear that."
"The adjuster is going to come here and look it over." Blair sighed as the two got into the elevator. "Let me know how much the insurance is going to cover. If it's going to cover the damage, that is."
"I feel your pain." Jim clamped a hand on his shoulder. "Believe me, I've been there. I have the high risk rates to prove it."
"You're not helping me here, man," Blair grumbled as they got out of the elevator and entered the break room.
The small television was on, with a breaking news bulletin airing. Both Jim and Blair glanced at it momentarily, noting the dress of the man that was being escorted out of the courthouse by two lawyer-looking men. The voice of Don Haas droned over the picture.
"Earlier this morning, the accused hit and run driver, Marcus Timmons, known in the Goth community as Violent Beauty, was granted time served and parole in return for a guilty plea for the hit and run deaths of the young teenaged twins Byron and Brenda Martin at the Homecoming Dance last November in front of Aaron Stemple High School."
Jim paused and looked at the screen, then moved to pour himself a cup of coffee, his face stony. Blair frowned, looked at the screen, noting the number of Goths that followed Timmons, cheering the sentence and jeering at the police.
To one side of the screen was an equally sized group of people, most in police uniform. One woman with dark hair and a pinched, defeated look was being comforted and protected from the jeering crowd that was surrounding the man.
Jim looked at the screen again, and his jaw started to move.
"Jim?" Blair raised an eyebrow in question.
"That's Jenice Martin," Jim said tightly. "She's Jack's niece."
"Jack, as in your late partner Jack?"
"Yeah. She was in the Academy when he was killed."
"What happened?" Blair looked at Jim, then at the television. "I mean, why is she there?"
"The twins that Haas mentioned?"
"The ones the Goth reportedly ran over?"
"Yeah, them," Jim nodded. "They were Jenice's younger brother and sister. They were on their way home from the homecoming dance at the high school when Timmons apparently drove through the area and hit them. Didn't even stop to render aid."
"Was he high or what?"
"Probably," Jim shrugged. "Jenice was there as well, doing traffic duty, trying to keep an eye on the kids, make sure that they didn't get in trouble. She acted like a pro, though," Jim went on. "Got a partial plate and handled the scene as though the two vics weren't her kid brother and sister. The kids died several weeks later, right around Thanksgiving."
"Oh, that's hard. To lose a loved one just before a major family holiday. And she lost two!"
"Traffic finally found Timmons' car in a wrecking yard. Still had the fibers and blood in the grillwork."
"So how come he's not doing time for vehicular manslaughter?" Blair wanted to know.
"Because," Jim sighed, "apparently Timmons knows the comings and goings of one Violent Sex Addict, AKA Samuel Miller, a known drug lord, pushing anything that kids will buy."
"And in return for a reduced sentence, and possibly even witness protection, he promised to give the DA all that information," Blair surmised.
"In one, Junior," Jim nodded as the diminutive woman who had been on the television screen several minutes before entered the break room.
"Here, Jenny," one of the uniformed officers said, holding a chair out for her. "At least that vulture Haas can't get to you here."
"Haas I can handle," the dark-haired woman answered. "It was the-the almost celebratory attitude of those Goths that I couldn't take any more. As if he was the injured party. What about Bryon and Brenda? Who gives a damn about them?"
"We do, Jen," Jim told her. "You know that."
"But who else does?" Jenice demanded, hazel eyes brimming with tears. "Who else?"
"A lot of people do," Blair supplied.
"Well, you couldn't prove it by what the DA did." Jenice looked down at her hands.
"I can't condone what he did, but I can't condemn it either." Jim exhaled slowly. "He was looking at the greater good. Getting Miller off the street will save a lot of lives."
"I just hope that Timmons gets his just rewards," Jenice said bitterly. "The sooner the better."
"You know the department, Jen," Jim said. "We'll keep an eye on him. He's going to go back to his old ways sooner or later."
"Probably later," Jenice answered cynically. "He'll keep his nose clean until he's off probation, then he'll go back to his old ways. And the next time he gets arrested, I'll bet he'll have another drug lord, or pimp, or maybe both to roll over on for the DA. Anything to get out of real jail time."
"A Greek philosopher once wrote, 'The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine'," Blair told her. "He may not get the punishment that we want for him, but he will get what he deserves."
"I've heard that one before too." Jenice shook her head. "And I've seen the bad guys get all the marbles and good guys get nothing. So forgive me if I don't believe it until I see it."
Jim sighed and got up, putting his hand paternally on her shoulder. "Try not to be too bitter, Jen," he told her. "It doesn't help anything, and it only ends up destroying you." Jim turned to his partner. "Let's go get that paper pile under control."
Jim put one more report into the 'Out' basket and leaned back in the chair. At the rate that he and Blair were working, the 'In' basket would be nearly empty. Perhaps he could figure out a way to get off and start enjoying the weekend early.
"Ellison, Sandburg, my office," Simon called from his doorway.
Jim groaned, letting his head drop to his chest. He knew his name was at the top of the assignment list. Rafe and Brown were working on that Stop and Shop robbery case that was garnering them a lot of attention, as well as several other investigations, and Connor and Taggart had a number of cases on their plate. Dills and his new partner were also currently busy on more than a few cases. Only he and Blair had fewer than five current cases, and none of them were very active at the moment.
He got up and made his way to the office, followed not-so-closely by Blair. They stepped through the doorway, noting the presence of another person.
"Jim, I think you know Edward Miles," Simon said by way of introduction.
"Yeah." Jim nodded at the man who nodded back.
"Ed, this is Blair Sandburg." Simon introduced the civilian consultant. "Blair, Edward Miles from Homicide."
"Hello." Blair held out a hand toward the detective. Eddie extended his hand and Blair shook it enthusiastically. "Nice to meet you."
"You won't be feeling that for long," Eddie muttered, slumping in the chair in which he was sitting.
Jim frowned at the detective, then looked over at Simon as the captain sat down behind his impressive desk.
"He's right, Jim," Simon said with a sigh. "You probably won't like this."
"Sir?" Jim raised an eyebrow at his captain.
"Seems we have a new case," Simon said, closing the folder in front of him. Jim noted it was a rather large folder. "Meaning, you have a new case."
Jim scowled. "Damn. I had plans."
"Well, shelve them." Simon scowled back. "I'm giving you a hot potato."
"How hot?" Jim's glare became guarded.
"Damned hot," Eddie supplied. "I've been juggling it for the past five months and getting nowhere." He exhaled heavily. "And all the while, there have been more deaths, or injuries, and I can't take it any more."
"The Goth Slayer case?" Blair grimaced.
"Yeah, the Goth Slayer case." Eddie got up and started to pace. "Look, I normally would just be calling in help to solve the case when it gets me stumped, but this time…" He stopped and took a deep breath, then went on, "This time, I can't claim to just be stumped. I'm totally baffled. I have no clue what to do next. And the Goth kids are still being run over."
"Simon, mind if we borrow a conference room and go over the information?" Jim asked.
"Conference room one is available," Simon nodded.
Jim led the way to the conference room. He noted the subdued demeanor of the Homicide detective. While he knew the other man was not as gregarious as Blair, he was rarely this quiet. The case, one that had hit the newspapers about a month ago, was not easy. How do you find a seemingly hit and run driver that leaves nothing behind?
"Coffee?" Jim asked Eddie as they sat down.
"Decaf if you have any," Eddie nodded. "I've been drinking the stuff since midnight, and any more caffeine will have me wired for the week."
Blair nodded and turned to the small coffee maker and made a carafe of decaf and another of regular coffee. Eddie took a sip and added some cream and sugar to the cup, then took another sip, nodded and looked at the partners.
"I really hate handing this case over to you two." Eddie kept his eyes down, not meeting Jim's eyes. "I should be able to finish it myself. But…"
"Hey, it's hard if the evidence is pointing nowhere," Blair offered.
"Or if the cop in charge doesn't look hard enough where the evidence is pointing."
Jim turned to the door where a controlled, but angry Samantha Lenz was standing. She was in dark street clothes, her hair loose around her face, her makeup sedate but darker than Jim ever remembered her wearing it when she had been dating Blair.
"Isn't that right, Eddie?" Sam stalked to the conference table and stared down at the tired homicide detective.
"Ms Lenz…" Eddie began.
"Allow me." Jim stood up and interjected his body between Sam and Eddie. "I've heard about you riding Eddie…"
"And I'll be riding you too if you turn out the same crap that he has." Sam stared at Jim, her dark eyes snapping. "Just because the victims are Goths…"
"Get out!" Jim snapped.
"You have a choice." Jim's glare turned glacial. "You walk out of here on your own, or I can help you out. And believe me, you won't like it if I help you."
"You have no right…"
"It's now my case, and you'd be surprised what I can and can't do." Jim smiled at her predatorily. "You going?"
"From what I can see, the one thing you're not doing is helping the case. So get the hell out and let us work."
Sam stared at Jim but, as others had found before her, very few could match his glare. She turned around in a huff and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
"What did you ever see in her, Chief?"
"Well, sometimes that behavior can be very…stimulating." Blair shrugged with a sheepish grin.
"Yeah, right," Jim snorted.
"Thing is, she might have some insights that we could use," Blair noted.
"Well, she hasn't been giving us any," Eddie grumbled. "All she's been doing is bitching about what I haven't been doing to catch this Goth Slayer."
"Jim, we could use her help," Blair persisted.
"If she can control her temper, I'll try and work with her," Jim said grudgingly. "But she's gonna have to be on her best behavior."
Samantha Lenz stomped to the break room, angrily grabbed a cup and made herself some coffee. Not that she needed any more caffeine, she noted silently. But the decaf just didn't taste right.
Sighing loudly, she slumped into a chair and leaned her head against the wall. "Damn it! It's just not fair," she mumbled.
"Tell me about it," a voice said off to her left.
Turning slightly, Sam saw another woman sitting at the next table, toying with her own cup of coffee.
"I mean," Jenice said bitterly, "what does it matter that that – that creature ran over two beautiful kids, leaving them broken and hurting, and later dying? As long as he has information to catch a big bad guy, so what? He doesn't have to pay for his crime."
"At least they caught him," Sam responded. "Try seeing your friends getting killed, and the cops ignoring everything and anything just because the victims aren't the social elite."
"That's hard," the other woman nodded. "I'm so sorry."
"Thanks. Sorry about the kids."
There was a moment of silence, then Jenice asked Sam, "How do you handle it?"
"Not very well," Sam admitted. "I'm making waves, rocking the boat…"
"Getting tossed overboard," Blair's voice sounded at the doorway. Sam scowled at the observer. "You know Jim was right to toss you out on your ear, Sam," he went on, sitting down next to her. "And let me tell you, if you keep it up, all you'll do is hurt yourself and maybe even the case. You won't be helping your friends at all if you get suspended."
"He's right, Sam," Jenice responded. "I went off the deep end and did nothing by the book. I didn't catch the guy that killed my kid sister and brother; I damned near made it impossible to get him, in fact. Took getting suspended and spending time with the head docs to get my head straight." She stood up and started to walk out. "Learn from my mistakes, Sam. Please don't mess up the way I did. It only creates a sea of trouble. It's not worth it; not at all."
"So, Sam," Blair eyed his former girlfriend, "do you really want to catch the killer or do you just want to bitch at the lack of progress that's being made and accuse the cops of not doing their jobs?"
"But…" Sam began only to have Blair raise his hand, his features hardening.
"I'm not joking, Sam. Do you want to help or not?"
"Of course I do," Sam said with a pout. "I just don't want the cops to keep coming up empty."
"Neither do we," Blair pointed out. "You see how not getting the guy has eaten Eddie up. Trust me, we all want this killer off the streets. What we don't need from one of our own is a lot a grief."
"What do I have to do?" Sam asked resignedly.
"Well, first of all," Blair stood and held out a hand to her, "you come back to the meeting and you contribute forensic information and suggestions. You don't say anything about what the cops did or didn't do with that information. You stay on your best behavior. Or else."
"Or else? Are you threatening me?"
"No, I'm not," Blair shook his head. "I'm letting you know the ground rules going in. Jim won't stand for the kind of crap you were doing with Eddie. You saw what he did in the conference room."
"Fine, I'll be a good girl," Sam retorted. "Good enough for you?"
"I'm not the one you have to convince." Blair walked toward the door. "Coming?"
Jim looked up as the door of the conference room opened and Blair walked in, followed by Sam. The scowl on his face when he saw Sam told Blair all he needed to know about Jim's mood. He turned to look at Sam and saw a similar grimace. Terrific. Two folks who should be working closely together were already ready to tear out each other's throats.
"Now that you're back," Jim spoke to Blair, ignoring the technician, "Eddie can tell us about the case."
"The MO is really simple; the problem is that it mimics accidents and that makes it hard to track," Eddie began. "I mean, the area is full of bars and clubs, and drivers who probably shouldn't be driving anyway. Who in his right mind would think that someone would be targeting a particular person? In this case, a particular group of people."
"We tried to tell you…" Sam started harshly, then pressed her lips together when she caught the disapproving glare from Jim.
"Yeah, the Goths did try and tell Traffic, and some even came to Homicide complaining that they were being targeted," Eddie agreed. "At the time, though, there wasn't much to back up that claim. It wasn't until one victim survived and was able to give us a statement that any credence was given to the claim they were being targeted. The girl, Amber Jordan or Leather Pleasure, was the first one to survive, and gave us a detailed statement about how the car came at her and continued to follow her when she tried to dodge it. And she was the first victim to have neither alcohol nor drugs in her system. Definitely made it easy to believe her statement."
"Of course," Sam muttered under her breath, garnering her another glare from Jim.
"So we went back over the other hit and runs," Eddie continued as though Sam hadn't said a word. "And we found similarities with most of them. I say most," he went on, sending a look at Sam, then returning his attention to Jim and Blair, "since we never found the cars that were involved in the other slayings. The first car we found, purely by accident was the one that hit Ms Jordan." The folder was opened and shoved from one detective to the other. "And that's where we still are. We are watching the Goth area closely…"
"Not close enough," Sam grumped.
"Sam," Blair warned softly as Jim glowered icily at her yet again.
"I know, I know," Sam snapped. "I'm not downing Eddie, not this time." Her tone was full of defeat. "There's too much going on during the times that the Slayer strikes. It's always at closing time for the bars, and the cops are needed all over the city. I've tried to get the Goths to stay together but…"
"But they just don't listen to authority figures," Eddie completed. "It took several more incidents to find another car, a stolen one from the area, by a wrecking yard. That one yielded us nothing."
"Nothing?" Jim raised an eyebrow and frowned at Sam. "What about the forensic evidence? Didn't you get anything from it?" Blair could hear the almost challenge in Jim's voice.
Sam scowled back at Jim, then shook her head. "We've found some strands of cloth from a coverall. And a strand of hair. Dark colored, dyed. No follicle so no DNA. No root, no original hair color."
"As you can see, not a lot to go on," Eddie sighed. "Each incident just gave us more of the same. A stolen car that is used in the hit and run, which is then abandoned at any one of the wrecking yards around town. The Goths are hit in front of any one of the clubs. We can't even point to a pattern for when the Slayer will strike next. The days that the kids are hit are vary from the weekends to the middle of the week to the start of the week, to the end of the week."
"No pattern?" Blair looked surprised.
"None that we could uncover."
"Anything on the driver?"
"Several of the survivors have tried to give us a description of the driver, but even that has been no help."
"What have they come up with?" Blair wanted to know.
"Medium build, wearing a ball cap and coveralls." Eddie exhaled heavily. "That description could fit any person anywhere anytime."
"Is there anything about the coveralls that can help us?" Jim asked, turning again to Sam.
"No." She shook her head. "The coveralls are off-the-rack generic coveralls."
"In short, a whole lot of nothing," Jim noted.
"And now," Eddie stood and headed toward the door, "it's become your nothing. I hope you're able to do more with all this nothing than I was."
"He's right, unfortunately," Sam commented softly. "There hasn't been a whole lot to give him to work with."
"So why have you been so hard on him?" Blair demanded.
"Because they're my friends, Blair!" Sam snapped. "And they're dying and no one seems to care…."
"We care, Sam." Blair put a hand over hers. "But there is no way we can just pick up anyone; not without evidence."
"And there is no damned evidence," Sam noted.
"Yet," Jim finally added. "Sooner or later, the Slayer will make a mistake. And then we'll catch him."
"How much do your friends know?" Blair looked at Sam.
"What do you mean?" Sam frowned. "If they knew something, they would have told the cops."
"You sure?" Blair raised an eyebrow. "No offense to your friends, but if they were drunk, or were on drugs, do you really think they'd talk to the cops?"
"Probably not," Sam sighed in defeat. "But they'd use the tip hotline to call in what they knew, and no one's done that either."
"Maybe they know something and don't know that they know it," mused Blair.
"And what are you going to do about it?" Jim challenged him, eyebrow raised.
"I intend to talk with them." Blair sat back and waited for the man to explode.
"You?" Jim grinned. "Talk with them?"
"Sure," Blair shrugged.
"I could introduce you to my friends," Sam offered. "Of course, you'd have to go in Goth costume."
"Costume?" Blair looked at the technician. "What do you mean, costume?"
"You can't go dressed like that," Sam chuckled. "The Goths don't like to talk to non-Goths."
"I'll be backing you up," Jim stated.
Blair sniggered. "If I don't pass as a Goth, what makes you think you can?"
"I'm not going as a Goth," Jim grinned back.
"A biker," Jim repeated.
"Like one of the Void or Hell's Angels? That kind of biker?"
"Sure," Jim grinned. "Before it was Ghoul Station, the bar was known as Biker Haven. In fact," he noted, "I was in it a few times as a biker undercover. It might still be a biker hangout except about nine years ago there was a drug bust and the owner lost the club."
"And how are you going to explain yourself?" Sam mused.
"Out of state for a while, came back, went to my old hangout and found a strange club instead." Jim looked at Sam. "It'll work."
"It might," she nodded. She turned to Blair as she stood. "I'll get a list of places where you can rent some clothing to fit in with the Goths." Her fingers played with his locks. "You should dye it darker."
"Dye it?" Blair gulped, looking at his ends. "But it's a dark color already."
"I had dark hair," Sam pointed out. "As you can see, it's a lot darker now."
"I'll think about it," Blair told her.
"Dye it," Sam repeated as she walked out of the room.
"I said I'll think about it."
Blair found a whiteboard, positioned it near his desk, and started to make notes on it from the case file. Jim interjected comments as he read Eddie's notes, which Blair added. Then the two partners stood back and looked at the board.
"Yep," Jim nodded, crossing his arms over his chest. "A whole lot of nothing."
"We're just starting," Blair reminded Jim. "We'll get something on that board that makes sense. Sooner or later."
"I'd prefer sooner to later, if you get my drift." Jim shook his head.
"Amen to that."
"And I'm telling you, H, that kid is going to come through," Rafe argued with his partner as he entered the bullpen. "He'll tell us who the real leader in the Stop and Shop robberies is."
"Only if he doesn't value his life," Henri countered. "Rafe, he lives on the streets with them."
"But he's not a member of the gang, H!" Rafe disputed.
Henri shook his head. "Don't matter. He knows if he rats out the gang, he'll get whacked. Or his family. And he's no candidate for the Witness Protection Program."
"We could find a way…" Rafe began.
"Only if you move his family and him yourself," Henri answered vehemently.
Rafe hung his head in defeat. "You're not helping here, H."
"Just telling you the way it is, partner." Henri patted the sharply dressed detective on the back.
"And speaking of the way things are…" Rafe looked at the whiteboard and map behind Blair.
Henri studied the map, then looked at both Jim and Blair. "Is that the Goth Slayer case?"
"It is," Blair nodded.
"I heard that Homicide was kicking that case our way." Rafe's tone was conciliatory.
"And you're the unlucky cusses that caught it," Henri added, his tone less conciliatory.
"That's one way to look at it," Jim shrugged.
"So," Rafe leaned against the desk, "think you can find this vampire killer?"
Henri rolled his eyes in exasperation, shaking his head sadly. "I keep telling you that whoever it is, is not a vampire slayer."
"But look at all the Goths that are getting killed! Someone must think that they are vampires."
"They still aren't vampire slayers," Henri insisted.
"Okay, why aren't they vampire slayers?" Rafe demanded.
"Simple," Blair butted in. "No vampires around. No stakes, no dust at the scenes."
Henri turned to look at Blair in surprise. "You watch Buffy too?"
"Of course I do." Blair's face broke into a wide grin. "She's one hot lady."
"And you told me you watched it for the mature themes in the script," Jim snorted.
"Hey, the show has many layers to it," Blair defended himself. "I watch for all of them."
Jim nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I can see that. The Buffy layer, the Dawn layer, the Willow layer, the Anya layer…"
"Yeah, them too," Blair agreed with a lecherous grin.
"Hey, Ellison." Eddie Miles stood by the bullpen door. "Got a call from Willie's Wrecking Yard. Looks like they found the car from last night's incident."
"Let's go, Chief."
"So the wrecking yards call in when a strange car shows up?" Blair looked over at Jim.
"When it shows up at their gate and no one sticks around to handle the paperwork," Jim qualified as they got out in front of 'Willie's Wrecking Yard' and walked close to the car, taking care not to go under the yellow tape just yet.
Blair pointed at the wet dirt on the other side of the tape. "Looks like we got tire tracks."
"Look used, probably after factory tires." Jim shook his head. "Not going to be easy to find the truck that has them."
Blair punched Jim as they crossed the line and made their way to the car. Serena Chang and Samantha were busy in the car, carefully pulling things from the seat and steering wheel.
Serena glanced at Jim and waved him to come closer. In one hand was a tweezers with a small fiber. "This is all we've been able to get." She held it up for the Sentinel to see. "Nothing much."
"What's that odor?" Jim frowned as he sniffed the interior of the car.
"Sure it's not our perfume?" Serena asked.
"Let's see." Jim sniffed again. "No, Sam's wearing Opium, and you're wearing Pikake. This is…" He frowned and shook his head. "I don't know. I can't place it. I can't tell if it's perfume or aftershave or deodorant or something else."
"Close your eyes," Blair instructed. "Just let your mind associate with the scent. It'll come to you."
Jim scowled as he closed his eyes and tried to name the odor that was teasing his memory. The scowl deepened and a pained expression started to cross his face.
"Headache?" Blair asked.
"Working on it," Jim admitted. "No idea why the scent is so…so familiar."
"Catalog it," Blair instructed. "We'll work in it later."
"You could figure it out if you wanted to," Sam accused from the back seat. "You could tell what Serena and I were wearing without any trouble. You're just not trying."
"Back off, Sam," Blair growled. "If he said he couldn't place it, he means it. It just takes time and a place where he can relax, which isn't here."
"One more word, and you'll see me tossing you off the case," Blair warned. "You don't tell him what he is and isn't doing."
"It's not fair."
"Life's not fair." Blair pulled her out of the car. "Besides, you didn't go into detail about the clothes I need for tomorrow night."
"And makeup," Sam added. "You'll need makeup."
"Makeup?" Blair stared at the taller woman in sheer terror. "First I have to get a costume, then dye my hair, and now makeup? I don't think so." Blair shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Blair," Sam smiled down at the observer. "Costume. Go to Jeremy's on Holcomb. There's a large selection to choose from. In fact, I can have him put several costumes aside for you. Make the selection easier. Hair dye…"
"I've got an idea about that," Blair interrupted her.
"And makeup I will supply and apply." Sam planted a kiss on Blair's forehead.
"I'll see what I can do by myself." Blair shook his head. "And let's talk about the makeup."
"I'll supply and apply the makeup, Beautiful." Sam grinned at Blair as she went back to work.
"Okay, got anything to help us forensic types out?" Serena asked Jim.
Jim shook his head. "Not really. What do you have?"
"Several nice strands from the coveralls." Serena tucked another fiber into an evidence bag.
"Can you get anything from that?" Jim pointed to the thread.
"Well, it's three whole inches. What do you want?"
"See if there are any pollens, molds, soils in it," Jim began listing. "Maybe find out what kind of fiber it is and who uses it so we can find who bought it."
Serena grinned. "Like I said. Three whole inches. I can do that. Anything else, O Great Detective?"
"Yeah, brand and size of the coveralls. And who was wearing it." Jim sighed as he watched Blair and Sam talking.
"Like I said, give me a few days."
"Think you'll get lucky with the hair strands?"
She sighed and shook her head. "All I can tell you is that, if this is from the same person who's been running down the Goths, they dye their hair. Right now, no follicle so no DNA. And there's no root, so I can't even give you the original hair color. Sorry."
"Not your fault the perp isn't being helpful. Serena…" Jim looked at the chief technician, a puzzled expression on his face, "what the hell is going on with Sam? I mean, Goth?"
Serena shrugged. "Hard to say, Jim. She's a damned good worker. Analytical and logical almost to a fault. Hell, there's a lot of cases would have been tossed out except for her evidentiary work. But when it comes to her love life, she's totally opposite; almost a little crazy. I mean, look at how she treated Blair just for missing a sushi bar date."
"Or her birthday," Jim agreed.
"Actually, when she was going with Blair, she seemed to have settled down a bit," Serena told him. "Wasn't nearly as crazy as she was when she was dating the racer, or the surfer, or the artist, or the banker."
Jim stared, startled. "You're kidding. If that was Sam at less crazy –"
"I know," Serena chuckled. "She really is a wild one when she's not working. I was hoping that Sam would finally settle down, even after she and Blair broke up; but she just went off the deep end, getting even crazier than before."
"I don't understand it, either, Jim," Serena smiled. "I just tolerate it. As long as she passes the drug tests and shows up to work cold stone sober, and doesn't seem to be involved in anything crooked, I can't do much else."
Blair joined Jim as he walked to where Willie, the owner of the wrecking yard, was standing, watching the activity. The middle-aged blond stood almost as tall as Blair, but was definitely pounds heavier from working in the yard and possibly even in the gym.
"Where's Eddie?" the blond man asked in a near challenging tone as Jim introduced himself. "Or did the brass take the case away from him?"
"No," Jim shook his head. "We're giving Eddie a hand is all."
"Oh, okay then." Willie visibly relaxed and smiled at the detective. "This will make the fourth – no, fifth – time that the Slayer has chosen to dump the car at my yard."
"Five?" Jim raised an eyebrow.
"Well, that we're sure of anyway," Willie qualified. "Second time I thought I saw a black four-by-four driving away before finding the car."
"Mud covered, powerful engine," Willie snorted. "That's about all I ever got to see. Might try the City Wrecking Yard and Cecil's Crashed Cars; they might have seen more when the cars were dropped off."
"We will, thanks." Jim shook Willie's hand.
"I'm going to take one last walk around," Jim told Blair as Willie went back to his office. "See if something pops out at me."
"Besides Sam, you mean," Blair commented.
"Yeah, besides Sam."
Jim stood and stared around, letting his vision telescope and normalize on its own. So far, nothing. Then he stopped, puzzlement etched on his face. He could have sworn that he saw a familiar face in the group of officers that was directing traffic around the forensic group. Whoever it was that he had thought he'd seen was no longer around. Maybe he was just imagining things.
He took a deep breath and found himself suddenly smelling the same odor that had tickled his olfactory senses earlier, in the car. A furrow creased his brow. Had he been smelling one of the female officers' perfume instead of the perp's?
"Jim?" Blair's voice finally broke through his musings. "You okay, big guy?"
"Yeah," Jim nodded, rubbing his head. Jeez, had he nearly zoned on the scent? "Just getting a headache."
"You sure?" Blair's dark blue eyes looked up into Jim's lighter blue eyes. "I mean you looked pretty gone there. Almost like a zone."
"I said it was just a headache." Jim closed his eyes. "Sorry. Acts like it's gonna be a bad one, too. Let's get back to the precinct and get ready for tomorrow night."
Friday, 4:00 PM
Back at the bullpen, Blair swiveled in his chair and looked at the form that Jim was filling out. "What are you working on?"
"Voucher," Jim said. "To rent a motorcycle from Cascade Motors."
"Rent a cycle?" Blair frowned. "What about using one from Vice or Narcotics or …"
"Nope," Jim shook his head, cutting the question off. "Can't. All the cycles used by Vice undercover are already known by the biker groups, and probably by other elements as well. Best way to get burned as a cop is to use one of those. Best way to burn an undercover cop is to use one."
"Okay," Blair nodded his head thoughtfully. "I can see that. But rent a cycle? With your driving record?"
Jim scowled at the observer. "You know, before I met you, I'd had one, maybe two bad accidents in the line of duty. Since I've met you, however…"
"So you think I've brought you bad luck in driving?" Blair grinned at the detective. "Interesting but rather hard to prove."
"At any rate, yes, I can rent the cycle, but Simon has indicated I have to have it back in twenty-four hours," he added wistfully.
"We're only going to the one club, for one night," Blair pointed out. "Twenty-four hours is plenty long enough."
"Not if we find out something at this club. Or find something that leads to another club."
"Oh," Blair nodded, then frowned. "Hey, only one club was known as a biker club, right? Right?"
"Actually, they all were," Jim told him. "It's just that some were into other – interests – as well as bikes."
"Oh yeah?" Blair perked up and grinned wickedly at his partner. "Which one was the gay leather bar? And did you ever go there undercover?"
Jim glowered the smaller man, his ears turning a dark shade of pink. "I didn't. I wasn't the type."
"Yeah, right," sniggered Blair.
"Speaking of vehicles, what did the insurance guy tell you?" Jim asked, switching topics.
"I don't even want to talk about it," Blair said disgustedly. "The deductible is going to kill me, and the increased rates – I don't even want to think about it." He leaned his head back and groaned. "I now understand why you've been paying Stan up front and ignoring the insurance company. So much easier on the brain and the checkbook."
Jim snorted. "I've been paying Stan up front so I can get my insurance rates back down to preferred status. And by next year, I should be back to that preferred rate."
"Great; you'll be preferred rate and I'll be heading for the high-risk rates," Blair groaned. "Uh, Jim, can you follow me to Stan's? I'm going to drop the Volvo there today and have him get started on it."
"Sure," Jim nodded.
Saturday morning, shortly after midnight.
Even though the phone had been muted to near silence, its ring still jarred the sleeping man to full wakefulness in less than a minute.
"Yes?" Jim sat up and rubbed his eyes. "I see. Right. On my way."
He hung up the phone and slipped out of bed, dressing in a hurry as he made his way down two flights of stairs and crossed Blair's apartment. Shaking his head sadly, he shook his sleeping partner to wakefulness. Blair looked up at the sentinel with bleary eyes.
"Slayer got another one, Chief."
"Shit." Blair rolled out of bed and reached for his glasses and jeans.
Jim and Blair got out of the truck in front of 'Staking Ale' and walked up to where the forensic photographer was clicking pictures. The ambulance's strobing lights broke the night darkness as the two workers belted the young man onto the stretcher and moved him into the back recess of the vehicle.
"How's it look, Andy?" Jim asked the paramedic who was crawling in beside the victim.
"He's alive, he's breathing on his own," Andy noted. "He's probably got several broken bones; maybe even a broken spine. We won't know till after he's been examined and x-rayed."
Jim looked over at Megan Conner who was busy taking names and addresses from some of the witnesses.
"You backing us up?"
"I am tonight, Jimbo," Megan nodded. "Here's a list of witnesses, such as they are."
"What's the matter with them?" Blair demanded.
"Sandy, most are potted and otherwise impaired. Their testimony, even if the truth, would have a hard time standing up in court," Megan told him matter-of-factly.
"Not good for our side," Jim remarked. "Look, could you go to the hospital and get a statement from the victim?"
"Sure, provided he can even give us anything," Megan sighed. "From what I'm hearing, he was more potted than the rest of the gang here."
"Probably what saved his life, in a weird sort of way," Jim shrugged. "Still, I'd appreciate it."
"Sure thing, Jimbo," Megan nodded. "See you both back at the station."
Jim walked around the accident scene, staying out of the way of the traffic cops that were taking measurements and of the forensic team that was bagging and photographing evidence. He spotted a scrap of paint outside of the yellow plastic tape. He found another flag and put it where the paint scrap had been, then bagged the scrap and made his way over to Serena.
"Think we have enough paint to figure out what the car is before it shows up at one of the wrecking yards?"
"It still takes three days to get information back from the state, Jim," Serena reminded him.
"You mean we don't have enough stuff in our labs to identify the cars? After all this time?"
"I'd be willing to teach you how to tell the difference." Serena smiled at him. "It would save us time and money."
Jim rolled his eyes and shook his head. "No, and be quiet. If Blair hears about this…"
Serena gave him a mock stern look. "What could Blair do that I can't?"
"Don't ask, Serena," Jim shuddered theatrically. "Just, don't ask," he repeated as he headed toward Blair, who was talking to some of the Goths that were still standing around.
Blair nodded at the man he was talking to and joined Jim at the side of the street.
"Megan's right," he said with a sigh. "Most of the group is so wasted they couldn't testify if they were seeing a car or a truck. Man, no wonder Eddie was having a hard time getting anywhere with this case. With witnesses like these, the perp has an easy way to escape."
Saturday, 7:00 AM
Once in the bullpen, Blair sat down beside Jim and looked over the bagged evidence from the case.
"Finding anything?" he asked.
"Well, I'm still smelling that odor," Jim admitted as he closed the evidence bag. "I just wish I could figure out what it is."
Blair frowned a minute, nibbling his lower lip, then nodded. "Quit trying to identify the scent," he suggested. "Instead, try to identify where you smelled it before."
Jim shook his head. "I don't know."
"Just try," Blair pleaded.
"I just don't think that it will work," Jim sighed. "The scent seems too common."
"Stop thinking about the scent and think about where and when you smelled it," Blair instructed.
Jim closed his eyes and settled in the chair, trying to let the scent lead him back in memories. His brow furrowed deeply as he continued to try and follow the scent. Strange visions filled his mind; most fast and fleeting, difficult to comprehend.
His mother smiled down at him, then she turned into Christine, his first high school crush. Next came Arlene, another high school girlfriend. Other faces, all female, flashed through the vision – some he could identify; others were strangers.
"Come on back, Jim," Blair's voice filtered through the images.
He opened his eyes and shook his head, noting the small ache behind the eyes was now a giant pounding that threatened to split his head open.
"Anything?" Blair asked.
"You mean besides a king-sized headache that's threatening to take my head off?" Jim asked shortly, reaching for the bottle of Tylenol.
"Yes," Blair nodded as he handed his partner a glass of water.
Blair raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me? And you call me a table leg?"
"The only thing I saw was faces of women."
"Any idea what it could mean?"
"I'm just the Sentinel of the Great City, Chief," Jim answered after he'd downed the two caplets. "You are the Shaman. Do something shamanistic."
"That's for when you have visions, not for your memory trips." Blair sank into his chair next to Jim's. "So who were the women you saw?"
"My mom, couple of girlfriends, then, I don't know. I didn't know them. I don't think I know them."
"At least when I have dreams about women, I know them," Blair remarked. Jim glared at his partner. "But then," he added, "I've never gone seeking the origin of a scent before. So, is there anything similar about all these women?"
"Not that I can think of." Jim leaned his head back, rolling it around trying to loosen tight muscles. "I know for a fact my mother never wore that scent. Neither did Christine."
"Your mind is obviously trying to tell you something," Blair commented.
"Well, it's not being very clear," Jim nearly snapped. "How are you coming with your Goth getup?"
"Need any help dyeing that mop of yours?"
"No, I'm fine," Blair insisted.
"And the clothes? Settled on a costume yet?"
"As a matter of fact, I have," Blair nodded. "And I can dress myself."
"Yes." Blair rolled his eyes in exasperation. "But what about you? I mean, I haven't seen you do one thing to get ready, Easy Rider."
"Never fear, little Gothie, the clothes are ready for wear."
"And the bike?" Blair wanted to know. "Did you get it yet?"
"I'm going to pick it up this afternoon," Jim grinned as his phone rang. "Ellison." He paused, the grin evaporating. "Right. On my way." He looked at Blair. "The Slayer left the car at another wrecking yard."
"Maybe this time, the Slayer left more than the car."
"We can always hope."
Jim and Blair sat in the truck and watched as the photographer finished taking pictures of the crime scene at 'Barney's Body Parts'. Serena was already there, pointing out different angles of the scenes that she wanted. She paused a moment and waved for the detective and the observer to join her in the car.
"So, what have you got for us?" Jim asked as they joined her.
"Some things old," Serena said as she held up the evidence bag with several fibers of coverall. "And," she grinned as she pulled another evidence bag out of her pocket, "something new."
"What?" Jim asked eagerly.
"The Slayer left us a strand of hair with root. Once I get it under the microscope, I'll be able to tell you the exact color," Serena added, "but it looks like ash blond."
Jim brought the bag up and eyed it closely. "Well, that's something we didn't know before."
"Doesn't look as though there's a follicle though," Serena continued. "I won't be able to tell you the gender of the Slayer."
"Maybe next time." Jim handed the bag back to her. "Come on, Chief, let's see what else we have here."
As they walked, Jim noted that he had smelled the same scent in the car. He hadn't mentioned it to Blair or Serena. It was enough that it was still present in the car, linking it more and more to the criminal.
They stopped by a technician who was pouring plaster onto a tire tread mark that had been left behind.
"Four-by-four again?" Blair asked.
"Looks like," Jim nodded. "And still after-market tires."
"Same ones as before," the technician agreed. "Except that now we have a distinguishing mark."
"Sure it's the same ones?"
"On three out of four tires," the technician grinned, pointing to the tread marks. "But on the fourth," he indicated the one that the was working on, "there's a nice perpendicular cut on it. Not something you see every day."
"Good," Jim grinned. "That should help make things easier when we finally catch the perp."
He and Blair turned to return to the car when he stopped and stared. There, standing at the edge of the crowd, was Jenice Martin. Jim walked over to her, keeping his pace calm and demeanor unreadable. Blair followed close behind.
"Jenice? I thought you'd be at home with your folks today. Especially after the court decision yesterday."
"I was," Jenice sighed. "I finally had to leave – I can only take so much of the disappointment that everyone is feeling, especially my own. I needed to get out. To do something, even if it was just vicariously."
"But here?" Blair frowned.
"It was the first call." She shrugged her shoulders. "And Mike's here. I can pretend I'm working traffic control with him."
"Looks like he and Pierson are getting ready to get back to patrol," Jenice tilted her head toward the patrol car that was pulling away. "Guess I better be on my way as well, huh?"
"Probably would be for the best," Jim agreed.
"Well, good luck." Jenice gave Jim a quick smile and disappeared back into the crowd.
"I'll need it," Jim sighed to the air.
"Amen," Blair agreed with his partner.
Jim stopped, turning around and sniffing.
"What?" Blair looked at the sentinel.
"That scent." Jim sniffed again, a furrow appearing on his brow. "I smell it again." He took a third breath. "Correction, smelled it again."
"Can you tell what it is?" Blair wondered.
"No," Jim shook his head. "It –" He stopped and shook his head. "It's gone now."
"Okay, now, try to follow it," Blair suggested.
Jim took a deep breath, closing his eyes, and concentrated on the odor. It was not loud or overbearing, making it harder to follow. Again he saw visions of women flash in his mind's eye. Besides his mother and Christine and the others, he caught a glimpse of Veronica. He started suddenly, nearly falling. The hands of his partner were the only thing that kept him upright.
"You okay, Jim?" Blair's tone was worried in his ears.
"Yeah, yeah," Jim answered roughly. "Let's get back to the truck, okay? If I'm gonna zone I don't want to do it where I can fall flat on my face."
"So, what happened when you tried to follow it?" Blair wanted to know as he buckled up in the vintage truck.
"I nearly fell on my face," Jim repeated. "Nothing else. Blair, it could be something one of the other technicians is wearing, or one of the officers. Hell, even one of the civilians could have been wearing it. I don't know!"
"Okay, okay." Blair held up a placating hand. "Let's just file it away until we know exactly what it means."
"Fine with me," Jim agreed.
Continue on to Act 2
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