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Summary: Faith doesn’t join the Mayor.
Greg Sanders was sitting at his lab table listening to his IPOD when a voice said, “Greg, I thought I told you to get to work on the hotel evidence immediately.”
The lab tech fumbled to turn and face his boss and said, “Catherine and Nick haven’t dropped it off yet.”
“They haven’t?” said Grissom.
“But they should be here soon,” said Greg. “I saw them in the lobby and Catherine said they’d be right back and then left the building.”
Greg then looked at his watch and his face went wide with shock.
“That was over a half hour ago!” he all but shrieked.
Before Grissom could make a reply, Jim Brass popped his head in the door and asked, “Do you know where the two witnesses from the hotel are? I’ve checked all the interrogation rooms and haven’t found them.”
“I didn’t know you had any witnesses,” said Grissom.
“Well I know they’re here because they signed in the visitors’ log and haven’t signed out. The clerk even remembers them getting into the elevator with Catherine and Nick.”
“Something’s wrong,” said Grissom. “According to Greg, Catherine and Nick left the building about a half hour ago with the promise to be right back and they haven’t been seen since by either of us. And they didn’t leave any of the hotel evidence to be processed.”
“Lock down the building,” said Brass. “I’ll call in extra help to conduct a search and issue an APB for Catherine, Nick, Mr. Sato, and Mr. Takei in case they’re not here.”
Grissom grabbed the phone on the wall and contacted security to instigate the lockdown.
“Greg, get Archie on the surveillance cams to see if he can trace their movements once they got here and where they might have gone once you saw them leave,” ordered Grissom as he waited for security to pick up.
“Have him also check on the movements of two Japanese businessmen who would have arrived just before Catherine and Nick,” added Brass after he got off his walkie.
As Greg jogged off on his appointed errand he just knew that this mess was going to be blamed on him somehow. He couldn’t see how but he’d bet real money on that being the outcome.
“Here is where your two witnesses arrived,” said the oriental tech pointing to the video running on the computer screen.
It showed the two men arriving and signing in. Nothing out of the normal seemed to be going on. Shortly after they finished, Catherine and Nick are seen arriving. Mr. Takei approached and talked with Catherine. From her facial expression it looked like he posed a question or suggestion that caused her to stop and think before they saw Catherine say something and nod her head. Nick showed a hint of surprise on his face but quickly schooled it and the four made their way to the elevator.
The scene switches to the feed from the camera in the elevator and clearly shows Catherine pressing the Lab Level. However, as soon as the doors are closed, the picture begins flipping at a wild rate and it becomes nearly impossible to see what is going on.
“I tried to process the individual sections of the flipping video but even that was horribly blurred so I can’t say what might be going on,” said Archie. “What I do know is that the elevator did not proceed to the Lab Level but instead went to the Morgue Level, because as soon as the elevator doors are shown opening there, the same thing happened to the feed from the cameras in the hallway. Shortly thereafter the cameras in the Autopsy room had the same ‘failure’ while the ones in the elevator and hallway returned to normal operation. I alerted Security when I first discovered the problem and that’s how they found Catherine, Nick, and Doc Robbins in the cabinets. Anyway, they were very quick with whatever they did while in Autopsy, because about eight minutes later the ‘failure’ happens in reverse order. This time, the cameras in the lobby also experience the ‘failure’ and a few moments later so do the outside cameras leading towards the compound’s exit.”
“That’s it as far as the visual evidence,” he concludes.
Brass speaks up, “The guard on duty insists that it was Catherine and Nick who left and even the officers in the lobby at the time Greg said he saw them leaving the building confirm that it was them.”
“However, since they were found unconscious along with Doc Robbins, that can’t be true,” said Greg.
“Yes,” sighed Grissom. “Since a search of the entire building didn’t turn up Misters Sato or Takei, that leads to only one conclusion as to they had to be. Which also doesn’t make sense as not even the best makeup job in the world could make a petite man like Mr. Sato look like either Nick or Catherine. Especially given the short time frame we’re dealing with here.”
“So any theories?” asked Brass.
“Magic????” interjected Greg meekly.
Brass scowled at the young man.
“Actually,” said Grissom. “If we follow the logic of Sherlock Holmes, after eliminating all other possibilities whatever is left, regardless of how improbable, is the correct answer. So unless we come up with other plausible ideas, for now ‘magic’ is the answer.”
“Yeah, well. That ain’t gonna fly with the higher ups,” replies Brass.
“I’m a scientist, Jim, and I’m not about to sign off on that explanation myself and will keep looking for answers that can be explained.”
“OK,” said Brass before turning towards Archie and asking, “Anything else?”
“The Doc’s recorder wasn’t made to pick up much beyond a couple of inches from the mic so there wasn’t much I was able to pick up from their hushed conversation even with filtering out other background noises,” said Archie. “A word or less here and there. I created a transcript of what I could and indicated the gap times between the words heard.”
Brass took the sheet of paper and scowled at how sparse it was on content. Barely half a sheet.
“What about the data from the hotel?” asked Grissom.
“The system isn’t all that advanced,” said Archie. “Only the three doors leading to the outside that require key cards to allow entry to the building register the times for being opened, but it doesn’t tell you whether a key card was used to enter the building or if someone used the door to exit the building. Those doors were opened 12 times during the possible time frame of the murder. In addition, the video from the lobby camera does not show Mr. Takei or Mr. Sato returning to the hotel prior to their showing up when they did.”
“Well they told the truth about where they ate dinner and how long they were there,” said Brass. “It isn’t often they have someone chow down on two 20 ounce T-bones and completely finish them along with generous helpings of mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, soup and salad, topped off with a large chocolate sundae. And that was all for Mr. Sato, though Mr. Takei also seemed to have a healthy appetite. So they were both remembered by the staff on duty at the time. When they left they didn’t head towards the hotel either. I’m trying to get traffic cam footage for that time of night to see if we might be able to trace their movements.”
“I don’t think they had anything to do directly with the murder,” said Grissom. “They took a great risk to retrieve whatever it was from their bags that they could have avoided just by taking it with them after the killing. It is unlikely that anything that important would be left behind no matter how rushed one was. It is more likely that the murder was committed by someone else and their connection to it falls into one of three categories. One, there is no connection and it is just a coincidence. Two, the murder was done to frame them. Or three, the murder was done to disrupt what ever reason they are really in Las Vegas for.”
“Well, whether they are connected to the murder or not, they certainly didn’t want us to discover something about them and their reason for being in Vegas and assaulted CSI personnel and tampered with evidence to keep their secret,” said Brass. “That makes them criminals who need to be apprehended.
“Well, the Day Shift has recollected what evidence they could from the hotel and are processing it,” said Grissom. “They are also going over the evidence that Catherine and Nick gathered originally to determine what might be different or missing, even though the chain of custody was broken and it can’t be used in the murder investigation despite seals not being broken on most of the evidence.”
Suddenly a lab tech from the Day Shift pops in.
“We got a hit on AFIS from the hotel,” said the tech. “Buffy Anne Summers. Convicted of murder in California and sentenced to Life. Escaped Federal custody while being transported to L.A. to face trial on weapons charges. Federal Fugitive Warrant issued. To be considered armed and dangerous.”