Give the Boys a Great Big Hand
Marcus L. Rowland
XPreviously:"We need a reason for the cops to search the place, one that doesn't involve an illegal search. Or maybe we can force Morgan out into the open somehow. Now that we know that he's our man, we just have to prove it in a way that will work in court."*"Someone broke into my old apartment. There's nothing missing, but the uniforms just found a wooden box. I think it's a slide box, and it looks pretty much identical to the one they found in Doakes' car."*"Put the gun down," I said as calmly as I could, "whatever the problem is, this won't help." I think it was possibly the most stupid thing I've ever said, especially since I was in the line of fire when she started shooting. There was a fusillade of shots and, to use a regrettably accurate cliché, everything went black.*Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami
"NCIS! Drop the gun!"
Christine Hill spun round, firing wildly, and staggered as the first of three bullets hit her heart. She was dead before she hit the ground. Ziva David advanced cautiously, saw the grouping of bullet holes, and nudged the gun from Christine's hand with her foot, then turned to the other women. "Are you hurt?"
"What the fuck?" Debra Morgan's wheelchair was on its side, and she was struggling to get to her feet. Rita seemed to be in shock, staring at Dexter and Ziva and crouching over her crying baby. Dexter was lying on the ground, bleeding from his shoulder, hip, and head.
Two uniformed policemen were approaching cautiously, guns drawn, and Ziva shouted "Federal Agent!" and held up her badge. "Call this in, and get a doctor and stretchers!"8240 Palm Terrace, apartment #10B
"Who noticed the break-in?" asked Gibbs, looking around Dexter's apartment from the doorway. Two technicians were carefully dusting the air conditioner housing for prints and bagging the mechanism for later forensic examination.
Quinn checked his notebook. "Woman in apartment 7B, she noticed the door was open when she went out shopping at about nine AM, looked inside and saw the place looked trashed, and called the super. He called it in."
"Trashed?" said Tony. "It doesn't look too bad."
"You're right, it isn't. Lots of things thrown around, drawers pulled out and dumped on the floor, books pulled from the shelves, that sort of thing, but the only things broken were a couple of plates in the kitchen and a vase in the bedroom. I've seen worse in lover's quarrels. And nothing was missing according to Morgan."
"They even left his shotgun alone."
Quinn led them to the bedroom, and showed them the wooden trunk with the shotgun, now dusted for prints.
"Nice piece. Any shots been fired recently?"
"It's clean," said Quinn; "hasn't been used in years. He said it belonged to his father."
"Okay to handle it?"
Gibbs picked up the gun thoughtfully, broke it, and checked the barrels. "Hmm… You're right; it's pretty clean. Overdue for oiling."
"I'll tell Morgan if I see him."
Gibbs carefully lowered the gun back onto the cartridge boxes and towels it had been lying on, rapped the chest with his knuckles, and said "Nice workmanship."
"If you say so." Quinn didn't look convinced.
"I'm a carpenter; someone did a good job of this." He looked at the chest, as if trying to figure something out, as his phone beeped. He listened for a few seconds, then said "We're on our way," snapped the phone closed, and turned to Tony; "Someone tried to kill the Morgans, Ziva had to take her down."
"The hospital." Tony headed for the exit, and Gibbs turned back to Quinn. "We've got to go. You might want to get the crime lab guys to check if there's anything else in here, something that might shed some light on things." He followed Tony out.
Quinn looked at the trunk, slightly baffled, and went out to talk to the technicians. His own phone started to ring.Dexter Morgan
I can't imagine that waking in a hospital is ever fun, but it certainly beats the alternative. It felt like I was floating in bed, which probably means that the painkillers that were pumped into me were reasonably effective.
"What the fuck were you doing playing hero, Dex?" Debra was being her usual charming self.
"Whu... what happened?"
"You got your dumb ass shot, you dumb fuck!"
"Flesh wounds and concussion, guess your skulls's too fucking thick for bullets to get through."
I tried to clear the clouds from my head and think clearly. It wasn't easy. But eventually I started to remember. "Wasn't that Quinn's girlfriend that shot me?"
"Any idea why?"
"Me neither. Where's Rita?"
"They've got her sedated. She was hysterical."
"What about the kids?"
"They're fine; Batista's sisters are looking after them."
"Oh… good." And with that I fell asleep.Intercontinental Hotel, Miami
"What really happened, Ziva?" asked Gibbs.
"After I received your message I called my contact. She told me that she was in the hospital watching Morgan."
"Which one?" asked Tony.
"Any reason why?" asked Gibbs.
"She was… what's the expression? Caged."
"Yes. She did not say much, but I think that she and her associates suspected him. I arranged to meet her there."
"Weren't you worried that you might run into Morgan?"
"I planned that if it had happened, I would ask to speak to his sister, and question her about the Lundy killing."
"As I got out of my car I saw Morgan coming out of the hospital with his sister and another woman, who I now know is his wife. She was carrying a baby. I assumed that Morgan would probably notice me, and decided to speak to them. As I approached another woman confronted them, and began to fire on the Morgans. I challenged her, but she turned and was still firing, so I took her down."
"You did well," said Gibbs. "The police aren't going to be charging you with anything. What did she say before she opened fire?"
"She shouted 'It's your fault he's dead, bitch.' Or it may have been 'you bitch.""
"Meaning Debra Morgan?"
"I think so; unless she meant the wife, of course."
"Not likely. What happened to your contact?"
"She was in the hospital entrance as the woman opened fire; she did not take part. By the time I'd finished with the police she'd left. I don't think that she talked to them."
"Set up another meeting, this time I want to be there."Miami Metro Police Department - Homicide Morning Briefing
"We need some answers, people," said Lieutenant LaGuerta.
"Preliminary forensics on the shooting," said Vince Masuka. "All three bullets in the perp came from Officer David's gun. Excellent grouping; killed her instantly." Everyone else glanced guiltily at Quinn.
"Just coming up to the best part. The gun Hill used to shoot Dexter is a close match to the gun that shot Debra Morgan and Frank Lundy. They're still making comparisons but it's looking pretty solid." There was a murmur of excited comments.
"Quinn? Can you shed any light on this?"
"I just don't know, Lieutenant. I guess she was pumping me about our cases, but it wasn't out of line with what I'd expect from a reporter, and she didn't seem to mind that I couldn't tell her much. She never really said anything about Lundy or Detective Morgan."
"Where was she on the night Lundy was shot?"
"I think… I think I saw her in the evening but she left early, said she had a busy day coming up. I think it was that evening, I wasn't really taking notes."
"Okay, you're off this case as of now, and Internal Affairs will be interviewing you some time today. Try not to embarrass us. Anyone got any ideas why she was shooting at Morgan?"
"According to Agent David," said Batista, "she was initially aiming at Debra, not Dexter. Dexter tried to stop her, she shot him instead. That's confirmed by four witnesses, he and David saved Debra's life."
"Still doesn't tell us why," said LaGuerta.
"Debra's statement says that she said 'It's your fault he's dead, you bitch.' David confirms it. Could be that we've got this all wrong, and the Lundy shooting was incidental to shooting Debra."
"That doesn't work. She had ample time to finish Debra off when she shot Lundy. She left her alive."
"Maybe something changed," said Vince.
"It sounds like someone died, maybe as a result of something Debra did. Have any of her old perps gone to the chair in the last few days?"
"I don't think so, but I'll check. Okay, people, we need to know more about Hill. Look at her family, friends, any other boyfriends or girlfriends, any connections that might shed some light on this. Any other ideas?" Vince raises a hesitant hand. "Yes, Masuka?"
"Could it be connected to the microscope slide thing? Seems a hell of a coincidence if it isn't."
"Good question. What's the status of that?"
"I'm running samples for DNA, and I've sent sets to the FBI lab at Quantico and NCIS in Washington. I'm hoping that between us we'll come up with a few IDs, but it'll take at least another couple of days. And I'm running behind without Dexter, so don't expect miracles."
"What about fingerprints?"
"Nada. Whoever made the slides wore gloves. There's nothing on the slides or the box, just smudges."
"Okay. Moving on, the Vacation Killers case, Nikki Wald has confessed to two killings and a string of assaults; she's still denying Lundy, and with Hill in the frame she's probably telling the truth. The DA wants full reports, please don't keep the man waiting, and well done everyone." LaGuerta turned to the next page on her clipboard. "That just leaves the car bomb, the Mitchell killing. Any updates on that?"
"Trace and the bomb squad confirm that the explosion was a pipe bomb triggered by a cell phone," said Vince, "with a bottle of ether adding an incendiary touch. Nothing too fancy but it did the job. It's an old burn phone, sold a couple of years ago and probably untraceable, as was the phone that called it yesterday, and the pipe bomb is about as anonymous as they get. The only unusual part is the ether; gasoline would have worked just as well, and it's a lot easier to get hold of it."
"Any way of tracing it?"
Vince shrugged. "It was in a sixteen-ounce brown glass bottle, the type they call a Boston Round. It was pretty much shattered, but we did find the label that said it was ether, trace confirms it. The label was printed with one of those old-style plastic label makers, a Dymo machine or something of the sort, on three-eighths inch tape. About all that I can tell you is that it isn't the original bottle; that would have had a paper label with safety information."
"Where would you find something like that?"
"The bottle? It could be from a high school or college science lab. They buy the chemicals in bulk then decant them into smaller bottles."
"Mitchell worked in a community college, maybe he made an enemy, one of the students or another teacher," said Batista. "Might be worth checking there. Any other leads?" There was no response.
"Okay," said LaGuerta. "I know there isn't a lot to go on, and with one of our own hurt it must feel like there are bigger fish to fry, but someone must know something. Check the family, his friends, his colleagues. Anything else?" She waited a moment then said "Let's get to work."Michael Westen
When you're a spy you need to develop a thick skin, because most people who know what you do for a living will neither like nor trust you. The meeting at Gibbs' hotel was a case in point. I'd gone alone; it wasn't what Gibbs had wanted, but I wasn't in the business of keeping Gibbs happy. Sam wasn't far away, and if things went sour I hoped he'd be there to bail me out of trouble.
"How do you know when a spy is lying?" asked Tony DiNozzo.
"I don't know," said Ziva, "but I'm sure you're going to tell us, Tony."
I knew what was coming.
"His lips are moving," said DiNozzo. Gibbs smacked the back of his head, not particularly hard.
"Okay," I said. "Very funny. So if I'm always lying, why do you want to talk to me?"
"I want you to tell me I'm wrong," said Gibbs. "Look me in the eyes, and tell me that you didn't break in to Morgan's apartment and search the place."
"Why would I do that?"
"Your lips are moving, but I'm not hearing a reply."
I stared him in the eye. "Okay. I didn't break into Morgan's apartment and search the place."
"Now tell me that you didn't plant a box of microscope slides in his air conditioner unit."
"I didn't plant anything."
"Did I just hear a pig flying by?" asked DiNozzo.
"Let's put it another way," said Gibbs. "Did one of your little helpers break in; Axe, or your lady friend?"
"It's your fairy-tale, not mine."
"It is. Let's see… Morgan knows you and Axe, he doesn't know the woman. You'd send her in first to reconnoitre. That's smart, but it's taking a hell of a chance if Morgan's the Bay Harbor Butcher."
"You don't know Fiona," said Ziva, "She can take care of herself."
"As good as you?"
She considered for a second, then grudgingly said "Adequate."
"Where is she, anyway?" asked DiNozzo.
I decided to throw him a bone; "Keeping an eye on Morgan at the hospital."
"Interesting. The woman who shot him is dead, so why keep an eye on him?"
"Hypothetically? Too many coincidences. Too many people around him winding up dead. And he's the blood guy, the one man in this whole mess who lives and breathes the stuff. If anyone's going to be making blood slides it would be him."
"So what else did you find there?" asked Gibbs. "A microscope? Blank slides? Surgical saws?"
"We didn't find anything. We didn't look for anything. We weren't there. We didn't know the place existed."
"So what did you find in the secret compartment of his trunk?"
"Bzzzzt!" said DiNozzo, "Wrong answer. The correct answer is 'Trunk?'"
"The correct answer," I said, "is 'I have no idea what you're talking about.'"
"I wish I could believe you," said Gibbs, "because right now the main obstacle to solving this case is the possibility that the burglary was actually an illegal search."
There was a knock at the door and another fed came in. Gibbs said "What have you got for me, McGee?"
"Another complication. I ran a full identity trace on Christine Hill, it turns out that she's the oldest daughter of a man named Arthur Mitchell."
"And he was murdered two days ago. Car bomb."
DiNozzo rubbed his head, and said "This case just gets better and better."To Be Continued
Apologies - The last part ended with the words "To be concluded" and I really expected this to be the final part of the story - but it turns out that I'd underestimated how much more there is to say. There will be at least one more part.