See earlier chapters for disclaimers etc.
Another warning for bad language - Debra alert!Previously:“When are you coming home?”“It should be soon, Abs; I know who killed Marten, I just need to prove it.”* * * * *“Quinn’s off the case, you and Batista stay on it. This is turning into a cluster-fuck; I don’t want any part of it.”
“You’re setting me up to fail.”
“Think of it as character building.”
* * * * *“I can’t believe I worked next to him and didn’t spot anything.”
“We’ve got our smoking gun,”Give the Boys a Great Big Hand
Marcus L. Rowland
XIIIntercontinental Hotel, Miami“Gibbs!”
Gibbs held the phone away from his ear a little and said “What have you got for me, Abs?”“There were multiple matches for the last two blood samples you sent me, the ones for Arthur Mitchell and Christine Hill. We have several matches in the system, going back nearly twenty years. The FBI found traces of saliva mixed with human ashes at several crime scenes; the saliva is a match for Mitchell and a partial match for Hill.”
“Which crime scenes?” asked Gibbs.“I’m going to send you a list,”
said Abby, “but the bottom line is that they’re some of the deaths Frank Lundy was investigating. It looks like Mitchell was the Trinity killer, and Hill is his daughter.”
“We knew she was his daughter, but who killed him?”“Beats me,”
said Abby. “You’ll have to work that one out for yourself. I’ve got nothing to link it to any of the other cases. You should get the detailed results by courier tonight.”
“That’s fast,” said Gibbs.“Vance called in a favour; it’s flying Navy air.”
“Thank him for me.”
He was about to end the call when Abby said “Wait, there’s more.”
“Go on.”“I ran some searches on the FBI’s DNA database for Miami, and found a partial DNA match. Dexter Morgan… he has a brother. Had one, anyway; a guy called Rudy Cooper.”
“That doesn’t mean anything to me.”“That’d be because they usually called him the Ice Truck Killer.” Miami Metro Police Department
“She’s like the rock star of American forensics,” said Masuka; “If she says Rudy was his brother, it’s iron-clad. And Dex would have known, he did the DNA work on Rudy’s body. I took a quick look at our record, someone substituted another DNA profile. I’m running a search now to find out who it came from, I’m guessing it’s just some random sample from the lab.”
“Why do the FBI have the real thing?” asked Batista.
“They requested samples, wanted to see if Rudy matched any of their unsolved cases. It was the luck of the draw that I handled the request, it was Dexter’s day off.”
LaGuerta said “I knew that Dexter was adopted, but this is just…” She shook her head.
“Might explain why Rudy tried to kill Debra,” said Batista. “Why he chose Miami as his killing field.”
“Maybe,” said Vince. “It’s weird that both brothers should be killers, if they are. I’m not a profiler, but maybe it’s something genetic.”
“Leave that sort of thing to the shrinks,” said Batista, “right now our job is to prove that he’s guilty, nothing else. Don’t even mention Rudy for now, it’s irrelevant to Dexter’s guilt or innocence.”
“One other thing we should bear in mind,” said LaGuerta. “Frank Lundy was right; Trinity existed. The FBI dropped the ball when they didn’t support Lundy; they’re going to want to cover up somehow. My guess, they’ll want to emphasise the Butcher thing and make it look like it’s our fault that everything went wrong.”
“We need to put a case together fast, arrest Dexter before they fuck us over.”
“Kruger looks to be our best shot at it,” said Vince. “There’s plenty there that Dexter won’t easily explain away.”
“I want it airtight,” said LaGuerta. “Do you need help? Caine at Miami-Dade has offered.”
“Fucking Caine’s empire-building,” said Vince. “He wants Miami-Dade to handle forensics for the whole city, maybe the whole state, with him in charge. The easy way to do that is to show we’re compromised or incompetent.”
“I take it that’s a no.”
“I’d sooner work with the FBI, at least they’d go away eventually. And I really don’t want to work with them either.”
“Okay… I’ll thank Caine but take a rain check; I’m counting on you both to make sure I don’t end up regretting it. Concentrate on the Kruger case, but be alert for other possibilities. And don’t forget, we still want to know who killed Mitchell.” She checked her watch. “I’ve got a press conference in twenty minutes. I’m going to try to limit it to the identification of Christine Hill as the murderer of Frank Lundy, and the DNA identification of her father as a suspect in a series of killings Lundy was investigating. I’m also going to try to imply that she might have killed her father, and leave it at that.”
“Well, she’s not going to complain,” said Vince.
“Let’s hope they haven’t found out about the blood slides,” said Batista. “One leak on that, and we’ll never get the press off our backs.”Michael Westen’s Loft“…investigation is continuing,”
LaGuerta said on TV. “We’re still looking in to the circumstances of his death, but there is currently no suspect.”“Did Hill kill him?”
a reporter asked.“We haven’t ruled it out, it’s certainly one of the possibilities we’re investigating.”
There were a few more questions rehashing ground she’d already covered, then the station moved on to a story about a bribery scandal. I switched the TV off.
When you’re a spy, your attitude to coincidences changes; you start to look at apparently unrelated facts and try to join up the dots, finding the hidden connections that turn a million to one coincidence into a stone cold certainty. We were all fairly sure that there were hidden connections in the case, a pattern we hadn’t yet uncovered.
“What I don’t understand here,” said Sam, “is who killed Mitchell, and why it happened when it did. It’s a hell of a coincidence.”
He’d said the magic word, and I said “Okay… what if it wasn’t a coincidence? Did we do something that triggered it? What changed when we got involved?”
“Damned if I know.”
“Wait a second... It wasn’t us; it was earlier, when NCIS came into the picture. Everyone was looking for Trinity, but they got everyone started looking for the Bay Harbor Butcher instead.”
“So what? He didn’t kill Lundy; that was Mitchell’s daughter.”
“We didn’t know that.” I knew that the answer was there somewhere, staring us in the face; I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
“What if Morgan knew who he was?” said Fiona, looking up from the magazine she was reloading.
“Mitchell? He’d kill him,” said Sam. “Slice and dice.”
“Kidnapping someone and butchering him takes time, and means getting close and personal,” I said. “Disposing of the body takes more time. Bombs are fast and you don’t have to get your hands dirty. Maybe he was worried that we’d catch him in the act if he used his usual methods.”
“So why kill Mitchell right away?” asked Fiona, “Why not just wait until we went away and kill him then?”
“Maybe Morgan thought Mitchell shot his sister,” suggested Sam.
“That works,” said Fiona.
“It’s a possibility.” I knew there was still something we were missing. “What did he gain from killing Mitchell that way?”
“Plausible deniability?” suggested Sam. “It’s got everyone puzzled, and nobody can immediately point at it and say the Butcher did it.”
“That’s it,” said Fiona, starting on another magazine. “He’s muddied the waters. The police are looking for a bomber now, not the Butcher.”
“And that’s part of it too,” I said. “But there’s something else, something I’m missing.”
The door opened – none of us had heard anyone come up the stairs – and Ziva David came in, carrying a bulging paper bag with a smell of spices. She said “Shalom. We need to talk, I brought takeaway.”
“Indian?” I didn’t bother asking how she’d found the place; she wouldn’t have told me.
“The meat is Halal; it’s the nearest thing to kosher I could get in this neighbourhood.”
“Okay,” Sam said enthusiastically, getting out some plates and cutlery, and opening tubs of rice, meat, and vegetables; “Beer?”
“Beer would be good. I heard what you were saying as I came in.” What that meant was that she’d been listening outside for a minute or two before she came in. “I think I know your missing ingredient.”
“I’ll bite,” I said.
“It gave Morgan a reason to test Mitchell’s DNA.”
“I’m an idiot.”
“I don’t get it,” said Sam. I was pretty sure he did, but it rarely hurts to have people think you’re slightly dumber than you are. Ignoring her show of friendship, Ziva wasn’t on our team.
“DNA tests are expensive; the police don’t usually bother if they can identify a body some other way. Between the explosion and the fire Mitchell’s body was a mess. That gave Morgan an excuse to check his DNA, so it went into the system, and they identified him as the Trinity killer. If he’d been shot, or just vanished without a trace, it might never have happened, or might have taken months.”
“How did Morgan know?” Fiona asked.
“Lundy’s files were missing after his death,” said Ziva. “We assumed that his killer took them, but it might have been another person.”
“With Morgan’s sister hurt,” said Sam, “they must have told him very quickly.”
“That can be checked. Of course none of this is proof, but if Morgan knew where Lundy was staying, he would have had time to break in and steal the files.”
“So Morgan solved a case in days that Lundy was working on for years?” asked Fiona. “He must be pretty smart, or bloody lucky.”
“Lundy must have been getting close,” said Sam, “or Trinity’s daughter wouldn’t have shot them.”
“He was checking the sites of previous Trinity killings,” said Ziva, “and one of them was reused the day after he was murdered. Maybe he saw Trinity without knowing it.”
That made a lot of sense. What didn’t was Ziva telling us all this.
“That’s a good theory,” I said. “Are the police looking at it?”
“They’re pursuing several leads,” said Ziva. “But they are somewhat distracted by the Bay Harbor case.”
“It’s a big case.”
“It is. Out of curiosity, where were you when the Butcher was active, and in the months after Doakes died? All of you?”
“I was in Miami,” I said. “Why do you ask?”
“It would be embarrassing for a lot of people if Doakes wasn’t the Butcher,” said Ziva. “Professionally embarrassing for all involved and politically embarrassing for some. They are reluctant to say that they’ve blamed the wrong man for twenty-odd murders. So some are wondering if perhaps Doakes was the Butcher, but wasn’t the only one involved, and someone else took over after his death. Say the same someone who broke into Dexter Morgan’s apartment and put the slides there.”
“Son of a bitch,” said Sam.
“It gets better. Obviously they are looking for contacts of Doakes, with a similar background in law enforcement or Special Forces. Contacts like you, for example.”
“Well, isn’t that interesting,” said Fiona. “Would this idea have originated with a man by the name of Morgan, by any chance?”
“I could not comment,” said Ziva, “but it would help if you could all account for your movements at that time, show that you could not have possibly committed these crimes.”
“That might be tricky,” I said, “I wasn’t keeping records.”
“Good thing the FBI was,” I added.
“The FBI?” asked Ziva.
“Round the clock surveillance,” said Sam. “Two agents were watching him most of the time, and a bunch of informants. Not to mention the CIA and other agencies.”
“What about the rest of you?”
“Oh, they’ll have been watching me as well,” said Fiona. “And Sam was spying on us for the FBI; I dare say they’ll still have his reports.”
“That is fortunate,” said Ziva. “Do you have the names of any of the agents involved?”
“Harris and Blane were the main Feds,” said Sam, “They were with the Miami office then, still are. Then there was that creepy guy Jason Bly, what agency was he with again?”
“CSS,” I said, “good luck getting information out of them.”
“The Central Security Service?” said Ziva. “Interesting.” CSS are up there with the NSA for secretiveness; supposedly their main job is communications intelligence, monitoring foreign signals and breaking codes, and acting as a middle-man between the services and intelligence agencies, but they have fingers in a lot of other pies, such as bugging.
“He was monitoring all of us,” said Sam, “and the FBI too.”
“Then their records will show that you could not possibly have been involved.”
I glanced at Sam, remembering how hard we’d worked to avoid surveillance, and guessed that we both hoped that it hadn’t worked as well as we thought.Intercontinental Hotel, Miami
Gibbs finished another long phone conversation, and slammed the hand-set into the cradle with a faint “crunch” of breaking plastic.
“What’s happening, boss?” asked Tony DiNozzo.
“About what I was expecting,” said Gibbs. “Fornell wants to take over the investigation; Vance wants rid of it but doesn’t want the FBI to get the credit if Morgan is arrested.”
“Something tells me we aren’t going back to Washington,” said McGee.
“Not yet. But unless we get some results in the next day or two Vance is going to give in.”
“He might have a point,” said Ziva. “We are only involved by chance; the case has nothing to do with the Navy.”
“Sure it has,” said Gibbs. “We found Marten, we’re involved. But we need to do a lot more to stay in the game.”Miami Metro Police Department
“Are you seriously trying to tell me that my fucking brother is a mass murderer?” said Debra Morgan. “Are you out of your fucking minds?”
“I know it’s hard to believe,” said LaGuerta, “and I really wish I didn’t have to say it. The slides are suggestive, and there’s circumstantial evidence tying Dexter to the Kruger murder. He had a unique opportunity to frame Doakes prior to that. If you go back far enough he even used to keep his boat in Bay Harbor.”
“Big deal. So do half the cops who own boats, it’s convenient for the precinct.”
“I think you need to consider it seriously,” said Batista. “There’s more. The more we dig the worst it gets.”
“This is bullshit.”
“That bitch? She tried to kill Rita and the kids. What lies has she been telling you?”
“No lies,” said LaGuerta. “She won’t be telling anyone anything again. We got a DNA match through Interpol. Her body was found in the Seine a couple of weeks after Dexter’s European vacation, and dead about the right length of time. Her blood matches one of the slides in Dexter’s apartment. I guess he didn’t have a boat in Paris, couldn’t get rid of the body properly.”
“You’re shitting me… Oh fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck…” She began to sob.
In the observation room Tony DiNozzo turned to Gibbs and said “Think she’s telling the truth, boss?”
“What do you think?”
“I think it’s genuine. She doesn’t know what to make of it. If she was involved she’d have some sort of backup plan, if only to dump all of the blame on her brother.”
“Sometimes I think you might actually have some of the instincts of a real detective, DiNozzo.”
“Maybe this time.”
Tony turned back to the window, and Gibbs swiped the back of his head. “What was that for?”
“Wouldn’t want you getting cocky.”
“Think they’ll tell her about the Ice Truck thing?”
“Probably not. It isn’t really relevant to the Bay Harbor case, except for her involvement in both cases.”
In the interrogation room Debra shook her head to clear it, drank a sip of water, and said “Okay… okay, assuming that you’re right. Let’s assume that you’re right. What do you want me to do?”
“Nothing,” said LaGuerta. “You can’t be involved. In fact, you can’t even be in the precinct until things are resolved.”
“You’re suspending me?”
“In the short term. Long term, I think you’re going to need to start looking for another job. Every case that Dexter was ever involved in will be going under the microscope, and you can’t be part of the process.”
“Fucking wonderful. I’ll bet you’re really heartbroken.”
“We’ve had our differences, but you’ve been an asset to the department, and it’s going to be hard to replace you.”
“Well, I’m sorry if I’m inconveniencing you,” Debra said sarcastically. “Any idea where I should start looking?”
“Sorry, but Maria’s right on this one,” said Batista. “We can’t have you involved in any case we’re working on, or any case Dexter ever worked on, until this is completely cleared up, and that could take years. And I don’t think you should count on getting work anywhere in Florida, we think some of the victims are from well outside the Metro area. I’ve got some contacts on the west coast; that might be your best option. Let me make a few calls, see if I can set up some interviews.”
“Fuck. Okay. What about Dexter? What the hell do I say to him?”
“You don’t,” said LaGuerta. “We’ll be doing that.”TBC
Note: When I began this story many months ago I had no idea that the plot of Dexter S7 would cover some of the same ground. I'm doing my best to avoid copying the plot too closely; hopefully nothing I write will spoil you for the show.