1 - Scrutiny
Yes, I am still working on my other stories. No, I don't know when the next updates will be. I'm smack dab in the middle of exams and I should be doing anything other than writing. This story may or may not get another chapter.
As usual neither BtVS nor Bones belong to me.***
Dr Temperance Brennan stared at the decomposing body on the table, wondering how it got to be there without her knowledge. She glanced around her, looking for someone who would know but aside from herself there was nobody in the lab – her fault for coming in early, as usual.
Instead she went to her office. She checked her schedule and there was no reason for a decomposing body to be in her lab – in fact there was supposed to be the remains of someone who was possibly a 6th Century British noble. 6th Century nobles were long finished decomposing ergo this could not be the correct remains. Maybe there was a mixup...
“Bones, I see you’re here earlier than normal.” Seeley Booth stood by the open double doors of her office.
“It’s good I came in early because they mixed up some remains and I’ve been delivered a decomposing female instead of a 6th Century male. It’s probably going to take some time to straighten out where this one is supposed to go, and where the other one went.”
“Afraid not. She’s our latest case.” He put a folder with the FBI seal down on her desk. “The woman in your lab was buried in a grave whose headstone identifies her as Buffy Summers.” He flipped through the folder until he found the pictures of the excavated grave, including a couple with the views of the headstone. “The one little problem is that Buffy Summers is still alive. In fact, we’re investigating her for links to terrorism, including the bombing a school in California as well as an attack in a shopping center using a rocket propelled grenade.”
“Are you sure that the woman you’re watching is the real Buffy Summers, and not someone who’s taken her identity?”
“Their pictures match. Also - why go to the trouble of killing a woman and taking her place, but putting her body in a grave marked with the right name when no one knows she’s dead? She still lives with her sister and two associates; I’d think they’d notice if someone else tried to take her place."
“Assuming they’re not in on it.” Bones countered.
“There’s lots about this case that doesn’t make any sense. It’s a squint’s dream.”
Bones just shook head. “I’m not a flesh person. Call me when you have bones for me to look at.”***
“The body is that of a female, aged 20 to 25.” Dr Camille Saroyan spoke as she began her official examination. “The state of decomposition suggests she died between 3 to 5 months ago. There is significant physical trauma to multiple areas of the torso, legs, and arms.”
Throughout the autopsy she kept a running commentary, noting everything she looked at and what she observed. She cut open the chest cavity, removed and weighed individual organs, took samples, and inspected each and every wound – internal and external. She inspected X-Rays for the bone damage, of which there was plenty.
“Cause of death is a punctured thoracic aorta, likely by one of the many sharp rib fragments that are present. Overall the wounds are consistent with someone who was beaten repeatedly with a very dense, blunt tool for a prolonged time and then fell from a great height to the ground. Death occurred only seconds after the aorta was compromised.”
She stepped back from the table, removing her gloves and smock, and then went to wash her hands. She left the room and found Seeley Booth waiting for her in the hallway. “Well? Do we know who she is?”
“Not yet. We know she’s a 20 to 25 year old female, 5’3, blond. We know she was beaten several times with some kind of dense blunt object, and then not long after someone threw her off a building or down a cliff. There’s also some kind of strange burn marks on the clothing and a couple burns on the remains – they look sort of like electrical burns that probably occurred pretty close to when she died. I have Angela working on a facial reconstruction.”
“Good. The brass is starting to get antsy. We think we have a solid case against Buffy Summers, but they want this loose end tied up before they start arresting people and getting search warrants.”
“I don’t know why they think this is terrorism. Burning down schools and even the RPG incident could be gang related, and I checked online and there’s a lot of gang related violence in Sunnydale, California.”
“Apparently she and her associates ordered a bunch of books in foreign languages – old ones. We’ve got some of our own squints trying to track down what they are exactly but early signs seem to point to either cults or terrorism.”
“Cults. Ever since that whole Gormogon thing I’ve been allergic to the word. God, I hope there aren’t any cannibals involved.” She shuddered.
“Me too, me too.”***
The scene was rare for Sunnydale. A fleet of unmarked vehicles filled Revello drive with flashing lights and a crowd of 50 agents wearing jackets emblazoned with the letters FBI moved into and out of the house. Neighbours peered out of windows; some even brave enough to walk out of their front doors in their housecoats. The FBI had come to Sunnydale in force.
Inside the house the agents tagged and boxed everything, carrying the boxes out to waiting trucks. Investigators took hundreds of photos, while another team surrounded a laptop computer, specialized programs running in depth searches on what exactly the computer had been used for. Drug and explosives dogs had more or less cleared the building, although the handlers were still hoping for a response in the basement.
So far they had found an abundance of medieval weaponry – swords, daggers, knives, crossbows, and the like. The electronics team had found some very interesting robotics equipment, but as of yet nothing that looked like it was explosives related. The only illegal weapon they’d found was an odd sort of taser rifle. No one had recognized the make or model and it had no markings on it, but it was constructed too precisely to be homemade.
Seeley Booth sat in the interview room across from the woman who the FBI suspected was responsible for dozens of deaths. She smiled brightly at him. Seeley suspected that if she hadn’t been handcuffed she’d be waving as well. “Hi! I’m Buffy.”
“Hi Buffy, I’m Agent Booth. Do you know why you’re here?”
“I was cleaning up the kitchen after making Dawn’s dinner when armed men came into my house. After determining that they were members of the FBI I complied with their demands, which included putting down a jar of jam, putting my hands behind my head, and later getting into a car. The car drove to this building, and I was accompanied to this room.”
Booth blinked. “Do you know why the FBI is interested in you?”
“I’m very interesting.”
Booth blinked again. “That’s true.”
“So can I go home now? Dawn will be coming home from school in soon, and I have to take care of her.”
“We’ve sent some agents to pick up Dawn when she gets out of school – you don’t have to worry about her. I have some questions to ask you, though.”
“Did you burn down the gym at your high school in LA?”
“That was never conclusively proven, and I was a minor.”
“So which was it, that you didn’t do it or that you were too young to be punished?”
“Yes. I didn’t do it, and I was too young.”
“Ok...how about Sunnydale High? I see that the entire school exploded. Can you tell me about that?”
“I read it was a gas leak. I check my vehicle regularly for gas leaks.”
Booth blinked. “Ok. How about this picture?” He held up a grainy security photo of a short, blond haired girl with a rocket launcher on her shoulder.
“That picture is not leaking gas.”
Booth blinked again. “I meant, what can you tell me about the picture?”
“The picture is printed on an 8.5” by 11” piece of paper. The image quality is not very good. It is not leaking gas.”
Booth blinked. “I knew that. Ok what can you tell me about the grave in this picture?” He held up a picture of the excavated grave.
“It’s brown. It’s filled with dirt, except for where it isn’t filled with dirt. The headstone has the same name as me. There are no gas leaks.”
“Ms Summers I can only help if you cooperate, and right now you aren’t. If you don’t answer me truthfully then I’m afraid you’re likely going to end up in a cell until the lawyers finish deciding what’s going on. That can take a long time.”
“Oh! That would be bad. I have to make breakfast for Dawn. Maybe Willow can help?”
Booth’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll go talk to Ms Rosenberg now. You sit tight in here.”
“Ok! It’s very important to listen to the commands of Law Enforcement Officers!”
Booth blinked. “Yes, it is.”
“Say hi to Willow for me!”
Booth closed the door behind him and then fished in his pocket for his bottle of Tylenol.***
Willow Rosenberg sat stiffly in the chair. Booth didn’t like her body language at all – this was a woman with something to hide.
First he went fishing. “We’ve been going through your computer and we’ve found some very interesting things. Care to explain?”
Willow’s face showed confusion, and then settled again into worry. “Uhhh..what kind of things? Because as far as I know pornography doesn’t normally call down the FBI unless it involves children...which my porn doesn’t. I like porn with women. I’m a woman on woman porn kind of woman.” Then she realized what she was saying, and put her hand over her mouth.
“We aren’t here about pornography. We’re here to discuss acts of violence and murder.”
Willow’s mouth hung open. “Uhhh...I’m sort of confused.”
“What can you tell me about this?” He held up the picture of the grave.
Willows face went white. Booth held in a grin. Bingo.
“Think carefully before you answer, Ms Rosenberg.”
“I think I need a lawyer.”
Booth hated those words.***
Riley’s cell rang. “Finn.”
“Riley Finn? My name is Esther Sandeli, and I’m Willow Rosenberg’s legal counsel. I’m afraid she’s been arrested, and she asked that I call you.”
“Why was she arrested?”
“The FBI is holding her on suspicion of terrorism, as well as involvement in at least one murder. They’re also holding her friend Buffy Summers.”
“I’ll be there tomorrow. Tell her not to say another word to anyone.”