Morgan sat in his cell naked and alone. For days he’d been subjected to a torture he never imagined was possible, as he was systematically degraded and denigraded. For the once proud, dominant man, to be made the submissive one was the most harrowing experience ever.
His tribulations were far from over though. It was at this moment that Tarsus brought down Desdemona, Claes’ secret wife. She was wearing a silky, backless dress that accentuated nicely the curves on her body, and as soon as she entered Morgan’s cell, she doffed it, revealing her remarkable body.
Under normal circumstances, Morgan would be able to resist the voluptuous seductress’ charms, but the defeated Morgan could only resign himself to what was going to happen. Desdemona was beautiful, a shapely 52-year-old with flowing brunette locks that, hanging down, rested nicely on her luscious breasts and contrasted nicely with her ivory skin. Her freckles gave her face the mark of innocence, although there was very little innocent about her. Claes met her here, in Sudan, where she was a labourer at a local Church, one of the few left in Khartoum. Being immediately smitten, she allowed herself to be brainwashed into the most obedient of wives, and now she was helping Claes make Morgan the most obedient of warriors for him.
“Hello sexy,” she said seductively. Morgan stared at her blankly. She walked up to him and caressed his cheek. Morgan started to breathe heavily but still didn’t say a word. “What’s wrong?” Desdemona said mockingly. “Cat got your tongue?”
“Why are you wasting time?” Morgan said, quivering. “I know what you’re here for...just get it over with.”
“No...it’s less fun that way.” She then planted a kiss on Morgan’s lips, and forced his mouth open with her lips so that the two of them could make out. As she was kissing him, she leaned over top of him progressively, eventually forcing Morgan on to his back so that Desdemona could lie on top of him.
Desdemona continued, moving down Morgan’s body so that she could kiss every inch of it. Morgan felt like violently throwing her off his body, but decided to stay motionless and let Desdemona do her work. He kept on hearing Tarsus’ words, “the guns, Derek! Don’t forget about the guns, Derek!” and despite the fact that the walls were lined in stone and couldn’t be penetrated by any kind of bullet, Morgan kept thinking that if he didn’t obey, a gun would shoot him dead.
Eventually Desdemona started oral sex with Morgan, as she really enjoyed Morgan’s endowment. However, enjoying it with her hands and her mouth wasn’t enough for her, so she mounted Morgan and began having sex with him, starting off slowly so that she could feel every inch of Morgan’s endowment inside her body, each pulse resonating in her veins. As she enjoyed herself with Morgan’s body, Morgan could only pant heavily, waiting in agony for Desdemona to finish defiling him.
After half an hour, Desdemona let out a howl of excitement, as she climaxed as Morgan did. She then bent down and kissed the exhausted Morgan, who could only lie on his back, defeated. Desdemona grinned before putting her dress back on and greeting Claes, who was waiting for her outside of his cell.
“I think he’s ready,” said Desdemona, kissing Claes.
“Good,” the Cardinal said. “Get the ceremony ready and have Ricardo lead it. I have something to take care of.”
“As you wish.” Desdemona kissed Claes and left him to his task as she went to prepare the ceremony.
“All right, scumbag,” snarled Rossi, standing authoritatively lording over Musus’ interrogation table. “Why do you want to work with a degenerate lowlife like Wilhelm Claes? What do you think you even have to gain from committing an act of treason against the Roman Empire?”
“Rossi, I’m sure he has his reasons,” said Jane, trying to act sympathetic.
“Seriously?” Musus said, incredulously. “You forget that I’m an army man...I’ve seen every tactic, and it’s amusing you think the good cop bad cop routine would work on me.”
“Oh,” said Jane, sarcastically. “You think I’m the good cop? Really, I can be just as bad as anyone...I’m just far more clever about it.”
“So is this some kind of experimental technique you have going on now?” said Musus, mockingly. “Because, really, I’m not sure what you hope to gain out of this.”
“Okay, I’m just going to get to the point,” said Jane, who then stopped.
Musus threw up his hands- as much as he could in handcuffs- and made a face, wondering if Jane was going to finish his sentence.
“You’re right…I’m not sure what we’re going to gain out of this,” said Jane. He then left the room as did Rossi.
A few hours later, the two agents talked to Musus again, without having much success. Then Gideon went in and tried, again in failure. Later, the agents brought in the big guns, Hotch and Black, who tried to talk to Musus without much luck. Each time, Musus laughed at their failures, deriding the agents as “idiots” or “simpletons”.
Eventually, the BAU was down to its last attempt. It was down to Hawkes.
She entered the room holding a whole bunch of stuffed file folders, carrying them awkwardly. As she walked towards Musus, she hit a divot in the floor and stumbled, dropping the folders’ contents all over the floor.
“I’m sorry,” Hawkes said, embarrassed, as she started picking up the stuff she dropped on the floor.
“Look at you,” mocked Musus. “You’re hardly old enough to go on a prom date, let alone be in an interrogation room. Besides, what business does a woman have being in a room with a man?”
Hawkes looked at him with disgust. “What kind of a cad are you to tell me that because I have breasts I can’t possibly lead an interrogation? Are you that short sighted, like your friend, Will?”
“Wilhelm Claes is a good man. He knows more about proper gender roles than you will ever know. Women have no business doing a man’s job.”
“So should I be wearing a veil too, or is the abaya not revealing enough for you?”
“The abaya…Abaza mentioned it to me once…it didn’t make much sense to me…it only works if women are free, and in our system, the women are slaves. Why do they need to be all covered so they can go outside if they never go outside in the first place?”
“Your system…” Hawkes paused briefly as she momentarily had to sort some of the dropped files before she could put them in their folder before continuing putting the papers back. “So you and Claes have a Victorian fantasy society all thought out, is that right?”
“I wouldn’t call it Victorian…Claes and I, we saw the man primarily in work clothes, getting all kinds of dirt and grime all over him because he’d be in the field, working his tail off. The dominant image of our society would not be top hats and large bicycles…no, the dominant image would be a man coated in mud, wearing his coveralls and a construction helmet proudly displaying his shovel, telling us that he’d proudly finished his work.”
“So a man must always be dirty, is that what you’re saying?”
“No…the man shouldn’t be afraid to get dirty to do the job.”
“…and the woman, she doesn’t get dirty, right?”
“Right…she is afraid, because she was meant to be a paragon of beauty and any speck of dirt destroys that beauty…it is why a female janitor needs a man to clean a clogged drain…because the woman is too afraid of dirt to do it herself.”
“She did get help though…she didn’t need you there.”
“That man in Groningen was pathetic…he wasn’t cultured properly like I was. He needed a real man to show him how it was done.”
“It’s a rather strange way of showing him how it was done…shooting them in cold blood.”
“He wasn’t shot...he was strangled. I thought you knew that.”
Hawkes answered smugly. “I did…and I find it funny that you know that, ‘cause we never told anyone that the plumber was strangled.” Hawkes then finished picking up the last sheet of paper that had fallen on the ground and put it inside the file folder. “So, do you still think a woman can’t do a man’s job?”
“You still don’t have me for the crime.”
“You just admitted to details only we knew about…and you also left your ‘mud’ all over Julia Winters…that’s got DNA in it and we’re combing it as we speak.”
Musus took a deep breath, realizing he’d just been beaten.
“I just have one question- how many of you are there?”
“Just me,” replied Musus, sullen. “I’m a military man…I work with precision and quickness. Either Tarsus or Claes knew the victims…it was all a matter of giving me the names…the Roman military has access to the worldwide database…so I was able to figure out where they all lived and worked quite quickly.”
“Thank you Gnaeus.” Hawkes smiled, turned and started to walk towards the door before she stopped. “Oh, and one other thing…where’s the bunker?”
22:15 local time, Tuti Island, Khartoum, Sudan
“Got it,” said Prentiss, arriving via a helicopter repainted to appear like a traffic helicopter. She landed at the northern tip of the island with her Special Forces group, which she nicknamed the Lilies since she thought a girlie name would make it even more embarrassing for Claes to lose to.
“So you guys took Musus’ overconfidence and buried him with it?” asked Kim Myers, the inspiration for Disney’s Kim Possible cartoon series and Prentiss’ second in command.
“Yeah,” said Prentiss. “We knew that Musus likely thought he could beat us knowing he’s an Army man so if we made him think that he was getting better at handling us, the more he’d believe that he couldn’t get caught…and thus, the more he’d reveal.”
“You guys really are the best,” said Myers with a smile.
“Lilies,” said Prentiss commanding her troops, using encrypted radio signals. “Musus said the bunker is somewhere around here. There’s a latch hidden here, and Musus gave us the secret code. Liles, let’s move!”
The Liles- twelve in all- scoured the beach all the way from the Ring Road towards the northern tip, the exact point where the Nile River splits in two. They had to contend with some extensive brush at the tip of the island, as well as some harrowing marshlands.
“I don’t think it’s right at the tip,” observed Myers. “The land’s far too low-lying here.” She then purposefully walked towards the Ring Road, thinking that’s where the bunker could lie. There was a part of the road that was the edge of a brief cliff, and at the foot of that cliff was a bull head with its mouth open.
“Prentiss,” said Myers, “I think I found your bunker.”
“Good work Kim,” said Prentiss, “now open it up.”
Myers dutifully reached inside the bull’s mouth and found a keypad. She remembered the combination Prentiss told her about and got the door open. The Lilies piled themselves in and awaited instruction from Prentiss.
“Lilies,” said Prentiss, quietly. “Under no circumstances are we splitting up. Our objective is to find Morgan and Cornelia and get them out safely. Once that is done, we’ll radio the Romans who will bring the helicopter back. If you see any enemies, do not engage them unless you have to or can do so quietly. We need to be discreet. Understood?” The Lilies all nodded their heads in agreement, as they started their assault in the underground bunker.
23:23 local time, Tuti Island
As soon as the Lilies entered the bunker, they were faced with a fork in the tunnel. One of the routes would lead to a fire pit specifically constructed by Claes to deter a rescue effort, while the other actually led to the bunker itself.
“This is a trap,” said Prentiss, examining her options, knowing that the tunnel shouldn’t have a fork otherwise. She looked, frantically, for a clue before Myers piped up.
“A few years ago Tuti Island was up in arms when a bridge was built connecting the island to the Al-Fateh Hotel,” said Myers.
“Ghaddhafi’s Egg, named for Momar Ghaddafi since Libya largely finaned the hotel,” said Prentiss. “I’ve heard of it.”
Myers responded sheepishly. “I don’t know...it’s the only thing I know about the island.”
Something clicked with Prentiss as soon as she heard Myers mention that. “Al-Fateh means ‘conqueror’ in Arabic...that’s where Claes has his Palace...and one of these tunnels leads to the hotel.”
“Which one? We’re at the other end of the island.”
“The left one is a direct route.”
“So...we turn right.”
“No...we go left. Tarsus designed this bunker...hence the bull head entrance. He’s not very good at the ‘red herring’ game so he’d build the most direct route.”
The Lilies pressed onward, heading down the left tunnel, quickly but carefully. They faced their first challenges when the two guards in front of the bunker entrance confronted them, but they were no match for Prentiss, who decked one with a punch and another with a roundhouse kick to the face. Another guard came in to help out, but Myers was up to the task, jumping up and grabbing hold of a pipe running along the ceiling and swinging her feet into his face. The Lilies restrained the fallen guards with zip ties before pressing onward.
“That’ll get the blood boiling,” cracked Myers.
“It’s a real fight now,” said Prentiss.
Further up, the Lilies encountered the guards’ sleeping quarters and, as Prentiss though, none of them were asleep. As she saw the door leading to the quarters, she opened the door a crack and fired a shot through it, managing to hit the guard standing right next to the door ready to ambush her. She then aimed her gun up and shot another guard on the second floor towards her left as she entered, with Myers right behind her, covering her back. Myers shot two guards in quick succession, actions that allowed the rest of the Lilies to enter the quarters.
By now, each of the bunker’s 30 guards were engaged with the Lilies. Some of the guards stayed on the above floor to provide their allies covering fire, as they slowly made their way to the floor to engage the Lilies. As the minutes wore on, the firefight grew fiercer, leading to a war of attrition.
Eventually, the Lilies knew they had to make a move, since the guards were defending their turf and had no reason to make one, plus once the Lilies ran out of bullets, the guards would likely have the advantage. It was at this point that Myers saw an opportunity.
“Prentiss,” she said with urgency. “Cover me.” Myers then grabbed the ladder leading to the upstairs portion of the quarters, and flipped herself onto the floor, knocking over a guard in the process.
She then got into a fistfight with three guards, prompting Prentiss to join her. Myers got a high kick to the teeth of one of the guards knocking him flat, but she got exposed to a punch from another guard, who landed one square in her jaw.
Prentiss saw that and engaged the guard, landing a punch to the face and another body blow. However, since this guard was quite muscular, he managed to fell Prentiss momentarily with a single blow to the face. He then crouched on top of her and used his legs to incapacitate hers, allowing him to start raining blow upon blow on Prentiss.
Prentiss, though, was undeterred. Even though his fists were quite powerful, she willed herself not to lose consciousness even though it was hard. She also punched back when she could, but the man’s position didn’t make it easy. She saw that she was close to the railing, so she thought that if she could just nudge him over there, she could flip him over. Slowly, she worked him over there, and just when he was about to land the decisive blow, she used the last bit of strength in her legs to flip the man over the railing, knocking him out.
Prentiss was dazed though and didn’t realize another guard was heading her way. Myers came to her rescue, tripping the guard from behind before another guard attempted to tackle her. When he failed due to his faulty grip, he planted a hand on the ground and swiped at Myers’ feet, knocking them out from underneath her. Myers wouldn’t stay down for long, rolling herself upward, only to be greeted with a fist to the back of her head. She responded by turning around and uppercutting the guard and elbowing the one that had tried to come up from behind her. A third guard then grabbed her by the ponytail, prompting her to jump up and flip herself and deliver a kick to his face, knocking him out. Another guard started to run toward her, and Myers readied herself for another fight before Prentiss came from behind and tackled the guard and landing a few punches in, knocking the guard out cold.
“I would have had him,” said Myers.
“I know,” replied Prentiss, “but I figured you could have used a bit of a breather.”
By this point, the rest of the Lilies- engaged with the rest of the guards- had managed to subdue the guards that were left, resulting in a total victory for the Lilies. They ziptied any guards that weren’t dead and moved into the guards’ equipment room in order to get first aid treatment and reload their ammunition.
It was here that Myers finally felt the pain in her jaw, as the adrenaline had wore off.
“He got you good,” said Prentiss, pulling out an ice pack for Myers.
“I know,” she said, grimacing in pain. “How are you? That guy got you good.”
“Head’s still a bit woozy but I think I barely escaped a concussion.”
“Those guys were tough.”
“They’re Claes’ personal guard...they’re his best soldiers. I think we did pretty well. It had also been a while before I actually had to fight someone.”
Prentiss then addressed the entire group. “Okay Lilies,” she commanded, “take five. Once we’re a little better we’ll look for Morgan and Cornelia.”
00:36 local time, Al-Fateh Hotel, Khartoum, Sudan
Morgan stood over the sink, his head sunk with his eyes staring longingly into the drain. He was dressed to the nines in a fine tuxedo, as he was getting ready to “wed” Cornelia, but never did he feel so low. Beaten mentally and physically, Morgan’s feelings of helplessness coalesced today into one monster of a depression, as he began to feel like he just might never escape Tarsus’ grasp.
Meanwhile, Cornelia faced her own issues getting prepared for the wedding. An old man, dressed as a doctor, walked in to her quarters, despite her protestations about how it would make her “unlucky”. The man didn’t listen, instead forcing her onto her chair and tying her up.
In her head, Cornelia knew what was going to happen, so when he inevitably raped her, she braced herself and took it in stride. When he was finished, though, he brought out a syringe, some stitching equipment and other medical supplies.
“What...what,” said Cornelia, quivering. “What are you doing?”
“Well...” said the man, “you need to be a virgin for your wedding night.”
“...but it’s not an honest virginity.”
“I don’t make the rules, Gaia. Besides, we’ve all had our fun with you...it’s time for a new chapter.” He then opened her legs and applied the anesthetic to her genitals as Gaia winced in pain.
“Why? Why?” Gaia then began to cry.
“Oh, don’t cry,” said the man, mocking her. “I’ll only be another minute.” In a few short minutes he was finished stitching together Gaia’s hymen and “restoring” her virginity.
Gaia could only cry now.
“Silence!” He said, slapping her violently. He then grabbed her breasts and squeezed them, before cupping her head and kissing the top of it. He then left, leaving Gaia sullen and broken down in tears.
01:00 local time
The time for the wedding had come. Claes wanted to hold it at midnight for the symbolism, but complications arose with Cornelia’s surgeon so he pushed it back. Desdemona supervised the affair, which was to feature only two guards dressed as ushers, another acting as the organist, another pretending to be Cornelia’s “father”, Morgan, Cornelia and the man that stitched Cornelia’s hymen together, playing the role of the priest, with the proceedings videotaped so that it could be broadcast across Sudan later.
At this moment, Morgan felt unusually smug. He figured that being helpless was useless, and that he might as well accept his new life if, indeed, there was no actual way out. Besides, Cornelia was a wonderful woman, and Morgan figured there was no better woman to be forced to be married to. Above all else, once the ceremony was finished, he looked forward to actually getting some sleep for once- Desdemona promised Morgan and Cornelia they would receive far better quarters after the marriage, and that Morgan would become master of a planned city south of Khartoum that Claes wanted to build as his capital.
When it came time for Cornelia to walk down the aisle, Morgan stood, smugly, as “Here Comes the Bride” played in the background. Cornelia, also having accepted her fate, smiled as she walked up the aisle and saw Morgan, although given her condition, she did walk gingerly.
“Tonight,” started the presider, “we are gathered here to unite Derek Morgan and Gaia Cornelia in the holiest of matrimonies. This day marks the true beginning of the new chapter of human civilization, where the man truly takes over society. We have gathered before us the perfect specimens to lead such a society, with the strong, robust Morgan and the delicate, willing Cornelia providing the perfect examples of what Catholic society should be.
“So now,” continued the presider, “I turn to you, Derek...do you take Gaia Cornelia as your wife, with all your heart and your soul, until death do you part?”
“I do,” said Morgan, calmly and warmly.
“Do you, Gaia, take Derek Morgan as your husband, with all your heart and your soul, until death do you part?”
“I do,” said Cornelia, lovingly looking into Morgan’s eyes.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” said the presider. “Derek, you may now kiss the bride.”
Before Morgan could do so, a voice interrupted the proceedings.
Prentiss stood at the back, after she and Myers easily subdued the guards at the entrance, her gun trained on the presider. Morgan, who could only think of the words of Tarsus, cowered in fear at the sight of the gun, which Prentiss immediately recognized as a sign of that Tarsus had psychologically tormented him.
“Who are you?” asked the presider, who was more confused than scared of Prentiss.
“Emily Prentiss, FBI!” Prentiss barked. “I’m here to arrest all of you as accomplices to the murders and kidnappings of Decius Tarsus and Wilhelm Claes!”
The presider scoffed. “A woman? Here to arrest all of us? You must be mad. You are incapable of such an act.”
“The twelve of us just subdued your entire bunker, and you guys are the only ones we have left to deal with. Do you still think we’re incapable of such an act?”
The presider didn’t hesitate, ordering the guards at the front to attack Prentiss. Desdemona rushed down in order to shephered Morgan and Cornelia away but Myers spotted her and tackled her.
“Kim!” Prentiss barked, “go get Morgan and Cornelia! I got this.”
Prentiss didn’t flinch, elbowing one guard in the mouth that was coming up from behind her and clotheslined another that rushed right at her. The first guard she knocked down then got up and attempted to trip out her feet from under her, but Prentiss felt it and backflipped over the attempt. She then moved in between the two guards, punching the guard she was facing and kicking the one she had her back to in the groin, before using her leg to lift him up onto her back so she could throw him into the guard facing her, subduing both guards.
Meanwhile, Myers had to deal with the presider, who had taken Cornelia hostage in a desperate attempt to escape.
“Freeze!” Myers ordered, drawing her gun at the presider, who stopped his run. He then held a gun to Cornelia’s head.
“No no no,” said the presider. “That’s not the way this is going to work...you let all of my men go and Cornelia lives. It’s all very simple.”
“Don’t play this game! I will shoot you!”
“You? You couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn!”
“Don’t try me!”
Prentiss, having finished subduing the men, jumped in.
“Father,” she said, despite hating the utterance knowing the presider was every bit as fake as Claes is, “if you value Gaia in any way, you will let her live.”
“Gaia is a woman,” mocked the presider, “she is dispensable. In fact, I think I’d rather take both of you. I can make you every bit as obedient as I made Derek Morgan.”
Something clicked with Prentiss when she heard that. “Did Claes brainwash you with the guns as well? Is that why you so blindly follow him?”
The presider was rattled. “Cardinal Claes is worth following.”
“You’re older and wise...you have no reason to succumb to his wishes. The guards...they’re young and easily manipulated not knowing any other religious ideal, but you...you should have your own religious viewpoints...you’re old enough to have formed them long before Claes formulated his. Besides...you care about Gaia...that’s why you didn’t kill her.”
The presider started to cry. “No...you’re wrong.”
“It’s okay...nobody likes being tricked. I’m sorry it had to come out like this.”
The presider let go of Cornelia and slumped to his knees, bawling uncontrollably.
“Desdemona was my wife!” he called out, crying incessantly. He then hunched himself over, crying and banged the floor with his fists several times.
“It’s true,” said Desdemona, lying on the floor, handcuffed. “Twelve years ago, just after Hosni Mubarak’s government crumbled in Egypt, Wilhelm Claes came to Sudan from San Marino. He knew of the Sudanese Christians in Juba so he came to recruit them, so that he could create his own Catholic state on the heels of the chaos in Egypt. My husband, Raek, was the Bishop of Juba and the most influential man in South Sudan...I worked for him, that’s how I met him. One day, Claes comes to us and tells us he wanted to take us on a ‘spiritual journey’...we went to a cabin of his in Port Sudan, where we stayed for over a year. We were both brutally tortured and I was raped many times, and Claes repeatedly told us that we needed to obey, or ‘the wrath of God’ would get us. As the year progressed he was progressively nicer to us, but all this did was to make us even more submissive to him.”
“So he would beat you,” analyzed Prentiss, “and then be nice to you?”
“That’s how it worked.” Desdemona continued with a sigh. “I remember it came at the exact moment I felt there was no way out of this.”
“So he beats you to establish control and dominance, and once he’s done that, he’s nice to you so he can manipulate you further.”
“...and he manipulated us,” said Raek, “into taking our men and leading them against first the Sudanese government and then the Egyptians...he won Sudan fairly well but Egypt was an unexpected struggle. He made us think we were all doing this for God’s Will but the truth is we’re just pawns in his game...” Raek let out a huge sigh. “This has been so much to comprehend.”
“Wait one second!” Myers hollered. “From what I know, Claes is all about red herrings and has followed our investigation thoroughly...why should I believe you, Raek, if that’s even your-”
Prentiss waved her hand against her throat telling Myers not to continue with their statement, but Raek interjected.
“We have no reason to lie,” he said. “What would we have to gain from lying about being brainwashed?”
“Our sympathy,” said Prentiss sternly. “It would make you less culpable in all this...and besides, where are Claes and Tarsus? They’re conveniently absent.”
“They’re in Aswan,” said Desdemona. “They’d been planning that trip for days to help organize the defences there.”
“I give you a trust exercise,” said Raek, handing out an amulet. “This amulet is a trigger for a bomb that could blow up this entire bunker. It’s Claes’ defence mechanism in case it ever did get infiltrated. I don’t know how to defuse the bomb, but I can start it. If I am telling you the truth, then this amulet will not have started the detonation process.”
Prentiss took the amulet and examined it. She then opened it carefully and studied it, realizing that Raek was right.
“See?” Raek said. “You may even search me and every last one of the guards here and Desdemona. We have nothing to hide.”
Prentiss ordered the Lilies to do just that. She then asked Raek where the bomb was so she could defuse it. After Raek was frisked, he directed her to the janitorial closet where the bomb was located.
“Thanks,” said Prentiss, starting to examine the bomb. She grabbed a screwdriver and started to take off a panel, but the mess of wires and buttons confounded her. She sighed. “If only Morgan was here,” she said, staring blankly at the array.
“You called for me?” Morgan inquired, having followed Prentiss to the closet.
“You’re back!” Prentiss said, giving Morgan a warm hug.
“Something clicked in my head when you brought up the brainwashing...I didn’t realize that I was being conditioned just like Raek was...also, I hadn’t been there that long so my mind wasn’t altered that much...but I was close, and seeing you really made my day.”
“We missed you.” Prentiss and Morgan hugged again.
“Now...getting down to business. I’m going to teach you something. See all these wires?”
“Disregard them. They’ve been put here intentionally to confuse you.”
“How do you know?”
“Modern bombmakers know that the layperson expects a bomb to be disarmed via cutting a wire, so they make the bomb accordingly. The trick is having to dig through these wires and find the right one...if you find one at all.”
“Don’t all bombs need some kind of wiring?”
“Technically yes, but we can bury them better now...I’m positive they’re behind some kind of metal fixture.”
“So how do we disarm this...and is this even a bomb?” Prentiss began wondering if the convoluted bomb was a trap.
“Oh yes, this is a bomb and Raek was right when he told you it’s not detonated. The fan in the computer isn’t running.”
“Computer? So it has a motherboard...and a microchip.”
Morgan smiled, knowing that Prentiss learned what he wanted her to learn. “That’s it! Now, where do you think the motherboard is?”
“Somewhere in the back...no, wait...red herring.” Prentiss reached her hand into the bomb’s front wall and felt it, eventually hitting the motherboard. “Okay,” Prentiss continued, her voice strained as she tried to muscle out the motherboard, “so now I have to take this out...”
“...and you’ll have disarmed the bomb.”
After a few agonizing minutes, Prentiss was able to muscle out the motherboard, clipping its connectors along the way. She also found its explosive material after unscrewing the section of the bomb behind the wires, bagging the motherboard and the gunpowder for evidence.
Aswan, Egypt, 04:56 local time
“They did what?” Claes said, staring at his cell phone screen in disbelief. The Romans just issued a press release detailing the rescue operation, including the arrest of the entire bunker, by the Lilies.
Claes put away his phone and paced, furiously. He couldn’t believe an all-female fighting force, especially one as small as the Lilies, could take over his bunker. The good news is that he could repopulate it and still had control of it, but this was still a jar to his system.
He stared, blankly, at the walls of his command centre, wondering what his next move was, and wondering what the Romans’ next move was. Rome had already taken control of the Delta Region after mop-up duty following the Battle of Heliopolis, but this wasn’t a major concern- the Romans were still playing into his trap.
“Decius,” he hollered into his phone, making a call.
“Yes Father,” replied Tarsus at the other end of the line.
“Women infiltrated our base and rescued the prisoners...they even took my wife.”
Tarsus’ mouth was left agape. He sat there in stunned silence.
“Good news is that we’ve still got control of the bunker, but they’re up to something...I don’t know what.”
Tarsus could barely contain his shock. “Women? How did women invade our bunker and rescue the prisoners? This is...this is an outrage!”
“Decius...we need to keep our wits about this. I’m in just as much shock as you are but we need to stay composed...the Romans are trying to rattle us.”
“I’ll stay here in Aswan...I’ll keep the defences in order.”
“I’m going to go visit our friend...he needs to be made aware of this transgression.”
Claes then grabbed his falsified documents and made his way for a flight to Rome.
“They’re coming, sir,” said Vizier Omar Farouk, noticing via radar the Sinai beachhead of the all-female Roman Legion, the Flower Legion.
“Don’t worry about them just yet,” said Sudanese Caliph Malik al-Hamsa. “Wait for my order.”
“Very well sir,” replied Farouk.
The Flowers weren’t worried about the Caliph, at least not yet. Led by Legate Teresa Drusilla, a 10-year veteran of the Roman Army, the Flower Legion was created quickly via a draft of the best female soldiers across the entire Roman Army, and while they had only a day to go over battleplans and formations, they were all still hardened professionals more than capable of doing the job.
It didn’t stop the occasional hiccup though. Halfway through the drive to Suez, two of the tank drivers had started to veer off from the pack before Drusilla caught them. They were used to serving in Legions that were speedy, and were still getting used to Drusilla’s more cautious approach. She promised them that they would be able to use their speed soon though.
Their first task was to capture Suez and provide the Romans with a sea link to Sudan. The first bump in the road would be in Ismailia, which is where the Suez Canal widened. Ready to greet the Flowers was a wall of Surface-to-Air-Missile (SAM) stations, each guarded with a squadron of bazooka-toting and RPG-toting defenders, necessitating the use of stealth bombers to open the attack.
The bombers approached carefully, and shot rounds of bullets at the defenders in quick spurts before pulling up, retreating and doing it again. They made sure they came in waves so the pressure was relentless, with the quick strikes not allowing the defenders to get the proper aim. After a two-hour long firefight, the bombers finally subdued the defenders and destroyed the SAM wall, allowing the ground troops to come into the city and penetrate.
Since the bulk of the Egyptians’ Suez defences were in Suez itself, the resistance in Ismailia was limited to several squadrons of soldiers using snipers and other guerilla tactics to keep the Romans at bay. Drusilla, knowing the Egyptian tactic, proceeded slowly, ordering her Air Force squadrons to shoot at and destroy buildings if necessary. Sappers cleared the way for the tanks, who could now roam the streets of Ismailia freely without much resistance, executing mere mop up duty. Two hours after the SAM wall was destroyed, Ismailia had fallen into Roman hands.
There was no time to celebrate though- Drusilla sensed they could move in for the kill, so they pushed onward to Suez, where they knew the real battle would begin.
14:22 local time, Suez, Egypt
After a few roadside attacks, the Flowers finally made their way to the Canal, one of the Egyptians’ main strongholds after Alexandria, Cairo, Khartoum and, likely, Aswan. Drusilla knew she would have a fight on her hands in order to capture the Canal, and while she had her worries that her hastily organized Legion might not be adequately prepared for the assault, there was no time for complaints- Marcus and the rest of the Empire expected results.
Just like at Ismailia the Suez defenders lined the city with SAM sites, although this time they were bolstered not just by RPGs but by actual artillery divisions. Another squadron of stealth bombers was thus required to be called in to deal with the defences, along with more conventional fighter jets required to take out the artillery.
The Flowers had one objective: clear a path via the July 23rd Road to the port, securing a vital supply line from the Mediterranean to Sudan and allowing better Roman troop deployment southward. The battle started well enough, with the waves of bombers taking care of the SAM wall in a relatively short time, although the artillery cost them a few planes. The Egyptians were forced to retreat further into the city and regroup, setting up a long string of roadside bombs along the way. The Romans anticipated the bombs, using their fighter jets to give their sappers covering fire so they could disarm the bombs ahead of the tanks. The operation went smoothly as the Romans bursted through downtown, as their slow approach wore down an Egyptian defence that couldn’t compete with Rome’s far more superior equipment. By nightfall, all that was left was clearing the path to the Canal, which Rome hoped to take by midnight.
Then they hit Port Taofik.
Port Taofik, Suez, Egypt
“What is that?” Camp Prefect Maria Flavia gasped.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” Drusilla said.
The Ismailians, shortly after their defeat to Drusilla, notified the defenders at Suez, who hatched a plan upon learning the Flowers were all female. A daycare had been looted with all of its infants and toddlers killed, hastily, being strewn across the road in front of them, blocking the narrow passageway to the port. Predictably, the Flowers stopped their forward progress, aghast at the horror in front of them.
Drusilla thought something wasn’t right and looked around to see if anything untoward was happening. She looked at her radar and saw nothing, but her periscope on her tank did catch something faint getting closer.
“Bogey to your right!” Drusilla hollered, “Bogey to your right! Flowers, engage!”
Coming up from behind was a stealth bomber filled with explosives coming right towards them, seemingly kamikaze-style. The plane was plowing at full speed, giving the Legion only minutes to react. Fortunately, the artillery units lined it up just in time, shooting the plane down with the debris landing mere inches from where the Legion was standing.
“Madam,” said Flavia, “it doesn’t look like it had a human pilot.”
“It’s a drone,” Drusilla figured, her eyes squinting analytically.
Suddenly, fifty more drones came at the Legion from behind the baby wall, all flying in zigzag patterns to distract the aim of the Legion. Fortunately, the Avii arrived just in time to engage with the drone fighters, relieving the pressure on the artillery. After a few minutes the threat had cleared, allowing Drusilla to plow forward. A few hours later, after a few more fights with resistance forces, Port Taofik was secure, giving the Romans control of the Suez Canal.
00:12 local time, Pandataria Prison, Rome
Shortly after capturing the Suez, the Flowers went on a roll. The towns along the Red Sea coast- in MIS state of Havilah- fell in quick succession, allowing the Flowers to move within striking distance of the Havilah capital at Hurghada by nightfall.
The developments only served to worry Claes even more. Identifying himself as Ali Abaza, Jamal’s father (who Jamal had killed while he lived in Egypt and buried his body, neglecting to tell anyone about it) and applying lots of makeup to help with the guise, it became Claes’ de facto identity when travelling to see Jamal. This allowed him unfettered access to Abaza (aside from being searched), since the guards never questioned his status as “family”. Today, he needed to see him to coordinate the strike against the Flowers, who were now threatening the heart of MIS land.
“The Flowers are threatening Hurghada,” said Claes to Abaza, upon entering his cell.
“Who are the Flowers?” Abaza asked, confused.
Claes took a deep breath before continuing. “It’s an all-female Legion of the Roman Army.”
Abaza was shocked. “Women...are beating...us?”
“I know...it’s troubling.”
“What about the other Legions? Where are they?”
“The Caliph has decided to join the war.”
“Malik al-Hamsa? So he came around.”
“Yes...that leaves Sudan completely in our control.”
“Caliph Malik is engaging the other Legions at Qena as we speak...and he is doing really well at holding them back.”
“Good. Keep him there. We have to send the rest of our divisions to Hurghada...we have no choice. We cannot let women beat us.”
“I agree. I will divert the troops from Aswan, as well as call in the ACA. All hands are on deck.”
Abaza smiled. “...and it’s a hand we will win.”
St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
“Hello Adrian,” said Black, greeting Adrian in the Pope’s office.
“It’s been a while,” said Adrian, fixing his smock as he got up from his chair to greet Black.
“I assume you’ve been a busy man.”
Adrian chuckled. “The Pope is always busy.” He then took a breath and adopted a serious tone. “How’s the investigation going?”
“Agent Hawkes suggested that we create an all-female Legion to take on Claes, reasoning that the Egyptian forces would divert too many resources out of ego allowing us to ambush them…so far, it’s working.”
Adrian smiled. “So we’ve got a breakthrough in Egypt. Looks like we’re well on our way to winning the war.”
Black sighed. “There’s only one catch…somehow Jamal Abaza has been able to maintain control of the MIS, even though we placed new limits on his visitation rights.”
Adrian’s eyes widened with concern. “Who can visit him?”
“We used to allow friends and family to visit him…but now it’s just family.”
“So Claes has a mole in Abaza’s family. Do you have Abaza’s file?”
Black pulled out a file folder from his handbag and placed it on Adrian’s desk. Adrian sat back down and started to examine it.
“Okay,” started Adrian. “So he’s got a wife, D’dab, and a son, Amir, who was killed in an air raid. He was a single child, raised by parents Salifah and Ali. Salifah died in the same air raid that killed Amir back in 1999, but Ali managed to survive. D’dab,” he said, tapping the document before continuing, “divorced him last year, around the same time that Claes lost the election and, interestingly, despite going into hiding, she was still found and stoned to death.”
Black took a seat and furrowed his eyebrows, pondering Adrian’s last statement. “Interesting,” he said, continuing to examine another part of his file.
Adrian continued staring intensely at the file, before moving on to a picture of Abaza and his father, dated to when Abaza was only seven. He then went into his drawer and started to rifle through his notes but failed.
“Lucius,” he said with purpose.
“Yes Adrian?” said Black, noting the urgency.
“In the filing cabinet,” said Adrian, pointing to the cabinet by the west wall, “in the second drawer, are records of the Consistories. Wilhelm Claes was promoted to Cardinal in 1976 by John Paul I after performing a miracle…he was only 29…I need to see that picture.”
“Okay,” said Black, furiously rifling through the drawer. He found the file and pulled out the report and laid it on Adrian’s desk. Adrian took one look and nodded firmly several times.
“What did you find?” asked Black, leaning forward and cupping his chin, curious.
“Look at the pictures,” said Adrian, putting them side by side.
“My goodness,” said Black, whose eyes widened. “They’re not dead ringers but they look alike.”
Black then pulled out his cell phone and called Garcia, putting the phone on speaker and setting it on the table.
“The Office of Garcia’s Magical Supercomputer speaking,” beamed Garcia.
“I’ll never get enough of your enthusiasm,” said Adrian with a smile.
“Your Holiness!” said Garcia excitedly, “I’m glad to hear from you.”
“Garcia,” said Black firmly. “We need you to pull up any records you have of an Ali Abaza, Jamal’s father. Compare them against the records of Wilhelm Claes, and see if there are any congruities.”
“Okay,” said Garcia, typing furiously at her computer. “Give me a few moments.”
Black and Adrian sat patiently, waiting for Garcia to finish her search. After a few minutes, Garcia returned with information.
“For the most part,” Garcia started to explain, “there are no ‘congruities’ with regards to Ali and Claes.” Adrian cocked his mouth to the side, frustrated. “Except for one date in 2004, when, curiously, Ali used his credit card to pay at the Fumicino Airport duty free shop mere moments after Claes landed in Rome, even though Ali wasn’t on that flight. Every other instance, Ali only pops up sporadically, as he always did…he worked as an independent contractor, and his business was ruined by the air raid. There were claims that he became a drifter after the air strike, but I think we know what really happened.”
“Claes became him,” said Black firmly.
“Exactimundo!” said Garcia excitedly. “In fact, looking at the records, after 1999 Ali’s only credit card activity seems to occur only when Claes is in Egypt…it’s still a rarity even then, but there isn’t a point that Ali uses his credit card without Claes being in Egypt.”
“So Jamal and Wilhelm met in 1999 it seems,” thought Black out loud.
“Yeah, and remember the rumours about the air strike originating from North American forces?” said Garcia. “Guess who started them?”
“Claes?” said Adrian.
“Yeah,” said Garcia, “he wrote a letter to the editor of The Cairo Times, an extremist newspaper, blaming the attack on North American and Roman forces. Jamal must have read it and the two became friends.”
“…and he likely had to assume Ali’s identity in order to get more involved, until he gained the MIS’ trust,” said Black.
“As you know, Mubarak’s government fell in 2001,” continued Garcia. “Guess who was at the centre of that?”
“Claes?” said Black.
“Ooooh,” said Garcia, playfully grimacing, “you’re close. It was Abaza and the MIS, with a little help from his ‘father’.”
“Thanks Garcia,” said Black, ending the phone call. “I need to notify the authorities, especially the airports to be on the lookout.” He then shook his head and sighed heavily before continuing. “I can’t believe he’s been under our noses for so long…well, now we can turn the tables.”
08:21 local time, Galen of Pergamon Hospital, Rome
“Okay, he’s ready for visitors now,” said Cladius Pontus, Morgan’s doctor to the BAU, Adrian and Black, waiting in the waiting room. Since being rescued Morgan and Cornelia had to go for days of surgery to get themselves patched back up. They’d still need months of healing and periodic checkups, but at least for now they were in a “functional” state, and now they would get visitors for the first time.
Seeing Morgan for the first time since his kidnapping shocked the team. He still had his numerous bruises from the beatings he took, as well as more than a few scars. He had also lost some weight and his demeanour was dishevelled, looking very much like a beaten man, a stark contrast from the strong, dominant person the team had gotten to know. However, as soon as he saw his team, he warmed right up to them and gave them his trademark smile.
“Guys,” said Morgan as the team piled in to his room. “It’s so good to see you.” Everyone exchanged hugs with him, though it was the ones with Reid, Jane and Garcia that struck a chord with him the most.
“I can’t tell you how worried I was for you,” said Reid, who cried on Morgan’s shoulder, making Morgan cry as well. For Reid, seeing Morgan, a man he valued as his “protector” in his vulnerable state was extra rattling and, though he did his best to hide it, Reid couldn’t stop but wonder what he could have done to save Morgan from being kidnapped in San Marino.
“You’ve been there for me so many times,” continued Reid, sobbing, “and yet, in San Marino, I wasn’t there for you…I’m so sorry man.”
“Reid,” said Morgan through his tears. He then cupped Reid’s face and held it right in front of his. “It’s perfectly okay. There was nothing you could do for me except do your job…and you did, because I’m here. Thank you so much.”
“Babygirl!” said Morgan as he hugged Garcia, who also couldn’t help but cry as she laid her head on Morgan’s shoulder. “It’s okay Penelope…you did what you could.” He then kissed her cheek and grabbed the back of her head, slowly stroking her hair and cradling her head on his shoulder. “I’m okay now.” He paused to regain his composure before continuing. “I’m safe now…thank you for everything.”
“Jane!” said Morgan to Jane, who simply stood over his bed. “What would we do without you? I know we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot…but you’ve proven me wrong…you’re such a valuable asset to this team. Don’t think for a second that you’re not a part of this team because you are.”
“I felt so guilty,” said Jane, who normally didn’t show his emotions but couldn’t help but tear up. “I said going to San Marino was a setup…and I sent you into the trap. I’m so sorry.”
“Jane,” said Morgan, grabbing Jane’s hand. “There was nothing you could do…we were all played. We couldn’t just sit there and play Claes’ bluff…the nuke needed to be dealt with…I knew I could have died in there but I wasn’t afraid…if I had to die for this team then I would.” Morgan then outstretched his arms and gave Jane a hug, which prompted Jane to let loose a flood of tears.
When the hugs were finished, Hotchner couldn’t help but get down to business.
“Listen Morgan,” said Hotchner, firmly, “you relax today. You’ve been through a lot. Take as much time as you need…we’ll be fine in your absence…I want you at the top of your game, so don’t rush yourself back into action. I know you want to, but please…don’t.”
“Don’t worry Hotch,” said Morgan assuredly. “I won’t rush myself. In the meantime, let’s win this war.”
10:36 local time Hurghada, Havilah
For the past six hours, the Flowers had been placing Hurghada under constant bombardment. Drusilla’s slow approach to the attack forced the Havilahites into a war of attrition they lacked the resources to win, meaning, by 6AM, the Romans were able to break down the Havilahites SAM wall and break into the city.
However, something seemed a little off with this assault.
“Is it just me or did the Havilahites put up more of a fight in Suez and Ismailia than they are here?” Flavia asked.
“No, I think you’re right,” said Drusilla. “We broke into Hurghada way too easily. Something is up.”
Drusilla ordered her troops to slow down and stay on their guard, since she felt an ambush was coming. As they continued their slow drive into the city, though, nothing seemed to be happening.
Towards the centre of the city, by the Hurghada Hilton Plaza, one of her soldiers noticed a fire.
“We need to investigate that,” said Drusilla. “Towards the Plaza.” By 12:24PM, the Flowers had made their way to the Plaza to inspect the fire, and, seeing how small it was, it was easy to put out. However, they’d soon find it was the least of their troubles.
12:32 local time, Hurghada, Havilah
As soon as the first volley landed the Flowers knew the real battle had begun. The Plaza was really a diversion, as, underneath the Plaza was a modified parking garage that was enlarged to conceal an entire division of tanks, on top of the artillery and snipers that lay hidden in the buildings in the heart of Hurghada. As the hours wore on, more and more divisions of artillery, tanks and soldiers showed up, as Claes and the MIS poured their entire military might into defeating the Flowers.
Suddenly, the Flowers were surrounded, with attacks coming from all sides. What made the situation worse was that the Havilahites didn’t all attack at once, deciding to strike at random and concealing their whereabouts to keep the Flowers guessing.
“All hands on deck! Flowers, fire at will!” Drusilla called from her command tank, since the Legion had no other choice. She worried, still, since the Havilahites had her surrounded without an outlet to escape, and while she could count on her technological superiority to win the war of attrition, she was losing soldiers and tanks and wasn’t sure she had the numbers to hold them off for that long. Worse, what divisions she could see were constantly moving- there was no weak point for her to attack.
After a few hours of constant bombardment, Zalayetta- who had escaped, barely, from Alexandria to lead the rest of Claes’ troops, left Drusilla a very clear message:
“You now have two options, Legate,” radioed Zalayetta menacingly. “You can either surrender peacefully and all of your women will enjoy the benefits of their rightful role...or, we will continue the bombardment and you will all perish. What will you decide?”
“Or,” radioed Caliph Malik al-Hamsa. “Zalayetta, you can surrender or you can get annihilated right now...because the Romans and I have you surrounded.”
Zalayetta peeked out of his tank behind him and saw that Malik was right...behind his troops was the rest of the Roman Army, as well as Malik’s Sudanese troops and the Roman Navy, ready to rain volley upon volley on him with little that he could do. Malik had deceived the MIS into thinking he was joining them by staging a battle with the Romans at Qena, with the troops knowing “all hands on deck” was their cue to move. They also knew that Claes’ men would be too obsessed with the Flowers to bother checking their radars, allowing the Romans to move under them. Zalayetta, cornered, felt there was nothing else he could do, so he surrendered, and, with that move, Egypt and Sudan fell into Roman hands.
Back in Rome, the BAU greeted the news with celebration, as loud cheering went off in the RSC headquarters. However, one thing left unresolved- Claes and Tarsus were still unaccounted for.
12:01 local time, Downtown Rome
“That will be five sestertii,” said the café barista, ringing in Claes ordering a coffee and a bagel before departing for the airport.
“I’m not quite sure I know what you mean,” said Claes, who donned an impeccable accent and removed his makeup to play an American alias and thus had to pretend not to be aware of Roman money.
“Five dollars,” retorted the barista.
“Five dollars?” said Claes, surprised. “Where I’m from, in Montana, this stuff costs three bucks, tops.”
“Sir, I don’t set the prices,” said the barista, indignant. “Besides, in Rome, the tip is automatically included in your price.”
“So that’s why you get to be rude to me,” replied Claes angrily.
“Look, pal, do you want the coffee and bagel or not?” said the barista, defiantly.
“You’re lucky I’m hungry,” snarled Claes, rifling through his wallet. He searched furiously for a credit card but was having difficulty finding one.
“Great,” said the barista, who threw his hands into the air. “now you’re going to waste my time trying to find your card.”
“Buddy,” retorted Claes, still rifling, “this is my stuff getting cold…don’t you think I want to get my stuff quickly?”
“I guess so,” said the barista, who still shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“Ah,” said Claes, finally pulling out a card.
The barista put the credit card into the machine. A message came up, causing the barista to press a button.
“Sir,” said a police officer approaching Claes. “I’m going to have to ask you to come with me.”
“Excuse me,” said Claes, looking around furiously, shocked. “What’s going on?”
“Your card was not only declined,” said the barista, “but it told me to notify the authorities.”
“That can’t be possible,” said Claes. “I’m as clean as a whistle…I just got approved for that card yesterday.”
“I’m sorry sir,” said the barista, his eyes and his smile wide, “but this isn’t a clean card. You’re wrong.”
Claes tried his best to hide his nerves but they still showed. He breathed a few deep breaths before continuing. “I must have pulled out my son’s card by mistake.”
“Is your son Jamal Abaza?” said Adrian, who had just entered the café and was almost unrecognizable clad in dress pants and a leather jacket. Rossi was right behind him.
“YOU!” said Claes angrily, furiously projecting his finger at Adrian. “You set me up for this you heretic!”
“No Wilhelm.” Adrian didn’t raise his voice so as not to make a spectacle, though he exuded a quiet confidence, holding his hands in his pocket. “Proverbs 16:18: pride goes before destruction; and a haughty spirit before stumbling. You set yourself up. You let your pride consume you, so much so that you spun a web of manipulation and lies to force people into working a fantasy society that you knew no one would accept, and you let it cloud your judgement so much that you didn’t think anyone could figure it out. Didn’t you learn from The Beatitudes?”
“Matthew 7:15,” said Claes, defiantly. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
“2 Peter 2:1,” said Adrian. “False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”
Claes darted his eyes, looking frantically for an escape. As soon as he budged, the guns of the officer, Rossi and Adrian were drawn.
“Don’t make any sudden moves Claes,” commanded Rossi. “It’s over.”
Claes then drew his own gun, forcing the police’s hand. As soon as he saw it, Adrian fired a few bullets from his gun, shooting Claes dead. He then wore a sullen look on his face, but didn’t shed a tear. Rossi patted his back.
“You had no choice,” said Rossi.
“I know,” said Adrian. “I’m just sad it had to end like this.”
Galen of Pergamon Hospital
“Hello,” said a man draped in a fedora and a trenchcoat approaching the secretary’s desk. “I’m here to see Derek Morgan.”
“I’m going to have to ask you for some ID,” said the secretary. “You need clearance to see him.”
“I’ll show you my clearance,” said the man, drawing a gun.
The secretary quivered in fear, and showed the man his room.
When he got to Morgan’s room, he undid the top button, revealing himself to be Tarsus. He pulled out a gun with a silencer, and shot the FBI agent tasked to protect Morgan. As he got into Morgan’s room, he saw the agent still sleeping.
Tarsus chuckled at the sight. “Oh Derek, you were always special,” he said, pulling out his gun.
“Oh no you don’t,” said Cornelia, surprising Tarsus with a gun drawn of her own. It was here that Morgan revealed he wasn’t sleeping at all.
“I got a button under my bed,” said Morgan. “I ring it when someone like you comes and it notifies Cornelia. Did you just think we’d led you walk in?”
“...and you forgot FBI agents have bulletproof vests,” said the agent, Brian Anderson, emerging into the room with his own gun drawn. Tarsus, realizing this wasn’t a battle he was going to win, allowed himself to get arrested without incident.
One week later, Gideon’s chateau, Reims, Champagne
“This has been a long case,” said Rossi, laying back comfortably in his easy chair enjoying a glass of wine, “but we did it.” Gideon had the entire team, including the just discharged Morgan plus Adrian, Malik, Cornelia and Black over for a celebratory feast, with everyone enjoying wine and cheese in his expansive living room.
“This was officially my first case for the BAU,” remarked Jane with a smile, “and I don’t think I could have picked a better one.”
“You performed admirably,” said Hotchner, returning a wry smile.
“I can’t remember the last time we had to win a war to win a case,” said Morgan.
“I suppose there was Doyle,” said Prentiss.
“We didn’t need the Roman Army for that one,” said Reid. “This was a first.”
“I’m just glad we’re all here and we’re all safe,” said Hawkes with a warm smile. “Putting away those chauvinistic scumbags was worth it.”
“So what’s next?” Rossi asked.
“Might still be a while before I can open my shop again,” said Cornelia with a sigh.
“Don’t worry,” said Hawkes. “We’ll help in any way that we can.” Cornelia responded by smiling and warmly clutching Hawkes’ hand.
“I’m becoming the new head of the Roman Commonwealth,” said Adrian.
“The Abbassids will give me Mecca,” said Malik, the only one not drinking any wine, “which is all I want.”
“You and Adrian have gotten pretty close,” noted Gideon.
“We’re both the same age and are ideologically the same,” said Malik, “I’ve known Adrian for a while and I had been fighting Claes for a while...so when Adrian asked me to help him out, it was a no brainer.”
“...and now you’re both hailed as heroes,” said Prentiss.
“Heroes with great responsibility,” noted Adrian with a wry smile.
Cornelia then excused herself to go outside and enjoy the balcony. Gideon’s chateau lay on a hill to the east of the city, overlooking the old Fort de la Pompelle. On a clear day like this, she could see all the sights of Reims, including its many distinctive chapels and, faintly, the Porte de Mars, a triumphal arch built in 108 when the Romans were in control here. Although many a Roman- including Cornelia- got wistful about what once was when looking at old Roman territory, the thought here was fleeting, and Adrian, who came outside to join her, couldn’t help but notice.
“Hey Gaia,” said Adrian, standing next to her and grabbing onto the railing to enjoy the view himself.
“Hey,” she replied, sheepishly.
“It’s good to see you.”
“It’s good to see you too.”
“I know what you’re feeling...but remember, you’re here, he’s not. You won.”
Cornelia was still despondent, staring wistfully into the distance. “I wish it were that simple, Adrian. Not only was I violated not just physically but emotionally and psychologically as well, I was tormented by the one man who haunted me the most and the one man who I thought I got rid of. You say Wilhelm is gone...how do I know that? If he came back once he can come back again.”
“Gaia.” Adrian reached for her hand only for Cornelia to pull it away, stopping Adrian’s motion. He then sighed, thinking of reminding her that Claes was dead before thinking better of it before continuing. “I understand that. I guess the only thing left for you is time.” He then started to tear up. “I wish there was more I could have done for you...I regret every single day that I didn’t stop him from taking you and torturing you. I care for you more than anything in the world...it disgusts me that he did those things to you, those unspeakable horrors, that I will have to live through myself, all because I never stopped them.”
This time Cornelia grabbed Adrian’s hand, albeit softly. She too started to tear. “Adrian, you did all you could. All that I ask is that you pray for me.”
Adrian spoke with conviction through his tears, worried for the worst since Cornelia’s healing had only just begun. “I assure you, I will pray for you every single day...praying that you will heal and get stronger by the day. I will do everything I can for you to help you out...just promise me you will stay strong for me.”
“I promise.” The two of them then engaged in a long, warm embrace.
In Gideon’s courtyard, Morgan had pulled away from the party to step outside and reflect on his ordeal. He sat on a rock overlooking a giant water fountain, featuring the Egyptian god Horus looking over the construction of a pyramid below, with birds constantly chirping as Gideon set up numerous birdfeed stations in his courtyard. Although Gideon had the fountain for many years, the personal symbolism was not lost on Morgan.
After spending some half an hour out there, Reid paid Morgan a visit.
“Horus was hailed as the premier Egyptian god,” said Reid, “and the symbol of the Pharaohs, even though he wasn’t that honourable a god himself.”
“Didn’t he blow all over Set’s lettuce or something?” said Morgan, trying to recall the details.
“Yes…and, not just that, he caught Set’s ejaculate and threw it into the river. Set would later eat the lettuce, which I find interesting because it’s not like semen wouldn’t be impossible to detect on lettuce, so when the gods wanted to resolve who could dominate Egypt, they found that Set’s semen didn’t find its way into Horus yet Horus’ found its way into Set.”
“Trickery.” Morgan sighed, but Reid didn’t notice.
“To top it off, the two of them ultimately decided to have a race, seeing which one could traverse a river on top of a stone the quickest. Horus won only by painting wood to resemble stone, allowing him to traverse the river while Set’s stone sunk.”
“So he manipulated Set, and, in doing so, manipulated the gods to get what he wanted.”
“Just like Claes.” Morgan took another deep breath. This time Reid noticed, taking a seat next to him.
“I still think about that night in Tobias Hankel’s barn,” Reid said, softly. “It’s not as bad as it used to be, but those memories still haunt me and will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life.”
“I keep on thinking, Reid, that I could have avoided all that,” said Morgan, doing his best not to cry. “We should have had the army come in first and secure the area before going in…but I let my impulses get the best of me.”
“…and I should have never left JJ behind and went wandering by myself…but it happened. I relive that moment time and time again and, like you, I wish I could have changed it.”
Morgan laughed wistfully. “I can remember saying that a few times to you about that.”
“…and now I’m saying it to you, if only because it will help you come to terms with it.”
“I know…I shouldn’t blame myself for what happened. I’m the victim, not the perpetrator.”
“I wish there was some magic word that I could say to make this all go away…I could probably repeat the line about how post traumatic stress disorder could be even worse than the trauma you went through, but you already know that.”
“Reid.” Morgan said calmly, grabbing Reid’s hand, sensing he was going to break down in tears. “Don’t think you didn’t do enough…you did. You did all you could.”
“It’s not just that…you’re my protector and seeing you reduced to what you were…that got to me.”
“I guess I got a reminder that I’m not invincible.”
“Morgan.” Reid paused, feeling that his last statement was a touch insensitive. “Never forget you made it through…yes, you went through one of the worst possible moments in your life, but you got out of it. You made it through. That makes you stronger.”
“…and you guys saved me in the end, a testament to the kind of people that I call teammates.” Morgan and Reid both smiled before giving each other side hugs and looking longingly but admirably at the display in the courtyard.
Episode 10: Re-opening Old Wounds (Episode Start Date: July 15, 2013)
“There is no pain greater than the pain of an enemy that refuses to go away.” –Bertrand Washington, The Anglo-Roman Wars (1896)
Why did the car have to break down today? Zoe Hawkes thought to herself as she boarded a bus to take her to the Manassas train station where she’d catch the train to Quantico. She took her seat, a single seater next to the wall on the driver’s side, and slapped on her headphones, hoping that the melancholy words of Lily Allen would help her forget about the fact that she’d be wildly late for work today.
The ride along was humming along fine along Grant Avenue until it hit Wellington Road. At that point, the driver stopped the bus and appeared to call a patron to the front of the bus, though her music obscured what she could hear. When the patron refused to come to the front of the bus, the driver got up and confronted the patron himself, causing Hawkes to take off her headphones and turn her head to observe the conversation.
“Sir,” said the driver, who had a booming English accent, “I need to see your pass.”
The patron refused, sitting hunched in the left-hand back corner rolled up in a ball, his head buried in his arms. He seemed to be mumbling something under distress, but his mouth was covered so no one could make out what he was saying.
“Sir,” continued the driver, growing annoyed. “You can’t just walk onto the bus without paying.”
“We need to go,” said the patron, cowering in fear. “He’s going to get me.”
The driver took a look outside of the window next to the patron’s seat. He saw that there was nothing out of the ordinary, before taking a look outside of the rest of the bus’ windows. Likewise, there was also nothing out of the ordinary, so he chastised the patron one more time.
“Sir,” the driver barked, shaking the patron with vigour. “Take a look outside of the window.” He kept shaking the patron until he obliged. “Can you see there’s nothing outside? Now, please, show me your pass so we can move the bus.”
The patron rolled himself back up into the ball, not satisfied with the display. He then pulled out a plastic card and showed it to the driver.
“Sir,” said the irritated driver, “That is your bank card! That is not a bus pass! I’m sorry but I’m going to have to ask you to leave!”
“No! No!” the patron squealed, “he’s going to eat me! No!”
The driver threw his hands up in the air as the bus erupted with snickers and laughter out of frustration, though Hawkes remained silent. “There is nothing outside! Nobody is going to eat you! Now show me your bus pass or get off of my bus!”
By this point, Hawkes had enough. She decided to intervene.
“Sir,” said Hawkes to the driver, “I’ve got this.”
“Sit back down madam!” barked the driver, his eyes widening menacingly. “This is none of your business!”
Hawkes was infuriated, pulling out her FBI badge. “Sir,” she continued sternly, brandishing her badge in his face, “I’ve got this.” By this point the driver acquiesced.
Hawkes bent down to the patron’s eye level and began speaking, softly.
“Hey,” she said, placing her hand on his back. “What’s your name?”
“Kevin,” said the patron.
“Hey Kevin.” Hawkes smiled at him and started rubbing his back. “Who’s bothering you, besides Mr. Grumpy Pants that’s driving this bus?”
Kevin chuckled before speaking. “There’s a monster outside…he’s been following me all day, and if this bus doesn’t move, he’s going to eat me.”
Hawkes spoke reassuringly. “Well, I have just the thing for your monster.” She pulled out a vial, which was actually empty even though Kevin saw pixie dust inside of it. She then opened the window and then the vial, waving it outside before bringing it back in and closing it. Kevin watched as the monster he saw ate the dust and then bit the dust, reassuring him that he was safe. He then fell asleep instantly from which he could not be roused, despite Hawkes’ best efforts. She then went into his pockets and found his wallet, which contained the correct bus pass. She showed it to the driver, who breathed a frustrated sigh of relief before going back to his seat to drive the bus, with Hawkes putting the pass back into Kevin’s wallet before returning it to its original poceket.
She then went to reassume her old seat, though as soon as she got to it another man had taken it. She turned to look for another seat before the man, who was only slightly older than Hawkes and appeared Mediterranean, gave the seat back up.
“No no,” said Hawkes, waving her hands at the man telling him she didn’t want him to get up.
“It’s okay,” said the man, “you saved that man today, you must be someone special…I didn’t mean to take your seat.”
“Well,” said Hawkes. “I am most humbled by your charity, but I’m sure you’re an honest man yourself and that you also do work that is very special…so it would not be fair to classify myself as someone who is more deserving of the seat than you are.”
The man put his head down sheepishly, enamoured by Hawkes, who was starting to return the favour herself. “My name is Costas Soutzis,” said the man, extending his hand. “By what appellation may I call such a beautiful creature?”
“Zoe Hawkes,” said Hawkes, shaking Sourtzis’ hand, smiling. “You’re quite the charmer, aren’t you Costas?”
“I’m Greek, Theban to be precise,” said Sourtzis with a smile. “We are a country known for its love.”
“Funny none of your cities can ever seem to get along with each other,” said Hawkes.
Sourtzis chuckled. “That’s just politics,” he explained. “One of these days they will understand that we can all get along just fine if we could just get over our petty differences.”
“I blame the Byzantines,” said Hawkes. “They still cling to the idea that they’re a dominant power so they play your city states against each other, just so they can appear powerful…just so that the nosy Romans could leave them alone. Never mind their own argument with Rome is petty all the same.”
“I know,” said Sourtzis. “Politicians are sad…but enough of that. What do you have in that vial?”
“Oh,” said Hawkes with a small laugh. “It’s just something I carry with me when I see a specific type of schizophrenia…I’ve seen it more than once, so I’m prepared. I slipped my card into his wallet just so that he could get some professional help.”
“You seem like such a professional,” said Sourtzis.
“I work with the FBI,” said Hawkes. “I’m a different kind of professional. He needs a doctor, not an agent.”
“Which department?” Sourtzis asked, his eyes perking up.
“I’m with the Behavioural Analysis Unit at Quantico,” said Hawkes. “You may have heard of us…we seem to get the strangest crimes, but we solve them.”
“The BAU, eh?” said Sourtzis with a chuckle. “I always liked reading about you guys. Me?” He then lowered his head in shame. “I’m just a simple painter…I could never do what you guys do.”
By this point, the bus had reached the Amtrak station, so Hawkes had to hurry to get off. Before she did, she gave Sourtzis a kiss on the cheek and left him her card. “Call me Costas,” said Hawkes. “Don’t ever sell yourself short, okay?” She then departed to board the train, as Sourtzis sat, staring at her card before putting it in his pocket and continuing his ride on the bus.
Quantico Train Station, Quantico, Virginia
“Spencer?” said Hawkes emerging from the train station into the station’s parking lot. There she saw her teammate, Dr. Spencer Reid, sitting by the curb frustratingly clutching his phone.
“Zoe?” said Reid, turning his attention to Hawkes, who took a seat next to him. “What brings you here?”
“My car decided to die in my driveway,” said Hawkes, “so it’ll be in the shop for the next week…which means I have to take the bus…I didn’t realize the trip is this long.”
“I like the trip,” said Reid. “I can do a lot of work on the ride, plus if I missed out on sleep, I can catch up on the train.”
Hawkes chuckled while grimacing. “I’m not sure how I can put up with four more days of this,” she said, shaking her head. She then paused before continuing. “I thought you’d be at work by now though, Spencer.”
“Morgan is usually my ride,” said Reid, “however, I’ve been calling him for the past two hours and he hasn’t picked up…it’s very unusual.”
Hawkes paused, concerned for Morgan before deciding they had the more immediate concern of getting to work. “Have you tried anyone else?” asked Hawkes.
“Well Rossi doesn’t drive,” said Reid, “and I don’t know Jane well enough to ask him for a lift, and he drives Prentiss to work.”
“Okay,” said Hawkes, thinking Reid was just making excuses.
“JJ,” continued Reid, “she’s my ex, and she always drops Henry off at daycare early in the morning, so she’s busy at work…and Garcia walks to work every day, she never takes her car.”
“All right,” said Hawkes, sounding relieved. “So you called Hotch then.”
“No,” said Reid sheepishly. “He’ll likely ask me why my case report for Wilhelm Claes and Decius Tarsus isn’t finished.”
Hawkes shook her head, letting out a loud sigh in frustration before getting up and reaching for her phone.
“Hey Hotch,” said Hawkes, calling her boss, Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner, urgency tinged in her voice. “Reid and I are marooned at the Quantico train station, can you come and get us?”
Hotchner let out a sigh. “Okay, I’ll be there in ten minutes,” he said, before hanging up his phone. He hated leaving his stack of paperwork, but he couldn’t leave his teammates stranded when he needed their work.
When he arrived, Reid continued to sheepishly huddle along the curb, though Hawkes was ready to greet him. Before Hawkes could get into his car, Hotchner stepped outside to talk to the two agents. He knew what was troubling Reid.
“No sign of Morgan?” said Hotchner.
“I’ve called for the past two hours,” said Reid. “I keep on getting no answer. I’ve even called his gym…I didn’t get answer there. His family in Chicago don’t know where he is either…he’s just disappeared.”
“That’s odd,” said Hotchner, furrowing his eyebrows. “He told me he’d be fine to return this week.”
Hawkes furrowed her eyebrows as well and started to pace, wagging her finger skyward as she did it. “Well,” she said, “it’s in his character to brood by himself. If he’s still suffering from post traumatic stress disorder he won’t tell us. What’s worse is that he’s very temperamental…he could have had a dream or a thought something last night and changed his mind about coming in today. He really could be anywhere now.”
“You don’t think he would…” said Reid, quivering in horror.
“No I don’t think so,” said Hotchner calmly. “He, and I, probably didn’t realize he needed more time to deal with the issues than we thought.”
“Morgan’s a man with a strong mind,” said Hawkes. “His sense of duty means he will come back to us…we just don’t know when that will be. I just wish he’d be more open to getting help from others.”
“I had to twist his arm to see a therapist when we landed back in Quantico from Rome,” said Hotchner.
“Wait,” said Hawkes, whose mind was sparked by that comment. “You don’t have his therapist’s number, do you?”
“No,” said Hotchner, sighing. “It’s in my desk back at the office. I’ve been too swamped with work to call it.”
“You don’t even need to try it,” said Reid. “I did…and not even the therapist knows where he is.”
“You know his therapist?” said Hawkes, puzzled.
“I know all the psychiatrists,” said Reid, as if the answer was obvious. His background in psychology dictated that he have all those contacts, though Hawkes was thinking that, even despite that, Reid had too much an obsession with Morgan.
“Well,” said Hotchner, swishing his mouth to one side before continuing. “I’m going to have to look for him…I did it once with Elle Greenaway, so I’ll do it again.”
“Take us with you,” said Reid, cupping his hands together, pleading.
“No,” said Hotchner, authoritatively. “I need you guys on our latest case. I will definitely update you on our progress.”
Hawkes then pulled Hotchner aside so that the two of them could whisper to each other, far enough so that Reid could not hear them.
“Hotch,” said Hawkes. “I understand where you’re coming from, but Reid is Morgan’s best friend. He’ll be a wreck and he’ll be useless on the case, because all he’ll do is think about Morgan. At least take him with you.”
“You don’t want to come?” said Hotchner.
“Of course I’d love to come,” said Hawkes. “Morgan’s my teammate…however, I know I can trust you and Reid, and I have a feeling we’d be undermanned if I didn’t go on the case.”
“Fair enough,” said Hotchner, “but I need Reid on the case too. He needs to learn how to detach himself from Morgan…you picked up on it yourself. Plus, Reid’s knowledge is an invaluable asset…I know you know just as much as he does, but you two work too well together and your skillset is different from his.”
“Hotch,” said Hawkes, putting her hands on his shoulders. “I know what Reid’s value to the team is, but he’ll be more valuable finding Morgan. No one knows him better than Reid does. Besides, although Reid is rather clingy to Morgan, it’s not a dangerous or unhealthy.”
Hotchner sighed, but stayed silent.
“Look,” said Hawkes, taking her hands off his shoulders and clasping her hands together. “I know you’re not liking the prospect of Reid being a baby and having to ‘father’ him, but if you leave him to the team, we’ll have to do that on top of having to solve the case…and we know how that will turn out.”
Hotchner sighed again before nodding his head. “Okay,” he said. “I’m going to drive you to the headquarters and I’ll take Reid with me to look for Morgan.”
One week ago, 08:43 local time, The Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
“Georgia Stevenson,” started Constable Gary Matthews, directing Detective Steve Moore’s attention to the dead body that lay in front of the doors to Calgary’s famed arena. “Last seen on Tuesday buying groceries...never got back home.”
Moore crouched down, taking a look at the body. The blonde lady, 32 years old of average build, was laid down on her back with her blouse ripped open, exposing her breasts. The blouse itself looked like it was meant to be tied in the front, baring her midriff, with the look complimented by short shorts and high heel boots, as well as liberal application of makeup. In between the breasts was a large gash, with what appeared to be some white residue mixed with the blood stains.
“Did anyone see the body get dumped?” Moore asked. Although he was a man of 50 years, the stresses of the job caught up to him, causing his face to be adorned with wrinkles making him look much older, with his voice becoming hoarse due to heavy smoking.
“Negative detective,” said the younger, sprightlier Matthews. “He seems to know where the cameras are too...none of them caught his face when he did dump the bodies.”
“Is that semen?” Moore wore a disgusted look while still looking at the body. He widened his eyes momentarily and shook his head before continuing. “Are we swabbing the body for DNA?”
“We’ve collected some samples...it’ll be a while before the test results come back.”
Moore let out a frustrated sigh before continuing. “Are there any more bodies?”
Matthews then pointed to the entrance to another gate. Moore looked up and was horrified, seeing three more women dead women, all also of the same age and body type as Stevenson (though one was blonde), posed, wounded and killed in the exact same manner.
“Not this again,” said Moore in frustration, sighing before wiping his face and taking out a cigarette.
“You worked the case all that time ago, right?” said Matthews, trying to sympathize.
“25 years ago,” said Moore, wistfully. “I was young and naïve…just like you are Matthews…boy was that a wakeup call…and it will be for you too.”
FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
“You know,” said Senior Agent David Rossi, seated in his office, with new teammate Patrick Jane standing in front of his desk. “Baby blue really does suit you.”
Jane authoritatively tugged at the front halves of his new blazer, before giving a nod of appreciation. “Now that I’ve got a good job with good pay, I can actually afford things like new clothes and even a house,” he said. “It’ll be fun learning about all this.”
“Have you found a place yet?”
“Looking at a few places...Emily has been great letting me stay with her.” Jane then continued with a wide smile. “Of course, she makes it really hard for me to leave, if you know what I mean.”
Rossi chuckled. “Oh no, I know what you mean, I don’t need to know the details.” He then checked his watch. “We need to go to the boardroom...we’ve got a case to review.”
Jane reassumed his serious tone. “No Hotch today?”
“Hotch is with Reid...Morgan is MIA...so they’re out looking for him.”
“I hope he’s okay...he’s too valuable a teammate to lose.”
“I hope so too...but we can’t worry about that. We have to visit my favourite city- Calgary, Alberta.”
“Calgary? Home of the Stampede?”
“...and the Stampede Stabber.”
Jane chuckled slightly before shaking his head and then continuing. “The Stabber was quite the case- enamoured me as a kid. Won’t this be fun?”
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
“I’ll have two Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese meals and one Happy Meal,” AWOL BAU teammate Derek Morgan said, making his order at his neighbourhood McDonald’s.
Ah...the solace only McD’s can bring. Before his ordeal, Morgan used to avoid going to McDonald’s, since it contrasted with the healthy lifestyle he chose to live. Eating the food before gave him massive cramps, so much so that one day he had to take the day off work because of it.
Now, it was different. His first day back home after being in Rome drew him in, and the food had strange healing powers for his depression. The healing was only fleeting, but it was so good that it became addicting. Soon, it became all Morgan would eat, which he tried to counterbalance with time at the gym, but not even working out could undo the effects it was having on his body. Although, at first glance, Morgan was still the muscle man he was known for but a deeper look revealed that some of the definition was gone, and that he hadn’t shaved in a while. Gone too were the slacks he was known for, replaced with sweats and a ball cap, and his haphazard tooth-brushing schedule did a number on his pearly whites.
Still, none of that was of concern to Morgan now. All he could think about were those golden French Fries and those mouthwatering, greasy cheeseburgers. Oh how I missed you, he thought, as he took a bite.
BAU War Room, FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
“So who likes a Stampede?” Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau, the BAU’s media liaison presenting the case on a blue screen in front of the room, started, with a sarcastic laugh.
“The City of Calgary,” said Rossi, with a wry smirk.
“...and the Stampede Stabber,” remarked Hawkes.
“Hey,” said teammate Emily Prentiss, wearing a concerned look on her face, “where’s Morgan, Reid and Hotch?”
“Morgan is missing,” said Rossi, “and Aaron and Reid are looking for him.”
“I hope he’s okay,” said Prentiss, echoing the concerns of those in the room.
“We can’t worry about that now,” said Rossi. “We need to focus on Calgary.”
“Anyway,” said Jareau carrying on, “yesterday, Calgary Police found four dead women strewn across the entrance of the Saddledome, where the Stampede occurs every year. The Police are worried they have a copycat of Carlo Berti, who became known as the ‘Stampede Stabber’ for his modus operandi and for his most famous crime scene, leaving the dead bodies of four women in front of the Saddledome entrance on the opening day of the 1988 Stampede. Berti, you may know, sliced a large gash in the ‘crack’ between the buttocks of the women he killed, which he would use to engage in sexual intercourse with. It was classic piquerism; with the strange twist that the only way he could feel arousal was if his penis was stimulated by entering the wound.”
“Berti did what he did out of necessity,” said Rossi. “As I understand, this UnSub seems fully functional sexually?”
“There were signs of rape in each woman,” confirmed Jareau, “and he masturbated into the cut of each woman, which, unlike Berti, he inflicted post-mortem. Like Berti, all of these women were strangled to death.”
“So we have an UnSub that wants to evoke the same memory as Berti,” said Hawkes.
“I perhaps should already know the answer to this question,” said Jane, his nerves showing in his first official round table discussion, “but since there’s semen in the women, wouldn’t DNA have been found?”
“No match to anyone in the database,” said Jareau.
“As I suspected,” said Jane.
“Rookie mistake,” said Rossi with a smile.
“Now, if I recall the Stampede Stabber correctly,” said Jane, “he was fired for sexual misconduct. Did police turn up anyone like that?”
“Berti’s profile,” explained Rossi, who worked the case years ago, “was that he held a menial job- he was a ‘general helper’ at an oil well- and objectified women, especially those who were higher class, as a way of bringing them ‘down to his level.’ He was fired for sexual misconduct- he grabbed the ass of a manager- so you’re right about that, Jane, but we found him through witness reports, who remembered him with some of his victims from the Stampede. Witnesses revealed to us that his inferiority complex was fed by the fact that he was a landed Italian immigrant of barely seven years who had issues adjusting to Canadian society; based on the fact his English was choppy. The best example of this was the fact that he called women who endeared him ‘Treasure’, which is a direct translation of the Italian pet name of ‘Tesoro’.”
“This only happened just a week ago, which isn’t common for us,” continued Jareau. “In fact, it appears that the Detective who called us, Steve Moore, was so troubled by the case that he called us after a very brief investigation.”
“I worked with Moore,” said Rossi. “The case was haunting back then, I don’t blame him if he’s having trouble dealing with the case objectively...anyhow, the plane is ready for us...wheels up in 30.”
“You sound like such a natural,” joked Jane.
“Aaron teaches me well,” said Rossi with a smirk as the team departed for the plane.
09:45 local time, Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
“My goodness,” Morgan sighed, looking at his phone while sitting on the beach. His background picture changed from a picture of him, shirtless, on the beach posing with topless Playboy model Nichole Jackson, to another picture.
“Garcia,” said Morgan, calling one of his best friends, Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia, on his phone. “I thought I told you not to hack into my phone.”
“I hadn’ t heard from you in so long,” said Garcia, concern oozing out of her voice. “You never answer your phone anymore so I knew if I changed your picture you’d call me...I’m sorry...”
“Applejack? Really, Garcia?”
“That’s the thing, I know you hate My Little Pony, so I knew it would catch your attention.”
Morgan was incensed. “Look, Garcia...when I’m ready to talk, I’ll talk. Otherwise, please leave me alone.”
“Yeah but Morg-” Morgan hung up the phone before Garcia had a chance to finish her sentence, causing Garcia to sulk in her chair in her office in Quantico.
Meanwhile, in a car parked in the lot closest to where Morgan was, Hotchner and Reid were conducting surveillance. Or, rather, they were supposed to, as Reid grew impatient with Hotchner’s methods, interrupting his work.
“We found him,” said Reid quivering neurotically. “Why can’t we just go out there and talk to him.”
“Reid,” said Hotchner, taking pictures and trying to stay calm. “I’ve been through this with you before...we need to build a case. That way, when we confront Morgan we can show him just how far his life has sunk, because he doesn’t seem to realize it. Right now, we don’t have much of a leg to stand on...if we confront him, he’ll likely run and we might never see him again.”
“Hotch! He missed work! That should be enough!” Reid, after his whining, tried to open the door, only for the door not to open.
“I put the child locks on because I knew you’d try that. Anyway, right now he doesn’t care about work...he only cares about himself. Therefore, we need to show him just how destructive he’s been before we can even try to convince him to come back.”
11:22 local time, Calgary Police Headquarters, Calgary, Alberta
“Dave!” Moore said, greeting Rossi with a hearty handshake. “As soon as I saw the bodies I had to call you.”
“Last time was a difficult case,” said Rossi, returning the handshake and introducing his team.
“I was expecting a bigger group,” said Moore, puzzled at the sight of only five agents.
“They’ve got another case,” said Hawkes, thinking on the fly as Rossi smiled.
“You agents are sure busy,” said Moore with a huff.
“Well, serial killers never stop,” said Jane with a wide smirk, “and neither do we.” As he said the last part of the sentence, he waved his hand, pointing one finger forward, quickly from one side to the other with a wide smile. Moore and Prentiss gave him a dirty look as Rossi smiled uncomfortably.
Rossi then tried to get the conversation back on track. “Steve, what do you know about the victims?” he asked.
“I’ve been told by friends of Paula Maguire and Evelyn Santos that they don’t dress like they did when their bodies was found,” said Moore.
“So he’s making a grander statement about women,” said Rossi, “just like our friend Carlo did.”
“Georgia, though,” said Moore, “she would dress that way, I’m told.”
“She’s the last victim though,” said Hawkes. “I wonder if that was planned or if it was just a coincidence.”
“We already ruled out her boyfriend as a suspect,” said Moore.
“What else do you know about the victims?” asked Rossi. “As we understand, they all went missing during the weekend, but at different times during the day. Your report fails to mention if they have any connection with each other.”
“I was stressed, Dave,” explained Moore. “I hate seeing my old nightmare resurface like this.”
“Acting like a baby about it won’t help us catch this guy,” said Jane calmly. Prentiss held up her hands and gave Jane another extended dirty look, as Rossi pretended not to notice.
“As far as we can tell,” said Moore, sighing. “Aside from the fact that all the victims were single, the victims have no ties to each other. Like your regular serial killer, they were random.”
“Did all of the victims attend the Calgary Stampede last year?” asked Prentiss.
“Interestingly, no,” said Moore. “Paula didn’t- in fact, she never went. In fact, the second victim, Tina Rockwell, only went to the Stampede once- ten years ago, when she was 15.”
“So that means that,” said Rossi, analyzing, “unlike Berti who was a failure with the women and needed the Stampede’s predilection for gullibly friendly tourists, our guy was quite capable of charming women home with him…where they likely met their fates.”
“If I remember the case report correctly,” chimed in Hawkes, “Berti didn’t kill his victims all in one shot…he just left the bodies at the Saddledome entrance after he killed the victims. Our guy seems to have left the bodies all in one go…so he’s likely got a massive freezer.”
“Well, Berti had a freezer too,” said Rossi. “Some of his victims he did kidnap at the Stampede and stored them after he killed them- and those he dumped in one go at the following year’s Stampede- but not all of them. His other victims were found in other areas of Calgary, though most people tend to forget that.”
“Since I remembered the profile,” said Moore, “we checked oil well workers who fit, remembering that Berti was fired for being an ass grabber who started his spree after the Labour Board rejected his appeal...no one was an exact match. There was one guy who was close...a guy from Bolivia who, like Berti, didn’t understand why the women here are so ‘stuck up’ and was fired for thinking a co-worker’s breasts made a great pillow, but he had a solid alibi for the disappearances of Evelyn and Georgia.”
“Men,” said Hawkes, shaking her head. “One of these days they’ll get the message that they’re not ‘entitled’ to us.”
“All right,” said Rossi. “Means we gotta keep digging. So far, we’ve got a narcissistic misogynist, 25-35 just like these women, who probably faced a sexual harassment charge stemming from inappropriate conduct with the female breasts, although he has more social skills than Berti had. It’s something but it’s not enough. JJ, you run point here from the station and release the preliminary profile. The rest of us, we’ll partner up- Hawkes, you’re with Prentiss and Jane you’re with me- and speak to the victim’s family and friends, see if they had any ‘strange boyfriends’ the night of their disappearance. We’ll start with Paula, the only victim who didn’t attend the Stampede and the first lady to go missing, because she’ll hold the key to how this guy charmed the rest of the Stampede to their fates.”
Prentiss and Hawkes left for their assignment immediately, but Rossi pulled Jane aside before they embarked.
“You’re lucky it’s me here and not Hotch,” said Rossi, sternly. “If it were him, you’d be out the door in an instant.”
Jane shook his head disbelievingly with a smirk. “The guy needs a wakeup call,” said Jane, “he’s in the police, there should be nothing that fazes him.”
“Some cases get to us more than others. You yourself know that all too well.”
Jane nodded solemnly, since Rossi was referring to Red John, the one who killed his family. “Still, Rossi, I didn’t cry and whine about it like this guy does...I handled it professionally.”
“You still need to be respectful...otherwise these guys won’t call us back.”
“Rossi...they need us...we don’t need to placate them.”
“That may be true, but we can’t be arrogant about it. Sure, we can assume that because we’re a prized team that we can be jerks knowing that we’ll get called in anyway, but people will be more hesitant about it, because all they’ll remember is our attitude. We want people to think we’re friendly and approachable, not people you call because ‘you have to even though you’d really like to not do it.’ ”
Jane nodded in agreement as the two agents finally embarked on their assignment.
Paula Maguire’s house, Lake Louise, Alberta
“Hello?” Maggie Maguire, Paula’s younger sister said as she opened the door to Hawkes and Prentiss. Dressed barefoot in a tank top and short shorts, the curly-haired blonde squirmed at the sight, bemused at their appearance but also because she was roused from her sleep after a late night with her friends and the Sun was shining right into her face.
“We’re sorry to bother you,” said Prentiss. “Maggie, right?”
“How do you know?” Maggie asked, incredulous.
“I’m Zoe Hawkes and this is Emily Prentiss,” said Hawkes as she and Prentiss showed Maggie their badges. “We’re with the FBI.”
“Listen,” snapped Maggie. “I already talked to your friend Colombo back at the station. I don’t need to talk to you.”
“Maggie,” said Hawkes, who tried to take Maggie’s hand before Maggie pulled it away. “I know this is tough...but if you want to find out who killed your sister, you need us to help you.”
“What if I don’t want your help?” Maggie scoffed. She continued, trying to fight off tears. “You can’t bring her back. Finding her killer does nothing.”
“We wish we could bring her back,” said Prentiss, “but we can’t. At least we can provide you closure and help you move on. By not bringing the killer to justice, he wins and you and I don’t want to do that.”
Maggie sighed before agreeing and letting the agents into her house, a small bungalow she rented with Paula. Inside was Maggie’s boyfriend, Paul Bryant, nonchalantly eating chips and playing the battle royale video game Gods of Combat. He looked up briefly and took a notice to Hawkes.
“Nice tits,” he said, chewing his chips with his mouth open.
“Paul!” Maggie said, indignant.
“Cork it, scumbag!” Hawkes yelled, getting into Bryant’s face. “I’m a federal agent, at least pretend like you have some class.” Bryant, deciding that Hawkes meant business, slipped back onto the couch meekly and continued playing his game as Maggie and the agents went into Maggie’s bedroom for their interview.
“Sorry about him,” said Maggie, ashamed, as she closed the door. She hung her head as she sheepishly took her seat, continuing to hang her head. “He’s only here because he has to,” Maggie mumbled. “Paula helped me pay rent, so when she died, I had to ask Paul to move in with me...it was the only way I could keep the house.”
“We know,” said Hawkes reassuringly, “it’s been tough. However, you’re doing a good thing right now. Don’t forget that.” Maggie nodded before bringing her head up and taking a deep breath, wiping a tear that had formed in the process.
“I know you’ve already discussed this with Detective Moore,” started Prentiss, “but I want to start from the beginning so that we can build our own perspective on the events. What happened on the night of Paula’s disappearance?”
“She was working late at the campground,” started Maggie, who took another deep breath.
“Don’t worry, you’re doing great,” said Hawkes, rubbing Maggie’s hand.
“It was a normal day as I understood,” said Maggie. “She texted me saying that there weren’t a lot of disturbances, just the regular rowdy campers.”
“She was the ranger’s assistant, right?” Prentiss asked.
“Correct,” said Maggie. “I remember a couple of hours had passed before I heard from her again. Told me she talked for a couple of minutes with this cute guy.”
“Was this guy particularly aggressive?” Hawkes asked.
“Not that I can tell,” said Maggie. “There’s only so much I can gleam from a text...she said he was nice but she didn’t pursue it since she was at work.”
“...and you didn’t hear from her again, right?”
“Yeah,” Maggie sighed. “I didn’t think anything of it...she was at work.” She took another deep breath, trying to stop herself from crying.
“Look,” said Prentiss softly, “don’t blame yourself. There was nothing you could have done. Do you want us to come back later?”
“No no,” said Maggie, “I’m going to get through this...Paula would want that from me.”
Lake Louise Campground, Lake Louise, Alberta
“As we understand,” said Rossi to Campground Ranger Connor McDevitt, “Paula didn’t see you before she left work that night and didn’t fill out her timecard, which she can be forgetful about.”
“That’s right,” said McDevitt, a burly moustachioed man who spoke with a drawl, “so when I didn’t see her at the end of her shift, I didn’t think too much about it.”
“This guy must know the campground to be able to kidnap Paula and escape without detection,” said Jane, looking around. The three were standing just outside of the Ranger’s Office, towards the entrance to the ground.
“Is Paula the only worker you have this arrangement for?” Rossi asked.
“Generally speaking, yes,” replied McDevitt. “All of my other workers are dilligent about their timesheets and seeing me before they leave...Paula, she works so hard that she often forgot about filling out her sheet.”
“That’s because,” said Jane, crouching to the ground and examining the grass, “Paula didn’t forget...she was having an affair.”
McDevitt wasted no time launching an angry rebuke.
“Excuse me?” McDevitt said, his eyes widening with rage as he approached Jane with purpose. “How dare you insult me like that! I like Paula, but not like that!”
“Oh no,” said Jane, getting up and facing McDevitt, not fazed by the sight of a man twice his size being right in his face. “I’m not saying you had the affair,” he continued, examining McDevitt some more. “Your son did.”
McDevitt looked at Jane with incredulousness, his eyes wide and his mouth agape.
“It was a really simple deduction,” Jane said, nonchalantly. “I’ve never heard of an employer in your kind of field who looks the other way when someone ‘forgets’ to punch out at work...unless they have a ‘reason’ to forget...and an affair with your son is a perfect reason.”
McDevitt chuckled sardonically, shaking his head. “Seriously?” McDevitt said. “That’s the best you can do? Could it not just be that I trust Paula enough to do an honest day’s work?”
“Well,” said Rossi, jumping in. “Payroll is going to want accurate times. So is your boss. Their suspicion would get aroused if they see a worker who isn’t clocking out, or they see a supervisor filling in the exact same time at the end of the day...and you,” Rossi stopped for a brief second to pull out a document, “kept the times random to give the appearance that your worker was punching out herself. So we’ll give you two options- be upfront about Jackson and Paula or we’ll charge you with obstruction of justice.”
McDevitt snickered, again lowering his head and shaking it, laughing sardonically. “You guys are incredible,” he said. “You’re supposed to be the continent’s best crime fighting force and that’s the best you’ve got? Jackson is a nice kid! He couldn’t kill nobody!”
“Right!” Jane said in mock agreement, excitedly tapping Rossi on the chest. “Nice guys...they can’t be serial killers, right Rossi?”
Rossi tapped his head as if he were enlightened and played along. “Of course,” he said in the same mocking tone. “People who kill...they’re all mean!” He then cupped his mouth as if a thought came to him. “Well, Charlie was apparently a nice guy.”
“Mr. Manson?” Jane said, as if he too was enlightened. “Oh yeah, he was an upstanding guy! What about David Spanbauer?”
“Oh yeah!” Rossi exclaimed. “Bar owners routinely called him nice...I mean, he only killed two little girls and a housesitter.” As the agents talked, McDevitt played with the hairs on his moustache giving the agents a quizzical look, wondering what they were hoping to achieve.
Jane tapped Rossi again. “John Wayne Gacy,” he boldly exclaimed, with both Jane and Rossi reacting like they found the hallmark. “He donated to charity and performed for kids!” Jane continued, excitedly. “Upstanding guy!”
“Yeah!” Rossi said, “33 dead boys later.”
McDevitt held out his hands telling the agents to stop. “Okay, okay,” he said. “I get it...but he’s got a girlfriend!”
Rossi and Jane continued with their mocking tone, reacting again as if McDevitt enlightened them.
“Right,” said Rossi. “Once a guy gets a girl, he can’t kill...so obvious!”
“Wait,” said Jane, thinking. “Norman Hill...The Road Warrior...he was married with three kids, right?”
“Oh come on,” muttered McDevitt looking on. “Not this again!”
Rossi’s eyes lit up and he waved his arms out in excitement. “He was!” Rossi exclaimed. “Of course, Hill only killed his own family and three other people...but he did get married!”
“Ted Bundy...he got married twice didn’t he?” Jane said.
“...and one didn’t know about the other!” Rossi said. He then tapped Jane on the chest before continuing. “Oh, and Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka!”
“Husband and wife both getting into the act!” Jane said, with a bit of a belly laugh. McDevitt wasn’t amused.
“Enough!” shouted McDevitt, waving his arms across and extending them outward violently. “My boy has got nothing to do with this!”
“That’s for us to decide,” said Rossi smugly, reaching for his phone to make a call.
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
Morgan stared, blankly, at the walls of his bedroom. He gazed, sitting on his bed throwing a tennis ball in between his hands, at the many posters that adorned his walls. It was a who’s who of Chicago sporting figures, with players such as Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Jeremy Roenick, and Frank Thomas, as well as other inspirational figures, such as Willie O’Ree, the first African American hockey player, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, and James Wormley Jones, the first African American FBI agent. One poster resonated the most with him though.
“Toussant L’Overture,” Morgan said to himself, taking deep breaths. “You started the revolution to free us all as slaves.” He then bowed down his head and began to cry. “Oh how I wish I could have been like you and saved myself from slavery…oh where did I go wrong, brother? Where did I go wrong?” He then grabbed his pillow and cried into it, as he still felt strange about openly weeping despite the fact that he was alone.
He then had horrifying flashbacks to his ordeal in Sudan as a slave for Catholic heretic Wilhelm Claes. His body squirmed intermittently as he shouted, reimagining every crack the whip he felt doing work outside of the bunker he was held prisoner at. He then thought about striking his phantom abuser but then he remembered the words that kept him a slave- “The guns Derek! Don’t forget about the guns, Derek!”
“No!” Morgan screamed in fear, “not the guns! Don’t shoot! I’ll do anything!” He then arched his back, wincing in pain, feeling the crack of another pretend whip. He then backed up in his bed until his back was against the wall, holding his arm out pleading with an imaginary person to stand down.
“No Desdemona!” shouted Morgan, “I don’t want sex! You’ve defiled me enough! No! No!” He then grimaced again, imagining Desdemona taking off his pants and planting herself on Morgan’s penis, as Morgan re-imagined right up to the climax, causing him to literally soil his underwear. He then saw his phantom abusers, including Desdemona, stand back and cackle incessantly at him, causing Morgan to curl into a ball and convulse, crying.
A few seconds later, he felt a warm hand on his shoulder. It was King, stepping outside of his poster.
“Don’t worry child,” said King softly. “It’s all over now. They can’t hurt you anymore. They’re just inside your head…you’re safe now.”
Morgan jumped, petrified, squirming away from King’s touch. He then found himself off of his bed, backed into the interior corner away from his bedroom door, as the other figures from the posters also came out to confront Morgan.
“Derek,” said Jordan. “You need to let us help you.”
“Back away!” shouted Morgan. “You guys aren’t real! You’re just posters! We’re not going through this again!”
“Your feelings are real though,” said Roenick, “and the longer you ignore them, the more they’re going to consume you.”
“Derek,” said Payton. “I may have been the fastest running back in football, but not even I could escape reality. Neither can you. You need help.”
“Derek,” said King, who Morgan re-imagined as Carl Buford, who molested Morgan as a youth despite being Morgan’s father figure shortly after his real father’s death. “I told you this once before…you keep on trying to fight your own battles…why? It’s honourable, but at the same time, you have to understand you can’t just fight them on your own.” Buford then held out his arms offering a hug. “Come here…and look into the sky.”
“Get away!” shouted Morgan, his eyes menacingly wide with anger, “I’m not letting you torment me again!” He then threw his tennis ball hard at Buford and bolted out of the room, escaping his house through his living room window. His dog, Clooney, a bullmastiff, spotted the ball that Morgan tossed in his bedroom and followed it, picking it up. He then saw the open window and instinctively jumped out of it, thinking Morgan wouldn’t be that far behind. However, upon not seeing him, Clooney walked out to the front steps and began to whimper. He then walked down the street to Morgan’s closest neighbour, Chloe Stevens, a marine biologist and Clooney’s frequent caregiver when Morgan was away on cases.
“Oh hey Clooney,” said Stevens, sitting on her front porch noticing the ball in his mouth. “Do you want to play fetch?” Stevens sensed something was wrong, as Clooney dropped his head and began to cry. Stevens instinctively cradled his head and started petting him, kissing the top of his head. Clooney responded to the affection by sitting and leaning into Stevens, who hugged Clooney and softly caressed him. “Morgan’s gone isn’t he?” said Stevens, stroking Clooney’s fur as Clooney continued to pout. She continued petting him for a few more minutes before reaching for her phone.
Downtown Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
“What do you mean his phone is off?” shouted Reid into his phone.
“I can’t trace it anymore!” said Garcia, frantically, at the other end in her office in Quantico. “It’s not bouncing off the cell phone towers, it’s not listed as being in operation…I can’t even get the thing to turn on…it’s like it…disappeared!” Garcia began freaking out, pulling at her hair and babbling neurotically.
“Yeah, but you’re Garcia” said Reid, feeding into Garcia’s panic and panicking himself. “You can find everything! There’s got to be something you can do! We can’t lose Morgan!” He then used his other hand and frantically pulled at his own hair while continuing. “Do something!” he pleaded, “do something! Please!”
“Reid!” shouted Hotchner authoritatively. “If Garcia can’t find him, she can’t find him!” he continued, exasperated. “Morgan knows all her tricks, I’m sure he’s figured out how to escape her detection by now.”
Reid, forgetting his manners, abruptly hung up the phone on Garcia and grabbed Hotchner’s shoulders, shaking him violently. “We gotta do something!” he said, frantically, “we can’t just let him disappear!”
Hotchner backed up from Reid’s hands as much as he could and puffed out his shoulders, making him more imposing. “Reid,” he said, sternly, “I will only say this to you once- calm down or I will send you home.”
Reid backed away, scared, panting heavily. He then reached for the door before Hotchner stopped him.
“I know,” he started, taking another deep breath as he was repeating himself by now, “I know you’re worried. I’m worried too…but if we can’t keep our wits, we really will lose him. This has been tough on both me and you, but we need to be strong…Morgan wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“Hotch,” said Reid, wiping his face. “Your words don’t mean anything now…the more time we waste the more time he gets to run away from us! It’s hopeless!”
Hotchner took a deep breath and slumped into his seat as Reid’s phone went off.
“Hey Garcia, list-” said Reid, mistaking the identity of the caller. “Oh hey Mrs. Stevens, sorry about that,” continued Reid, embarrassed for the mistake. He regained his composure as Stevens talked. “Where are you? You’re at home? Okay, we’ll be there in ten minutes.”
“Reid,” said Hotchner, confused at the development. “Where are we going?”
“Clooney ran to Chloe Stevens’ house,” said Reid. “She thinks Morgan might be in some kind of trouble since Clooney hasn’t stopped sobbing since he got to her house.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner. “We’ll go over there and see what we can find.” Hotchner took a deep breath as Reid panted heavily, both agents fearing the worst.
Calgary Police Headquarters, Interrogation Quarters, Calgary, Alberta
“Hey,” said Prentiss, walking into the room where Jackson McDevitt had been sitting for over four hours with nothing but his iPhone, although the agents did bring him lunch. “We need to talk now, so I’m going to ask you to have to put your phone away.”
Jackson obliged, though he grunted.
“How are you?” said Prentiss softly, taking her seat in front of Jackson.
“I’m…I’m fine,” said Jackson, meekly, irritated that he had to sit through the interrogation. “How…how are you?
“I’m great, thanks for asking!” Prentiss beamed a smile, trying to keep the tone light hoping it would ease Jackson into talking.
Jackson continued meekly but irritated. “Well, that’s good.” He wanted to lash out at the absurdness of the ordeal but, out of respect for the agents, he forged along.
“Listen, Jackson.” Prentiss paused momentarily to put down her folder before continuing. “I know you’re distressed about what’s happened but we really could use your help. I’m sure you’ve heard that there’s someone copying the Stabber as we speak.”
Jackson deadpanned. “Yeah, it’s all over the news. How could I not hear about it?”
Prentiss continued to speak softly as she slowly opened her folder. “Well, we believe that you can help us solve the case.” She then nonchalantly put the picture of Paula Maguire as it was found at the crime scene, causing Jackson to leap back in his chair and yelp out in horror.
“Okay!” he screamed, deciding that pleasantries were useless at this stage. “I’ve had enough! How dare you show me a picture of my girlfriend like that? Do none of you agents have any respect for her, not just for me?”
“Well Jackson,” said Prentiss, adopting an authoritative tone. “Maggie told us during her interview that quite a few times at the end of her shift she talked about meeting ‘a nice guy’, and your dad went to enormous lengths to tell us just how nice of a guy you are…and you want to know what? The last text message Magge received from Paula talked about how she met a nice guy, just like the other times. So…Jackson…either you did this or you’re hiding the one that did.”
Jackson furiously ruffled his hair, incredulous that he was even in this situation in the first place. “Look, Moore didn’t even think I was involved in any way with Paula’s death…why do you think I am?”
“Because we could look a little deeper and we find things the local authorities don’t. In fact, Maggie didn’t even know about you until one of our agents deduced it from talking to your father…you guys hid it for quite some time. So what happened, Paula found another man so you killed her and three other women because she’s a ‘slut’?”
“What?” Jackson said, shocked. “You’re absurd. I loved Paula...I could never hurt her.”
“So why’d you hide it for all these years?” Prentiss asked, curtly.
“Her father didn’t approve of me,” explained Jackson. “Brought her home one day and the next thing I know I’m being followed by her father with a shotgun. Said he was going to report me to the authorities...so we had to keep it on the DL.”
“Alberta’s anti-fornication laws are hardly followed though,” said Prentiss, folding her arms.
“That might be true in general,” said Jackson, “but unless it’s Stampede week, the police takes all reports seriously. They’re not as bad as the Carolinians, but a lot of lives have been ruined because of it.”
“…and it’s got nothing to do with that sexual harassment complaint you got after a night out with your buddies a full week before Paula went missing, right?” said Prentiss, sardonically.
“Okay, okay…” said Jackson, getting defensive. “Paula wasn’t too happy about that, but it all came from a misunderstanding…the police investigated and ruled that I didn’t do anything wrong, because I didn’t.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” said Prentiss. “Because all over your Facebook profile are ‘likes’ to the fan pages of various scantily clad models, ones who are known for their ‘bust’…and you’ve interacted with more than your fair share of ladies on Facebook, some of it very salacious. I’m surprised Paula approved of that.”
Outside of the room, Rossi, Hawkes and Jane were analyzing what was happening.
“Carlo Berti did what he did because he thought female promiscuity corrupted him,” said Rossi. “Our guy is likely following the same script.”
“McDevitt isn’t corrupted though,” said Jane. “From what we’re hearing, he genuinely loved Paula.”
“He’s your suspect,” said Hawkes, “you’re already dismissing him without a thought?”
“I perhaps jumped the gun a little,” said Jane. “He doesn’t seem to have the motive to kill Paula, at least not in the way the copycat would. Copycats want the attention that comes with the notoriety of the previous serial killer, so McDevitt should be singing like a canary about the evils of women...yet, he’s not doing that.”
“You’re thinking he should be more like Bryan Hudson,” said Hawkes, referring to the “Nice Guy” serial killer the team apprehended in Toronto last fall. “He would be kind and considerate, feeling that the world owes him a favour because of it.”
“Yeah,” said Jane. “Jackson doesn’t seem to fit that bill. I still think he knows something...Paula disappeared from the campground. That’s no coincidence.”
“Do you think he could be lying about trying to avoid Paula’s father?” Hawkes asked.
“It’s possible,” said Jane.
“I’d say that possibility is pretty strong,” said Rossi firmly. “However, I don’t think it was an old boyfriend of Paula’s as Moore would have found that, but merely a love interest who seemed to enjoy camping a bit too much. Jackson, though, invariably knows this guy. I’ll have Garcia check the records.”
Rossi then stepped outside to make a phone call.
“Garcia,” he started.
“Give me a second No. 2,” said Garcia, answering her phone on her headset, “I need to pull over.”
Rossi was bemused. “Pull over? You’re not in your office? Where are you going?”
“Morgan’s gone missing, so I’m going to Chesapeake Beach to help find him. He’s my boo, I can’t stand the thought of him disappearing.”
“I thought I gave you direct orders to stay in your office.”
“Suspend me if you’d like, but Morgan’s my friend. He was there for me when I needed him with Jason Clark Battle so I need to be there for him.”
“I brought my laptop and I can connect to the FBI servers via a secure link. I’ve encrypted the wireless signal to the best of my abilities, so everything is still business as usual. What would you like me to look up?”
“I need a record of all the people who stayed at the Lake Louise Campground the night of Paula’s disappearance, and cross-reference it to other night’s records for all the people who made more than two repeat visits.”
“I will be on that right away.”
Later that day, Calgary Saddledome
“He just left them here?” Matthews asked one of the members of the crowd formed in front of the Saddledome entrance. “In broad daylight?”
“ ‘Fraid so officer,” said the man.
“...and nobody saw who did it or what vehicle he was driving?” Matthews was incredulous.
“We didn’t officer,” said a woman in the crowd.
“Please sir,” pleaded another woman, “do something. This city is in a panic.”
Two more women, both blondes and both killed and mutilated like the other copycat victims (though one had their face caved in through a beating), lay in front of the Saddledome.
He must have deposited the bodies quickly, thought Matthews, probably has a van...drove right up to the entrance and just dumped the bodies and bolted. He’s very lucky. He then called the station to update Moore and to call for an investigative unit to come out and examine the scene.
“Okay everybody,” said Matthews to the crowd. “I’m going to ask all of you to stick around for a bit. Our Crime Scene Unit is on its way to examine the scene...I’m going to need all of you to talk with our specialists and leave them a statement of what you saw and then you can go. In the meantime, I’m going to record your name and contact info in case we’ll need to follow up.”
Calgary Police HQ
“There’s more bodies?” Rossi exclaimed, flabbergasted. “What’s the total now, six?”
“Yep,” deadpanned Moore in a frustrated gruff. “I can’t believe it either.”
“He’s taunting us,” said Rossi. “He must think that because he’s escaped detection for so long that he’s invincible...his ego must be through the roof.”
“How many more are there?” Moore said, wiping his face with stress and slumping onto a bench.
“Well,” said Hawkes, “as far as we know these aren’t fresh bodies. How many women have gone missing after the Stampede in the past two years?”
“It gets one million tourists a year,” said Moore, “and a good number go missing afterwards. In fact, some of the patrons are missing persons themselves- the Stampede is a haven for runaways and transients, as the party and the sheer amount of revellers gives them the perfect cover. Plus, partiers rarely pay attention to those outside of their own group...no one will look for someone who is missing.”
“...and, as we know,” chimed in Rossi, “not everyone is attentive to their group, not to mention the revellers that come alone.”
“Skewing the numbers,” said Hawkes.
“We have about 230 missing women in the Calgary area alone,” said Moore, “but that only covers who’s been reported.”
Meanwhile, in the interrogation room, Prentiss again confronted Jackson with the photos of the new victims.
“More of your work came out today,” said Prentiss, laying down the photos in front of Jackson. “So you’ve got some help...now I see how you roll.”
Jackson, though, didn’t offer a response, immediately turning his head away with a malaised look upon seeing the photos. After gagging a few times, he finally vomited all over the floor.
“Jackson,” said Prentiss with a concerned look. “Are you okay?”
“The girl on the left,” said Jackson, still wincing from the vomiting. He paused to vomit again before continuing, agonizingly. “The girl on the left...she’s my sister.”
“She answered the door to us this morning...” Prentiss’ voice trailed off, understanding the gravity of the situation. “How do you know it’s her? She’s wearing different clothes and her face is caved in from beatings.”
“On her left wrist is ‘#15’ and an autograph from Dany Heatley tattooed on her...you can hardly see it but it’s there.” Jackson pulled out a photo of his own from his phone, proving his point.
“See,” said Jane observing the interrogation outside of the room, “I told you Jackson knew the copycat…I just didn’t think he’d strike this quickly.”
“I put out the press release that Jackson was arrested just this morning,” said Jareau. “This is a quick turnaround.”
“So we’ve got a stalker too,” surmised Rossi, taking a deep breath, “and a brazen one too.”
“Jackson,” said Prentiss, whose tone changed to one of concern for Jackson as she realized he wasn’t the killer they were after. “This seems like a message sent against you…do you know anyone that would want to target you like this?”
“Not off the top of my head,” said Jackson, still struggling. “I’m not the type who would make enemies…this defies explanation.”
“Was there anyone you can think of when you were camping that seemed to be interested in you too much, or Paula? He didn’t have to say anything to you, he could have just been looking at you.”
“Honestly, no…I never felt threatened once at the Campground. Maybe Paula did but she never mentioned it to me. Paula hated to appear weak…she hardly ever cried in front of me, so if she felt threatened by someone, she dealt with it herself.”
“Think Jackson,” pleaded Prentiss. “You know who the killer is…what happened today proves that.”
“All right, well…give me a few moments in here and let me collect myself. When I’m ready to talk I’ll get you.”
“Fair enough. In the meantime, we’ll post an agent outside your door to give you protection. You’re safe here.”
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
“Mrs. Stevens I came over as fast as I could,” said Garcia as she got out of her car and greeted Stevens, as well as Clooney. “How’s the pup? He holding up okay?”
“As well as he could be without Derek,” said Stevens. “Clooney’s been a wreck ever since he got here…he just doesn’t have the energy without his master around…it’s so sad.”
“Have you tried contacting Morgan? I’ve had no luck…I think he realized I was on to him so he shut off his phone.”
“No…no luck. I’ve tried calling and all I get is his voicemail. I called his friend Spencer and asked him to come over…hopefully if we put our minds together we can figure out where he ran off to.”
Garcia let off a heavy sigh, worried for Morgan. “I’m so concerned for him…I just wish he would let us help him out instead of hiding behind his macho exterior.”
At that point, Hotchner drove up to Stevens’ house with Reid in tow. As soon as he stepped outside of the car and spotted Garcia he wasn’t pleased.
“Garcia,” he started sternly, about to admonish Garcia before she stopped him.
“Aaron,” said Garcia, her voice rising as her intensity did. “I know what you want to say. You wanted me to stay in Quantico. You gave me direct orders. I know all that. I know that I defied them and I’m sorry but the way Derek has been acting, I have no choice. If you want to fire me or suspend me, do it- all I know is that Derek needs me. He was there for me when I had to deal with Jason Clark Battle, so I need to be here for him.”
Hotchner paused to let out a sigh. “Are you keeping up with the case in Calgary?”
“Just sent Rossi a few files before I got here.”
“Good. I won’t reprimand you for this.”
“What took you guys so long?” asked Stevens to Hotchner and Reid. “I was expecting you guys an hour ago.”
“Reid had another freak out,” explained Hotchner, “so I had to calm him down with a Dairy Queen sundae.”
Reid bowed his head sheepishly as Garcia laughed warmly. Oh Reid, she thought as she smiled.
“Okay, so Morgan’s missing,” started Hotchner, trying to get the discussion on track.
“I had a look before you guys got here,” said Stevens. “I was tired of waiting so I looked around. His car is still in his driveway and his front door is locked, so he had to have escaped through a back window or something.”
“If he’s on foot he can’t be that far,” said Reid.
“Well, he does put Usain Bolt to shame,” said Garcia, scrunching her mouth upward at the end.
“Actually, Bolt runs at 23 miles per hour while Morgan can do 20-” said Reid before he was interrupted.
“Reid,” said Hotchner, “that’s not important right now.”
“I think it might be,” said Reid. “Since he’s only been gone an hour, the furthest away he’d be would be within a 20-mile radius, assuming he ran for the entire hour, which we know he can do.”
“That assumes that he’s taking care of himself,” warned Hotchner, “which I doubt he is.”
“That may be true given his state, but,” said Reid, “in terms of meticulousness, we can’t deny the possibility that he still might be, so we have to take that into consideration.”
“So where does that leave us?” asked Garcia.
“It puts him in Greater Upper Marlboro, Davidsonville, Mayo Beach, Waldorf, St. Charles, Mechanicsville and Calvert Cliffs in Lusby,” said Reid, without missing a beat.
“That’s um, quite the array…” said Garcia with a frustrated sigh.
“A lot of towns in a twenty mile radius,” said Reid.
“So where would he go?” asked Hotchner sternly.
“When Morgan wants to get away from everything, he really gets away from everything,” said Garcia. “So I’m thinking Calvert Cliffs.”
“He wouldn’t be reachable there,” said Reid, “plus I doubt the locals would know who he is- he doesn’t really like hamlets.”
“Yes, but Morgan knows that we’re thinking about this,” said Hotchner. “He knows all of our tricks, including your geographic profile…so we need to think like Morgan trying to trick us.”
“So where’s the last place Morgan would go?” asked Reid, trying to think.
“I think he’d know you’d think of that too,” said Stevens. “It’s too simple, and Morgan likes a challenge.”
“So we need to go somewhere in the middle,” said Hotchner.
“If we’re going in the middle,” said Garcia with a small smirk, “I think the answer is pretty obvious.”
02:01 local time, downtown Calgary, Alberta
“Since you were so charming in there,” said Lynette Davidson in a darkened alleyway to a man she met at a nearby nightclub, “I’m going to charm you.” The man grinned as Davidson went down on her knees and undid his pants and pulled down his underwear, with his hard penis bursting out of his underwear.
“Wow, you’re excited tonight,” said Davidson with a chuckle as she started to perform fellatio. “Mmmnnn...such a juicy brautwurst.”
The man, though enjoying the blowjob, wasn’t satisfied. After about a minute, he motioned Davidson upwards, undoing her blouse and then her bra. Her perky breasts leapt out of her shirt, causing the man to smile with extreme excitement. Her nipples were especially hard, so he couldn’t help but put his mouth on them and suck on them, sometimes even flicking them with his tongue.
“Flick them even more baby,” said Davidson, who was extremely aroused by now. She squirmed with delight at every touch of his tongue, the sensation of euphoria oozing all over body. Never before had a man cared for her- and her breasts, it seems- like this man had.
The man seemed to agree. Such nice breasts, he thought, so round and supple. Pity I will have to take the life from them later. He paused the thought as the two of them proceeded to have sex right against the wall, the climax for both of them being the kind of euphoria neither of them had experienced before. This was the moment the man waited for.
“That was incredible,” said Davidson, hugging the man tightly and kissing his lips. “You have my number, right?”
“Yeah, I do,” said the man, who seemed hurried.
“Call me, okay?” Davidson said, excitedly, hugging and kissing him once more.
As she departed, the man started to follow her. She barely took two steps before the man grabbed her from behind, putting one hand on her mouth and applying a scarf gag, and spun her around, throwing her against the wall where he stood, imposingly over her.
Davidson was gripped with fear. She tried to scream but the gag prevented anyone from hearing her. As the alley was dark, no one could see what was happening. So when the man’s hands reached for her throat, she feared the worst.
However, instead of choking her, he just placed his hands on her upper shoulders and lowered his head into her chest, sobbing.
“I’m sorry,” said the man. “You’re too beautiful...I shouldn’t have done this to you.”
Davidson, still wearing the gag, looked at him with an incredulous look.
“You’re not like the other sluts,” explained the man, turning her around and tying her wrists and her feet together. He then opened her blouse and exposed her breasts again. “You’re beautiful…especially your breasts. Oh, especially your breasts. They’re so soft and supple…” he paused to put his mouth on her nipples again and play with them, although this time Davidson wasn’t enjoying it. “They’re only good if they’re alive, so I will just take you. I can’t believe I’ve found you.” He then played with her nipples again with his mouth before put her over his shoulder and carried her to his van, putting her in the middle section (as the back had a freezer) and affixed chains to her hands and feet. He then closed the door and approached another woman, still alive but also bound to the wall and gagged, where he strangled her to death. He meant to do it before but the opportunity arose where he had to show Davidson who was really in control of their situation. He then cut open the dead woman’s shirt and then slashed a hole down her cleavage, ejaculating into it, before driving the van to the Saddledome where he deposited the dead woman right in front of the entrance, just before daybreak.
07:13 local time, 98.5FM Radio Station, Calgary, Alberta
“Hello everyone,” said one of the DJs of the morning show, the bombastic Dan Crawley. “You’re listening to Mike & Dan in the Morning on 98.5FM The Bull, Calgary’s No. 1 hit music station. By now, I’m sure most of you know of the so-called ‘Stampede Stabber Copycat’ that is terrorizing the city...it hasn’t been fun- he’s certainly giving me the heebie-jeebies- but the good news is the continent’s top police squad, the Behavioural Analysis Unit, is here to help our police catch this guy.”
“Here to talk about the case is the BAU’s media liaison, Jennifer Jareau,” said Mike Renforth, the other DJ, who spoke quieter but with more of a snarky tone. “How are you today Ms. Jareau?”
“I’m very well thank you,” said Jareau. “I’m glad to join you guys here.”
“...and we’re glad to have you,” said Crawley. “We don’t usually have FBI agents as guests on our show but these are special circumstances.”
“I’m glad to come on such short notice,” said Jareau. “I know everyone in this city is afraid, and we think our copycat targets your listening demographic, so I hope today I can calm a few nerves and get this city back to where it should be.”
“Before we get to the copycat, I think we need to talk about Carlo Berti a little bit,” said Renforth. “I was only a child when he did his killings so I don’t remember him well, except from what I’ve read on him. What was he like as a person?”
“Berti performed what we would call ‘piquerism’,” said Jareau authoritatively. “ ‘Piquerism’ comes from the French word ‘piquer’, which means ‘to prick’, and the condition- a form of sadism- involves the sufferer gaining (mostly sexual) gratification from pricking or stabbing the skin of another person. Most piquerists are actually impotent, as they rely on the stabbings for penetration, but, in Berti’s case, he was able to achieve gratification the way we would normally think he would be able to do it, with one catch- he could only be gratified if his penis was inside the cut that he made, which was in the crack of the buttocks.”
“How’s that for your breakfast guys?” cracked Crawley, causing Jareau to laugh. “Now, as we understand, Berti wasn’t like this at first.”
“That’s correct,” said Jareau. “Usually piquerists gain their lusts from traumatic childhood experiences of a similar nature, such as being whipped by a belt, but Berti did not experience any of that. We believe his piquerism started shortly after he was fired for grabbing the butt of a female manager, which seemed to have such a profound psychological effect on him that he couldn’t associate sex unless there was violence to the buttocks.”
“He was an immigrant having troubles adjusting to Calgary life,” said Crawley, “so getting fired must have been traumatic for him.”
“Yeah,” said Jareau. “He justified his killings by saying that female promiscuity made him who he was and persecuted him for it by making him lose his job, so he struck out against the women at the Stampede, meeting them and then stalking them for the year afterward, although he did have brief relationships with one of his victims.”
“Have you spoken to Berti about the current case?” asked Renforth.
“Mike,” interjected Crawley, “that’s kind of hard…he died of a brain aneurysm in 1992.”
“Oh, well, that answers my question,” said Renforth. “You’ll have to excuse me, audience, some days I just roll out of my bed and come to work in my PJs and forget to brush up on my notes…this is one of those days.”
Jareau noticed that Renforth, in fact, had his notes right in front of him and was dressed professionally, but thought calling him out on air wouldn’t be productive.
“Okay, well, moving along,” said Renforth, “what are the chief differences between this copycat and the Stabber?”
“First and foremost,” said Jareau, “our guy isn’t impotent- there were signs of rape in each of the victims. This means that he’s not a piquerist, per se- he’s just cutting the women where they are for the attention it would bring. We also believe he’s more of a ladies’ man than Berti was- now, Berti wasn’t bad with women, but he couldn’t ‘score’ like our UnSub can- Berti could only pick up women when he was at the Stampede, when the tourists come and we all know tourists tend to be more relaxed than regular city folk, making them easier to ‘pick up’. Our UnSub, though, met one victim who never went to the Stampede, and another who went to the Stampede just once, ten years ago, so he doesn’t need the Stampede to lure victims. We also believe he’s got an unhealthy fascination with the breasts, because of where he cut the victims and how they were found at the entrance to the Saddledome later. We also suspect he’s in the same age range as our victims, which is 25-35, that he’s a white male (considering his victims were also all white), he’s well-built and affable, although he’s also likely a narcissist who believes the world owes him something for his good deeds. He’s also likely got a van and a freezer which is how he stores his victims for so long, and because of his planning, he’s an organized killer. We also believe he was involved in some kind of sexual misconduct incident, just like Berti was.”
“As we understand,” said Crawley, “you’ve made an arrest in connection to the killings but it turns out he’s not the right guy. Have you made any other leads in regards to the killings?”
“Right now, we’ve got some other suspects that we’re looking at,” said Jareau. “As I understand, we’ve just made another arrest with regards to the fresh crime scene from this morning, a man by the name of Robert Joseph Tanner, whom Georgia Stevenson’s friends tell us that last year, at the Stampede, he enjoyed their breasts a little too much, although all the acts were consensual. We also know that Tanner was fired last year, before the Stampede, for sexual harassment. Tanner was also the last one to see our latest victim, Odette Miller, alive- we caught him on surveillance riding a Calgary bus with Miller, with both getting off the bus at a downtown location at 9:15PM.”
“So you’ve got a good chance at getting a conviction here, you figure,” said Renforth, who sounded excited.
“At this stage, due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, I can’t comment on its progress,” said Jareau curtly. “The only thing that we can say is that we have a suspect, and if there are any other further developments on that subject we will update the public on them.”
“Ms. Jareau,” said Crawley, who let out a frustrated sigh. “With all due respect, you’ve already had one suspect proven to be the wrong guy. Not just that, but as soon as you guys touched down in Calgary, this guy has started killing again, making you guys all look like fools. I’m sorry for being rude, but I think all of us Calgarians want some kind of reassurance that our town is safe. I mean, I know to you guys we’re just another investigation, but for us, these are our wives, daughters and girlfriends we’re talking about- and they’re all in danger.”
“Don’t you think your statement to ‘continue living your lives’ when you touched down here was a little misguided?” said Renforth.
Jareau let out a sigh. “I understand you guys are frustrated,” she said. “We are too. I wish I could provide you guys with more concrete answers but at this stage, this is what we have…and I stand by my statement. A guy like this copycat gets off on fear…he wants the women to be afraid of him, because he feels women in general have wronged him…so you counteract that by telling him we’re not afraid. This guy is on a mission…he wants to kill as many women as he can just to prove a point.”
“That’s kind of like saying I should walk on the train tracks because I shouldn’t be afraid of the train that’s going to hit me,” said Renforth.
“I mean, seriously, listen to yourself, Ms. Jareau,” said Crawley, incredulously. “You’re asking our women to put themselves in danger. Willingly. That’s not only reckless, but irresponsible. I’m surprised you can keep your job after something like this.”
“Yes, but doing things like avoiding nightclubs and cancelling the Stampede won’t help,” cautioned Jareau. “Sure, you’ll get rid of his primary hunting grounds, but it won’t matter. He’s a stalker, he meets women at all times during the day, so he’ll still have opportunities to find women- and you can’t keep everyone indoors all the time. Furthermore, if you shut down the entire city, he could flee and terrorize another city…making it even harder to catch him.”
Jareau then noticed a text message on her phone.
“Listen guys,” said Jareau, “I’m sorry I have to do this, but I need to go. I have other matters to attend to.” She then hastily said her goodbyes and exited, leaving the two DJs to talk amongst themselves.
“Typical fed, eh?” said Renforth. “She was just out looking out for herself…she doesn’t care about us.”
“I know what you’re feeling Mike,” said Crawley, “and I agree completely. Our women are dying yet she can’t give us clear answers…best crime fighting unit my foot.”
“Speaking of which, I think I know the most appropriate song to play,” said Renforth. “It was Evelyn de Santos’ favourite song, Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, just in time for the FBI to walk out on us and enjoy their mocha soy lattes and thumb their noses at us. At least we don’t forget our victims.” He then stopped as the song started to play on the radio.
5:35 local time, Waldorf, Maryland
“Thanks,” said Hotchner, getting off the phone. “Well, Garcia, you were right about the strip club…Morgan just got arrested outside of one.”
“Arrested?” said Reid. “What could he have done?” Reid started to wipe his face back and forth with his hands before taking a seat, curled up with his head buried in his arms. Garcia took a seat next to him.
“Pumpkin,” said Garcia, starting to rub his back and doing her best to stay strong, although she started to tear concerned for Morgan. Reid responded by giving Garcia a hug, causing the both of them to start crying uncontrollably on each other’s shoulders.
Hotchner let out a sigh.
“Guys,” he said calmly but sternly, “get it together. I understand you’re concerned but we don’t have the time for the sob party.”
“Where is he?” said Reid, turning his tearful face to Hotchner.
“Mechanicsville,” said Hotchner. The team had started their investigation with all the strip clubs within the 20 mile radius of Chesapeake Beach, getting halfway through the radius to Waldorf before being forced to retire for the night at the local hotel, though none of them could sleep. “From what I understand from the police report, Morgan assaulted a stripper and then ran from the club. The police followed him in pursuit, only to spot him on the roof of the local fire department. They had him in a two hour standoff trying to convince him not to jump, before he acquiesced once they put away their weapons. They have him in interrogation right now.”
“Oh Derek,” said Garcia, wiping away tears. “He’s okay right?”
“He’s healthy,” said Hotchner, “well, as healthy as someone experiencing depression can be.” He then spoke with urgency, as FBI Director Lucius Black was already at the station. “Listen, we need to get going…Lucius is already there.”
6:16 local time, Mechanicsville Police Department, Mechanicsville, Maryland
“I’m glad you guys are here,” said Black as he greeted Hotchner, Reid and Garcia at the police station. “I’ve had no luck with him…I even threatened to fire him. Something’s not right…Morgan doesn’t commit assault, let alone blow $6,000 on strippers.”
“He blew $6,000?” said Garcia in shock.
Black let out a sigh. “I’m afraid so,” he said.
“Lucius,” said Hotchner, “have they charged him already?”
“The DA’s writing it up as we speak,” Black replied. “I pleaded our case, that he’s suffering from a psychosis that’s making him act the way he is but the police are not buying it…I know I could quash the charges myself with my authority, but it would be unethical.”
“How badly was the stripper hurt?” asked Hotchner.
“He was having a lap dance with her and then brushed her off with his arm,” explained Black, “causing her to crash into the wall. So she’s only got a few bruises…it’s nothing major. Of course…think of the optics…even though it wouldn’t likely be a felony, I’d have a hard time justifying his promotion.”
“Not only his continued employment at the BAU,” said Hotchner. “We’re even more scrutinized than ever, especially with our current case.”
“Rossi’s been telling me about that,” said Black. “Guy’s a bold fellow…but I told him, don’t worry about the press, there’s little you guys can do once he’s on a spree except catch him. For now, though, I’ve got to worry about the team as a whole and we gotta get Morgan back to the road to recovery…his work ethic, meticulousness and observational skills are unparalleled.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner, “we’re going to go in there…wish us luck.”
As soon as the team walked into the room, Morgan greeted them with a scowl. None of them bothered to say hello, as instructed by Hotchner.
“What?” said Morgan with a scowl. “You guys are my friends and I don’t get a hello? Or should I say, ‘supposed’ friends?”
Hotchner looked at him with his eyebrows furrowed and his eyes gazing menacingly at him. “We’re not here to play games Morgan,” said Hotchner. “We’re here because the games have to end- now.”
Morgan wasn’t fazed, returning the gaze Hotchner gave him. “Well, I’m prepared to play all day,” he said, sternly. “There’s nothing you can say to me- you guys all gave up on me. You know how long I spent getting raped and beaten by Claes? Too long! You guys decided to take your time getting to me, because you didn’t care.”
“Morgan,” interjected Reid, “we were at war. What did you expect? We did what we could- you said it yourself at the hospital.”
“Well, I did some thinking, pretty boy,” he said, “as I sat in my home. Alone…and I realized none of you gave one crap about me.”
“You can believe whatever you like,” said Hotchner, unflinching. “I just know you’re not right.”
“Hotch,” snarled Morgan, “I’m fine.”
“Derek sweetie,” said Garcia sardonically, “you’re in an interrogation room and are about to get charged with a felony. You’re not fine.”
Morgan violently slapped the table in front of him, causing Garcia to jump. “Don’t,” he said, “tell me I’m not fine.”
“Morgan,” said Reid, softly, “your life…it’s in shambles. If this case against you goes through, you’ll lose your job.” He continued with genuine concern in his voice. “Not just that, but look at you…your muscles have lost their tone. Your teeth are all yellow…in fact, I can see one that just might be falling out. You’re eating every day at McDonald’s when you told me you hate that stuff. You’re going to strip clubs even though you don’t like them because you hate ‘using’ women that way. Your home is a mess…Clooney’s despondent, and this latest incident has us worried that you’re going to snap at any moment…not to mention how all of us, your friends…feel. This isn’t just about you and your job…this is about your life.”
Morgan broke his glare with Reid as he noticed something in the corner. He started panting, scared.
“Why is Decius here?” he asked, quivering.
“Decius?” said Hotchner, confused as Reid and Garcia looked to where Morgan was looking, seeing nothing there. Reid knew immediately what was going on.
“Morgan,” he said, grabbing his hand and holding on as tightly as he could. Morgan wanted to pull away but mentally blocked himself from doing so. Reid continued in a soothing voice, before getting up and passing Morgan’s hand to Garcia, who continued to hold it.
“He’s over here, isn’t he?” said Reid, getting up into the corner that Morgan hallucinated the presence of Decius Tarsus, one of his tormentors in Sudan. Reid then proceeded to punch the air, which Morgan saw as Tarsus getting punched to the ground by Reid, causing him to disappear. Morgan snapped from his hallucination and began to cry uncontrollably. Garcia instinctively started to rub his arm, moving her chair around the table so she could hold him from the side. Reid sat back down as Hotchner leaned back in his chair, adopting a concerned look.
“That’s what this was all about?” said Hotchner, as Morgan nodded his head, still buried on the table. “When did they start?”
Morgan took a few deep breaths and wiped his tears away before continuing, still sobbing. “About two weeks ago,” he said, “shortly after I saw my therapist for the last time. I imagined him as Claes and that was the end of it- I just ran from the session.”
“What did he say to trigger the hallucination?” asked Hotchner.
Morgan took another breath, trying to think about the session. Garcia rubbed his back, which soothed him enough to continue. “I think he made a joke about my situation,” said Morgan. “He was really unprofessional, actually. I was about to drop him before I saw Claes cackling instead of my therapist.”
“You should have listened to me Hotch,” said Reid with a knowing look. “Dr. Bill wasn’t the smartest choice.”
“I wanted to give him another chance,” said Hotchner. “He worked with Elle, and-”
“Look how well that turned out,” said Reid.
“Morgan, I’m sorry,” Hotchner said. “I can understand why you are upset with the team…I know there’s no amount of apologies that can make up for what happened, but if you want to start rebuilding your life, you need us to help you out.”
“I’ll treat you,” said Reid. “I know the proper medications and therapies needed to get you out of this mess. I know you didn’t want my help before but as I said to you then, there’s no one that knows you better than I do. Besides, I can get rid of the pending charges against you by simply writing a statement to your mental condition.”
“I’ll also have a word with the DA to ensure nothing comes of this,” said Hotchner.
“Derek,” said Garcia, putting a hand to his face and turning it. “Look at me,” she continued softly but sternly, looking directly into Morgan’s eyes. “I’m here for you. We’re all here for you. If you have any problems…if that Decius guy ever comes back…please, don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Reid,” said Morgan, calming down. “Can you give me some of those antidepressants?”
“Sure,” said Reid, pulling out two bottles of pills, one containing antidepressants and one containing antipsychotics. Hotchner gave him an incredulous look.
“You never told me you carry those around,” he said, surprised.
“I’m licensed to carry them,” said Reid, “I figured today I might need them.” Reid didn’t skip a beat, handing Morgan the correct dosage which he swallowed before drinking some of the water provided for him. Hotchner decided not to press the issue further.
“I’m going to go outside and have a talk with the police officers and see if I can convince them to let you go without incident,” said Hotchner. “Once I achieve that you can go home and rest.”
“No Hotch,” said Morgan. “I heard you guys are having difficulties in Calgary. You need me there.”
Hotchner nodded and smiled wryly, knowing the old Morgan was back.
12:00 local time, City Hall, Calgary, Alberta
“Mr. Nenshi,” said Jareau approaching Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, finally being able to meet up with him after calling for hours on the phone. “Jennifer Jareau, the media liaison for the Behavioural Analysis Unit…we spoke on the phone.”
“There is nothing you can tell me that will change my mind,” said Nenshi, sternly raising his forefinger at Jareau.
Jareau continued apologetically. “I know you’re frustrated…but canceling the Stampede isn’t going to help us out at all. If you do that, he wins. All it’s going to do is cause our UnSub to look for alternatives…he may even flee the city, and that will make him harder to catch.”
Nenshi laughed. “What?” As he talked, he threw up his hands in frustration. “So I should just continue, ‘business as usual’ when this guy can have his pick of our women while you guys have your fancy steak dinners and pretend to do work? I’m having none of that. I need to protect my citizens…something you are incapable of doing.”
Jareau was curt in her response. “First of all, we’re not having fancy steak dinners or drinking mocha soy lattes or living in any kind of luxury while we’re here. We’re dealing with a special kind of killer, someone who’s very skilled at attacking with police surveillance. Just by his very nature, he’s a difficult killer to catch, but, also by his nature, he’ll eventually be overconfident and leave clues that will expose who he is…but we need to keep him in the city. If we shut the entire city down, he’ll flee and he’ll terrorize another city.”
“Well that’s fine and dandy…if that loser wants to terrorize another city, so be it. I’m not losing another Calgarian because of your incompetence. My city has sacrificed enough for you.”
“Sir,” said one of Nenshi’s aides after reviewing his phone. “There was another two dead bodies placed in front of the Saddledome this morning.”
Nenshi let out a sarcastic laugh. “Well that seals it,” he said, brandishing a frustrated smile. “Good day, Jareau…and take your team of losers with you. I, at least, can do my job.”
Jareau let out a sigh before calling Rossi.
“Rossi,” said Jareau, concerned.
“Yes JJ,” Rossi said, picking up on Jareau’s concern.
Jareau sighed. “Tell me you got something with Tanner.”
“No…alibi checks out too. He wasn’t even in the country when de Santos disappeared, and last night, Tanner said he lost Odette after going to a hot dog stand immediately after getting off the bus. The vendor confirmed his story, as Odette left to use a bathroom and was never seen again.” Rossi didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration.
“That’s just great.” Jareau let out a heavy sigh. “Because I couldn’t get anywhere with Mayor Nenshi…he’s canceling the Stampede, perhaps for good.”
“You told him that if he does that the serial killer wins, right?”
“Yeah…and I still couldn’t get him to change his mind.”
“Police Chief just called us and said he wants us out of the town by tonight. Black is trying to talk to him but we don’t have much time.”
“I’m going to see if I can get into the press conference and maybe try to speak myself.” Jareau let out another sigh. “I can’t tell you how badly I want to catch this guy.”
12:06 local time, Calgary Police Headquarters, Calgary, Alberta
“Dave,” said Moore after Rossi got off the phone. “I’m not letting you guys go anywhere until we catch this guy. If I have to fight the Police Chief I’ll do that. I’m not letting him torment me again.”
“The Stabber attacked you?” asked Jane, overhearing the conversation.
“No,” said Moore, “not directly. A prankster killed my wife in the middle of the investigation, cutting open her buttocks just like Berti did. We caught him pretty easily but, to this day, every time I think about the Stabber I always think about my wife. Which is why I hate our current guy so much.”
“Maybe he’s related to the prankster,” said Jane, thinking out loud. “Judging by the fact that he’s killing while we’re here suggests that he wants to toy with police like that prankster did.”
“Well he’d have to be a friend,” said Moore, “because the prankster’s brothers all panned out.”
“Okay,” said Hawkes, trying to get the discussion on track. “We know he’s an organized killer. We know he’s a ladies’ man. We know he’s got an unhealthy fascination with the breasts. He likely drives a van and has a freezer. He’s well-built, 25-35, he’s white and affable, although he’s also likely a narcissist who believes the world owes him for his affability. He’s also been involved in some kind of sexual misconduct incident. We also know he’s killed at least nine people, but who knows how many more he’s got- Calgary’s a haven for runaways, especially during the Stampede, and since he has a freezer for ‘later disposal’, he could have many more victims there, some of whom that are unaccounted for. Tanner and McDevitt fit those descriptions…what are we missing?”
“I’ll tell you what you’re missing,” said a voice upon entering the room.
“Morgan!” said Hawkes with happiness, greeting him with a warm hug, as did Prentiss. Rossi and Jane gave him hearty handshakes.
“Glad to see you kiddo,” said Rossi with a smile. The rest of the agents greeted Hotchner and Reid normally as they stepped into the office.
“Hotch briefed me on the case as we flew,” said Morgan, who stepped to the front of the room and spoke authoritatively, commanding attention, “and a number of things caught my attention. First of all, you guys are thinking he objectifies women, due to having a sexual harassment charge. I don’t think this guy would have a sexual harassment charge- he may objectify women, but he respects them enough not to get into trouble with them. He’s a ladies’ man, and quite prolific at that. Think about it: why would he feel the need to compulsively grab some woman’s ass when he could easily convince her to let him do it?
“Furthermore, since he’s been ‘kind’ enough to kill for us, he left us other clues. This morning, only one body was found in front of the Stampede- Odette Miller’s. Now, normally he leaves the bodies in groups, meaning last night he likely met a girl he only kidnapped. He’s keeping her alive, but for what reason? She must have a set of breasts that he particularly enjoyed, and since breasts just aren’t that much fun when a person is dead, he only decided to kidnap her instead of killing her. She’s likely single- like the victims of Berti and the other victims of this UnSub- and it’s the weekend when no one is working, which is why no one has noticed her missing yet.
“This missing woman holds the clue. For Berti, the buttocks were a symbol of his emasculation on the workforce- for our UnSub, the breasts are an object of desire, meaning he’s likely got or had a girlfriend or wife that lost her breasts, perhaps due to breast cancer…and, since he’s killed women and posed them as ‘sluts’, meaning he ultimately sees women as sluts, he must think promiscuity caused breast cancer…and how would that happen? Even though it’s been officially discredited, you still hear the persistent rumour that an abortion causes breast cancer. So we’ve got to look for double mastectomy patients who underwent an abortion before the 2012 Stampede, because that will be the wife of our UnSub.”
“Oh, and last, but not least, this guy started killing again right when we got here, sending a message to us. We’ve got to look for someone with resentment towards the FBI, even if it’s unrelated to this investigation or the Stampede Stabber’s.”
The team was impressed with Morgan’s insights.
“That’s what we’ve been missing,” said Rossi, enthusiastically. “You’ve really come into your own, Morgan.”
“Thanks,” said Morgan with a wry smile. “Now let’s get down to business.”
They placed a call with Garcia, looking up women who had double mastectomies following an abortion. Since abortion is illegal in Alberta, narrowing down the list was easy, leading to an Edgar Calvin Burrell, who owned his own meat packing shop and thus had a van with a freezer in it- although he falsified his license plate, meaning his plate wouldn’t come up in the database. Burrell, it was revealed, was the son of a friend of the prankster that killed Moore’s wife.
“Valerie Burrell, though,” said Moore with a sigh. “She was an inspiration for a lot of people. There were complications arising from her mastectomies preventing her from breast reconstruction surgery so she put a tattoo across her chest instead. I guess Edgar loved her breasts more than he loved her...a shame.”
“Was there an adultery charge?” Hawkes asked.
“Edgar did try to prosecute her for adultery,” said Moore, “but the judge ruled Edgar was just at much at fault as she was because of his treatment of her after she got the tattoo, so the judge threw out the case.”
“When was this?” Morgan asked.
“May 12, 2012,” Moore replied. “I remember the case well.”
“There’s your stressor,” said Reid. “Do we know if she’s still alive?”
“Like a lot of Albertans, due to our crazy laws, she was a housewife,” explained Moore. “So if Burrell wanted to kill her, he could cover his tracks real well.”
14:34 local time, Edgar Calvin Burrell’s house, Banff, Alberta
“Sit still nice and tight,” said Burrell, carefully removing a nipple clamp he had placed on Davidson’s nipples. He kept her gagged and chained in a cool basement just so her nipples could be hard, with a wire attached to the floor with clamps at the end that stretched out her breasts and nipples as far as they could go, without drawing blood. He called the basement room his “Fun Den”, where he raped Davidson regularly. Under his floorboards was Valerie's cremated body.
“Oh yeah, that feels so nice,” said Burrell, putting his mouth on her breasts and playing with them. The clamps did their job, he thought, heightening the sensation of his tongue on the nipples, making Davidson squirm even more.
“They’re so much better than Valerie’s,” said Burrell as he enjoyed Davidson’s breasts. “I wish she wasn’t so selfish that she wouldn’t replace them.” He then let out a sigh before dropping his pants and raping Davidson, making sure he held her body tight to his so that he could feel her breasts against his body.
“Mmmmnnn,” he said, as he finished enjoying himself. “You’re such a good girl. Now, I’m going to let you out of these chains so you can get some sleep. Remember, if you behave, you’ll eventually have some freedom.” He then undid her chains and let her to her bed, where another chain was affixed around her neck, long enough so that she could sit up on the bed or lie down if she liked, but not much more. A refrigerator with food was located within arm’s reach of her.
Burrell then left her there, locking her door before he left. He had another night out planned, because, even though he found what he was looking for, he had to teach the meddling FBI a lesson. He had to stop in Lethbridge first, though, to meet with a client before heading back to Calgary for the night.
22:23 local time, Pete’s Fine Dining, downtown Calgary, Alberta
“Cheryl,” said Stacy Bowman to her friend Cheryl Tillman as they walked to the restaurant, open late that night. “The FBI still hasn’t caught this guy yet...are you sure going out is a great idea?”
“Yeah, I know public safety isn’t at an all-time high here,” said Tillman, “but I said to myself I’m not letting this guy dictate how I live my life. It’s my birthday and I’m going to celebrate it.
“Besides,” she continued as she cupped her breasts and pushed them up, making them even perkier inside a low cut, backless dress, “the girls need to have some fun.”
“Okay,” said Bowman with a sigh, “but we don’t split up.”
“Okay,” said Tillman, reluctantly. “Relax though. I’m 22...I can handle myself.”
Meanwhile, at the restuarant- which cleared a section of tables at the back to create a dancefloor- a bald but burly man was chatting at the bar with owner Peter Soihull.
“You know you’re defying the city,” said the man.
“I know the city ordered all the bars and clubs closed,” said Soihull, cleaning a glass, “but I think their decision was rash and heavy handed. Besides, with this place being the only one open, it may just attract the guy so we can catch him.”
“Hmmnn,” said the man, who paused to take a drink. “Good luck with that one.” As he casually sipped his beer, Burrell sat down next to him and ordered a drink, though the burly man paid no notice.
A few seconds later, Tillman and Bowman walked by the bar. The burly man couldn’t help but notice.
“Hello pretty ladies,” said the man. The women tried to walk by, prompting the burly man to put his hand out in front of them and “accidentally” cop a feel of Tillman’s bosom.
“Hey, creep!” Tillman yelled, pushing the burly man away, “Back off!”
“Yeah buddy,” said Burrell. “You don’t do that to a lady.”
“Who are you?” The burly man said to Burrell, scoffing at him.
“A nice man,” said Burrell. “I know how to treat a lady right.”
Calgary Police Headquarters
“Okay babygirl,” said Morgan, calling Garcia. “Give me something. He wasn’t at home...he’s got to be somewhere.”
“This guy!” Garcia said, frustrated, “he hardly uses his credit card at all!”
“Don’t give up, I know you can do it.”
Garcia yelped in joy. “Oh wait, I got something! He just used his credit card at Pete’s, just down the road from you.”
“Good work.” Morgan then directed the team to head to Pete’s.
Just outside of Pete’s
“Hey,” said Burrell, noticing Tillman and Bowman walking out of the restaurant.
“Oh hey,” said Tillman with a warm smile. “Thanks for helping us in there. You are a real gentleman.”
“You’re welcome.” Tillman and Bowman each gave Burrell long hugs and gave him their numbers, imploring him to call them.
In the distance, shortly after the two women left was a nurse going to a hot dog stand for a late dinner.
“You’re out here pretty late,” said Burrell.
“I know,” said sheepishly the nurse, a tall, redheaded bombshell, “but I have to work late. I’m scared of that serial killer out there but I have a family to feed, so I’m out here.”
Burrell replied without missing a beat. “Yeah, that serial killer is pretty creepy...who would want to do that to all those women?”
“For real...I mean, I’ve heard of anger but this is unreal.” The nurse was smitten with Burrell, flashing him a warm smile he picked up on.
“You’ve got some time left on your break, right?”
“I do, actually. A whole hour.”
“Let’s go for a walk. I know a good place just down the road.”
Pete’s Fine Dining
“Edgar Calvin Burrell!” Morgan hollered as he entered the restaurant, drawing his gun and zeroing in on the burly man. “You are under arrest!”
“Edgar?” The burly man said, flummoxed, “you got the wrong guy...my name is John.” He then fumbled his pockets for his wallet to prove his identification, but it was fruitless, since Burrell had picked his pocket. Burrell was lucky, since John looked a lot like him and John had the bad habit of leaving his wallet in his back pocket, where it could be easily swiped. Burrell didn’t plan on the pickpocket, but since the opportunity was there, he took it, just to make the FBI look even more like fools.
“Guess you can’t find your ID, can you?” Morgan said, meancingly. “Well, we know a few people who can, including Lynette Davidson, whom we rescued from your fridge earlier. Once she’s out of the hospital, you’re toast, Burrell.”
“Yeah,” said Soihull, excited at the scene. “No longer will you be around to grope and cut our women’s breasts.”
As the team went in on John, Soihull’s statement clicked with Jane. “Groper?” he whispered, before continuing out loud. “Guys! We’ve got the wrong guy.”
“Oh for gosh sakes,” said Soihull, throwing his hands up in frustration. “How can you be so sure? You guys said you were looking for a guy with a fixation on the breasts...this guy reached out and grabbed a random woman’s breast without hesitation! That’s the textbook definition of a fixation!” Soihull then grabbed Burrell’s prepaid credit card (Burrell planning on using it to frame someone regardless of whether or not they looked like him) that John had picked up, “Besides, this is Edwin Carter Burris’ or whatever his name is’ credit card, and ‘John’ used it!”
“Oh no,” said Jane, “he’s definitely a criminal...I mean, he grabbed a woman’s breast which is illegal in most jurisdictions which I assume holds true for Calgary. He’s just not...our criminal.”
“Jane’s right,” said Morgan. “This guy’s a dog...our guy pretends to be a gentleman.”
“This is a disgrace,” shouted a patron in disgust. “You know how TVTropes has a page called ‘Police Are Useless’? Well, for us, they should call it ‘FBI Are Useless’!”
The patrons then starting booing and throwing their beer cups at the BAU and police, as anger over their failure to nab Burrell mounted. The team did manage to just barely escape after arresting John, though it wasn’t easy.
“Okay, so where could he be?” Rossi asked as John was whisked away by a police car. Despite needing a few moments to dust themselves off, the team didn’t miss a beat.
“Remember I said he knew Jackson McDevitt?” Jane said. “Well, Jackson worked at Canadian Tire.”
“...and there’s one with an alleyway very close to the Saddledome,” said Hawkes with a sense of urgency. “Perfect spot for the crimes.”
“Wait,” said Prentiss, “that’s way too simple...besides, haven’t the police been canvassing alleyways already?”
“Yes,” confirmed Hotchner. “So he’d have to have a space only he has access to.” Hawkes stepped away briefly, placing a phone call.
“He’s a business owner,” said Rossi, “so he probably has some kind of enclosure that he could escape to.
“Okay,” said Hawkes, “just got off the phone with Garcia...his meat shop is just downtown, with a receiving area tucked away from public view of which only he has access to. The regular drive goes past that same Canadian Tire store I mentioned, where he could have started stalking Paula.”
“That’s where he is,” Hotchner said, “Let’s go!”
Burrell’s Receiving Area
“I didn’t know crocodiles could do that!” The nurse, Patti Spelva, said to Burrell as they walked casually through the alleyway.
“Oh yes, it’s true,” said Burrell, as both laughed. Spelva was enjoying Burrell’s company, although she wondered whether it was too soon to get back into dating after her husband’s death three months ago.
Burrell, though, had one intention only. When they hit the spot he liked to hit, he stopped Spelva, grasping her arms and rubbing them up and down, with Spelva instinctively getting closer to him.
Burrell, sensing where it was going, went in for the kiss but, at the last moment, Spelva pulled away.
“Edgar,” she said, bowing her head. “You’re a nice guy but...I can’t.”
“Patti,” said Burrell, “you need to move on. Your husband was a great guy but there’s nothing you can do...he’s gone...you can’t bring him back.”
Spelva started to cry. “You know, tonight was the first night I didn’t think of him.” She continued in a flood of tears, as every memory she had with her husband came back in quick succession, evoking the happier times she missed so dearly. “Then I met you...and I thought...well, this might be the time that I could finally get over him...but then, at this moment,” she paused to wipe away her tears and collect herself, “feeling what I’m feeling, for the first time since my husband...it brought everything back and I realized...I’m still not ready.”
Burrell decided he didn’t have time to waste consoling her, so he put his hand on her mouth and pulled out his knife, causing Spelva to utter a muffled yelp.
“Okay,” said Burrell, “let me tell you how this is going to work. You do as I say and you won’t get hurt.” He then put his hand on her throat and slammed it against the wall, partially choking her, while continuing to brandish the knife. He then used the knife to cut open a large hole in her shirt and rip off her bra, so that her breasts were in full view.
He then started having his way with her, focusing particularly on her breasts. Spelva, meanwhile, wanted to yell, but Burrell’s hand blocked her airway so much that only the faintest of yelps could come out. After only ten minutes of agonizing foreplay- which felt like an eternity to Spelva- Burrell reached under her skirt and ripped off her panties, took off his pants and opened her legs where he began raping her against the wall.
By this point, the pain was excruciating. Spelva’s face began turning blue due to a lack of oxygen, and she started to pass in and out of consciousness. Eventually, when she had her orgasm, she passed out completely, causing Burrell to climax. Thinking Spelva was dead, Burrell laid her on the floor and pulled out his knife again to carve the hole in her cleavage, before being stopped dead in his tracks.
“Edgar Calvin Burrell!” Morgan hollered menacingly with his gun drawn. “Step away from the body! Put the knife down and put your hands where I can see them!”
“You don’t understand,” said Burrell, quivering and still holding the knife. “She’s a slut, just like Valerie was. She must pay for her devious ways, just like Valerie did for hers.”
“You were just as much the adulterer as she was,” said Moore. “You are just as much at fault as she was. Regardless...you are not the law, and Patti Spelva is a good woman. Besides, you and I both know that abortion didn’t cause Valerie’s breast cancer.”
“Lies!” Burrell yelled. “Lies!” He then charged at Moore before Reid shot him in the thigh.
“Nice shot,” said Hotchner.
“I was aiming for his head,” said Reid with a slight grin as Moore called for paramedics to come to the scene.
03:26 local time, Calgary Best Western
“Oh for the love of Pete!” Hawkes exclaimed with an exasperated sigh, as her phone started to ring. Reluctantly, she picked it up.
“Hey Costas,” she said with a huff.
“Hey love,” said Sourtzis, oblivious to Hawkes’ frustration.
Hawkes snapped. “Okay, first of all, we still haven’t had a date yet and you’re already calling me ‘love’? Are you out of your mind? Second of all, you’ve been calling me and texting me every five freakin’ minutes, bugging me about when I’d have a free second. Not only is that obsessively clingy, that’s disrespectful of me, because you can’t seem to trust me that I’d call you back. I don’t operate at your beck and call...I have a life and a job and I can’t ignore those obligations. Thirdly, it’s three in the f*#@ing morning, you better damn well have a reason to call me this late!”
“I saw you in the news...I thought I would congratulate you.”
“Well thank you Costas...I appreciate it.”
Sourtzis immediately replied, stopping Hawkes from continuing. “How was your day?”
“My day was fine, but it would be even better if you could allow me to get some sleep...I need to be up for 10 to catch the plane.”
“Come on...I haven’t been able to talk to you all day...please spare a minute?”
“No Costas...I need to sleep...I’m sorry.”
Sourtzis whined. “Please, baby, please.”
Sourtzis sighed. “Well, tomorrow you can tell me all about it on the bus.”
Hawkes replied in a snarky tone. “Well, unfortunately for you and thankfully for me, my car has been fixed and I will never have to take the bus or see you again!” Hawkes then angrily held the “end call” button on her cell phone, triggering an app that mimicked the phone being slammed back onto the receiver.
She then left her room and went to see Reid.
“Hey,” said Hawkes, sheepishly as Reid opened the door.
“Hey,” said Reid, “come on in.”
Hawkes walked in, seeing Reid work on what appeared to be some kind of science experiment, with two bottles filled with water on the table and a stick nearby. One of the bottles was bubbly.
“How’d you know I’d be up?” Reid asked with a smile.
“I know you told me you do some of your best work at night,” said Hawkes, “so it was an easy deduction.” She then paused with a confused look on her face before continuing. “What exactly are you doing?”
“Oh I’m trying to work on a formulation that would allow us to read DNA evidence quicker. It’s not going so well.”
Hawkes deadpanned her replied. “Right...I’m not sure how that helps us, but all the power to you.”
“I know the majority of our cases involve people who don’t have DNA in the system so from a suspect capture perspective, it wouldn’t aid a thing. It would help us close a lot of cases, though.”
“Pretty sure our guy is toast, though,” said Hawkes. “Lynette can prove he kidnapped her, and she saw him with a dead body...plus he didn’t clean his van all that well. Lots of DNA there.”
Reid detected something in Hawkes’ demeanour. “You didn’t come to talk about the case, though.”
Hawkes looked down, slumping on a chair in Reid’s room.
“I met this guy on the bus coming down to Quantico,” Hawkes said, with her head down, embarassed. “He seemed nice at first, so I gave him my phone number...but then he turned into this possessive-controlling monster.”
“What do you mean?” Reid asked.
Hawkes spoke, exasperated with Sourtzis. “He wouldn’t stop calling me...every five minutes, he’d either text me or call me.”
Reid wore a puzzled look on his face. “Every five minutes?”
“Well, not literally every five minutes...it just felt that way. Anyway, oftentimes he would call asking me why I never wrote back to him.”
“That is definitely textbook possessiveness.”
Hawkes sighed. “All I want is a nice guy who is respectful and courteous and understands that I have a busy life. Is that too much to ask?”
Reid walked up towards her and crouched, taking her hands.
“I know, it’s tough,” he said, “and it’s funny. Love might be the only thing that frustrates us as humans but we keep looking for it anyway. Everything else...there just comes a point where we ‘give up’ but for love...we never do give up, regardless of the hardship.” Reid paused, coming up with a thought before continuing. “One thing I realized with JJ and with other women is that you know you’ve found the perfect woman not when you find the one that doesn’t give you hardship but the one that makes all those hardships worth it. Complications and conflicts will always arise...you just have to say to yourself, ‘is this person worth working through them?’ When you answer ‘yes’ to that, you know you have the right person.”
Meanwhile, in his room, Morgan was asleep. Fast asleep. For the first night in a while, he didn’t have nightmares and he didn’t have his hallucinations. He was at peace. A soul inspiring peace. He wished this could have happened sooner, but at least it came.
The next day, Calgary Saddledome
“In honour of the FBI ending what was our city’s worst nightmare since 1988,” said Nenshi at a podium addressing a large crowd, “I am hereby declaring today a national holiday. Every bar and restaurant will be open, and the Stampede will proceed as planned. Thank you.” Nenshi then departed for the back of the stage.
As the crowd cheered, Nenshi turned his attention to Jareau, who joined him.
“Hey Ms. Jareau,” said Nenshi. “I’m sorry we doubted you.”
“No problem,” said Jareau. “Comes with the territory...we know how frustrating it is to have a serial killer on the loose...that’s why we don’t waste any time and do what we can to get it right.”
Nenshi smiled and gave Jareau a hearty handshake. “Thank you...thank you. Now our city can relax in peace.”
Meanwhile, in the distance, Danforth Grayson could be seen snapping pictures of the press conference.
“Simpletons,” he said with a devious grin. “If only they knew the trouble was just beginning. If only they knew...”
“It’s said that Calgary is ‘The City of Dreams’. Is that why the nightmares never stop?”- David Rossi, writing about Carlo Berti in “David Rossi’s Compendium of Serial Killer Profiles”, 13th edition, 1988
Episode 11: What Goes Around... (Episode Start Date: September 20, 2016)
“Social networking is one of the greatest paradoxes of all time. On its surface, it promises privacy, but at its core it provides none.”- Edwin Falmuth, creator of Meme Network, 2012 blog entry
Summer of Rap Festival, Bangor City Forest, Bangor, Maine
“This is so awesome!” 16-year-old Aggie Mildred said to her best friend, Ellie Simpson, also 16, as the pair stood right against the gate that guarded the stage.
“I know,” concurred excitedly the blonde-haired Simpson to her auburn-haired friend, “Smoove Operator is amazing live...I can’t believe how much sexier he is in person!” The girls then swooned as Smoove Operator, a Caucasian male whose real name was Kyle Simpkins, took off his shirt to reveal his muscular build and his sixpack as he sung one of his first major hits, “Dirty Girl”.
A few moments later, the girls- who got into the festival with forged identification- ordered drinks from the bar, which they drank as Simpkins sung his set. They happily swayed along, drinking non-stop and enjoying the time of their lives.
Then, Simpkins got to “Fuzzy Boundaries”, a song blasted by feminists that makes no secret that it is about exploiting women. The bass-heavy uptempo song, though made the girls instinctively start gyrating their hips, swinging their buttocks back and forth and dancing very suggestively.
So immersed were the girls in the song that when two men, both wearing dark sunglasses, came in from behind, grabbed them and pulled their dancing bodies up against their own bodies, the girls hardly noticed. Their kind of dancing, grinding, was meant to have a male right behind them, since the swinging of the buttocks was supposed to arouse the male genitals.
Simpson, though, was especially aroused herself dancing with her man, getting more into the dance and laying her backside right against the man, leaning into him. The man determined this was a good time to take things up a step, first putting his hands on her exposed belly and rubbing upwards until he got his hands on her breasts, which he played with to Simpson’s delight. Then, he went for Simpson’s exposed legs, rubbing upwards underneath her short skirt and eventually into her genitals, where he started fingering her. Simpson was extremely aroused by this, bending her head back and tilting it so that she could start kissing the man as he serviced her.
Mildred responded to the dance by glancing momentarily at Ellie before bending over forward and pressing her buttocks right against her man’s crotch and wiggling it around, which practically inserted the man’s penis inside her butt (as both of their clothes got in the way). Mildred excited the man in this way for quite some time until he climaxed in his pants, which caused her to turn around and start passionately making out with him. The man, while kissing her, managed to take off Mildred’s shirt, allowing him to hold the braless Mildred topless as he was kissing her. Mildred was only too happy to oblige, holding the man tightly against her body as she happily placed her doffed shirt in her pocket.
In between sets, the two men offered to take the two girls to a more secluded area of the festival, of which the aroused girls were more than happy to comply with. Once they were there- an area behind the porta potties lined with numerous trees that was deserted- the four of them got more involved with sex acts. Unbeknownst to the girls, another man was photographing them through his cell phone camera inside one of the porta potties, of which he carved a small hole in the mesh windows at the top so that the camera’s view would not be obscured.
As the man was happily taking pictures, Mildred happily performed oral sex on her man, while Simpson, with her skirt lifted, mounted her man (who was lying down) and performed regular sexual intercourse on him. The men made sure they had the angles right so that their faces would be obscured but the extent of the girls’ acts- and their faces- would be in full view. The photographer hence got several salacious photos, which he would later use to masturbate himself.
Once the men were satisfied with the sex they received- which was easy given how attracted they were to the girls- they obtained the girls’ contact information, which included their Facebook profiles and their cell phone information. After the show, the pair excitedly recounted their stories as they began the walk towards the bus that would take them home.
“Oh man!” Mildred said, “what a night!”
“Those guys,” said Simpson, “they were so cute!” She then stumbled to a park bench, practically falling over the railing, which elicited a laugh from her and her friend. Mildred, in her drunken state, tried to simply walk her way over to Simpson, but she hit a crack on the sidewalk that made her stumble and fall on top of Simpson, who laughed at the situation and instinctively hugged her friend.
Then, in what could only be described as the influence of alcohol, the pair started to passionately make out with each other. The two longtime friends then held each other tightly on the bench before kissing again in glee.
“Aggie,” said Simpson, overcome with emotion after the event, “don’t ever leave me. You’re the best friend ever.”
“I won’t Ellie,” said Aggie, tears starting to flow down her face, which got Simpson to well up as well. “I won’t Ellie. I promise!” The pair hugged again before kissing a third time, after which they decided to go to the Terminal to catch their bus home.
07:54 local time, Espen Knutsen Public High School, Newport, Maine
“Hey!” hollered a boy down the hall as Mildred walked down, instinctively starting to hide behind her books which she clutched tightly against her chest. “It’s one of the Maine girls!”
“Slut!” said another boy. “How’d that man’s cum taste?” Mildred started to increase her walking pace and tried her best to ignore the boys’ taunts, but as the boys got louder her urge to start crying only increased.
“So if you sucked that guy’s d*ck,” said the first boy, “why can’t you suck mine?”
“Yeah, Aggie! Suck my d*ck! You suck everyone else’s!” hollered the second boy. By this point, Mildred started to run from the boys, crying her eyes out and covering her face with her books.
She tried to beeline her way to the bathroom, but before she got there, another boy pushed her hard into the wall, shouting “whore” as he did so. As soon as she righted herself, a girl walking by her stuck out her leg and kicked out Mildred’s foot from under her, causing her to fall and drop all of her books. Mildred decided against picking them up, deciding that getting to the bathroom was a better idea.
Unfortunately for Mildred, both of the bathroom stalls were occupied, causing her to bang the walls in frustration. Although her cries were audible, neither of the girls inside the stalls seemed to care, minding their own business. After 15 agonizing minutes, a stall did open up for Mildred, but before she could occupy it, the departing girl spat in her face. That made Mildred’s decision easy.
As soon as she locked the stall, she pulled out a small blade. She felt her arm for her radial artery and sharply and deeply injected the blade into her arm, cutting right into the vessel. She yelped at the first instance of pain, but as the blood flowed out of her body she felt a sense of calming as she became drowsier. No longer was the pain she felt from the abuse she received today going to affect her- as the blood flowed out of her, her suffering seemed to go with it. In a few minutes, her body would go into severe hypovolemic shock, and she was dead an hour later.
The girl in the stall next to her had her headphones on and didn’t notice anything was remiss until Mildred’s blood managed to stain her shoes. The girl, though, didn’t seem concerned at all that Mildred was dying- rather, she was upset that her favourite shoes were now soiled in her blood. The hooker had it coming, she thought, casually changing her shoes before strolling to her next class. For Mildred, the girl’s indifference was her only chance at survival, as no one else would use it for until lunchtime, many hours later.
FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
“Girl you leave my mind so fuzzy,” sang quietly Behavioural Analysis Unit media liaison Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, her headphones blaring, as she strolled to the photocopier, “but that just leaves me buzzin’.” Her teammate, Zoe Hawkes, couldn’t help but overhear her.
“Seriously JJ?” she said to her as she walked up to the photocopier. “How on Earth can you like such a misogynistic song?”
“I think it’s catchy,” replied Jareau, “it’s a fun party song…I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.”
“The guy had naked models liberally applied throughout the video,” said Hawkes, who did not try to hide her contempt for Smoove Operator, “not only that, but he grabbed and groped them at will, as if they were mere toys for his pleasure…as a woman, I find that abhorrent…I want a man who seems me as a person, not as an object he can play with whenever he wants.”
“Please,” scoffed Jareau, “it just plays to male fantasies…it’s not advocating things like non-consent or violence…it’s just about a guy who finds a girl attractive and wants to have some fun with her…I see nothing wrong with that.”
“Besides,” said BAU teammate Dr. Spencer Reid, stepping into the conversation, “no one seems to complain about Christina Aguilera objectifying men in ‘Your Body’…or about Madonna when she did it, or Salt ‘N’ Pepa, or Lil’ Kim…I mean, the list goes on and on.”
“Of course you don’t complain about women getting objectified,” said Hawkes, “‘cause it’s all about getting your rocks off, eh Spencer?”
“Not at all,” said Reid, “I don’t think anything excuses the objectification of women…I’m just saying that if we’re going to complain about objectifying women we should be equally horrified when men are objectified, and no one is.”
“Well,” said Hawkes curtly, “be a member of a gender who has been historically viewed as the weaker gender, the one that has to ‘submit’ to a man, and tell me it’s right for society to continue promoting that role.”
“Spence is right Zoe,” said Jareau, “if you’re going to complain about sexual objectification it should go both ways, not just one…I mean, men are humans too…we can’t condone actions against them just because they’ve been historically dominant…if we’re going to treat everyone equally, we need to treat men equally as well as women.”
“Besides,” interjected BAU teammate Patrick Jane, “we all know that men are better than women anyway…I mean, physiology proves it…that’s why there are more men than women as firefighters, because men are naturally stronger than women.” Hawkes heard Jane’s remark and was fuming, wanting to rebuke Jane badly, eliciting a laugh from Jane.
“You like being a troll don’t you?” replied Hawkes, shaking her head once she realized the real reason behind Jane’s comment.
“You’re so easy to wind up,” said Jane with a smile, who gave a knowing nod to Reid who confided he thought Hawkes was cute when she got neurotic.
“Easy now Jane,” said Jareau, “by your logic, men are dumber than women…let’s not forget who dominates the universities.”
“Yeah, but might makes right,” said Jane, flashing a wide smile.
“I think you guys are all missing the point,” said BAU teammate Derek Morgan, who had his door open, as he emerged from his office and walked to the floor. “You see, Smoove Operator is just courting this controversy because he knows he can’t hold a candle to real rap talent.” He casually strolled towards the photocopier, gesturing strongly as he continued to speak.
“See, back in the late ‘80s and ‘90s,” explained Morgan, “the gangsta rappers sung from the heart…they were all real. They all came from the hood, they all got into some real s*it and they paid their dues. Biggie, Tupac, Dre, Snoop, Ice Cube, Talib Kweli…heck, right up to Eminem, when those guys talked about the hood and needing to fight their way out of it, that was real. These guys now? They copy that stuff because it ‘sells’, even though they know they wouldn’t survive in the real hood if they were dropped into it.”
“Yeah, but” said Reid, “shouldn’t a person’s background not matter when evaluating a song? I mean, the notes don’t physically change just because you change Snoop Dogg’s birthplace from Long Beach to San Jose.”
“I think it can mean a lot,” said Jane. “When someone writes something that’s real to them, you can feel it in the song. Plus, when you know the person actually experienced what they sing about, it gives it that much more immediacy…so I think Morgan is right.”
In the distance, towards the other end of the hallway, a man cleared his throat loudly.
“While I’m sure this subject is interesting,” said BAU Senior member David Rossi, loudly addressing the crowd at the photocopier, “we do have something called work to do…and Hotch has a case for all of us…which is what we get paid for…not to decide if Tupac really was the baddest MC around.” The team begrudgingly admitted defeat and headed for the BAU war room, with Rossi pulling Morgan aside. “Besides,” said Rossi to Morgan, “don’t all those guys owe a debt to Schoolly D?”
“Oh I know,” said Morgan, “just don’t tell that to the kids…doubt they’d pick him out of a police lineup.” Rossi chuckled, acknowledging the point, before the two of them headed to the war room.
“Hello everybody,” said BAU Chief Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner at the head of the table as his team piled into the room, with BAU member Emily Prentiss standing in front of the projector. “While you guys were busy discussing the merits of rap, Prentiss received a distressing phone call from Newport, Maine. Prentiss, take it away.”
“This,” said Prentiss as she turned on the projector, “is Agatha Crystal Mildred, 16, of Newport, Maine. She was found dead this afternoon when school officials found her in the bathroom after she cut her left wrist and bled herself to death. Two days prior, she and her friend, Elizabeth Simpson, attended the ‘Summer of Rap’ festival when it made its stop in Bangor for the Labour Day weekend. They were present at the front row of the festival, right against the guardrail that separated the crowd from the stage, and were later seen dancing provocatively with two much older men. Aggie and Ellie were later photographed involved with the men in various sex acts during the festival, with those photos later appearing online.”
“I heard about that,” said Hawkes, “The ‘Maine girls’ as they became called…the guys in the photos were inexplicably and inexcusably called ‘heroes’ while the Maine girls were slut-shamed...it’s pretty sad.”
“Reportedly, both Aggie and Ellie faced many derogatory remarks on social networks and in person upon their return to school,” explained Prentiss, “which is what police believed caused Aggie to take her own life.”
“Okay,” said Morgan, “while that’s disgusting and vile, explain to me how this is a BAU case?”
“Right after the event,” said Prentiss, “police explained to me that Mildred’s father, Todd, received a message that tried to blackmail him out of $1 million in exchange for not releasing the photos online. Since Todd refused, the photos appeared online that night, and caused a firestorm on Facebook and Twitter where users shared them at will, with the girls’ identities soon found.”
“The power of the Internet,” said Rossi with a sigh.
“As far as I know,” continued Prentiss, “this is the first time an extortion attempt has been unsuccessful. I had Garcia pull up bank records and see if there are other parents with unusual payments, and I’ve uncovered five other payments from families of probably victimized teenaged girls to unidentifiable bank accounts that total $2 million, although there may be other victims and the total could be higher. There are also pictures floating around of 17-year-old Rachel Person of Albuquerque performing sex acts with two teenaged boys that may be connected to this case, as her parents report that they got a call from another set of parents who said her picture was used to extort them in their blackmail attempt.”
“Looks like these guys know what they’re doing,” said Jane. “They’re wearing dark sunglasses making identification difficult…and, if the Person case is connected, we may have one UnSub, a photographer, who’s skilled at recruiting several different men to do his bidding.”
“Smoove Operator played at the Festival,” said Reid, “has he spoken out about the tragedy?”
“Aside from a generic statement of condolences,” said Jareau, “he seems to have said nothing.”
“What do we know about the messages?” Rossi asked.
“Each one was, predictably, sent from accounts traced back to public computers,” said Prentiss, “and other than your generic ransom note, they didn’t say anything in particular...it seemed like all they did was ‘copy and paste’. Plus the team varied the gender and pictures used to send the messages, so no clear pattern exists.”
“So these guys,” said Morgan, “and I think this is a team since this seems to be a co-ordinated effort- these guys scout gatherings and find vulnerable girls to perform compromising acts, just so they can extort their families later with a huge payday.”
“So is Aggie’s suicide the only one that is connected to these extortions?” Rossi asked.
“As far as I understand,” said Prentiss. “Garcia is looking into it now.”
“What do the other victims look like?” Reid asked.
“Most of the families targeted were Caucasians,” said Prentiss, “and red hair, like Aggie’s, seemed to be a common occurrence. That’s what allowed me to narrow down the list to five, although there are several other instances that fit the endgame of the MO but not the victimology so those five are far from an exhaustive list.”
“We’ll start in Maine and take it from there,” said Hotchner. “Morgan, you’re in charge on the field.”
“Me?” Morgan said, pleasantly surprised.
“Team dynamics have changed,” said Hotchner. “My responsibilities have changed, and so have everyone else’s, plus Morgan I think you’ve earned the right for more responsibility. So, everyone, if you have any questions about how to proceed with the case, go directly to Morgan. I will answer to Director Black and relay any information from him to you guys on the field. Wheels up in 45.”
Once on the plane, as much as Morgan wanted to bask in the glow of his promotion, he knew the team had little time for that, so he just got down to business.
“Okay, so here’s how it will work,” said Morgan. “Prentiss and Hawkes, I want you guys to go to Newport and talk with the Simpson family. JJ, Rossi, I want you guys to talk to the Mildred family. Reid, Jane- you’re with me. We’re going to the festival and have a look around.”
The Simpson household
“Aggie!” Simpson said, crying her eyes out as she lay on her bed, face down. “Why did you have to go? Why did you have to go?! OH WHY DID YOU HAVE TO GO?!” She cried some more, her sobbing reverberating through the whole house. “You promised me that we’d always be together...why did you lie to me? Why? WHY?!”
Simpson’s mother, Martha, couldn’t help but be taken by Ellie’s crying so she went in to her room to check up on her daughter.
“Ellie sweetie,” said Martha, walking in tentatively. “I’m so sorry, I wish I could bring her back.”
“Go away!” Ellie said, curling up into a ball and pressing herself against the wall.
Martha sighed, knowing this would happen.
“You have no business comforting me! It was your rules that got me in this mess in the first place.”
“Honey...you snuck out of the house and lied to your dad and I. Grounding you was the least we could have done.”
“Yeah, but had you not grounded me, Aggie would have slept over and not have walked to school alone- meaning I could have saved her from her humiliation.”
Martha stood in her room in silence, a pit developing in her stomach as she wrestled with coming up with the best possible answer. She knew in her heart that she did the right thing but seeing Ellie’s pain and knowing that her actions did cause it was agonizing.
Martha then closed the door and paced tentatively before answering.
“I wish I could bring Aggie back,” she said, sadness tinged in her voice. “However...if you didn’t talk to those guys, none of this would happen.”
“Oh yeah,” said Ellie, now incensed. “Blame me, huh? Just like the rest of those idiots!”
Ellie took a magazine and flung it forcefully at Martha, causing her mother to duck. While her mother was avoiding the fling, Ellie got up from her bed and hurried out the door, despite her mother’s best efforts to stop her. She was about to walk out of the house before she was stopped in her tracks.
“Going somewhere?” Hawkes said, brandishing her badge in Ellie’s face.
“What do you want?” Ellie said, sneering. “I’ve already talked to the police...there’s nothing more I can add to you.”
Hawkes extended her arm and tried to place her hand on Ellie’s shoulder but Ellie shied away. Hawkes pulled her hand back and spoke softly.
“Listen Ellie,” she said, trying to calm the teenager down. “I know what you want to do. I can’t say I’ve been in the exact same situation as you but I too have lost people who were close to me. My dad left my mother when I was really young, forcing her to raise myself and my sister all by herself. She would often take out her frustrations on us, sometimes even blaming us for what he did. I can’t tell you how many times I wished my dad was there to help my mother and so that she would stop blaming us for his leaving but none of that can change reality. I felt like leaving many times, but I soon realized that it wouldn’t help my mother- it would only hurt her even more. You need your mother Ellie- as much as you hate her now, she’s the one that will help you get through this.”
Ellie, moved by Hawkes’ words, began to cry and allowed Hawkes to hug her, which she did, warmly.
“It’s going to be okay,” said Hawkes, comforting Ellie, “I promise.” After a few minutes in the hug, Hawkes asked Ellie if she could answer a few questions for her and Prentiss, who had emerged on the scene after driving around trying to find a parking spot, which Ellie accepted.
“I don’t know why they have snow routes year round,” said Ellie to Prentiss after Prentiss explained her ordeal. “Hope you didn’t have to park too far.”
“Only in the school parking lot,” deadpanned Prentiss.
“That’s not too bad. Hopefully the school deer won’t get at it.”
Shock overcame Prentiss, who stood in stunned silence, not only worried that the car would get pummeled but also wondering what a school is doing letting a deer run amok in the first place. She then thought better about worrying, deciding the task at hand was more important and proceeded inside for the interview.
“Let me just start by saying that we’re not here to place any blame on you,” said Hawkes softly to Ellie as the three of them gathered in the family room. “We know that you and Aggie didn’t do anything wrong- well, besides using fraudulent identification, but that’s beside the point.” Ellie, still sullen, chuckled at that last point, providing a brief respite for her as Hawkes continued, “and we know that neither of you deserved any of the treatment you received from those men. The men are the ones at fault, not you. We can’t stress that enough.”
“I know you may be blaming yourself,” said Prentiss, calmly, “but don’t- those nasty men are to blame, because they took advantage of you and robbed you of your dignity. Don’t listen to anyone that says you brought this upon yourself- no one deserves mistreatment, and remember, those men, they’re nothing but cowards who prey on the weak to make up for their own inadequacies as humans. The men that victimized you...they’re not heroes by any stretch...they’re weak and pathetic who need to prey on others to make up for a self-worth they’ll never attain.”
“You are a wonderful, wonderful person,” said Hawkes. “Remember, they may have taken your virginity but they can never take away your soul.”
Ellie, who had been reduced to tears, felt momentarily uplifted by the agents’ words. “Thanks,” she said. “You guys are the first people to say those things to me. It really helps.”
“We have a lot of experience dealing with situations like yours,” said Prentiss. “We can’t tell you how frustrating it is trying to combat victim blaming- a rape is never a woman’s fault, yet that seems to be the only defence a rapist has and it’s horrifying. The rape victim has already been through enough- they don’t need any more pain.”
“Listen,” said Hawkes softly but warmly, “we hate to bring up the memories about the event but in order to catch these guys we need to ask you about it. Is that okay?” Ellie nodded yes which allowed the agents to proceed with the interview.
The Mildred household
“We don’t know why someone would want to do this,” said Todd Mildred, Aggie’s single father, sighing with incredulousness. “All I know is that my daughter is dead and the world seems happy about it.” Mildred then let out an audible scoff. “I don’t know where people get off on taking people down…Aggie didn’t ask for any of this…those men…they took advantage of her…they preyed on the weak…why do they get celebrated?”
“We don’t understand it either, Mr. Mildred,” said Rossi. “Despite all the strides society has made in recent years, we’re still a very ‘macho’ culture and men are still evaluated by their ‘sexual’ conquests. Unfortunately, teens like Aggie are seen as the ‘cream of the crop’ to ‘conquer’ because teens are seen as ‘pure’…I wish things were different, but attitudes are the hardest thing to change.”
“I get all that,” said Mildred, trying his best not to cry. “I still don’t understand…why Aggie? She didn’t deserve any of this…she’s a good girl, she just made a mistake, one that I’m sure she regrets. Yet she’s the one that all the vile gets pointed towards as if she somehow intended to corrupt those ‘poor men’. I mean…these people…they’re incredible.”
“Girls, unfortunately, tend to be held to higher personality standards than men,” explained Jareau. “We’re supposed to be the ‘fairer’ gender, the ones that are smarter and more restrained. Plus, girls know they’re the ones the boys pursue…that’s why, unfortunately, if a girl gets a chance to knock some competition down a peg, she’ll do it.”
“I know it’s a lot for you to comprehend,” said Rossi, “and we wish none of this had happened. We thank you for taking the time to help us out because that will allow us to find out who victimized your daughter.”
“What drew Aggie to Smoove Operator?” asked Jareau. “Is she a big fan of hip-hop or was that an anomaly?”
“I think it was all anomalies,” said Mildred with a chuckle. “I’m an ‘80s kid…I don’t understand music today…I grew up with Prince and New Order…you know, guys that actually tried in their music and didn’t rely on lewd stunts to get hits like these guys do.” Mildred sighed before continuing. “I didn’t really check up on her tastes…she had a job and she paid for her own music…so all I knew was what was coming out of her stereo when she’s doing homework or going on Facebook or whatever it is she did in her room.” He paused to think. “I think she did listen to a lot of hip-hop…if it wasn’t Smoove, then it was 50 Cent or Drake or…what’s that guy’s name that sings about dancing with your grandma?”
“Tyga?” said Rossi.
“You know the song?” said Mildred, surprised.
“I got it on my MP3 player…I love it,” said Rossi with a smile.
“So she listened to a lot of raunchy stuff,” said Jareau. “What was your opinion about it?”
“Well,” said Mildred. “It’s not my musical tastes…but I wasn’t going to tell her not to listen to it. From a very early age, I always tried explaining things to Aggie instead of sheltering her from them…she’s going to learn the bad words at some point, I figured I might as well explain to her about what they mean and how to use them properly. She’s a smart kid…she grasped things very easily so I knew that if I taught her how to be responsible, she could be responsible.”
“So you didn’t stop her from going to the festival,” said Jareau.
“Not at all,” said Mildred. “I trusted her…as long as she wasn’t going alone, which she wouldn’t be, then I saw no problem with her attendance there.”
“She still broke the law in order to attend,” said Rossi, matter-of-factly.
“I believed the law was archaic anyway,” said Mildred, who took a deep breath and wiped his face before continuing. “I’m a libertarian…I don’t think the government should have the right to tell its people how to raise their kids…Aggie might not have been physically old enough to attend a festival of that nature but mentally, she was…and I don’t see a problem with her attendance.” Mildred took another deep breath. “Look, Aggie respected me, so I treated her with respect. I know my methods are unorthodox…but I see no point babying her when she was almost an adult.”
“I’m sorry,” said Jareau. “We’re not here to pass judgment on your methods.”
“I was just merely pointing out it’s not very ‘responsible’ to advocate breaking the law,” said Rossi, who then sighed, “but…it won’t help, so I apologize.”
“I’m not asking this question as a means to justify what happened to her, because there is no way,” said Jareau, “but I do want to know if Aggie had a lot of boyfriends, just as a matter of building a victim profile.”
“No,” said Mildred. “I never saw her with a boy. Not that I would have stopped her…as I said, I taught her responsibility…if she wanted to have sex, or even lots of random sex, she could have done so. As long as she was using protection, then I would have been fine with it. You…you don’t think that because she was a virgin she was selected a victim, do you?”
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said Rossi. “Teens matching Aggie’s appearance appear in other cases, so we’re wondering if the UnSubs knew about her before the festival.”
Mildred wiped his face and scratched his eyes out of stress. “Give me a minute,” he said, getting up. “I need some water.” He then left the agents to go to the kitchen.
As he was in the kitchen collecting himself, the agents analyzed what they heard.
“He’s not a strict parent,” said Jareau.
“You’ve got that right,” said Rossi. “He’s got a cavalier attitude towards the rules.”
“You’d think it would rub off on Aggie though...without being controlled, she could pursue any inhibition she wanted.”
“Or...she’s been overexplained everything and that makes her tentative. Todd said that she spent a lot of time in her room...that doesn’t sound like a teenager who oozed confidence. It sounds more like a teen who’s overwhelmed by her adulthood and needed to be eased into it better.”
“He’s a single parent...he can only do so much. Plus he beat the odds...his wife died in childbirth and thus had to raise Aggie all by himself.”
“I know...Nickelback dedicated their ‘Lullaby’ video to him because his story was inspirational...but I think it only goes so far. At some point, your lack of parenting skills are going to come into play.”
“Speaking of parenting...Todd’s been gone for a while...we should check up on him.”
The agents got up from the living room couch and made their way to the kitchen.
“Oh dear no!” Jareau screamed in horror.
“Paramedics here, stat!” Rossi shouted into his phone after furiously dialing.
There lay Todd Mildred, unconscious on the floor after attempting to overdose on sleeping pills. The agents waited for the ambulance in stunned silence, hoping and praying that Todd would make it through.
The Simpson household
“So why don’t we start from the beginning,” said Prentiss, beginning the interview with Ellie Simpson. “It’s August 30...you’re with Aggie at her house and that night you buy the tickets for the festival. Why then?”
Ellie struggled to keep her composure, but felt obligated to soldier on, so she did. “We’re both big fans of Smoove Operator,” she said. “I remember Aggie telling me that night her boss at work gave her a bonus for winning Employee of the Month, so we decided to celebrate by going to the Festival.”
“How’d you get the fake ID’s?” Hawkes asked.
“Aggie has a friend,” said Ellie. “She pressed them for us...they’re virtually identical to the Maine license, she’s been doing it for years.”
“We’ve seen her handiwork,” said Prentiss, acknowledging her point knowing the counterfieter had been arrested the day before. “She is good. It also helps that the Bostonian Empire doesn’t put a lot of funds into anti-counterfieting.”
“Were there other people your age or was everyone else older than you?” Hawkes asked.
“I think there were a few others,” said Ellie, “but no one we knew.”
“Did you two drink?” Hawkes continued.
“We had a lot,” said Ellie, chuckling sheepishly. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” said Hawkes, rubbing Ellie’s hand. “Like I said, no blame.”
“Did you receive a lot of attention at the event?” Prentiss asked.
“Lots of looks,” said Ellie. “There was this other guy I talked to...he was very nice, he didn’t touch me. Well, we did hug but that was it.” She then hung her head as she continued. “I tried to add him on Facebook but he never added me back,” she explained.
“We’re going to need that name,” said Prentiss. “Don’t get too down about him though- if he was worth it you’d know.”
“You don’t think he was part of it, do you?” Ellie asked, worry tinged in her voice.
“That’s what we need to figure out,” said Prentiss. “UnSubs like ours do tend to operate surreptitiously.”
“I don’t understand,” said Ellie.
“They’re clever about hiding their tracks,” said Hawkes. “It’s likely the two men were with another individual who would act seemingly harmless just so he could ‘screen’ potential victims. The man you talked to could fit that bill.”
Ellie began to sulk. “I can’t believe I fell for that,” she said, sighing heavily.
“Hey,” Prentiss said reassuringly, “no blame. Don’t forget that.”
“Was there anyone else you talked to besides the perpetrators?” Hawkes asked.
“A couple of people made a few catcalls,” said Ellie. “Normal stuff...nothing that jumps out at me. Until...” She then began to cry, which prompted Hawkes to put her arm around her in an effort to comfort her.
“You’re doing wonderful,” said Hawkes, rubbing Ellie’s arm. “Your bravery is amazing...just stay strong.”
“Do you want us to come back another time?” Prentiss asked.
“No,” said Ellie, fighting back the tears. “I need to be strong...for Aggie.” Hawkes rejoined Prentiss as Ellie pressed on.
“I remember,” said Ellie, “when ‘Fuzzy Boundaries’ came on that Aggie and I felt a rush of energy. It’s our favourite song.” Hawkes smiled, wondering why Ellie would think of that song in that light, but decided against pressing that issue since it wouldn’t help. “You know...” Ellie continued through a quiver, “I hear that song a million times. It’s been No. 1 for what, 16 weeks now? Yet I never get sick of it.” She then sighed. “Until all this happened.”
“Remember,” said Prentiss, “don’t blame yourself. Those men hurt you, you did nothing wrong.”
“The song makes us want to twerk,” said Ellie, “and grind with someone. I can’t explain why.”
“Twerk?” Prentiss asked with a puzzled look.
“Twerking is simply shaking your booty by yourself,” said Hawkes. “Grinding is something you do with someone else.”
“Oh,” said Prentiss, understanding the explanation.
“So what happened,” said Hawkes. “The men started to grind with you?”
“Yeah,” said Ellie. “As soon as I felt a guy behind me I just reacted, as if a switch had been flipped. I got so into it that I didn’t look at first to see who it was. After I deduced that he was cute I decided to keep on going.”
“At any point during the night,” said Prentiss, ”did you get a good look at the perpetrators’ eyes? We know how else they look like, except that every picture we have of them have dark sunglasses on.”
“No,” said Ellie, “neither he nor Aggie’s man took them off...they were quite big too.”
“Oh okay, said Hawkes, “Did Aggie react the same way you did when the man came from behind her.?”
“Aggie was always the more cautious one,” explained Ellie, “so she didn’t start to dance until she saw that I was dancing. I didn’t really pay much attention to what happened to her, except that I saw her at one point kissing the man with her shirt off.”
“What about your man,” said Hawkes, “what did he do?”
“I don’t know why,” said Ellie with a sigh, “but I decided to lean up against him as I grinded with him...and...” Ellie’s voice trailed off as she continued. “He felt me up.”
“Remember,” said Hawkes, “the man did this to you...it’s not your fault that he decided to take things where you didn’t want them to go. He should have controlled himself.”
“Well...I did...kinda...want him to do that,” said Ellie, sheepishly.
“...and that’s also fine,” asserted Prentiss. “As long as you consented fully with the actions then you did nothing wrong- it’s the man’s fault for taking advantage of you. Listen, we don’t need the details unless you feel it’s necessary to provide them, but we would like to know how much of the sex acts you consented to.”
“Well, um...” Ellie said, trailing off before Hawkes weighed in.
“If you have to think about it then we already know the answer,” said Hawkes, assertively.
“I wanted to grind with him,” said Ellie, sheepishly, “he just...took things too quickly. I mean, the next thing I know, he puts his hands on my legs and runs his hands up my thighs, and before I could say something, his hands were already fingering my vagina.”
“Listen, I know this is very sensitive,” said Prentiss, “but we need to know certain details as it will help us identify your attacker.”
“Okay,” said Ellie, taking a deep breath.
“When you say that he took things too quickly,” asked Hawkes, “do you mean that he rushed his hands physically?”
“No,” said Ellie, “he was smooth and composed the entire time.”
“Okay,” acknowledged Hawkes, “when he touched you, how did he do it? Did it feel like he was doing so, say, in a warming way or in a possessive way, or coldly?”
“ ‘Warming?’ I don’t understand,” said Ellie, perplexed at Hawkes’ word choice. “He violated me, right?”
“This isn’t about trying to make light of it or to mitigate what happened,” said Hawkes. “What we’re trying to do is understand his motivations, because if we understand how he viewed you, we may be able to understand why he picked you as a victim and that helps us understand what kind of person we’re looking for.”
“Okay,” said Ellie, nodding her head. “It felt like...it felt like...” Ellie started to sob, recounting the horrors, but pressed on anyway. “It felt like he knew what he wanted and nothing was going to stop him, but he wasn’t rough...he was tender to the touch. He...” She hung her head down and started to cry again, soothed back into the interview by Hawkes’ warm hands. “I feel so bad...he excited me real good...how could something so vile get me going...maybe I did want it...”
Hawkes continued to rub her hands. “Ellie...the orgasm is a physiological response...all you need are the right kinds of sensations on your body and you’ll achieve it, whether you wanted those sensations or not.” Ellie still gave her a blank look. “Think about it this way- if you were to take a pen and drag it towards your eye, instinctively your eyelids close, whether or not you wanted them to. Orgasms are the same way- if he puts his hands in the right places and moves them in the right way he’ll cause you to orgasm because that’s how the body is wired. You can’t control that...so remember, just because you achieved orgasm does not mean that you wanted what happened to you- the organs react involuntarily.”
“Does that mean I should have stopped him before he put his hands up my skirt?” Ellie asked.
“Ellie, you were in the moment,” explained Hawkes. “Like I said, arousal is involuntarily...sometimes you just can’t control it...and, unfortunately men do take advantage of that. Again, the man is at fault here.”
“I was so scared,” said Ellie, “I felt things I never felt before...I didn’t know how to handle them.”
“We understand that,” said Prentiss reassuringly, “and likely the man knew of that too.”
“I just felt so much pressure,” explained Ellie. “Both Aggie and I...we have friends in high school who’ve already had sex and kept telling us about how much more ‘adult’ they were than us because of it...so when the man felt me up, I felt like I had no choice but to give in.”
“Ellie,” said Hawkes, “you didn’t have to. Over half of American teens are still virgins...likely your ‘friends’ were just pulling your leg to marginalize you. You should never feel pressured into sex...remember that.”
“Be lucky you didn’t get a baby out of it,” said Prentiss. “When I was 15, I was in love with this boy and he pressured me into sex...I had to get an abortion. From that day on I wasn’t going to let guys use sex as a bargaining chip.”
“I still don’t know, actually,” said Ellie, “I’m too ashamed to get tested, lest my mother find out.”
“We’ll drive you to the clinic,” said Hawkes. “I’ll talk to your mother.”
Just then, Prentiss received a phone call from Rossi.
“Prentiss,” she said, leaving outside to answer. “What? Oh that’s awful...no, we’re still talking to Ellie...Rossi, she’s a rape victim, she needs a lot of comfort and that will take as long as it needs to...look, we need to get her to a clinic, she hasn’t tested herself for pregnancy and, as I suspect, for STDs…Rossi, we need to make do with what we have…Randy won’t be back home for a couple of hours, and we can wait for him…all right, bye.”
Prentiss then hung up the phone and arranged for Ellie to go the clinic to get her tests with Hawkes, while Prentiss stayed to interview Martha.
Bangor City Forest, Bangor, Maine
“Ever been to a city with its own forest?” asked Jane with dry wit as he, Morgan and Reid hiked their way to the clearing in the Forest where the Summer of Rap Festival was held. Since the police only learned of the crime a day after the event took place, the Festival’s equipment had been taken down, leaving the field empty and the agents to rely on floor plans.
“Actually, a number of cities have their own forests,” answered Reid almost immediately. “They serve as an ecological equalizer combating against a urban area’s many different pollutants by detoxifying the air.”
“Umm…Commander Data?” said Jane, “can you repeat that in English?”
“He means that the forest helps clean up a city’s air,” said Morgan.
“Ah,” said Jane, “I see. Well, I know a lot of cities have forests…but most of those are ‘just for show’. This seems to actually be a forest.”
“There is a greater amount of biodiversity in Bangor than there are in other cities, I’ll give you that,” said Reid.
“Yeah,” said Morgan, “but how much more could it have if people actually followed the anti-poaching laws.”
“Good point,” said Jane with a sardonic chuckle.
“Okay,” said Morgan as the agents reached the massive clearing where the Festival was held. They proceeded to walk to the north end where the stage was. “So…we’ve got a field that’s roughly the size of a football field…here is where Ellie Simpson and Aggie Mildred enjoyed the show, and right in front of us would be the stage.”
“So if it took us five minutes to walk from one end of the field to the other,” said Reid, “I’m going to guess by the throng of people that would be present that our UnSubs would likely need ten to get to the front of the stage.”
“Ten minutes?” said Jane with an incredulous look. “You don’t get out much, do you Reid?”
“No, he doesn’t,” said Morgan with a sigh.
“In a concert of this size everyone crushes towards the front,” said Jane. “So, at best, we’re talking maybe 15-20 minutes to get from the south end to the north end…and that’s if everyone is polite…and that’s a big ‘if’.”
“Aren’t we jumping to conclusions that these guys were at the south end to begin with?” said Reid. “We don’t have any proof of that.”
“Well, based on the pictures,” said Morgan, “at the start of the Festival the UnSubs were nowhere near the front of the stage. They also can’t be seen in any pictures of Simpkins at the start of his set, but by the time he gets to ‘Fuzzy Boundaries’, you can already see the girls grinding with the UnSubs.”
“So they were at least at the midway point of the crowd,” said Jane, “and he was still seen with his shirt on until ‘Dirty Girl’ came on and that was two songs before he closed his set with an extended version of ‘Fuzzy Boundaries’.”
“Wait,” said Reid, “Jane, you said it would take 20 minutes to get from one end of the field to other…so, from, at least the midway point of the crowd, it would take at least ten minutes…and that’s precisely the amount of time that elapsed before the UnSubs met the girls…now, if these guys were simply scouting it would take them a lot longer than ten minutes to get to the stage…so they had to have had a sign.”
“Reid,” Morgan said, pulling up his phone, “look where Simpkins was when he played ‘Dirty Girl’.”
“He’s right in front of the girls, practically standing in front of them,” said Reid. “He gave the UnSubs a signal.”
“Didn’t he do that series of ‘Nasty Nubiles’ videos?” asked Jane, analyzing. “It would make sense that he would team up with these guys so they could score with some pubescents.”
“So while Simpkins is playing his set,” said Morgan, analyzing, “he’s scouting the crowd looking for girls that the UnSubs could hit on…and, by taking off his shirt and standing by where the girls are, the UnSubs know where to go.”
“The girls must have thought Simpkins was singing right to them,” said Jane with a concerned look on his face. “Little did they know…”
Morgan then walked towards the area of the stage. “Okay,” he said, analyzing, doing math in his head. He then stepped right to where the stage started and made some more notes before revealing what he found.
“Not only did Simpkins help out the UnSubs locate targets,” he said, “the stage was calculated in such a way that Simpkins had a perfect sightline towards the entire crowd. So, whoever set up the stage did so to help Simpkins pick the perfect targets.”
“So now we’re looking at the people who set up the stage,” said Jane.
The three agents then made their way to where the porta potties were, to examine the area the four had sex. Morgan then pulled up on his phone the festival floor plan and purposefully paced.
“Okay,” said Morgan, making occasional stops as he walked. “The porta potties were grouped in threes right here…here…here…and here.”
“They’re odd places for porta potties,” said Reid, walking to one of the porta potty spots. “The ground is sloped…so these had to have been bolted down.”
“This one is interesting,” said Jane, standing at the second group of porta potties, with the other two agents joining him. “According to the floor plan, the fourth one is set up just perfectly. Now, accounting for the height of the stand where the potty’s hole went and the time of day when the pictures were taken, you’ll notice that the sightlines are aligned perfectly so that our UnSubs’ faces are obscured but the girls’ faces are not. What this means is that Simpkins had to time his shirt removal so that the UnSubs knew exactly when to strike, meaning likely these guys were good enough at their seduction techniques that they could coerce the girls into sex within minutes, aided by the fact they were easily suggestible in the first place.”
“Do you know what else this means?” asked Morgan. “This means we’re also looking at not just the guy who set up the stage but the whole festival as well. I’m going to call Garc-” Morgan let out a huge sigh when he looked at his phone.
“Rossi,” said Morgan, annoyed, “for the last time, I’m not challenging you to a rap battle. It’s just not- oh…I see.” A sullen look overcame Morgan’s face as he continued. “Meet us back at Bangor Police Headquarters in an hour. Let’s see what we’ve got first.” As Morgan ended his call, Jane and Reid gave him concerned looks.
“Todd Mildred attempted suicide halfway through questioning,” said Morgan.
“Oh goodness,” said Reid. “That’s horrible.”
“Poor man’s been through a lot,” said Jane. “I hope he makes it. Was it something Rossi said?”
“I need to find out about that,” said Morgan. “I doubt it though…Rossi and JJ have been doing their thing for a long time…they wouldn’t deliberately send Todd over the edge. He likely got overwhelmed by everything and the questioning was the last straw.”
“How’s he doing now?” asked Jane.
“He’s in the hospital right now as I understand,” said Morgan. “Critical but stable condition. Let’s hope for the best.”
St. Clement’s Hospital, Bangor, Maine
“Vital signs are good,” said Doctor Stan Burke, the lead physician looking over Todd Mildred, “but I wonder for how long- the drugs are still doing quite a number on his heart. The digestion has complicated his blood flow.”
“How much longer do you think he’ll be in here for?” Rossi asked.
“It could be another few days,” said Burke. “We need to make sure that all the toxins are gone before we can release him.”
Rossi nodded in acknowledgment as the doctor went away to tend to Mildred.
Coming down the hallway was a man, recognizing Rossi right away, with a concerned look on his face. It was Randy Simpson.
“How’s he doing?” Simpson said after greeting Rossi.
“He OD’ed pretty badly,” said Rossi. “The drugs he took reacted negatively in his stomach so that’s given him a few complications.”
Simpson sighed. “Todd is a good man,” he said, “he raised Aggie all by himself. I’d hate for these guys to take them both.”
“Aggie was all he had to live for...I’m guessing he tried his hardest to move on from her death but he couldn’t do it. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose your wife in childbirth and then to lose your only memory of your wife later.”
“Linda had a lower back tattoo and decided to get an epidural...at first the doctor blamed the tattoo for her death but we later found out the hospital didn’t santize the catheter properly...so Todd sued and won a settlement of millions. I’m told the doctor still resents him for that.”
“The doctor lost his license, right?”
“Instantaneously. Moved out of the Bostonian Empire entirely almost immediately but he kept sending Todd threatening letters...he even suggested to him once that Aggie was actually his daughter, not Todd’s...I couldn’t believe some of the things he wrote.”
“Did he keep the letters?”
“I’m not sure...might have to ask the police for that.”
Just then, Morgan appeared on the scene.
“How’s he doing?” Morgan asked.
“Prognosis is still up in the air,” said Rossi with a sigh.
“Rossi,” Morgan said assuredly, “I know what happened...don’t feel too bad about it. There was nothing you could do.”
“It still sucks,” Rossi responded with a sigh, a notion Morgan agreed with.
Morgan then turned to Simpson. “Mr. Simpson,” said Morgan, greeting Simpson. “Derek Morgan, FBI. Do you have the letter you received regarding Ellie?”
“I deleted it right away without a second thought,” said Simpson. “I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t let someone else tell me what to do, so I wasn’t going to fall for a ransom attempt. I also thought this was some kind of sick Internet prank so I avoided it...but, unfortunately, I miscalculated badly.”
“When did you know the pictures had come online?” Morgan asked.
“I received the message on Facebook...and the guys must have been online because an hour after I deleted the E-Mail I suddenly got this post on my Facebook News Feed that purported to be a video of the ‘Maine Girls’. I was curious so I opened it up...only to be horrified at what I saw. I went to confront Ellie about it only to find her in front of her computer crying incessantly. I looked and I saw one of her ‘friends’ put her down on her wall for her behaviour. That was only the beginning. Apparently on Read It or something some guy posted all of our contact information, so that night and into the day we kept receiving phone calls, E-Mails, texts...you name it...about the incident. We were all rattled.”
“Reddit is what I think you were referring to...that site...those guys like to do all kinds of different things.” Morgan sighed before continuing. “What do you remember about the letter? Even the littlest detail can help us out.”
“Okay...” Simpson paused to think deeply. “Well, I don’t remember the letter much...but the Facebook account...it was a picture of a fisherman, out on Moosehead Lake, where Ellie and I like to go on ‘father-daughter’ trips. I thought it was odd that the picture they used was that...it can’t be a coincidence.”
“That’s what we need to figure out. Something is connecting all of these girls together...we just need to know what.”
“Okay,” said Prentiss to Hawkes after the two of them returned Ellie Simpson back home from the clinic. She then started the car and began to drive off. “So according to Morgan, one of the guys helped co-ordinate the placement of the equipment at the festival, since everything was aligned just so the pictures could be easily taken. We also know Kyle Simpkins helped them out.”
“I knew Smoove Operator had to be involved in this,” said Hawkes with a scowl. “He’s too much of a scumbag not to be. So our next step is to question him and the festival co-ordinator, right?”
“Simpkins is using his lawyers to avoid speaking to us...and more than one person helped out with the layout.”
“Well, all those guys could be part of the team.”
“I suppose...though, as I pointed out to Morgan, it’s the stage manager’s job to make sure the stage is positioned in such a way that Simpkins can see the crowd in the first place...and anyone working at the festival could have moved the porta potties. So we’re almost back at square one.”
“Almost...what we do know is that Ellie said her attacker was tender to the touch...he was controlling, but he was caring.”
“Controlling but caring...he sounds like a father.”
“Or a boyfriend.”
“I think the age difference is too great for the man not to see Ellie as anything other than a surrogate daughter.”
“Unless Ellie reminded him of a young love...I find it odd that, if he was fatherly, his sole objective was sex...if he were fatherly, the sex would have been a corollary...instead, sex was the goal. It points to a young love to me.”
The pair stopped the car momentarily having come to a stop sign, although it didn’t slow their conversation. “So in being controlling the attacker is saying that he does not want to lose his love again.”
“Hmmnnn...I think that works.”
Just then, a loud bang could be heard outside of the car. Prentiss let out some obscenities in disgust and went out to take a look with Hawkes. Prentiss then let out some more cussing.
“I think the deer got your car,” said Hawkes with a sardonic chuckle.
“Hotch is going to be so mad,” said Prentiss, wiping her face with stress before calling a tow truck.
Billings District Court, Billings, Montana
“Your Honour,” said Hotchner to Billings District Judge Kenneth Baylor, “we are not suggesting that by bringing him in for questioning that Mr. Simpkins is a suspect. He is a witness to an incident subject to a Continental investigation and we merely want to understand what he saw.”
“Agent Hotchner,” said Simpkins’ attorney, Frederick Gregaros, “if he is simply a witness, then why are you compelling him to talk? A witness has a right not to come forward, and Mr. Simpkins is simply exercising his right.”
“We find it odd that as soon as we ask him to come in for questioning he throws up a legal roadblock...that tells us that he has something to hide.”
“If he does have something to hide, it’s his right to hide it. You forget, Agent, that the Montanan Empire is not a member of the North American Union and you have no jurisdiction there.”
“However, since the incident did occur in Union territory, we do have a right to issue a subpoena.”
“...and we have the right to contest that subpoena. Agent, unless he’s committed a serious crime, we cannot compel him to release him your custody. We just can’t. Montanan law is very clear about that.”
“We have proof that he aided the crime in question. The stage in Bangor was structured in such a way to give him a view of the crowd, not to mention he moved to the section of the stage where the victims were located and removed his shirt mere moments before the UnSubs attacked them.”
“Coincidences...you still have no physical proof he was involved.”
“Agent Hotchner,” said Baylor, interjecting authoritatively. “Mr. Gregaros is right. Unless you’ve actually got proof that he’s committed a serious crime we cannot discuss extradition. I’m denying the motion.” Baylor then loudly struck his gavel and adjourned the hearing.
Hotchner then placed a purposeful call outside of the courtroom.
“Garcia,” said Hotchner to his Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia.
“Yes Captain America?” Garcia said in a perky tone while taking a sip out of her fountain pop.
Hotchner let out a sigh knowing he needed to talk to Garcia about decorum, though now wasn’t the right time. “Garcia, I need you to look into Kyle Simpkins. I can’t get his involvement in the case without finding proof that he’s committed a serious crime so dig, and dig deep. Even if we can uncover an outstanding arrest warrant it would be good enough.”
“Aye aye Captain! I’ll be right on that!”
Bangor Police Headquarters, Bangor, Maine
“Okay,” said Morgan, as the team gathered in a conference room, “I spoke with the festival organizers…no one knows who exactly set up the porta potties the way they were…which means our UnSub did it at night when no one was looking, and probably right at the end of the shift so no one could suspect what he was doing. So, we’ve got one option left…let’s work the profile.”
“We know the photographer is an experienced guy,” said Jane, “because he got the sightlines from the porta potties perfectly.”
“So that probably means our photographer is at least in his mid-thirties,” said Rossi. “That gives him the time to develop his skills.”
“He’d likely also be friends with the other two UnSubs,” said Reid, “as their plan worked out extremely well.”
“They’ve also got some kind of tie with Simpkins,” said Prentiss. “To what extent we don’t know- it’s too early to tell, especially if he’s not going to talk with us.”
“Do we assume that the photographer is the ringleader?” Hawkes asked. “I think since everything is set up entirely for him then he’s got to be the one calling the shots.”
“I don’t know about ‘ringleader’,” said Rossi. “Simpkins seemed to be the one who led the men to the girls...I think of the photographer as more the ‘brains’ behind the operation.”
“That still makes him a leader of some kind,” said Morgan, “since the other two UnSubs- and even Simpkins- listened to his directions.”
“Do we look at him as the ‘controlling’ type?” Hawkes asked.
“He seemed to let his partners do what they liked,” said Morgan. “From what we understand about the attacks on Aggie and Ellie, the men seemed very willing to go after them- if the photographer was controlling, the men might have been tentative in their approach, and they were not.”
“He also wasn’t in any of the pictures,” said Prentiss. “Witness reports and what pictures we do have from this attack and others tell us that the attackers were always the same, and that the attackers communicated very little with the photographer, if at all- no one saw the three of them conversing, just the two attackers. If he was controlling, I think the photographer would have wanted to be a part of the action at some point, not just a distant spectator.”
“Perhaps, also,” said Reid as a thought came to him, “he didn’t get in on the action because he did not feel his looks were good enough to be in the action to begin with. The attackers were described as ‘cute’ by Ellie...I’m sure if she saw the photographer she wouldn’t call him cute.”
“Also,” said Morgan, “if the photographer is the ‘director’ then he’s also likely the one who has the connection with Simpkins. Meaning we’ve got to look at festival photographers who have done work with celebrities.”
“In that case, do we surmise that the photographer works professionally?” Reid asked.
“Probably,” said Jane, “but only as a freelance photographer. He likely works in festival setup.”
“He could just be a volunteer,” said Hawkes.
“Money seems to be motivating the group to continue doing what they’re doing,” said Prentiss, “so they’re likely not rich to begin with. Full-time photographers, especially ones with celebrity links, don’t need ransom money.”
“What about the two attackers?” Morgan said, changing the focus of the conversation.
“We don’t have much except that they’re white males in their thirties,” said Prentiss. “We can’t even gauge their hair colour or facial hair style since they keep changing them. All we know is that the pictoral evidence suggests that each set of attackers were a pair and that this pair shared the same facial structure which tells us they were the same in each attack but that’s all we know.”
“If they’re quite skilled at changing their appearances,” said Reid, “then perhaps they have experience in fields that deal with changing appearances- and since we’ve deduced the ringleader is an avid photographer, and, we presume, they’re not using makeup, they’ve worked in costume design or fashion design.”
“Which doesn’t narrow it down too much,” said Morgan. “As we all know, despite popular belief, there are many male fashion designers who are not gay.”
“I think the sex acts are the answer,” said Rossi. “The one that attacked Aggie had her give him fellatio, while the one that attacked Ellie wanted sex. Although forcing someone into sex is still a selfish act, the actual act itself requires both partners to participate to get something out of it, plus sex itself can provide gratification for both parties. Fellatio, no matter how you look at it, is a selfish act, since only the man is getting serviced and the woman is doing all the work. This jibes with what we already know, meaning Ellie’s attacker was certainly reminiscing about a lost love while Aggie’s attacker was all about control and dominance.”
“Yeah, but the acts were not consensual,” cautioned Hawkes.
“Realistically and technically,” said Rossi, “yeah you’re right...but these were not your stereotypical ‘forced’ rapes. Neither were beaten or threatened with a gun or a knife, nor were they drugged by the UnSubs...these were, at the time, ‘willing’ acts, in that the men only proceeded with the acts once the girls actually said ‘yes’ to them. That those ‘yesses’ were engineered is immaterial in this analysis- in the UnSubs’ minds, those girls actually did say ‘yes’, even though we all know better about that. That holds the key about who the attackers were.”
“Prentiss,” said Reid, “were the other attacks similar to this? We can’t make generalizations based on one incident.”
“Not all of the other sex acts were recorded,” said Prentiss. “The other victims refused to share their experiences with the police, perhaps out of embarrassment. All we’ve got are witness reports, and they’re pretty sketchy...although the only confirmed acts we have suggest that Ellie was the first one to have vaginal intercourse with the attackers.”
“So Ellie was special,” said Rossi, “because our UnSub wanted to ‘share’ something with her, whereas with the other girls it was all about servicing him.”
“What do we make about Aggie?” asked Morgan. “Girls like her seem to be the most consistent target…and Aggie was controlled.”
“Both attackers seemed to have targeted Aggie-like people,” said Prentiss. “This means that they both know a girl like Aggie…and they both sought to control her.”
“Schoolteachers, perhaps?” said Jane. “That might be the only explanation for how two different people could have issues with the same teenage girl- they’d have to both have regular interaction with her, and the only way to do that is at a school.”
“They could be family friends,” said Rossi, “whose families thus interact on a regular basis.”
“Yeah,” said Reid with a disagreeing look, “but usually family friends don’t seek to control another person’s family members…they stick to their own. It may still be possible, but schoolteacher would be the easiest explanation.”
“Plus being a schoolteacher allows them to work summer festivals,” said Morgan.
“…and since they were quite proficient with the Internet,” said Rossi, “we can assume that one of them teaches computer science.”
“Another question,” said Hawkes, “do we assume that they live here, in Bangor, because that was their ‘final’ stop on the festival circuit?”
“Normally I would say yes,” said Reid, “but I think if they were locals, they’d be recognized by someone, plus Ellie and Aggie would likely know them. The Festival also ended at such a point that would allow them to fly home.”
“So we’ve got to search flight records and see which schoolteachers flew out of town on Labour Day,” said Morgan. “I’ll get Garcia in on that.”
FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
“Hey pretty lady,” said Technical Analyst Kevin Lynch, walking in on his girlfriend, Garcia, a coffee firmly in his hand.”
“My goodness!” said Garcia, startled by Lynch. “You don’t knock?”
“I can’t pay my girlfriend a visit and give her a coffee?” said Lynch with a warm smile.
“You got me a coffee?” said Garcia, taken by Lynch’s kindness. “Right when I needed one? Aww…you’re so sweet.”
She then got up and kissed Lynch and looked at him lovingly into his eyes before a thought came to her.
“Wait,” she said, concerned. “What did you do now?”
“What?” said Lynch, perplexed. “I didn’t do anything.”
“You never bring me a coffee…therefore, something’s gotta be up.” Garcia then folded her arms and glared intently at Lynch, who started to get nervous.
“What? Can’t a guy get his girlfriend a coffee without it meaning anything else?” The intensity of Garcia’s glaring soon got to Lynch, who panted heavily.
“Honey…you forget…I work with profilers. Nothing gets by me.”
Lynch began to stutter. “I…I…uh…swear I didn’t do anything…um…I promise!”
“You forgot to take out the garbage.”
Lynch’s panting got heavier. “Oh come on…I had to get to work for 5AM today…I…you…I mean…you know I couldn’t do it…”
“I know.” Garcia let a chuckle, smiled and kissed him again, which relieved his stress. “You keep forgetting I love seeing you squirm…it makes you so cute…and you fall for it every time.”
“I gotta work on that…” Lynch soon regained his composure and then turned his attention to Garcia’s screens.
“What are you working on there, babe?” said Lynch, staring intently at the screens.
“Kyle Simpkins,” said Garcia. “Hotch is having difficulties just getting him to agree to questioning, so I have to dig into his background and see if there something we can use to extradite him.”
Lynch was surprised to hear that. “Extradite him? Seems extreme…can’t we just issue him a subpoena and he has to testify?”
“It’s not so easy…Simpkins is from Billings…so he’s outside of our jurisdiction. Remember, the Montanan Empire is not part of the North American Union.”
“Right…oh that is a quagmire. How do you know he doesn’t have a clean criminal record?”
“Come on…the guy sings about girls as if they’re nothing but sex toys. Guys like that are not clean.”
“Doesn’t he have a wife and three kids? How can you say he treats women poorly? Besides, don’t you know all those guys sing those songs just to generate controversy?”
“ ‘Dirty Girl’ contains a reference to flunitrazepam…how could he not have been up to something before?”
“Ohhhh! Okay…yeah…he seems like a creep.”
“Thing is, he keeps on burying all of his crimes in all this red tape…court cases against him get caught up in a mess of procedural motions and other delaying tactics that ultimately lead to the prosecutors just deciding to give up…and a judge in 2011 signed an order clearing his record, burying his past even more.”
“Well, he did get sued a lot for ‘Nasty Nubiles’, didn’t he?”
“Red tape…red tape…red tape…though all I’ve seen so far have ultimately been thrown out, since Simpkins digs up the contract each of the girls are asked to sign and judges see that they consented, so the cases get thrown out. Except for this one case…” Garcia clicked through the links on her screen some more, digging deeper into the motions. “A girl by the name of Jane Doe didn’t have her case resolved…the prosecution just gave up after Simpkins’ motions and I need to get to the bottom of it.”
“Why not just search for Jane Doe in the database? Her name has to get connected with the court documents, even if they don’t release it.”
“Usually, though, I can just search for the name via the court record number and her ID shows up…however, in this case, Simpkins’ motions prevented even that from happening, so all I’ve been getting is roadblocks.”
“It’s tied to a police record, no?”
“Wait…you’re right…why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because you’re frazzled…sometimes fresh eyes is all that’s needed.”
Garcia then clicked away for the police records and celebrated.
“Ha!” she said, excited, kissing Lynch. “It worked. Thanks honey.” She then focused back on to her screen. “Okay…so what’s the name?” Her focus then turned to shock, then disgust. “Oh goodness…I can’t believe this man.”
Lynch saw the name and also shook his head in disbelief. “Couldn’t have said it better myself,” he said, also sharing the same disgust.
The next day, Bangor Police Headquarters, Bangor, Maine
“You thought you could get away, didn’t you?” Morgan said to Simpkins in the interrogation room, sneering at him with disgust. “You’re looking at a long time behind bars for producing child pornography.”
Simpkins, his brown hair tightly woven into cornrows and wearing an oversized T-Shirt that quoted N.W.A.’s classic, “F*** Tha Police”, chuckled at Morgan sardonically.
“Oh you think this is some kind of game don’t you?” Morgan continued. “What, do you think it would be ‘cool’ to go to prison, just so you can enhance your ‘street cred’? Well let me tell you something- prison ain’t no game, and they don’t take kindly to child predators like yourself.”
“That’s because you don’t know the tricks I do,” sneered Simpkins in his Montanan drawl. “I’ll be just like the other rap stars who claim they’ve been to jail and only be there for but a day...and no longer will anyone say that I’m a joke.”
Morgan scowled in his reply and started to pace around the room, looking at Simpkins the entire time. “Your whole personna is a joke. Just by you even thinking that you can use prison for your own benefit shows what kind of a person you really are. Did you really think that Calvin Brodaus enjoyed going to jail all those times for selling cocaine? Or do you think Eric Wright enjoyed having to sell drugs just so no one would murder him in the projects?”
Simpkins looked at Morgan with a confused look. “Eric Wright? Calvin who?”
Morgan chuckled and shook his head and continued his pacing. “Wow...you can’t even recognize Eazy-E and Snoop Dogg...and you call yourself a gangster. How pathetic of you.”
“I don’t need to know people to be a real gangsta. I went through some tough s***. I paid my dues.”
“Really? Was it tough being a straight A student at the Richfield Private Academy, where it’s known you were suspended a few times for being a bully? Not very gangster of you there, picking on people who are weaker than you. Was it really tough growing up in The Foothills of Boise, where your parents had a house that even many of the wealthy could only dream of? Was it really that tough getting not just a Hummer for your 16th birthday, but a Porsche as well? All on daddy’s dime too...must be nice being a spoiled little brat.”
Simpkins responded angrily while beginning to quiver. “I resent that! I...I...”
“Got no answer for that do you?” Morgan couldn’t help but smile smugly. He chuckled before continuing. “Oh yeah...I forgot...you were on The Y Factor too. Not just that, but you were the judges’ pick right from the beginning, and audiences loved you. You hardly broke a sweat...and you only signed up on a whim. You didn’t spend years struggling in the underground, like real rappers do.”
“Hey man...it ain’t ma fault if I got talent! All those other n**** are just jealous of my mad skills, yo...and you are too...you just don’t like it when a cracka shows you people up.”
Morgan chuckled and simply shook his head, knowing what Simpkins was trying to do.
Simpkins was surprised by Morgan’s lack of action and did his best to hide the fact he was rattled by it. “What? You’re just going to sit there and take it? I thought you’s was a real gangsta.”
“I don’t fall for cowardly acts. Trying to anger me into hurting you just so the courts can throw out whatever confession you give is cowardly- because you won’t fight fair.”
“A’ight...Imma take a leak. I’ll see you later.” Simpkins got up from his chair and proceeded to the door, where Morgan stopped him.
“No no no tough guy,” said Morgan, who stood in the way of the door. “You don’t get to take a leak without me coming with you.”
“I don’t need no n****’s supervision! What, you can’t trust me?” Simpkins then reached for the door before Morgan caught his hand and propelled it away, which caused Simpkins to use his other hand and try to punch Morgan in the face.
Morgan reacted quickly, dodging the punch deftly and grabbing Simpkins by the scruff of shirt collar and slammed him against the wall. Morgan then spoke menacingly. “You don’t even think of trying that again. Or I’ll show you how a real gangster deals with losers like you.”
Outside of the room, Reid and Hawkes watched intently.
“I can’t believe Simpkins used Rachel Person’s video for ‘Nasty Nubiles’ against her,” said Hawkes, shaking her head with disgust.
“It’s a sad tale,” said Reid. “Commiting suicide after the prosecution dropped her case, believing that even justice let her down...it’s why we need to get this guy.”
“I never thought you’d be this invested in taking down Simpkins. I guess it has something to do with Alexa Lisbon.”
“Bullies hit a nerve...and Simpkins is the biggest one I’ve seen.”
Hawkes continued, analyzing. “So Simpkins videotapes Person and some of her guy friends, all of whom are minors, and Person sues to get the videotape destroyed and tells the prosecutor she wants to press charges against Simpkins. Simpkins, using his lawyers, sues the prosecutors for harassment and wins a gag order on the Person proceedings, delaying the process of pressing charges against him and extorts the Person family into dropping the charges by threatening to release the video. Even though the Person family complied, one of Simpkins’ cronies leaked it online anyway, and since no one could trace the source...the prosecution drops its case.”
“Plus, since Simpkins himself didn’t release the video all we had were whispers, with no evidence being shed because Simpkins skillfully hid it all…and, thus, he could get out of it with plausible deniability.” Reid continued as something clicked in his mind. “So that means…” Reid walked into the interrogation room and pulled out Morgan.
“Morgan,” said Reid, “Kyle Simpkins is extorting one of his teammates.”
“Reid,” said Morgan, calmly but sternly, “let’s not jump to conclusions. I know you don’t like this guy, and I don’t either, but we don’t have any evidence of that.”
“Think about it Morgan,” said Hawkes, “the Rachel Person photos didn’t come out because Simpkins himself released them…one of his cronies did. So Simpkins has to be extorting his crony in some way to keep the crony’s identity hidden.”
“Simpkins isn’t acting in all of this like he’s the leader of all this,” said Morgan after a brief pause. “He’s acting like a willing participant…as if, at the very least, the crony that leaked the video and him are working together. So, at the very least, they’re both extorting each other in some way.”
“In a team dynamic, usually one half of the partnership is the weaker partner,” said Reid, “judging by his actions, throwing up all these roadblocks, it seems like Simpkins lacks the confidence to tackle problems head on.”
“Or,” said Morgan, “Simpkins is crafty, knowing all the tricks and how to best apply them. Simpkins was confident enough to try a trick on me…that’s not someone who is weak.”
“So we’re not going to get him via a direct interrogation,” opined Reid. “We need to get the two attackers, who probably are the weak ones…then we can nail Simpkins and the photographer.”
“Babygirl,” said Morgan, giving Garcia a call. He spoke with anticipation in his voice. “Tell me you’re going to make daddy proud.”
“Oh right, the schoolteachers,” said Garcia, fighting off a yawn. “It’s been a long day…here’s the thing.”
“Garcia, we don’t got time for excuses man.”
“Right…right.” Garcia took a deep breath and a sip from her coffee before continuing. “See, on Labour Day there were seven schoolteachers that flew out of Bangor, five of whom went to Summer of Rap…and they’re all over the country…I can give you the information but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
“How many of them teach computer science?”
“There was only one…his name is Randy Mark Traverse…lives in Minneapolis…and facial analysis shows that he’s essentially a match to one of the attackers in the photo. Unfortunately I couldn’t match the other one.”
“That’s okay. As long as we got one…we can get the other. Get Minneapolis PD to send him to us.”
19:09 local time, Bangor Police Headquarters, Bangor, Maine
“Hawkes,” said Morgan as the police brought in the plane-weary Traverse into the interrogation room. “I want you to start the interrogation. You’ve got red hair, just like their main victims, and that could trigger a few things in him.”
“Will do,” said Hawkes, nodding her head confidently and walking into the interrogation room.
“Randy, Randy, Randy,” said Hawkes as she walked in. “What is it with you and red hair?”
Traverse, as predicted, saw Hawkes’ own auburn locks and was fixated by them. “Red hair is beautiful,” he said, still in shock at the turn of events for him. “However, I still don’t understand why I’m here.”
Hawkes took a seat from the table on the side opposite Traverse. “Randy.” She paused to touch his arm. “I understand you’re confused right now...maybe even a bit angry...but remember, I’m not here to bury you...I’m on your side...I’m here to help.”
“You’re...you’re with the police though...how can you be here to help?”
“Because we’re both after the same thing...justice. Contrary to popular belief, the police isn’t always out to destroy people...all we want is the truth, and we’ve only brought you in here because we think you can help us find the truth.”
“You’ve formally arrested me...you must think I’m some kind of a bad man.” Traverse sighed before continuing. “I may have made mistakes but we all do.”
Hawkes grabbed his hand and held it, feigning warmth. She sensed that she had him right where she wanted him. “Randy...even good people do bad things. I’m sure you meant well.”
Traverse began to cry. “I didn’t mean to hold her down...but Patrick and I...we had no choice.”
“Who? Who are you talking about?”
“Jenny...Jenny Marquis...she was a redhead just like you. Always a troublemaker...I had her in my Grade 10 class...she was either talking to her friends, loudly, talking back to me and frequently uploaded porn to the school servers, just to get a rise out of us. I remember one day I was talking to her after class and she was chewing bubblegum which she loudly snapped, which was the last straw for me. I took her outside of the class and Patrick just happened to walk by...so we took her to the school’s boiler room, held her down, put on condoms and took turns raping her...then Patrick put on some latex gloves and strangled her to death. We then just left her there. Fortunately for us, one of the school’s maintenance people came by and checked her pulse, pinning her murder on him.” He started to rub his face with stress, wiping away tears fruitlessly as they still fell down his face. “I can’t believe I admitted all that...I just...couldn’t keep it any longer.”
“So you two worked together?”
“Yeah, yeah we did. Patrick said he saw her write a message on the school’s bulletin board denigrating Tabitha, my high school sweetheart, who died two years ago...from that point on, we had it in for her.”
“Patrick...is he in photography?”
“No...no he isn’t. He teaches math.” Traverse took a loud, audible gulp before continuing. “I remember Patrick met this guy...Jack Norris...he works in the Minneapolis nightclub scene...always takes pictures of the nightlife and festivals...even works with celebrities sometimes. I remember telling Patrick that I didn’t like killing Jenny but loved the rape...but we didn’t have the opportunity or know-how not to get caught...until we met Jack...and Jack taught us how to coerce girls to do our bidding...Patrick and I, we felt like kings.”
“So Ellie reminded you of Tabitha...that’s why you had sex with her instead of just fellatio.”
“Yeah...Tabitha had this Debbie Harry vibe about her...and so did Ellie. So I wanted to make love to Tabitha one last time.”
“...and what’s Patrick’s last name?”
“Silvers. Patrick Silvers.”
“Thanks.” Hawkes flashed him a warm smile. “You did a great job.” She then walked out of the interrogation, all smiles getting congratulated by her teammates.
“That was pretty easy,” said Morgan.
“I figured I’d go soft with him to see if he was the one who was the romantic,” said Hawkes. “I figured his partner, Patrick, was the more aggressive one and would likely not be capable of compassion...whereas Randy would be.”
“I guess this means all we have to do is get the police to round everyone up and our jobs are finished,” said Reid, patting Hawkes on the back.
“I’m ready for a burger,” said Morgan, putting his arm around both of his teammates. “How about you guys?” The other two nodded in agreement as they headed out.
22:12 local time, Bangor Hotel, Bangor, Maine
“Man,” said Hawkes to Prentiss, Jane and Rossi as the four of them walked to their rooms, “Morgan sure knows how to eat.”
“Morgan’s always been a big eater,” said Prentiss after a chuckle. “It’s why he works out so much...so that he can enjoy foods like that.”
“Oh, the joys of youth,” said Rossi sarcastically. “Man, if I ate one of those Double Pound Burgers, I think I’d clog all of my arteries.”
“Oh come on Rossi,” said Jane, playfully tapping his shoulder, “you’re still pretty fit...you could have at least one pound.”
“Heh,” said Rossi, “you go first.”
The three laughed at Rossi’s reply. After a brief pause, Rossi got poignant.
“Hey, Zoe,” he said, “good work kiddo.”
“Thanks Dave,” she said, with a sheepish smile.
“Silvers was just picked up and now they’re working on Norris,” said Prentiss. “All thanks to your work Hawkes. You’re really coming to your own as an agent. We’re proud of you.”
“Because of you, now Ellie has some closure,” said Jane.
“Closure...” Hawkes said quietly, her face stricken with worry. “Wait...something’s not right.”
“Hawkes, what is it?” Jane asked, as now the other three got concerned.
“I don’t know,” said Hawkes, starting to get petrified, “but as soon as Rossi brought up closure something clicked in my head.”
Jane stood pensively while Rossi and Prentiss gave each other concerned looks. After a few moments, it finally dawned on Jane.
“I think I know what it is,” said Jane. “You said at the restaurant that Traverse wanted to ‘make love to Tabitha one last time’...we all knew that was an odd statement...but now we know why.”
“He’s gonna...he’s gonna,” said Hawkes, starting to breathe heavily. “Oh no...” She then slumped against the wall, taking a seat, fear taking over her body.
“Zoe,” said Rossi, putting his hand on her shoulder. “Relax. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Traverse’s statement could mean many different things.”
“Why,” said Hawkes, hyperventilating, “why was there a finality to his statement? He spoke like he wasn’t going to get Ellie again…why would he said that if…oh goodness…I held that girl…” Hawkes lowered her head and folded her legs against her, sobbing uncontrollably.
A few seconds later, Morgan emerged from his room.
“Guys,” said Morgan, with a strong sense of urgency.
“Let me guess,” said Jane, “Jack Norris wasn’t in Minneapolis today.”
“How’d you know?” Morgan asked, with a quizzical look.
“Hawkes just deduced the same thing you probably are,” said Jane, “that Ellie Simpson is in trouble.”
“Well, I didn’t think of that,” said Morgan. “I just know that Garcia called me and said that Norris manipulated the database…Minneapolis PD picked up the wrong person because the address was wrong. What makes you guys think that Ellie is in trouble?”
“Randy Traverse said in his interrogation that he wanted to make love to Tabitha (represented by Ellie) ‘one last time’,” said Prentiss, “leading, as I think, Hawkes to conclude that Norris is going to kill her.”
“Why, though?” said a groggy Reid, emerging from his room, awoken by Hawkes’ sobbing. “Norris found a way to control all the girls without killing them…he doesn’t need to kill them.”
“Reid, think about it,” said Jane. “Three girls stood up to him- Rachel Person, Aggie Mildred and Ellie. Two of them are dead. One is still alive. I think the dots connect themselves.”
The agents were interrupted by a loud voice down the hall.
“Hey bozos!” screamed a portly man, dressed in nothing but a nightcap and his underwear, barely visible due to his overhanging gut. “I don’t care who’s in trouble! I need to get some sleep!”
“Sir,” said Morgan, approaching him. “We’re sorry to have awaken you, but right now we have a delicate situation and we couldn’t avoid this situation.”
“I have a 4AM flight tomorrow morning!” yelled the man. “I don’t care what your situation is!”
“I wonder where he’s going,” said Jane to Rossi with a smirk, “the Cheesecake Factory?” The rest of the agents, even Hawkes, couldn’t help but laugh.
“Oh, you think you’re funny, eh?” said the man, walking menacingly towards Jane while brandishing his fist. Jane didn’t flinch at all. “I’ll show you a thing or two, stick man!”
“Oooh, ‘stick man’,” said Jane, feigning offence, “you really hurt me there. Of course, it’ll be nothing like your arteries and the angioplasty you’ll have to go through in a couple of years.”
“At least I’m proud of what I eat! This took years of hard work!”
“Hard work? Looks like you didn’t exercise anything other than your jawbones…I doubt that blubbery mass you call a body couldn’t walk two more feet without you passing out due to exhaustion. Oh, and, uh, once you’ve hit nine months of pregnancy, isn’t the baby supposed to get born?”
“That’s it” The man now aggressively pointed his finger into Jane’s chest multiple times. “You’ve done it now!” The man then clenched his fist and prepared to strike at Jane, but before he could, his feet got kicked out from underneath it. The man lay there on the ground, face first and taking a lot of deep breaths, trying to recover his composure.
Jane could only smirk. “First thing I learned in the FBI’s self-defence program: bigger men have low centres of gravity. Especially when it’s all concentrated in the middle.”
Ellie Simpson’s house, Newport, Maine
Jack Norris stared at Simpson’s house with intent. He was slender man who bore more muscles than his appearance let on, slicking his prematurely greyed hair back into a ponytail. The 39-year-old wore all black today, contrasting with his pale white skin with his T-Shirt and jeans ensemble making him slimmer- and, he hoped, less dangerous- than he actually was. As he smoked his third cigarette from his pack, he mapped out his plan for attack, and once he figured out how he was going to approach the Simpson house, he finished his cigarette and walked up to it with purpose.
He walked up to the back of the house, scouting for possible openings until he found one, as the entrance to the basement had been left unlocked. He found the telephone line and cut it, and pulled out his cell phone jammer and activated it. He then carefully opened the door to the basement, ignoring the sign that said the house was protected by a home security system- this one was connected to the phone, and without the phone, the system wouldn’t work.
He fumbled around for a bit in his pocket, feeling his way for two syringes. Each one was meant for Ellie’s parents, who Norris figured he needed to get out of the way if he wanted to have his “fun” with Ellie. Each syringe had enough ketamine to tranquillize ten horses and thus would kill each parent almost instantly.
As soon as he found the syringes, he made his way, purposefully but quietly, up the stairs into the Simpson parents’ bedrooms. As he suspected, they were fast asleep, allowing him to easily inject both. In five quick minutes both were knocked out cold by the ketamine, and in another five, they would be dead. Ellie, alone in her room listening to her music through her headphones, was left.
“Hey!” Ellie said, shouting at Norris after he cut the cord of her headphones. “Those were-” Before Ellie had a chance to finish, Norris had pulled out his knife.
“The rules here are very simple,” said Norris to Ellie, ominously. “You do as I say and you won’t get hurt.” Ellie, gripped with fear, nodded her head in agreement, allowing him to bind her wrists together behind her back with rope and to affix a scarf that served as a cleave gag upon her mouth. He then grabbed her arm and instructed her to come with him. He then walked down the stairs and purposefully opened the door and walked out of the house with Ellie, still clutching to her arm.
“Let go of the girl!” Morgan hollered at Norris as he came upon the house and drew out his gun. “This is Derek Morgan of the FBI! Let go of the girl!”
“Oh,” said Norris, chuckling, pulling Ellie towards him and placing his knife right against her jugular vein. “You’re with the FBI, eh? So I guess I’m famous now. Heh.” By now the rest of the team joined Morgan and drew out their guns as well.
“We’re not playing around, Jack,” hollered Prentiss. “Let go of Ellie.”
“Or, what?” Norris snickered. “You’ll shoot? I mean, seriously...do you think I’m worried? Ellie’s got no one left...I took them from her...and since you won’t let Randy have her...then I will. I’m all she’s got.” Ellie turned to look at Norris with her face gripped with fear, wondering what Norris meant by his statement.
“All right,” said Morgan. “You want to be in control? Okay...you’re in control.” The team instinctively lowered their guns.
Norris could only laugh. “Do you think I’m going to fall for that?” Norris said, snickering. “I know you guys have a sniper in one of these houses with his gun trained at me...I’ve seen way too many documentaries and cop shows for that to work.”
“Well what do you want Jack?” Rossi asked, pleading with him. “We care about Ellie just as much as you do...we’re here to help in any way that we can.”
“Well...you can start by letting Ellie and I go to...enjoy ourselves,” Norris said with a smirk.
“I’m afraid that’s just not going to happen,” said Jane, raising his gun just like the rest of the team. “You didn’t even think to ask Ellie if she wanted to come along, did you?”
“She wants me,” Norris cackled, “she just doesn’t know it yet.”
“Jack,” said Hawkes sternly. “I know you have a wife and three kids...they don’t deserve this. You have a life to go back to...don’t do this to yourself.”
“I don’t have a life to go back to!” Norris said defiantly, taking his knife and slashing Ellie across the throat, dropping her to the ground and causing the agents to shoot him dead.
Ellie quickly lost consciousness, although she didn’t realize it. In the distance, high above her as the hail of bullets whizzed by her and the din of the agents’ voices overwhelmed an otherwise peaceful night, was Aggie, whose face took over the entire night sky.
“Aggie!” Ellie said, excitedly. She was ready to get up before Aggie spoke.
“No, no, don’t get up,” she said. “You’ll need your energy.”
“Are...are we going somewhere?” Ellie was taken by the sight of her friend, as tears started to flow from her eyes.
“I am...but you’re not. It’s too soon for us to reunite.”
“...but...but Aggie...you said we’d never be apart. Why did you leave me Aggie? Why can’t you take me with you?”
By now Aggie had descended from the sky to appear as a human, sitting down next to Ellie, who was still lying on the ground. “I understand how you’re feeling Ellie, and I know that no amount of apologies can make up for what I did...but, Ellie...you know me...I’m not strong like you are...I wished you could have been there to help me, but, as always, your parents got in the way.”
Ellie spoke through her tears. “I know...they always do. They always sheltered me...never let me do what I want and let me learn on my own.”
“They never liked my father...it may be why it was so difficult for us to hang out lately...why you’ve always had to sneak out just to see me...gosh Ellie, I wish things were different.”
“I wish things were different too. I wish I could have held you one last time. I wish we could just erase what happened at that festival and go back to the way we were, talking about boys and 50 Cent. I wish you were here Aggie...oh gosh, how I wish you were here!” Ellie then began to cry uncontrollably, unleashing a torrent of tears that only stopped when she experienced a sharp pain in her chest.
“Ellie...I know all that...but you need to know that death isn’t the answer.”
Ellie by this point had gone into random convulsions while still laying down. “Aggie...if I die then we’re back together and we can have those memories again.”
“Death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I have a lot of sins to atone, so much so that I may be in Purgatory forever. Plus, there’s so many things in life that I never got to experience...college...being a mother...having a real boyfriend...living on my own...these are all things you will get to experience.”
“...but it will be a life without you...and I don’t want that.”
“That’s not true. Put your hand in your right pocket and dig out your keys.”
“Yes?” Ellie dug out her keys and leafed through them, but she was still confused about what Aggie was referring to.
“See the green rock keychain?”
Ellie gasped with excitement. “That’s the emerald you gave me for my 14th birthday! How did I forget about it?”
“That’s because you didn’t...because I wasn’t going to let you forget. Now you know that I meant what I said, that we’ll always be together...not even death can keep us apart. All you need to do now is just hold on. Stay strong Ellie, stay strong...stay strong.”
Aggie’s voice would soon fade as Ellie woke up from her trance to hear the voice of Reid saying the exact same thing Aggie was saying.
“Stay strong Ellie,” Reid pleaded, “stay strong. Come on...you can do this...come on!” Reid, shirtless, lowered his head and knelt down behind Ellie’s bed, cradling his head in his hands as the nurses fought to completely revive Ellie. After a few short moments, Ellie had firmly awoken from her daze, the nurses’ efforts fruitful, to find Reid’s shirt around her neck, as Reid used it as a tourniquet, as well as some empty blood sacks attached to her arm that had replenished her blood.
“Where,” said Ellie, still confused. “Where am I?”
Reid let out a huge sigh of relief, as did Hawkes, clutching Reid’s hand right beside him. “Ellie, you’re safe now,” said Hawkes. “You’re recovering in the hospital...if it wasn’t for Reid’s quick thinking you wouldn’t be alive right now. I’m so glad you held on.”
“Well,” said Ellie, “Aggie paid me a visit and guided me through it. Now I know, we’ll always be together.”
Hawkes started to cry tears of joy. “Never forget that,” she said, through the tears, as Ellie grabbed her hand and squeezed it, thanking her for her help.
The next day, Bangor Hotel, Bangor, Maine
“Well,” said Morgan to Reid as he packed their suitcases into their car for the drive to the airport. “Ellie is going to make it...she’s still in critical condition but she’s improving. I just wished we could have saved Todd Mildred and Ellie’s parents.”
“Nothing we could do about that,” said Reid. “Todd had his mind made up that day. At least we brought him some closure, so that he and his daughter can rest in peace. As for the Simpsons...Norris was quick. Fortunately we got to him before he got Ellie.”
“That was some quick thinking kid. You saved her life.”
Reid hung his head sheepishly while smiling. “Thanks.” He then raised his head and continued in his normal tone. “Do we know what she will do from here?”
“Her grandfather is taking her with him to Buffalo, as I understand. Whether or not she stays there we don’t know...she’s mentioned a desire to travel the world, but right now it’s more ‘pie in the sky’ than doable for her. We’ll see though.”
Morgan’s phone started to ring. It was Hotchner.
“Hey Morgan,” said Hotchner. “How’s it going?”
“Well, we had some hiccups...and a lot of twists,” said Morgan with a sigh, “but...we got the job done.”
Hotchner smiled. “Yes you did. Just heard the reviews...you did a great job out there. Keep it up.”
Morgan smiled. “Thanks Hotch. That means a lot.” The two then said their goodbyes and ended the call.
Reid, for his part, couldn’t help but be taken in by a note left on his side of the windshield. Worried about what it could be, Reid picked it up to read it. He muttered a few choice words and angrily crumpled up the sheet of paper and threw it to the ground. Morgan couldn’t help but notice Reid’s frustration and unfurled the sheet of paper.
“You lose?” Morgan said, perplexed. “What’s this about?”
“It’s Jane, being a pain,” said Reid, angrily shaking his head. “He told me about this mind game simply called ‘The Game’ where the only rule is that you can’t think about it, and once you do...well, ‘you lose’. Those playing The Game can induce others to think about it with suggestive notes...like the one I just got.” Reid let out a frustrated sigh.
Morgan chuckled and put his hand on Reid’s back. “I understand how it’s torture for you, someone who forgets nothing.”
“...and I was doing so well too...would have been two weeks tomorrow that I hadn’t thought of The Game.”
“Don’t worry kid...we’ll get him back. He needs to remember who he’s messing with.”
“Even in the face of great losses, you never forget that you’ve got something left…and that something is all you need to fight back.”- Nerva II, writing about the Fifty Years’ Struggle after finally evicting the Lombards from the City of Rome that they had been so close to taking years prior, A.D. 760