Rating: PG, just to make it sound racier than it is.
Archive: Please ask first I might say yes.
Disclaimer: Insert random legal mumbo-jumbo here.
Author's Note: Thanks to Mossley for betaing, but more importantly, for pushing, pulling, teasing, cajoling, and any other verb you care to use that means she enticed me to finish it.
Summary: Sara's mentoring Greg on an unusual case.
Sara headed directly for her workstation and pulled up the casefile on the LIMS computer system, printing out the exact locations of each body dump. She then called up a street map of Las Vegas and plotted the locations.
As she leaned back to take in the completed mapping, she picked up her desk phone.
"Hey, Greggo. What's more fun than solving a murder?"
"Is this a rhetorical question, or do you want a list? I warn you, it might be explicit."
"How 'bout solving a serial?"
"Sara, I'm crazy about you, but you have a very narrow world view."
"Hey, if you're too busy playing lab rat..."
"Where are you?" Greg asked, suddenly serious.
"I'm on my way."
Sara tried first to defocus on the screen, seeing if there was anything visually striking about the pattern. She was in an almost hypnotic state when Greg strutted in.
"Here I come, to save the day," Greg sang, harkening back to an old cartoon.
Sara snapped to full consciousness and rolled her eyes, finally settling them on her partner.
"Grissom wants us to find the serial murderer."
"Two-thirds of our crew, a couple of detectives and about a squad of uniformed cops have been hunting them for almost four weeks," Greg recounted.
"We've got until the next case comes in, then we're off this case."
Greg looked at Sara incredulously, and then his face cleaved with a huge grin. His silent laughter finally burst out.
"Okay, Teach. How are we going to find him?"
"With the map," she said simply, turning back to the computer to tap a few keys that sent the monitor's output to a larger screen, mounted on the wall.
"These are where the bodies were found, and I've put numbers next to them to show the order they were found in."
"Looks pretty random to me."
"Nothing's random, Greg. Even the seemingly most random act is based on something. He's choosing the dumpsites based on something. If we figure out what the key to that is, we might be able to find him."
"Okay, what do we look for?" he asked.
Sara took in a deep breath, and then let it out slowly, contemplatively - not taking her eyes off the large screen.
"Anything. Especially if it's a pattern. It can be the street numbers, street names, latitude and longitude, distance from a central point, common landmarks, anything."
"Wow, that narrows it down," Greg sighed, plopping unceremoniously into a chair next to Sara. They were both turned towards the screen, as though watching a movie.
"Let's just jump in and start with the obvious stuff. Write what we come up with in columns."
Sara rattled off the street addresses and Greg transcribed them. They looked at the numbers and the names of the streets, trying to find any correlation between them or symbolism behind them.
"I don't see anything," Greg moaned.
"It's our first go at this!" Sara almost shouted. "You can't get frustrated so quickly. Think of it as a puzzle, like a cryptogram."
"It's hard to think of it as a game when there are women being killed and mutilated."
"Greg, you've got to distance yourself from that. Take my word for it," Sara cautioned.
"Okay, I'll try," he shrugged, not convinced it was possible. "What about central point?"
Sara put her mouse on each point and drew a line to the points that appeared to be "opposite" from it. Soon a tangled mass appeared in the center, but none of them converged on a single point, and the area covered by the range of intersecting lines was several square miles of inner city.
She stored that version of the map for later reference, then deleted the lines and tried another tactic, drawing concentric circles through the points to see if the perp was radiating outward or inward. Again, there was no obvious pattern, but she stored the page anyway.
"How about the order? Drawing a line between them, following the order?" Greg asked.
"Good idea," Sara nodded, tracing along the screen. The lines would veer off, then return and cross each other, with no discernible path or pattern.
"Not so good, after all," Greg said.
"Hey, we're just eyeballing all these right now. We're not discounting anything yet," Sara said, trying to sound as motivating as she could.
"Now what?" Greg asked.
"Common landmarks," Sara answered.
"Road trip?" Greg asked, beginning to grin again.
"Road trip," Sara nodded, grabbing the keys to the Denali before Greg could make a move, and then fixing him with a glare.
"What's the first rule?" she asked.
"Sara drives," he droned as he followed her out of the crime lab.
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