“Nick, Warrick,” Gil Grissom shouted from his office, “I need you, now.”
The two CSIs dropped what they were doing, and headed into the office, looking very puzzled. They had been finishing up reports on a case they had just completed, and were looking forward to an early night.
“Close the door, Warrick,” Grissom said. “I’ve just had a call from Ecklie. He’s just been given a weird case. They’re asking for our help. Their own people are stumped; they have no idea what to do. The scene has not been touched, so you should be able to collect evidence that hasn’t been contaminated. Apparently, all they did after the discovery was string up rope around the area and tell the King, who promptly called us. Grab your kits and a change of clothes, and head out to the parking lot. A ‘copter will pick you up there. You’re going to another country, do us proud!” He handed Nick the papers. Still looking stunned, the pair nodded and left, running.
As they gathered their kits and stuffed a change of clothes into knapsacks, Warrick said “Nick, what’s going on? Since when do we go off to another country? If they can’t work the scene themselves, what kind of crime fighters are they?”
“Beats me,” Nick answered. “I hope it’s not one of those really backward countries. It would be great if it’s like somewhere in the south of France. Nice beaches, beautiful women, great food!” He grinned
Warrick grinned back as they went loping down the hall. “Yeah, that sounds good!”
The helicopter was waiting when they burst out through the door into the parking lot. They came to a sudden, dead stop and stared at it. “Ozland Air Service? Do they mean Australia? I thought their air service was Quantas!” Warrick exclaimed. Nick just shook his head.
A voice shouted “Ok, guys, come on! We have a long flight, let’s get going!”
Still puzzled, the pair quickly boarded, and settled in the passenger seats, while the co-pilot placed their bags in a locker and secured the door. Once he was settled, the pilot gunned the engine and took off, straight up fast, crushing Nick and Warrick down in their seats. Soon they were high over Las Vegas, and the pilot went into level flight.
It was a long flight, over land that seemed somehow to change, from the familiar US to a strange country. After a couple of hours, they were flying over dense fog. Nothing of the land could be seen, and the CSIs were thoroughly bewildered. At long last, the fog ended, and they could see land again. A circular country of trees, fields, towns, and they even saw a castle or two. And as the ‘copter dropped lower, Nick looked out and then pointed, unable to say a thing. Brightly shining in the sunlight they saw a bright yellow road, winding across the countryside.
Finally, Warrick muttered “A yellow brick road? Impossible! That’s only a kid’s story!” Nick grunted and nodded in agreement. Yet, there it was.
“No, my friend,” The Pilot, Arwin, said. “This is Ozland, and that is the yellow brick road. It goes all through the land, even to the Emerald city. The crime scene, though, is out in the country. There it is, see? Just ahead and to the left.” She pointed. “Oh, and by the way, I’m Arwin Lane. I used to drive bus in Winnipeg.”
“Winnipeg?” Warrick asked. “Uh…isn’t that in Canada?”
Arwin nodded. “Yes, in Manitoba. I got fed up on the job, and the snow, and when I got the chance, I moved to Ozland. Wouldn’t live anywhere else, now.”
Nick and Warrick leaned to look, and saw a crowd of people with a roped off area in the center. The ‘copter continued to go down, and soon it settled not too far from the crowd.
Two very important looking people detached themselves from the crowd and moved closer. As soon as the rotors stopped, the co-pilot, Iliana, popped the door open, and Nick and Warrick climbed out. The co-pilot handed out their kits and bags, then jumped down.
“Ma’am, Sir,” Ariana turned to the pair. “Here are the CSI people you asked for,Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown. Nick, Warrick, it is my honour to present you to her majesty Queen Llola Lane, and His Highness Sven Pertelson.” Nick and Warrick bowed their heads slightly, and shook the hands extended to them.
“Mr. Stokes, Mr. Brown, I don’t know how to thank you for dropping everything to come and help us. We are at a loss over this, and quite shaken that such a terrible thing should happen in our realm.”
“Yes,” Queen Llola agreed. “You will be given all the help we can give you. Just tell us what you need. And rooms have been provided in the Cat Inn. If you would like to go there first, I’m sure Rustyolute will take you.”
“No, ma’am, the first thing we need to do is examine the scene. We need to collect what evidence there is as soon as possible to avoid contamination. And if it were to rain, a lot could be washed away.” Nick shifted his grip on his kit, and nodded toward the crowd. “Who are all of those people? Are they witnesses?”
“No, most of them are just gawkers. The two who discovered the …. err … heads….”King Sven hesitated “Um… they are standing over by the big tree.”
‘Oh, I see. Then would it be possible to clear the gawkers away and only keep those who know anything about the crime – police, witnesses, and like that? It would make our job a lot easier if we could work without a big audience.”
“Of course,” King Sven said. Turning toward the crowd, he beckoned to a serious looking man, who came over. “This is the Detective Inspector, Sir Wayne Resident. Sir Wayne, Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown, of Las Vegas CSI.” The detective nodded and said he was glad to meet them.
“Sir Wayne,” King Sven said. “They have requested that the sight seers be cleared away. Only the witnesses, your officers and detectives are to remain.”
“Sir Wayne saluted. “Right away, Sire.” He turned on his heel and headed back, calling out for everyone to clear away. Soon only a few people were left. Nick and Warrick headed over, and took in the scene.
“Hmmm….Ok,” Warrick said thoughtfully, “we have the heads. Where are the bodies?”
“Yes, and where is the blood? This can’t be the original crime scene. It’s way too clean.” Nick looked around at the ground. “ Footprints, but only to within about three feet of the heads. Ok, let’s get to work.”
They busied themselves going over the ground carefully, from right next to the heads on out to the rope and beyond. Once outside the rope, the grass and dirt were covered with footprints, some over the others. Inside, there were only the two sets, showing two different patterns. One pair of patterns going to the heads, one away. Both looked to belong to females. They didn’t touch the heads, but leaned close to examine them. No blood on the necks, nor anywhere else. Finally, they gave up, and went to Sir Wayne.
“We’d like to talk to the witnesses now, please.” Nick said.
Sir Wayne beckoned to the young ladies under the big tree, who came hesitantly over. “This is Trybil Timeless and that’s Tami Meredith. Tryb, Tami, these are Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown of Las Vegas CSI. They want to talk to you. The young women looked nervous, but nodded.
“Ok, how did you discover the heads, and when?” Nick asked
“We were on our way back from a dance early this morning, and saw something lumpy on the ground here. We wondered what it was, and came over to look. When we saw them, we both ran, screaming, and Officers KerryKing Resident and Zhu Juran came to see what the noise was about. When they saw the heads, Officer Kerry called it in to headquarters, and Sir Wayne came. “
“Do you recognize the faces?” Warrick turned to Sir Wayne. “Does anyone know who they were?”
Tribyl and Tami shook their heads, and Sir Wayne said “No, no one knows them. Not even Queen Llola or King Sven.” Just then a vehicle arrived, and two men got out. “Oh, here is the coroner and his assistant. Drs. Thom Chaplin and walterperry Resident.”
Sir Wayne waved the two doctors over, and introduced Nick and Warrick to them. After a few moments of desultory conversation, Dr. Chaplin turned to look at the two heads. “No blood? Any idea where the bodies are?”
“No,” Sir Wayne answered. “Mr. Stokes and Mr. Brown have only been here a short while and haven’t had time to start a search. They have looked for evidence, and found nothing but the footprints of the two young ladies who found the heads. And no one recognises the victims.”
“All right.” Thom Chaplin turned and motioned to walterperry. “Come along, walt, and let’s see what we can find out about the cause of death. Though it seems pretty obvious. Heads without bodies are dead because they have no bodies. But there may be some sign of trauma.” The two moved over to the heads, and bent to look.
Dr. Chaplin touched the head of the male, and pulled his hand back with a startled exclamation. “What the….?!” He reached out and touched the face of the female head. Then he sat back on his heels for a moment, staring at them. Walterperry reached out and touched them, too, and they looked at each other. Suddenly they both burst out laughing, and laughed so hard they lost their balance and were soon rolling around on the ground in hysterical laughter.
Nick and Warrick looked on in shock, then realised that the two young women, Trybil and Tami, were laughing almost as hard. “What the heck is going on here?” Nick growled. “We didn’t come all the way from Vegas to be laughed at!” He and Warrick were beginning to get very angry, but Sir Wayne put a hand on Nick’s arm.
“Nick, we didn’t bring you to laugh at you.” Turning to Dr. Chaplin, he said “Thom, get a grip on yourself. What is so funny?”
Dr. Chaplin looked up, gasping, and apologised. “Sorry – it’s just … they aren’t real! They are made of some kind of Polymer, coloured and molded into human heads.”
Sir Wayne turned and looked at Trybil and Tami. “Ok, ladies. Let us in on the joke.” They looked at each other, and giggled.
“Uh – well – well we found the heads in a joke shop, and decided it would be funny to make a crime scene. We always wanted to meet some of the CSI guys. We put the heads there, then made sure there were only the two sets of footprints, and started to scream. It was really funny watching everyone try to figure out who was dead, and all.” Tami giggled again when Trybil finished talking.
Sir Wayne stared at them for a moment, then sighed and shook his head. “I’m sorry Nick, Warrick. We just never know what these two will get up to next. Well, now that you are here, why not stay for a day or two and explore Ozland? You never know, you may like it so much you’ll want to move here.”
Nick and Warrick looked at each other, sighed, shook their heads, and then laughed. “Ok, girls, you got us good. Now you can show us around. But first – where can we get some food? I’m starving!” Warrick said. Nick nodded, “So am I!” They went off then, with the two laughing young women.