redrose999 (redrose999) wrote in fm_alchemist,
redrose999
redrose999
fm_alchemist

Convergence
Chapters 4 and 5
A FMA, CSI Miami Crossover
Rating: PG-13
Fic type: Crossover, Mystery, Adventure
Warnings: SPOILERS for FMA, and CSI Miami. Implied Slash, and het.
Pairings: I don't plan them, but the characters write themselves, Ed/Hie past implied, if you read into things, kind of Elricesty, if you don't not Elricesty.
Characters: The Elric Brothers, Deitlinde Ekhart, and possible others and most of the CSI Miami cast with a smattering of Vegas.
Summery: The CSI's are discovering unraveling the evidence is harder than it looks, and Al come to realize his new situation is more frustrating than he imagined.

Chapter 4
Eliminating the Possible

“Ryan, have you got that rocket guy yet?” Eric Delko asked, opening
the glass door to Ryan’s office.

The former beat cop looked up from his microscope and squinted at the
Cuban CSI. Absently, he rubbed one, and pinched the bridge of his
nose. “Ahh, yes, Richard Dorchet, PhD. He works with NASA and is an
expert with rocket engine designs. How is recovery going?”

“They gave us a warehouse on the pier to reconstruct the thing. It’s
huge. It’s gonna take weeks to salvage and put the damn thing
together. So far, we’ve got one rocket booster, a part of a wing and
hull exterior, two seats, and some of the cockpit control board.”
Walking over to Ryan, Eric studied the light box on the wall and the
microscope. Ryan had several photos of magnified strips of cloth, all
of them different colors, weaves, and textures. Fibers and textiles
were a CSI’s best friend, and often helped them track down places and
people. More than once, a fiber placing someone at a crime scene gave
them a conviction. Eric paused, studying the pictures, he recognized
both cloth from both military uniforms and civilian clothing. “So what
do we have here?”

“Fibers.” Ryan said flatly. He returned his attention to the
microscope. “I thought, maybe if I could narrow down the textiles in
our mystery kids’ clothing, with luck we’d get an idea of where they
came from and a possible location of our Nazi terrorist group.”

“Sounds like a start. Any luck?” Eric shoved his hands in his pockets,
watching his colleague as he focused on the three microscopes he was
studying, and jotting illustrations down with notes. It amused him
how tedious Ryan was sometimes. He could sit there for hours with the
same specimen, recording observations without even noting the passage
of time. It sometimes made the Cuban diver wonder if he had any social
life. Than again, it was Ryan’s very anal nature and dedication to the
daily grind of work that put Eric off. It reminded him very much of
Speedle. And Eric Delko was only now starting to deal with the death
of his colleague and friend and sometimes resented Ryan for taking
his place.

“Seems that Edward is wearing vintage clothing. This weave was done on
an early electric loom and it was dyed with a natural dye, ocher
indigo combination. Not a synthetic. The weave suggests the suit was
manufactured on a large scale, and manufacturers don’t use natural
dyes any more. I narrowed the suit down to a Scottish company at the
turn of the century that used only natural dyes in their wool
textiles, mainly tweed.” He moved to the side, indicating to the
microscope. “Our friend is wearing a hell of a hand me down.”

Eric squinted into the microscope view finder and took a careful look
at the weave and color. “Natural dyes eh? How about our Nazi uniforms?”

“Well that’s another mystery.” Ryan indicated another microscope.
“We’ve got a serge weave, used in turn of the century uniforms, and a
synthetic black dye unique to Germany. Since then we’ve been able to
manufacture synthetic black dyes, but back then Germany had the market
for making synthetic dyes.” He shook his head. “I’m beginning to think
our evidence is telling us we’ve got time travelers coming out of the
Bermuda Triangle.”

Eric laughed. Not long ago, Ryan was worried there was a Voodoo curse
on him, due to an encounter with a Santeria user and a mysterious
miniature coffin. “And you believe in curses too. Have you looked into
any private vintage clothing designers? You can find instructions on
how to make natural and synthetic dyes on the web as well as their own
textiles.”

“I’m actually doing a search now.” Ryan informed him. He rolled his
stool over to his computer, sitting against the wall. “Right now it’s
going through a compilation of independent vintage textile designers.
Problem with dyes is the recipes all vary. People want their own
“brand” of color. Even if we do have a list of private designers, we
still have to go though their dye formulas and compare chemical
composition. It will be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Especially since some of these dyes are foreign made.”

“Better you than me.” Eric smirked, slapping Ryan on the back. “I’ve
got my own needles to find and an ocean of a haystack. Indigo, that
comes from the Indigofera tinctoria, from Asia. Maybe you can
trace where one can buy them for textile dyes.”

“Indigo is used for many things.” Ryan said flatly, “Lab stains,
textiles and in leather. Needle in a haystack. But thanks, I’m
covering all that already.”

“Yeah, well, we can trade places, but I don’t think you’d want my
assignment. Now, that’s tedious.” He loved diving, but working with
the feds and now homeland security was becoming more and more
difficult. Now that they were concerned about terrorists, the security
level was high, and procedure became even more detailed.

“So I hear.” After quickly sealing off his evidence, Ryan came to
his feet. “So what brings you here?”

“I got that analysis back on that rock you sent to out to mineralogy.”
Delko dropped a folder on to the table. “Thought I should deliver it,
since our tech decided to process the pretty shiny thing before my
hull samples.”

“Why that was very kind of you. So, what’s in it for you?” Ryan asked.

“Nothing, just open it.” Eric folded his arms, recalling the
expression on the lab tech’s face when they studied the results. “I
had them run it back through for you.” He added. “Just in case.”

Ryan frowned suspiciously and removed a printout from the folder and
scanned it. His controlled features twitched as he stopped reading for
a moment. “This can’t be right. No way.”

“Aaron claims it broke two diamond bit drills just trying to fragment
a piece from it. Which means its hardness is tougher than diamond.”
Eric remarked, studying his friends face. He understood how impossible
it seemed. In many ways diamonds were very fragile objects. On one
hand they were the hardest substance on earth, on the other, one tap
against the wrong part of its crystal matrix could shatter it.

Ryan shook his head. That could be faulty technique and equipment.
“But this, unknown composition -- it don’t make any sense.”

“Which is why I suggested it be sent out to the lab in Washington. I
suspect the Florida Geological Survey will have a better time
classifying it. Besides, it's from the Bermuda Triangle. What can I
say?” Eric lifted his hand, shrugging, but his voice hinted at sarcasm.

Ryan shook his head with a light laugh. “Ok, I deserve it, I don’t
believe in curses anymore…. No magic, no time machines…. But we're not
paid to write science fiction here; we follow the evidence and make
our own theories.”

“ Exactly. Might have been a glitch in the data. Anyway, we have that
briefing, we should get going.” Patting the other CSI on the back,
Eric started to walk to the door.

“I’ll send in the paperwork. Good idea.” Ryan stood and brushed his
hand though his hair, shaking his head. “Bermuda triangle. You know, I
don’t know about you, but this case is just getting weirder by the
minute.” He reached over the lab table and picked up his data.

“I try not to think about it. Just follow the evidence, remember?”
Eric looked over his shoulder, smiling. “Ok, if it’s aliens and time
travel, I owe you and the date of your choice dinner.”

“Offer like that might make me a believer, Delko, better watch out.”
Ryan joked. He joined Eric in the hall, and together they made their
way through the labs to the briefing area.

“Eric!” Natalia’s voice stopped him halfway down the hall towards the
briefing room. The blond DNA Specialist jogged up to them, joining
them as they turned the corner.

Glass and gold plaster walls spanned the hallway. It was high-tech
facilities with tall tinted glass windows that slanted in, and let the
Florida sun bathe the hallways. Staff members moved up and about the
hall, pausing to chat, looking into labs, delivering supplies or case
files.

Natalia hugged her files to her as she walked, and offered Eric a
smile. “I haven’t seen you around lately. How’s the field work going.”

“It’s been grueling.” Eric said, glancing at her. Natalia Boa Vista
was one of the most attractive women in the lab and Eric always
enjoyed her company. They had developed a bond over the years, even
with their dating disaster last year. He was always happy to have her
around. “I’m sorry about you being taken off the case.” He added with
sympathy. As a DNA specialist, Natalia had an interesting way of
viewing evidence, and her perspective was always welcome with Eric Delko.

The woman sighed, looking down. “Well, I can’t complain. It was
because I’m good in the lab. But Lt. Caine promised I could go back
into the field once we catch up.” She looked up though long blond
bangs. Her gaze was sharp and she was a strong featured woman. “It’s
good to see you around. I kind of miss seeing you in my lab, pestering
me.”

“Tell that to Aaron.” Ryan said. “Delko’s been harassing him.”

“So what does Aaron have that I don’t?” Natalia teased.

“Mineral analysis.” Eric explained.

“Have you bribed him yet?”

Ryan laughed. “He likes Chinese.”

So that was why Aaron processed the stone first. Delko gave Ryan a
sideways smirk. “So, that explains it. I’ll keep that in mind next
time.”

They came to the door, and Eric opened it. Horatio Caine and Calleigh
were already sitting at the long glass table, with photos laid out on
its surface. Together they were talking in low voices. Lt. Caine
glanced up from the photos, and nodded for them to enter. “Well
Calleigh, looks like the gang is all here. Come on in, Eric, Mr.
Wolfe, Natalia, have a seat.”

“I see you’ve already started without us, H.” Eric strutted into the
room, pulled out a chair and sat down.

Ryan and Natalia followed, both taking up seats next to Eric. Horatio
waited until they were settled before he started.

“I was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security today. They’ve
sent a specialist in antiterrorism, and Agent Rick Culpepper to head
their investigation of potential terrorist attack. He is replacing
agent Barrlow.”

“I had the pleasure of meeting the man at the warehouse this morning.”
Eric added, meeting Horatio’s gaze. He wasn’t pleased Barrlow was
gone. Barrlow preferred following police procedure. He worked with
them as equals. Culpepper insisted on keeping them separate, and
uninformed of various parts of the investigation. He like control and
waved his badge around too much. “The man wants everything cleared
though him, told me it wasn’t our investigation anymore. I’ve got hull
scraps with bullet holes in them and I want to get them off to
ballistics, but they’re in federal custody currently waiting for
Culpepper’s approval. I did manage to send some stuff to the lab when
Barrlow was here -- a piece of control panel that was punctured and
cut down the middle. According to the tech it happened before the
crash and could explained the erratic flight pattern of the rocket as
it came in. Someone was trying to fly it and wanted them to stop bad
enough to sabotage the controls. I found some of that black gunk
lodged in some of the wiring as well. But I need to get the wreckage
to the lab and go over it further to be sure.”

“I see. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Culpepper nor have I
gotten any orders for changes in how this investigation is run, I want
you to proceed like always, Eric. Let Culpepper come to me about it,”
Caine explained. “As far as I’m concerned this case is still ours. The
rocket crashed in Miami waters, and there was an attempted homicide,
that gives us jurisdiction.”

“Attempted homicide?” Natalia looked up puzzled.

Eric was surprised himself. He glanced at Ryan and Calleigh than back
to his boss.

Caine nodded. “Apparently someone tried to kill one of our witnesses
during the crash. We may have another survivor. Which brings me to
you, Eric. I need to see if there are signs of a third person escaping
the wreckage. I suspect they ditched the armor they were wearing.”

“Ok, H. I’ll see what I can find. Hell of a debris field. Is there a
specific place I need to look?”

“In the vicinity where the youngest survivor was found.” Horatio Caine
suggested.

“Evidence says the boy was fighting someone.” Calleigh added. “Both
Ryan and I think they were trying to stop the Nazis. He and his
brother are small though, I would have expected both of them to be
overpowered quickly.”

“Not necessarily. Both of them were combat trained,” Ryan reminded
Calleigh.

“Well, regardless, Culpepper won’t like the fact that we’re turning
this into a homicide investigation.” Calleigh informed them, folding
her arms. “As far as he is concerned, this is about terrorism.”

“We are on the same team, Calleigh. The only difference is approach.
We need a field we can play in without interference from the federal
departments. In the end it will get the same results.”

Eric settled back in his chair, fingering the folder on the table in
front of him. Horatio Caine hated politics, and always used the system
to back his approach. He didn’t recall a time where his boss didn’t
get the upper hand in dealing with bureaucratic situations. “Well,
looking at it that way, I’ll get those hull samples to ballistics ASAP. ”

“You do that, Eric. Now, I need to know what we’ve got. Natalia, have
you come up with anything in DNA?”

Opening her folder, Natalia looked around the room. Eric gave her a
nod of encouragement hoping she’d feel more comfortable. She returned
it with a smile and removed a printout. “DNA confirmed the boys are
brothers, so we have a positive ID on our 13 year old. I also tested
both the black substance found on the armor and the stuff I found on
Ed’s arm. It’s organic and shares some of the same chemical
composition. Both samples are of an unknown nature. It’s got more
markers in common with viruses than any other living organic matter.”
She paused, looking at Horatio.

Ryan scratched the back of his head, face doubtful. “Are you sure the
samples weren’t contaminated? I mean, that doesn’t sound right. We
don’t have ET here.”

“It’s not tar, or slime, or silly putty; it’s something I’ve never
seen before. I could run another test on the stuff, but I can assure
you, you’ll get the same results. I ran it right the first time.” She
glared at Ryan, but kept her voice even and firm. “From the scraping
from Edward’s gun I found DNA from an unknown donor who has several
markers in common with him, I suspect a parent. Alphonse had more of
that black gunk under his nails, as well as some epithelials from
again, an unknown donor. This one has no common markers, no relation
whatsoever.”

“Both Ryan and I suspect Al was clawing and punching at the opponent
who attacked him.” Calleigh added. “Could be we have DNA from whoever
tried to kill him. Ed had GSR embedded in his nail cuticles. He fired
his gun at least once, but it wasn’t his C-96 that put bullet holes in
our soldier friends. Now the guns recovered by Delko’s team are
Dreyses, MP4-1s and Lugers, all standard German military issue guns
from WW1. I did a few experiments with ballistic gel and came up
with the gun responsible for the wounds on our Nazi friends. It was
a Luger that has not yet been recovered. None of the bullets Alexx
removed have tool marks that fit our guns.”

“All right, how about the sand we found in Alphonse Elric’s coat
pockets?” Horatio glanced to Ryan.

“A mixture of limestone, granite, and volcanic rock. This mixture is
used in making a pozzolana, a kind of cement and brick used by the
Romans. Not in common use here in the states, but I know some of the
older buildings in Europe used them. Volcanic rock gives them more
strength. The Pantheon and part of the Coliseum was built using the
stuff. Both boys had the stuff on them. Which rules out South America
as a location for where they came from.”

“Interesting. So you think our Nazi friends came from Europe?” Horatio
asked.

Ryan shrugged, obviously stumped. “The money, the textiles, and the
weapons say turn of the century Germany. The 1920s in specific, which
brings us to the money. After testing the papers linen and textile
composition and going though the serial numbers we’ve discovered
authentic mint condition German marks as well as several silk Notegeld.”

“Notegeld?” Eric blinked. As far as he understood banknotes were
almost always printed on paper composed of various heavy papers, some
of which were mixed with linen, or other textiles. “You mean money
printed on real silk?”

Ryan nodded. “After WWI because the Treaty of Versailles and the cost
of WWI, hyperinflation made the German Mark virtually worthless.
Notegelds were commissioned in huge denominations, some were worth
thousands, or millions, even billions a note. These, of course, would
go up within days, due to the fact that even the notegelds would be
worthless shortly after being issued. They were printed on anything,
playing cards, leather, silk, foil, velvet or wood. It was considered
emergency money for towns. In the end, the common German was better
off burning them in the fireplace instead of buying fire wood.”

“Authentic German money.” Caine said, lifting a brow. “And this was
common among most of our Nazi corpses as well as the Elric boys?”

“Alphonse, he carried gold coins. I’m still trying to narrow down
where they are from. The word Xenar was printed on the coin, never
heard of it myself.” Ryan explained. “However, the wording on the coin
is a variant of German identical to the German in the two notebooks
carried by the boys. After running several language programs we
managed to translate both books. One appears to be a travel log with
occasional mystical or astrological circles, and the other one…” He
paused looking around. “A cook book. I personally suspect they’re both
coded, but it will take a while to decode them.”

“Interesting.” Caine rubbed his chin with his index finger, thoughtful.

It was interesting and Eric was curious about why these people lived
in the past. It was a question the entire team was trying to answer.
He folded his arms, listening to Ryan explain the results of his
textile and unknown gem research, and Lt. Caine’s autopsy summery.
When Caine finished, Eric frowned. “What I don’t get is why everything
is so outdated. You can get higher quality materials today. Heck even
third world terrorists have access to modern guns. What’s the point?”

“Ryan and I discussed the possibility of an isolated group of Nazis
who escaped WW2. The problem with that being everything predates WW2
and even the Nazis would have access to newer tech and newer money.”
Calleigh brushed hair from her eyes, and folded her arms on the table.
“Unless they didn’t plan on arriving here. Natalia, wasn’t Edward
surprised he was in the United States?”

“He thought he was in Munich.” Natalia explained. “But that would
explain the brick dust.”

“Not necessarily. The mortar compound in question came from older
buildings or buildings of Roman construction. After WWII old Germany
was leveled and rebuilt. How about Ed’s prosthetics?” Calleigh asked,
looking around the table. “Getting an ID on those should be a lot easier.”

“I’ve found NOTHING about them in the database.” Ryan said. He flipped
open his folder, his features very puzzled. “The hospital was able to
get a CAT scan and an X-ray. The CAT scan was fuzzy at best, but the
X-ray showed it consisted of micro-fibers, and small electronic
components. NO computer chips, nothing you’d expect to be in a modern
prosthetic. In fact, from what Natalia described, you would need a
battery to power it as well, and there is NONE.” He paused, and handed
out copies of the X-ray. “Currently, I don’t see any research being
done on these particular neuromicrofibers.” He pointed to the fine
wires woven together in the x-ray. “According to one of the experts I
talked with, they haven’t even attempted to create artificial muscle,
which is what some of these microfibers are acting as. Which brings us
to the armor plating. These limbs are covered with titanium.”

“Which means they’d have to use a modern resource to obtain. That
could be traced.” Eric said. “Few places make it, it's damned
expensive, and prosthetic engineering uses it for bone replacement.”

Ryan waved a hand. “I… Checked into that. I’m still waiting for word
from a few places. The problem is, this thing is armored; therefore it
is likely some kind of government agency that is involved in its
creation, or someone independent, who plans on developing the
technology and selling it to a government. We’re talking about in the
hundreds of millions here. It should be easy to trace, but so far, I’m
getting nothing.”

Eric studied the X-rays, attention shifting to what looked like
pistons, pullies and gears. He frowned, turning the X-ray around and
studying it from a different angle.

“Eric, something is bothering you.” Caine said, studying the CSI’s
face. “What is it?”

“To be honest H,” Eric glanced at Ryan and Caine uncomfortable. “That
arm and leg, they are impossible. Some of the components inside of it
just don’t make sense. It looks high tech on the outside, but without
the fancy microfibers, it looks more like a car engine on the inside.”

Ryan nodded. “It was what I thought too. And according to the people I
spoke with, it’s impossible for it to move the way Natalia described
with gears, pistons and no computer chips.”

“Well, that’s just peachy.” Calleigh remarked, amused. “We’ve got
magic too. Come on guys, there has to be something that makes sense here.”

The group of CSIs all glanced at each other, and an uncomfortable
silence fell over the room. Did anything make sense in this case? Eric
focused on the folder in his hands, thinking about the rocket. What
they had were two separate things, prosthetics and money that didn’t
exist, Nazis and items from preWWI. “Maybe, the brothers are form one
place, and our Nazis another, that’s what the evidence is saying.”

“But from where?” Natalia asked. She ran her hands through her hair,
frustration on her face.

A cell phone rang, instinctively making Eric check his own even though
he saw Horatio answer his. It wasn’t unusual for more than one of them
to get a call at a time. Sure enough, he felt it vibrate, and it
buzzed. Unhooking it from his belt, he flipped the phone open and
placed it to his ear. “Delko here.”

“Tripp here, Delko, we’ve got a DB in little Haiti, I need you to come
out to a property on 8441 Northeast 1st avenue and process the scene.”
The cop’s voice crackled over the phone.

Quickly jotting the address down on his pocket planner, Eric gathered
his things, and started to stand. “Ok, on my way. See you when I get
there.”

“Ok, traffic’s heavy so I suggest you avoid 95, see you in a bit.”
Tripp clicked off, leaving a dial tone.

Closing and hooking his cell phone on his belt, Eric glanced at
Horatio Caine. His former brother in-law had stepped back from the
table, and spoke quietly in the receiver. “Yes Alexx, thank you very
much. We’ll discuss why you were there in the first place later.” He
hung up the phone, glancing to the group. “It seems one of our
youngsters is awake and talking.”

“And I have a scene to process. “ Eric said. “Hate to run when we’ve
got so much on the plate.”

“Quite all right, Eric. I think we are done here. I suggest we keep
working on the evidence, and I’ll have a little talk with Alphonse.
Perhaps he can help shed some light on our unusual scene.” Caine
placed his phone in his pocket.

The boy being awake was a big help, Eric thought, nodding to his
colleagues before leaving. With luck, the evidence would start to make
sense.


Chapter 5

Chapter 5
Federal Jurisdiction?
Didn’t anyone tell you, Miami is Horatio
Caine’s Town.

Social services apparently helped place orphaned, neglected or abused
children in new homes. In some cases, like Alphonse’s, they paid for
medical care. No child was allowed to legally live on their own and
apparently, regardless of how mature he and Edward seemed, there was
no talking this Social Service person into letting them travel the
country without an adult escort, when they were fully recovered. They
were now Wards of the State, with no freedom whatsoever.

It was frustrating. Especially when he wasn’t able to tell her the
truth and prove to her how capable he was of taking care of himself.

Hugging his broken arm to his chest, Alphonse Elric sighed wearily,
aware his body wanted to sleep. Sarah Walsh was a nice enough person,
but she definitely looked at him like he was a small child. In fact,
he had spent the last ten minutes getting acquainted with her,
discussing social services' job, and his and Edward’s fates. Fates he
was not looking forward to. “I don’t know if I like the idea of
having to live with people I don’t know.” He told her firmly. “Brother
can take good care of me, why can I just stay with him?”

The woman’s face twitched. She appeared weary of the same question.
One Alphonse was sure he had asked seventeen times in that same
conversation. “I don’t think I need to explain that, Alphonse.” She
said apologetically. “Now, I want to talk to you about this
investigation, and what you need to do, ok?”

He wasn’t done debating the social service issue. The boy slouched,
looking down at his legs. One of the nurses was kind enough to show
him how to raise his mattress so he could sit up. It was a little
button that sent an electric signal to hydraulics installed under the
bed. Pressing the up switch allowed him to move it up, and pressing
the down switch, moved it down. He could also moved the foot of the
bed as well, and it was great fun playing with it, until Ms Social
service arrived. “Ok.” He eyed her though long gold bangs, and made
his mouth a line. “What do I need to do?”

“Answer no questions, unless I am here. Ok? If we need a lawyer, I’ll
arrange one, but I don’t want anyone taking advantage of you.” She
smiled kindly and patted his shoulder. She had dark hair pulled back
in a bun, blue eyes and very tanned skin. It reminded Al of the
desert people in his world; unlike doctor Woods who reminded him of
the people in the south, near Rush Valley.

“Ok. Let me get this straight. I have to be 18 to live on my own, and
only grown ups are allowed to talk with my doctors, and I have to go
off and live with a strange family, when my brother is 18…”

“And in a coma, Alphonse.” Ms. Walsh said apologetically.

Yes, he was told Edward was in a coma induced by medications in order
to bring cerebral swelling down. Doctor Sullivan assured him he would
wake Edward up when his life was no longer at risk, but also
emphasized Edward’s condition was not stable, and death was a very
possible outcome. The boy gathered one of the pillows propped up
against the rail on his bed, and hugged it tightly. He heaved a sigh and
blinked back tears, trying not to look shaken by her words.
“He’ll wake up.”

“And he has to be 21 to take care of you legally, Alphonse.” Ms Walsh
looked at him, grief in her gaze. “I’m sorry neither of your are in condition
to take care of the other.”

“Never stopped us before.” He said it sharply, but he couldn’t tell her how
they traveled Amestris on their own for four years. He couldn’t tell her how
he and his brother lived alone after their mother died. That was a different
world, that didn’t have social services, and they would ask him questions
he didn’t want to answer.

“You’re crippled, Alphonse. You need special care right now.”

“Operations will fix me.” He told her. The technology here was amazing
and he was strong. He was certain the swelling would go down and he’d
be well in no time.

Ms. Walsh sighed. She poured him a glass of water, and held it to his
lips. He sipped it, a captive audience. “Well, you need to think about
what’s occurring now, Alphonse. There will be no surgery until the
swelling goes down. And you need to recover. You’ve just had one
major surgery already.” Removing the cup, the woman placed it on its
tray and sat back down in the chair next to his bed.

The boy absently lifted the edge of his hospital gown, noting the
bandages around his gut framed by that awkward metal thing that was
fused to his sides. They were wrapped about his belly, and hurt when
he moved. He could only sit up using the bed’s buttons, and only
partially, because the damned metal thing got in the way, preventing
movement. They had to cut into his belly to remove his spleen and sew
up his intestine and his liver. As it was, Alphonse Elric was amazed
he was alive. By rights, his injuries should have killed him. In his
world he would have died from peritonitis, or from blood loss. In this
world, they had antibiotics, miracle medicines that killed bacterial
infections, and advanced surgical techniques and equipment that stopped
bleeding and repaired injured organs. The world of technology was
as amazing as it was frustrating. “I know.” He said, hugging his pillow
tighter. “But with all that advanced medicine, you think they could do it
again right away. I’m very strong you know. Tough as nails…”

“We will see.” Ms. Walsh picked up her white purse and came to a slow
stand. “I’ll talk to doctor Sullivan about an orthopedist, and we’ll
go from there.”

Al gave a heavy sigh. If only auntie Pinako was there, she’d have him
fixed up with some of the best automail in Amestris. He settled back
in his bed, eyes closing against his will. His body felt heavy, he
really wanted to sleep now. Injured as he was, Alphonse Elric could do
nothing for his brother now, and he had talked to the people he needed
to talk to. There wasn’t an excuse to fight. “Yes ma'am.”

“Ms Walsh,” the new voice forced Al to crack open an eye. A tall sandy
haired man in a black suit and tie stood in the doorway. His features
were narrow, almost hawkish, and his eyes were dark and he peered at
Ms Walsh as if she were an annoyance. “I’m Agent Culpepper, FBI. I
would like you to leave the room.” He flashed out what looked like a
piece of paper with writing on it. Al squinted in an attempt to read
it, but he was too light headed and the man flipped it closed before
he could make heads or tails of the writing. “Under the patriot act, I
have permission to question this boy without council or the presence
of social service. It’s a matter of National Security.”


Wide eyed, Ms. Walsh studied the man. “But I can’t just go…”

“You have to go.” The man said, crossing into the room. Putting a hand
on her shoulder he lead her out. “I’m taking over here. Mr. Elric is
in my capable hands.” Before she could object, he shut the door in her
face, and returned to Al’s bedside. He took the chair she was sitting
in and seated himself in front of Al. He fixed the boy with a cold
hard glare.

Tightening his gut, Alphonse met Culpepper’s glare with one of his
own. “Capable hands? I did nothing wrong.”

“Why thank you Mr. Elric. But I’m the one who must determine that. I’d
like you to answer a few questions. All you need to do is answer them,
and my department will be more than happy to help you and your
brother.” As he spoke, he held Al’s stare, dark gaze narrowing as he
spoke. “If you don’t cooperate, I will make you and your brother
disappear and never see each other again.”

The boy didn’t flinch. He'd expected threats as soon as the man chased
his social service rep out. “I was told I have rights and that she
needed to be with me when I was questioned.” He said, evenly.

“You don’t exist, you have no rights, Mr. Elric.” Culpepper said
coldly. “However, my people will happily make you very comfortable as
long as you cooperate, do you understand?”

What happened to all that it’s a free and wonderful country talk Ms
Walsh gave him? Al frowned, his worry for Edward growing. “What do you
want to know?” The boy hugged his pillow. There was so much he
couldn’t say, but he had already told them his name and couldn’t play
completely amnesiac. But Edward wanted the gate between worlds closed,
so he could say nothing about Dietlinde’s attempt to take weapons and
destroy Amestris.

And if this man knew about Amestris, he’d certainly try to invade it
like Dietlinde.

“We’ll start with some simple questions before going to some serious
ones. What is your name?”

The first question asked was easy. “Alphonse Elric… Did you talk to
doctor Sullivan? I’m suffering from some amnesia. The accident, and
some other things… They’re well, a bit foggy. And I’m very tired…”

“I’ve read the reports, Mr. Elric. You shouldn’t have any problems
with these. Where were you born?”

Al frowned, biting his lip. “Rizenbol, it’s a small village in Germany.”

Culpepper nodded gaze giving away nothing. “What year were you born?”

The dating systems were different here. Al pouted. What year did
brother say it was? Something about 1923. “October 4, 1910.”

“Really.” Culpepper’s eyebrow raised slightly. “And your brother?”

“Edward?” His first instinct was to say the year before his, but that
was no longer true they were four years apart now. “May 10, 1906.”

“I see. Do you remember who the people were, who built that rocket?”

He wasn’t sure exactly and it ached to think about it. Al rubbed his brow.
“Brother called them Nazis and the woman… Eckart.” He felt a
wave of fear saying her name, and swallowed it. It made no sense to
him, why on earth would she frighten him?

“What were you doing on board the rocket?”

Al looked down at his blankets, and curled a hand around the white
material. “I didn’t want brother to be alone.” Was all he could
muster. His eyes started to droop again, and he felt sleep attempting
to creep into his mind. But if he slept, he might wake up to discover
he and Edward in some kind of prison, hostage to Culpepper, never to
see each other again. The boy forced his eyes open.

“That isn’t what I meant, but very well, what was your brother doing
on board the rocket?”

“He was trying to stop them.” Al said honestly. Culpepper didn’t
believe him. This questioning thing was harder than he thought. Still
he kept calm, even though inside his heart beat heavily against his
chest. “And send them back to Germany.”

“Mr. Culpepper.” The voice that spoke was both hard as steel and yet,
somehow, warmly empathic. It reminded Al of someone … of Maes Hughes.
The blank spot in his mind lifted as he started to recall the police
officer and his family. If this man was anything like Maes, he would
be safe. “Mr. Culpepper, I certainly hope you are not interrogating
this boy without Social Services present.” The red-haired man standing
in the suddenly-open doorway regarded the agent with a dangerously
level gaze. “That would definitely give me the wrong impression, and
that, Agent Culpepper, is not something you want to do in Miami.”

*&*&*&

Caine watched the agent stand up. Despite FBI training,
annoyance at the interruption was clear on Culpepper’s face. “This is
a matter of national security now, Mr…?”

“Caine. Horatio Caine, Lieutenant, Miami PD, CSI.”

By the narrowing of the eyes, Caine could tell his “I’ve heard of you,
Caine. You think you own this city. Well, let me tell you, this is out of
your hands.” Culpepper’s gaze was hard. “The implications of –“

This was not the time to let Culpepper take control. Technically,
Caine knew, Culpepper could assert jurisdiction and, with
some of the features of this case, probably make it stick eventually.
But there were enough fuzzy areas to strike back on, and if there was
one thing on this Earth that Horatio Caine did not tolerate, it was
people who bullied children. “On the contrary, Mr. Culpepper,” he cut
in, “this is a multiple murder investigation and it is most certainly
in my jurisdiction.”

That threw Culpepper for a loop, as Caine had intended.
“What? What murder?”

“We have evidence that someone was deliberately interfering in
the piloting of that rocket – attempting to prevent the vehicle from
landing safely. We have evidence that the boy in that room was
assaulted by that someone, and that means that the men on the
fishing boat died during the course of, and as a direct result of, the
commission of at least one and possibly multiple felonies. And that,
Mr. Culpepper, makes this murder, and that boy a victim, and here in
Miami, Mr. Culpepper, we do not punish our victims.”

Culpepper was a tall man – tall enough to look slightly
down at Caine, and he looked somewhat nonplussed that Caine
showed not the slightest sign of backing away as the FBI agent stepped
forward. “You are interfering in a Federal investigation, Mr. Caine.”

“Not in the least, Mr. Culpepper.” Caine said calmly. He knew that
this approach was not going to win him points with the FBI,
but Culpepper had managed to seriously annoy him twice within the
first half-minute he’d been in Caine’s sight – first by interrogating
a badly injured little boy without even a single witness to take the
boy’s part, and second by failing to even offer a token apology for
that flagrantly offensive action. “My staff will supply you with all
the evidence and analyses as they are obtained, and we will be happy
to work with you in this investigation. But,” and this time he stepped
forward, bringing himself almost nose-to-nose with Culpepper, “we are
not stepping aside when the case is unsolved, and you will not be
interrogating anyone without the appropriate case workers nearby, and
if I ever, Mr. Culpepper, find you attempting to intimidate that boy
or any other witness on this case like that again, I assure you that I
will have your badge one way or another. Do I make myself clear, Mr.
Culpepper?”

The FBI agent’s lips tightened and he opened his mouth.
Then he closed it again. “I think I’m clear enough on your attitude,
Lieutenant. All right. Maybe I should have arranged to question him
under different circumstances. Perhaps it would be best if we pretend
that we haven’t had this conversation and start over.” Despite the
conciliatory words, Caine could see that Culpepper was not going to
forget this confrontation, which was just fine from Caine’s point of view.

“I think you’re completely correct, Agent Culpepper.” He
extended his hand. “Welcome to Miami, Agent Culpepper. Horatio Caine,
CSI.”

The grip was much harder than necessary, but Caine gave as
much as he got. “Agent Culpepper, FBI. Can you let your people know
I’m on my way to review their evidence? Perhaps I can question the
survivors later … with Social Services or one of your people present,
of course.”

“I’m sure that can be arranged, whenever they’re well enough to
question. Certainly I’ll tell my people to give you their full cooperation.”

Culpepper nodded and left, face still dark with restrained
anger. Caine watched him go, smiling faintly. Finally he looked to the
side, into the room. The boy lay pale and motionless in his bed, large
pillows propped around him. His good arm was wrapped about one pillow,
as he slept, and he occasionally squeezed it murmuring quietly in his
sleep. Caine had seen his face at the tail end of Culpepper’s
interrogation, and while the boy had amazing control for someone so
young and injured, he was clearly heavily stressed, frightened and
worried by the agent’s pressuring him into answers he wasn’t ready to
give. The strain must have completely exhausted him.

Caine shook his head and took out his cell phone. “Calleigh? An Agent
Culpepper from the FBI will be there to examine the evidence. I want
you all to give him our best cooperation… as long as he plays well with
others.”

“Oh, not always a good playmate? Goody. My favorite kind,”
said the most dangerous woman in Miami in her deceptively perky voice.
“I’ll make sure to show him our best Southern hospitality.”

Caine smiled fondly. “I’m sure you will. I’m staying here for a
while, until Social Services gets back.”

“Well, we know where to reach you.”

“That you do.” He pulled out a chair quietly and sat down next
to the bed. He was, of course, doing exactly what he had warned Alexx
about, but there were some advantages to having no other immediate
superiors in the area; he could do things his way, and that meant he
stayed.

No child should wake up in a strange place alone.
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