Previous parts are here. This chapter won't make much sense if you haven't read them!
No special warnings, apart from BIG spoilers for Dexter Seasons 2, 3 and 4, and more fandoms added to the mix.
This is a multiple crossover, beginning with NCIS and Dexter and eventually taking in several other fandoms. Some sections include passages with a first person viewpoint, reflecting the narrative style used in (for example) the Dexter TV show and books. I will always try to make the identity of the viewpoint characters clear.
Major spoilers for Dexter S2, S3 and S4.
See the first chapter for disclaimers etc.
By Marcus L. Rowland
Nathan Marten’s Former Home, Miami
“If I’d known the sort of man Marten was I would have never rented him the house,” said his landlord. “When the police raided the place the picture was in every paper in Miami, usually labelled as ‘Home of paedophile Nathan Marten.’ Most of the windows were broken within the week then someone tried to set fire to the place. The fire department got it out, but it made a hell of a mess.”
“How much is there left of his furnishings and belongings?” asked Gibbs.
“Pretty much everything was trashed. By then his rent was three months in arrears, and my attorney told me I could evict him. I found some aunt of his in Fort Lauderdale, she agreed to take away the stuff that wasn’t ruined, but when we looked at it there was hardly anything she wanted to keep. We ended up throwing most of it in the trash, gave some books and clothes to a thrift shop, that was about it. After that I had to spend a small fortune painting the house and changing the landscaping so that it wasn’t so easy to recognize.”
“Was there a computer?” asked McGee.
“The police returned that about three months after the raid. When I called the aunt she called it a tool of Satan, didn’t want it in the house because of what he’d used it for. I thought it might be useful, but I couldn’t get the damned thing to work at all.”
“So what happened to it?” asked Gibbs.
“I kept it in case she changed her mind. It’s out in the garage.”
* * * * *
“What do you make of it?” asked Ziva, watching McGee disassemble the computer.
“This would have been state of the art about three years ago. I’ll know more when I’ve had a look at the hard disk.” He pulled it from the casing, and plugged it into a docking cradle connected to his laptop. “Okay, let’s see now…”
“What have you got, McGee?” said Gibbs, as usual coming up behind him silently.
“It’s been wiped… whoever did it knew what he was doing, I don’t think I’m going to be recovering anything.”
“So what can you tell me?”
“Let’s see now… hmm, that’s odd…” He looked at one screen, then another, then opened a web browser and checked a Wikipedia entry. “Okay. Something doesn’t add up here.”
“What do you mean?”
“According to the partition creation date someone did a deep level erase of the hard disk on October the twentieth last year, then reformatted it for Linux. But the partition is labelled as ‘Intrepid Ibex.’”
“So who’s that, McGeek,” asked Tony. “Someone in a comic book?”
“Intrepid Ibex,” McGee said patiently, “was a major release of Ubuntu Linux. Version 8.10, to be precise. ”
“And?” Gibbs asked impatiently.
“It was released on October thirtieth last year. Before that the version was ‘Hardy Heron.’”
“So someone went out and bought a brand new copy of this software to erase the hard disk? Then faked the date to look like it was earlier?”
“Not bought, boss,” McGee said apologetically. “It’s a free download. Anyone in the world could have gotten hold of a copy.”
“Any hope of tracing it?”
“Not a chance.”
“Great,” growled Gibbs.
“The police raided the house on November the seventh,” said Ziva. “Caine said that Marten must have been gone for at least two weeks when they searched it, which takes us back to the twenty-third. That’s well before your Ibox was released.”
“Ibex,” said McGee. “And yes, at least a week earlier.”
“Why fake the date?” asked Tony. “Some sort of alibi?”
“Good question,” said Gibbs. “Why don’t you and McGee go find me some answers?”
“Wait a minute, boss, there’s something else,” said McGee.
“Someone’s modified the network port on the motherboard. There’s an extra chip added, piggybacked on the main controller. Some sort of bug, I think.”
"Easy to find?"
"Easy for me, or someone with skills like me. Someone like Marten probably wouldn't spot it."
"What about someone like Caine or his team?"
"Assuming their people are competent... yes, they'd spot it."
"So why didn't he mention it? All right, McGee, you're with me, we need to have another word with Caine. Ziva, go back to Miami Metro, get everything they’ve got on Marten. And while you’re there, see what you can find out about the Bay Harbor Butcher. The forensic scientist there had a big mouth; maybe he can give you some useful information.”
“Morgan?” said Ziva. “He did not seem to be especially talkative.”
“The other guy, Masuka.”
“Him? He was staring at my breasts the whole time I was there.”
“So he’s romantic. Use it.” He ignored Ziva's glare.
“What about me, boss?" asked DiNozzo, trying not to grin.
“Find out everything you can about the Bay Harbor Butcher, things that didn’t make the official reports. Try the local libraries and the newspapers. See if there's anything that didn't make it into the files that could give us a lead on him.”
"On it, boss."
"And do it quietly!"
* * * * *
When you’re a spy, staying in one area for an extended period is likely to attract official attention. When you’re burned, they won’t let you move on – which can be a problem if you’re still doing things that attract official attention. And of course it doesn’t help if some of your former associates have big mouths...
“I’m really sorry about this, Michael,” said Sam Axe. “I knew that Doakes was in Miami around the time you were burned, but I had no idea he knew anything about your hero for hire gig.”
“Well, he evidently did,” I said, “and it looks like he told his lieutenant all about it. She knows my name, my real name!”
Sam winced. “And mine,” he reminded me. “My name, my contact details, he probably gave her a goddamned picture. The guy was psychotic, Michael, we should count ourselves lucky we didn’t wake up in trash bags in little pieces.”
“That would be a nice trick if you could manage it,” said Fiona, helping herself to a can of soda. “The big question, of course, is does she know about me?”
“I don’t think so,” said Sam. “She didn’t mention you at all,
"Okay," I said. "Maybe we can use that. You stay in the background, keep your eyes open for any snoopers. Just in case this is some sort of setup…"
* * * * *
Miami-Dade Police Department
"Your people must have known that there was something hinky about that computer," said Gibbs. "What's the story, Caine?"
"There were reasons for it,” Caine said reluctantly. "When we were checking Marten's computer we found the main partition completely trashed, no hope of recovering anything. But there was a second partition, just a few megabytes that someone had installed on the drive. Our techs identified it as the concealed component of a Trojan, a keystroke logger that used that second chip to relay everything he typed to another IP address."
“Leading where?” asked McGee.
“I didn’t tell you this,” said Caine.
“I can’t make that deal,” said Gibbs, “until I know what you’re talking about.”
“A dead man,” said Caine. “By the time we’d found out who it was, he was already dead.”
“An assistant DA called Miguel Prado. He gave us a lot of the intelligence that led to the raids, said he’d been contacted by an anonymous informant. It turned out that a couple of months earlier he’d paid a private eye to bug some known paedophiles, completely illegally.”
“Let me guess,” said Gibbs. “He was after the DA’s job, wanted a big success?”
“So the raids were the result of illegal taps?”
“In a manner of speaking,” said Caine, “although the evidence we actually used came from legal intercepts.”
“But you planned the intercepts according to the information he gave you, and that came from illegal sources.”
Caine took off his sunglasses, then put them on again. “Yes.”
“So when you found out what was going on,” said McGee, “You had the hard disk erased completely, to cover up Prado’s illegal actions.”
There was a long pause, then Caine said “Yes.”
“Can you give me any reason,” asked Gibbs, “why I shouldn’t take this straight to your DA and tell him he’s got to quash the conviction of a bunch of paedophiles, and that you’ve been tampering with evidence?”
“He knows,” said Caine. “Getting them released without triggering a major scandal has been difficult, but it’s happening. Their appeals are going through the courts, and the DA isn’t opposing them. The official reason is technical details with the legal intercepts.”
“But some of them have spent months in prison already?” asked McGee
“Unfortunate,” said Gibbs.
“Yes, it is,” said Caine, removing his glasses again.
“Moving on,” said Gibbs, “is there anything else you didn’t tell us about Marten?”
“No, everything else was by the book.”
“Then I think that’s all for now. Oh, one more question; what happened to Prado? You said he was dead.”
“He was murdered last year, one of the victims of a serial killer called the Skinner.”
“Another serial killer?” McGee said incredulously.
“It’s Miami,” said Gibbs.
“We do seem to see more than our fair share,” said Caine.
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