2-10-2001

Disclaimer: We do not own any of the GW characters portrayed in this story. No money was made from this, and this was done totally for fun. Original characters belong to us.

Archiving: If you do not have previous permission, please ask. Will also show up on my fiction page: http://www.millenicom.com/nagisa/ninsfic

Notes: This story belongs in my Life Rules series that can be found at my website (addie above). It's not necessary to have read the other stories to understand this, but it wouldn't hurt either. Just for timeline references, this story occurs a little less than two years before "A Moment of Quiet." (The pilots are in their early twenties.)

Thanks to Miracle who read over this story when it was only two-thirds there. And special thanks to my (comet) friend Lisa who literally took a red pen to the story.

A note from comet: Nin challenged me to write an almost complete story (a little piece here and a little piece there belong to Nin). I started in late September and finally finished in mid-November. I still blame you for all this, Nin.

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First Meetings
by Ninjababe <nagisa@millenicom.com> and comet <comet@ao.net>
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The crime scene was organised chaos. In other words, a high-profile individual had been killed in a manner that brought out not only all of the uniformed people needed, but also brought out the onlookers, nutcases claiming responsibility, and maybe even the killer, waiting in the crowd.

When the first officers had arrived on the scene, they'd called it in as a murder-suicide because of the arrangement of the bodies and the fact they were found on the top floor of the twenty-story Phoenix Building. Unfortunately, they were wrong. This came to light when the Crime Scene Investigation Unit arrived. It became obvious to the CSIU personnel that the first person was not killed by the second and the second did not commit suicide.

Not more than five minutes after the CSIU made the murder ruling, three members of the Preventers pulled into the crime scene. They had been called in as a precaution as soon as the names of victims had been reported. Their arrival after the murder ruling was just a point in their favor.

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"...the bodies of Charles Dupruis and Madeline Sinclair were discovered when other personnel from the office arrived to start the business day. Dupruis and Sinclair were the co-owners of Phoenix Space Technologies, Inc., the leading company in the production of computer and technological support for the Mars colonization projects. The Preventers..."

=====

Walking back into the building from the CSIU van, the young, auburn haired woman with a camera skirted past the three Preventers that had just arrived, headed directly for victim number one. She crouched down to take several close up photos of the body, then moved around the room in a circular pattern, taking photos as she went.

"Lady, this is a crime scene," said Wufei as he entered the room.

She looked up to see a young Asian man staring down at her. "Perceptive on both counts," she said, standing. "No wonder you made investigator," she added as she moved to the other room and body.

He followed her. "What are you doing?" He asked.

Looking at the young man and the two others standing slightly behind him, she said, "Well, not standing in the evidence." He looked down, then took a step backwards.

Before either person could say anything else two separate voices rang out. The first said "Ronnie we need a picture of this using a wide angle lens." The other voice said "Chang, Yuy, you might want to take a look at this."

Wufei and Heero approached the man that had called them to the scene, discussing the crime scene for several minutes before moving off in opposite directions to examine the bodies. Heero headed for Madeline Sinclair while Wufei edged his way into Charles Dupruis's office. The third man reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a cell phone and began to dial.

Wufei walked around victim one and directly into Charles Sinclair's office. Originally thought to have been a suicide, Mr. Sinclair was found sitting at his desk with a gun held loosely in his right hand.

Wufei began to take mental notes about the scene. Gun in right hand, is the victim really right handed? Is there gunpowder residue on the hand? How many rounds were fired? Are the angles of entry consist with the placement of the bodies?

Meanwhile, Trowa watched the reactions of the employees as they came in and learned what had occurred in their place of employment. Deciding that it would be best to talk to the secretary who found the bodies, Trowa moved to where a female Preventer was sitting with an older woman. He nodded at the other Preventer then sat down next to the older woman. He gave her a small smile and began to quietly ask questions. First about the woman herself, then about her employers, and, finally, about what she saw when she came into the offices.

While Wufei looked over the scene around victim two and Trowa talked with the secretary, Heero looked at the scene around victim one. Madeline Sinclair was found lying on her back a few feet outside of Charles Duprius' inner office door, a single gunshot wound appeared to be the cause of death. It also appeared that she had either been walking into the office or had turned around to look back into the office when she was shot.

Having finished the first round of photos for the inner office, Ronnie returned to victim one. Noticing the other Asian Preventer that had been standing with the one she had had the run in with, she said, "We believe the body was moved into place, but we won't be one hundred percent sure until after the coroner comes."

Heero looked at the woman who was almost his height, and about four inches shy of Trowa's six-one. "Explain," he said.

"There appear to be scuff-like patterns here," she pointed to a spot under the left side of the body. "And we found fibers by the door that leads into this office. Their location doesn't seem to correspond with the victim's height. But until we get them under a microscope we won't know for sure."

"Who are you?" Heero finally asked.

"Ronnie Morgan," the young woman said. "Lead Forensic Investigator for CSIU Two."

Impressed with this Ronnie person, especially since he'd missed the barely visible scuff marks, Heero put out his hand. "Heero Yuy and I guess part of this mess is now mine."

Ronnie smiled at the blue-eyed Preventer, accepting the handshake.

Trowa walked up to Zechs, noticing for the first time that Zechs was hovering around the crime scene, observing everything but not interfering. Trowa asked Zechs what he was doing. "I'm working with the CSIU for the next month. I'm not to touch anything, just observe."

Trowa's visible eyebrow quirked up when he asked Zechs why. Zechs turned to look at Trowa for a moment, then back to where the CSIU personnel were bagging the hands of one of the victims. "A challenge from Ronnie," he said. Noticing the blank look on Trowa's face, Zechs pointed to the young woman who had the run in with Wufei earlier. "We stole her from Scotland Yard. Took us three months to convince her to come to work for the Preventers new CSIU. That was about four months ago. She's good."

"You know," Trowa said, "she sort of looks familiar."

Neither Trowa nor Zechs had noticed Duo's approach until he said, "She lives in our building Tro."

Zechs looked at the braided Preventer, who was obviously not dressed to be on duty. "You're here because?" he asked.

"Was about to go to lunch with Quatre when he was paged," Duo said. He guessed that the Preventers wanted Quatre to look over all of PST's business files or something to see who on paper had the most to gain and lose.

Ronnie moved a scanner over a piece a furniture. When it beeped she paused for the machine to take a reading. "We've got two more sets of prints here," she told one of the other techs.

Addressing both Zechs and Duo, Trowa asked them if they knew her. Duo said that she lived in the apartment directly below Wufei and that he knew she was a freelance photographer who had done some proof work for Circle10.

Zechs added that since he and Noin had been the two to finally get her to accept the offer he also knew she had a degree in criminal forensics, liked old scifi movies, dragons, and frozen coffee drinks, and was born on the Sydney, a Nova Scotian ship.

"She's a space pirate?" Trowa interrupted.

"No," Zechs said with a grin. "She's the black sheep of the family."

"And?" Duo prompted.

"And what?" Zechs said. "She just found something else to do and a hobby that brought her here. By the way, it's not widely known that she's from the Nova Scotian. Let's keep it that way. Just like it's not really known that you guys are ex-gundam pilots."

"And you know this how?"

Zechs turned his head from watching the forensic techs to look at Trowa and Duo. "I asked," he said. "She answered some of my questions when I first met her, others once we got to know each other better."

"Zechs," Ronnie called from where she was kneeling on the floor to put something into an evidence bag.

"Looks like I get to do more than observe," Zechs said as he walked away from the two ex-pilots. Ronnie handed him the evidence bag and then began to explain the evidentiary process as they moved on to the other victim.

Trowa walked over to where Wufei and Heero were discussing the crime scenes, while Quatre was trying to access the records on one of the victim's computers. Duo found a spot, out of the way the action, to watch.

The coroner arrived and took the bodies away for autopsy. The CSIU personnel took another ten minutes to look around the scene once the bodies had been removed, then began to pack up their gear. One of the CSIU techs asked Quatre and Heero if they were ready to release the computers to be removed to the labs, adding that the computers would be accessible at the lab within two hours. Both Preventers nodded, and the tech bagged the CPUs and several memory storage devices.

Five minutes later Zechs said good-bye to Duo and Trowa and followed Ronnie and the rest of the CSIU out of the office, leaving five Preventer Agents and several other uniformed personnel at the scene.

Quatre and Heero indicated that they wanted to finish looking at the files on the computers. Duo asked if they could do that after lunch, Quatre nodded since he and Duo had been on their way to lunch when his pager had gone off. Heero relented after seeing the expressions on the two boys' faces.

Trowa and Wufei decided that they would start interviewing the remaining employees and other people who worked in the building, but would meet up with them in a few hours.

=====

"...removed the two bodies from the top floor of the Phoenix Building. The coroner has not released the cause of death, but our sources believe that it may have been a murder-suicide..."

=====

Wufei pushed his way into one of the labs on the second floor of the local Preventer station. Trowa calmly walked in after the irate man.

Looking around the lab, Wufei spotted Zechs sorting through crime scene photos and headed directly for him. "The interviews are not going well," he said. "What about the evidence?"

"They're working on it," Zechs answered.

This was not what Wufei wanted to hear as he paced over to the desk with a nameplate that read "Veronica Morgan." He walked back toward Zechs, holding a book in his hand. "Too busy reading nonsense like this," he said, tossing a paperback romance novel on top of the photos Zechs had been examining.

"No, I think I was working on one of the other twelve open cases that I have evidence for," Ronnie said as she reached over and picked up the book and tossed in it back on her desk. "We're getting to it."

"I'm the lead the investigator on this case," he said.

"That's nice for you."

Zechs and Trowa stayed out of the discussion that Wufei and Ronnie were having, then Wufei demanded that someone else take over the PST case. Ronnie stared at Wufei, then without thinking she said, "I don't rightly give a damn who you think you are now! You don't come in to my lab demanding things."

Ronnie's rather loudly spoken comment caused several people to move in different directions. Quatre, Heero, Duo came out of one of the back computer rooms, several of the lab personnel went on break, and Zechs shifted to sit down, out of the way, at an empty desk.

"You know who we are?" Wufei said.

Ronnie whirled around to look at Wufei then turned slightly to look at Duo, "You got captured. Had your picture plastered on the little screen." Turning to the desk where Zechs thought he was out of the direct line of fire she added, "You blew a freaking hole in the earth. Whoopee. Introductions done. If you're here to argue with me get out. If you have evidence, drop it off. The reports will get back to you within 24 to 36 hours." With that she picked up a camera and a file from her desk and walked into the darkroom with a muttered "sassenach." The next thing the pilots heard was loud techno-rock music coming through the darkroom.

"Well, that went well," muttered Zechs.

"Hn." Heero shook his head and went back to the computers.

Quatre waved Trowa over and then followed Heero back into the room they had come out of. Duo sat down at Ronnie's desk and picked up the romance novel, flipping to a section about a third of the way through, he propped his feet up on the corner of her desk and started to read. "I can see why she reads these," he said.

"Maxwell."

"It's not what you think, Wu," Duo said. "This is so far from what she deals with everyday. It's as far from real as you can get."

Wufei stared at the braided pilot, then looked at Zechs who was smiling. "Not a good way to start, ne?" Zechs asked.

Wufei glared at Zechs, growled something that neither Duo or Zechs understood, then left the lab.

=====

"...what was first being called a murder-suicide by the first officers on the scene is now being called a double homicide by the Preventers. Their crime scene unit has..."

=====

Two days after the bodies of Charles Dupruis and Madeline Sinclair had been found, Wufei and Trowa were back in the lab on the second floor of the local Preventer station. Zechs looked up from the microscope he was peering through when he heard them come in. "Bet you're looking for the evidence from the PST case," Zechs said, grinning.

"Yes," Wufei said. "And to apologise."

Zechs' grin only widened at that comment. 'This should be interesting,' he thought. Ronnie chose that moment to come back into the lab.

"The abaisg is wondering the halls again," Ronnie said as she walked past Zechs, a coffee mug in her hand. A coffee mug that had "behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee," written several times across it.

"A bay sh," Trowa repeated the word he thought Ronnie had said.

"Who?" Wufei simply asked.

"My sister," Zechs said.

"Relena's here?" Quatre asked from the doorway of the computer evidence room. Heero appeared behind Quatre, looking like he was getting ready to go off to war.

"Aye, but she's not looking for you today," Ronnie said to Zechs. She turned to look at Heero. "However, she is looking for you. But, not to worry, she won't come in here." Ronnie grinned.

Seeing that Ronnie wasn't going to explain, Zechs did. He told them that Relena and Ronnie just didn't mix, and since their second meeting Relena has basically avoided Ronnie.

"If she'd only fall down an elevator shaft," Ronnie muttered.

"Sorry," Duo said. "That's already been suggested, please try again." Duo grinned at Ronnie, his feet propped back up on her desk like the other day and his nose buried in the book she kept in the desk drawer.

"Huh?" Ronnie said in response to Duo's comment, already used to the fact that he just appeared where his friends were and that he seemed to enjoy sitting at her desk.

"We play a game," he said, then went on to explain the concept of Modus Operandi.

Ronnie looked over at Zechs. "As long as they don't do it for real," Zechs said, then shrugged his shoulders. "Besides, that's not very original."

"I see. Okay, how about," Ronnie paused for a second then said, "duct taped to an office chair, with wheels, and rolled down several flights of stairs."

"New."

"Inventive."

"I like it."

"Acceptable."

"You are all very weird," she said. Handing a folder to Wufei, she told him that those were the overall scene reports, including the coroner's report.

Ronnie walked to the conference table at the back of the lab, balancing her coffee mug and several reports in her hand. Quatre had set up office back there because there had been plenty of room for him to print out and spread out all the yearly reports he wanted to look over. The other Preventers followed, all carrying reports on their findings thus far.

Duo, who was still not directly involved in the case simply moved to a desk closer to the conference table so he could clearly hear what was being said. He propped his feet up on the new desk and continued to read.

Before the meeting could get into full swing, the phone on Ronnie's desk rang. One of the lab techs answered it, spoke with the person on the line then signaled Ronnie that she had better talk to the person herself.

Ronnie listened to the person on the vid portion of the phone, then interrupted before the person, now identified as an Assistant District Attorney, could continue. "I figured the Defense would question the digital photos, Jack, that's why we also took traditionals." The ADA smiled, then said something about seeing her in court tomorrow before disconnecting the call.

While Ronnie was on the phone, the six ex-pilots quietly discussed the forensic investigator. "I've heard rumors," Duo said from behind his book, "that you're having an affair with her behind Noin's back."

"Hardly," Zechs said. "Lucrezia and Ronnie have lunch together at least twice a month to laugh at the rumors." Zechs shook his head, then gave a slight shiver when he added that they also went shopping during those lunches.

"Why does that image scare me?" asked Duo.

"Exactly," said Zechs.

Quatre told them that the people in the lab had nothing but good things to say about her. Though she did have a tendency to overwork, liked coffee to a fault, and yelled at people who come yelling into the lab. Wufei looked slightly abashed at the last comment. Trowa quietly added that a he'd talked with some of the other Preventers at the crime scene and was told that she was a fairly good shot, but didn't get along real well with the local Preventer Chief or the lead for CSIU One.

"From the argument I overheard this morning, I'd have to agree with that last statement," Heero said.

Zechs nodded his head, then mentioned that they were probably arguing over a procedural issue or something, and for the most part they just agreed to disagree and stay out of each other's way.

Duo cleared his throat to alert the others that Ronnie was getting ready to end the call. When she returned to the table, Quatre reported that at first glance PST's files all appeared to be in order, and that the business was in the black with all of its acquisitions and investments. However, when examined more closely, there seemed to be discrepancies in several files, especially in the departments that Edward Dupruis, Michael Dupruis' son, managed. He added, though, that the discrepancies were small and all by themselves might not mean much. However, with the what Heero was able to pull out of Madeline Sinclair's computer, it looked like Edward was underbuying a corporate contract with another company. Quatre reached for his pen only to find it not where he thought he had put. "Ronnie, pen."

Ronnie looked at Quatre, then down at the pen in her hand, then back at Quatre. She blushed slightly but handed the pen back. "Ah, sorry about that," she said. "Bad habit."

"I've noticed," Quatre said. "I saw the other coffee cup full of pens and pencils on your desk."

"She's got two more like that at her apartment," Zechs said.

"Hush," Ronnie told Zechs. "And, you can give the forensic report."

Duo snickered.

"Fine." Zechs stared at the braided boy, then rolled his eyes. Zechs gave fairly detailed report of what the CSIU found. When he ran into problems, Ronnie would chime in, but for the most part she sat quietly at the table.

Zechs told them that the fibers found by the door that led into this Dupruis' office belonged to the skirt Sinclair had been wearing. Their position could possibly correspond with the scuff marks that Ronnie had found, only if Sinclair had been dragged into position.

Flipping through the coroner's report, Heero said that there were trace elements of a commonly used sleeping aid in her system. Nodding, Wufei added that a similar substance had been found in Dupruis' system. Though, the coroner could not state with absolute positively how or when the substance was ingested.

From there Trowa told them what he and Wufei found out through the interviews; primarily that Edward Dupruis was not highly liked in PST and that several people believed he was trying to start his own business.

Just as the reports seemed over, one of the computers in the lab beeped. "Fingerprint search," Ronnie said as she got up and walked over to the computer. "It's the print we pulled off of Sinclair's watch crystal."

=====

"...sources have told this reporter that the Preventers have called on a local businessman, Quatre Winner, to look through PST's records and files. We've also been told that Veronica Morgan, CSIU Lead has evidence that will..."

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The next day Quatre met Ronnie and Zechs as they came out of the courthouse. "How'd it go with the Abby Case?" he asked.

"Boring," Zechs said.

"You wanted to see what the CSIU did everyday," Ronnie reminded him. "Plus, you'll probably have to testify in the PST case."

Zechs gave Ronnie a look that said something to the affect of 'god I hope not.' Ronnie laughed and started walking to the little cafe near the courthouse. The three of them were supposed to meet Wufei and Trowa there for lunch, the other two having interviews on another case on the same side of town.

With their backs turned toward the courthouse, none of them saw the red pinpoint lights. As the first set of rounds were fired, Quatre, Zechs and Ronnie were pushed to the ground. A second later the bullets impacted into the cement wall above them. Moments later another set of rounds hit the wall. The next thing they heard was someone yelling, "put down the guns, idiots, or I'll let him shoot you."

"Duo?" Quatre asked as he looked into Trowa's eyes. Trowa nodded, keeping Quatre down until given the all clear.

"We invited them to lunch," Wufei said in way of an explanation.

"Lucky for us," Zechs said.

Duo and Heero cuffed the two shooters. "It's really stupid to shoot at people in front of the courthouse," said Duo. Heero turned to where the five Preventers laid on the sidewalk and nodded at Trowa.

"Anytime now," Ronnie muttered, as she saw Trowa helping Quatre up, having been given a sign from Heero that the shooters were not going anywhere.

"Who?" Quatre asked as he stood up.

On the other hand, Ronnie was still under Zechs and Wufei, who had knocked them to the ground. "Not that I mind this or anything, but my gun is digging into my back. Could you guys get off me," Ronnie said. "Besides, Luce is gonna kill us if this starts another rumor."

Wufei and Zechs both rolled off Ronnie then reached down to help her up. Without thinking she took the offered hands and stood, her attention was drawn to the two cuffed shooters standing between Heero and Duo. Straightening her jacket, Ronnie walked toward them. In a very calm voice, Ronnie repeated Quatre's question, asking them who sent them. The taller of the two shooters tried to take a step forward, stopped by Duo. "Not telling you anything, bitch."

"Creative." Ronnie said as she punch the guy in the face. The distinct popping noise of a nose breaking was heard as the shooter dropped to his knees. "You should have shot him," she told Heero. "Lunch?"

=====

"...yesterday the Preventers arrested two suspects for the attempted murders of a Preventer Agent and Crime Scene Investigator..."

=====

After the murder attempts on Quatre and Ronnie, the five other Preventer Agents had come to the decision to not let the two of them out of their sights. That was why Ronnie found herself in her office way too early in the morning and why, as her father pointed out, they'd had to track her down to the least likely place to find her before eight in the morning.

Ronnie stared at the vid phone, not really seeing but knowing her parents' faces stared back at her. The same argument, she had heard from them many times before, was being played out yet again. Her father would say something about how he couldn't believe that a daughter of his was actually working for the government. (Which was just an odd statement since he only had one daughter.) Then Ronnie's mother would say, "Douglas, stop it! She's happy! That's all that matters. Yeah, it'd be nice if she was happy in the family business, but we can't have everything," while thwapping him on the head.

Ronnie didn't even have to look at the screen to know her father was rubbing the back of his head when he said, "Brianna, that hurt. Damn women."

Ronnie heard Wufei snort at that that comment and was about to turn to look at him when what her father was saying finally sunk in. Looking her parents in the eyes she said, "You what?"

"Sent Noah with Aidan to keep an eye on you," her father said. Her mother only smiled at her, shrugged her shoulders, then mouthed the word 'men,' right before both her parents told her they loved her, then disconnected from the transmission before she could object.

Putting her head on her desk and covering it with her arms, Ronnie was speechless except for a very quiet prayer of "Oh Sweet Brigit."

A minute later, Ronnie picked up the coffee cup sitting on her desk, and headed for the lab doors. Before she knew it, Duo was beside her, a borrowed coffee cup in his hand. "Not alone," he said.

Ronnie shrugged. She'd been taken off the case, told to work on cases that wouldn't take her out of the building, and basically assigned a guard until the shooters gave up their boss. "Fine, but we're going down to the morgue."

"Why?"

"Best coffee in this building."

"Cool!"

When the two cleared the doors, Heero said, "That scares me more than Ronnie and Noin going shopping."

A few hours later a loud commotion in the lab brought Ronnie out of the dark room. "Great," she muttered then walked further into the main lab. "Guns down boys. Testosterone level in room too high, I'm going to drown." Ronnie introduced the six Preventer agents in the lab, two with guns still visible. She then pointed to the two men, only one still had a gun visible, and introduced them as Noah and Aidan, her two overly protective, older brothers who had obviously ridden to her rescue. "By the way, go home," she told the two.

"No," said the taller of the two men.

"Noah's right," added the other man, who's hair was pulled back in a ponytail at the back of his neck, "Someone tried to kill you. We're not leaving."

"It wouldn't be the first time," Ronnie said without thinking, then tried to make an exit which failed as the man now identified as Aidan grabbed her arm.

Zechs stopped Quatre from trying to intervene. "Eldest sibling," he said quietly. Quatre could only nod, having sympathy and understanding about having older siblings.

"What do you mean, Veronica?" Aidan calmly asked.

"This is all your fault, Aidan," Noah said.

Aidan was about to comment when Ronnie cut him off. "No," she said, "I already had to listen to one over-played argument by Mom and Dad. I'm not about to stand here and listen to you two. He gave me my first camera, you had all the murder mystery novels. You're both to blame."

Ronnie tried to walk away, hoping that Aidan had forgotten what she said a few moments earlier. 'Guess not,' she thought as Aidan asked her again what she meant.

"Um," Ronnie said. "Well, it's just not the first time I've been shot at in this job," she shrugged her shoulders.

"You never thought to mention it to anyone?" Aidan said.

"Wait," interrupted Noah, "since you started to work for these people," indicating the Preventers standing in the office, "or while you were working for Scotland Yard?"

'Who to answer first,' Ronnie thought. 'Noah, of course. His question won't cause the biggest blow up.'

"Both," Ronnie said to Noah. "Though, this is the first time with guys that are actually standing in my lab. Call it a bonding experience."

"A bonding experience? You call being shot out a bonding experience?" Aidan asked calmly.

Ronnie looked at her oldest sibling and smiled. "Yes. Where else can two attractive guys jump you in public?"

"She's definitely your sister," muttered Noah.

Ronnie tried to escape again, and again was stopped by Aidan. "Were you going to tell the family?"

"Mom knows," Ronnie said.

"And Dad?"

"Mom and I decided he didn't need to know. And, before you ask, we didn't say anything because he would have somehow talked you two into moving here to keep an eye on me. And, for the record, I can pretty much take care of myself."

"How, by being shoot at?" asked Aidan.

"It's part of the job," she said.

Noah looked her in the eyes and said, "Then you need a new job."

Ronnie tensed. Duo took the coffee cup from her hand before she could throw it. "It's my choice," she didn't say anything else, just walked toward one of the back rooms, the two men following her. As soon as the door closed behind them, a loud argument ensued.

"She's not going anywhere for a while," Trowa said to Wufei, "let's interview the two shooters again." Wufei nodded, and the two Preventers left the lab.

Quatre returned conference table and the files he'd brought with him. Since he could no longer work on the PST case, Quatre brought work with him from his own company. Heero returned to the other back room and the computer he was examining. This left Duo and Zechs in the lab. "So, blondie, show me what you've learned," Duo said. Zechs shrugged and pulled out the files for one of the other nine active cases CSIU Two was working on, reading off the case numbers to Duo, who pulled the evidence bags.

A few hours later, when Trowa and Wufei returned to the lab, they found Zechs and Duo looking through crime scene pictures and matching them with evidence samples. The door to the back room that Ronnie and her brothers had disappeared through was open, but the darkroom's door was closed. Heero was no where to be seen and Quatre was still working at the back table.

"They give anything up," Duo asked.

Trowa shook his head as Wufei said, "Not yet, but they will, just a matter of time."

"The battle?" asked Trowa, referring to Ronnie and her brothers.

Zechs and Duo started laughing. "They left," Duo started.

"But they're staying," finished Zechs.

Knowing that wasn't enough of an answer, but also knowing that Duo and Zechs weren't going to stop laughing, Quatre spoke up from the back of the room. "A compromise was reached," he said. Then went on to explain that as much as Ronnie tried she couldn't get them to go home, so she sent them to her home telling them they were interfering with the daily operations of the lab.

"I don't see how that's funny," Wufei stated.

Duo's laughter had settled down so he could talk and answered Wufei. "She threw the book at them," he said, then started laughing again.

Once again Quatre picked up where Duo left off, telling them that Ronnie had indeed thrown a book at them, several books in fact, as well as a half dozen pens and a plastic coffee cup. They finally took the hint and left but not before telling her they'd be back to pick her up for dinner. This came after they found out that her car had been blown up about a month ago. Aidan had told her that the three of them would talk after dinner. That's when Noah had pushed him out of the office before Ronnie could throw the evidential law codes book at him. Since then, she'd been working non-stop. She'd finished the paperwork on three of her cases, had Duo and Zechs working on two others, and was in the darkroom developing pictures.

"Oh," Quatre added, "Heero's running down a lead on the ammo used on our attempted murders."

"Leverage we can use to get the shooters to turn on their boss?" asked Trowa.

"Yes," Heero said as he came through the lab door. "That and the print analysis that CSIU Three just handed me."

=====

"...sources say that a fingerprint found as the PST crime scene matches one of the shooters from the courthouse..."

=====

In one of the many interview rooms, Wufei was once again interrogating one of the suspects. This time however, he took the one he had not interviewed before. "Your prints were found on the body..."

In the room right next door, Heero was interrogating the second suspect. "Your prints were found on the shell casings of the bullets found at Phoenix Space Technologies' crime scene..."

Forty-five minutes and a visit from an attorney representing the District Attorney later, the two shooters gave up the name of their boss. After another thirty minutes and a plea bargain they had a strong case and a reason for the murders of the two owners of Phoenix Space Technologies. It seemed to be a basic case of greed going too far.

With the information they'd gathered, Heero and Wufei went to talk to Edward Dupruis.

Edward Dupruis was a rather savvy businessman and withstood the initial interview several days ago. However, when his secretary buzzed him that two Preventer Agents were waiting to see him, he quickly called his lawyer.

=====

"...After a week long investigation, Edward Dupruis was arrested and charged with the murders of his father, Charles Dupruis, and Madeline Sinclair. The Preventers have also charged two other suspects who conspired with Edward Dupruis for..."

=====

- six months later -

Ronnie paused for a moment on her way to the CSI van and looked at the five Preventers sitting out of the way. "Hey guys! Smile!" she said, then snapped a picture of them before they realised what she was about to do. "Thanks," she smiled and waved, but didn't actually stop.

"I want a copy," Duo yelled after her.

 

- end -

 

End Notes by comet:
1) Why Nova Scotian? Why not. I wanted a group of people not represented by the colonies that had a deep, rich culture.

2) Sassenach is Scot Gaelic for "outlander" (literal translation). It also means "outsider, one who does not belong."

3) Abaisg and garrach are Scot Gaelic for brat (and for one who is annoying).

4) The quote ("Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.") on Ronnie's coffee mug is credited to Stephanie Piro.

5) For this story Nova Scotian is the name given to a particular group or fleet of "space pirates." There are at least five ships (not counting personal shuttles or transports) in the Nova Scotian Fleet: Kingston, Halifax, Trenton, Shelburne, and Sydney. Ronnie's from the Sydney.

6) Ronnie and her family were created by Ninjababe and comet over several emails and AIM messages. We now have a working bio on her.