“All right,” started Detective Marcus Bell, looking at a submerged car stuck in Professor’s Lake. “What would compel a man to drive himself through the barricade, wait for the ice to crack and just sit there as his car gets swallowed by the water?”
“It’s like Virginia Woolf all over again,” said fellow detective Joan Watson.
“Am I the only one that thinks this isn’t a suicide?” asked Police Chief Tommy Gregson.
“No, you’re not the only one,” replied Watson.
“Sherlock, did you find anything?” said Bell, walking up to his colleague, Sherlock Holmes, the great grandson of the great detective.
Holmes, however, didn’t respond. He was examining the scene, looking for the slightest clue. There were no marks on the dead man or inside the car- a brand new Rover 200- to indicate a struggle, nor were any of the windows or doors found open, with water pressure being the culprit. The barricade showed no sign of a break-in except for the fact that the car had driven right through it, and the cause of death was clearly drowning. Holmes still managed to spot something.
“If you’ll look over here,” said Holmes, walking Bell to a point right after the barricade had been broken, “you’ll notice two depressions in the snow. One of them is quite clearly the boots of the assassin while the other indicates that the car stopped at this exact point.”
“Assassin?” Bell asked, “how do you figure that? There’s only one set of footprints here…it could have been the guy who committed suicide stepping out to wonder what he was doing.”
“It was a cold night,” said Holmes. “The wind chill by itself plunged the temperature down to minus 15 Centigrade…why would the dead man come out of the car? If he wanted to pause to contemplate what he was doing, he would have just stopped the car and thought about things inside of it instead of stepping outside.”
“Okay,” said Bell, trying to understand Holmes’ thinking, “so maybe the assassin drove the car and, at this very moment, the two drivers switched…but if that happened, wouldn’t there be two sets of footprints?”
“Not if the assassin made the driver switch seats from inside the car,” said Holmes. “This man had to have had a gun to convince the dead man to move seats.”
“What did you guys find?” said Gregson, coming over to Bell and Holmes.
“This man was assassinated,” said Bell. “Sherlock and I concluded that the assassin drove our victim here, and, after he broke into the barrier, the assassin exited the car, pointed a gun at the victim and made him drive into the lake. That’s why there’s only one set of footprints.”
“He covered his tracks pretty well,” noted Watson. “Every other footprint he left he covered up…looks like he brought a snow shovel with him, stood on top of the broken barrier, shoveled snow onto his tracks and used the shovel to even things out…of course, he couldn’t get to his initial prints, but that was okay…he probably thought this would look like the victim stepped out of the car.”
“Registration on the car is new,” said Gregson. “So our next step is to see where our victim bought the car…our killer has to be tied to the initial dealer.”
FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
“I’ll call you after work,” said Behavioural Analysis Unit team member Emily Prentiss, kissing Patrick Jane goodbye. The two continued to hold each other. “Thanks for driving me to work today.”
“No problem,” said Jane, giving Prentiss another kiss. “Maybe one day we’ll actually come to work together.”
“Have you thought about Hotch’s offer?”
“Not yet…I would entertain the thought of joining the team though. I think I need to think about things and see where my life is and contemplate the move…and maybe get some rest too. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling lately…it’s taken its toll.”
“You did a great job in New Rome…and I really hope I get to see you more often.”
“I do too. I haven’t felt this happy since I met my first wife.”
Prentiss couldn’t help but smile after hearing Jane refer to his old wife as his “first” wife, not simply as his wife. She caught on that Jane believed the two of them had a viable future.
Jane smiled. “I guess I telegraphed my intentions.”
“Yeah, but I like knowing that you believe in us.”
“I do too.” The two of them proceeded to kiss passionately for a few minutes before Prentiss managed to convince herself that it actually was finally time to get inside and get to work.
Inside, BAU teammate David Rossi stepped out of his office with a broad smile.
“Someone is having a good morning,” noted BAU media liaison Jennifer “JJ” Jareau.
“I know,” said BAU teammate Zoe Hawkes, rubbing her eyes. “I’m still struggling with recovering from the long flight from New Rome.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Rossi, boastfully. He was never one for subtlety. “We’ve finally apprehended the suspects in Calgary.”
“Oh,” said teammate Spencer Reid. “The Calgary case is finished…congratulations.”
“Yup,” said Rossi. “I’m told that Calgary Police arrested the suspects last night. They got the map our colleague Kevin Lynch prepared, and followed the clues of the profile and the Counter-Terrorism Unit and they got the guys.”
“Was it a clean arrest?” asked BAU Chief Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner, who stopped in the bullpen after accessing the photocopier.
“Clean as a whistle,” said Rossi, his smile as vibrant as he was. “The evidence is solid too…those guys are going to be locked up for a while.”
“Congratulations,” said Hotchner. “That was a difficult case…glad you closed it.”
“I’ve done a bit of thinking,” said BAU teammate Derek Morgan, who was meeting with Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Lucius Black. “I do want the job, but I think we need to flesh out a few things.”
“Okay, so you will accept the role of leader of the Roman profiling team,” said Black, smiling. “You can have whatever you’d like for the team. What is it that you would like?”
“I want to keep as much of this team together as possible. Since I’m not the best at paperwork and better in the field, I would like Hotch and Rossi to handle that. I would also like to retain Jennifer Jareau as our liaison, and, of course, I want to keep Penelope.” Morgan paused, remembering something. “Oh, and I want Patrick Jane on this team.”
“I like your ideas, even though it could mean I’ll have to hire a new team for North America, but that’s okay. The only thing I’m worried about is whether or not Hotch would accept a subservient role.”
Morgan grimaced. “I understand what you mean.”
“We’ll sort things out in time…we still have a long way to go before this team is a reality. Let’s be patient…but I’m glad you’ve accepted our offer. You deserve the best, Derek.”
Morgan smiled and shook Black’s hand heartily before departing his office.
After Morgan left, Black received a phone call. “FBI Director Lucius Black,” he said, answering the phone. “Okay, I’ll be down in a minute.”
At the receptionist desk, Mongol Khan Ogedei XI was waiting for Black. His consort, the Kheshig, were waiting outside the building.
“Great Khan,” said Black, greeting Ogedei by putting his together and bowing, as was the Mongol custom. Ogedei returned the favour.
“Thank you, Director Black,” replied Ogedei, “but please, call me Ogedei. Let us cut the formalities…they are not important.”
“Understood. You may call me Lucius.”
“I wish not to discuss this matter out here. Can we go to your office?”
As Ogedei and Black walked in to the elevator to go to Black’s office, Prentiss stepped out of the elevator to step out to make a quick stop to a deli to grab lunch before heading back to work.
When she got back, she couldn’t help but take notice about what she saw.
“Guys,” said Prentiss, returning to the bullpen. “The Khan is here.”
“Ogedei?” replied Morgan, puzzled but intrigued.
“I’m surprised he would come here,” said Reid, also puzzled but intrigued. “The Mongols have been hailed for years for their relatively safe society…I’m surprised that he’d need the FBI to help him out…those guys have everything under control.”
“How much of that safety is because the Mongols aren’t telling us everything?” said Morgan, skeptically.
“I know the Mongols are a dictatorship,” said Reid, “but they’re benevolent. They have freedom of the press…all the crime statistics are there for us to see.”
“…and if the Khan ever got heavy-handed,” said Hawkes, “he has to answer to the parliaments of the democratically-elected Governorates, where if two-thirds of which vote to impeach the Khan, it forces the vote for a new one by the Governors.”
“It’s still not foolproof,” retorted Morgan. “I don’t trust anyone that can rule as he pleases…eventually, every man abuses absolute power.”
“Democracy hasn’t been that much better,” answered Reid. “Politicians rarely ever implement any kind of long-term vision, knowing that they can’t guarantee being in power long enough to implement their plan…and forget about bold actions…no politician wants to risk losing voters enacting a law that might not be well-received.”
“That may be true,” interjected Hotchner, still photocopying. “However, in a democracy you have a lot more accountability. I can vote knowing that the person leading my country is the person I’ve picked and thus has to answer to me. Further to the point, this means that if I don’t like him or her, I don’t have to wait too long to vote them out. In the Mongol system, the recall process is arduous, meaning unless the Khan is really abusing their power, they can continue ruling unencumbered. I know they can rule more swiftly than in our system, but I like knowing that every law still has to go through checks and balances before being enacted.”
Meanwhile, in Black’s office, the Khan and Black got down to business.
“You know,” said the clean-shaven Black as both were sitting down at his desk, “I’ve always admired your moustaches. I wish I could grow something as epic as your brethren could.”
Ogedei laughed, twirling the whiskers of his Genghis Khan-inspired facial hair that most Khans traditionally sported. “Thank you for the compliment,” Ogedei said, “most people do not understand the honour behind the facial hair. The Fu Manchu characterization is a burden, driven by people who fail to understand who we really are as people.”
“That’s what happens when you’re on ‘the other side of the world’. People make stuff up…it’s why ‘Borat’ is so successful.”
Black clasped his hands together and brought them onto his desk, leaning forward. “Since there’s no easy way to get into it…what brings you here, Ogedei?”
“Two weeks ago my daughter mysteriously disappeared.”
“Monkhtsetseg?” Black leaned back, sighing with concern. “Oh no. She’s a sweet lady…I’ve met her before.”
“Yes, unfortunately. She was on a state function before her disappearance. It was just a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Ridder, where we opened a new medical school, so she wasn’t supposed to be there long. However, the next day, one of her boyfriends called me and said she had gone missing. I sent my best men forward- we interviewed everyone she’s ever met, checked the crime scene…we turned up nothing. The only thing we do know is that there was a struggle inside her hotel room, but apart from that…we couldn’t find anything. There was a text message I received two days after she disappeared but I was so saddened by it that I deleted it, not thinking of the consequences.”
Black continued with his purposeful look. “Hmmmnnn…okay.”
“We have a tip line and everything…and, so far…nothing. No leads.”
“That is something.”
“So I’ve come to you…I have heard of your ‘Behavioural Analysis Unit’…I have heard about their excellent crime fighting skills and I wish to employ them into my service.”
“Anything you want my friend. Anything. You will have them without a moment’s hesitation.”
Ogedei was relieved. “Thank you. I really want you to bring back my daughter…she means the world to me.”
“We will do everything we can, I promise.”
Ogedei gave Black a hearty handshake as the two go up, thanking Black again for his help.
Two weeks ago, 35 km north of Zaysan, East Kazakhstan Province
I think I’ve lost him, Monkhtsetseg thought. She had managed to slip away from her captor by finding a knife in his car and using it to free herself of her bonds and escape into the nearby woods. She had been running for quite some time before deciding that it was time to slow down. She was deep in the forest and didn’t see a soul around her, so she relaxed, but only a little. She was lucky that her captor took a nap, but it wouldn’t be long before he would set out looking for her once he realized what had happened.
Eventually, Monkhtsetseg came across Lake Zaysan. The flow of the river was calming and relaxing, as Monkhtsetseg allowed the cold breeze to flow upon her face. Even though the weather was foreboding, it was the feeling of freedom, and once she could find cell phone service, she would phone home to let authorities know where she was.
As day turned to nigh, Monkhtsetseg decided it was time to collect firewood and find a place to camp out for the night. After an hour of searching, she eventually found a spot underneath a tree where she could sleep. It wasn’t very comfortable, but her options were limited. As she lay there, trying to ease herself to sleep, she kept thinking about her father’s rose gardens and how she would love to tend to them again. Eventually, she just used her coat as her own blanket, curling up like a baby and falling blissfully asleep.
Present day, BAU War Room, FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
“Hello everyone,” said Jareau, starting her briefing of the case to the entire team. “I hope you guys had a great time readjusting to your homes because we’ll be back on the move again.”
Morgan let out a frustrated sigh. “Where are we going now?” he asked.
“This is Ogedei Monkhtsetseg, the daughter of Ogedei Khan XI,” said Jareau, showing Monkhtsetseg’s picture.
“Monksetsing?” said Morgan, confused by the name.
“Monkhtsetseg!” admonished Reid. “Can you not say it right?”
“Whoa…excuse me for not being you, ‘Mr. I-Know-Every-Language-On-The-Planet’!” said Morgan, very defensively. “I’m used to our names, and that’s challenging enough!”
“It’s okay Morgan,” said Jareau reassuringly. “I needed a few tries before I got it right myself.”
“The name means ‘eternal flower’ in Mongolian,” said Prentiss. “It’s actually a very popular name, spurred by Ogedei’s usage of the name.”
“Anyhow, Monkhtsetseg went missing two weeks ago from the city of Ridder, in the Altai Province of the Mongol Empire,” continued Jareau. “Everyone from Ridder police on up to the Mongol Army has had no success in trying to locate her, so the Khan has asked for our help.”
“So that’s why Ogedei was here yesterday,” said Rossi. “I feel honoured that he would drop by and ask for us.”
“I’ve never been to that side of the world,” said Reid. “It should be fun.”
“What was she doing at the time of her abduction?” said Hawkes.
“She was in Ridder for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of a medical school there,” said Jareau. “On the night of her disappearance, she was supposed to fly out but did not take her flight. One of her boyfriends phoned the Khan and told him the news.”
“One of her boyfriends?” asked Morgan, confused.
“The Mongols practice polygamy and polyamory,” said Hawkes, “occurring in both genders. Mostly polyamory, as Mongol law requires one to take care of all of the children they have parented, rendering polygamy rare from a logistical standpoint. It’s not that uncommon for someone, even married people, to have multiple girlfriends or boyfriends and for people not to bat an eye at that notion. It used to be restricted to men but social revolutions over in our continent spilled over there causing their laws to open up. Wife and husband swapping is not uncommon either.”
“Oh okay,” said Morgan, acknowledging the point. “How many does she have?”
“Estimates vary, but apparently it’s close to twenty at any one time,” said Jareau.
“Maybe one of those boyfriends got jealous and wanted her all to himself,” said Reid.
“It would be a viable explanation,” said Rossi. “What did the Mongols find?”
“They interviewed everyone she had a relationship with,” said Jareau, “and they found nothing.”
“Maybe she had a boyfriend we don’t know about,” said Morgan.
“She was taken in the Altai Province,” noted Reid. “It’s still a ways away…but from time to time Tibetan terrorists are known to make an appearance there, because of the border dispute over Aksai Chin.”
“So far the Tibetan link has not been made,” said Jareau. “In fact, right after her disappearance, the Dalai Lama himself went as far as saying that Tibet had no involvement in the matter.”
“Of course, terrorists aren’t always a wing of the government,” said Hotchner. “Especially not in Tibet.”
“There was a cryptic message left on Ogedei’s phone two days after she disappeared,” said Jareau. “Ogedei deleted the message in an emotional response, but Garcia, you were able to recover it.”
“Yes I was,” said Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia. “I was confused by it…the message sounds like a ransom note but it didn’t ask for money.”
“If you want Monksetseng back, you need to see the light,” said Rossi, reading the note. “It sounds like a political message.” Reid tried his hardest not to admonish Rossi’s pronunciation, though he was visibly grated.
“Increases our chances of finding her alive,” said Morgan. “He’s not going to kill her in expecting something from Ogedei.”
“Did surveillance catch anything?” asked Rossi.
“Only outside,” said Jareau. “Her captor broke through her hotel window, subdued her and dragged her to his car. However, the captor was wearing all black attire and had a mask.”
“He had a reason to take her,” said Hotchner. “Even though the Tibetans have denied involvement we have to explore the political angle.”
“Definitely we’ll need to get into victimology,” said Morgan. “Since we don’t have much on the attacker himself we’ll have to understand who would want to attack Mongsetsing personally.” Morgan noticed Reid being grated at his mispronunciation and threw his hands up.
“I’ve been told ‘Setseg’ would still be appropriate,” said Garcia. “I can’t say the name either Derek, don’t be too flustered.”
“Setseg, Monksetsing,” said Hotchner, frustrated, “whatever the name is, we have our work cut out for us. Morgan and Reid, I want you guys to go to the crime scene. There you’ll meet with the Mongol Imperial Police’s lead detective, Jack Bauer.”
“The legendary Jack Bauer?” asked Morgan, intrigued.
“Yes,” said Hotchner. “He moved to the Mongol Empire three years ago.”
“Cool,” said Morgan, enthused. “It’ll be a pleasure to meet him…and, finally, I get a name I can say.”
“Prentiss and Hawkes,” continued Hotchner, “I want you guys to interview Ganbaatar Ganzorig the boyfriend she was supposed to meet up with after her trip to Ridder. Rossi and I will interview Ogedei. Garcia, you’ll be coming with us…it would be impractical for you to be in Quantico given the time differences. Wheels up in 30…and get some sleep…it’ll be a long flight.”
Peace Hotel, Karakorum, Mongol Capitol Territory
“Hello?” Rossi said, groggily as he answered the phone.
“Mr. Rossi?” said the caller, Connie Galen, one of the kids whose murdered parents were involved in a long cold case that Rossi solved five years ago.
“Oh hey Connie.” Rossi was happy to hear from her. “What’s up kiddo?”
“Did I wake you up? I thought you’d be just getting out of work.”
“Yes you did, actually, but I’m on the other side of the world…I have a case in Karakorum this week.”
“Yeah. The Khan’s daughter went missing two weeks ago…the Khan personally came to us for help.”
“That’s quite the honour.”
“It is…but enough about me. How are you doing? It’s been a while.”
“The three of us are doing great. We opened up our own car dealership here in Indianapolis…it’s doing really well. We specialize in sports cars, ‘cause, you know, Indy is all about sports. I’m doing all the administrative stuff and the accounting, while Alicia is handling marketing and Georgie…well, let me say, he’s quite the salesman. You should come by…I hear you’re a big sports car buff.”
“Yeah…my AMC AMX-10 needs an upgrade.”
“We’ve got the 11.”
“Oooh…well, I’ll have to check it out.”
“It was great talking to you, and thanks again. We couldn’t be here without you.”
Rossi smiled, warmed by those words. “It was great to hear from you too.”
Sunflower Hotel, Ridder, Altai Province
“Jack Bauer,” said Morgan, heartily shaking Bauer’s hand outside of the hotel. “I’ve heard a lot of nice things about you.”
“…and not so nice things,” said Reid, slightly intimidated, “but, uh, hopefully we won’t have to worry about all that.”
“Dr. Spencer Reid, right?” said Bauer, menacingly.
“Yes,” Reid gulped.
“You’re that little runt that criticized my intelligence gathering methods,” snarled Bauer.
“Well, um…not all of them,” stammered Reid, “just…uh…all that torture.”
Bauer got into Reid’s face. “Well, if you so much as even raise a peep about it,” growled Bauer, “I’ll hang you upside down and use you as a tetherball.”
“O-ok-k-kay,” Reid quivered, hyperventilating.
Bauer leaned back, smacking his knee with a belly laugh. “I’m just playing with you, kid,” said Bauer, loudly smacking Reid on the shoulder. “I love doing that…it relieves the tension.”
“Yeah,” said Reid, still shaken up. “I guess it does.” Morgan, who laughed with Bauer once he realized it was all a joke, came over and put his arm around Reid to assuage him while the trio walked inside the hotel.
Once inside, the trio made their way to the ground-floor room Monkhtsetseg was staying at the night of her abduction. They were joined by the hotel manager, Otgonbayar Ganbold, who worked that night.
“She was supposed to fly out the night of her abduction,” said Morgan.
“Yes,” confirmed Bauer. “Flight records confirmed that Setseg had a ticket to go back to Karakorum that night, which she never boarded.”
“She flew commercial?” Reid inquired, puzzled.
“ 'Setseg', huh?” Morgan noted. “I guess these named trip you up too.”
“All the time,” concurred Bauer. “That's why I don't bother. She mostly gets referred to as 'Setseg' here anyway...and yes, Setseg flew commercial. She loved mingling with the people, she was a real social butterfly.”
“The hotel guys cleaned up pretty good,” said Morgan, looking around. “We'll have to rely on the crime scene photos.”
Ganbold spoke in Mongolian, which Reid translated.
“Ganbold says that they had to return the room to its normal state,” explained Reid. “He didn't want to scare off future guests.”
“That's okay,” said Morgan, “I think we have enough. Can you ask him if any of the guests heard any screaming?”
Reid posed the question to Ganbold, who responded. “He says yes, there was a scream but then it died down,” said Reid.
“Did she come with security?” Morgan asked.
“She never does,” replied Bauer. “The crime rate is so low that she never even thinks about it...and she's quite the capable fighter herself.”
Morgan then walked to the window that was broken. “Okay,” he said as he started roleplaying. “I'm the UnSub. I break the window, why am I doing that?”
“You either lack confidence to get up to Monkhtsetseg's room,” reasoned Reid, “or you're not a guest she wants to have.”
“Okay, but then the footprints show that I walk three steps forward and then stop, before taking three steps towards Setseg.”
“She stopped to talk to you.”
“Right. Then I punch her in the face, and pull her head onto the bed to muffle her screams, before I silence her with a cleve gag or a drugged cloth. Either way, we've got an UnSub that is much bigger and stronger than she is, and managed to subdue her and bring her out of her room undetected and quickly.”
“So if you're bringing stuff to subdue her with, that makes you organized...and the fact that she stopped to talk to you indicates that she knows you.”
“Has to be someone she knows but doesn't like. It can't be just a simple fan...they wouldn't walk as purposefully as our UnSub does...a fan would gradually edge their way towards her or just go in one swoop. The fact that our UnSub takes a few steps, stops, talks to her and then attacks her indicates that he's comfortable with her, indicating a prior relationship, but the fact that he didn't get to her door indicates that she didn't want him there.”
Reid turned to Ganbold to ask him if anyone tried visiting Monkhtsetseg. Ganbold revealed that no one did.
Morgan continued assuredly. “That means whatever happened between our UnSub and Setseg has been going on for a while.”
Imperial Palace, Karakorum
“They don't call him 'Great Khan' for nothing,” said Rossi to Hotchner as the two of them walked up the front steps of Ogedei's palace in Karakorum.
Not one for subtlety, Ogedei's palace was strewn with ornaments and statues. The palace itself was designed to look like a menacing dragon, taken from Ogedei's own nickname as “The Dragon Slayer” from his days as a corruption-battling lawyer. The main doorway was the dragon's mouth, and two carefully constructed wings formed observation decks.
It was at the left wing where Rossi and Hotchner met the Great Khan. As Ogedei had promised, a feast was awaiting the profilers, cooked by his personal staff.
“Eat,” implored Ogedei, seated at the table and seeing Rossi and Hotchner still standing. “You are my honoured guests.”
“We appreciate the gesture,” said Hotchner, “but it's not necessary.”
“I insist,” said Ogedei heartily. “You take care of me, so I take care of you.” Rossi and Hotchner nodded in agreement and sat down to eat their meals.
“This caviar is exquisite,” noted Rossi, really enjoying the meal.
“It’s the best from the Yellow Sea,” said Ogedei. “Carefully selected. I only accept the best.”
“I’m glad we could be a part of this,” said Rossi.
“Great Khan,” started Hotchner.
“Please, dispense with the formalities,” interjected Ogedei, “I wish not to burden something this important with needless trivialities.”
“Fair enough,” said Hotchner, trying to proceed with the questioning. “Ogedei, our records show that you have three children, two girls and one boy, with Setseg being the only one living on her own. How come she moved out but the other two decided to stay?”
“Setseg craved independence,” said Ogedei. “From a very early age she wanted to leave her mark on this world and I encouraged her, because I saw her potential. I couldn’t keep her here very long even if I wanted to- she was passionate. Very passionate. She wanted to get involved with everything…I saw her as a future Khan one day.”
“She would be the first female Khan, wouldn’t she?” inquired Rossi.
“Yes that’s true,” replied Ogedei.
“There must be quite a few people that would be upset about that,” said Rossi. “I’m sure you’re aware of the problems American women had moving up in society- I can’t imagine the Khanate being that much different.”
“We are a patriarchal society,” said Ogedei. “There is no question about that, although our women had more rights than yours did for a while…Mongol society had always been, more or less, an equal society. Leadership, however, is a whole different story…women in politics is still frowned upon, and the few brave souls that wanted to partake in it have to constantly answer unfortunate questions about how their gender plays a role in their decisions.”
“Did she make any moves towards politics?” said Hotchner.
“Some noises here and there,” said Ogedei. “A tweet, once, where she announced she was joining the Great Cormorant Party, but she didn’t talk much about it afterward. She also joined the Imperial Crisis Hotline, eventually becoming its president and reforming it into the institution it is today.”
“She was quite busy,” said Rossi, really enjoying the food.
“Setseg was a workaholic,” said Ogedei. “She never knew when to quit...many days she'd be bedridden because she was so exhausted...you know how some people just don't know how to stop themselves? That was Monkhtsetseg...right to a T.”
“Did she get into any other endeavours?” Hotchner asked.
Ogedei sighed in frustration. “I don't mean to be rude,” he said, “but how does asking about Monkhtsetseg help in finding her? Shouldn't we be discussing friends and the like?”
“We don't yet have a lead in that regard,” said Hotchner. “Once we understand who Setseg was as a person, we'll be able to understand who she would associate with and who might want to target her.”
Ogedei nodded, understanding Hotchner. “Ah okay,” he said, taking a deep breath before continuing. “She got into modelling...even took some nude pictures. Artistically nude pictures, but she was...still nude. First time the Khan's daughter had ever done that...made quite the waves. She said she did it not for publicity but because the art called for it, but I still think she was making a statement...you can't underscore the gravity of the picture.”
“How long ago was this?” Hotchner asked.
“One long year ago,” explained Ogedei.
“Sounds like you're quite bitter about it,” noted Rossi.
“Wouldn't any father?” Ogedei asked rhetorically. “If that was your little girl up there for all to see, wouldn't you be a little uncomfortable about it?”
“Neither of us have daughters,” said Rossi, referring to himself and Hotchner, “but we understand how you feel.”
“How did the rest of your family take it?” Hotchner asked.
“Monkhbat didn't realize who it was at first,” said Ogedei. “So, like any man, he found it sexy- until I pointed out to him that it was his sister. Makeup does wonders, it seems. He was still supportive, though. Monkh-Erdene was lukewarm...shocked it was Setseg, but thought I was being stuck up for not appreciating the art. I told her I appreciated it, it's just...my daughter.”
Hotchner picked up something from Ogedei's tone. “Sounds like you and your kids don't get along much lately,” he said.
Ogedei let out a pensive sigh. “My kids are jealous of Setseg's liberty,” he explained. “Neither of her siblings have Setseg's drive...they both still live here and want me to pay for their first home...I told them they have to earn it. I have to drag them out to functions now...it's frustrating.”
“Mongol society typically features kids staying at home with their parents until marriage, though,” said Hotchner, reflecting on Ogedei's statements.
“Yes, typically,” said Ogedei, “but I don't always subscribe to convention. Besides, neither Bat or Erdene even try to find work or try to start a family of their own...they just want to live like playboys...I would kick them out, but what message does that send to my people?”
“So Bat and Erdene were jealous of Setseg,” said Rossi, analyzing.
“Very much so,” said Ogedei, wistfully. “They fought a lot, sometimes even violently...it's probably one reason why she moved out. I wouldn't blame her.”
Ulan Bator, Tov Province
“I love the architecture here,” said Hawkes, as her and Prentiss were walking towards Ganzorig's apartment complex.
“They're really into horses,” said Prentiss. “Just about every block here in Mongolia seems to have a horse statue of some kind.”
“The Mongols made their name on horseback, so it makes sense. Their army, though since modernized, still has a token cavalry unit as a nod to this history. Besides, there's a lot of honour in a horse.”
“...and, of course, the Mongols like to think they're 'hung' like one too.”
Hawkes snickered. “Men and their pride.”
After a half hour walking through downtown, they reached Ganzorig's apartment complex, a Medieval Buddhist-style building with ornate decorations that glistened in the midday Sun. After walking past the dueling fountains that adorned the front gates, Hawkes and Prentiss opened the front door and called the intercom.
“Ganbaatar Ganzorig,” said Prentiss, knocking on Ganzorig's door.
“Who is it?” Ganzorig replied, quizzically.
“It's Emily Prentiss of the FBI. I'm here with my fellow agent, Zoe Hawkes. We'd like to ask you a few questions about your girlfriend, Ogedei Monkhtsetseg.”
“The FBI? You have no authority here. This is the Mongol Khanate, not North America.”
“We've been called in specifically by the Great Khan. We'll even let you call his office to verify.” After ten minutes of no answer, Prentiss buzzed Ganzorig again.
Ganzorig replied, reluctantly. “Okay, you guys can come up.”
Upon descending on the pair, the stress of Monkhtsetseg’s disappearance had gotten to Ganzorig. He had let his facial hair grow into a scraggily beard, with his clothes unkempt and his hair ruffled, with even a patch of it missing due to him pulling his hair out. He’d already spoken to numerous officers about Monkhtsetseg and was frustrated to have to do it again, but he was assured by the Great Khan’s office that the BAU gets results so he agreed to let them in.
“Don’t get much sleep, do you?” said Hawkes, looking around Ganzorig’s apartment when the agents made it in. The place was an uncharacteristic mess, with items strewn all over the place.
“I haven’t been to work since Setseg disappeared,” said Ganzorig, sighing. “All I can do is think about her and just hope she’ll come back safe.”
“You’re an architectural consultant,” said Prentiss, “and work primarily as an independent contractor…so you’ve rejected all projects since her disappearance…I can see how hard this has been for you.”
“No income, Agent Prentiss,” replied Ganzorig. “I’ve saved quite a bit, but it’s draining.”
“How long were you going out with Setseg?” asked Hawkes. She wanted to use her full name but caught that Ganzorig was more comfortable with the short-form name.
“I met her two years ago,” said Ganzorig. “I always loved her but she never did reciprocate the feelings. She had a number of boyfriends, and they all complained that she didn’t seem to care for them as they did for her…we were just ‘sex toys’.”
“So you two didn’t see each other much,” said Prentiss.
“Off and on,” replied Ganzorig. “Sometimes we’d spend whole weekends together…I have a cottage near Lake Zaysan…Setseg and I went a couple of times a year, usually in the summer. I’ve been involved in a few projects in that area, so one year I scouted out some areas and built a cottage for myself and Setseg.”
“So you used the cottage as a way to win her favour,” said Prentiss.
“In a way, yes,” said Ganzorig. “I mean, when you have a girl with multiple boyfriends, you’ve got to do something to get ahead…alas, I don’t think it worked.”
“Is the competition between you and the other boyfriends pretty fierce?” asked Prentiss.
“We’re talking about the Khan’s daughter here,” said Ganzorig. “How could it not?”
“Yes, but it seems like it’s more than that,” said Hawkes. “It’s a cliché, I know, for one to look at the princess and think she’s sweet, but I see the glimmer in your eye when you talk about her…you see her as a truly special person.”
“It is true,” said Ganzorig. “You do hear about a lot of princesses who don’t live up to the allure of the title…just look at her own sister…but Setseg…she more than just lived up to that title. She just wanted to love everyone and wanted to be loved…if she doesn’t come back alive, the Khanate will be devastated.”
“We’re doing what we can,” reassured Prentiss.
“What were you guys planning on doing when you were supposed to meet up with her?” asked Hawkes.
“She was just going to spend the weekend here,” said Ganzorig. “Nothing special.”
“What attracted you two to each other?” asked Prentiss.
“Setseg was big into the arts,” said Ganzorig. “I met her at a gala for underprivileged youth here in Ulan Bator, and she admired the creativity that went into my job.”
“Here’s what’s troubling me,” said Hawkes, enlightened by a thought that popped into her head. “You’ve done all this stuff for her…gushed about how great she is as a character…but she’s not returning that love. You admitted yourself that she saw you guys as ‘nothing but sex toys’ and that has me wondering…why do you care so much? Aren’t your feelings better spent in someone that would reciprocate them?”
Ganzorig let out a heavy sigh. “I know what you’re saying,” he started. “I have noted myself that the feelings are not a 50-50 split…but…knowing Setseg…I think it had more to do with an unwillingness to settle down than with a genuine lack of love…when we’re together she treats me very well…it’s just…when it comes time to ask to take things to the next level, she gets reluctant.”
“Do you have any other girlfriends?” asked Hawkes.
“I do,” he said. “Two others, actually. However, I feel more for Setseg than I do for the other girls…I suppose I really don’t know why that’s true.”
“Did you ever take them to your cottage?” asked Prentiss.
“I didn’t,” replied Ganzorig. “Only Setseg went…she was big into the outdoors…we went hiking together a lot…we loved escaping away from the city…we’re both so busy, the great outdoors does wonders to restore your vibrancy.”
Hawkes gave Prentiss a look, which Prentiss nodded to. “Can you excuse us for a moment?” asked Prentiss.
“Sure,” said Ganzorig, who noticed the look but didn’t think much of it. The two agents then stepped outside of his apartment and down the hall, away from earshot.
“What do you think?” asked Prentiss, thinking Hawkes picked up on something.
“Something does not seem right about that guy,” said Hawkes. “He has the motive to kidnap her and kill her.”
“I know…but look at him. He hasn’t shaved since her disappearance. His apartment is a mess. That doesn’t look like he’s a killer.”
“What if it’s remorse? He did it but didn’t want to. What if, in the attack, he killed her by accident and dumped the body somewhere? Maybe at the cottage…he loves it there.”
“Well, we don’t even know if she’s dead yet…I think this is a bit premature. Besides, he has a rock-solid alibi for the night of her disappearance…he was at a bar with his friends.”
“Yes, but Prentiss…I didn’t say he actually did the kidnapping…just that he has the motive for doing it.”
Prentiss was dismissive. “So someone worked for him?”
“If you were to kidnap the princess, do you think you’d do it on your own?”
Malibu, Los Angeles County, California
“Victim’s name is Jenny Peacock, 29, from right here in Malibu,” said California Bureau of Investigation Agent Grace van Pelt.
“It’s a very interesting way to die,” said colleague Wayne Rigsby, examining the body. Peacock was found with her hands and feet bound and gagged with her head placed inside a barbecue and charred to death. “I’ve never seen a barbecue used as a murder weapon.”
“Tynesha Stewart’s body was disposed of with a barbecue,” said colleague Kimball Cho, “and who could forget the ‘Barbecue Murders’ of Terra Linda?”
“Yes,” said Rigsby, “but those cases involved the barbecue being used as a method of disposal, not as a method of death.”
“All right,” said van Pelt, walking towards the body. “So the killer abducts Jenny…from where, we don’t know. He takes her here, to the beach, perhaps under the pretense of having a nice barbecued dinner here. He points a gun at her, ties her up, makes her kneel in front of the barbecue, stands over top of her, puts her head onto the grill and closes the top, before turning it on and holding her head there while it cooks her to death. He had to have been a stronger guy…after that, I really don’t know.”
“Well, he left the body here,” said Cho. “He must have believed he wouldn’t get caught.”
“We need Jane,” said Rigsby with a frustrated sigh.
“No we don’t!” said team leader Teresa Lisbon, enunciating each word for emphasis. “Look, I know he closes a lot of cases for us…but we’re experienced detectives. We can solve this on our own. Patrick Jane is an amazing detective, yes, but we got along fine without him before and we can get along fine without him here.”
“Where is Jane, anyway?” said Rigsby, confused.
“He went on vacation,” said Cho, matter-of-factly.
“Again?” said Rigsby, frustrated. “Ever since he caught Red John in that stupid barn in Manhattan, he’s had a very cavalier attitude towards work…it’s like he doesn’t like us.”
“Rigsby,” said Lisbon, sternly. “I let him have the vacation. I think he deserves a little time to celebrate the closing of the case that haunted him his whole life…besides, he’s worked with us since Red John’s capture…this is the first case he’s missed. If we need him, we’ll call him.” Lisbon took a look towards van Pelt. “What’s van Pelt doing?” she said, confused.
Van Pelt wasn’t listening. She had her eyes closed, doing her best to think about how the crime unfolded. She had her hands out, as if she was picking up vibes from the body. She then extended her arms before moving them upwards, while also raising her head, and breathed heavily. As the calm winds moved in her mind, the different permutations of the crime were unfolding in her head as she thought even more deeply. After five minutes, she broke her séance.
“I don’t know how he does it,” said van Pelt, frustrated.
“Jane?” said Cho. “He doesn’t tell us any of his secrets anyway.”
“No, Derek Morgan,” said van Pelt. “I was watching a video of his the other day on the FBI’s training web site where he walked through his profiling method.”
“Oh where he acts out the crime scene?” asked Rigsby.
“Yeah, that’s the one,” said van Pelt, excited. “You’ve seen it?”
“A couple of times,” said Rigsby. “It’s fantastic stuff.”
“Guys,” said Lisbon angrily, “we can discuss Derek Morgan’s video later. Right now we’ve got a crime to solve…let’s get to it.”
“We can start with the serial number on the barbecue,” said Cho. “This looks brand new.”
“Let me write it down,” said van Pelt, looking for the serial number. “I’ll get to it once we’re back at the station.”
Genghis Khan Hotel, Karakorum
Prentiss heard a knock on her hotel room door. As she was just getting ready for bed, she wasn’t expecting any visitors, so she was confused at what she heard. When she looked into the peephole, though, she was excited.
“Patrick!” said Prentiss with glee, planting a big kiss on Jane’s lips and warmly wrapping her arms around him. “I’m so glad you came! What brings you to Mongolia?”
“I had to fly in as soon as I could,” said Jane. “I told Hotch about my visit…told him to keep it a secret because I wanted to surprise you…I just couldn’t stop thinking about you.”
“Me neither,” said Prentiss with a smile, giving Jane another kiss as the two of them stepped inside her room. “I wish I was a little more dressed for you,” Prentiss cooed, as she was wearing nothing but her nightgown.
“I think you’re dressed a little too much,” said Jane, kissing Prentiss again. “I’d more than happy to help you out there.”
“Oh I need all the help I can get,” said Prentiss, leading Jane towards her bed. The two of them passionately kissed and gradually took off each other’s clothes, before eventually having sex. As they were copulating, ecstasy overtook them both, as Prentiss couldn’t help but be overjoyed at the warmth and connectivity their act was providing, and Jane, holding Prentiss ever so tightly against his body, was so thrilled that he finally met a woman he truly bonded with…and, then, after a minute of sex, it was all over.
“I’m sorry,” said Jane, embarrassed. “I guess I got a little too excited…it’s been a while for me.”
“It’s okay,” said Prentiss, still hot from the lovemaking. “I’m a hard one to get off.”
“Well, I can’t leave my lady hanging,” said Jane, who went down to service Prentiss so she could get her own fulfillment from the experience. When it was finished, the two of them cuddled, naked, inside Prentiss’ covers.
“It’s been, what, one month?” said Jane, reminiscing.
“About that, I think,” said Prentiss, still wearing a warm smile. “I’m just happy you flew halfway around the world just to see me.”
Jane responded in stride. “Love does some weird things.”
“Wait…you love me?”
Jane paused, not realizing he let the cat out of the bag. “I…uh…didn’t realize I said that…oh man.”
“It’s okay.” Prentiss took a few deep breaths before continuing. “I love you.”
Jane let those words sink in, knowing the gravity of the situation. “I love you too.” The two of them lay there, looking at each other in fond silence, realizing just how far their relationship has progressed.
“You don’t think we’ve gone too quickly, do you?”
“No…I know what I feel and it’s real…we’ve both been looking for this for a while…why stretch it out when you already know?”
“I’m not going to ask you to marry me just yet…but I like where this is going.”
Prentiss just laughed before kissing Jane again.
“I’ve done some thinking…I really want to join the FBI.”
“Patrick…don’t do this for me…do it for yourself.”
“I am…I’ve worked with the CBI for almost a decade…it gets tiring after a while…those guys…I don’t even know how they have their badges…they’re terrible at their work. I play with their heads because, quite frankly, it’s fun…and it’s the only way I can make my job interesting after dealing with such buffoonery.”
Prentiss laughed. “Yeah, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across shoddy police work. Makes you wonder sometimes.”
“I look at you guys as my equals…working with you in New Rome was amazing…I really want to take the job.”
“How’s our relationship going to work?” Prentiss was worried.
“Maybe I don’t join the BAU…maybe I join another branch of the FBI.”
“Derek’s been talking about leading the Roman profiling team…maybe we work on different teams.”
“I just want to make this work…and I know my future is in profiling. I really need to work with people who are actually smart.”
“I promise…we’ll make this work.”
Lake Zaysan Southeast Shore, East Kazakhstan Province, 10 miles from Ganzorig's cottage
“My new favourite song,” said Bauer, turning up the radio as they were driving to what appeared to be a crime scene, reported by perplexed hikers.
“Bleed and Scream?” Morgan said, horrified.
“Eclipse man!” Bauer said, enthused. “Eclipse! This stuff rules!” He banged at the wheel, singing along nonchalantly to a song that described the torture of man hated by the protagonist of the song.
“Man, you're sick,” said Reid, also in shock.
They would be in more shock at the crime scene.
“Oh no,” said Morgan, looking at the body in horror. It was Monkhtsetseg, mauled by wolves operating in the vicinity.
“The Khan's not going to like this,” mused Bauer, who let out a heavy sigh.
“She's been dead for two days,” said Reid, examining the body. “She looks like she was dragged out here and eaten by multiple wolves...by the looks of it, she was feeding them.”
“How can you tell?” Bauer inquired.
“The first part of her body to go was her hand,” noted Reid. “In fact...this is going to sound really weird...she didn't put up much of a struggle.”
“She let herself be devoured by wolves?” Morgan asked, perplexed.
“There was a Chinese man by the name of Ling who tried a similar tactic on December 20, 2010,” said Reid. “It has happened.”
“Wei Ling,” said Bauer. “I investigated that case...only reason why he wasn't devoured was because he went to a sanctuary...those wolves were too used to humans to attack. This...this defies explanation.”
“Why would she want to be attacked?” Morgan asked, “and what brought her out here?”
“We need to call Hotch,” said Reid, also flummoxed. “Maybe he has something.”
Mongol Imperial Police Headquarters, Karakorum
“Okay, well as far as I can tell the story hasn't broken yet,” said Jareau, talking on the phone with Morgan. “You said some hikers reported the body...they didn't know who it was?” Jareau paused to let Morgan answer. “Okay good...if the media learns Monkhtsetseg is dead they'll have a field day...could compromise the investigation...the killer could flee once the police knows the eyes are upon him a bit more now. I think we'll need to tell the Emperor though...it's only right.” Jareau waited for Morgan's response before continuing. “I know he could blow the horn and jeopardize this...but I have a kid...if anything happened to Henry I'd want to be the first to know. I'm going to go meet Hotch...see what he says.” Jareau hung up the phone and drove to the Imperial Palace, where she met Hotchner and Rossi outside.
“Oh great,” said Hotchner with a heavy sigh once he heard the news.
“Good thing you didn't notify the media,” said Rossi. “If they got a hold of this the entire Empire would go out and lynch this guy...he definitely would flee.”
“I'm not sure if we should tell Ogedei though,” said Hotchner. “He might break protocol and let the cat out of the bag anyway.”
“As I told Morgan,” said Jareau with empathy, “if something happened to Henry I'd want to be the first one to know...it's his daughter...we can't deceive him. If he cares about the investigation he'll co-operate...he did ask us to come, after all.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner, rather reluctantly.
The trio stepped inside and greeted the Khan at the front steps. Ogedei wore a look of grave concern.
“Did something happen?” Ogedei asked with baited breath.
“We're sorry,” started Hotchner.
“Sorry? Sorry for what?” Ogedei asked, confused, knots forming in his stomach.
“Look, there's no easy way for me to say this,” started Jareau.
“No...no...no!” Ogedei interrupted, distraught. “You have it all wrong...she...she can't be...” He then slumped to his knees, crying.
“We're sorry,” said Rossi with regret in his voice. “We did all we could. This now turns into a homicide investigation.”
“Homicide?” Ogedei asked, shocked.
“From what we understand,” said Hotchner, “it appears her captors fed her to the wolves around Lake Zaysan.”
“Wolves? Who could do that?” Ogedei asked, flummoxed.
“We're not sure,” said Rossi. “We just ask that you don't go to the press about this until we're done investigating...we think it'll compromise the investigation.”
“Okay,” said Ogedei, agreeing. “Catch me later in the day though...I need some time to deal with this.”
“Take as much time as you need,” said Hotchner. “Call us when you're ready.”
Back at the HQ, the team gathered to understand what they had so far.
“So we know that Setseg was found near Lake Zaysan mauled to death,” said Rossi. “How does that tie in to our investigation?”
“I think she willingly killed herself,” said Reid. “I can tell from the bitemarks.”
“I think that's a bit premature,” said Rossi.
“It could still have happened,” said Prentiss. “She was hounded by boyfriends...she was likely very stressed.”
“...and she was a workaholic,” chimed in Hotchner.
“She knew her attacker,” said Morgan. “Her attacker was someone she didn't like...that's why the attacker broke the window but also why he stopped to talk to her.”
“Maybe she was brainwashed,” said Reid, considering what had been said. “Or had a gun held to her.”
“Zaysan,” said Hawkes, enlightened by the discussion. “Ganzorig has a cottage over there...and something wasn't right with him from the start.”
“Ganbataar Ganzorig, huh?” Morgan said, intrigued. “I think we need to pay him a visit.”
Ulan Bator Police Headquarters
“All right Ganzorig,” said Bauer, menacingly starting to interrogate Ganzorig. “Let's play a game.”
Outside the room, a concerned Hawkes had a word with Hotchner.
“Hotch,” said Hawkes, with trepidation in her voice.
“Yes Hawkes,” replied Hotchner.
“He's not going to...torture him...is he?”
“He promised us that he wouldn't go overboard.”
“You assured me right from the start that there wouldn't be any torture...if you're wrong, I'm just going to go home right now.”
“We told the Mongol Police that we weren't going to be involved in any human rights violation if they wanted our help...I expect Bauer to hold to his word.”
Inside the room, Bauer menacingly made small talk, enjoying the quivering coming from Ganzorig, chained to his chair. Then he got down to business.
“So let me explain how this works,” scowled Bauer, maniacally, holding up a rope. “I've got this...coil here. With the push of a button,” Bauer said, pausing before demonstrating the instrument as he continued, “right here on my glove, spikes will emerge all over the coil. So, unless you give me what I want...I'm going to shove this coil up your ass and you're going to have the most painful colonoscopy ever.”
“You're...you're...” Ganzorig stammered, cowering in fear over what was to transpire. “You're crazy!”
Bauer laughed manically. “I take that as...a compliment.” Bauer then walked towards the table, and casually flipped it up and tossed it violently against the wall. “Now...you little pipsqueak...are you going to give me what I want?” Bauer brandished the rope, opening and closing the spikes continuously to ramp up the tension. “All right...you leave me no choice.” He walked behind him and was about to take down his pants before Hawkes barged in the room.
“No! Stop!” Hawkes yelled. Bauer turned his attention towards Hawkes, still brandishing his scowl.
“Have you forgot whose investigation this is?” Bauer scolded. “It's my investigation! It's my rules!”
“We had an agreement! You wouldn't do any of this stuff!”
“Rules are meant to be broken. Besides, he's a monster!”
“No he's not...he's a human being! He deserves to be treated with dignity and respect! Not as some piñata that you can bash around at a birthday party!”
“He killed the princess! He doesn't qualify as human!”
Hawkes breathed heavily, then spoke calmly but sternly. “We don't know if he killed the princess yet...don't jump to conclusions.”
Bauer sighed, admitting defeat. “You Americans and your stupid rules,” he scowled, as he left the room in a huff.
Outside, he smiled and gave a knowing point to Prentiss, as Hotchner, who also knew of the gambit, smiled.
“That's some sweet trick you know there,” said Bauer, fist bumping Prentiss.
“I wanted Hawkes' emotions to be genuine,” explained Prentiss, “so I couldn't explain the gambit. She got a little confrontational with Ganzorig earlier, but she feels like he knows something, so, to open him up to her, he needed to feel like she was his protector.”
“It's funny...I hardly ever torture. 90% of the time, just the threat of it is enough...yet everyone thinks I'm some 'Torture Master' that loves to inflict pain...people don't realize that I have ethics and torture is restricted by Mongol law...it can only be used for serious crimes, not for stuff like petty theft...and I have to have a reasonable enough case for conviction without torture before I can use it. I can't just madly slap away...there are rules.”
“...but you have tortured, right?”
“Sometimes I have to...keeps them honest. What good is a threat if you'll never go through with it?”
Inside the room, Hawkes, still flustered, began to talk with Ganzorig after putting the table down.
“I'm sorry,” said Hawkes. “I didn't think he'd go off the rails like that.”
“Can you believe that guy?” Ganzorig asked rhetorically. “I mean I've heard stories but come on, that was a little crazy.”
“I'm guessing you're a little confused about why you're here.”
Ganzorig was incredulous. “A little? How about 'a lot'?”
“Setseg's body was found near your cottage...it's a strange coincidence, don't you think?”
“It is strange, yes.”
Hawkes pleaded. “Help us out here. Right now, we have enough evidence to convict you as an accessory to murder…so unless you tell us what happened…we’re just going to let the law run its course.”
“I…I really don’t know how her body got near my cottage. It has to be a setup.”
“I might be inclined to believe you…except for the fact that when we spoke earlier, you were quite dismissive about Setseg…you weren’t mournful over her, you were scornful. I also find it strange that someone who likes her as much as you do trivializes her by using her short form name, like she’s just some other person whose name you haven’t bothered to remember how to pronounce.”
“Just because I didn’t like certain things about her doesn’t mean I didn’t mourn…and I said a lot of good things about her.”
“You also admitted that the love wasn’t a 50-50 split.”
“Yeah…after you goaded me into the question.”
Hawkes pursed her lips, squirming inside at the statement. She then left the room without saying a word.
“Maybe I was wrong about this,” said Hawkes, frustrated. “I’m not sure he knows anything.”
“How long can we keep him in custody for?” asked Hotchner to Bauer, as Hotchner had only a passing knowledge of Mongol law.
“As long as you can prove he’s still a person of interest,” explained Bauer, “which you can, you can keep him indefinitely.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner, with a knowing nod of his head. “Thanks. Keep him here. I don’t think we’re done with him.”
The four agents descended into a police break room to continue discussing the case, catching up with Morgan, Rossi and Reid.
“What’d you get out of Ganzorig?” inquired Morgan.
“He was very defensive,” said Prentiss. “We tried breaking him with a ‘good cop/bad cop’ routine but it didn’t work…he held firm in his innocence, so I don’t think he actually committed the crime.”
“I still can’t shake that there’s something about him that points to his involvement in this mess,” said Hawkes. “Even if it’s just indirect.”
“So you think that instead of Ganzorig being an active participant, he was coerced?” asked Morgan.
“He said something in there about ‘a setup’,” noted Bauer. “Granted, it’s a common defence anytime someone denies a crime…but those boyfriends have quite the competition with each other…it could very well be a setup.”
“He did build the cottage just for her,” noted Prentiss. “All the boyfriends were in one-upmanship mode…it may be likely one boyfriend is jealous of Ganzorig’s ability.”
“We profiled the captor as someone Setseg knew but didn't like,” said Morgan. “Ganzorig didn't actually do the kidnapping but that doesn't mean he was involved...the captor was either recruited or is trying to frame him. We need to figure that out.”
“Monkhtsetseg has no shortage of potential enemies,” noted Reid. “She's got all sorts of jealous boyfriends, angry political leaders...even her siblings. We need to start somewhere...I say we find people who have worked for both Monkhtsetseg and Ganzorig...that will at least give us people who Ganzorig likely contacted.”
“Garcia's One-Stop Shop of Useful Information!” Garcia beamed, answering the phone from Reid. “Oh hello Prince Charming!”
“What?” Garcia's boyfriend, Kevin Lynch, answered, perplexed.
Garcia laughed, expecting that reaction from Lynch, visiting from Quantico. “What can I do for you today, oh troubled Obi-Wan?”
“Garcia,” started Reid. “I need a list of all the people who worked for both Ganbaatar Ganzorig and Ogedei Monkhtsetseg.”
“It's going to be a lengthy list,” said Garcia, tapping away.
“It's okay,” said Reid. “We'll narrow down the profile from there.”
“I'm on it,” said Garcia.
Lynch, ever the neurotic one, just had to know who Garcia was talking to.
“Who...who...who is Prince Charming?” Lynch asked, worried.
“You are,” said Garcia with a warm smile. “I was just speaking to Reid...you know me...I like it when you get neurotic...it makes you oh so hot.”
“Oh,” said Lynch sheepishly with a knowing smirk. He started to run his hand up Garcia's leg. “How long will it take for you to get that list?” Lynch cooed.
“I'll be done before you know it,” Garcia cooed, giving Lynch a teaser of a kiss before getting back to work.
“I had a thought,” said Reid. “Hotch, Rossi...you guys said that Monkhbat found Monkhtsetseg sexy, right?”
“Yeah,” said Rossi. “Ogedei said that Bat didn't realize who he oogling over until it was pointed out to him.”
“I find that odd,” said Reid. “Usually, you're able to recognize a face, especially a sibling's face, even if they're heavily Photoshopped.”
“Okay,” said Morgan, intrigued.
“There's a condition called 'prosopagnosia'...it's the inability to recognize faces,” explained Reid. “It's a condition that affects 2.5% of the population and, in some cases can be caused by trauma to the head. Ogedei explained that his siblings fought a lot with each other...we need to see if any of them developed head trauma.”
“Hello Smartman,” said Garcia, playfully, as she answered the phone from Reid.
“Someone's in a good mood,” noted Reid, smiling.
Garcia beamed. “Kevin paid me a visit.”
“Oh...first Patrick Jane and now Kevin? Why is no one paying me a visit? Anyhow...I need to know if Ogedei Monkhbat suffered any head injuries.”
Garcia tapped away at her computer. “Found something...on the original list you asked me for, I found that Ogedei arranged for his siblings to work in one of Ganzorig's projects, this time doing construction around Lake Baikal. This was over a year and a half ago...and almost a month into the job, Bat got into a fight with Setseg and got his bashed into with a pipe Setseg was holding. Five months later, Setseg appears in her birthday suit, Bat doesn't realize it's her and you know the rest from there.”
“Ogedei never mentioned a fight.”
“It didn't even make the news, even though Bat was in a coma for a week.”
“So Monkhtsetseg gets into a fight with Monkhbat, the fight gets covered up and five months later Monkhtsetseg is nude. Quite the chain of events.”
Reid got off the phone with Garcia and informed the team of what he found.
“So, let’s get this one straight,” said Rossi. “Ganzorig hires both Bat and Erdene in an attempt to get them out of the Palace. Bat gets into a fight with Setseg, gets bashed in the head and doesn’t recognize his own sister in a nude picture. Bat blames his own sister for the attraction so he abducts Setseg, kills her and dumps her body by Ganzorig’s cottage to frame him. There’s only one thing I don’t understand, and that’s how if Bat didn’t recognize Setseg’s face, how did he know which room she was staying in?”
“Rossi, I think there’s something you’re missing,” said Reid. “First of all, people who suffer from prosopagnosia can still be trained to recognize a face via finding an identifying mark…so, what could have happened is that the person who pointed out Setseg to Bat did so by identifying a mark, be it her hair, face, teeth…it could explain why he stopped before attacking her, so that he could positively identify her. Furthermore…I profiled that Setseg was willingly devoured by the wolves…she was running to Ganzorig to save her from Bat.”
“I still think Ganzorig is culpable in all this,” said Morgan. “Her body was found near Ganzorig’s cottage…even if she was running to Ganzorig, she had to have escaped from Bat’s car near the cottage.”
“Ganzorig is culpable,” said Reid. “He helped cover up the fight, as did Ogedei.
“Okay,” said Hotchner, taking control. “Morgan and Hawkes, I want you two to talk to Ganzorig. Rossi and I will pay Ogedei a visit. Agent Bauer, I’d like it if you were to come with us.”
“You guys can arrest the Great Khan,” said Bauer. “You don’t need me to do it.”
“I know,” said Hotchner, “but he likely doesn’t think that we can…so we need someone there who can arrest him.”
Ganzorig’s Interrogation Room
“Ganbaatar Ganzorig,” started Morgan as he walked into the room. “You never told us about that little tiff that happened between Setseg and Bat at one of your projects.”
“Excuse me?” said Ganzorig, confused.
“Don’t act like we don’t know,” said Morgan, threateningly.
“I…I don’t,” said Ganzorig, shifting in his chair, rattled and confused.
Hawkes continued softly. “We learned that you hired both Bat and Erdene for a project at Lake Baikal,” said Hawkes. “Setseg and Bat got into a fight during the project, where Bat got hit in the head, sending him into a coma for a week. He woke up with prosopagnosia, or the inability to recognize faces, so when he saw Setseg nude, he got attracted to her and attacked her for it. Of course, her body was found by your cottage, which means that you look like an accomplice in all of this.” Hawkes warmly palmed the top of Ganzorig’s hand. “I want to give you the benefit of the doubt here…but we really need your help.”
“Okay,” said Ganzorig, calmed by Hawkes, though his nerves still showed. He sighed before continuing. “You probably already know that Setseg and her siblings fought a lot. Bat, Erdene, Setseg…they were continually at each other, and they smacked each other pretty good very often. That day…Bat and Setseg got into another argument. I forget what it was…it was petty. Next thing I know, Bat’s lying on the ground unconscious with a head wound caused by a pipe that Setseg proudly held…she never even tried to hide the fact that she hit him. I scolded Setseg for it and she left in a huff…as for Bat, I didn’t like him from the start…he was lazy…so when he recovered I just paid him a severance package and let him go.”
“So you fired Bat,” analyzed Morgan, “and he strikes back at you for it by killing Setseg. There’s something missing here…just can’t put my finger on it.”
Imperial Palace, Karakorum
“He’s up in his quarters,” explained the Palace’s receptionist, Batbayar Bolormaa. “He’s still grieving…he wishes not to be disturbed.”
“Tell the Khan he doesn’t have a choice in this matter,” said Bauer, sternly.
“I’m sorry Agent Bauer, I can’t do that,” said Bolormaa.
“Well,” snarled Bauer. “You’re going to have to…or I’ll arrest you for impeding an Imperial investigation.”
“Okay,” said Bolormaa, cowering. “You may pass.”
When they entered the Khan’s bedroom, they found Ogedei lying on his bed, being lathered with oil by one of his mistresses, giving him a massage. Rossi barging in with his gun drawn surprised him.
“Party’s over Ogedei,” said Rossi. “Get some clothes on, we’re going to be a while.”
“What is going on here?” Ogedei asked, perplexed.
“There was something you didn’t tell us,” explained Rossi, sternly. “Something very important to the investigation, which means you’re impeding it…now, I know I can’t arrest you right now, but we’ve brought someone who can.” Immediately, Bauer stepped into Ogedei’s view.
“Okay, okay,” stammered Ogedei, putting on his pants. He was breathing heavily. “I still have no idea what you’re talking about…but if this is going to help solve the case of my daughter’s murder, then I’m all ears.”
“See, Ogedei-” started Hotchner.
“I’m the Great Khan to you now,” snapped Ogedei.
“Great Khan,” restarted Hotchner. “What we’ve found is that over a year and a half ago, you sent your children to work for Ganbataar Ganzorig. A month after they started working, Setseg and Bat got into a physical altercation that ended with Bat being struck in the head with a pipe. Despite being in a coma for a week, the incident never made the news, and Setseg never faced any consequences for her actions.”
“Which means,” snarled Bauer, “you covered up a crime, which makes you an accomplice to it…meaning we can haul your ass out of this palace in handcuffs for all to see, and you’ll have a…nice time trying to convince the Governors not to vote you out of office.”
“Okay, okay…” cowered Ogedei. “Yes, I admit…I covered up the crime. I was embarrassed…I supposedly had three grown adults who were still acting like children, and I was worried about the repercussions…the three of them would have been grilled by the media if they found out what happened…they likely would have challenged my parenting skills and, quite possibly, I would have been voted out by the Governors anyway. This wasn’t just about protecting Setseg…this was about protecting my entire family. I had to remind Setseg, constantly, not to speak ill of her siblings, even though she wanted to…you have to remember, Mongol society is still tied heavily to the family…the last thing anyone wants is a Khan with a dysfunctional family.”
“By the looks of it, though,” said Rossi, sternly. He had put his gun away by now. “You’re just protecting Setseg, and Bat struck out against her in retaliation, which still makes you culpable. What did you do to punish Setseg?”
“I fined her myself,” explained Ogedei. “Kept it off the books…was going to remove her from working for Ganzorig but Ganzorig didn’t want to have any of that, so he agreed to help cover up the crime by not documenting the incident himself. He also paid Setseg's fine, as I understand.”
“So Ganzorig was really just trying to save Setseg,” analyzed Rossi, “while you were trying to make sense out of a nonsense family.”
“Yes,” replied Ogedei.
“Interesting,” said Rossi. “Interesting.”
Ganzorig's Interrogation Room
“Hello Ganzorig,” Morgan said, reappearing in Ganzorig's interrogation room. It had been some eight hours since Morgan and Ganzorig last talked, since Morgan had to wait for Hotchner and Rossi to finish their five-hour drive to Karakorum and their subsequent questioning of Ogedei before he could continue with Ganzorig.
“What do you want?” Ganzorig said, groggy from the lack of sleep.
Morgan mocked him. “Did you have a good night's rest? Because I did.”
Ganzorig growled. “I'm chained to a chair...how can I?”
Morgan sat down in his chair across from Ganzorig and leaned in real close, so Ganzorig could smell the coffee in his breath. “Well I'm about to make things even more uncomfortable for you now.”
Ganzorig grimaced at Morgan's breath. “I'm glad I don't have to kiss you,” came Ganzorig's snarky quip.
“Think you're a funny boy now, eh?” Morgan chuckled before continuing. “ 'Cause, you know, I find it funny that you protected your own girlfriend after that fight.”
Ganzorig laughed nervously.
Morgan spoke assuredly and authoritatively, his intensity bellowing from his soft, calm but stern delivery. “We know that you stopped Ogedei from removing Setseg from her post, and we also found out that you paid Setseg's fine. That's going to put you in a lot of hot water...covering up an assault. The Khan can get out of it because he's the Khan and he at least took responsibility for his actions...but you...there's nothing you can do about it...so...why don't you help us out...and maybe...your problems will be...a little bit easier.”
Ganzorig hung his head in shame. “Okay...Setseg and I...we had a fight a week before she disappeared...I was frustrated that she could never take things to the next level. Bat was still blaming me for favouring Setseg over him after the fight, so, to make it up to him, we conspired to kidnap Setseg. We wanted to take her back to an abandonned factory I jerryrigged in Kaifeng and 'set her straight'...that was it...we didn't want to kill her...you have to understand, a strong woman in Mongol society is threatening...she couldn't continue like she did...we had to do something.”
“...and you would have gotten away with it, had Setseg not escaped and knew to escape to your cottage so we knew to question you. She's a smart girl...smarter than yourself.”
Ganzorig sat silent as Morgan smirked knowingly at him.
“So this was just an act of contrition, although...you could still then maybe frame him if things got out of hand.”
“I guess...” Ganzorig sat, sheepishly, resigned to his fate.
Morgan took a look at his phone. Hotchner texted him that Bat went missing earlier that day.
“Did something happen?”
“Yeah, pipsqueak...your friend bolted. Now, unless you want to be in a bigger world of hurt, why don't you tell me where he is?”
Kaifeng, North China Province
“Ogedei Monkhbat!” Morgan hollered upon descending on Ganzorig's factory. “This is the Imperial Police! Come out with your hands up!”
“How much do you want to bet that he won't answer?” Rossi asked, sardonically.
“Well, let's see how jerryrigged this factory is,” said Morgan, kicking down the door and starting the raid, with the rest of the BAU and the Imperial Police Special Forces in tow.
The factory wasn't particularly large, and, despite numerous fences, the Forces didn't encounter many obstacles. What they did see were numerous torture devices, no doubt for Monkhtsetseg, with the team finding a girl tied up in a corner under Monkhtsetseg's nude picture. It was Erdene.
“Keep an eye on her,” ordered Morgan to two Special Forces operatives. The rest of the group searched for Bat.
They eventually found him in an office, devising a plan to torture his sister, taken today as a surrogate for Monkhtsetseg. When Morgan broke down the office door, Bat grabbed a knife sitting on the table.
“Ogedei Mon-” Morgan began to holler, until he had to flinch to protect himself. Bat didn't waste any time in throwing the knife at Morgan, forcing Bauer, right behind Morgan, to unload his gun into Bat, killing him instantly. Morgan and Bauer both sighed after the death, understanding the wider implications of what they'd done.
The next day, the BAU Plane
“My friends,” said Ogedei in a live address to the Khanate. “I have been less than honourable with you. I freely admit to you today that, as a father, I have dishonoured my own family by playing favourites with my daughter, Monkhtsetseg, creating an atmosphere of tension within the Palace that resulted in the deaths of my only son and Setseg, as well as needlessly putting Erdene in danger. I have no one to blame but myself for letting my ego get in the way of doing what is right, and not even I know if today you will be able to forgive me, but I hope one day, you shall.”
“At least he came clean,” noted Morgan, watching the address seated on the plane.
“We'll have to see if this will cost him his career,” said Reid, sitting next to Morgan and also watching the feed. “I don't think it will- it was honourable what he did, admitting his faults, and honour scores well in Mongol society.”
“He could have just pinned all the blame on Ganzorig and gotten away with it though.”
“Yes, but the press would have found out anyway, if not now, later, digging up info on the story. The inconsistencies inherent in filing a false report would be too much to ignore.”
“At least Erdene is pledging to live for her sister.”
“Exactly. Even though he's admitted to the faux pas of having a dysfunctional family, if he can prove he's fixing things, he'll recover.”
“He's more honest than some of the guys in North America.”
“The downside of having absolute power- everyone wants a crack at you. Forces you to stay honest.”
“Heh. An honest politician. Now that's a first.”
Savannah, Georgia, Carolinian Empire
Nick Stokes needed to take a second look. Stokes and his fellow Carolinian Crime Scene Investigators, Warrick Brown and Morgan Brody, were investigating the strange death of Michael Carmichael, found dead with his head sticking out of a flat screen TV.
“Classic sign of a home invasion,” said Stokes, narrating the scene. “The scuff marks on the couch indicate that Carmichael fought his attacker and was wrestled to the ground, as seen by the imprint on the carpet. Upon being subdued, he was struck in the head, repeatedly, by the TV, until his head broke through it...you can see it through the bruising. The killer then emptied Carmichael's wallet for its contents and ran from the home.”
Brown disagreed. “I don't think this is a home invasion,” he said. “There's no sign of any windows being broken or the lock having been picked. This had to have been someone he had over at his place.
“Carmichael lived alone, though,” said Brody. “I didn't come across a girlfriend or a spouse or even a jilted ex-lover in his record...so it probably was a friend who came over. I'll also need to check the body and see if the blows really were the cause of death.”
“Okay,” said Stokes, taking charge. “You and Abby take a look at the body and see what you can find. Warrick and I will interview his friends and see where they were the night of the murder and we'll go from there. I'll call Gibbs and let him know what we've got so far.”
“Veronica Mars, FBI”, said Mars, who led the FBI’s field office in Montreal. She showed her badge to Montreal Detective Eddie Valiant, Jr., the grandson of the great private investigator. “What do we have?” The pair were outside of a coffee shop where a man was shot dead after exiting the shop, having just bought a coffee.
“Victim’s name is Rene Sorbet,” said Valiant in his trademark gruff. “He died of a single gunshot wound to the head…looks like he just stepped outside and bang! He was a goner.”
“Nobody saw the shooter?” said Mars, perplexed.
Valiant was flummoxed. “No. I find that particularly surprising.”
“How many gunshots were fired?”
“Witnesses say there was just one. There were conflicting reports about where the sound was coming from though.”
“Sounds like we’ve got a sniper here…that’s not good.”
“I know…I’m not liking this.”
“Okay…close this entire block…we’ve got to canvass each building and see if we can find any leads.”
In the distance, Danforth Grayson was watching Mars and Valiant discuss the crime from behind a tree.
“Simpletons,” Grayson muttered to himself with a smirk. “They don’t know what they’re getting into.” He then left a card with that simply read “V” in green on a white background and lodged it in the branches of the tree, before leaving the scene.