January 5th, 2003
"About time you showed up."
"Yeah traffic was murder," cracked Grissom in his usual deadpan way, looking over at Brass. "What do we have?"
"One Japanese national dead on American soil," replied Brass, showing Grissom the crime scene. The man looked peaceful but half of his lower body was completely gone, the rest of his limbs impacted by something heavy. "This is the first time I've been puzzled. For a moment I thought it was a train jump gone bad being so close to the tracks."
Grissom looked down at the body, crouching and shifting the shirt off to the side. "Yes but trains don't leave teeth marks."
"Teeth marks?" echoed Brass.
"Looks like our vic was completely, for a lack of a better term, eaten alive and then left for dead." Moving his hand across the vic, checking for more evidence, Grissom frowned as he came upon a hard lump. Carefully extracting it, he found a blood-stained yellow deck with a gold marking on it.
"What do you suppose that is?" inquired Brass.
"A deck, and not the kind you sand." surmised Grissom, cards spilling from it.
January 5th, 2003 - Same Day
Grissom leaned back in his chair, thinking quietly to himself seconds before a mug of coffee was placed down next to him. "Busy day?" inquired Catherine.
"A little. The latest vic just found outside of town's a puzzle. He got bit in half, and as far as I know, no one's reported that Godzilla's come to town." replied Grissom, taking a sip of his coffee. "Doc Robbins said he's already on it, and it's throwing him for a loop."
"So we have either a large carnivorous animal on the loose, or some crazy circus animal trainer with an attack crocodile." surmised Catherine.
"Or, Godzilla as Greg would say. But I'd say that's more obvious." Grissom sighed, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "Got anything else besides coffee?"
"Just one. We ran an analysis of the prints on the deck and cards. Half of them belong to the vic, a one Jiro Yamada. Born in Hokkaido 1978, lost his position as a salary man, and basically has been on the homeless radar for a while. The other... belong to a dead man."
Grissom sat up straight at the second part of the news. "A dead man?"
"The process comes from the NY branch actually, and was processed over a year ago. One Shiro Takami. He was adopted years ago by his American relatives and he died in New York." Catherine handed him the report with the picture of the man on it. "Why a dead mans prints would be on this, just adds to the mystery."
"More reason to find out why this deck is so special."
"You sure it's a deck?"
"It's got cards in it, so I surmise it's a deck of some kind."
"Hey," interrupted Greg, coming to the door. "Brass just called, there's a situation. We've got reports of another body downtown."
"The party train never stops." deadpanned Grissom, getting up and grabbing a swig of coffee before heading out.
January 5th, 2003 - Same Day
"Got another vic, this one not as messy as the first," explained the plainclothes to Grissom when he showed up. "This one was just simply done, neck snapped from what we can tell."
"That's... pretty normal."
"It would, but the guy is missing his arm. Looks like something was chewing on it." At Grissom's expression, the plainclothes sighed. "This is going to be one of those cases, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Put out an APB, be on the lookout for any transports that could hold large animals." replied Grissom, moving over and putting on gloves. "What've we got?"
"Glass shards everywhere. Looks like someone smashed a window while coming down on this guy. And tracks." replied Catherine, having gone on ahead. "Which... stop at the shattered window."
Examining the window, Grissom frowned. "No trace of blood anywhere, and it's too high up on this building to have smashed it normally. And the glass is on the outside, not the inside so it couldn't have been an impromptu way of getting out of the crime scene. Let's get a look inside the building."
Once inside, Grissom scowled at the appearance of the seemingly neat office building. Inspecting the floor, he sighed. "Now this is odd. There's no blood on the inside. Normally when someone blows out a window, there's little flecks of blood from micro abrasions."
"And no tracks either, other than the office workers?" Catherine asked. Grissom shook his head.
"Sunday. Only people here would be the janitors and according to his statement, he was across the building. Security cameras confirm it. Let's get a copy of the tape though."
January 5th, 2003 - Same Day
"Rewind. Stop." Folding his arms, Grissom pointed at the large shadow in the reflection of the window. "There."
"There's our animal. But it doesn't look like anything we've seen before on this scale." remarked Catherine. "Can you clean it up a little?"
"Sure." Zooming in, Greg brought up the horribly pixelated image. "It's hard to make out, but I think there's enough to... holy."
"Is... that a giant snake?" Nick remarked, shuddering. "Oh that's lovely. A big purple cobra. That's going to replace something in my nightmares."
"I'm more concerned about the shadow behind it. Zoom in, Greg." said Grissom, pointing at a small patch of the screen.
Zooming in, Greg did his best to clean it up until a relatively sharp picture was taken. Scowling, Grissom adjusted his glasses. "What... is that?"
"It looks like a man in armor..."
"Kamen Rider..." Everyone turned towards Greg. "Ah, I know this. Back in the 1970s there was a group of people in Japan, they called them Riders. I've heard the stories, but this is the first time I've actually seen one."
"So why is this Kamen Rider here killing people in Las Vegas." Grissom folded his arms. "Get in touch with our friends in the Tokyo PD, let them know their residents are killing people on our soil."
"Oogh, might want to rephrase that a little more delicately." winced Greg. "Kamen Riders are Japan's treasures, right up with Gundams and Astro Boy."
"Okay, we tell them a deranged man in armor is killing people with a giant snake." He gave a meaningful look at Catherine who sighed and walked off, saying, "I'll get Brass on it."
January 6th, 2003
Stepping off the plane, Kaoru Ichijou put on sunglasses as he squinted into the warm Las Vegas sun. Gathering his bags from the turntable, he looked around before noticing a couple of uniforms standing there, with his name on a placecard. Walking over, he nodded at them. "Gentlemen," he said in accented English. "I believe I'm the one you're looking for?"
"Inspector Kaoru Ichijou?" inquired one of the men. "I'm Brass, of the LVPD. Nice to meet you. Thank you for coming on short notice."
"Not at all. When our superiors heard you were having Rider trouble, they put me on the first plane here. Shall we?"
In the car, Ichijou looked around the garish strip that they were passing through. "This is quite the city," he remarked.
"It has its ups and downs," replied Brass, pulling into the police department. "Our expert team is already assembled, and waiting for you."
"Then we shouldn't keep them waiting." Grabbing his case, Ichijou headed in with Brass. What greeted him was a couple of people standing near the bullpen, one of them a young man wearing a red scarf and a Ichigo Mask. The woman in front of him was telling him to take it off for now. "Welcoming," chuckled Ichijou.
"Of all the things for them to do today," grumbled Brass. "Sara, Greg, this is Inspector Kaoru Ichijou, of the Nagano PD. He's the police forces expert on Riders."
"Back in my day we didn't call Kuuga a Rider, but the same thing held true after a while," remarked Ichijou. "Can I see the evidence?"
"Of course it's this way." Sara turned to lead them, elbowing Greg who sheepishly pulled the mask off.
"Nice mask," remarked Ichijou, passing by Greg who grinned and gave Sara a "I told you so" look.
Then, Greg stopped in shock at the last words Ichijou said. "No. 4 was a Rider?"
"You have one..." remarked Ichijou, staring at the items in question, and not at the body.
"Have what?" inquired Nick.
Moving over to the packaged deck, Ichijou held it up. "The Tokyo PD's been watching the Rider War for a while, but you've obtained one of their transformation decks."
"Transformation?" echoed Greg and Nick together. "Jinx," added Greg.
"Maybe you can enlighten us on what this does," said Grissom. "We're in the dark right now."
Picking up the deck in its wrapping, Ichijou mimicked Yusuke's motions. "To use it, one would be wearing a belt. We're calling them Drivers recently. And then use the word "henshin" which is Japanese for transform. And then you slide it into the belt. I don't want to actually give it a try, because we don't know just how powerful Odin is."
"Odin. Like the mythological figure?" inquired Sara.
"That's right. There was a war, a sort of stealth war. ORE Journal has been following it lately, and unwittingly helping the police protect people when the Riders are busy fighting one another. There were about 13 at the beginning, but then they've been slowly thinning their ranks."
"No doubt making it harder for the Tokyo PD to keep it under tabs," remarked Catherine.
"We try, but after the Grongi and the Unknown, we're at the point of admitting publically there's yet another Rider incident. The explosion at Seimeiin University was the tipping point for this new Rider situation. To think that one of them jumped over to the States to run rampant." sighed Ichijou.
"What can you tell us about the Riders?" inquired Grissom.
"There's 13 as I said, and we've identified a few." Taking a few photos out of his briefcase, Ichijou passed them around. "The first is Ren Akiyama, who was present during the Seimeiin incident. We believe that is when he first obtained his Rider powers."
The photograph showed a young man, tall and lean dressed in a black leather dustier. Nick commented, "Nice fashion sense."
Several more names passed over them, before Ichijou held out a last photo of a wilder looking man. Grissom immediately sat up. "Isn't that...?"
"Takeshi Asakura. Normally the police would be handling his case, but he's obtained Rider powers as well." confirmed Ichijou. "He's our most likely suspect."
"Well considering that the guy in armor summoned a massive snake, we could probably go on the fact that this guy is also a homicidal maniac," pointed out Sara. "I remember reading the case file on him. Wasn't he acquitted once?"
"By his lawyer, a one Kitaoka Shuichi. That was a year ago, and since then Asakura hasn't stopped. If it wasn't for us being so focused on the Unknown as the time, we would have made it a priority to get involved. But now if he's attacking American nationals on their own soil, this has just become an international incident."
"It's no wonder you guys kept this under wraps," remarked Greg. "With Riders being national treasures, these guys sound like a pile of FUN." And he enunciated fun with a sarcastic lilt.
"If only Godai were available, but last I heard he was in Rwanda." grumbled Ichijou. "For now, I've brought presents."
"I love presents," remarked Brass as Ichijou opened up his case and deposited a box of bullets on the table. "What are these?"
"Special piercing rounds that were effective against the Unknown and Grongi. You can use them against a Rider if it comes down to a shootout." explained Ichijou as Brass picked one of the rounds up. "They're meant for larger weapons, but I've got a case of colt-sized rounds."
"Impressive you got these through security," remarked Sara.
"I have a licence," replied Ichijou with a light smirk.
At that moment, the phone rang as Brass snatched it up. "Brass. Yeah. Okay. On our way." Hanging up, he said, "We've got another vic, same gnawing effect. Downtown, on the strip no less."
"We'd better get down there," said Grissom. "Nick, Sara, I'll need your help this time. And oh, someone get the Inspector some keys for a patrol car."
"Well, at least there's a body to identify this time," remarked Grissom. "Nick, why don't you go and check out the surrounding area, while we get a good profile on the vic."
Nick nodded, heading off towards the strip. Ducking under the police line, he noticed a young man standing there. He had long hair and wearing a blue jacket as he was watching the scene with the crowd. Their eyes locked and Nick's brow shot up. "Hey I know that guy..."
As Nick watched, he slipped off, palming something in his hand. Biting a lip, he jogged after the young man who rounded the corner into an alleyway. Peeking around the corner, Nick heard him yell something in Japanese. And to his surprise, there was an answer as another familiar form stepped out into the light, a satisfied smirk on his face.
Nick grabbed his radio. "Grissom, I just located Asakura. And I think that Shinji guy is with him too."
"You should get back Nick, I'm calling in Brass." answered Grissom.
Suddenly, a knife slammed into the wall next to him with surprising force and Nick jumped back. "Holy shit!"
Asakura had decided he was done talking, and with a low laugh, produced a deck. "Grissom, he's got a deck!"
"That's one big snake," remarked Sara as she and Grissom hid behind a patrol car. One minute, there was a yell at them through the radio, and the next, a huge purple cobra had erupted from the alleyway nearby. "I am so glad we've got guns today."
"You and me both, but I'm a horrible shot when faced with seven foot reptiles," remarked Grissom dryly.
Ichijou simply raised his shotgun and blasted it in the face. Grissom and Sara quickly followed as a pair of figures tumbled out, Nick scrambling to safety and diving behind a fire hydrant. Said fire hydrant was smashed instantly and he scrambled away.
Ryuki and Ouja fought tooth and nail, and Ichijou frowned. "Kido, what's he doing here?"
"I'm not waiting to find out," remarked Grissom. "Got any of those bullets on you?'
Tossed a couple, Grissom cocked the shotgun and fired, sending the Venosnaker reeling. It hissed angrily and lunged, the two CSIs and inspector scattering as its tail slammed right through the car. Said car exploded.
"I have never seen that happen before," confessed Grissom.
Rolling to safety, Nick scrambled up against a building seconds before Ryuki impacted next to him. "STRIKE VENT." reported Ouja's visor and Ryuki grabbed Nick, throwing them to the side seconds before the Strike Vent tore through the space they occupied. "Man, Rider guy, if there's anything you can do, now would be the time to do it!"
"STRIKE VENT." Answered the visor of Ryuki's.
"Oh good, you can do that too." Remarked Nick seconds before Ryuki blasted a wave of flames at Ouja who leaped into the air to avoid it. "I'm going to go over here."
"ADVENT." Replied Ouja, and within moments, Metalgelas and Evildiver swooped into view.
"You know in a way, this is both simultaneously horrifying, and incredibly awesome," remarked Nick as he scrambled over to where the others were taking shots at the Venosnaker. "How's your day been?"
In response, Ichijou tossed him a rifle. "I hope you can shoot straight."
"ADVENT." A screech of a bat resounded as a massive bat slammed into the snake, bowling it over. Said snake hissed at Darkwing and Darkwing responded in kind. The roar of a motorcycle was heard at that moment, the figure pulling up and unhooking himself from the cycle. Kamen Rider Knight drew his sword and without preamble, slotted in another card. "SWORD VENT."
"Knight's arrived," remarked Ichijou as he fired another few rounds at the snake while Darkwing took a few diving shots at it. Turning over towards Knight, he yelled something in Japanese. Knight didn't respond but he immediately moved towards Ouja, sword in hand. "I got him on the enemy," explained Ichijou.
"Glad to hear it." remarked Grissom.
"FINAL VENT." A huge dragon burst from the glass, sending people who had remained to watch run screaming. It coiled around Ryuki as the Rider took a stance. "FINAL VENT," echoed Ouja as the snake, tired of the CSIs and policeman, moved behind Asakura in order to launch him into the air. Ichijou grabbed all three of them and yelled, "RIDER KICK!"
The whole area ignited into flames as the pair clashed, hot winds buffering the entire area as they hid behind the police cruiser. When it settled, the snake and two other monsters were nowhere to be found, save for the dragon and bat that hovered overhead. "Rider... Kick?" echoed Grissom once his ears stopped ringing.
"You should have seen Kuuga's."
"Where's Kido?" inquired Ren in his limited English.
"Over that way, with one of the CSI's," said Ichijou in Japanese, pointing towards the Bullpen. Ren nodded and headed out, his jacket swirling behind him.
"I need a jacket that can do that," said Brass enviously as he turned towards the report. "What do we have?"
"Looks like according to Kido and Akiyama, Asakura's on a rampage. He got a few more contract monsters after killing a couple more Riders, and he decided Japan was too small for his tastes." explained Ichijou.
"And we know he's already a designated murderer and psychopath," added Grissom. "That alone serves him life if not even the chair."
"Hopefully we can contain him before he does any more damage," said Sara.
"What about the murders. Any rhyme to them?" inquired Catherine.
Ichijou shook his head. "Asakura kills for fun, so there's no pattern. He also is letting his contract monsters feed on the people he kills, so we're lucky that we've even got a body left for some of them."
"Grisly," grumbled Brass. "What's the story behind these monsters anyhow?"
"We're still investigating that, but they all come from what we call the Mirror World. Sort of a parallel dimension to this one." Ichijou pointed at the mirror nearby. "There's a whole world behind that mirror."
Suddenly there was a loud shout as Nick and Shinji came tearing into the room, past the group and into another as a plainclothes was yelling at them. Ren was grumbling something and Ichijou asked him what he said.
"What was that all about?" inquired Brass.
"Looks like Nick and Kido are getting into trouble," remarked Grissom.
Ren said something and Ichijou translated. "He said he's putting it on Kido's tab."
"Now why didn't we think of that?" inquired Sara.
"Here Ouja, Ouja, Ouja," whispered Nick as he and Shinji wandered the darkly lit alleyway, looking for Asakura.
Shinji looked at him. "Bad luck, call Asakura."
"I know that, but it's not like it's going to matter." remarked Nick, noting the sniper team that Brass had set up around the perimeter where Asakura had been seen last.
It had been an unanimous decision to let Shinji and Ren route out Asakura, and then they would capture him. However, Nick had steadfast refused to let them go at it alone, and thus he was bait alongside the others.
Across the way, Grissom and Sara hid with rifles. "You think this'll work?" he asked Sara.
"Well if its one thing we've learned in our short association with these Riders, is that they're good at getting into trouble," replied Sara.
There was silence from the alleyway as Ichijou raised a radio. "Nick, is there anything?"
"Nothing. Maybe get some of Brass's men in here."
At that moment, a unadulterated scream of terror and pain was heard as a sniper was suddenly dragged away from his position. "Rooftops!" Sounds of shots could be heard and a roar of pain from one of Asakura's contract monsters.
There was a honking noise like a swan-call, as another monster swooped into view, buffeting the group with gusts of wind. "Lovely, he's even got a bird," remarked Sara seconds before Ren's bat crashed into it, snapping its jaws at the swan who attacked it furiously.
"It's like Swan Lake, but only instead of ballet, the swan's trying to kill us." Grissom opened fire and more blasts pelted the contract monster.
At that moment, Asakura leaped down from the rooftops, laughing maniacally as he started to carve through the policemen, wielding a wickedly curved sword. He advanced on the trio, holding out his hand. "Deck. Give it to me."
At that moment, Shinji dropkicked him in the back and Asakura whirled on him. "Ryuki!"
Scrambling back, the CSIs and Ichijou opened fire on Asakura who blocked several attacks before leaping into the air. His sword scythed down with a sound of "STRIKE VENT" and the trio threw themselves to the side, the car they were standing next to exploding from the force of it.
"STRIKE VENT," proclaimed Ren's visor as he locked into combat with Asakura, the pair fighting back and forth while Ichijou and the others reloaded, rifle shots peppering Asakura who tanked all the blasts with a crazed maniacal laughter.
"This is getting bad, I don't think Kido and the others can handle him," remarked Sara as Asakura slotted in another card, and three more monsters burst into view.
Nick picked up a rifle from a fallen policeman and opened fire as well, the shots slamming against the swan who honked and dive-bombed him. Rolling to the side, he yelled at Ichijou, "Where's the backup?"
"Five minutes!" yelled Ichijou, shooting back at the opponents.
"The deck, give to me!" yelled Asakura, leaping at them again and being intercepted by Shinji who slammed into him.
"He really wants that deck," said Grissom, reaching into his jacket pocket. It was evidence so he was keeping it on his person since it was too dangerous to keep at the precinct.
"Gil you're not seriously considering...!" exclaimed Sara as Grissom scrambled to his feet, unwrapping the Odin deck from its wrappings.
Asakura's eyes seemed to light up in delight. "Give to me!"
"Come and get it." And Grissom held it out towards a storefront window, a belt attaching to his middle.
"ONORE...!" Asakura charged, only to be met by Shinji and Ren who grappled with the insane serial killer. "Mine!"
"When hell freezes over." retorted Grissom, holding up the deck in his left hand. It glowed with a faint golden light as he began the route. "Hen...!"
BLAM. The gunshot sounded like it echoed across the world as time seemed to slow. And with that, Asakura gasped and doubled over, a smoking hole in his middle where his deck had been.
Ichijou smirked as he lowered his shotgun, the barrels smoking. "Grissom, put it down. I think he's done."
"We'd better leave," said Ichijou, rapidly translating for Shinji as Asakura let out a maddened scream of rage. "When a advent deck is destroyed, the monsters aren't obliged to listen to the Rider anymore."
"You heard him, pull back!" Yelled Brass as the large snake turned away from the policemen and slithered towards Asakura who was still screaming in rage.
Silence. And then the monsters vanished into the mirrors, leaving a group of wounded, and aghast police officers, CSI's and a grim looking Ichijou. "Dinner is served." said Grissom.
January 7th - Graveyard Shift
"You just GAVE IT BACK?" snarled Grissom, his ire risen as he glared daggers at Ecklie. "After all we've been through you gave it back, Conrad?"
"He had all the proper channels filled out. What was I supposed to do?" replied Ecklie, folding his arms. "It looked all very official!"
"That was a poor decision," said Ichijou, his contempt for this man already in the thousands. "We needed to hold onto that for evidence."
Shinji said something and Ichijou translated. "That man was most likely Kanzaki, the one who orchestrated all of this. And now he's got the Odin deck back."
"Well shit. So that means what now?" inquired Nick.
"Odin, rewind time. Time Vent. No remember everything," said Ren, folding his arms.
"Great." Sara sighed. "This isn't good at all."
Ichijou opened his mouth --
-- and time shifted.
January 5th, Cycle 2
Grissom had to admit this was one of the quietest nights. All he was doing was working on his reports, and admiring the fetal pig in the corner of his office.
"Gil?" Grissom looked up at Sara. "Sorry to bother you, but do you get the feeling of deja-vu?"
"Not particularly," remarked Grissom. "But sometimes people believe we've experienced things like this before."
"Hey," said Nick from behind Sara. "Sorry to bug you two, but there's a murder at the train tracks."
"The party train never stops." deadpanned Grissom, getting up and grabbing a swig of coffee before heading out.