Chapter V: Starting with the case
"The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing." ~ Voltaire
"Time to go straight to the point", Gloria agreed.
"At first I should state the relevant cases in US are not only five. There are ten potential matches finally," Hotch started in his professional manner.
"Ten? Wow…" Gloria said surprised.
"I read your files but I should say that I noticed some inaccuracies," he continued.
"First, did Garcia find anything about the guy we have in custody?", Emily cut him off. Obviously she was pretty aware that something didn't feel right in the files.
"Actually your suspect doesn't exist in the system. Only a birth certificate was uncovered. He was indeed born in the States but nothing further."
"How is that even possible?" Gloria was surprised, "He had a damn valid US passport on him!"
"I don't know but that's what we found," Hotch stated untouched by her reaction, "Garcia is digging deeper. As for his M.O. and mianly his signature, I should remark that it is a pretty vague connection," he continued opening his briefcase and taking out the files and flipping through them.
"Exactly the fact that it is vague means that there is one," Gloria replied to him in a cold tone.
"Don't be so sure, agent," Hotch told her strictly.
Gloria shifted a little bit in her seat but he wasn't so sure that she did it out of annoyance.
"So you have ten murders in US and we have over twenty in Europe with law abiding citizens, police officers, lawyers, two doctors and one political candidate, all with their chests ripped from behind and all somehow related to criminal investigations or cases," Emily summed up.
It was good to work with her again, Hotch thought. He had missed hearing her business voice. He had missed a lot of things finally…
"I worked with Rossi on five of these cases," he continued quickly not wanting to go down that road yet, "They had occurred in the same area and they called us. But for the local area I can understand how they made the connection. How did you manage to do it in international level?"
"It started locally, too. In Rome, a lawyer was killed with this M.O. They thought that it had to do with a case of his about a mafia gang. He had been the defendant in a member's case but nothing further. A police officer followed. There was a suspicion that he was covering the same gang," Emily explained.
"Believe me, those guys didn't even remember the lawyer's name, the case was over something completely ridiculous and the cop was squeaky clean," Gloria popped into the conversation.
Hotch noticed the word "cop" instead of the british version of "copper". She hasn't lived in Britain for too long certainly.
"And does this information come from the inside?" he asked quite surprised by the certainty of her statement.
"There was an undercover operation on-going," Emily answered smoothly throwing a look at the driver in front of her.
"And from that exact operation was the undercover agent, that reported he had encountered the suspect in the area and he came across a potential witness that saw the crime and heard the suspect saying…" he read from the file when he found the proper page.
"'By that sin fell the angels' from William Shakespeare…" Gloria continued his sentence thoughtfully.
Hotch noticed the blank look of hers on the road in front ot her. She had shifted a couple times more in her seat.
"Before he killed him," he finished his sentence.
"And this phrase connects him with a couple of cases in Europe and with your two American ones directly. There were a couple of witnesses," Gloria informed him.
"Actually it is the only fact that associates your cases to ours.", Hotch clarified.
"And the type of the knife, we are not based only on words," Gloria said.
Hotch noticed that she was talking in a neutral, cold and very professional way. He couldn't decide if this was a good or a bad thing.
"There are millions of these knives, agent, and you have knowledge of this. The words are quite identifiable, though. Is your witness available?"
"No. He was killed in the streets," Gloria replied.
"So did the whole investigation arise from an undercover agent's story?", Hotch was confused. Did Interpol start an investigation from a witch-hunt?, he carried on in his head.
"No. The whole
investigation began with the guy getting arrested here for a bar fight
carrying the same knife. The undercover agent just recognized him,"
Hotch noticed that Emily had left the lead to their driver completely. Gloria was full into this investigation. That was pretty clear. But what did a low rate agent who was doing just surveillances have to do with a potential serial killer case?
"I will need to speak to this undercover agent."
"You are speaking to her right now," Gloria said back firmly.
This wasn't the answer that Hotch was expecting. He was so stunned that he made it obvious. That's why Emily wanted him to meet her! Gloria seemed entertained by his surprise.
"You've been working undercover?", he asked still surprised.
"That's why you are wondering from the start why I don't look like a proper agent, Agent Hotchner," she replied looking at him from the rear mirror and winked at him.
He was right. She knew that he was observing her. Undercover agent? That could explain a lot of things about her but not exactly, not all of them and certainly not the "off" part.
"Gloria's off for the time. I keep her previous operations in closed lines. She works in the office in assistance to various tasks," Emily said after the information had sunk in.
Hotch noticed the "I" in the sentence. The woman was her personal matter. Maybe she knew her from before. Maybe they had a lot in common, even if Hotch couldn't exactly see them.
"The suspect's DNA was confirmed in six cases when the investigation proceeded. We, also, run the evidence provided by your country, as we speak. Thank God, when you slice people like that, with this kind of knife, you get to cut yourself, too.", Gloria finished her briefing without getting into more detail about what Emily had just said.
She shifted again in her seat and Emily noticed it, again. Hotch had seen her watching their driver doing that quite a few times and now she was getting worried. He hadn't understood what the deal was yet. The woman in front of them was an undercover agent. She should have gotten through some quite rough times. Why was Emily so concerned? But yeah… This was Emily, always caring for others, not only for Spencer who was the weakest or the soft Garcia, but also for Morgan, the tough guy, for him, the stubborn boss.
"And this is London," Gloria said casually.
Hotch looked out of the car window taking his mind off the case. With the conversation he hadn't noticed that they were reaching central London. He had been in the English capital before and it never stopped to amuse him. Old and new buildings side by side, all kinds of people in the streets, London was a city of a particular beauty."When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford...", he had read somewhere. He wasn't so sure, though, if his life could afford one particular person that was in London…
"Your profile for your cases was for someone that could sneak underground, quiet and without dragging attention to himself, until he lured the victims alone," Emily read from a file that she had taken from him at some point, not aware of his reverie, "He should also be related to law enforcement or law system, too."
"That derived from the fact that some of the victims were only mentioned in case files as relevant to the cases, not necessarily accused for something and not mentioned in the press.", Hotch explained.
"So he should be in a position that he could learn all those details," Emily carried on.
"And now we are implying that your suspect had access to international database and he killed across the globe," he finished.
"How could that guy do something like this?" Emily thought out loud.
"Only if we have James Bond in custody…" Gloria remarked.
"They say you're judged by the strength of your enemies." ~ James Bond