1 The siren's squeal split the morning, the flashing blue-then-red-then-bluedashboard light reflecting off other cars as the black Chevy Tahoe weaved itsway through rush-hour traffic on US 95. The sun was rising orange and bright,tinting the clouds pink, and the air conditioning within the SUV was alreadygrappling with the July heat. In the passenger seat sat Gil Grissom, graveyard-shift supervisor of the LasVegas Criminalistics Bureau. In the driver's seat was Warrick Brown -- rankCSI3, just one notch under Grissom -- and in back was another member of theirteam, Sara Sidle, rank CSI2. Warrick sawed the steering wheel right and left ashe dodged between cars, his expression impassive. He might have been watchingpaint dry. Grissom's boyishly handsome features were slightly compromised by the grayencroaching on his brown hair, and crow's feet were sneaking up on the edges ofhis eyes, frown lines etching inroads at the corners of his mouth. The politicsof this job had taken their toll on Grissom of late. As much as he loved thescience of investigation, the constant jousting with day-shift supervisorConrad Ecklie, the strain on his budget, and the pressures of management hadstarted to age the perennially youthful Grissom. This reality was aided andabetted by the fact that, even though he had never needed much sleep, now hehardly got any at all. The SUV hurtled toward a small Honda. Warrick slashed to the right, barelymissed a FedEx truck, then bounced back left, coming within inches of a blueLincoln stretch limo. From the back, Sara yelled, "Geez, Warrick, he's not gonna get more dead. Slowdown." Warrick ignored her remark and jumped into the diamond lane to pass a cab, thenhopped back into his own lane. "Why didn't you let me drive?" Sara asked her boss as she bounced around, herseat belt straining. "Grissom, will you say something to him?" Ignoring the exchange, Grissom turned his gaze toward the reddish sky. Quietly,without even realizing he was talking, Grissom said, "Red sky at night, sailor'sdelight -- red sky at morning, sailor take warning." Sara leaned forward. "What was that, Grissom?" He shook his head as he studied the clouds. "Nothing." "Please tell me that wasn't an aphorism," she said. "Please tell me you're notspouting quotes while this maniac is -- " "Sailors?" Warrick asked. "Gris, we're in the desert." "Shut up," Sara snapped, "and keep your eyes on the road." Warrick shot her a glance in the rearview mirror, twitched a half-smirk, andcrossed all three lanes of traffic, jerking the wheel to the right as theyturned onto Decatur Boulevard. Seconds later the SUV squealed to a halt in frontof the Beachcomber Hotel and Casino. "Six minutes, twenty-seven seconds," Warrick said as he threw open his door,bestowing on his boss a tiny self-satisfied smile. "How's that for responsetime?" As the limber driver turned to jump out of the truck, Grissom gripped Warrick'sshoulder, startling him a little. Grissom kept his voice quiet, even friendly,but firm. "From now on, unless I say otherwise, you obey the speed limit --okay, Mario?" Warrick gave him a sheepish smile. "Yeah, Gris -- sorry." In the backseat, Sara shook her head in disgust, her ID necklace swinging as shemuttered a string of curses. As she climbed out, dragging a small blacksuitcase of equipment with her, she said, "Gonna get us all killed, then who'sgoing to investigate our scene? I mean, we'll all be dead." Grissom turned and looked over his sunglasses at her, through the open backdoor. She got the message and piped down. Warrick grabbed his own black suitcase from the back of the vehicle and fell innext to Sara. Climbing down, Grissom -- carrying his silver flight-case-stylefield kit -- led the way. This early,Collins, Max Allan is the author of 'Csi:Crime Scene Investigation Case Files', published 2007 under ISBN 9781416559078 and ISBN 1416559078.