A Walk in the Woods
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or Story - Text Size +
Category: CSI - General
Characters: Greg Sanders
, Nick Stokes
, Warrick Brown
, Hurt ComfortWarnings: None
A murder in the woods is a simple case, right? It can prove to be a much more dangerous outing then anyone ever expected. Nick-Warrick-Greg Friendship
Notes:Comments are welcomed. I want to thank my wonderful beta Kristen for all of her insight and help!
Nick Stokes glanced at the clock display in the dash and sighed. It was just before the end of a double shift, and the drive to the crime scene was taking almost two hours to reach. He adjusted his orange tinted sunglasses as the afternoon sun blazed its rays directly in his line of vision. He also debated about adjusting the temperature in the car, as it was fairly chilly outside. Nick was wearing his long black sleeved shirt, his Forensics vest, and his black colored chinos. He felt a bit stuffy in the car.
He glanced over at Warrick, who was studying a map. His partner had on a dark brown button down shirt and dark tan pants.
"Looks like we're almost there," Warrick replied to his friend's un-vocalized question. "Turn down this path," he instructed, pointing at a dirt trail that the Denali almost passed.
Nick hit the brakes to make the hair-pin turn. "Didn't know that this was a hot spot for hikers."
"Someone thought it was. The vic's supposed to be about four miles into these woods. The trees are so dense that we can't go in by a four by four or car." Warrick had a pretty good idea why Grissom had assigned him and Nick the case from the get go.
Nick chuckled as he slowed the Denali down some more. The so-called road they entered was getting bumpier, and he watched as Warrick grabbed a hold of the door handle to keep from being tossed around too much. "Means the coroner will have to chopper the body back to the lab. But us, my friend," Nick glanced at Warrick with a grin.
"We get to ankle express it there," Warrick replied with a grimace.
Nick's smile widened. "Hope you're wearing hiking boots."
The other CSI shot him a stern look as they drove into a small clearing. There were two cars parked along the edge of the woods, including the Sheriff's. Both of them climbed out carrying their kits, each man stretching stiff muscles from the trip. Warrick opened one of the back doors to grab his vest and slipped it on before greeting local law enforcement.
The Sheriff wandered over to the approaching criminalists from the small group of assembled people waiting at the edge of the clearing, giving them an appraising look. The law officer appeared to be in his mid forties, with a Tom Selleck-type mustache and salt and peppered hair. "I'm Sheriff Miles," he said offering his hand.
Warrick and Nick each took turns shaking it. "I'm Warrick Brown, this is Nick Stokes. We're from the crime lab," he said getting to business.
Miles laughed. "Yeah, I can see that from the writing on both of your vests."
Nick grinned, looking around at his surroundings. "So what do we have, Sheriff?"
"Straight to the point, that's good. We had a missing person's report filed two days ago on a Chris Robinson, age 29. He hiked into the woods on Tuesday afternoon. When he didn't return home, his friends came to my office."
"What day was that?" Nick asked, scribbling a few notes in his book.
"Wednesday. We don't get too many missing hikers around here, being government land and all. I searched for him late Wednesday afternoon and found him on my follow up search Thursday morning."
The Sheriff had a slightly smaller stature then both the CSI's, but looked to be in excellent shape for all the patrolling he would have to endure in his large area, Warrick mused as he studied him. "You were the only one in the search attempt?" he asked.
"Yeah, a person ain't officially considered missing till 48 hours later, and it's not like I have a huge department to help me out. Only one deputy, so I decided to check things out myself," Miles responded. He thoughtfully stroked his graying mustache. "Found him about four miles in, bullet in the chest, slumped against a tree."
"Any hunting go on around here?" Nick asked.
Miles shook his head, "Nope, government land, like I said. We don't get too much illegal poaching or what not. There are state game lands specifically set up for that."
Nick scanned the trees and back over to the awaiting group of friends. "This spot doesn't have any good trails, so what was this guy doing going for a day walk?"
The Sheriff's eyes gleamed. "Why don't you ask his buddies that question, Mr. Stokes."
Miles seemed generally amused by something. Nick shot Warrick a perplexed glance, and his friend shrugged, not knowing the underlying meaning. Both of them walked over to victim's friends.
A guy with a pony tail and goatee crossed his arms in front of his chest. "You guys here to find out what happened to Chris?"
"We're here to try, " Nick answered sincerely. "What's your name?"
"Want to tell us why Chris was hiking alone here?"
"He was letter-boxing," a petite redheaded woman answered.
"He was what?" Nicked replied, confused.
"It's a type of adventure hunting," the woman explained. "You see, we belong to a group of local letter-boxers; in fact, we're some of the highest rated hunters in the state," she beamed proudly.
"Uh, what kind of adventure hunting are we talking about?" Warrick chimed in.
"You go on any of the national letter boxing sites on the Internet, and find a list of weekly hunts in the area. It gives you a set of GPS coordinates and you follow them."
Nick cleared his throat. "So, he followed the GPS instructions for what reason?"
"You try to find a hidden box and you make a rubbing of the seal that's inside it," Steve elaborated.
"Chris hiked four miles into the woods to make a rubbing?" Warrick frowned.
"Yeah, our group has one of the largest book collections; over sixty copies of different seals," the woman replied.
Nick looked down at his pad of paper, "What's your name, Miss...... "
"Logins. Cindy Logins. When Chris didn't come back we knew something was wrong. He's an experienced hiker and it just wasn't like him to stay out that long."
Warrick looked at them both, "Did he usually hike alone?"
"Sometimes. Steve took ahold of Cindy's hand. " Cindy and I are dating now, so we had this romantic dinner planned and Chris went by himself." At the mention of his friend's name, the younger man grew quiet.
Nick folded up his book. "The Sheriff has all of your information, but we might have to contact you if we have any more questions."
Both criminalists went back to where Sheriff Miles was standing. "The things these kids do nowadays with the Internet," the older man said, shaking his head.
Warrick pulled out his shades and slipped them on. Both he and Nick grabbed their field kits and awaited their escort's instructions.
"All right Mr. Stokes, Mr. Brown. You ready to hit the trail?"
Nick could tell from his friend's body language that he wasn't thrilled with the prospect of walking several miles, and he smirked. "Come on now, 'Rick, a little jaunt through the woods is good for you."
"You know I'm as much into sports and working out as you, man. Lugging our kits for a few miles ain't no stroll in a park," Warrick complained.
Nick's looked chagrined as it dawned on him how much of a pain in the ass their trek was going to be. "Yeah... I see your point."
Both men followed the Sheriff, Nick glanced back. "What about Robinson's friends?"
"Deputy Reynolds is coming by to escort them home," Miles replied brushing a tree branch out of his way. "Keep close to me now, guys, it easy to get lost in here. No real worn out areas, plenty of uneven ground, and thorn bushes all the way there."
"Real walk in the park," Warrick grumbled as they started their way.
The woods were very dense in places, limbs and branches scratching at the trio as the made their way though. The temperature had dropped considerably without the sun beaming down on them. Nick still managed to work up a sweat, hauling through the maze of trees. He was glad for his cap, as the brim shielded his face from the little bits of dust and debris that was being kicked up as they walked.
Every once in a while a tree root would cause one of them to stumble, but despite the rugged terrain, Nick was finding the exertion fun. He would steal a glance at Warrick every once in a while; despite his complaints, Nick thought the other CSI was enjoying the challenge as well. Both of them worked out regularly on their own time. Every once in a while they would play each other in racquetball or a game of hoops outside the lab. Their friendly rivalry had played itself out at work during cases and progressed into their spare time as well. Each of them was fueled by a spirit of competition.
"I guess we know why whoever planted this letterbox, or whatever, used a GPS finder. Don't know how anyone could ever find their way through all of this," Warrick commented, adjusting his pack.
"Well, this seems like a perfect combination for adventure-minded nature enthusiasts," Nick laughed.
"Whatever, kids have no reason for being here," Miles huffed.
The path the three had chosen seemed to level off just a bit. Nick could see his way around a bit easier. "All of this is government land?"
"Yeah, there's talk of making it into some form of state park, but you know how longs things like that take." The Sheriff came to a stop as they approached a small clearing. "The body is a few feet past here. Seemed like a good point to really search around when I was looking for our missing person."
"Anyone else come through here other than yourself?" Warrick asked as he crouched near the ground, hoping to find any subtle clues of what transpired near the body.
"Ned Jenkins lives only a mile from here. Kind of a squatter, if you know what I mean. I know this area fairly well, since I have to hike through here to go talk to him every once in a while."
"He lives in the middle of nowhere? What, is he some kind of hermit?" Nick asked as his eyes darted to the forest floor, seeking foot prints or any other signs of a disturbance.
"Kind of. His family owned some of the land around here. He's been in a dispute with the government over property rights for the past ten years now. He tends to stay to himself... not much of a trouble maker. He likes the quiet of the woods," Miles said thoughtfully as he watched the CSI's walk a circle around the clearing.
"The body is beyond that tree over there." The Sheriff pointed to his left, close to where Warrick was inspecting.
Warrick stayed low, eyeing the underbrush. There was soil and leaves all over the ground, making it fairly hard to detect any evidence of a second person. The lanky man also noted that looking for trace evidence was going to almost literally be a shot in the dark. He shook his head in slight frustration; it would be near impossible to tell what happened.
Nick kept to the outer edge of the clearing and headed towards the body. He stepped past a fairly large tree to see the victim slumped against the other side. Nick noted the wound in the victim's chest before standing up to face the direction that the victim would've been standing. Thousands of trees stared back at him. He snapped a few pictures of the body as he pondered where the shooter might have been positioned.
Warrick came to Nick's side. He crouched down and carefully pulled the victim towards him. The CSI flattened his gloved hand and patted down the man's back, searching for an exit wound. "Well, no sign of a though and through. Means we can retrieve the bullet after the autopsy."
Nick stared at Chris Robinson's clothes. Dried dark blood stained the man's flannel shirt and khaki pants. There was a thicker layer of blood that appeared to have gathered along the creases of the man's lap. One thing that bothered him was the absence of a larger pool of blood on the forest ground. Blood had dripped down from the entrance wound, but for a man that had bled out, the ground should have been throughly soaked.
Nick began to process the body, taking photos and lifting a few samples from the victim's jacket. He'd have to wait for the coroner to do a liver temperature to find the exact time of death. He also tweezed a hair fiber along Robinson's shirt collar. "You know, I would have expected more blood if this is where he was shot."
Warrick had been canvassing a small perimeter around the body, placing marker tags around anything that could be used as evidence of the attack. "Yeah, I noticed that too. I'm not finding any traces of another person around here."
Warrick saw the GPS unit laying a few inches away from the victim's body covered up by leaves and debris. He grabbed the device and bagged it. "Maybe we can find something more from this."
"Perhaps we can get the data to tell us where he had traveled around here," Nick stated. He got up and examined the hole in Robinson's chest a bit closer.
Warrick cocked his head. "What ya thinkin?"
"Well, I'm guessing by the size of the entry wound, and the way the body is located, that our vic wasn't shot from close range."
The Sheriff, who had tried to stay out of the way of the evidence collection, wandered over. "You think it was an accident?"
Nick placed his hand on his hip and shook his head. "Nope, doesn't feel right."
Warrick stepped closer, holding his camera to the side. "If there's no hunting around here and he shot from more than 15 feet, then someone was targeting him."
Nick nodded. "So far the evidence isn't telling us much. We need to talk to the last people to have seen him alive and those were his friends. We determine the why........"
"Which might lead us to the who," Warrick finished for him. The criminalist eyed his surroundings. "You did say that a Ned Jenkins lived nearby here. Might want to talk to him before heading out. See if he heard or saw anything."
Nick was going to add a few comments when his cell phone went off.
"Stokes," he answered as he walked off, covering his other ear with his hand. "I'm sorry, David, I can barely hear you."
Miles took off his cap and wearily rubbed his fingers though his hair. "Talking to Ned is kind of tough. He doesn't like strangers all that much."
The Sheriff blew out a breath, "Real loner. Ex-military. Doesn't trust law enforcement very much. Kind of paranoid if you know what I mean?"
Warrick narrowed his eyes. "Is he ever prone to violent behavior? Think he might be a little unhappy about some stranger combing though his property or something?"
Miles adjusted his belt and the weight of his revolver around his waist. His face reddened just a bit. "The guy's just a hermit. Not real sociable is all. Just cause he fits one of those little scientific profiles of a yahoo, don't mean he's nuts or something."
Nick closed his cell phone looking a bit frustrated, but he stood by quietly listening to the conversation going on.
Warrick held his hands up in a calming gesture. "Look, Sheriff. I'm not accusing anybody of anything just yet. We have no witnesses, and Jenkins might be able to provide us with some new information."
Miles just stared at both CSI's.
"Now you said he was ex-military. Do you know if he owns a gun?" Warrick asked in a neutral tone.
The Sheriff bit his lip. "Of course he does. Handguns and several rifles. Don't mean nothing. Got permits for all of them." With that he brushed past both investigators.
Nick looked at his friend. "Seems kind of touchy."
Warrick took a deep breath. "Yeah, Ned Jenkins just jumped to the top of the list of suspects."
"Yeah. On another pleasant note, reception out here is really bad. Had to call David back two times and still could barely hear him. He'll be by in the next couple of hours to retrieve the body by chopper since he's got another pick up before us" Nick explained.
"You guys coming?" The Sheriff yelled from further off.
The CSI's looked at each other, gathered their kits, and began to follow their escort.
It only took half an hour to reach Ned's house; a very short amount of time considering where victim had been found. Nick considered how easily it would be for a person who knew the area to target someone, shoot them, and just return home. Of course the word 'motive' kept popping into his mind, as Nick didn't really have anything to go on right as yet. There were no probable findings at the scene. They had discovered very little blood evidence: no shell casings, not even a foot print. But something told him that the person they were looking for was someone who lived near or was quite familiar with the area.
"Now don't go wandering around Ned's property; it can be a little.... dangerous," The Sheriff warned.
Warrick and Nick stopped in their tracks. "What do you mean by that?" Warrick said, glancing around warily.
The lawman sighed heavily again, and repeated the nervous gesture of taking off his hat and bending the rim. "Look, he's a bit of an oddball, a stickler for protecting his property after all the confrontations with the government. He sometimes has little trip wires around the perimeter... mainly alarm signals and such."
Nick frantically searched where he was walking, keeping an eye for anything his foot might trigger. "Just sometimes?" he replied, his voice concerned.
"Well, I've found a snare every once in a while, but guys, it's really nothing."
Nick and Warrick shared uneasy glances and were very vigilant about following Miles' trek towards the house. "Last time I checked, traps were illegal," Warrick mumbled to himself.
Before they reached the makeshift porch, the door opened, and a man in faded black pants and an olive shirt walked out to "greet" them. Ned Jenkins had curly black hair that was graying around the edges, and a neatly trimmed matching beard and mustache. His eyes were a dull blue. It was hard to tell but he seemed to be in his early fifties. One thing was for certain, he didn't look very pleased to see people approaching his home.
Nick placed his kit carefully down by the steps. He noted the pistol holstered to Ned's left side. Instinctually Nick checked his service weapon with his hands, and he sensed Warrick doing the same thing. Both CSI's tensed up slightly.
Sheriff Miles made the introductions. Ned Jenkins didn't move from where he was standing. He didn't show any emotion concerning the death of the young hiker.
"Mr. Jenkins, we were wondering if we could ask you a few questions," Nick spoke.
"I don't know anything about a missing person, or what happened to him. I don't see how I can help you..... gentlemen," Jenkins responded in a clipped voice.
"Maybe you might have heard or seen something that seemed ordinary, but might have some relevance to our investigation," Warrick stated, trying a different tactic.
Warrick noted that Jenkins still hadn't moved from his position. He just gave his curt answers from a distance. "Where were you on Wednesday afternoon?"
"I was at home reading." Jenkins walked down the porch steps and leaned on the railing as if studying all three of them.
"If you were at home, did you hear any gunshots?" When silence greeted him, Nick posed another question. "I mean you are less than a mile away. With all the relative calm around is it possible you heard gunfire?"
"I keep to myself and I mind my own business. No one bothers me, and I don't pay attention to what everyone else does with their time." Jenkins stared at them in irritation.
"What do you usually do when someone comes around that 'does' bother you?" Warrick asked, not hiding the accusation from his voice.
"People know better than to do that. I've answered all your questions," Jenkins said dismissively. He turned his back to the trio and started back up the steps.
"May we have a look around, sir?" Nick asked, trying to get permission to search for any evidence that their victim might have stumbled upon the house by mistake.
"No, you may not. In fact, I want the three of you to leave now." Jenkins swung open his door and closed it behind him.
The Sheriff shook his head. "Knew this wouldn't be easy... however, we are on his land. We do have to go."
Both investigators followed their escort, but Warrick stopped abruptly. "Where does his property end? Do you know, Sheriff?"
Miles searched the trees a bit, and walked past a few of them. He made a dramatic gesture of stomping his feet on the ground. "State land begins right here."
Warrick took a flashlight and shined it around the ground. He spotted something and traced his beam of light to the area the three of them were standing.
Nick bent down with his own light crisscrossing the ground as well. He shuddered a bit. The sun was setting, and it was getting dark. He felt a slight chill go down his back and the cold seeped into the rest of his limbs. Nick made a mental note that if he came back out here to wear some thicker pants and a heavier sweater. They still had a long way back to the car and Nick felt empty handed. He watched Warrick scouring the ground when he heard the sound of a chopper up ahead. Nick hollered over the noise. "I guess I'll go meet the coroner, fill him on a few things why he loads the chopper."
Warrick looked up. "I'm going to make a cast of this boot print. I saw a few of them all over Jenkins' land around his house. Got to be his prints."
Nick nodded. "Yeah, might come in handy later, if we ever find anything to compare it to."
"How does the chopper know where to go, Mr. Stokes?" The Sheriff asked.
"When I was on the phone, I knew it might be a tough area to pinpoint. I had one of my guys trace my call. He entered the coordinates into his computer and used a database to pinpoint the location." Nick smiled when he saw the disbelief on the other man's face.
"Isn't technology something," Miles laughed. "I'd advise that you wait for me and Mr. Brown first. I'm not too sure you can find your way back in the dark without me."
Nick bit his bottom lip, staring at the dark hues of colors that surrounded them from the impending dusk. "Yeah, okay." He didn't feel like getting lost.
"Got it," Warrick called out as he packed up his kit.
"Well, guys let's get going; we still have to process some of our samples back at the lab." Nick just hoped that their autopsy would be more fruitful then their scene collection.
It had been late when both CSI's had returned to the lab. The autopsy was scheduled for the next day. Nick and Warrick dropped off what little trace evidence they had found for testing. The remaining hours were spent typing up field reports and filing them with their crime scene photos.
The next evening, Warrick entered the morgue and gowned up and slid on a pair of latex gloves. He entered the bay as Doctor Robbins was concluding his notes into his recorder.
The bald man clicked the device off. "You just missed my final examination."
"Sorry, got held up for a while. So, what do we got?"
Dr. Robbins hobbled to the head of the body. "Well, David's time of death noted on the file was correct. The vic died Wednesday afternoon, I'd say between 4 and 7 p.m. Bullet entered right below the heart, tearing one of the main arteries. He bled out, and from I could tell from the severity of the wound, I'd say he died in under a minute. "
Warrick walked over to his colleague and palpated the bullet hole. "That's been buggin' me. At the scene there was blood on his clothes, but not the amount expected from such a wound."
Dr. Robbins glanced at the deceased and back at his coworker. "There were no large pools at the scene?"
"I'd say he lost two liters. Doesn't really add up."
Warrick clenched his jaw as he thought out loud. "What does his levity tell you?"
The coroner smiled. "Yes, another mystery. Your report says he was in a sitting position, leaning on a tree?"
"That's how we found him."
"Well, the discoloration of the skin shows that his blood settled while he was laying face down."
Warrick felt his heart quicken as that all too familiar adrenaline rush swept over him. "The body was moved several hours after he was killed."
"I'd say your case got just a little more interesting," Robbins replied.
Nick neared the DNA lab and could hear rock music blearing from within. He couldn't make out the words, but he leaned against the far wall as pounding guitar and distorted keyboards assaulted his ears.
"What on earth is this?" Nick finally shouted over the noise as Greg wheeled around in his chair, oblivious to his audience.
The young lab tech looked up to see who had entered, rolled over to his CD player and lowered the volume just as a muffled scream tore through the sonic melee. "I decided to go back a few years and enjoy some angst filled tension," he replied.
"What, like Nirvana, or something?"
Greg frowned. "Your musical history is shameful, Nick." He stalked over to his stack of CDs. "The Downward Spiral, of course."
Seeing no expression of recognition on the other man's face, Greg sighed with annoyance. "Nine Inch Nails, dude. Get with your bands," he lectured.
Nick laughed. "OK, whatever man. I'll stick to some simpler guitar and a vocal I can understand." The CSI wandered over to a stack of paperwork. "You got my results from that fiber I lifted?"
Greg dramatically sifted through his reports and handed it to Nick. "Sorry, just a green polyester, cotton blend. Could belong to any kind of shirt or jacket."
Nick scanned the results. "It was a long shot," he said in disappointment.
Greg stood next to Nick and slapped his hand on the other man's shoulder. "My report doesn't give you much, but I heard your victim was one of those letter-boxers. Interesting people, aren't they?"
Nick stared at his friend, surprised. "You know anything about them?"
Greg walked around his friend as he spoke. "A buddy of mine in college used to go after those things all the time. Bought one of those expensive GPS devices and trounced over back hills, state parks, and all sorts of random areas. Kind of fun now and then."
"Really?" Nick was about to prod the tech into giving him some more insight when Grissom popped his head into the lab.
"Hey, Nick. Warrick's been searching for you. You might want to go find him. He's working on that GPS unit you guys collected at the scene."
Before Nick could ask his supervisor a question, Grissom disappeared. Nick looked at Greg wondering if he knew why their boss had been running around the lab in a haze that evening.
"He's working a murder suicide. Kind of gruesome, been on it for over 24 hours straight," Greg said with a shrug.
Nick emphasized. "Well, got to run, Greggo, I'll catch you later."
Before the lab technician could try to drop any more hints that he could be a little more useful on the case, the other man dashed out of the lab. Greg sat back down in his chair. Undaunted, he went over to his computer and began pulling up research on some of the local GSP treasure hunters in the area.
Nick found Warrick pouring over his computer. They had discussed the probable movement of the body earlier, and each had gone about pursuing other avenues of the case.
"Hey man, any progress from that GPS unit?" Nick watched as his friend stretched his back.
"Nothing. Thing was smashed. I can't get an original set of coordinates." Warrick was clearly miffed at the dead end. "I was even hoping to determine the possible path he might have taken into the woods. "
"If perhaps he might have stumbled onto a certain Ned Jenkins' property?" Nick suggested, knowing both were on the same train of thought.
"Yeah, that was my hope, but it's a no go."
Nick was disappointed that more data wasn't able to be retrieved from the GPS unit, but he held hope they would track down some other relevant information. "Well, I checked out his friend's alibi's. Nicole and Steve had dinner at The Olive on Wednesday, and it would have taken them several hours to get back. With the time of death, they were probably not involved."
Warrick turned the flat screen of his computer over to the other CSI. "This is the background of Ned Jenkins. Served in the Army Rangers from 1975 to 1996 then retired. He was promoted to Captain, served overseas, and had expertise in demolition's and........"
Warrick turned to Nick to give him a pointed look. " Was an expert marksman. Owns several military issued rifles and hand guns."
Nick felt Ned Jenkins certainly had the ability to kill the victim. "We need to go back there and see if we can figure out where the original site of the murder was."
Warrick rubbed his chin for a moment. "I agree, but where do we begin?"
"How about 36 degrees North Longitude by 56 degree west?"
Both CSI's turned around to see Greg standing in the doorway, looking for all the world that he had solved some elusive puzzle. He also had that all knowing smile.
"And what would those coordinates entail?" Nick asked, raising an eyebrow.
Feeling like he held all the cards, Greg sauntered into the room. "Like I said earlier: I knew a buddy in college who went on letter-boxing trips, and I so happen to know the local websites for such treasure hunting."
The lab tech smirked a little, knowing that his fellow coworkers had not explored that avenue as of yet. "So, I took it upon myself to do a little researching and..." Greg slapped down a piece of paper with instructions written out.
"Letter boxing events for Las Vegas on the date for your victim's demise. It happens to be a class A hunt, meaning very challenging. Also so happens to be in the area of the very woods that our... er... I mean 'your' vic was found."
"Looks like we have the location that Robinson was searching for," Warrick said, looking at the paper the tech had handed them.
"Which means a possible spot where he was killed, or possible point of origin, " Nick said excitedly.
Greg simply crossed his arms, satisfied that he had correctly provided a break in the case.
Nick glanced over at the younger man and back at Warrick. The other CSI gave him the go ahead approval in the show of a subtle nod. Nick smiled broadly. "Greg, you ready for a fun trip into the woods?"