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When the Bough Breaks

By Genevieve Kelly

Mystery / Drama

Chapter 1

It was an unusually quiet Tuesday morning in the city of Los Angeles and the same went for its NCIS headquarters, where the heads, agents, and computer and lab techs who worked there were all catching up on paperwork, filing, making phone calls, and reading over cold cases in order to keep themselves busy. After the first two hours of the morning, Deeks leaned back in his chair in front of his desk and let out a long, irritating sigh, making it so that one of his teammates would finally speak up again after the long silence that filled the room.

It worked, as Sam was the first to speak up asking, "What's wrong, Deeks; you bored?"

Before the LAPD agent could answer, his partner interrupted as she said, "I'm surprised he's actually lasted this long. Silence has never been one of his strong suits."

"Ho, Ho, Ho, very funny," Deeks finally responded sarcastically. "I'll have you know, I can be quiet and focus on my job just fine if need be, but you three can't tell me that you're not as bored as I am?"

"Yeah, we're bored, but we're still doing what we have to do because Hetty ordered us to," Callen answered as he looked away from his computer screen.

Deeks scoffed and then asked again, "Why is it that we always blindly do whatever Hetty tells us too? I mean, I get that she's our boss and all, but surely she could let us in on some of her secrets. Where is she right now? Why isn't she here, suffering like we are?"

Sam replied, "Because, she's off doing her own business, probably trying to find work for us. You've been working here for over four years and you're still questioning her motives? I'm surprised at you."

"I still can't believe we've been here for two days, without one case coming up for us to solve," Kensi responded as she pulled off another file from the stack piling up on her desk, hers being much larger than the others' because of her time away in Afghanistan and recuperation. "This just doesn't seem normal."

"I know what you mean," Deeks answered and then stood up in order to stretch.

It was then that Hetty walked into the main room as she spoke up saying, "Well then, it looks like you four will be happy to know that I've come baring a gift. If you head up to ops, Nell and Eric will brief you on your latest case. Do not say I've never given you anything, gentlemen and lady."

As they headed off toward the staircase, Callen called back, "I wouldn't think of it. You're too good to us, Hetty. I hope you know that."

"Believe me, Mr. Callen, I do," she replied and then walked over to sit at her desk. "I know very well."

A few minutes later, Callen, Sam, Deeks, and Kensi were all standing inside their ops center listening to the two intelligence analysts among their team as they carefully explained to the agents the facts of the next case Hetty had assigned to them. It wasn't anything that they've never been through before, though each of the agents got the sense that this case was going to be a long and difficult one.

"Last night, four heavily armed men dressed in black broke into a corporate building where encrypted data containing important documents are stored on multiple hard drives," Eric continued. "Unfortunately, our bad guys have downloaded and stolen multiple files, which we are not privileged to know, according to the men and women working there."

Sam scoffed as he stated, "We're not privileged to know?"

Nell smiled as she nodded and responded, "That's right. I called to try to get them to open up to us about what information was stolen, but they weren't very forthcoming. Hetty should be on the phones right now explaining to them that the four of you are going to be coming to talk with them shortly."

"Great, I can't wait to hear what kind of excuses they'll come up with as to why they can't let us know what they allowed the thieves to get away with," Sam quickly said. "Is there any chance any of our perps got themselves on camera?"

"I pulled up all of the surveillance footage I could find in the area and they're definitely on camera, but unless our current president and past presidents, including a few who have risen from the dead, have decided to commit these crimes, then identifying these thieves from the footage is impossible," Eric answered as he pulled up a few pictures and video. "Not that I wouldn't put it past our current… Never mind. Our guys were wearing masks and ugly ones at that. These have always creeped me out."

Deeks looked over the pictures as he replied in agreement, "You and me both."

Nell continued with the rest of the briefing as she spoke again saying, "On top of the stolen information, two security guards were killed, both of whom were retired naval officers, as well as one of the women working there, who stayed late to finish up some work she fell behind on."

"Kensi and Deeks, I want the two of you to go and speak with their families, to see if there's anything you can learn from them about what their loved ones did there," Hetty said as she walked into the room and stood in front of her team she had assembled together years ago. "Perhaps someone may know something more that we may not learn anywhere else."

"We're on our way," Kensi responded as she and her partner headed toward the door, then left ops.

Callen quickly added, "And Sam and I are heading off to speak with the men and women in charge of keeping whatever information is contained there at that office. We'll convince them that their cooperation is more important than keeping what was stolen a secret, especially if it's information that could lead to a potential threat to our country."

Hetty nodded as they left, then turned back to the two analysts, as Nell spoke again saying, "Eric and I will keep digging, to see if we can gather anymore information that the others might not be able to gain access to."

"Such as, Miss. Jones?" Hetty asked.

"Such as background checks on each of the employees that work there," Eric answered for her.

Nell continued, "Hopefully we're wrong, but it's possible that someone may be in on the thefts, including those who were killed."

Hetty walked toward the door as she replied, "Very good you two. Keep up the good work. It is imperative that we gather as much information as we can. Somewhere, there's something that will help us stop our killers before they can finish whatever it is they have planned. It's truly wonderful to have us all back together again."

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