When the Bough Breaks

Chapter 5

Two men exited their car upon coming to a stop, then walked inside one of the ritzier hotels within Los Angeles, and stopped at room 1206. One of them knocked and after a few seconds, the door was opened and the person inside the room motioned for the newcomers to enter, making one of them very nervous.

The other newcomer turned to his companion and stated, "You seem upset, Craig."

One of the men already inside the room quickly asked, "Is there a problem here?"

"No, no," Mikkelsen replied. "There's nothing to worry about. My business partner just isn't sure what's really going on here. I haven't fully let him in on the whole story. As far as he knows, the information stolen was only floor plans of multiple government buildings throughout the city. He doesn't know the full reason why I hired you and your boys to break in and steal them."

"I think I've put it together though, having seen the news footage earlier," Cosgrove answered angrily. "However, I wasn't aware the floor plans of the NCIS headquarters were stored with us."

Another man walked into the main room from the bathroom as he responded, "They aren't. That's why your partner recruited me for my help. Although I really wish he had never gotten me involved. The surviving agents are going to kill me."

Mikkelsen shook his head and replied, "Nonsense. I told you before, if you do this, I would protect you."

"How exactly are you going to protect me?" the man shouted angrily. "You don't know those agents that came to see you today like I know them. And let me tell you, they are really ticked off. You not only killed and injured a number of agents, tech, and analysts, but one of them was my boss, who is the head of the analysts there."

"So what?" one of the thieves responded in confusion.

The man glared at the thieves as he continued, "My boss is one of those agents' teammates and a close friend. He's still alive for now, but… Let's just say that they're taking this attack extremely personal."

Mikkelsen smiled and replied, "I would expect nothing less."

"I can't believe that this is happening," Cosgrove spoke again, now even more nervous than before. "This is bigger than I ever imagined. I knew that you were up to something, but I suspected that maybe you just wanted something hidden inside each of those buildings, which is why you hired these thugs to steal the floor plans, but… Do you plan to blow up the rest of these government buildings, just like you did NCIS?"

"Is that going to be a problem?" his partner asked.

Craig Cosgrove shook his head in disbelief and answered, "When these thugs killed three of our people, I was able to look past that. I figured that it was a good possibility that there would be a few casualties, but all of these other people, including government agents… NCIS already suspects us. Booker said so. We are going to get caught and then locked away for the rest of our lives, which won't be very long once we're transported to Gitmo or wherever we're sent."

Mikkelsen slowly reached inside his coat pocket as he looked at his business partner and asked, "Do you want to know what I do with people whom I feel are a liability to me and my plans?"

It was then that he suddenly pulled out a gun and fired two rounds into the man who had given them the information they needed to blow up the NCIS headquarters, watched him fall to the floor, then die within a few seconds due to the bullets striking him directly through his heart. As he put the gun away again, he finally looked back over at Cosgrove and crossed his arms.

"This is what I do to liabilities," Hans responded coldly. "NCIS tech operator, John Booker was no longer needed and I couldn't trust him to not do something stupid that might screw up our plans. Now, you and I have been business partners for over a decade and good friends far longer than that. I didn't fully bring you in on all of this because I didn't know how you would react, but I want to know right now, are you with me? I mean, truly with me, or do I have to get rid of you too?"

"Does this mean I get a raise?" Cosgrove asked smugly as a smile appeared on his face, indicating that he had chosen wisely.

Back at the hospital, two hours later…

Hetty had arrived not long before one of the doctors working on Eric and the other injured men and women that worked for NCIS walked out and stood before the petite woman, Nell, and Nate. Blood covered his white lab coat and scrubs, causing Nell to sink, though Nate quickly grabbed a hold of to keep her from falling to the floor.

Hetty spoke up first as she looked up at the man before them and said sadly, "Due to the amount of blood covering your clothes, I'd say that Mr. Beale's condition is more dire than I initially feared. How is he doing, really?"

The doctor bowed his head and then replied, "To be honest, I am amazed he is still alive. The wounds he sustained in the explosion are extensive. Aside from the more apparent wound, the one just above his hip, he also has three broken ribs, one of which has punctured his left lung, and a pretty deep laceration on the left side of his head, above his temple. It has caused a skull fracture. Unfortunately, he has fallen into a coma, but I promise you that I and the rest of my team are doing everything we can to save him. He is in very good hands."

"Thank you very much," Hetty answered and looked over at Nell and Nate, then back up at the physician. "When will we be able to see him and the rest of those that were injured?"

"None of the others that survived the explosion are as bad off as Mr. Beale was," he responded. "Most of them you'll be able to visit very soon. The rest are still being treated, along with Beale. It will still be awhile before I can allow you to see them, but I will let you know as soon as you can."

When the doctor walked away, Nell slowly got her composure back under control as she stood up straight, stared at Hetty with anger showing in her eyes, and then finally said, "What can I do? I want to be here for Eric, but right now, he needs us to find the men that are responsible for all of this even more. I know that he'd be working with the others right now if he were standing in my shoes. I need to be out there. Otherwise, I'll go crazy just sitting around waiting."

Hetty gently placed her hand over Nell's cheek, then spoke again saying, "Then, go and join the others in the field and help them discover exactly what our two main suspects are hiding. I believe that you'll be able to meet up with either team at Mikkelsen's or Cosgrove's home. When Eric can be seen, I will let you know, I promise. Good luck, Miss. Jones."

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