When the Bough Breaks

Chapter 8

Forty-five minutes later, the four agents and young computer analyst arrived at LAPD's main office. It was late, so the offices were empty, except for the building's security and any detectives and officers who might have stayed behind to continue working through the night. They parked around the back and walked up to one of the doors that led to one of the building's stairwells, then Deeks knocked twice. A minute later, one of the lab techs he used to work with opened the door and quickly let them inside.

Once inside, the young man spoke up saying, "I really shouldn't be doing this, Marty. If our captain finds out, you and I could both get in a lot of trouble."

Deeks looked over at his former coworker as he replied, "You're still as uptight as always, aren't you, Danny? Never mind, I'm not here to reminisce, although I realize as I'm standing here that I probably should later once things cool down, seeing as we're old friends, but… I really need your help right now, kid. And I didn't come just because you owe me a favor."

"I know, I've been watching the news," Danny responded as he cautiously led them through the building and finally into his lab, keeping a lookout for any of his coworkers. "I'm sorry about your friends."

"Thanks," Deeks quickly answered as Nell walked right over to one of the lab's computers to get to work. "By the way, this is my partner, Kensi, and the rest of my team, Callen, Sam, and Nell. Guys, this is Danny McBride. Danny's one of the most brilliant geeks I've ever known, aside from you, Nell, and… and… Eric, of course."

Callen reached out to shake Danny's hand and then said, "We really appreciate this, Danny."

Nell spoke up without looking away from the computer screen as she called out to her coworkers, "All right, I'm in. So far, there aren't any pings on either of our suspects' credit cards. What are their numbers?"

"Here you go," Sam replied as he set down a scrap of paper beside her, then she quickly began to type again, her fingers flying across the keys.

"Is she okay?" Danny asked, noticing the coldness in her tone and her avoidance.

As they stepped a little further away from the analyst, Sam motioned for Danny to follow, then he quietly responded, "She'll be fine. She's just under a lot of stress right now."

Deeks pulled out an evidence bag containing what looked like a burnt piece of plastic from his coat pocket, then handed it to the lab tech, and asked, "Can you take a look at something for me, kid? I was hoping that you might be able to get us something that could help us discover who attacked us."

"You stole a piece of evidence from the crime scene?" Callen asked.

"Yeah, does that really surprise you?" Deeks asked in return.

Callen shook his head and answered, "No, but I am surprised you waited until now to brag about it. What is that?"

Sam looked down at the item as Danny carefully took it out of the bag while wearing gloves to keep from getting his own prints on it, then the former Navy seal replied, "It looks like part of a cell phone."

"You're right about that," Danny responded as he continued looking over the device, then set it down in order to get a few tools so that he could get a better look at it.

"This phone was the bomb's triggering device," Kensi said. "We have a pretty good idea that Mikkelsen and Cosgrove are the ones behind all this. The real question we still need to answer is, who is the traitor that helped them pull this off?"

Danny looked between the three agents as he answered, "I'll do whatever I can to help you if I can. I won't be able to find out what the number is for this thing, but I may be able to at least get you a finger print; I might, if I'm lucky. This thing is really badly charred."

Nell turned her head and looked at the other geek in the room as she quietly replied, "If you and me work together, we might just be able to get what we need. That is, if you don't mind if I stay here while they go off to do whatever they have to do. I promise I won't do anything to get you in trouble."

"She may be our computer analyst, but she's also really good with these kinds of messes too," Sam spoke up again, when Danny looked to them for confirmation that it was okay for her to stay behind. "Trust me, if there's anything to be found, she'll find it."

"Then, welcome aboard," Danny responded as he reached out to shake her hand.

Kensi patted Nell's shoulder, then turned to her partner and her other two teammates, and said, "We should probably get going, before we draw attention to ourselves. One of us won't be as noticeable."

Nell quickly asked, "Promise me you'll let me know if you find something else out?"

"Don't worry, we will," Kensi answered. "Be careful."

Morning came around and Hetty stood on a balcony from an apartment standing across from a hotel as she looked down at the lodging site's pool, which had recently turned into a crime scene, as a body had been found floating underneath the surface. Cops, detectives, and crime scene analysts stood around as they worked to fish out the body and find any possible evidence.

"It looks like we've figured out who our traitor was," she said as she spoke to Callen over the phone. "A friend of mine working with one of our city's finest coroners just sent word that the latest murder victim's name is John Booker and the photo she sent to me of his face shows that he's the same John Booker that worked for us."

Callen replied, "I don't believe it. We didn't know Booker all that well, but we never thought that he would betray us like this. Do you have any idea why he would help a group of terrorists plant a bomb that would kill and seriously wound his own friends? He and Eric used to get together to play video games and have geeks night out."

Hetty turned and walked back inside the empty apartment, then responded, "Not right now, I don't that will be up to all of us to figure out. Is Nell still all right working with Mr. Deeks' young lab tech friend?"

"It turns out that as soon as the sun came up, both of them left the lab and moved to Danny's house where they could continue working," Callen answered. "It isn't ideal, but they'll make it work. She's fine. We'll get to work on trying to figure out why Booker did this and maybe we'll dig up more that can help us find the rest of our killers. Hopefully before SECNAV gets wise and tries to arrest us or fire us for disobeying their orders to come in."

"Good luck, Mr. Callen, and nice work," she spoke up again before hanging up. "Take care of each other. We'll be in touch. Oh, and don't worry about Granger. He won't get in our way, so long as we don't draw attention to ourselves."

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