Tribute to Whom Tribute is Due

Chapter 10

Agents Gibbs and McGee walked into the Good Hope Institute and showed their badges to Amanda and Jenna who were standing at the desk at the time, as Gibbs spoke up curtly, "Ma'am, Miss, I'm Agent Gibbs and this is Agent McGee. We're with NCIS. We'd like to talk to you about a few patients of yours."

Amanda glared at them, ignoring the pictures McGee pulled out of his coat pocket, and responded rudely, "Surely you two know that the patients that come here come expecting their privacy. We don't divulge any information about them, even to you, unless you've got a warrant. Do you have a warrant?"

"If we have to get one, we will, but if you'll just take a look at the pictures anyway, maybe there's a chance you can help us without revealing whether or not they're here," Gibbs replied as he took the photos from McGee and showed them to the two women standing in front of them.

"Amanda, I'm going to go finish showing our newest arrival around the facilities before I forget," Jenna quickly spoke nervously as she recognized the men in the pictures as Tony and Craig Lucien.

Gibbs noticed her nervousness as she walked off, as did McGee, then they turned back to the older nurse as Gibbs said, "It appears that these two are patients here. That young lady who just left was nervous and I'm guessing it's because she's involved with whatever strange is going on here."

It was then that Monika walked over after overhearing the agents mention there was trouble as she asked, "You suspect there's trouble going on here? I mean, I thought something strange was happening, but I certainly didn't think it was serious enough for two federal agents to become involved."

"What do you mean something strange?" McGee asked.

"It's just that over the last few months, four or five patients have disappeared long before their rehab programs have been completed," the youngest nurse at the center answered. "Dr. Woolsey and Dr. Gisborne both said that they just weren't ready yet, but one of them, the more handsome man from your photos, just checked in a couple days ago and he left last night. I met him and he wasn't like any of the others. He appeared deeply troubled; sad, and I could tell that he really wanted his life to change for the better. He didn't seem like the give up type, especially after two days."

Amanda spoke up again as she said coldly, "Be quiet, Monika. You're not to give out information about the patients…"

Monika interrupted, "I don't care about the rules here if it means we can't truly give our patients the help they really need. These two and others are obviously in some kind of trouble if the cops are here. Agents, I'm not sure what's really going on here, but I'll go call our owners so they can come down to speak with you."

"Thank you, Ma'am," Gibbs responded as Monika walked off, leaving Amanda alone at the desk as she stood there glared at the agents while Gibbs turned to McGee and talked to the younger man quietly enough so that Amanda couldn't hear them. "Tony must have gotten himself caught investigating, or they discovered that he's a cop on their own. Either way, he is in trouble."

"It's good to see that at one person in here seems to be a decent person," McGee replied. "Hopefully at least one of the doctors will be just as cooperative."

Gibbs asked, "Were you able to find out anything about the founders of this place?"

Tim pulled up information on his phone as he answered, "Thanks to Abby, I was able to pull it up faster. They're both legit and have no criminal records, but they're also loaded. Either this place charges an outrageous fee for each of their patients, or…"

"Or there's something more going on here, like some kind of illegal operation," Gibbs finished for him.

"Something that's not good," McGee added. "I hope Tony's all right."

A few minutes later, Monika walked back into the lobby, followed by one of the doctors who reached his hand out to shake the agents' as he spoke up saying, "Good evening, gentlemen. My name's Dr. Robert Woolsey. I understand you're with NICS and you're here to speak with me about a few of our patients?"

McGee pulled out the pictures once again to show the doctor as Gibbs responded, "I'm Agent Gibbs. This is Agent McGee. Do you know these two men?"

"Yes, both of these men were once patients here, but they've left us, Connor just last night, I believe," the doctor replied nervously after looking at the pictures."

"Connor?" McGee asked in confusion.

Woolsey nodded and answered, "Yes, Connor Bacic and from the looks on your faces I'm guessing that that isn't this man's real name. The other one went by Craig Lucien. Is that not true either?"

Gibbs sensed the man's nerves and because he knew that the more time he wasted with trying to keep up the pretense Tony had worked to set up, Gibbs decided to be candid as he held up Tony's picture and then responded, "I need you to listen to me very carefully and then tell me the truth, doctor. This man is Agent Tony DiNozzo; he's one of us. He came here undercover in order to investigate Craig Lucien's disappearance, but now both of them are missing. If you're involved somehow in their disappearances, if you know anything, you need to talk to us right now."

"I don't know anything about that, Agent Gibbs," Dr. Woolsey replied even more nervously than before. "It's just like I said. Con… I mean, your friend left here last night and Mr. Lucien left some time before that. Now, unless you've got a war..."

"We don't have time for any of your nonsense," Gibbs interrupted angrily. "Our colleague's life is at stake and you know what's going on here; talk!"

Woolsey looked over at Monika, noticing the confused look on her face, then looked back at the agents as he finally relented, "I never wanted anything to do with this, but my partner's the one that started it all. I had no choice, but to go along with it."

Tim retorted, "We always have a choice, Dr. Woolsey."

"You don't understand, Emmett tempted me with the money we would make at first, but then he began to change," the doctor answered. "Things got worse, more dangerous and then people started dying. When I told my partner I was through, he threatened my life and my family. You see, we run an underground fight club for very wealthy clients, Agent Gibbs; McGee, using some of our patients as the fighters, but we only bring in those that don't have anyone that will miss them. Craig Lucien was taken nights ago, then last night, your agent managed to discover us, so we had to stop him. We didn't think he had anyone to miss him either, thanks to the story he told us."

"What do you mean, you stopped him?" Gibbs asked angrily. "Where is he?"

Woolsey spoke up again fearfully, "I'm afraid that you're too late. We took him and prepped him for tonight's fight. It's going on right now and your agent is the newest fighter against our champion, Craig Lucien."

Gibbs grabbed onto the lapels of the doctor's coat and shoved him hard up against the wall as he firmly said, "Take me to him, now! If he dies, I swear that I'll do everything in my power to make sure that you all pay to the fullest degree."

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