NCIS Office, San Diego
Marty Deeks chewed Kensi’s ear off on the whole journey down to San Diego. They were clearly spending too much time together at work and in their personal time, not that they had much of that these days, Kensi thought.
“Deeks, please.” Kensi sighed as she pulled herself out of the SUV.
“What’s the matter, Kensilina?”
“I have a headache coming on and your babbling isn’t helping.” She rubbed at her temples in hope that it would ease the pain away.
Deeks stopped in his tracks and looked over at his partner with concern. “How long have you had this headache? You’ve been grumpy for the past couple of days and you’ve been taking a long time in the bathroom every morning.” His eyes widened and a smile appeared on his face. “Your…”
Kensi pushed her hands on his mouth. “Don’t say it.”
“Oh come on, Kens, don’t I deserve to know?”
“We’ re on a case, we’ll talk about this later.” She was tired and grumpy alright and hearing Deeks talk non-stop on the drive down to San Diego hadn’t helped her at all. She didn’t want to go there. Not yet. They’d only been together since Christmas, there was no way she was ready for this.
They entered their counterpart’s office and signed in, before taking the elevator up to the eighth floor. The movement in the elevator did nothing to ease the feeling in Kensi’s stomach and when they stepped off the elevator, she ran for the bathroom. All eyes of the team near by watched her run and they looked back at Deeks with curiosity.
“Bad burritos for breakfast.” He smiled back at them to show them that there was nothing to be concerned about with regards to his partner. “She’ll be alright soon.” He nodded and shook the teams’ Operations Manager, Barrett Lawson’s hand.
“Marty Deeks, LAPD Liaison for the OSP team in L.A. My partner will be joining us soon.”
“Adrian Prior is waiting in the conference room. I’ll have one of my people show your partner through when she’s ready.”
Deeks followed Lawson to the conference room and introduced himself to Prior.
“Detective Marty Deeks.”
“Detective?” Prior looked over to Lawson with confusion. “I thought NCIS was handling this case?”
“We are. I’m their liaison.” Prior nodded and sat back down. “My partner will be joining us in a few minutes.”
Kensi entered just as Deeks sat down at the table. “Hi, I’m Special Agent Kensi Blye.”
Prior nodded and shook her hand. “You sure you’re up to taking on this case?” He noticed how pale she looked.
“Just a headache. A drive down from Los Angeles with my partner talking non stop does that to you.”
Prior smiled and nodded over to Deeks. “So how long have you two had a thing?”
“Oh it’s more than a thing now.” Deeks smiled over to Prior, who nodded back to him.
“We’re here to ask you questions about your friend, Petty Officer, Ken Jackson. What can you tell us about last night?” Kensi pressed Prior to take the subject off her and onto the reason why they were there in the first place.
“Ken rang me to go out to a bar last night, but he appeared on edge. Usually when he’s in town he hangs out with his SEAL buddies, they’re a tight unit, but last night he wanted to hang out with me.”
“How long have you and Jackson been buddies?” Deeks inquired.
“We grew up together, we were best friends right through school.”
“Did it affect your friendship when Jackson joined the SEALs and you didn’t?” Kensi was well aware of how close marines became after a few operations together.
“At first, no, but then after a while we drifted apart, which is why I was surprised he wanted to hang out with me last night.”
“When was the last time you had seen Ken?” Kensi looked at the file they’d been given on the Petty Officer. Only a sister remained in his family.
“Last Christmas. We always get together around Christmas. Even after his parents were killed in a car accident. I think having someone from his days before the SEALs helped him at the time, but then after a while he drifted back to his SEAL buddies and I would only ever see him once or twice a year otherwise.”
“When did his parents die?” Deeks asked him, trying to work out a timeline of the Petty Officer.
“Two years ago. It was hard on Ken, they were a close family.”
“You said a car accident?” Deeks looked over Kensi’s arm to look at the file.
“Yes. Police were chasing some young speed racer who became airborne and landed on their vehicle.”
Deeks nodded and looked over to Kensi. She met his gaze and they both accepted that Jackson’s disappearance had nothing to do with his parents’ death.
“Tell us about last night. Did anyone talk to Ken or look suspicious?” Kensi returned Prior’s attention back to the night before.
“We met out front and entered the bar. We sat at a booth, but he seemed distracted. He kept looking over to the other side of the bar and after a group of guys entered, he said he needed to go to the bathroom. I never saw him again after that.” Adrian Prior pulled something out of his pocket. “I found this in my pocket later after I told the police about him disappearing.”
Kensi took the thumb drive and pulled out a laptop from the bag they’d brought with them. She attached it and dialled Eric. “Eric, Adrian Prior gave us a thumb drive, he said he found it in his pocket after meeting up with Jackson. Can you take a look at what’s on it please?”
“Sure, Kens.” Eric tapped into the laptop down in San Diego and went to work. Nell peered over his shoulder and picked up something.
“Pull these files up onto the screen.” Eric obeyed and they both stood looking at the images of Navy SEALs and a group of Korean soldiers.
“Are they North or South Korean soldiers?” Eric didn’t know the difference.
Nell pointed to the red badge on their hats and uniform. “These are North Korean soldiers, Eric. What were our SEALs doing posing with them?”
“I dunno, but they look happy in those photos. Hang on, look at this one, this is of our missing Petty Officer, Ken Jackson. He doesn’t look happy at all. Like he’s been forced to pose for the photo.” Eric looked closer and enlarged another image. “Nell, take a closer look at this.”
Nell raised her brows as Eric enlarged the image. “Are these…” She looked over at Eric. “Oh…my…” She placed her hand over her mouth in shock at the image on the screen.
Hetty entered and stopped midway as she looked onto the screen. “Mr Beale, Miss Jones, what have we here?”
“Jackson dropped a thumb drive into his friend’s pocket last night before he vanished. Kensi’s inserted it into the laptop and we’ve pulled these off the drive so far. From what we can see, the Navy SEAL unit that Jackson belongs to, captured and tortured South Korean soldiers with the help of some North Korean soldiers. The other photos have the Navy SEAL unit posing along side the North Korean soldiers.” Nell managed to get out, although she was still in shock over what she’d seen.
“It appears we’ve found the reason why Petty Officer Jackson has vanished. Get me Sam on the phone, please, Mr Beale.”
Eric dialled Sam and waited for him to pick up.
“What have you got, Eric?” Sam was frustrated to have to sit and wait so long to see Jackson’s superior.
“Mr Hanna, we have a problem. Have you been to see Mr Jackson’s superior as yet?”
“No, Hetty. Granger and I are still waiting to see him.”
“We have a serious problem with Jackson’s unit. I suggest you go higher than his immediate superior on this. Can I speak with Owen for a moment, please, Mr Hanna?”
Sam handed his cell over to Owen. “Hetty?”
“Owen. We need you to pull some strings. I need you and Sam to speak with the Commander, I believe his name is…”
“Admiral Christopher James, Hetty. I know him. He used to be my Commanding Officer.” Hetty should have known Sam would put his cell on speaker phone.
“Very well, Mr Hanna, I’ll leave this to you to deal with. Prior has provided a thumb drive to Miss Blye and Detective Deeks, evidence that Jackson’s team were kidnapping and torturing South Korean soldiers with the help of North Korean soldiers. I think we have the reason why our SEAL’s gone missing.”
Anger surged through Sam. He stood and walked over to the reception desk and asked to see Admiral James.
“I cannot promise you anything, but I will see what I can do for you, Agent Hanna.” The woman behind the desk had no idea that Sam used to be a SEAL. If she had, she would have realised that Sam had every right to see the Admiral. She picked up her phone and dialled through, expecting the Admiral to put the visitors off, like Ensign Holland had already that morning with the two agents from NCIS. He’d had them waiting more than forty minutes. She knew Ensign Holland was playing games with the NCIS agents and she tried hard not to get involved. “I have an NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna to see you, Sir.”
“Send him through, Mary.” The woman looked over at Sam with curiosity.
“He’ll see you now. His office is…”
“I know where it is, thank you.” Sam nodded and thanked the woman. Finally he found someone willing to see him. He had his doubts with Ensign Holland, who was new to the base since he’d left. But at least his old Commanding Officer was still around.
Owen followed Sam, who knew the way to Admiral James’ office. Sam knocked on the door and entered.
“Sam Hanna, it’s so good to see you again. Please come on in and take a seat.” Christopher James looked over at Owen and shook his hand. “Admiral James.”
“Assistant Director, Granger.” Owen sat down in the chair next to Sam and waited for the Admiral to return to his seat on the other side of his desk.
“What happened to your partner?”
“He’s busy on another case at the moment, Sir.” James nodded, he was a curious man and he knew if his former SEAL was there with the Assistant Director of NCIS, it must be serious.
“What can I do for you two?”
Sam looked over to Granger who nodded for him to speak. “We’re here about one of your people, Petty Officer Ken Jackson. He went missing last night and we’ve been given evidence to the reason why. I’m sorry to report this to you, Sir, but you have a problem with a unit within SEAL Team 5.”
“I’ve not heard any reports about a man missing from one of my platoons, Agent Hanna. Ensign Holland is in charge of overseeing Petty Officer Jackson into Korea. What evidence have you found?”
“Photos of SEALs posing along side North Korean soldiers after they’ve kidnapped and tortured South Korean soldiers, Sir.” Sam knew the news wouldn’t go down well with the Admiral, he himself found the news disturbing and very much out of character for what SEALs stood for.
“Am I allowed to see this evidence, Sam?” Admiral James dropped the formalities with Sam, this news shocked him to the core.
Sam showed him images from the thumb drive that Eric had sent to his phone. He looked down at his knees as he couldn’t watch the Admiral go through the images like he had. Anger had surged through him from what he’d seen. Nothing like it from when he was a SEAL. These were supposed to be his brothers, but brothers didn’t behave in such a disloyal way. They were supposed to support the South of Korea against the Communist North. Uphold their integrity at all times. Something had happened to Petty Officer, Ken Jackson, he only prayed they found Jackson in time before it was too late. Memories of what had happened to Kensi’s father in his unit came to the forefront of his mind, and as he turned to look at Granger, he saw the somber look on his face. He saw it in his eyes, he too was thinking back to Donald Blye’s murder. They had to find Jackson, he didn’t deserve to die by the hand of his brothers because he wanted to speak out against them over what they had done in Korea.
Admiral James handed Sam his phone back and stood up. “Excuse me, Assistant Director, I would like a word alone with Sam. This is SEAL business.”
Owen understood how they were. Closed shop, won’t talk to anyone who wasn’t them. It was a good thing that they had Sam on their side to handle this situation.
Granger walked back out to the reception area and called Hetty. “Hetty, we’ve seen the Admiral. He was shocked to see the images. He’s talking to Sam, but you know how they are, they won’t talk to any outsiders.”
“Yes, of course, Owen. We knew this is how it would go. That’s why we have Sam on our side. Wait for him, this case will lay heavily on his shoulders, you know how he gets. He takes it personally when it involves a SEAL.”
“Yes, Henrietta, I understand.” Owen disconnected the call and grabbed a magazine from the coffee table. Sniper monthly. How appropriate for a place like Coronado.