It had been a year since anyone had seen Callen, Nell had gone into the Witness Protection Program and the Office of special projects had suffered from the loss of its team leader.
Eric had facial recognition software running everyday since he had walked out of the mission, but no one had seen him.
Periodically members of the Michelli Cartel were found tied up with a bag of evidence lying next to them. However, none of them were talking.
Rumors were going around about a man, who could be anyone who had no conscience and was out to destroy the cartel.
The latest two were found tied to a bollard on the docks by the USS Washington. They had been seen trying to sell to sailors leaving the ship. For a week, NCIS had been watching them and then they had disappeared. This morning they were tied to the bollard with the evidence in a box at their feet. Both men had been beaten and bound and neither would talk about the man who had captured them.
Sam and Rob looked at the men, Rob Dawson, the newest addition to the team leaned in the corner quietly watching as Sam interrogated the two men.
"Come on, if you can't give us a name at least give us a description of the man who did this to you." Sam growled.
"He's a ghost…He's no one." The man said fearfully.
"He's been taking members of your cartel down for a year, someone knows who he is."
The other man looked around, "His name is Feral. That is all I know. He is talked about as a threat in our organization, it is said he is dangerous, he lost everything and his only goal is to take out the cartel."
Rob looked at Sam, "Feral?"
Sam shrugged as they left the room. "Eric we are looking for a vigilante known as Feral."
Eric started tapping into his computers. "There's nothing. No photos just a few entries with local LEO's where members of the Michelli cartel have been captured. Apparently, he has a deadly aim; he never stays in the same place twice. No one knows where he's based…there's nothing on him, not even any DNA evidence when he leaves evidence of their crimes.
Rob was frustrated, although he was the newest addition to the team, no one really talked about the agent whose shoes he was filling.
Although occasionally Sam would get annoyed and call him G. Then go off to brood for a while.
He didn't know what had happened to the team before he got there, but whatever it was, they were still hurting from it.
Deeks and Kensi sat going through all the information as scant as it was. "This is frustrating!" Kensi said, "How can there be nothing on this guy. It's like he doesn't exist, someone, somewhere must know him!"
Hetty walked through to her office, Since Callen's departure the team still looked up to her as the boss, but the trust they'd had in her was missing.
They would be polite, she was after all, Hetty, but Rob could sense and undercurrent of uneasiness with his new team and frankly he wanted out.
Like all the other replacements they'd had, he walked into her office and handed her an envelope. Then to her surprise, he took it back. "Mr. Dawson?" Hetty said surprised.
"I don't know what happened to this team Hetty, but I was all set to quit today. I don't know, something is telling me I should stay, for a while and then maybe, I can help. I have wanted to work with this team for years, you were the best, but something is wrong here. As Operations manager, don't you think you should fix it?" He asked.
Kensi and Deeks looked up surprised; no one dared talk to Hetty like that…not since….
Hetty looked at her newest team member. She would have ripped anyone else a new one.
However, she knew that Rob was the SecNav's nephew and did have his ear. Even though she hadn't informed the team of that fact.
An ear-shattering whistle pierced the air.
"Guys! You have to see this….I found him!" Eric said practically bouncing with excitement.
They all ran into ops, Sam, who had just entered bringing up the rear.
"Ok Eric, who have you found?" Rob asked leaning against the table.
"Callen…I've found Callen!" Eric said pulling up footage, "It's from a new security camera inside the warehouse across from where the cartel members were left.
The two cartel members were seen being walked at gunpoint to the bollards and a very scruffy and bruised Callen was holding them both at gunpoint.
One man tried to escape and Callen hit him with a roundhouse kick whilst still holding his gun unwavering on the other member who tied his friend up and then sat as Callen knocked him out and then tied him up.
Callen then put his guns in his back and with a slight limp walked off.
He came back a moment later with the box and stopped as he saw the police cars approaching, he grabbed a plastic bag from his pocket, put his guns inside and tucked it back in the small of his back. With one last glance at the perps on the dock, he dove off the pier into the sea.
"He's hurt…Look." Sam said pointing to the knife wound that could clearly be seen on his leg.
"Is he….Feral?" Rob asked.
"The name would fit." Kensi said, "After what happened, it's what he would use." She said, looking pointedly at Hetty.
"Eric we should check nearby doctors and hospitals. He'll go there for help if he's hurt." Rob said.
Sam laughed, "That's the last place G.'ll go if he's hurt."
"What do we know about him, does he have any family he'd go to?" Rob asked.
"No, he's exactly what the name implies, he's gone feral…" Hetty said sadly.
"And whose fault was that!" Sam snapped. Walking out and heading to the gym.
"Mr. Hanna, we have another problem…" Hetty called stopping him in his tracks. "Miss Jones' protection detail was found murdered this morning. She's missing."
The team looked at each other.
Callen took the bottle of bourbon he had brought and the medical supplies he had lifted when he broke into a clinic and took them back to the derelict warehouse he had been hiding in.
He stitched the gash in his leg up, drinking about as much bourbon as he had poured on his leg.
He checked that he couldn't be seen from the outside by anyone randomly walking past. He pulled out his tattered photograph of Nell standing sideways in his old home, her hand resting on her belly, although not evident in the photograph, he knew she had known she was pregnant at that point, it was the day before all hell had broken loose.
He still had the bug he had planted under the large pot plant that stood in the corner of the bullpen, he had used it for a year to find out where members of the cartel were so he could get them first. He listened as his team members went about their day-to-day lives, he had heard their fights after he'd left.
Nevertheless, as Hetty had reminded him he was a liability and the threat to Nell. It was his fault, the only way he could save her and their unborn child, (Although he was sure he had a son or daughter by now,) was to take the threat out.
He cursed as he heard Eric's proclamation that he'd found him, he was sure he'd taken out the entire security cameras in the area before dropping off his latest prizes to the police.
He'd slept a little, dreaming as usual of her and sometimes their child.
Later he awoke and went through his morning exercise program, he looked beaten and scruffy on the outside but physically he was in top condition. He put the targets up along the room he trained in and started running through his calisthenics soon he was finished, sweaty he walked to the old shower in the back of the building, it had no heating, but the water was wet and cleaned him well enough.
He took his guns out and started cleaning them, checking the ammunition and turned the bug back on.
"How could this have happened?" Sam's voice boomed in the room. Callen smiled, the new guy must be annoying him again.
"Nell was safe!" Sam continued. Callen's head shot up.
"We don't know all the details yet, we know she isn't dead, but it looks like the cartel found her." Hetty voice came over the speaker.
Callen grabbed his bag and ran for his jeep.
Twenty minutes later, he stood outside the mission watching. Grabbing his bag, he took a deep breath and walked inside.
Rob Dawson looked up as he heard the doors go. The bullpen was on alert as the newest team member stood staring at the entrance and pulled his gun.
Callen walked straight by him and walked up to Hetty and pulled his gun on her. "Where is she?" He snarled. "Where did they put her?"