NCIS Fan Fiction ❯ Godly Marine: Killed ❯ 6 - Part 2 ( Chapter 7 )
Clarisse had to hold in laughing as she saw Annabeth's eyes bulge in fascination as Gibbs used the iris scanner. With a hiss and a clunk!, the doors unlocked. He heaved the door open. "Welcome to MTAC, agents."
"Wow," Annabeth whispered as her eyes adjusted to the darkness.
"Sweet secret base you guys got going on," Clarisse praised.
"Thanks!" McGee beamed like he was the one getting complimented. "It's decked out with some great technology sensors. It's completely separate in terms of technology, components, and connection from the rest of the building. Best monitors, state-of-the-art firewall, and the-"
"You guys do any movie nights in here?" Clarisse cut in.
"I-well no. I mean, uh, maybe? I wouldn't know anything about that," McGee spluttered.
Clarisse smirked. "I'll take that as a yes."
"McGee," Gibbs said, saving his agent, "Connect us up with the Staff Sergeant's C.O."
McGee hurried to do as he was told, working with a row of tech. Clarisse wouldn't want to get too close to any of those. Could probably get the entire monster population of the East Coast fixated on their position with those many wires. Annie, Prissy, and Goat boy wouldn't appreciate it. Would make one heck of a battle story, though.
Gibbs, Annabeth, and Clarisse stood in front of the huge screen.
"Morning, agents," the commander said when he flashed on the screen.
"Nice to meet you, Commander," Annabeth said.
"I would rather have not, Special Agent Lima, Gibbs. I take it you still haven't found out who took out my mechanic."
"No, Commander," Gibbs said, "And it seems your mechanic was into a case of his own."
"What do you mean?"
"We believe he was following leads that might uncover cartel movement in D.C.," Annabeth explained.
"Can you tell us anything about anything the Staff Sergeant was involved in?" Gibbs asked, "Any ops that he was assigned?"
"No, sir. This is the first I'm hearing of this. He was designated to go on tour; we were called in to head into NAMRU-6."
"Peru?" Gibbs questioned.
"It was going to be smooth sailing," the commander affirmed. "A secret mission…He was one hell of a mechanic, and even then…"
"Commander?" Annabeth pushed.
"He was too smart for his own good. He wasn't going to be a simple Staff Sergeant for long. In fact, I'm surprised he held out for this long. His excellent, strategic mind and fighting skill, especially in close combat, had placed him in the fast lane for promotion. He may have wanted to be a simple mechanic, and I know he declined several offers, but as good as he was, he gained the attention of those who could force him into positions."
Clarisse frowned. Sounds like Michael had been way too noticeable. She didn't even think that the Navy and Marine corps would inspect mechanics that thorough. How did they test his strategy making?
"Sounds like he was a special case," Clarisse said, "Did he get any flak from his crewmates because of it?"
"Not really, ma'am. He wasn't exactly a social person to begin with."
"He never got into any disputes with anyone?" Clarisse asked.
"Only one, but I've learned to keep them apart."
"Reason?" Gibbs asked.
"Uh, they just didn't see eye-to-eye."
Clarisse almost snorted. Translation: he had no clue. What kind of Officer in Charge was this guy?
"Who's the soldier?" Annabeth asked.
"First Lieutenant Adrian Rodriguez."
"He antagonize a lot of people?" Gibbs asked.
"No, sir. He's actually very well-liked. It was very strange that he turned confrontational with Kahale. Same with Sergeant Kahale."
"And you have no idea as to why this was." Gibbs didn't phrase it like a question. At least they were all on the same page.
The C.O. on the big screen shrugged. "Those are two of the sea's finest. Rodriguez is soon to become Major. They don't have so much as an excuse to hang around each other anyway."
This time, Clarisse didn't bother hiding a sound of disbelief.
"Where is he?" Gibbs asked at the same time as Annabeth said, "Tell us about him."
Clarisse stepped back so the two could glare at each other better.
"He's a skilled Marksman," Commander Oblivious replied, "knows a lot about on-the-spot- field medic stuff…sings pretty good, too." Clarisse shared a glance with Annabeth. That sounded familiar. Annabeth would probably say that it was a textbook definition. Nerd.
"But he has not left the ship," the commander continued, "he's been on board the entire time."
"Then call him over," Gibbs said, "Maybe we can help solve what his problem with Michael Kahale was."
"You can't think-"
"The more we know about our victim, the better we can predict his movements and motives," Annabeth consoled.
The commander ceded the point and nodded at some staff who promptly left the room, presumably to find the First Lieutenant. He turned his attention back to the NCIS agents.
Gibbs continued on questioning him. "Did Staff Sergeant Kahale ever mention an Annabeth Chase?"
The man on the screen frowned. "The name rings a bell; give me a sec." He shuffled some papers around. "Oh! Yes, as one of the emergency contacts. Right there under his father. Annabeth Chase, relation as his sister."
Annabeth showed nothing. Instead, asking, "What is the contact information?"
"A phone number with a New York area code."
"Read aloud the number, please."
The commander read out the numbers as Annabeth instructed. Clarisse immediately recognized it as the mainline to the Big House.
"It's a different number than the one he called," Annabeth said.
"McGee," Gibbs called, giving silent instructions.
"Already on it," McGee said, "Number is to a farm, Delphi Strawberry Service. Located in Long Island."
Clarisse mentally cursed and tried not to self-consciously fidget at the glare Gibbs gave Annabeth.
"But he never spoke about his family. Or friends. Or life. Again, not the most social guy."
There was movement in the back, as the staff member came back with a soldier, who promptly stood at attention.
"First Lieutenant Rodriguez, meet NCIS Agents Gibbs, Lima, and…"
"La Rue," Clarisse supplied.
"First Lieutenant," Gibbs greeted.
"At rest, First Lieutenant," Annabeth said.
Gibbs started the questions as Rodrigues shifted his stance. "What's your relationship with Staff Sergeant Michael Kahale?"
The soldier frowned, confused. "He was a mechanic assigned to this vessel, sir."
"We're told that you were uncharacteristically disruptive around him."
"Yes, but I haven't been in confrontation with him, as per C.O. orders. If he's said-"
"First Lieutenant Rodriguez," The C.O. cut him off, "Sergeant Kahale was shot two nights ago."
"Shot?" Rodriguez said in shock, "But… we're home…"
"We know that you've been on board the entire time," Annabeth said, "We just need to know more about who Michael Kahale was."
"I-I understand, Ma'am."
"What made you dislike the Kahale, First Lieutenant?" Clarisse asked him.
"It's not that I disliked him, ma'am. Kahale was actually a good guy. Introverted, sure. But he was a good soldier, amazing smart, and easy to talk with. But I…" He faltered. "I don't know. For some reason, the friendly conversations always turned into some sort of fight? Like a challenge I couldn't lose to? I guess?"
"Don't sound sure of yourself," Annabeth noted.
"I can't explain it. Every time, it just led to a fight over any stupid, little thing. I honestly don't know why. I don't expect any of you to understand."
Clarisse heard Gibbs sigh tiredly and mumble, "Oh, I understand perfectly."
"Can you give us some examples of what you fought over?" Annabeth asked.
"They were stupid, ma'am. Like over the name of a future vessel. He thought it should be named USS Zeus. I said it to be USS Jupiter. We also fought over his position. Kahale was a good Marine but could've been even better. But he kept at being a non-commission mechanic because he had an issue with the control of our Superior Officers. I know he even declined a promotion to Warrant Officer. He disliked how strict military life was and preferred the more laxed nature of the machinists. He believed that individuality and improvisation held more value in the field than the collective skill of the group and rigid structure. He did not trust others with making decisions for him and disliked giving orders himself. But I know several of my brothers who have similar opinions, and I've never fought them over it."
Annabeth nodded, humming softly and deep in that brain of hers.
"Did he ever mention some sort of mission?" Gibbs asked.
Rodriguez blinked. "No. Nothing ever like that."
"Mexican Cartels? Arms dealing?" Gibbs fished.
'Freaking Hades,' Clarisse thought, 'I hope this information isn't supposed to be kept low profile.'
"What about mythologies?"
The First Lieutenant stiffened. He was definitely a demigod. Clarisse would have to see if Chiron knew an Adrian Rodriguez.
"What do you mean?" Rodriguez tried playing off.
"Gods, Roman myths, Greek heroes, monsters, that sort of stuff."
"Then that's all we need from you, for now, First Lieutenant," Gibbs said, taking a glance at Annabeth.
"Catch who did this to my mechanic, Agents," the Commanding Officer said before the connection cut off.
Gibbs didn't waste any time.
"What am I missing here?"
Annabeth lifted an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"
"Some random mechanic gets murdered hours away from his assigned vessel because he was uncovering an entire operation that was way out of his league. His dying words were to some girl whom he listed as an emergency contact with a Long Island number. Suddenly, I've got NCIS agents from a Long Island branch I've never heard of. This case has brought too many outside factors, and I have the feeling my team is out of the loop on specific information that can make this case more manageable."
"We know as much as you do," Clarisse retorted, "And missing information comes with the job. This is a mystery. We investigate and find the answers, complications and all."
Gibbs considered her for a moment before relenting and leading them back out of the heavily secured room. "Fine. I'm going to head to the bar. McGee, get DiNozzo to call the Strawberry Farm. I also want the personal files of First Lieutenant Rodriguez and his C.O. Ziva! Gear up." He looked around at the rest of the agents expectedly.
"Er, trying to squeeze out info of Cartel movement in the area," DiNozzo said, "Not much luck."
"Talked to Abby," Ziva picked up next, "Her professors were able to translate some more of the notes. This Doughnut place is apparently definitely arms dealing with the Reynosa Cartel. Sinaloa involvement is suspected. Middle East connection is pure speculation. Michael also noted that he believed he was found out because he smelled."
DiNozzo made to comment but was silenced by a look from Gibbs.
"I'm still IDing all of Mr. Tarsibo's victims," Grover said.
"And customers," Gibbs added.
"No mention of Monster Donut on the web," Percy reported, Annabeth's laptop in hand, "Making sure that if anyone finds it, we'll be the first ones to know."
Gibbs nodded and then headed towards the elevator with Ziva in tow. Clarisse admired the way his silent command to get back to work hung in the air. Except for one problem.
Clarisse was back in the bullpen. She hated it.
Ziva was debriefed about the meeting with the commander on the way to the Drowsy Owl.
"If the Staff Sergeant was being seen by superior officers and the Commanding Officer didn't know anything," Ziva said, "Perhaps our Staff Sergeant was granted a mission."
But why give such an advanced and dangerous mission to a mere mechanic?
"Michael Kahale had been in service for five years," Ziva said, answering her own question. "They had given him training- maybe advanced secret in-training. Kept him officially as a mechanic, using it as a cover."
"But why send him on a case that without providing him resources?" Gibbs asked.
Hm. True. Michael Kahale had lacked money, cover, and backup. The time limit was horrendously short; what he uncovered in such a short amount of time was astonishing. If he hadn't ended up dead, she would have thought that it was a controlled mission.
"You said that First Lieutenant Adrian Rodriguez responded to the mention of mythological connection. Is it possible that whatever mission the Staff Sergeant was on, was not external but internal? An internal audit? But if Rodriguez was his target, he would have responded to the reference of cartel involvement."
"What if the Cartel wasn't initially apart of this operation?" Ziva thought back to her previous line of thought. "What if Rodriguez was involved? As Michael's partner. The First Lieutenant is thought of highly as well."
"Don't get caught up on theories," Gibbs warned.
"Maybe I should just follow my gut," Ziva teased.
"It's always worked for me," Gibbs said.
"What does it say now?" Ziva asked. She looked at him when he did not answer.
"It tells me that the Long Island Agents know something that they aren't sharing."
Ziva frowned but said nothing.
They came up to the store. "See if anyone has seen Tarsibo," Gibbs said.
"Not many people to ask," Ziva grumbled.
Reshaun Sachs was beginning to blindly invite them to choose a place to sit until he looked up from pouring a pint of bitter. "Let me guess," he said, "Navy cops."
Ziva and Gibbs flashed their Identification.
"This about the young Marine or something else?"
"Same one," Gibbs said.
"Didn't realize you had such big teams."
"Neither did I."
Ziva sent Gibbs a look and decided to change the topic, unfolding the blown-up photo of Tarsibo.
"Do you recognize this man?"
"He seems to be a customer of yours," Ziva pushed, "He may have been here during the past week."
The bartender frowned, "If he passed those doors, I would remember. Especially from this week." Ziva nodded. She didn't find him to be lying. There were other ways waste from this place could have gotten to the car rental.
"Do you mind if I talk to your customers?" Ziva asked
Sachs shrugged. "You can, but all of these guys are regulars that just come for their lunch break."
Ziva assumed as much. She left Gibbs to converse with the man.
Sachs was surprised that they had found traces of his business as far away as East Maryland. Like Gibbs, Ziva was getting her own list of negative answers.
She walked around the bar, trying to envision it on a full night with businessmen, college students, and Mrs. Kahale with her entourage. It was an open area, which meant open conversations that could be the center of attention or hidden by those that took that position. The only place that was really hidden was the way to the restrooms, which had its own hidden hallway that led to a back exit. That was where Ziva excused herself to answer her buzzing phone.
"What is it, Tony?"
"Get into any bar fights, yet?" Tony used as a greeting.
"It is still a bit early, but it has happened before."
"Well, don't go too hard on them. People who go this early are there to drown something."
Ziva thought of the three businessmen in the bar hunching over their drinks. He was too right. "As I'm sure you know, Tony."
"I'm not that old," he said.
"You are what? Forty?"
"Mmm, but I'm close. How many years am I off?"
"…Two. I'm still young, just have a few years of experience."
Ziva hummed. She didn't tell him that she had more years until she hit thirty.
"Well, I'm sure you didn't call me just for this."
"No, I'm here to update you so you can update Gibbs."
"Why not call him instead?"
"Figured he'd be doing some unofficial interrogation. And I would never break that rule."
"Well, what do you have."
Tony sighed, "Pretty much nothing. Got in connection with the Director of the Strawberry Service, a Mr. Dee. Took forever to get a final answer. 'I have a faint recollection of an Annie Bell.'" Tony droned in imitation, "'Yes, the girl is quite a trouble seeker, although she is one of the brighter ones I have had to deal with. Says a lot about them. However, she left. I don't expect her to be back for a while.' That was fifteen minutes into the conversation. He ends with an 'I grow tired of your pitiable blather.' And just hangs up."
Ziva snickers. "Doesn't sound like a reliable witness."
Ziva could imagine Tony shrugging in the squadroom, "It's what I got."
"Alright. Thanks." Ziva hung up the phone and accidentally stumbled when she bumped into something. Or rather someone "Oh, sorry I-" Ziva stopped as she got a look at who she almost toppled. It was a young man who had just come out of the lavatory. He was of an average built, a bit on the shorter side with a head full of blonde hair. He was in some sort of customer service uniform, a nametag still latched on. But Ziva only gave it an unconscious look over. No, she was more captivated by his eyes. They were a sickly green, and the iris seemed alive, swirling like snakes in a pit. And were those scales on his cheekbones?
She blinked, and all those features were gone. Snake filled eyes replaced with light hazel ones. No scales either.
"I'm sorry," She told the man who had snapped her out of her stupor. Just what was that? "For bumping into you," she specified.
He smiled at her, "No problem."
She watched him leave her, heading for the back exit. How did he know she was an Agent? Was her badge showing? No… Who was he? She searched her brain for the answers. Wait. She had seen his nametag before getting distracted by his face. (She shivered at the recollection. Was it something she ate?) Then it hit her; the nametag had a cheesy 'Hi, I'm Tommy' in Comic Sans Font. It also had a logo of a one-eyed monster munching on a doughnut.
"Monster Donuts," Ziva breathed out in realization. The back door slammed shut. "Hey!" Ziva shouted, "Wait!" She ran toward the door. Before she exited, she remembered that the store was arms dealing, and anyone connected to it should be handled as armed and dangerous. Pulling out her firearm and quickly collecting herself, she slammed her way out and was met with… no one?
Ziva surveyed the area, circling in a three-sixty. There was no one there. How could he have gone that fast? He was only out of her sight for a few seconds.
Gibbs was not going to be happy with her.
After making sure to uncover any possible hiding places, she went back inside empty-handed.
Gibbs frowned at her as she entered. Ziva trusted him to connect the dots and directed her words at Sachs.
"You didn't say you had someone in your restroom."
From the corner of her eye, she saw Gibbs change his stance, a mixture of weariness and drive to get the truth. However, the bartender seemed utterly confused. "There was? Oh, I had completely forgotten…"
Ziva shared a small look with Gibbs. Sachs seemed muddled all of a sudden. Strange and convincing. Ziva hadn't thought this man to be a good actor.
Ziva described him, more for Gibbs's benefit than Sachs's. "Yes, about this tall, blonde, green eyes, wearing a Monster Donut uniform."
Sachs's face lit up in realization. "Yes! He was one of the guys that the woman hangs out with, the one that the other agents knew, a Mrs. Kahale." His eyebrows scrunched together. "I can't believe I forgot about him coming in…"
Ziva shared another look with Gibbs. Either this man was telling the truth, or he was the best actor Ziva had encountered. Gibbs, although not outwardly changing his calm demeanor, seemed as dubious as she was.
"If he or anyone else from Monster Donuts come in," she said, "Please call us."
"They are connected with this Marko Tarsibo guy? What have they done?"
"A number of things," Ziva said.
The man gave an inquiring stare. Ziva expected that how dangerous they were could affect his business if he let continued to let them be customers at all.
"They are connected to arms dealing, Ziva said. "Also, have a connection to the death of multiple murders, including children."
"They've killed kids?" The statement seemed to call Sachs back from his confounded state. "You said that this guy was a part of this and that he was a car dealer, right?"
The agents nodded.
"The kids, were they middle-school-age? Older girl with Asian features?"
Ziva scrambled for her phone, bringing out the profiles of the most recent child victims. She shoved the phone in the man's face. "Are these them?"
"Yeah, I know them. They had come in, ordered some soda, burgers, and fries. They looked pretty street savvy, I kept my eye on them to make sure no one slipped them anything or took an order for them. I got something about how they were headed for the Carolinas, I guess they needed a ride. That woman, Mrs. Kahale, spoke with them for a bit. I didn't hear what was said, but if they needed a ride and she knew this dealer, she could've gave them to him."
The NCIS agents didn't give him time to finish as they rushed out the door.
Percy would never get an office job. He thought being a Federal Agent would have been so exciting. Sitting on a desk doing the same thing over and over again was killing him. He kept getting distracted by the happenings outside. (Hey, those windows were huge. Not his fault the outside world was more entertaining.) He couldn't help but feel a bit guilty every time Grover would snap him out of his daydreaming. He was supposed to be helping make official profiles of each victim, so that a) the families could be notified, b) Dr. 'Ducky' could analyze and create a deeper understanding of General Botsaris and his victims, and c) so that Annabeth could report back to Chiron, and they could contact the families of the demigods.
Percy did have to admit that Tony's conversation with Mr. D was quite funny. Although, he was only able to hear one side of the conversation.
'No, not Annie Bell. Annabeth.'
'No, I am not here for strawberries.'
'Yes, wine sounds wonderful, but-'
'So, did she work there or not? What do you mean, who? Annabeth Chase!'
And it just continued. Percy had cracked up as the agent repeatedly smacked his head on his hand while talking to the exasperating god. If only he knew how it felt to deal with Mr. D on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
Unfortunately, that was what felt like an hour ago. McGee had sent a file to Tony a while later and was on his way to escape to 'help Abby run prints.'
"I'll be using the system," McGee told Grover and Percy, "Hopefully, it won't slow down too much."
"It shouldn't be a problem." Annabeth walked in, looking a bit disgruntled after her talk with Chiron. "Although we are using the same system, it's coding and routes have changed, meaning it can still use the data and have access to an ever-updating network while not really using the same path and program you'll be using."
Percy would have totally zoned out from that explanation if it wasn't for Grover nudging him to make another profile.
McGee made a face. "You can do that?"
"Not really. It's the computer."
"What are the specs?" McGee leaned in to check Daedalus' laptop's design. "What's the brand? I don't recognize it."
"Huh, well I'm going to-"
"Not so fast, probie," Tony called.
Percy looked up. Tony had better not been calling for him. He eased up when it was apparent he was talking to McGee.
"Rodriguez also uses disposable, pre-paid phones," Tony said, "But he makes regular family calls. If we searched his family's phone records, we would find a record of regular calls coming in but from different numbers? Wouldn't that be the case if Michael did the same?"
"But we already checked the Kahale's phone records, Tony," McGee said.
"No. We only checked Patricia Kahale's, and she said she didn't even know Michael even joined the Marines. Daddy, however, had a better relationship."
"And when Percy and I spoke with him," Annabeth said, "He gave me the impression that he knew about Michael joining."
"McGee, pop up the man's phone calls," Tony said.
McGee shared his screen on the plasma. Window screens flashed on and off as McGee used keyboard shortcuts lightning quick, even using long sequences of code that Percy didn't know could be memorized.
"Okay, filtering for numbers that are no longer in service."
"Wow, that's a long list," Percy said. They weren't going to have to go through some sort of procedure on each one, were they?
"He is a lawyer," Grover said, "He must get tons of scam and calls from one-time numbers."
"It doesn't matter," Annabeth said.
"What do you mean it doesn't matter," Percy asked. Was Annabeth okay? How bad was the call with Chiron?
"I mean, I've found what we're looking for." She pointed to a six-minute call starting 12:52 A.M. yesterday morning. That was right before the approximate time of death.
"It's not the same number the Staff Sergeant used," Tony said.
"A spare phone," Clarisse said, "He uses one phone call on a pre-paid, dumps it, and then uses the second to make another call."
A demigod technique. Annabeth and Chiron told him of it when he went outside of camp. The only time it was safe to keep a phone after making a call on it was in or right by camp. Otherwise, it was a traveling beacon for monsters.
"The father made the call," Tony said, "McGee, can you find the location where the burner picked up?"
McGee clicked a couple of times. "Washington, D.C."
"Alright," Tony said. "I'll call Gibbs, and we'll pick him up."
"Sweet, let's go," Percy said.
"Wait, Percy," Grover said with big eyes, effectively killing Percy's hope. "I still need your help with this."
"It's fine. We got this," Tony said, him and McGee rushing toward the elevator.
Percy watched them as they disappeared with a ding. Great, the three people that were the least qualified for desk jobs were the ones left at the desks. At least they had Grover to stop them from accidentally blowing up the place and being labeled as domestic terrorists, yet the way the satyr was inhaling those paper clips didn't bode well.
The phone at Tony's desk started to ring. The four of them stared at it for a second. "Should we get Tony back?" Percy asked.
"Ugh," Clarisse rolled her eyes. What? What did he say? Gods, she was just so annoying. 'And rude,' he added as he watched her get up and answer the cop's phone, but he already knew that.
"Yeah," Clarisse greeted. She was silent for the ten seconds as the caller spoke. Percy wasn't even surprised as the daughter of Ares slammed the phone back down without another word.
"They found Botsaris's car," Clarisse said.
'That at least deserved a 'Thank You,' was Percy's immediate thought.
Annabeth jumped up. "Let's go."
Finally! "Did you get the address?" Percy asked, excited to get out.
Grover looked around as all of them got ready to head out. "Um, should we tell-"
"No!" Clarisse and Annabeth both said, or growled in one case.
Grover held his hands up in surrender. "Okay."
Percy made sure everything he needed was on him and swept the desk clear of a small pile of broken pen clips. When had those gotten there?
"Let's kick some butt!" Clarisse grinned. Percy couldn't agree more.