AUTHOR: Tess DiCorsi
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Just playing with them and promise to put everything back when I'm done. Other characters from other programs may appear in minor roles. They're not mine either.
SUMMARY: Unbelievable AU. Season 1. From a prompt. Deeks isn't LAPD, he's USN. Takes place after "Chinatown" - which is mentioned heavily in this story - in the "Hand to Hand" time frame. Multi-chapter story.
1. "A good lawyer is a great liar." - Edward Ward
April 6, 2010
After he put the last of his breakfast dishes into the dishwasher, Deeks walked into his home office and used the secure landline to call in.
"Admiral Bates's Office, this is Chief Petty Officer Thompson."
"Jackie, it's Deeks."
"Good morning, Commander. He's been waiting for your call."
"You do know it's," he checked his watch, "6:55AM."
"It's 9:55AM here, sir. And as the Admiral tells me near daily, he's up before zero four hundred hours."
"That's when he should have had me call since I was watching West Coast "Sports Center" coverage of the Championship Game. He should remember time zones, Jacks, America's had them for years, decades, over a century, actually. And we both know the old man knows I'm at home."
"Oh, he knows. And don't call him the old man."
"You're the one who called him that first."
"I know. That's why I don't want you using that name. Besides, I was drunk."
"Yes, yes you were. In vino veritas or in your case, in tequila veritas," Deeks teased. "The Admiral told me to call in this morning. I'm calling in this morning."
"Hold on, I'll transfer you in. Good luck this afternoon, Commander. You're missed."
"I'm guessing not by the Admiral but thanks Jacks. Thanks a lot," Deeks was hoping for more the luck that afternoon.
There was a series of God-awful clicks - his tax dollars at work - before he heard "Where have you been?"
"Good morning, sir." Deeks found himself standing a little straighter even though the Admiral could not see him three thousand miles away. "I am calling as per your orders."
"Nice of you to finally call. Do you know the time?"
"Yes sir, just before zero-seven hundred Pacific Daylight Time."
"Is this the time you usually roll out of bed?"
"No sir, but with my physical this afternoon I decided to take it easy this morning before my meeting with..." Deeks shuffled the files on his desk, "NCIS Special Agent Kensi Marie Blye."
"What time are you meeting with Agent Blye?"
"Zero nine thirty my time sir at some NCIS off-site facility on the docks in Mariana Del Rey."
"Agent Blye is part of the Office of Special Projects."
"Yes, sir, you've told me. They're the best NCIS has," Deeks was glad this was a phone conversation since he was rolling his eyes like a 16-year old shopping with her mother at the Galleria. "As I've made clear, I'd rather Naval Intelligence handle this."
"But your client has made it clear he only wants to deal with NCIS. The SecNav told me the Office of Special Projects had a case earlier this year with a Lt. Commander in the same situation."
"I read the file, sir. Even remember news of the suicide showing up in the LA Times last month."
"Just remember, that's a file you're not supposed to have as the JAG officer on this case. What you know from the paper is fine but you know nothing out of the file. I'm assuming your uniform is ready to go."
"I'm looking at it now, sir." Deeks had a summer white JAG Commander uniform hanging off his home office door, fresh from the dry cleaners.
"Commander Deeks from the Port Hueneme JAG Office would not have access to any cases files out of the Office of Special Projects and especially not the personnel files of any team members. You know nothing about Lt. Commander Lee that you didn't read in the Times and only the name of Kensi Blye, you got that?"
"I'm just a lowly office grunt doing what I've been ordered by my client, Capt. Mattoni at Port Hueneme and the SecNav, sir."
"Glad you've got that straight," Bates said. "Are you ready for this afternoon?"
"Yes sir. I'm expected at Coronado at fifteen hundred hours my time for my physical and fitness test."
"You're not going to pass, kid," Bates said kindly. "Don't get your hopes up. It's too soon."
"My rehab has been going great and I've been working out every day since I've been home. You should see me, sir. I look better than I did the first day I darkened your office door."
"No one is doubting your commitment to returning to duty, Deeks. Besides, after what you looked like when you left Marmul, I'd just be happy to see you standing straight in your uniform with a shave and a haircut."
"Yes, sir, about that..."
"Don't tell me you expect to pull this off looking like Wolverine."
"Well sir, I don't have the adamantium claws, of course."
"Sir, I am telling Agent Blye the truth. I'm on medical leave and while I'm recovering, I've gone a little native. I feel the need to fit in with the good folks of the 'Bu Tang Clan."
"The who tang what? Deeks..." Bates sighed. "Agent Blye and NCIS are expecting to meet with a JAG officer, not a member of Kelly Slater's posse."
"Sir, my files are up-to-date. I checked. I'm on medical leave," Deeks said much more forcefully. "I was called back to duty temporarily when a friend of a friend contacted me after being approached by the Chinese government as part of some sort of complicated espionage plan. I'm involved in this case as a friend looking out for a friend, an attorney working for his client and as a Naval officer protecting his country as part of his sworn duty. I am also working on getting my health back. The great part of that pitch - every word of that is true."
"You better sell the hell out of that story, kid. These aren't your usual feds. Davenport and I are playing golf Saturday at National and I don't want to spend eighteen holes explaining to the SecNav how you managed to piss off NCIS's Office of Special Projects. Or about your desire to look like Tom Hanks in that "Castaway" movie."
Deeks shook his head, this was no an argument he wanted to have. "Anything else I need to know, sir?"
"Yes. There is a woman who runs that office. A Hetty Lange."
"I've heard stories of her, sir. 'The Duchess of Deception' according to some really wild stories Davis and Harris have told me over the years."
"I've had three dealings with her in twenty years. All unpleasant. Quite possibly the most terrifying person I've ever dealt with in a war zone. And I met with Saddam at his surrender during the Gulf War. Keep away from her, keep her away from me. You got that?"
"And good luck with your physical, kid. I know you're working hard and I know you want back in." Bates was sympathetic.
"I do. And thank you, sir."
"Just don't get your hopes up or work so hard to prove yourself that you wind up suffering a setback," Bates said with a sigh. Back to business, he ordered, "I want a full report on your meeting with Agent Blye e-mailed to CPO Thompson tomorrow by close of business in this time zone. Send me a text or an e-mail before you start back to LA after your physical today to tell me how you think it went."
"Yes sir." Deeks heard the phone disconnect. He was passing the physical, no matter what Bates thought. He was pain-free, running, surfing, swimming, boxing, lifting weights and training with a retired Special Forces vet and a retired SEAL. The California sun, the Pacific Ocean, the air at the beach all had healing powers East Coasters like Bates never understood.
Walking out of the room, he did feel a twinge in his right side. Opening night jitters, he thought to himself. Nothing more. NCIS's Special Projects first with Special Agent Blye in their special meeting place followed by a long drive to San Diego and his successful physical.
His first Tuesday busy with actual work duties in months. Hopefully, the first of many.
It took a little more than the recommended amount of pomade to get his hair into a near military style. Deeks figured he'd carry his cover - the hair product would likely cause an oil slick in the headband that would worry the EPA. Besides, baseball caps were really more his style anyway.
He locked a change of clothes, his workout gear and weapons in the hollowed out back bench of his 1984 Jeep CJ7 and was off. He knew he was quite the vision - full dress whites, even the shoes, and an ancient, door-less red Jeep. Bates would have a fit. Hopefully, the meeting with Agent Blye wouldn't take too long. The ride to Coronado should leave him enough time to grab a power smoothie before signing in at the base.
As he pulled into the parking area by the address NCIS sent him, Deeks thought this was a pretty good place for off-site meetings. Of course, any place right off the water was a pretty good place for him.
He knocked before he walked through an open door. He found a woman reading a file folder while sitting at what looked like an old kitchen table. The decor was beach kitsch and he loved it. "Agent Blye?" he asked, because she was a lot better looking than her file photo. A whole lot. "I'm Commander Marty Deeks." He extended his hand. "Love the look of this place."
She eyed him suspiciously as she stood, making no move to shake his hand. "You're Commander Deeks from the JAG office?"
"Yes, ma'am." He fished his ID out of his back pocket, glad to have something to do with his unshook hand. "I have proof. I understand you had an unfortunate encounter with Lt. Commander Corby a few months back."
"More unfortunate for him than it was for me." She took the ID, which included a six-year old photo of him just out of NAVSTA Great Lakes, and studied it, then him.
"Ma'am, I've been on an extended medical leave and quite honestly have been enjoying not shaving every day and not getting my hair cut every two weeks for the first time since law school."
"Obviously," she said as she returned his ID.
"And I'd like to get back to that medical leave, so if you..."
"If you don't mind me asking about that medical leave," Kensi asked as she sat down and pointed to a chair she assigned to him. "What happened to you? You look to be in reasonable shape, besides the beach bum's hair, of course."
"Of course," Deeks chuckled. If she only knew, he thought. "I'd been working out of the RLSO in Yokosuka. I was ordered to return to Pearl on another matter. I really didn't feel all that great for the few days before my orders came in but felt really poorly before going to bed early the night before my flight to the States. Got violently ill around midnight. Thought I'd wait until I stopped being sick to take myself to the base clinic. Wound up falling back asleep. My clock went off for my flight and I felt better. Blamed it on some sort of flu and some bad sashimi so boarded the flight to Hickam."
"Wasn't bad sashimi, was it?"
"No. An interesting thing when your appendix ruptures. Sometimes you feel better for a few hours afterwards because the inflammation from the bad appendix goes down. Of course, everything that's no longer inflamed now starts getting infected during those few hours. At that point, you start feeling a whole lot worse."
"That sounds bad."
"No, what's bad is figuring all that out at 36,000 feet, an hour into a nine-hour flight from Yokosuka to Hickam. That's really bad. One member of the flight crew noticed I looked really sick. Lucky for me, another crew member knew a medic on the flight and he sat with me for the rest of the trip. I was in rough shape by the time we landed but the Navy had an ambulance waiting on the tarmac. What should have been a relatively routine procedure turned into a few weeks in the hospital with peritonitis, sepsis, aspiration pneumonia and the first indefinite leave I've ever had. While I've enjoyed the downtime, I'd probably have enjoyed the time off more if I was healthy enough to do anything fun."
"Well, except for the bad beard and the worse hair, you look healthy."
"Respectfully disagree ma'am, the beard looks fine and the hair looks better," Deeks said with some pride. "I am working my way back to full health. Speaking of work."
"Of course. My office didn't have the files from your office until a few minutes ago so if you don't mind providing some background."
"This has all come together rather quickly. On March 31st, I received a phone call from an acquaintance. Let's call this person Kim going forward. I don't really consider this person a close friend but we have some mutual friends and have spent some time together. Fun person. The caller wanted to meet with me because a family matter may be a military problem."
"Is it unusual for you to get calls from acquaintances looking for help?"
Good question, Deeks thought to himself. "One of our mutual friends has a long history of, well, doing things that aren't...look, he's a knucklehead. He's always doing stupid things. But he did right by me when I was a kid so I bail him out of trouble from time to time when I'm stateside. When the acquaintance called our mutual friend, our knucklehead mutual friend passed along my number."
"The acquaintance wanted to meet at Canters for breakfast and I figured why not, who doesn't love a good nosh?"
Deeks watched her make notes. "When did you meet with, is it a him or a her?" she asked.
"My acquaintance wants to keep all aspects of their identity quiet right now because they are dealing with other legal issues."
"That doesn't seem suspicious to you?"
"Everything about this seems suspicious to me, Agent Blye," Deeks told her truthfully. "I'm just doing what my acquaintance wants and what the Navy has told me to do."
"Alright. So you meet with your acquaintance. What does he tell you?"
"I'll pretend I didn't hear the pronoun. My acquaintance is a freelance computer programmer. Kim works mostly in the gaming industry but because of Kim's technical proficiency, Kim has a contract with the DoD. Started with Y2K jobs back in the day and later worked on drone technology both in the sky and underwater, missile systems and satellite communications between CENTCOM, PACCOM, LANTCOM. You get the idea."
"My acquaintance was engaged to someone they met in grad school. When Kim went to meet with the fiancé's family, the family was comprised of a team of sleeper agents. The acquaintance learned their entire life was a lie, including being the love of the fiancé's life. Kim was told that Kim's parents were sent to American their mission was to raise jewels for the Communist crown."
Agent Blye nodded her head. "The ultimate socialist hero."
"So you have heard this story before. My acquaintance isn't the first."
"Oh no. A Naval Officer named Lee..."
"The Lt. Commander who committed suicide on an overpass on the 710 a few weeks back?" Deeks was fully read in but Bates told him to play along so he was playing along.
"Yes. While you won't share her name, is it correct to assume your acquaintance's family was from China?"
"Again with the pronouns Agent Blye, I think you're trying to get me to slip up," Deeks chided. "And me, coming out of my sickbed to help."
"Except for the questionable choices with your hair, both on your head and your face, you look fine, Commander."
"Nice to know you think I'm a fine looking man, Agent Blye," Deeks teased, getting a little rise from Agent Blye. That made his day. "And you can call me Deeks, since I joined the Navy, everyone does."
"Kensi," she told him.
"Kensi, my acquaintance's family was from China and the family emigrated just before Kim was born."
"Is there a sibling?"
"Thank you for the gender neutral term. Yes, an older sister. When my acquaintance was ten, the sister, who was either eleven or twelve, was killed with their mother in a car wreck on the way home from piano lessons. The other driver, who was drunk, was also killed. After that, it was just my acquaintance and the acquaintance's father who Kim said was never the same after the accident. When my acquaintance was in high school, Kim's father started suffering from early on-set Alzheimer's. Kim was offered scholarships to MIT, Stanford and Georgia Tech, Kim wound up Cal Tech because it meant not leaving Los Angeles and they offered a full ride. Kim's father was in a nursing home by the time Kim finished college."
"Cal Tech, is that where you met him?"
"Or her. And no," Deeks replied, figured her tenacity was an asset during an investigation but the quest for Tommy's name just wasn't happening. "Loyola-Marymount was my college of choice before Pepperdine Law. Back to my acquaintance, the future non-in-laws explained that when Kim's family was allowed to emigrant to America, my acquaintance's parents were part of a program to infiltrate American military, economic and political structures for the greater glory of the People's Republic."
"We heard pretty much the same from Lt. Commander Lee's family but his parents said the Lt. Commander always knew what was expected of him."
"My acquaintance claims that neither parent told either Kim or Kim's sister about the real reason they were in America. I don't know how you tell a kid that and expect them to keep quiet but obviously Lt. Commander Lee was able to do it. With a dead mother and an incapacitated father, Kim said, and I believe Kim, that there was no way to learn what the master plan was or that there was even a master plan. Kim left the meeting with the in-laws stunned and feeling alone."
"Kim's father has been in this very nice assisted living facility for about fifteen years. Kim makes sure Senior Kim is well cared for but the man is out of it. He's peaceful and calm most of the time according to Kim but the fiancé knew where he was situated..."
"Which meant the sleeper agents did as well."
"Exactly. And that meant senior Kim was a potential hostage. This is where Kim's legal liabilities come in. I'm already working a deal through the Justice Department on this but so you know, Kim's father was removed from his assistant living facility and transferred to one several hundred miles from here. With a computer bought with cash, Kim hacked a number of databases and created a new identity for the father, fake medical directives and is faking bills being paid to keep the older man comfortable. Kim is paying those bills - no fleecing Medicare or anything like that - but Kim did this to protect the only person that can be used as a hostage. Kim believes the fiancé's family of sleeper agents don't know where the father currently is."
"How is Kim sure of that?"
"Kim took a pretty severe beating for it from the fiancé's brothers," Deeks threw air quotes around the word brothers. "Kim said they only stopped when the father of the fiancé feared Kim wouldn't be able to return to work. Kim was working on a DoD project for weeks about submarine technology and..."
"The Chinese want his code."
"Or her code. No need to be sexist Kensi," Deeks smiled as he teased her. She was cute. Well, cute and a whole lot more. "And that's exactly what the Chinese wanted. Kim was escorted home that night, had a minder stay over. The next morning, Kim checked into the military facility where Kim was working at zero-nine hundred and left at seventeen hundred hours according to their records. Only Kim left ten minutes after signing in and called me."
"Congratulations Commander, not a single slipped pronoun."
"I tried," Deeks said with a broad smile, feeling relieved. "Kim wants to help take down this sleeper cell. Kim feels totally American and loves being American. Kim calls it the Immigrant's Kid Mentality - no interest in the old country because things are so much better here."
"How is deal going with the DoJ?"
"It's already done just waiting to be signed. Kim will have to do six months of free work for them on their computer security system and teaching their Cyber Crimes Unit some tricks. Kim's good with that stuff. The upside to the deal is that Kim's father now has a U.S. Marshal watching him at all times and the assisted care facility has several Navy medics and MPs working as temporary staff near the senior Kim compliments of the DoD."
"You're in contact with Kim?"
"Kim's in contact with me every other day. Kim is moving from location to location. Pays in cash, no electronic footprint. Kim knows how to disappear. About three years ago, Kim and a couple of friends made a small mint from Apple on fixing a security issue. Kim and the friends decided to do a summer off the grid to see if they could just disappear. A pregnant pal would try to find them online - she was on bed rest. Three months of seeing America, no record of any of it."
"A team of Chinese spies who have been living covertly in the U.S. for years have a lot more resources to track you client than a pregnant woman putting her feet up."
"I'm assuming you have a camera in your phone."
"The pregnant woman with her feet up wrote the code for most cameras to function in cellphones and the interface software that allows users upload automatically to Facebook, Flickr and other photo sharing websites. She also wrote the fantasy football app for ESPN when she was on bed rest for her first child a few years earlier. She's not exactly your typical pregnant lady surfing the net," Deeks told her. "As for my client, Kim gave me a burner phone while Kim buys a new one after every other call."
"What is Kim willing to do, exactly, to help?"
"Whatever it takes. America has been very good to Kim. Kim's got money. Serious money. And wants the life that Kim's earned. Kim wants me to put together a sting, which means when I told the Navy about what was going on, they recommended your office for the sting."
"What kind of sting?"
"Kim is part of a group working on stealth submarine technology."
"That was part of Lt. Commander Lee's background."
"The technology Kim is working on not only masks the movements of a U.S. submarine but can send out a false data making it look like the sub is up to ten kilometers from its actual location. And it can be repeated so the people looking for the sub are reading that there are up to eight subs in eight different locations."
"Kim is really good. The code used in the sting obviously won't work but will give the appearance of working. What it will do is open a gateway into the Chinese Intelligence computers. Kim wrote the code and handed it over to Naval Intelligence. I've been Kim's go-between with Naval Intelligence. They're willing to, well, make their presence known once Kim's code is deployed." Deeks couldn't tell her that Navy Intel planned on doing a lot more than making their presence known. "After NCIS and Naval Intelligence pick up the fiancé's alleged family, Kim will go public with the whole story except for Naval Intelligence's involvement."
"Any sleepers couldn't blackmail a public person and Chinese Intelligence would simply deny everything. Anything happens to Kim, the Chinese become instant suspects."
"Exactly. Kim is well known in the computer and gaming community and is willing to do interviews with both US and Chinese media outlets. Naval Intel won't say a word, they never do, and after a government denial I'm sure Chinese Intelligence won't talk either. Anything happens to Kim or Kim's father, Chinese Intelligence will know they're not only tops on the suspects list, they are the suspect list. The intelligence community can ship back the fiancé's family of sleeper agents after a few months of quality time in Gitmo for some political prisoners. This is a win for everyone."
"What do you need from us?"
"I want to bring Kim in but Kim wants to make sure everything is set and ready to go. As I said, Navy Intel already has Kim's code - I've passed it along to them. The plan is to have your office monitor the exchange between Kim and the sleepers and to make sure Kim remains safe. Once the Chinese install the software and Naval Intel gives the OK, NCIS moves in to arrest the fiancé and family. That needs to be done as soon as Navy Intel says go so they don't disappear."
"Sounds reasonable. At some point we will need to meet Kim, make sure his or her story works out."
"I should be speaking to Kim in the next day or so. I will ask Kim to come in but I've asked every time we've spoken but so far the answer has been no. Maybe now that NCIS is on board, Kim will reconsider."
"Is there some way I can contact you?"
"Of course," he told her, pulling out his Naval ID once again and handing her a business card he put behind it. "I'm still not back in the office so I wrote my cell-phone number on the back. I won't be available this afternoon but after that, I'm free."
"And if I need to speak to you this afternoon?"
"I'll be at the doctor's. The Navy doesn't really want to give me the extended spring break I so richly deserve if I am fit for duty."
"Are you fit for duty?" she asked.
"I guess I'll find out in a couple of hours." God, I hope so, Deeks thought. "Do you need anything else?"
"No, I was notified that the file finally showed up at my office just as I arrived here."
"You mean this is not your office? I wouldn't mind coming to work here every day. Comfy looking couch, kayaks, surfboards...Agent Blye, a man could enjoy sitting here and doing some paper work."
"And on that, I need to return to my office, Commander," Kensi stood and extended her hand. "I'll call if I have any questions about the file or the plan."
Deeks stood and shook her hand. "It was good meeting with you Agent Blye, sorry, Kensi. If I can get Kim to come in, I'll update you. Otherwise, I'm just waiting for approval from all the assorted offices and my client to move forward with the plan."
Deeks eased himself into his hot tub. Everything hurt. God, did everything hurt. The meeting with Agent Blye wrapped up quickly enough so he could drive home, lose the JAG uniform and wash the pomade out of his hair. He felt more like himself driving down to Coronado in a hoodie, board shorts and Tevas.
While there was traffic for most of the ride south, he still arrived at the base nearly an hour early. Anxious much, he thought as he signed in. He spent nearly an hour and a half with the doctors, the MRI machine and x-ray. Then it was three hours of running, jumping, swimming, boxing, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and the obstacle course before wrapping up on the firing range. In the gym and at the pool, he knew his top scores from previous qualifying sessions and knew he bested them all. While his firing range scores were basically even with his past performance, that still left him in the top five of Bates's current team. The Admiral had to see he was fit for duty. Deeks told the man as much in the promised text before the ride home.
He started stiffening up about an hour into the ride back. He picked up two fish burgers and an ice coffee at a Jack In The Box drive thru in San Clemente. That was a mistake. He should have found a place to walk around a little. Staying in the Jeep and eating on the way home got him to his front door around ten-thirty but he was paying for that now.
A half-hour in the hot tub, a couple of Advils and half a Pliny the Elder had him feeling much better. League Pass had the Thunder at the Jazz going into overtime so he just collapsed onto his couch. Monty joined him as Russell Westbrook started off the OT with a 19-foot miss.
About a minute in, the burner phone rang, causing Monty to bark. "Montgomery residence," Deeks answered, eyeing his dog.
"Dude, are you drunk?"
"No, just tired. What's up Tommy?"
"How'd it go with NCIS today?"
"They listened. They're checking some things out but they knew the basics of your story because a Lt. Commander had something similar happen."
"How many of us do you think there are?"
"Who knows? Listen, you should come in."
"Get everything set with NCIS, then I'll meet with them. When do I meet with the Justice Department?"
"As soon as the NCIS deal is done, I'll bring you to AUSA Kuzak. You sign the papers, you do what they ask and your record will be expunged. I really think I could have gotten them to drop all the charges if you let me push."
"Man, I did the wrong thing. I need to do the right thing."
"You were protecting your family, Tommy. You can make restitution by paying a penalty and not by doing six months of probation and some concurrent consulting for the DoJ."
"But I want to. If I do it right, all this gets expunged from my record. And if I'm awesome, maybe they'll give me a contractor's gig too."
"You are way too much of a capitalist, you know that."
"Of course, I do. That's how all my problems started. Call you Thursday."
"Be safe, man," Deeks hung up as Deron Williams made a shot with one second left to give the Jazz the 140-139 win. Deeks looked at Monty, who must have been reading his mind by letting loose a long yawn. Deeks announced, "Bedtime. Back to Port Hueneme tomorrow morning." It really was his busiest Tuesday in months. And it was awesome.
Pesky author's notes:
This AU was not my idea. It is, however, a great idea. It was a prompt from lightedwindows on tumblr/callmesandy here/sandyk at AO3: "Instead of going from public defender to cop, Deeks joins the military, serves in combat and is recruited to the JAG Corps. He meets Kensi in Season One and you know, woooooooooooooooooooing, love, super competent Deeks impressing Kensi with his smart brains." Not quite doing that but close. I hope I do it justice. By the way, I'm not good at prompts but this idea was just too good.
Since this is an AU, the timeline is the same for "Hand to Hand" but that episode doesn't happen since this story does instead. Everything in season one prior to "Hand to Hand" happens, however.
Same posting schedule as usual, one chapter every Sunday (internet willing). This looks to be a six chapter story (I'm dividing up one chapter because I can't shut up!).
See you next Sunday - hope everyone isn't too confused (I'm good at doing that here).