A/N: Well, it's been years and I've missed doing this so here I am again. Hopefully, I'm not too rusty at this. I actually started this story a couple of years ago, got stuck, got frustrated, put it away and wandered off to lurk in other fandoms. (I've written a story or two but it didn't feel right to post for another show without having something for JAG and so, I stashed those away, too.) Every now and then, I'd dust this off, add a bit to it and then stick it back into mothballs. I didn't want to post a story I wasn't sure I could finish. Finally, I think I've got a handle on it, so here it is - for better or worse. This is still a work in progress but I know where it's going and I've figured out how to get there.
As you can see by the subtitle, this is a crossover with Numb3rs. Because the case takes place in LA, this starts with Numb3rs but JAG isn't far behind. The timeline is about six months after 'Predator'. Chegwidden has recently retired and Cresswell is now the JAG. For Numb3rs, this would be in the second season when the characters of Colby Granger and Megan Reeves were added. I hope I've managed to do justice to both shows. (Don't expect too much math stuff - I'm hopelessly lost once I get past my fingers and toes.) The first couple of chapters will have some recapping of the characters' backstory for those who aren't familiar with one show or the other. As always, I hope y'all enjoy it.
Los Angeles, CA
Petty Officer Bradley McKlellan was decidedly unhappy. He was sitting in what was left of his car, waiting for a tow truck to make an appearance. A big man, he glared with murderous intent at passersby. They, in turn, settled for amused derision as they ambled past. Lily-white Mama's boys didn't belong in this area of Compton and someone had made it perfectly clear by boosting the tires off his ride and spray-painting 'honky' on the side. McKlellan drummed an irritable tattoo on the steering wheel. It wasn't safe for him to be here but it was less safe to leave his car, or at least, what was left of it. Right now, he was contemplating the number of felonies he'd accrued. They hadn't been part of the plan.
None of this had ever been part of the 'plan'. Born to wealth and privilege, he'd learned early how to deal with the common riff-raff by watching his billionaire father, Stephen McKlellan, run roughshod over friends, family and competitors alike. It was good to be king and Bradley fully intended to depose the old man one day. That he was stuck in the Navy at his current ignoble rank was due solely to machinations of his maternal grandfather, a Senator from the great state of Texas and a force he had, heretofore, underestimated. His father, with the predatory smile worthy of a regent banishing a usurper, had made it perfectly clear that he comply with Granddaddy's wishes or he'd be cut off without a cent. It was going to make a man out of him.
It had been an adjustment. Rules didn't normally apply to Bradley Scott McKlellan, or they hadn't until the US Navy became involved. The government kept its sense of entitlement strictly for itself and he'd learned quickly that the brig was not a pleasant place to be. That didn't mean he surrendered by any means, he merely went underground. A larcenous old master chief had shown the way. It hadn't taken long for Bradley to realize there was a good deal of money to gained from the inefficiency of bureaucracy. Soon he had a tidy little black market scam running. It wasn't until he made the connection with a man who called himself Palin that he hit the big time. Palin was looking for all sorts of information, technical and otherwise, and McKlellan had no qualms about supplying it, so long as the price was right. Let others scream about patriotism, as far as he was concerned, this was capitalism at its finest. He would come out of this exile a wealthy man in his own right. It was a glorious feeling.
If there was a drawback to this lucrative deal, it was that Palin was seriously paranoid. The man would only deal with McKlellan and he always named the time and place for meets. Money never changed hands. McKlellan's payment would appear in an offshore account after his latest offering had been verified. If the money hadn't been so good, he might have told Palin to go to hell a long time ago. Unfortunately (in retrospect), the money had been spectacular and he couldn't quite bring himself to stop. All of which had led to the predicament Bradley currently found himself in.
When he'd heard that Compton was the meeting place this time, he'd had bad feelings from the start. It was an unpredictable and unsafe area, a fact that was borne out when he was accosted almost immediately after leaving his car. He let the two little punks haul him into an alleyway and then promptly took them both out. Years of martial arts training, coupled with the Navy's helpful hand to hand skills had made him a helluva lot more dangerous than he looked. He left the alley on the far side, circled around and moved his car several blocks away. He didn't like having it out of his sight but he didn't want it parked near a double homicide either. By the time he'd made it to the meeting spot, adrenaline had given way to temper. This was all that damn towelhead's fault and he was going to pay dearly.
Now, with the clear vision of hindsight, he was privately willing to concede that losing his temper with Palin had been a mistake. The man was coldly dangerous. Not only had he refused to up his payment for McKlellan's 'trouble', he'd quietly promised more before turning on his heel and leaving. At this moment, McKlellan was nervously wondering just what can of worms he'd opened. It wouldn't be that hard for someone to walk up and put a bullet in his head while he waited for the damn tow truck. When the cop car pulled in behind his, he was torn between relief and annoyance. Annoyance won out when the first question out of the stupid pig's mouth was 'what was he doing here?' His reply was both colorfully profane and anatomically impossible and the next thing he knew, he was out of the car and being cuffed. Things had gotten progressively worse when they found the little .32 he carried in an ankle holster. Bradley had felt true fear when they told him he was being arrested for murder. That turned to confusion when they hauled him in the opposite direction of the two dead gangbangers. Now, as he sat in the back of the squad car near a seedy hotel, he was seriously pissed.
Los Angeles, CA
Special Agents Don Eppes and David Sinclair, ducked under the police tape and headed towards a somewhat dilapidated three-story. Of the two men, it wasn't hard to tell who was the senior agent. Eppes carried an air of authority that was easy to spot. In his mid-thirties, he had over a decade of experience as a field agent for the FBI. Although not the genius that his kid brother was, Don had his own brilliance in his chosen profession. He had a keen eye for detail, dogged determination and an intuitive knack for putting it all together in anticipation of a criminal's next move. Coupled with a intense desire to protect the innocent, it was no surprise that he and his squad's solve rate was the envy of the office.
A quick question to one of the uniforms sent them to the detective in charge. Don pulled out his identification, "What have you got?"
The detective shrugged slightly as he waved a hand towards the building, "One Akil Fawwaz, bludgeoned to death. The Lieutenant said to kick it to you guys, so that's what I'm doing." He stopped talking and eyed the two men with thinly veiled annoyance.
Eppes grunted softly, glancing over at David. This guy was obviously waiting for them to pry the information out, piece by piece. There was always an undercurrent of animosity between the Bureau and the local LEOs. Don was well aware that a lot of his colleagues thought of the police as strictly amateur and that the 'amateurs' resented the hell out of it. He usually tried to keep things cordial. It was stupid to alienate your allies as well as being unproductive. On the other hand, he wasn't going to let the detective get his jollies by playing Twenty Questions with him. Rather than ask the obvious 'why us?' he quietly raised an eyebrow, "Anything else?"
The detective stared at him for a moment and then jerked a thumb at a squad car, "We have the perp in custody." He grinned at the looks on the two agents' faces, "It gets better." Pivoting, he led the way. When they got within ten feet of car, he glanced over his shoulder, "Say hello to Petty Officer Bradley Scott McKlellan." His grin turned into a full-fledged smirk as he gestured for them to go on, "Enjoy yourselves, gentlemen."
Don and David exchanged another look. Neither had any idea what the detective found so amusing.
Office of the SecNav
0835 AM Local
Senator Coughlin stood up and Secretary Scheffield rose with him. Placing a companionable hand on the Senator's shoulder, Scheffield escorted him to the door, "Don't worry, Harrison, I'll look into this immediately."
Senator Coughlin paused in the doorway, looking down at the smaller man, "I'd appreciate it if you'd keep me informed, Edward."
"Of course, of course." Scheffield smiled reassuringly, "Give Bethany my best." He watched as the silver-haired gentleman from Texas made his way slowly out of the office, his back ramrod straight. Sighing, Scheffield returned to his desk and after seating himself, spun slowly around to gaze out the window. What Harrison had asked of him would be difficult but not impossible. It had better not be. Coughlin was on the Appropriations Committee and, despite their friendship, a firm believer in quid pro quo. Still, this would be a delicate balancing act. There were any number of toes that could be stepped on, any of which could lead to unmitigated disaster for himself and his political aspirations. He sighed again and rubbed his chin. It didn't help that this would also be damned annoying. Frowning slightly, he straightened up and turned resolutely back to his desk. Punching the intercom, he took a deep breath, "Lucille, get me General Cresswell at JAG, please."
Falls Church, VA
1010 AM Local
Cresswell pinched the bridge of his nose as he leaned back in his chair. There wasn't any question about complying with the SecNav's orders but he could have wished for better timing. The expected upheaval in the office was still going on as the staff adjusted to his command style. Admiral Chegwidden had been courteous enough to give him a thumbnail sketch of the senior staff before he'd left to begin his retirement and Cresswell was fleshing it out with his own observations. On the whole, he was pleased with what he saw.
There was history between himself and Lt. Col. MacKenzie, something she obviously remembered if her wariness had been any indication. He was impressed as hell by her record since the Okinawa mess but hadn't been able to resist tweaking her a bit to see how she handled herself. Finally, he'd sat the woman down and put her back on the straight and narrow. Her years of being an 'orphan' Marine were at an end and it was time to shake off the Squid influence. He had no idea why Chegwidden had sat by while the CIA hung her out to dry during that South American mission (hell, he couldn't believe Chegwidden had even allowed his Chief of Staff to go on that half-assed clusterf--k) but it had clearly thrown her off-stride. Hopefully, his quiet reminder that they both knew what it meant to be a Marine and that she had his utmost confidence would help MacKenzie find her balance again.
She wasn't the only one on the staff with an impressive record. Rabb's was much more colorful and while he could see how the Commander had driven his superiors (and the bureaucrats) crazy, the traits that had stood out most were his uncompromising integrity and dedication to the truth. In the few short weeks that Cresswell had been here, Rabb had shown himself to be a natural leader and damn good litigator. The loose cannon tendencies that Chegwidden had warned him about had yet to make an appearance. It was too bad the man wasn't a Marine.
Turner was a good, solid officer. His attention to detail was an asset in the sea of bureaucracy that engulfed any military headquarters. If there was a drawback, it was his habit of playing it safe and falling back on regulations when situations went to hell. Cresswell wouldn't want him in command during a firefight but he damn sure wouldn't mind having Turner there to watch his back.
Roberts was a bit of an enigma. So far, his behavior had been completely at odds with Chegwidden's assessment as well as his personnel file. Cresswell couldn't decide if the man was suffering from some sort of delayed stress reaction or if he was just having a bad month. He'd keep a weather eye on the Lt. Commander and see how things developed. Roberts' courtroom skills were nearly as good as Rabb and MacKenzie's but if the man couldn't control his temper, Cresswell didn't need him in the office.
Petty Officer Jennifer Coates was a competent, if overly enthusiastic, yeoman. Apparently Chegwidden had allowed her quite a bit of latitude. He was in the process of nipping that in the bud. No doubt they'd both be happier once he'd clearly established the boundaries.
All in all, this new posting wasn't nearly the nightmare it could have been. There would be the usual transfers in and out as he brought the office dynamics around to fit his style. If there was one thing he hadn't expected, however, it was the continued presence of both Rabb and MacKenzie. Not that he was complaining, the two were a steadying influence on the rest of the staff, but his understanding had been that they were soon to be married and that one or the other would have to go. Something had occurred to delay the nuptials and it seemed like the two were barely speaking. Of course, all he had to go by was their behavior in the office. It was anybody's guess what was going on after hours and he really didn't want to know. He wasn't their pal or their parent and he had no intention of going down that road. At the moment, he was just glad that whatever the situation was, it wasn't interfering with their job performances.
Leaning forward, Cresswell toggled the intercom, "Coates, have Rabb and MacKenzie report to my office asap." That done, he picked up the file folder that had arrived from the SecNav and scanned through the contents once more. He didn't like political maneuvering any more than his predecessor but that didn't mean he didn't know how to play the game. A quiet rap on the door announced the arrival of his two officers. Cresswell straightened in his seat and barked, "Enter." He watched carefully as the Commander opened the door and then gestured for the Colonel to precede him. She hesitated slightly once inside, giving Rabb a chance to catch up with her and then together they approached the front of the desk and came to attention.
"At ease, Colonel, Commander. Have a seat." He couldn't help frowning a little. It was a toss-up as to which officer had the best poker face. Well, he could only hope that they weren't concealing either a desire to kill each other or for having wild, passionate sex. One probably wasn't that far from the other, he thought ruefully, remembering some of the more spectacular fights he'd had with his wife over the years.
Cresswell shook his head slightly and leaned back in his chair, "A Petty Officer Bradley McKlellan has been arrested on suspicion of murder out in Los Angeles. The victim was a Saudi national who was attending UCLA on a student visa. The LAPD couldn't decide if it was a hate crime or if there's possible terrorism ties. Between the current political climate and a healthy dose of CYA from the upper echelons, that was all the excuse they needed. They dumped this in the FBI's lap. I don't have to tell you that the Saudi consulate is screaming. Fortunately, he's screaming at State and the FBI but that doesn't mean he won't eventually get around to us." The General paused for a moment, "Obviously, McKlellan makes it JAG business but we'll hash out jurisdiction with the Feds later. You two have been specifically requested by the SecNav to look into the matter."
The two shared the briefest of glances before Rabb said, "Sir, have we been requested to investigate or defend?"
"Investigate, Commander. The Petty Officer has already retained civilian counsel who, I might add, has wasted no time getting his client freed on bond. McKlellan's currently confined to quarters at Ventura while this gets sorted out." Cresswell shuffled a few papers on his desk, "Our Petty Officer happens to be the son of oil magnate, Stephen McKlellan, and the grandson of Texas Senator Harrison Coughlin." He almost smiled at the looks on both officers' faces. "It seems that the Senator's grandson was a bit of a handful growing up and his grandfather prevailed in having him enter the military in an effort to straighten him out. He knows about the trouble his grandson has been in before and he's tired of the boy's father running roughshod over the judicial process. Coughlin is old-school. He believes a man should take responsibility for his actions and learn from his mistakes. That said, he also doesn't want his grandson to be unfairly punished because of someone's political agenda. Knowing how muddy the waters can get, the Senator wants someone there who will give him the unvarnished truth. You two had Capitol Hill buzzing a few months back with the Elbert case so, naturally, your names were the ones Coughlin gave when he talked to the SecNav."
The General frowned, "I'm sure you both realize that the sooner this is taken care of, the better, for everyone concerned. The press is going to have a field day as it is." He slid the file folder across the desk towards them, ignoring the slight grimace on MacKenzie's face at the mention of the late Michelle Elbert. It was understandable, the Congresswoman had befriended and then come damn close to killing the Colonel. "Coates will have your flight information and itineraries. You'll be coordinating with the local FBI on this. Keep me informed."
Hearing the implicit dismissal, Harm and Mac rose to their feet and came to attention again. "Yes, sir." Rabb collected the folder and the two neatly pivoted and exited the office. Harm reached the door first and again allowed Mac to precede him. He was almost out when Cresswell called his name. Harm looked back at the General, "Sir?"
Cresswell stared at him for a long moment, clearly rethinking whatever it was he was going to say. Finally, he said gruffly, "Try to keep this one within budget, Commander."
Harm nodded, looking somewhat bemused, "Aye-aye, sir."
Mac glanced over at him as he walked up to Jen Coates' desk, "Problem?"
He shook his head, "Not unless you count General Cresswell channeling Admiral Chegwidden." He gave a lop-sided grin at the quizzical look on both women's faces, "He told me not to blow the budget on this one."
Mac couldn't help chuckling. "Should I call ahead to Ventura and make sure they don't have any tanks running around loose?"
Harm tried looking offended, "Hey, that wasn't my fault."
Jen stared at them, her curiosity clearly warring with her sense of military etiquette. Mac decided to have mercy on the young woman. She smiled, "The last time Admiral Chegwidden went on a budget kick, we wound up with the case of a Corporal who'd driven his tank through the CP tent during field exercises. Turns out that he was distracted by personal problems at home. His wife was divorcing him and trying to gain full custody of his son."
"Except that she was doing drugs," Harm interrupted.
"Which we couldn't prove at the time," Mac gave him a look and he subsided, letting her continue the story. "Anyway, when it looked like he was going to lose custody, he grabbed his son and a tank and went on a rampage. Ran over a few cars and blew up a news van before Harm talked him into surrendering." She directed a grin at Harm, "After that, the Commander pulled another rabbit out of his hat and found evidence of the wife's drug use. The Corporal retained custody and was allowed to let his grandmother to keep the baby until he'd served his brig time."
Jen looked confused, "It sounds like everything turned out okay."
Mac's grin grew a bit wider, "It was until the Admiral got the bill for the wrecked cars and the demolished news van. Let's just say he wasn't pleased with the senior JAG in charge of the case."
"It wasn't that bad," Harm protested. He gave it up when Mac arched an eyebrow and turned to Jen, "I know this is short notice... "
Jen raised a hand, "It's okay, Commander. I'll keep an eye on Mattie until you get back." She acknowledged Harm's heartfelt thank-you and watched as the two headed back to their offices. She couldn't help the little twinge of concern. The Commander and Colonel rarely teamed up on an investigation anymore. Usually it was one of them paired with a junior officer. She couldn't help remembering the last time they were out of town together on a case. The Colonel had nearly been murdered by that psycho Congresswoman. 'Trouble-magnets', that's what Admiral Chegwidden had called them on more than one occasion. Jen sighed as she went back to her typing. Maybe this time would be the exception to the rule and their trip would be uneventful and boring. Thinking about it, she snorted quietly to herself, "Yeah, right."
Harm followed Mac into her office and dropped into a chair, "What time is our flight?"
Mac passed over the folder, "1330 out of Dulles. We'll be staying at the Executive Towers in downtown LA."
His eyebrows rose as he scanned the itinerary, "We're not going to stay at Ventura?"
"We're coordinating with the FBI, remember? The hotel isn't far from their headquarters."
Harm couldn't help a soft snort, "I'll bet they're just thrilled to know we're coming. Think they'll actually let us see any of their files?"
Mac shrugged, "If they want to avoid accusations of railroading the Senator's grandson, they'll cooperate."
"You know, " Harm continued to carefully study the itinerary, "La Jolla's only a few hours away. Mom and Frank would love to see us. "
Mac sounded resigned and Harm finally looked up at her. He leaned forward a little, "Mac, I've told you before and I will keep on telling you. You're who I want and the rest doesn't matter. When you're ready, I'll still be here."
"Harm," Mac repeated with a small sigh, rubbing her temples. She dropped her hands and stared at him, "Can we please not have this discussion again - at least not here?"
"Fine," Harm rose from his seat, "But we will continue this discussion as often as we need to until I can convince you that I'm right." He gave her a slight smile, "Marines don't have the corner on stubborn."
Mac couldn't help smiling back at him, "Go clear your desk, Commander, and let me clear mine. Our flight leaves in 4 hours and 53 minutes." Her smile faded as he strode back to his office and she scrubbed at her forehead. What the hell to do? No matter how often she tried to explain it, Harm just wouldn't listen. He deserved better than a woman whose only contribution to the marriage would be her emotional baggage. He would be a great father and he should have the chance. Mac shook her head as she began sorting through the files on her desk. How ironic that Sadiq had been speaking the truth when he called her barren.
Los Angeles, CA
Don walked over to his desk and sat down, sliding the hot mug of coffee to the side. Picking up a stack of case files, he quickly scanned through them, making notes on what he would need to pursue. He glanced over to see Megan Reeves and Colby Granger walking in. Incongruously, Megan was carrying a box of files while all Granger had was a cup of coffee. He shook his head and grinned to himself. They were both still working on fitting in but he had a good feeling about them. Granger was a bit impulsive, which was making David crazy, but Don wasn't worried. Seasoning was all that was required and Sinclair was a experienced and steady influence. Megan, on the other hand, felt like she'd been part of the team for years instead of months. Her profiling skills were spot-on and he was enjoying her wry sense of humor. That she got along well with Charlie was another plus. While he'd hated to lose Terry Lake to the DC office, he was grateful that she'd gone out of her way to get Reeves as her replacement. Profilers were a special bunch and her recommendation had probably tipped the balance. He looked up when David appeared at his desk, "What's up?"
The younger agent frowned slightly, "You haven't talked to Merrick yet?"
"Not yet," Don answered in a neutral tone. Terry Lake had known but David probably didn't realize that he usually waited until both he and Merrick had had time for their morning coffee. The Special Agent in Charge or SAC tended to be abrasive when they got together and Don wasn't about to add to the tension by seeing the man before his caffeine fix had kicked in. He had originally passed it off as a personality conflict until Terry had pointed out that Merrick felt threatened by having Don in the office. He was sure she was being ridiculous and had been amazed at her take on the situation.
According to Terry, Merrick found Don to be a dangerous enigma. Most agents who achieved SAC status were the political wannabes in the Bureau hierarchy. They didn't work cases. They were supervisors. A good many of them hadn't even been field agents. They'd been hired as analysts and had absolutely no experience in the nuts and bolts of a criminal investigation. The SAC and his second in command, the ASAC, were the front men for the media and while they were concerned with their office's performance, it had more to do with overall appearance and their own advancement. The typical opinion of the average field agent was that neither one could find his ass with either hand. Don had gone from supervisory status back into the ranks with his transfer from the Santa Fe office to LA. It was a move Merrick would ordinarily look upon as career suicide: an admission that you were sadly lacking in leadership qualities. The problem (and here, Don had felt a blush start) was that not only did Don excel as a squad leader, he was fast developing a solid reputation as the 'go-to' guy for solving the difficult cases. According to Merrick's worldview, this could only mean that Don had ulterior motives and that made him a threat.
All in all, Terry's insight had given him a handle on dealing with Merrick. Don took a sip of his coffee, "I suppose I need to?"
David managed to look uncomfortable without changing expression, "Yeah, you do. It's the Navy case."
Don couldn't help scowling. The LAPD detective's amusement had been explained within the first few minutes of interviewing the Naval Petty Officer. McKlellan hadn't wasted any time in letting them know what a huge mistake they were making. He spent most of the trip to headquarters threatening them with the influence that his grandfather, the Senator, would happily wield in wrecking their careers. David had gotten a bit tense but Don was less than impressed. For all his posturing, the fact remained that McKlellan had a concealed weapon, blood spatter on his clothes, abrasions on his hands and no explanation for his presence in the area. If there was a bright side to this whole thing, it was that the press hadn't caught on just yet. Murders in Compton weren't unusual.
Setting his coffee down, Don stood up and shrugged back into his suit jacket. If he was about to get chewed out for stepping on political toes, he wasn't going to add lack of decorum to the package. He directed a wry grin at David, "I'll come find you afterwards and we'll see where we are." Straightening his shoulders, he turned and headed resolutely towards the SAC's office.
David watched him stride away and turned back to his own desk. Hopefully, Merrick wouldn't be too unreasonable. Don was a good agent and Sinclair knew he'd been lucky to have had the man's guidance while learning the ins and outs of field work. Twenty minutes later, David was on the phone when Don walked up to his desk and settled into the chair alongside. The younger agent rolled an eye at his squad leader while he continued to listen intently. A few minutes later, he hung up and turned to Don, "That was forensics. I asked them to put a rush on matching the blood from McKlellan's pants with the vic. We won't have a DNA comparison until at least the end of the day tomorrow but they could tell me that the blood type was the same." He tilted his head towards the SAC's office, "What did Merrick have to say?"
Don drummed his fingers on the chair arm, "About what you'd expect." He deepened his voice slightly to mimic the SAC, "'This is a sensitive matter and there'll be a lot scrutiny. Make sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed. Don't be too lenient but don't look like you're trying to stick it to the guy. We're not the LAPD so, for godsakes, don't let this turn into an OJ Simpson.'" Don reverted back to his normal voice, "Oh, and we're going to get help on this investigation in the form of two JAG attorneys from D.C."
"You're kidding," David leaned back with a frown. "Help with what? This is pretty open and shut." It seemed so open and shut that just he and Don were handling it, deeming it a better use of manpower to put Megan and Colby on some of their backlog. He tapped a finger on a file folder, "Fawwaz looks like your average student - no problems with authorities or odd time gaps that I can find. McKlellan, on the other hand, has a record of anger issues and there's a note in here that he's been written up for being verbally abusive to Muslims on the base. Looks to me like he just decided to take the next step and start his own little war."
"And he went all the way to Compton to find his first victim?" Don raised an eyebrow, "In that part of town, he had a 50/50 chance of being a victim himself." He shook his head, "No, something's not adding up here. I think we need to take a closer look at the Petty Officer and Fawwaz." He stood up and looked at his watch, "Our new partners will be arriving at LAX at 3:45 this afternoon and, 'in the spirit of cooperation', Merrick wants us to make nice and pick them up."
"Wonderful, LAX at rush hour." David's less-than-gracious attitude had Don smiling as he went back to his desk. There wasn't much choice about military involvement and he'd rather have the JAG officers where he could keep an eye on them. Sinclair was obviously still too annoyed to quite put it together. This smacked of Senator Coughlin's involvement and he didn't need his investigation being leaked before he had concluded it. Both Merrick and the Attorney General would pitch a fit, and rightly so, if this case wound up being discussed on Capitol Hill while they were still in the middle of it. Shaking his head, he returned to his desk to see what he could learn about the obnoxious PO McKlellan and Akil Fawwaz.
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