I want to apologize for the year-long delay in updates to this story, dear readers, although I can finally say with some happiness that it will not persist. First, as some of you may be aware, I have a website attached to this little ficlet of mine, and through it I received correspondence from CBS that I was in violation of their copyrights regarding the television show and its characters. Now, the fair use exception of fan fiction in the United States has never been made entirely clear or explicit (although I'm of the opinion that fan fiction does fall within the fair use doctrine as long as the writers of it make their non-commercial intentions and proper attributions to the original copyright holders clear, which I believe I had done.)
My reply to the original cease-and-desist letter (which seemed to be little more than a form letter) went unanswered, so I began trying to get in touch with someone at CBS who could give me some kind of clearance or reassurance that I wasn't in any real legal trouble over something as silly as a fan fiction story. In the end, after several months of sending random emails and letters, I was able to contact a lower level CBS employee who wishes to remain anonymous. This individual basically informed me that the original flag probably was triggered by the presence of the website and the book cover I had created to promote the story. Granted, I might have gone a little overboard in my story promotion, especially since the average fan fiction text is attributed to a pseudonym, while my website used my real name and had wallpapers, a fan forum, and a downloadable version of the work in progress. I was told that taking the website down and making sure to inform people that I am not in any way licensed or affiliated with CBS or the NCIS production team should allow me to return to the legal "grey" area in which fan fiction operates. So, from this point on, this is a story by fieryprophet (my online handle) and the associated website is no longer accessible (which saddens me, as I thought it was pretty nifty.)
On a related side-note, once I finish up this story, I will be exploring an original work of fiction over the next year or two that will very likely be released periodically online for any interested readers to enjoy. I will make a post about it at the end of this storyline (which is a little over halfway done) and hope you choose to read it as well.
Thank you all for reading, and look forward to a new chapter later this week!