Chapter 42: ICE

"Sign this." Lady Jaye pushed a couple sheets of paper across the table to Clayton.

"Should I even ask?" He joked even as he grabbed a pen and signed his name in the blank box at the bottom of the form.

"You already know what it is. My DD457, Investigating Officer's report for Walker's assault on Cam, Doc and Melinda's DD 2911 medical documentation/examination form, and my DD 458, the actual charging documents. Scarlett and Alex are on their way now, and as soon as they get here I'll give those documents to them. Then they'll call Mitchell and have Stalker bring him and Walker here to read the charges against him, he'll sign them and go back to his quarters, and we'll be all set for when the military judge gets here tomorrow afternoon."

"How is Cam doing?"

Allie grinned. "Apparently according to Liv, she makes a lousy patient. The surgery went well, and Olivia called me last night to say they'd decided to keep her overnight just to monitor her and she would be coming back this afternoon. Liv went out there to pick her up from the hospital and bring her back here."

"So how is…"

Allie blew out her breath. "You men are so squeamish. Okay, according to Charlie, who went out there yesterday to see her after she got out of surgery, everything went exactly as planned. Melinda was right when she said the scar tissue simply 'glued' Cam's flesh together—she still has everything that every other normal woman has. She cut away the scar tissue and applied stitches to seal the raw edges apart so it wouldn't close again, and provided Cam keeps the area clean for the next few weeks and doesn't tear the stitches until they're ready to come out, she and Charlie will be hopping in the sack by Christmas."

Hawk closed his eyes. "I did not just hear that."

"Yes you did, but it's okay. Charlie is actually one rank higher than she is, but they're both the same pay grade."

Hawk signed the last blank. "You're the Staff Sergeant here. I'll defer to your judgment. Just…don't let me see it, okay?"

"Have you seen it yet?" Allie challenged. At his horrified look, she laughed at him. "No, they haven't, not yet…I think…but they have been spending a lot of time in each other's company. I walked in on them a week ago in the studio, they both had their flutes and they were sitting there just playing songs to each other. Charlie said it was a cultural exchange but Cam was blushing when he said it."

"She finished that flute?"

"She and Charlie have matching his and hers cedar flutes."

"Oh wow. I hope Shana hasn't gotten too mad at Cam for the sawdust and wood shavings on the floor of her quarters."

"Um. Cam did have to re-clean her quarters several times to make Shana happy, but Shana was more just doing it to enforce discipline, not because she was mad at Cam." Allie sighed. "Which reminds me; I have to tell you the other two female recruits in this training class asked to be sent back to their home bases."

"Changed their minds, hmm?"

"Walker's assault didn't help."

It took a moment for that to sink in, and Hawk looked up at Allie with anger in his eyes. "That son of a bitch."

"Yeah, that's what Dash said. Cam's assault scared off the other two female recruits—they said they didn't want to have to worry for their safety while they were here."

"You did explain to them that this wasn't a random attack, that nothing like this ever happened here before and the only reason it happened this time was because of the court martial?"

"I told them that Cam was deliberately targeted and nothing like that ever happened here before or would happen here again, but they still decided to leave. One of the male recruits did too, so now we're down to two male recruits and Cam out of the seven we started with."

"Just your normal recruit training, then. Damn it, we lose half of them before they even get through the training."

"Clayton, it takes a very particular kind of person with a very particular kind of mentality to want to be stationed at this base. Now granted, there are a lot of perks to balance it off; the pay here is quite generous, you're a tough but fair commander, we have actual quarters instead of barracks, and a lot more leeway as far as regulation uniforms go—Snake Eyes wouldn't be able to scare the recruits half as effectively as he does if we were on another base and he had to wear the standard military fatigues that any other commander would make us wear. He wouldn't be allowed to carry arms everywhere he went, and Scarlett wouldn't be able to carry her throwing stars around like she does. No other commander would tolerate our use of 'unconventional weapons'—Scarlett's crossbow, my javelins—but you.

"But then you look at the cons list. Can't talk to our family about where we're posted and what we actually do because it's classified; we can't have family living on base and we can only see off-base others during our free time, which can be regrettably short if an emergency comes up and we're called back. Our missions are a lot more dangerous and we have no operating support except for whatever you can arrange—look at what happened on the DRC special mission. Most of the recruits that come here aren't willing to deal with the kind of isolation we deal with.

"What they don't understand is that that makes us closer and more fiercely loyal to each other. And it's not something we can tell them in any way that they'll understand, unless they choose to take a chance and sign on for that probationary year; once they've passed recruit training and are official Joes, they figure it out really quickly—but many can't make that probationary commitment and they go back. That's why we don't have that many recruits."

"And no women other than you and Shana and Courtney."

Allie shook her head. "No, with the women it's a little different. We girls like to flock together, Clayton, it's just the way females are wired. We have to socialize and share and gossip and chat with other women, so a posting like this, where there are very few of us, looks unattractive to other women unless they're like Cam, accustomed to being alone and self-reliant and independent. Most of the female recruits look at Shana and can't see the warm, funny, cheerful person under the drill-sergeant exterior; can't look past the formidable skills and ruthlessness that's the part of her personality they see with her as their drill instructor. Women emotionally and mentally aren't equipped to deal with gender isolation, Clayton. It was actually part of the reason I signed on when I found out you didn't have anyone other than Shana—I thought she had to be incredibly lonely. And she admitted later that she was."

"She never told me."

"You're her commanding officer, Clayton, and you'd made it clear when she signed on that the only reason you had a woman here on base was because of her aggressive skills. So she hid it from everyone pretty effectively except Snake Eyes—even back then before they got together he was always better at reading her than anyone else was. Still are, in fact. Which is why even now when we have Courtney here…and Cam on a provisional basis until she finishes her training…Shana still hangs out with Snake Eyes more than anyone else and he's the only one she ever relaxes completely around."

"So do you think Cam will end up staying?"

Allie pursed her lips as she thought about it. "I haven't seen her in training all that much—her medical issues when she came, then the court martial, and then Walker's attack—but I've been seeing plenty of her outside of training, working with her on her PTSD therapy with Shana—I know we aren't licensed therapists, but she just basically needs to talk about what happened to her and get all those bottled-up feelings off her chest, and even though she keeps it inside out of habit, she has to talk when we order her to and she thanks us later. Despite the fact that she's used to gender isolation—not having girls around to talk to—it's still emotionally and mentally stressful. She handles it better than anyone I've ever met, but it does bother her. She's just really, really good at not letting you see what's inside.

"What strikes me about her is that she's too independent, too self-reliant, too isolated. The kind of easy friendship Shana, Court and I share is something that's completely alien to her and it takes her aback sometimes. She's not like the other female recruits; she didn't look at us and see how isolated and self-contained we are, she was looking at us and thinking we're like her tribe, everything's communal, everyone tries to help everyone else out, and no one person is any more or less important than anyone else, irregardless of rank, except when you need to designate someone as 'authority' to referee little squabbles. Our 'we're all in this together' mentality is familiar, so for her, our base is exactly what she's used to and I don't think she'll have a problem with staying."

"That's good, because I like her."

Allie gave him an amused look as she got up from the chair across his desk and gathered her paperwork. "That's good because we like her too and we'd have a few things to say to you if you said we weren't keeping her."

The phone on Hawk's desk squealed to life and Jammer, on communications that morning, spoke over the speaker. "General Hawk, are you there?"

"Right here, Jammer. What's up?"

"I'm patching a call thought from Detective Benson. She says it's absolutely urgent."

Hawk's heart almost stopped. "Put her through."

"Clayton?"

"Liv, I'm right here, oh God, sweetheart, what is it? What's wrong? Is it the baby?" Out the corner of her eye he saw Allie studying him sharply, but he was too worried at the moment to care what she would think.

"No, no, I'm all right. It's Cam. I just signed her out of the hospital and we were here trying to get in the car to come back when a couple of guys in Immigration and Customs Enforcement uniforms stopped us. They told Cam that Homeland Security had reason to believe she was here illegally and they were arresting her for being an illegal immigrant."

Clayton felt his jaw drop; across his desk, Allie was doing the same. "What do they mean, she's here illegally? She's part Iroquois, they have more right to be here than we do!"

"I know, I tried to tell them that she's half Native American but they said she'd have to prove it and they handcuffed her. I told them to be careful, she's just had surgery and she shouldn't be standing or upright for long periods of time or she would stress the stitches and start bleeding but I don't think they listened to me. Clayton, how can she be illegal?"

"Did they say where they were taking her? I'll go down there myself and sort this out."

"No, they didn't. They didn't even read her Miranda rights. I told her not to say anything, that I'd get Alex to figure this out for her, but the ICE guy said she doesn't have the right to remain silent nor does she have the right to an attorney. She's illegal until she proves she isn't, and while she's 'illegal' she doesn't have any rights."

"I'll get Alex." Allie fairly flew out of the room.

Hawk dug out Cam's personnel folder. "I found her social security number, her military registration, and she's checked off her citizenship as US. How can they say she isn't?"

"I don't know. Clayton, what do you want me to do?"

"Come back here. Meet up with me, Allie, and Alex. We'll figure out where she is and go get her. They can't make her disappear, after all. And she has the base's phone number, so she can call us when they get done processing her—wherever she is—and she can tell us where she is and we'll go and get her out."

"And that's where you're wrong," came Alex's voice at the door and Hawk looked up to see her standing there looking grim. "ICE and DHS—Department of Homeland Security—says she's illegal. She doesn't get a free phone call. She can't be released on bond. She doesn't get a lawyer. She doesn't even get a free phone call."

Hawk stood there with his mouth hanging open. "But…that's illegal," he said finally.

"No, it's not. She's illegal. Illegals don't have rights. All of that went away after 9-11 when the government got paranoid about illegals possibly bombing more of our buildings and started rounding up every undocumented person. What we have to do is figure out why they think she's illegal—and figure out how to prove she isn't." Alex sat down at the table, frowning. "So what do we know about her?"

"Her mother was Korean. Showed up at Osan base with a baby and told Cam's father the baby was his. He took her, and Cam's mother disappeared. Cam was raised at Osan with her father and her father's friend and their household…I think Cam said their name was Hammond. Jack Hammond was the name of the Hammond's son and she treated him like a little brother. Then Cam's dad died in a plane accident when she was ten, and she was sent to live with her aunt and uncle in New York City. And we all know what happened from there."

"Cam's father was Native American, Haudenasaunee, or Iroquois. She's part Native American, you can tell that just by looking at her. That should be enough to prove she's legal!"

"Unfortunately, no it's not. Is her birth certificate in that folder?"

For answer Hawk passed the paper over.

Alex looked at it for a minute. "This birth certificate is issued for a little girl named Ok Suk Park. And there's no father listed. So that's why ICE and DHS is after her, she doesn't have a father and officially isn't American. Unless there's a paper in there somewhere that says he legally adopted her?"

"I don't see anything in here."

"So she has to prove he's her father. Clayton, can you get a hold of her father's service record? If he filed for naturalization for her from overseas perhaps the paperwork is still in his file?"

"I'll see what I can do. It won't be quick, though."

"Well, at the moment there's nothing else we can do. We'll have to wait at least twenty-four hours for her to be processed and entered into the ICE detainee system, maybe longer."

"Why? They can't just make her disappear! She's a human being, for Christ's sake!"

"Yes they can, Clayton. Yes they can. ICE/DHS has almost unlimited power to detain and move individuals at will. James Pendergraph, the former Executive Director of the ICE's Office of State and Local Coordination, told a conference full of cops in 2008 that 'If you don't have enough evidence to charge a person criminally, but you think they may be illegal, we can make them disappear.' And he meant 'we' as in Homeland Security. They can arrest her here in New York City, load her on a plane tonight, and land her in California or Texas tomorrow." Alex's features hardened. "The question we have to figure out now is why."

"Why?"

"Why is her citizenship being called into question now? Why has no one commented on her lack of a proper birth certificate and adoption paper now? Who tipped them off?"

Clayton looked at Allie in dawning horror as Alex answered her own question. "Broadview."

To be continued in Part 3…Look for it!