Partners in all things
Sam, Mic, Harm, Mac and Webb had arrived at Chinatown the next day, after receiving word from Detective Tom Chang that another murder had been committed. They walked towards the crowd and flashed their ID's to be let through the police line.
Detective Chang walked up to them. "The body was found 30 minutes ago," he said. "We've done a preliminary search, but no clues have been found except for this photograph."
Harm took the photograph from Detective Chang. It was a picture of 12 men of both Asian and Anglo Saxon descent. He noticed four of the faces had been crossed out. He passed it around to everyone in their group.
"The MO is identical to the other murders you are currently investigating. The only difference is that this time, the victim is Asian - Vietnamese to be precise," said Detective Chang. He lifted up the cover over the body for the JAG team to see.
Sam recognised the victim as an old family friend, whom she had always known as Uncle Trinh. At the same time, Mic handed her the photo, which she looked at. She noticed that her father was included in this group of men. She immediately grabbed the car keys from Mic and headed towards the car. The others looked on, confused.
Harm looked at Mic. "I'll go with her," he said, racing off after Sam. "I'll contact you as soon as I know what's going on," he yelled over his shoulder.
Mac turned to Detective Chang, "do you have any idea who these men are in the photo?"
"I have no idea," replied Detective Chang.
"Okay, well could you send us a copy of your report when you're done?" asked Mic.
Harm had managed to catch up with Sam before she had driven away. He sat in the passenger side and Sam immediately sped off.
"Sam, where are we going?" asked Harm.
"To see my father," said Sam as she weaved around the city traffic.
"Why?" said Harm, wishing that Sam would slow down a bit.
By this time, Sam had pulled up to the entrance gates of Sydney University and pulled out her badge and said to the guard, "I'm here to speak with Professor Collins."
The guard nodded his head and signals them to continue on. Sam then turned to Harm and said, "My father is in the photo."
They arrived at the political science department building and headed towards John Collins' office. Sam didn't even bother to knock on the door, she walked in and said, "Dad, do you recognise any of these people in this photo?" handing him the photo in question.
John looked at the photo and then at his daughter with a shocked look on his face. "Where did you get this photo?" he asked.
"It was found at the scene of another murder, which had the same MO as the other murders, which occurred today in Chinatown, sir," said Harm.
"What?" said John.
"Do you recognise any one in this photo apart from yourself?" asked Sam.
"Yes, I know each of these gentlemen," said John.
"I suggest that we head back to the house, so we can meet up with everyone and talk there," said Harm.
Everyone arrived at the Collins' home, including Meg. They all sat in the lounge room as John looked at the photo again and sighed, "I haven't seen this photo in years. It was taken a couple of days before the men in the photo undertook a dangerous mission. The group consisted of US Navy Seals, CIA agents, Australian Army SAS and the local Vietnamese operatives." John then sat down, "there were 12 of us in the group - only 9 made it back." Pointing to the photo, "Johno, Pang and Macca didn't survive."
"Okay, what about the ones which have been marked with a cross," said Mic.
John proceeded to name the men in the photo, "Trinh, Peter McDonald, Greg Wilson and my partner at the time, Steve Travis."
"All of whom are dead except for Steve Travis," said Brumby.
Mac faced Webb and asked, "Clay, have there been any other murders that we don't know about?"
Webb looked around the room and realised that it was time to come clean, "Steve Travis was murdered while on assignment in Europe. At the time the CIA thought that it was because of the case he was working on but when the second murder occurred we realised that something else was going on."
"And when were you going to tell us this?" asked Harm.
"When I felt the time was right," replied Webb.
"Is there anything else that you have fail to tell us, or do I need to make a phone call?" asked Sam.
"Forget that! I could call some of my cousins in the country to come around and sort him out," said Meg. "You know, the ones who are apart of the country professional boxing scene."
John placed his hand on Meg's shoulder and said, "I don't think we need to go to that extreme."
"There's nothing else. I promise," said Webb, not wanting to be involved in some fight with any of Meg's cousins. Webb was developing a healthy respect for the RAN Ensign.
"Okay, so we know that the gentlemen with a x marked over their faces are dead. So who are the rest?" asked Mac.
"On the left, there's Richard Metcalf, Chang Wong, and Jason Fletcher," said John, pointing to the men in the photo.
"And of course you probably already noticed your commanding officer, AJ Chegwidden," said John looking at Mac and Harm.
"I thought that looked like Uncle AJ," said Sam.
Mic looked at Sam and said, "Uncle AJ?"
"Mic, didn't you know that you former CO is Sam's Godfather?" said Ann Collins.
"No." said Mic still looking at Sam
"I thought that it would better if you didn't know," said Sam. Mic walked out of the room to the garden, Sam following after him. Webb and Harm had a confused look on their faces. Mac, however, knew what was going on.
"I didn't want you to feel uncomfortable," said Sam
Mic didn't say anything for a moment. "Why did you think it was better that I didn't know that my new CO is the godfather of my partner and former lover?"
"I'm sorry but Uncle AJ only knew that we were partners and friends so I thought that it was best to keep it that way," said Sam.
"Do you regret what happened between us?" asked Mic.
"No! You?" asked Sam.
Mic turned back towards Sam and took her into his arms and held her tightly. "I have no regrets, I will always be grateful for the time we had together," said Mic.
Webb informed his superiors about what had been found out so far and organised for the remaining men in the photo to be found and have round-the-clock protection.
Harm decided it was worth the risk to contact the Admiral and inform him of the situation. Webb was organising protection for him and it would be better if he stayed in one place. The Admiral's response was what they had expected. "If you think that I'm going let this group dictate how I live then you better think again." He said that he would be all right and not to worry about him.
It was decided that it was just as easy if John remained at the RAN headquarters and helped them with the investigation from there.
AJ Chegwidden moved up to the customs desk and handed over his passport to the Australian Customs officer. The officer looked at the passport and nodded his head to another person who moved over towards the desk.
"Admiral Chegwidden?" asked the person.
"Yes. And you are?" said AJ.
"Ensign James, sir. I'm here to pick you up and escort you to the RAN headquarters," said Meg.
"Ensign, if I may ask, how did you know that I was coming?" asked AJ.
"I was contacted by someone in your office, sir."
"Someone. Let me guess, the Gunny."
"Yes sir. I believe he felt that it was unwise of you to come to Australia in light of what's going on, without an escort, sir. So he requested that I meet you once you arrived," said Meg with a smile on her face.
The Admiral looked at the Ensign, "Does anyone else know about this?" he asked.
"No sir. I knew you didn't want a fuss to be made so I decided that it was a need to know situation. I guess I must be hanging around Mr Webb too much and picked up some of his bad habits," said Meg still smiling.
Meg's comment brought a smile to the Admiral's face and he took an immediate liking to her. "Well then, lead the way."
"Okay, I've managed so far to obtained the death records for Denis Johnson and Ian McNamara but according to the CIA, there is no record of Pang even being dead," said Webb.
"I'm sorry but there has to be one because Pang was working officially for the CIA. There has to be some record somewhere," said John.
"Well I still have them looking into it for me but it doesn't look like the result is going to be any different," said Webb.
"It's a shame that Steve is dead, he would have been able to sort this mess out," said John.
"Why do you say that?" asked Mac.
"Steve was the last person to see Pang alive. Steve unfortunately couldn't save him or bring back Pang's body," said John.
"Something that I'm still not happy about even after all these years," said AJ as he and Meg entered the meeting room.
Everyone rose from their seats, Harm, Mac, Sam and Mic all stood at attention. John walked up to AJ and extended his hand and they shook hands, "Welcome back to Australia, AJ," said John.
"Thanks John. I wish it was under better circumstances," said AJ.
Meanwhile, Meg had exited the meeting room, realising that Admiral Cosgrove the CO of the RAN's legal department, would wish to know that Admiral Chegwidden had arrived in Australia.
Admiral Cosgrove walked into the meeting room, "Admiral Chegwidden, welcome to Australia. I take it that you wouldn't stay under guard without doing something."
"Thank you Admiral and what you said is pretty much correct. I wish to thank you for welcoming my people and helping them with their investigation," said AJ.
"It's been my pleasure, they have been a great help," said Admiral Cosgrove. He then turned to Meg and said, "Ensign James, I believe that you are out of uniform."
"Sir?" said Meg.
"Congratulations, Lieutenant James, on your promotion. It's well deserved," said Admiral Cosgrove as he placed the Lieutenant's rank on Meg's uniform.
"Thank you sir," said Meg as she received congratulations from everyone in the room.
"Well Sam, now we all need is for the Lieutenant here to received a letter from The Law Society in NSW that she is accepted to practice law and we won't have to work those long hours any more," said Mic with a smile on his face.
"Oh, I almost forgot," said Meg as she pulled out an envelope from her uniform pocket. "This arrived today but I was in a hurry to pick up the Admiral that I forgot about it." Meg opened it and read the letter. "Cool!"
"Cool?" said John.
"That's 'cool' as in, she got the letter, Dad," said Sam. Meg looked up and smiled, acknowledging that Sam was correct. Again, congratulations were said.
"Lieutenant, since you have already had a large part in this current investigation unofficially, I've decided that it might be better if I make it official and assign you also to the case. Commanders Collins and Brumby, I expect you to teach her to correct way of doing things because something tells me she already knows the other way. Now if you will excuse me," said Admiral Cosgrove as he left the meeting room.
"Okay, well I think that Meg is pretty much up to date with what we know about this case but I suggest that we bring the Admiral up to date as well. Agree?" asked Mac. Everyone agreed and for the next couple of hours they went over what they had found out so far and discussed what needed to be done next.
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