3Deep Ties Chapter 2
Chapter 2 Sam is now caught between going back in the field, staying at her desk or resigning. However, Percy would never allow her to resign.
Chapter 2 by ©CA Michaels
As Peggy went over the information to bring everyone up to speed, Sam didn’t hear a word she said. Her thoughts were elsewhere. David’s voice was repeating in her mind about how she could quit. But then again, if she did, she knew the consequences. Afterall, she did hack her way into the NOSIA. That was how she found them.
When they found out, Percy was at her home just a few moments later. He gave her the ultimatum. Come work for me or be put in a deep dark hole. Which meant prison. Not the typical prison either. The NOSIA had their own facility for when they caught people trying to mess with them. Yes, the NOSIA were that powerful.
“Sam?” Peggy questioned.
“Huh, yeah. I’m here.”
“I said, I just brought everyone up to speed about the February twenty-twenty-one incident where it was your call and one Agent, Agent Christopher Lente was shot and killed in the line of duty,” Peggy repeated.
Sam wiped her mouth and nodded to her. She pursed her lips and closed her eyes just for a second. There wasn’t a day that went by where Sam didn’t hear Chris scream in her mind how it was her fault he had to die.
‘Sam, what are your orders? We have the woman in our sights, do we take her down? Sam? Sam?’
When she was trying to respond, her communicator seemed to be malfunctioning. She could hear Chris and the others, but no one heard her. She saw Chris motioning to her from her direct right a few yards away. The woman, that eluded them for all those years was at the park with a few of her men. But of course, she had her face covered with a black ski mask. And all they could see where her eyes. But she wasn’t wearing any makeup. The team got this info from one of their informants. They spent months planning for this day hoping and praying she’d show up. They had her face, but all the facial recognition software they had access to couldn’t give them her true name.
When the woman did show up at the park, Sam knew instantly, now wasn’t the time. She had her men with her. Their informant stated that she’d show up alone. He said she always came here alone to run.
Sam pressed on her communicator in her right ear, but no one could hear her. As she saw the incident replay again, she saw Chris was about to take the shot. However, she saw the woman pull a weapon. A shot was fired.
She saw Chris go down. The woman smiled wide and ran away with her men and Sam ran toward Chris. Ben met her there. So did Mike Sommers. That was her team back then. When they arrived at Chris, he was already gone. She saw he was shot in the neck. Sam grabbed his hand and held onto it as Ben called for the paramedics. She swore to Chris that no matter what, Sam would find this woman, who had so many different names they found during their fifteen-year investigation on her. The last name they found was, Maria Silver.
Sam knew that name was fake. And there was never a permanent address found. This woman was the reason Sam came to Earth. She tracked her down from her Zentara after there was a break in at the lab Sam worked at.
“Sam?” Percy checked.
“Huh, yeah, what?” Sam replied.
Everyone saw the tears forming in the corner of her eyes. She swallowed hard. After blowing out a few breaths, she closed her eyes once more. With a subtle shake of her head, she finally returned to the group after opening her eyes.
“I can tell this is still difficult for you,” Peggy mentioned.
“Difficult? Difficult? There’s not a day that goes by that I wish it was me instead of him. I keep saying that I’ll gladly trade my life for his. This woman we’ve been after for what seems to be an eternity is always one step ahead of us. We can’t even still get her true identity. It’s like she doesn’t exist, but she does.”
“We know how this has been so frustrating for you Sam. But we do have good news,” Peggy said.
She rubbed her mouth again and wiped her tears. They all gave her a few moments to overcome the heavy emotions that everyone could feel coming from her. After many more moments, Sam finally regathered herself.
“Sam, since that day, you’ve proven yourself a worthy asset. You’ve done everything in your power to make sure that Mr. Lente’s death was not for nothing. I’m familiar with everything surrounding this case. I’ve also talked to your therapist, Doctor Kim Wise, and we believe almost a year behind a desk is enough. We need you out there, in the field,” Peggy stated.
Sam’s eyes widened. What, they were promoting her? No. She couldn’t believe it. Sure, she missed the field. Sure, she knew that Chris’ death was her fault. This did not make any sense to her.
“After a long, heavy, intense investigation. The matter of February tenth, twenty-twenty-one is finally closed. It has been deemed not your fault Sam, due to faulty equipment and false information from our informants. We need you back in the field. The work you’ve been doing on the mysterious odd unsanctioned jobs is becoming alarming. Someone is spreading the good the name of the NOSIA in bad ways around the world. We wonder if this is the woman you’ve been hunting?”
“Since I’ve been chained to the desk, I’ve been keeping tabs on her. Although my data is still incomplete with this case.” Sam turned to Ben. “Ben has been helping me, but she keeps slipping through every time we get close. It seems she’s always one step ahead of us. It’s like she knows our every move.”
“This is why we need you back in the field. With your history and the people, you’ve made contacts with, can help this case. We know how important this is to you and more so now to us, being this woman was the one who had killed Chris,” Madelyn smiled.
“Back, out there? I don’t know if I can. I mean, out there. Really?” Sam checked. She shook her head to them all.
Sam shook her head. No way could she return to the field. Not with that grief and guilt still consuming her. Nobody knew that heavy grief and guilt she carried with her. She knew she was no longer fit to go in the field.
“I can’t,” Sam blurted out.
“What, how come?” Peggy asked.
“I just can’t. It was my fault. I hear it every day in my head. The nightmares. Everything, I just can’t!”
Madelyn rose from her seat and smiled to Sam. She walked over to her and unlocked her ankle bracelet. Sam felt relived and rubbed her ankle for a few moments.
“We need you out there Sam. We hear she has a couple demon-vamps with her. What do you know about demon-vamps?” Madelyn asked.
Boy this just keeps getting better and better. Sam said to herself.
“Sam?” Madelyn checked.
“Not much. I haven’t run into them yet. She hasn’t been using them ‘til now. Which I find odd. Do you think it’s her that’s doing these unsanctioned jobs to get at me?” Sam asked.
“That’s what we think. We’ve been monitoring this part of the case while you’ve been working the other end,” Madelyn said.
Sam shook her head. They kept this from her, why? She needed to find out why they’d keep such important information from her.
“Why did you keep this from me?” Sam demanded.
“Mike Sommers over there has been working on it. He’s followed the paper trail and the financials being spent in our name. We believe this started just before the incident at the park when Chris got killed,” Madelyn explained.
“Wow. I just. I can’t believe you kept this from me!”
“Sam, please understand why we did this. You had a lot on your mind already. But now, now we believe both of these cases are merging together. We need you out there.”
She shook her head no, again. First the bracelet she was forced to wear, then being stuck behind the desk, now the lie. She was tired. She rose from her seat and ran toward the office door. Ben nodded to them all that he could help her through this. He rose also and met her there.
“Sam don’t go. This is huge for you,” Ben assured her. “I know you can do this. You need to finish this. Then and only then can you go home. You must miss it, no?”
“I do, but I want to keep my life here… on Earth. I’ve wanted that more than anything, ever. But now there’s been nothing to go on for months since Chris dying.” She blew out a few frustrated breaths. “I feel I’ve done nothing but fail for fifteen years! I just… I just…”
“You just what?”
“I fucked it up. It will never ever be the same. I got an innocent man killed. If that gets out on my home realm, it’s over for me. I’m not fit this anymore.”
He listened to her intently. She trusted him. She also trusted Lucy. Only her family, Ben, and Lucy knew the entire truth of her being here.
“If I can’t close this case, I will get sent back home. I don’t want to go back home. I love it here.” She paused for a moment. “If I go back home empty handed, the people will be truly upset with me. They will never stop blaming me. They may just even put me to death.”
“Oh, man. Well, look,” Ben looked deep in her eyes. There had to be something he could say to her. “I know for a fact; Chris would want you to do this.” He covered his mouth. That was so not what he wanted to say.
“Don’t you dare!” she scowled. “How do you know what Chris would want?”
“I was good friends with him too, you know.”
“It wasn’t your call!” she yelled.
He swallowed hard and shook his head to her. His heart ached for her. Chris dying, along with her having to wear the ankle bracelet made for a shitty nine months for her, that he knew. The NOSIA sure had treated her like a caged animal for nine months. But he knew Sam. He knew she would get through it all. She never gave up, no matter what.
She sighed heavily. He pulled her close to him. Ben rubbed her shoulders like he always did in the form of a brother to a sister. She held her tears for as long as she could.
“Sam?” he questioned.
“I just can’t! It’s over. I blew it. It’s not worth it to me anymore!” she sobbed. “I might as well go home and face death!”
He stepped back from her with knitted brows and pursed lips, with his hands on his hips. She saw his slight new anger toward her.
“Not worth it? You mean I’m not worth it? This isn’t worth it? All your friends, your family is even here. David, what about them? What about Burbank?” Ben questioned.
“If you don’t get it by now, then you’ll never get it.”
She broke from him, opened the door and ran down the hall to her office. When she got there, her laptop was beeping. With wide eyes, perhaps she finally got a number from the trace she started. But when she checked the laptop, the beeps were notifications of just the daily news. The trace program hit a dead end. She slammed her hands down on the laptop in frustration. After unplugging her phone and shutting down the laptop, she shoved her phone in her back pants pocket, locked the office and headed for the elevators at the end of the hallway.
She kept pressing the button for it to open. As she arrived at the first floor, she ran past Matt at the security desk. As he was attempting to ask how it went, she ignored him. She went through the doors and out to the parking lot. When she got to her truck, she pounded her fists on the window as she opened the door.
After climbing in, she pounded her hands to the steering wheel. Then she smacked her forehead at herself. What was she doing? She never ran from anything in her entire life. She saw Chris’ image in the back seat of the four-door pickup like she always did.
“Seriously Sam? This is what you’re going to do with your second chance at redemption?” Chris asked her.
“Shut up!” she screamed.
“Sam, I died. I know you’re upset. But come on. That woman is still out there. You came to us with this case. I died because of it. You need to finish this.”
“I can’t do it. I just can’t!”
“What if I told you that I want you to. You need justice, not just for me, but for you. You’ve been drowning in your guilt and grief since my death dude. Please.”
She drove out of the parking space, met Scott at the security guard shack and he let her pass. She put on her other favorite band’s song, Seasons in the Abyss from Slayer. Slayer usually helped her out of her moods. But that wasn’t working at the moment. Sam stopped the CD mix and engaged her thumb drive and more Def Leppard played. The next song on her thumb drive played. It was called Excitable. She had the entire concert from twenty-thirteen-twenty-fourteen put on a thumb drive for her from her neighbor friend Matthew Thompson.
Distraught, she knew now she’d have to explain this to David. He’d for sure question her. But could she tell him? This was classified information. She hated lying to him about her true job. Only her immediate family knew that.
So, she didn’t go home right away. She went to the park where she first landed back in two-thousand-six. Going there since Chris’ death always gave her comfort. Chris was the first one to accept her on the team when she hacked her way in.
As she walked around, her phone rang. She checked it, it was her father, Charles, calling. She sighed heavily. Everyone would be calling, wondering how “it” went. Her mood was grim but talking to her father always helped. The ever so familiar ring tone of Rock of Ages continued to play. Sam chuckled that her dad wanted that as his ring tone. He wasn’t so into music as her and Reese were, but he did grow fond of Def Leppard.
She smiled at hearing Charles’s rugged voice.
“Dad!” she cried.
“Oh no, what happened?”
She told him everything. She could tell he was a bit shocked as he didn’t say anything for a few moments.
“Dad?” she questioned.
“Well, it’s a lot to process. They want you back in the field?”
“And you said no, pretty much?”
Sam shook her head as she continued to walk around. She ended near the river bridge, where she landed. Of course, her markings she left were covered up. They did a good job, she thought. Every time she came here, she never truly noticed the good job they did.
“Yeah, I just, wow?”
“I know right. What do I do?”
“That’s a tough one. I’d say go for it.”
“Yes, really,” he assured her.
She thought about that for a few moments. No way could she go back out there. Then she kept thinking what David said. He told her he made enough for them both and then some. She could just stay home. And Burbank would love that more than anything.
Now she knew to answer him. It was rare that her father called her Sam or Samantha. He always called her Sammycakes. That was just his name for her ever since she was four years old.
“Wow, I’m here dad. You never call me that!”
“You have me concerned. Where are you?”
“I’m at the park, near the river bridge where I landed back in o-six.”
“I’ll meet you there!”
“Dad, I’m okay.”
“I know that okay in you.”
“I promise, I’m okay. I need to talk to Reese. He’ll know what to do.”
“Sammycakes, listen. I truly think you should go back out in the field. But if you think talking to Reese will help you as well, then, talk to him. I just was hoping talking to me like always would help you more.”
“Thanks dad. I just need to make sure I make the right decision.”
“Sam, not only has that incident back in February changed you; but you’ve always been a bit indecisive.”
“What? Me, indecisive? And that incident in February hasn’t changed me.”
“Yes, it has. Look at what you’re saying. You need to talk to me, to Reese to help you choose what you should do.”
She shook her head. She still refused to believe this. Sam thought back to what she told Ben. If she went back home a failure, she’d not only disgrace her family name, but the entire realm. The realm of Zentara did not like people who disgraced them or their beautiful realm. If it was proven, the sentence for this number one law of the realm was death or permanent banishment.
“Sammycakes?” her dad checked.
“I’m here. Thanks dad!”
“Are you gonna be, okay? You’re not gonna do anything stupid, are you?”
“No. I’ll be okay,” she promised.
“Good. I love you baby girl.”
“I love you too dad!”
The call ended and she smiled wide. She walked around the park some more and headed back to the parking lot. Her phone buzzed that she had fifteen text messages and four voice mails waiting for her. When she checked them all, they were from Percy and Ben. Unsure still of what to do, she decided to call Reese anyway. Just to see what he would say.
But he never answered. She called him eight more times. No answer. Her heart thundered once again in her chest. She scrolled through all the messages to see if Reese texted her. But then there was that unknown number once again with yet another message to her.
Fifteen-years you’ve been hunting me. Give it up before more innocents die cause of you!
Sam shook her head. She didn’t tell anyone this. But she knew she should have told her team. But she needed more. It was for sure the woman she’s been hunting. How did she get my number here on Earth? Sam questioned.
If Seth discovered she fell in love here, had created a great life for herself, she could risk being tried and sentenced to life in prison. Or worse, exiled from Zentara forever. The reason was because none of that was part of the deal they made. They made the deal to save her due to the break in happening on her watch.