SEALs of Honor:Jackson(8)

By: Dale Mayer

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I’ve done some accident reconstruction, and that would have been nice to see.”

“Would photos help?” he asked in a low voice. “Because I took lots.”

She spun to look at him and nodded with a sharp movement. “Absolutely. But I need a laptop to look at them, to enhance them. Did you happen to take a look at where the shooter’s pickup might have laid in wait for the vehicle following them?”

He nodded. “Don’t tell anyone, but Tanner picked up a cigarette butt too. And it still had the aroma of cigarette smoke on it.”

She rubbed her hands together. “You know something? We’re on this.”

“And you also know that we don’t have the right to. At least not per military protocol.”

“True,” she whispered, frowning. “But how long before NCIS gets on this or the military police? I’m not sure exactly who would handle it. It was a military training exercise but with naval officers involved. And, of course, you were there, were part of one of the groups too, weren’t you?”

“Absolutely I was,” he said, “and so, in theory, was NCIS. But also the local civilian authorities have jurisdiction for the shooting, because it didn’t happen on base.”

She shrugged. “The brass will have to sort out their own branches. What I want to do is make sure the evidence is preserved.”

“Exactly,” Jackson said. “Which is why we picked up a cigarette butt.”

“Will both men be okay?”

“I think so,” Jackson said. “I did speak with the driver. However, he doesn’t remember much.”

“But it was an ambush,” she said softly. “They probably would have come around the corner, been shot at, then the wheel would have spun out of control, and maybe it was just luck on the part of the bad guys that had the military truck flipping down a ravine.”

“The driver thinks as least one person walked down to them, and yet, didn’t shoot them.”

“So they didn’t finish them off.” She chewed on her bottom lip when she thought about that. “That’s an interesting thought. Because that would have been two sure kills.”

“Unless the two guys in the pickup weren’t trying to kill them, or they were hoping the men would die anyway, and there wouldn’t be an investigation because it would have been labeled an accident.”

She nodded at that. “Except for the bullet holes in your transport and in the driver of the other military truck,” she reminded him. “Hard to ignore that. Maybe the shooters were just out causing trouble.”

“What kind of a world do we live in,” Jackson said in a hard tone, “that ambushing a military rig with two innocent men is considered fun?”

“Worse happens,” she warned. “And you know it.”

He nodded. “I know it, but I haven’t seen it recently. Not here at home.”

“There was that case of the preppers a few years back. They decided to start World War III by shooting a couple civilian law enforcement officers. Remember that case?”

He frowned, then shook his head with a shrug. “No, I can’t say I do.”

“It was down in the South. They took out a couple black officers. Then they took out a couple white officers, hoping it would start some racial kerfuffle. I think ultimately what they really wanted was to test their prepper storage emergency plans.”

“I remember something about them converting old bomb shelters into war bunkers,” Jackson said thoughtfully. “One of the cops lived, right?”

“Yes, one of them did. But three died. Three preppers were basically bored to death, waiting for something to happen so they could start fighting back. So they decided to incite something themselves.”

“And you think this might be something like that?”

“Who the hell can tell?” she said. “It could be one of our own, a handful of veterans mad at our armed forces, like Timothy McVeigh, but focusing on military personnel.” She took several steps back to look at the vehicle. “There’s nothing quite like firing on a military rig to get some national attention.”

“But, in this case, they didn’t get any attention, did they?”

“And maybe they thought they would and are surprised right now. They could be making plans to create more chaos.”

Jackson frowned and thought about it. “I’m not sure I like the way your mind thinks.”

“Doesn’t matter if you like it or not,” she said. “Shit happens. And more often than we like to think.”


Jackson had to agree with Deli, but he didn’t like the idea of somebody ambushing military personnel in the States. These men and women went to battle for their country every day. To think the actual enemy came from their own part of the world was devastating. So many military personnel survived untold horrors, terrible rigors and psychological trauma from missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then they came home and, during basic training missions, were shot at for no decent reason that Jackson could see. And that made it so much worse. He watched as she walked around the vehicle again. “What’s bothering you?”

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