Office of Special Projects, Los Angeles
Henrietta Lange took a sip of her spiced chai tea, then another, while reading the report on her laptop.
Then she took another sip, read through the heart of the report, put the cup down on the corner of her desk, and reached into the low right-hand drawer. She took out a bottle of bourbon and a glass, put both on the desk right in front of the laptop's keyboard, considered putting glass and bottle back in the drawer and throwing away the key, then looked back at her screen.
Hetty read through the last four paragraphs - again. Then, she poured her glass to the rim, and took a drink, then another, and another.
"Bugger," she said to herself, focusing on the last graph.
She, of course, had seen Granger from the time he parked his car in one of his usual spaces near the building, then as he walked in through the main entrance, and all the way to her desk.
"Henrietta, it's two o'clock in the afternoon," said Granger, standing in front of her desk. Hetty, staring at the screen - and having emptied half her glass already - saw him in the corner of her eye.
"To be precise, Owen, it's two minutes after two o'clock," she replied. "That is according to the U.S. Naval Observatory's Master Clock."
Granger saw Hetty staring at her laptop. He didn't have to guess what had her attention - and had her taking a drink in mid-afternoon. "I see you spoke with Director Vance."
"Not only did I speak with Leon," she said, looking up at Granger, "I read the report the Secretary of Defense sent on the case the Washington team is assisting on."
"Red Team is on its way to assist," Granger said, pulling up a seat to the side of Hetty's desk. "I'm actually less-than-impressed that the 'great Leroy Jethro Gibbs' would think to pawn San Diego or Bremerton off on us, and forget about Red, Blue and Green."
"All of those teams operate out of Georgia and rarely interact with Washington," Hetty said. "It is not out of the realm of possibility that Jethro, only hearing of them in passing, wouldn't have thought of them when suggesting alternatives for our case."
Granger detected a hint of sarcasm in her tone.
"Are you suggesting that Gibbs forgot about a critical part of agency operations?" Granger said, with more than a hint of sarcasm. "He's supposed to know everything."
"A convenient myth," replied Hetty, "that isn't far from the truth." She put her bourbon glass aside, and picked up her cup of tea.
"I wonder what his play is," Granger mused. "I'd expect him to put the screws to Director Vance, or even appeal to one of us. Going over Vance and SecNav's heads wasn't the right move."
"Perhaps he expects to avoid the consequences," Hetty said, sipping her tea.
"There'll be consequences for this. Muted, but he won't get away completely scot-free," Granger said. "Brennan from Homeland told Porter he'd send some agents our way."
"I am told they'll be here by this evening," said Hetty, and Granger wondered - not for the first time - if she was the one who was omniscient.
"I came here partly to debrief Callen and the rest about the op," Granger said. "I didn't see any of them at their desks when I walked in."
"Mr. Hanna and Michelle are spending some personal time together; he will be here by seven," Hetty said. "Mr. Callen, Ms. Blye and Mr. Deeks should be landing in Washington about now."
Granger decided he needed a drink - then decided against it, and that it was a good thing he hadn't poured himself a glass earlier.
"Callen, Blye and Deeks are in Washington. And you didn't tell me," he said, already resigned that his operations manager had something up her sleeve; probably put it into motion hours ago; and that he wouldn't like it.
"I'm telling you now, Owen."
"How about telling me - Henrietta - why they're IN Washington."
"Mr. Callen will return, although he likely will have to sit in on the op debrief electronically."
"I expect that Blye and Deeks will be with him, and that this is nothing more than a quick sightseeing trip at government expense."
"Oh, Owen," said Hetty, sipping her tea. "I would never abuse federal or military resources like that."
"Then why on Earth are three of our agents who are about to participate in an important operation on the other side of the country," Granger said, evenly, and firmly, "especially since we both know Gibbs doesn't want them anywhere near his team?!?"
"Because I told Leon I would send him Ms. Blye and Mr. Deeks to assist Jethro and his team."
Granger looked away, to the side. I should've seen that coming, he thought.
"Leon and I discussed it," Hetty continued. "All Secretary Glassberg said was that the Washington team could not leave D.C. The Secretary said nothing against NCIS agents from outside Washington coming in to assist...Owen, I would have expected Leon to tell you this."
Granger put his hand on his chin, trying to figure out who told what to who and where things broke down.
"Owen, is there something you're not telling me?" Hetty said, putting her cup to the side of the desk.
Granger leaned in towards Hetty, hands clasped and elbows on his knees.
"You must've spoken to the director before it went down," he said. "Henrietta, you just sent your people into a minefield, and if you're lucky, Vance will have told the pilot not to let them off the plane, refuel and get the hell back here."
"Owen, what is going on?" Hetty insisted, while typing a quick note on her Lync to Nell and Eric: SEND ME SITREP AT NAVY YARD ASAP. She hated being left in the dark, and never stayed there even for an instant.
Granger told her, and Hetty reached for her glass of bourbon, drank the rest of it down, then reached back into her desk and took out another glass, putting it in front of Granger.
"Bugger," she said in response, pouring her’s and Granger’s glasses full.
This was going to be a long, long week.