Jager:SEALs of Steel, Book 7(4)

By: Dale Mayer

“You didn’t have to go alone.”

“I haven’t gone anywhere yet,” Jager said cheerfully. “I should be in Vail in a few hours though.” He clicked through the rest of his emails on his laptop. “What about Tesla? Did she get anything else off our bug planted in the arms dealer’s warehouse?”

“No, nothing helpful,” Erick said. “If we could find the real Ryan or find out what happened to him, that’s one thing. But it still won’t answer why?”

“Unless this asshole is somebody from the dead Ryan’s family,” Jager said quietly. “Maybe they saw Mouse masquerading as that person?”

“If only Poppy hadn’t died, we could have gotten a whole lot more information from him.”

“We got a lot there actually. The police will spend months investigating everything they found at Poppy’s house. And they gave us the lead on Freddie Brown.”

“I still don’t like you going alone. You need a partner, backup for when things turn to shit,” Erick said.

Jager smiled but didn’t argue with Erick. “Did they pass on any more information?” Jager asked.

“Well, if you hadn’t taken off, you would have been here when the emails came in.”

Jager groaned. “I did take off. So get over it, and pass on the information.”

“Poppy had a list of everything he did. Names, states, boys. He tried girls but didn’t like it, went back to boys, but didn’t do mass numbers. He kept it to a select few. A couple who were very appreciative of his attention.”

“Like Mouse?”

“Yes, but Poppy appeared to love Mouse. That’s hard to understand how a pedophile can feel anything resembling true love.” Erick’s voice revealed the frustration they all felt. “Mason is handling coordination between the military and the city police. And, of course, NCIS is heavily involved now.”

“Of course they are.” Jager sighed. “Which means they’ll close ranks, and we’ll have no luck getting any information.”

“The biggest question now is, where’s the missing seaman? If Mouse took his place, was this Ryan murdered? Did he take a payout to disappear? And is somebody from the real Ryan’s world wanting justice for Mouse’s death, still thinking it’s their loved one who died in Kabul? Or, like you said, the opposite of that. Possibly targeting Mouse because he took their loved one’s place?”

“And, once again, we have no answers.”

“Well, we’re out of available men,” Erick said, a note of sly humor in his voice. “So, if you’re determined to do this alone, you have to make sure you call for backup when you need it. No vigilante moves. No lone-ranger moves. We’re all here for you. I’m slowly healing. I can run command center. I have nothing else for you at the moment, and every man here in the room with me—and, yes, they’re all still here—is pissed and looking for an outlet.”

“And I felt like an arrow pulled back tight on the bow, waiting for a direction to go. Now I have one.”

“One other thing …” Erick said suddenly. “Poppy did have paperwork showing he got Mouse into the navy without passing any of the tests, and Poppy also had documented the names of those who helped him. And the amount of money he paid. The navy is now in possession of that list.” He paused. “I wouldn’t want to be one of those names on that list right now. In order to get the money himself, he had blackmailed other pedophiles. So far nothing says how Ryan was picked or replaced. But, since he’d already passed BUD/S training, he was an ideal target for Mouse to step into Ryan’s shoes as a fully vetted SEAL.”

Jager stared into the distance. “Jesus, I still find it hard to believe our Mouse did that. Really?”

“Yes, really. It was on Poppy’s computer in a big Excel document. Of course, Poppy’s records go back many, many years, way before Mouse. A massive investigation will go into all Poppy’s victims. But, more than that, of course, NCIS wants to know all about how this hijacking of the navy’s secure database was done and how they can stop it from happening in the future.”

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