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Title: Every Tom, Dick and Crazy   -  Part 1


Adult for one chapter

Summary: Harm and Mac move on after the change of assignments.

Chapter 1

Harm’s apartment
0415 hours

Harm couldn’t believe all that had happened to his life in the last few days.  It was literally about to turn upside down.  Captain Rabb.

In less than four hours he was supposed to be catching a transport for England.  He probably should try and get some sleep, but he just couldn’t bring himself to stop staring at the beautiful woman beside him.  He’d wanted Mac for so long, and now she was going to be his... for life.  Mrs. Harmon Rabb. 

They originally hadn’t been able to work out the logistics. The coin toss was inconsequential.  Mac had decided on her own that if she wanted to try for that family they both wanted, being CO of anything wasn’t going to be a very good idea.

For whatever reason, General Cresswell had somehow expected a last minute snafu.  He had thought this separation might be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and it was.   He wasn’t in the least surprised when Mac announced at McMurphy’s that she would be resigning her commission in lieu of accepting the new position in San Diego. 

It was going to take at least thirty days for the paperwork to come through, leaving her no choice but to stay and wait in Washington.   For Harm, that was going to be the hardest part. They’d only had one night together, one very short night, and leaving her now was going to be even harder than before.

There were a few advantages to Mac’s staying behind.  It would allow her time to follow up on all the details involved in arranging for Mattie’s transfer to England, as well as planning for their wedding.  

They had started out trying to discuss the wedding.  Neither had wanted to wait long.  If Harm weren’t required to leave on this morning’s transport, they would have gotten a license and been married as soon as City Hall opened its doors. 

Forcing himself to accept the idea that he was simply going to have to stop staring at his fiancée and get some sleep, Harm snuggled up more closely and closed his eyes.

Thirty-nine days later:

“I, Harmon Rabb, take you, Sarah MacKenzie, to be my lawfully wedded wife.  To have and to hold, from this day forward, for as long as we both shall live.”

Placing the plain gold band on her beautiful long finger, Harm’s voice dropped to a low, almost sultry level.  They may have been standing in a chapel full of friends and relatives, but he was speaking to no one but Mac.  “I give you this ring as a symbol of my eternal devotion, and never-ending love.”

Batting back the tears, her voice shaky, and her heart pounding, Mac repeated the same words. Slowly, with her fingers trembling nervously, she pushed the matching gold band onto the third finger of Harm’s left hand.

Walking in a quiet haze, their eyes focused only on each other, both were completely oblivious of their surroundings until Mac heard the clear sound of Bud’s voice: “Captain and Mrs. Harmon Rabb, Jr. GO Navy!” and then felt the light weight of the sword patting her gently on the six.

She couldn’t help but giggle quietly at the bright blush flushing upward on Bud’s face, settling most heavily at the tips of his ears.

Ducking and rushing through the friendly crowd and shower of birdseed, Harm managed to tuck his wife into the waiting limo.

Barely inside the car, he slammed the door shut and turned, pulling his wife fully into his arms. Without a moment’s hesitation, his lips descended on hers as his heart swelled in his chest.  Mrs. Rabb. He was kissing HIS wife…Mrs. Sarah Rabb.  It took all his strength to maintain a reserved passion.  He’d barely set foot in DC yesterday afternoon when the whirlwind of last minute details, rehearsal, dinner, etc. practically swallowed every second of time left before the wedding.  The only time he’d gotten alone with his fiancée was the few minutes at the airport, followed by the ride into town. Bud and AJ Chegwidden had whisked him off for a drink at McMurphy’s after the rehearsal dinner, while Trish made sure Mac was safely tucked away at Bud and Harriet’s.

When Harm first saw Mac walking down the aisle on AJ’s arm, he thought for certain that his knees were going to fail.  She had always been a stunning woman no matter what she wore, but today he thought he saw the heavens open and shine the purest of lights on her beauty.  If he didn’t know better, he’d have sworn a choir of angels were singing over her.

And now, finally, he was alone with the woman he’d waited a lifetime for.  Well, they were alone if he could ignore the driver pretending admirably not to notice what was going on in the back seat of his limousine.

It was taking every ounce of control Mac had not to give the driver instructions to skip the reception and head straight to the hotel, where she could undo every shiny button on Harm’s dress whites.  Their one night together had been forever ago. At least, it felt that way, and there wouldn’t be much time for playful activities tonight, either.  Their flight for London was scheduled to leave at 0800 hours.  The official honeymoon would have to wait until Harm could get some real leave time.  As it was, she knew he was feeling guilty for taking two personal days only a month after assuming command.

Clearing his throat loudly, “We’re here folks.” The driver stepped out of the car and slowly opened the rear door, careful that the weight of the two people pressed against it didn’t send either of them splattering onto the concrete.

Once inside the reception hall, Harm and Mac, along with a variety of friends and family, posed for the required photo session.  The remaining guests laughed and drank merrily, thoroughly enjoying the cocktail hour while the bridal party suffered through photograph after photograph.  All sure that years from now the tiring chore would bring back treasured memories.

With their first task as husband and wife accomplished, Harm and Mac made the standard entrance into the hall with the bridal party, then remained on the dance floor for the traditional first dance.   Although both agreed “We’ve Only Just Begun” had to be the corniest song ever, it was also very much how they felt – this was just the beginning, even if it had taken nine years to get here!

By 0100 everyone had danced at least once with someone in the room.  The bride and groom had sprinted back and forth across the room at the traditional symphony of spoons and glassware demanding a kiss from the new couple- the fact that they’d often been at opposite ends of the hall had held little importance to the enthusiastic new musicians. Mac’s bouquet had been thrown, the cake cut, and the garter tossed.  Harm hadn’t expected his marine to be agreeable to that tawdry little tradition, but much to his own surprise she was more than a good sport about it. Of course, that didn’t stop her from blushing wildly when Harm opted to remove the garter with his teeth, pausing to kiss her leg between the garter’s short advances. Trish Burnett had already taken up a collection to keep the band on the floor for two extra sessions when Harm spotted her pilfering Frank’s pocket for the checkbook to start a third. 

“Mom, don’t even think about it,” Harm smiled ruefully.  “The party has to end sometime, and I would really like to spend at least a little time alone with my wife before we have to catch our plane.”

“Well, just because you two want to escape, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to poop out.” She kissed her son sweetly on the cheek.  “You go ahead and sneak out that side door.  I’ll distract them all with the Alley Cat. Or do you prefer the Bunny Hop?” Trish couldn’t resist laughing with her son.  As it turned out, the Conga did the trick.  The couple managed to make it out of the hall and to the car without attracting a single person’s attention. 

“We’ve got about four hours until we have to leave for the airport.” Harm leaned back against the seat, draping his arm around his wife as the driver turned off towards their hotel.

“Three hours and fifty-two minutes,” Mac corrected, snuggling comfortably into the crook of Harm’s shoulder.  She could tell the time change was catching up with him.  His body undoubtedly thought it was already six o’clock in the morning.  “It’s not much, but we can at least get a little sleep before we leave.” She’d waited nine years to be with Harmon Rabb, she could wait a few more hours.

“Sleep?” Harm tucked his chin into his chest, staring blankly at his wife. “We’ll have almost eight hours to sleep on the plane.  I have other plans for the next three hours and fifty-two minutes.” Leaning down, he sealed his plans with a kiss.  No amount of exhaustion could keep him from inaugurating their wedding night properly.

“Three hours and forty-six minutes,” Mac mumbled breathlessly before falling back into the kiss.  There was definitely nothing overrated about gold wings and dress whites.

Chapter 2

The flight had indeed served as a good night’s sleep.  Well, as good as you can get on an airplane. At least, they’d been able to travel business class and stretch out a bit more than had they been in coach.  Of course, the ideal thing would have been to be in first class where the seats laid perfectly flat, but they weren’t about to complain.

Bud had brought Mattie to the airport.  She’d come an amazingly long way in only one month.  Once she’d been released from the hospital, everyone agreed it would be better for Mattie to stay with Harriet and Bud.  It made more sense.  Mac was still at the office long hours, and Harriet on the other hand, was home all day. Besides, Bud was an excellent source of encouragement for her.  When he told her things would get better, she couldn’t argue with him.  He’d literally been there, done that.  She had to respect him for it.

Once everyone had finally debarked from the plane, the airlines brought the wheel chair in for Mattie.  One advantage to being in Command of the Legal Services for the European Naval Forces was having a driver available to pick you and your family up at the airport.  With Mattie’s wheelchair, the Heathrow Express into Paddington Station wouldn’t have been much fun.

Harm had told Mac very little about the flat he had rented.  Originally he had planned on waiting for Mac to arrive and pick something out together, but when this apartment came available he couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

The car slowed as it drove past the American Embassy. 

“My office is in that building over there.” Harm pointed to the NAVACT offices adjacent to the Embassy.

Not too much further down the busy street, the driver turned the corner and slowed to a stop by a small brick archway.  Mac and Mattie glanced at each other watching Harm get out of the car.

“You’re going to love it here.” Harm started rambling to Mattie as he helped her into the wheelchair. “This is a very active part of London.  There are plenty of exclusive shops for you to spend all my money in.  You’ll find art galleries, restaurants and even nightclubs. Not that you’ll be frequenting any of those,” he chuckled nervously.

Silently, Mac followed Harm and Mattie through the small archway.  “Oh, Harm!” They had passed from the busy city street into a quiet little alley of charming lined with Georgian buildings. “This is lovely!”

“I couldn’t risk passing it up.  We’re just behind the American Embassy.  I can walk to work. If you want to brush up on your Italian, the Italian Embassy is next door.  They call these little areas ‘mews’.” Harm stopped in front of a door part way down the cobblestone walkway.

“Alright, now can you tell me the whole story?” Mac’s curiosity was getting the better of her.  Harm had refused to tell her any details not wanting to spoil the surprise.  They crossed over the low ramp into the wide doorway.  Glancing momentarily around her, she noticed the neighboring doors seemed narrower.  “Did you have this done?”

“No. The former Italian Ambassador’s daughter was in a wheel chair.  With her studying in Switzerland, and being their only daughter, he accepted a nearby post.  The house had been empty for almost a year.  They didn’t want to rent it to strangers.  He and his wife came to London last month for some shopping and attended that Gala I told you about. When they heard about Mattie, they agreed to rent us this place for the price of our housing allowance.” Turning around to the driver who had followed them in the doorway, “Just leave all the bags in the hall, Corporal.  I’ll move them later.”

“WOW.  You must be the envy of every officer in town.” Mac whistled as she quickly scanned what she could see of the apartment.

“Yeah, all twelve of us!” Harm smiled.  “Most of the officers prefer being closer to the American school.  I thought it would be more fun for you and Mattie to be in town.  Besides, this way I can come home for lunch.”

“Like you’re really going to have time for that,” Mac snickered.

Raising one eyebrow, Harm opted for showing them the rest of the apartment, but made a mental note to make an extra effort to come home for lunch at least a couple of times a week.

“The L shaped living room is ideal for maneuvering around in a wheel chair.  Most apartments have doors off the hallway, but they knocked out a wider entry way making it more like houses back home.” Pushing Mattie down the hall. “This first room will be yours. The bathroom is wheelchair fitted. Unlike you, the ambassador’s daughter won’t ever walk.”

“What happened to her?” Mattie asked, carefully noting all the furnishings in the room.

“She was thrown from a horse when she was ten years old.  She snapped her back.  The broken bone fragment severed her spine.  They were thankful she only lost the use of her legs.” Harm watched Mattie’s expression carefully.  The ambassador’s wife had taken a few extra days in London to help Harm shop for wheelchair friendly furnishings.  Most of what Harm and Mac had decided to ship had arrived last week, but they had nothing for Mattie. “So what do you think?”

“I think you done good.” Mattie gave him a smile and an eager thumbs up. She could tell he was anxious for her response.  His thoughtfulness never ceased to amaze her.

The rest of the tour of the house proceeded without fanfare.  Harm had managed to blend what personal belongings they had shipped into a pleasantly eclectic décor.  Mac had taken advantage of her extra time in DC to sell what they didn’t need.  She’d spent the last week, once all was sold, at Bud and Harriet’s with Mattie.

By now it was near midnight and everyone’s body clock was completely out of kilter. The next three hours were spent catching each other up on all the missed details of the last month. Harm told them all about the neighborhood, the Italian Ambassador, and the house in Chamonix where they were invited to go skiing once Mattie was up on her feet again.

Mattie filled Harm in on more of her therapy details.  The continued numbness, and lack of sensations in her lower extremities was driving her crazy, but the doctors reassured her often that regaining full sensations after spinal cord bruising and swelling could easily take up to six months, and sometimes as long as eighteen months.  She was getting a little tired of being reminded that all the signs indicated she would have a near full recovery.  It was that one little word ‘near’ that bothered her.

Mac chimed in with how much Harriet was regretting not letting Bud come to England.  As much as Harriet loved her house and life, she realized in short time what a difference the post would have made in Bud’s career. 

“I feel so badly for Harriet.” Mattie shook her head. “I think your bringing me to England to finish my rehab really drove home how silly it was wanting to stay near Bethesda because of Bud’s leg.  Never mind when she saw that TV piece about the marine going back to active duty on the front line with a prosthesis. I thought she was going to have a coronary right there in the living room! You should have heard her carrying on and on about how stupid she’d been.  I think Bud took advantage of her remorse…if you know what I mean.” Mattie chuckled quietly.

“Mattie…” Mac rolled her eyes, a slight twinge of pink dusting her cheeks.

“I suppose I could approach Bud again.  I still have some missing links in staffing.  I’ve been waiting to get to know the officers here better before naming a new XO.” Harm looked in Mac’s direction, silently asking her if he should go that route. 

“Are things getting any better with Petty Officer James?” Mac wasn’t going to allow herself to turn into a Harriet.  Harm was going to have to decide this one on his own.

“I haven’t had the urge to flog her lately if that’s what you’re asking?” Harm chuckled heartily.  The first few days with PO James had been interesting.  She was a lovely efficient tall brunette with beautiful blue eyes hiding behind a heavy set of dark rimmed glasses.  Harm had tried not to notice she was also built like…well, he had tried not to notice that. 

The first few days had been a slow building fiasco.  It began with the PO double booking all of his appointments.  Harm had done his own scheduling from the first day, completely unaware that the PO had been doing the same. It had never occurred to him to tell her otherwise. It only took a few hours into the next day to discover the problem. Harm was less than happy when the lead counsel for the US Embassy showed up at the hour PO James had scheduled. Unfortunately, it was the same time Harm had scheduled a meeting with the First Secretary. She had also tried to arrange an escort for the Ambassador’s gala, and a two-day sight seeing tour his first weekend in London, but the real piece de resistance was the filing debacle.

Harm had spent an entire day sorting through a backlog of case files, meticulously delegating each file to particular members of his staff in an effort to better assess each person’s strengths and weaknesses.  He’d stayed until after midnight, leaving each person’s files in a neat stack on his desk.  When he returned to the office the next morning, all the files were neatly alphabetized in one large pile.  If it had been possible to make the woman walk the plank, Harm would have seriously considered it. As it was he had wondered if he could have confined her to bread and water for three days.

It had taken several days for Harm to make clear that her duties were restricted exclusively to office matters, and his desk was always off limits. He was not his predecessor and PO James would have to learn to work under his rules or be transferred.  Harm really wished Jennifer had been interested in coming to London.  After all, England is an island of sorts. It has beaches too, somewhere.

Chapter 3 

Rabb Flat
Next morning

The morning light was shining brightly through the bedroom window.  Harm had told PO James that he wouldn’t be coming into the office until after 0900 hours, but even that seemed too soon.   Rolling over, he couldn’t resist running his hand lightly over Mac’s shoulder and down the side of her arm.  She was sleeping on her side with her back to him.  Watching her shoulder rise with every breath, he couldn’t help but thank God they had finally gotten something right. Kissing her lightly on the shoulder, he turned to slip out of bed, grinning at the cute little noise she made at his kiss before she burrowed deeper into her pillow.

Showered and dressed, Harm was at the dining room table reading the morning Times and drinking his second cup of coffee when he heard her footsteps.

“Morning. I tried not to wake you.” Harm folded the paper and set it on the table.

“You didn’t.  The bed was cold without you.” Smiling brightly, she took a few steps closer and kissed the top of his head. “Is that real coffee or squid coffee?”

“It’s marine grade. But don’t expect me to make it that way every morning.” Harm couldn’t help but smile.  The house had felt so empty until now, and even though he’d imagined Mac walking into the kitchen every day since he’d moved in, the reality of having her here with him was almost overwhelming.

Pouring herself a cup of coffee, and taking the seat across the table from him, “Should I expect you for lunch?”

“Actually, I was thinking maybe I could take both of you to lunch. There isn’t really much food in the fridge.  I thought it would be best if we did the marketing together. There’s this nice little Lebanese restaurant nearby.  What do you think?”

“Sounds lovely.  Just let us know what time you expect to be free.” Mac took another sip of her coffee.  For a squid, it wasn’t half bad, but she wasn’t going to tell him it wasn’t quite marine grade.

“I’ll pick you up at 1330.” Standing up, Harm kissed Mac quickly on the lips.  “I need to get moving.  I want to get to the office before James tries to help me with something else.”

“Is it really that bad?”

“Not anymore.  Apparently Captain Edwards had her doing all his scheduling, both personal and business.  Now that she’s accepted I’m not going to run my command like Captain Edwards, she seems to be slowly learning the way I expect things to be done.” Shrugging one shoulder, Harm smiled and kissed Mac again. “I’ll see you at 1330,” he called on his way down the hall.

London Headquarters
7 N. Audley St
0845 hours

The large five-story red brick building had an air that reminded Harm just a little of what had been his military home the previous ten years.  Once inside, he walked through the large glass doors leading into Ops.  He had done this almost every morning for over a month and it was still a shock not to find himself in the bullpen in DC.  Making his way past various desks, he signaled at ease when someone announced “Captain on deck,” then smiled weakly at PO James, tilting his head slightly to indicate he wanted her to follow him into the privacy of his office.

“I’m going to meet my wife and daughter for lunch today so I won’t be taking any calls after 1300.” Harm placed his briefcase on his desk and began shuffling papers without looking up at the petty officer. “I’ll be needing the…”

“Jenkins’ file. Yes, sir.” Elizabeth James handed the file over to Harm.  Jenkins was a bright, sweet, corporal who went UA without explanation just over a month ago.  The internal investigation hadn’t turned up a thing and Harm wanted to look the file over himself.

Looking up at James with one raised eyebrow, Harm accepted the folder. “Thank you.” Pulling a sheet of paper from a ragged folder on his desk, He looked her in the eye and enunciated carefully.  “This is my appointment schedule for the day. Do not make any changes.”

“No, sir.” The Petty Officer stood rigidly at attention.  This probably wouldn’t be a good time for her to offer the cup of coffee she knew he wanted.

“See to it that Commander Perkins knows about the time change for our appointment today.  Let the Admiral know that I received his memo regarding the naturalization ceremony in Rome and will not be able to attend.”

This was it.  She bit her tongue. She wasn’t going to say it.  She was tired of the way that one eyebrow went up every time she opened her mouth too early, even if it did make him look gorgeous as hell.

“When you have a minute I’ll take a cup of coffee and two aspirin.” Lack of sleep and an enormous case of jet lag were developing into a small pounding thud in the back of his head.

“Yes, sir. Right away, sir.” Recognizing his casual nod as a dismissal, Beth turned on her heel and headed for the safety of her desk.

She had tried too hard when Captain Rabb first arrived.  She knew from his service record, what little of it she could access, that he wasn’t going to be anything like Captain Edwards.  Captain Edwards had been a lawyer his entire military career, but it had been ages since he’d set foot in a courtroom. His wife, Agatha, had passed on four years earlier and the man couldn’t keep track of where he kept his toothbrush, never mind his social calendar. As well as all of the responsibilities of the Captain’s yeoman, she had slowly taken on a great deal of the responsibilities for his personal life.  She’d even begun arranging appropriate escorts for him to the increasing amount of formal dinners being given.  With the serious political climate in England over Iraq, less tense social gatherings were becoming more and more critical to smoothing out the potentially volatile relations of the military and the rest of Europe.

Beth had realized from the start that Mrs. Rabb wouldn’t be any slouch.  You had to be a special woman to become a Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps, and Chief of Staff at ‘the’ Judge Advocate offices in DC.  She had just thought it would help ease the transitions if she stepped in until Mrs. Rabb arrived. 

Boy had she been wrong! She had thought Mrs. Atkins would be an excellent choice for an escort to Ambassador Tuttle’s inaugural gala.  Captain Atkins had been delayed unexpectedly at meetings in Naples, so Beth had been sure that this would be a win win situation for both Mrs. Atkins and Captain Rabb. At least Captain Rabb had seemed somewhat sympathetic of her intentions, though not at all pleased with her actions. It hadn’t made her look any better when First Secretary Smithfield arrived at almost the same time as Lt. Colonel Baker a day later, but when the Captain saw how she had rearranged his carefully separated case files, she had been sure she could see the steam coming out of his ears.  If it weren’t for the softness in his twinkling green eyes, she would have probably resigned on the spot, convinced her career was over.  

Glancing quickly at Captain Rabb’s schedule, Beth made her way to Commander Perkins’ office to let him know about the schedule change before continuing on to the ‘tea’ room.  This may have been an American office building, but it was inevitable that at least some of the British culture would seep in.  If she had to admit it, she loved how nearly everything stopped at tea time.  She had grown quite used to her afternoon cup of tea with some cake or another.  She couldn’t quite understand what all the fuss was with the scones, but she couldn’t imagine returning stateside and having to give up tea time.

Barely finished stirring in the cream and sugar for the Captain’s coffee, Beth was startled by Staff Sargent Tibb. 

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you.  There’s an inspector Baskin from Scotland Yard to see the Captain.”

“Scotland Yard?”

“That’s what his ID says.  We don’t get many visits from them.  Can’t be good news.” Tibb shrugged, and returned to his post at the front desk.

Scotland Yard.  What could this be about? If she didn’t have enough trouble getting into a routine with her new CO, she didn’t need anything out of the ordinary now to make her life more difficult.

Chapter 4

“Captain Rabb, an Inspector Baskin is here to see you from Scotland Yard,” Beth announced over the intercom.

“Send him in.” Harm stood to greet the inspector.  If he had learned anything about reading people over the years, the look on this man’s face as he entered the room indicated this wasn’t going to be a ‘welcome aboard’ visit.

“Inspector.” Harm offered his hand to the young man.

“Pleasure, Captain.”

“Have a seat, please.  What can the Navy do for you?” 

“I’m afraid I have some unpleasant news.  One of your people was found this morning.”


“She was brutally attacked. The body was found in an alley behind the Old Dispensary Pub on Leman St.” Inspector Darrell Baskin bent over and retrieved a handful of folders from his briefcase on the floor.  “It wasn’t pretty,” Baskin shook his head slowly, handing over one of the files.

Accepting the proffered folder, Harm opened it carefully. He couldn’t hide the grimace at the sight of the first photograph.  Even if he had some way of recognizing all military people stationed in and around London, there was no way he would be able to identify this woman.

Harm flipped through the gruesome photos.  The woman’s throat was slit so thoroughly her head was virtually severed from her body.  Although she was covered in blood, it was apparent that she had been brutally mutilated.  Her torso was split open from collar to pubic bone. Harm hadn’t seen such nauseating photos since little Annie had been murdered.

“How do you know she’s one of ours?” Harm continued looking at the remaining crime scene photos.

“We found dog tags not far down the alley from where the body was discovered.  It appears the perpetrator most likely dropped them when making his escape.  Her name was Petty Officer Third Class Margaret Howard. Know her?”

Harm looked up at the brash young man seated before him.  Was he that arrogant, or that stupid?  “No, not off hand.” Setting the file on his desk, Harm reached over to his intercom. “James, bring me anything you have on a Petty Officer Third Class Margaret Howard.”

“I’ll contact the NCIS resident agency, and have them contact you to turn over any evidence that’s been processed.” Harm flipped through his old fashioned rolodex, searching for the phone number he needed.  He didn’t want PO James making this particular call.

“That won’t be necessary.”

Turning to look rather pointedly at the young Inspector, Harm cocked a brow. “Excuse me?”

“There’s more.” Baskin handed Harm the other folder he’d been holding. “Do you have any other missing female personnel?”

Harm’s eyes opened wide.  This couldn’t be good. “Are you looking for something in particular, Inspector?”

“Five weeks ago a female, approximately 23 years of age, was found slaughtered behind the White Hart Pub on Whitechapel High Street.”

“Whitechapel?” Now Baskin’s reserved behavior was starting to make sense to Harm.

“We didn’t think anything out of the ordinary about it at first. Not that sex offenders of this violent nature are that common, but we do see them from time to time, especially in areas overflowing with public houses.  But, in this case, as you can see, “Darrell pointed at the folder Harm was looking through, “Leman Street is in Whitechapel. We may have a problem.”

“And you’re thinking the connection is the US Navy.” Harm looked at the additional set of similarly gruesome photographs in the newest folder he’d been handed.

“Well, unless you’re implying that your Petty Officer Howard was a prostitute, I’m guessing our perpetrator has found himself a new trigger.” Darrell sat back heavily in his seat.

“The Navy?” Harm didn’t like what he was hearing.  Wasn’t it bad enough the American military wasn’t exactly welcome at the moment, and soldiers were daily targets in hot zones? Now the Navy was going to have to worry about a sexual predator as well.

“Maybe.  Both women were left stark naked without any identifying evidence of any kind. That’s why we believe it wasn’t the killer’s intention to leave the dog tags.  Possibly, in his hurry to leave, they slipped from his grip. If our Jane Doe turns out to be one of yours, then for now the Navy is the only connection we have.” Darrell wondered what this was going to do to the Navy’s public relations machine.

“We will gladly work with your NCIS,” Darrell continued, “but since you are guests of our country, Scotland Yard will take lead.” He hoped the concerned officer across from him wasn’t going to make this an international issue.  He had no intention of giving up control of this case.

Glaring intently at the inspector, Harm quickly ran through all of his options.  The laboratory facilities at the resident agency were not as extensive as those in Scotland Yard, and running all of this through Naples would only slow things down.  If both victims were indeed Navy personnel, and some lunatic was targeting enlisted females, having Scotland Yard take the lead might not be such a bad thing.

“Agreed, for now.” Just as Harm was about to stab at his intercom again, Beth James came walking through the door with a small file in hand.

“Here you go, sir.” Beth handed Harm the file on Petty Officer Howard, and the bottle of aspirin he’d requested earlier.  She had a feeling he was going to need them more than he’d anticipated.

“Have there been any other female personnel reported UA besides Corporal Jenkins?” Harm asked, the open folder of photos staring up at him.

“No, sir.” The PO stood at ease. Having caught a glimpse of the glossy pages from the corner of her eye, she tried not to react.

“Very well. That will be all.” Harm reached over to the corner of his desk and pulled out the UA file he’d barely given a cursory glance.  “I may have an idea who you’re looking for, Corporal Amanda Jenkins, age 24.  She was reported UA five weeks ago Monday.”

While the inspector looked at the UA file, Harm quickly scanned through Margaret Howard’s records. Nothing struck him as out of the ordinary.  She’d recently re-upped when her tour of duty ended, and was assigned to the housing office at RAF West Ruislip. All her fit reps were above average. Harm shook his head slowly. Families back home prepare themselves as best they can for the possibility their loved ones won’t return home alive, but no one prepares for this.

“It fits our time frame.  Jane Doe was found on Saturday morning five weeks ago.  The ME estimates Howard’s death between two and four a.m., while Jane here was estimated between one and three a.m.. I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me we’ve gotten our first break and the two ladies worked together?”

“Afraid not.  Jenkins worked at RAF Daws Hill, Howard at RAF Ruislip.”

“Same job?” Maybe he could find some small connection, Darrell hoped.

“No luck there either. Howard worked in housing, Jenkins at the American School.” Harm was going to need to speak with Lieutenant Philips ASAP. 

Lt. Mary Philips had been given the original investigation into Corporal Jenkins’ disappearance. She was, in Harm’s opinion, one of the most promising investigators on his staff.  Though he had some very competent attorneys, the majority seemed to be lacking the field experience needed to fine tune investigative skills. He needed more information on the victims, much more. He wanted to know everything Lt. Philips didn’t put in the report on Jenkins disappearance.  What he really wanted was a seasoned senior investigator to pair her up with.  As much as he would have liked, this command wouldn’t allow time for him to personally train his officers by running off on the more complex cases. 

“Any other similarities at the scene?” Harm closed the Howard file and passed it to Baskin.

“A sharp precision blade was used both times.  Perhaps a surgical tool,” Baskin added.

Harm’s eyes shot up again. This was NOT what the Navy needed now.  This wasn’t what HE needed now. “Have you had any ‘other’ copy cat killings that fit this MO?” 

“Plenty. Since 1888, every Tom, Dick and Crazy out there has had access to any information they might want on the Whitechapel murders.  Now, with the internet, every and any lunatic can make his crime scene look like Jack’s.” If Darrell weren’t so nauseated by the unnecessary death of such lovely young women, he would have been thrilled at the chance to catch the next Jack the Ripper.

Chapter 5

Harm’s office

“Beth, I’m supposed to be picking my wife up as we speak.” Holding the intercom with one finger, Harm stacked the ‘Jack’ files into his briefcase with the other files. “Please call her and let her know I’m on my way.”

Sighing heavily, Harm grabbed his cover and headed out the door.  One of the advantages of living in the mews behind the American Embassy was that it enabled him to travel to and from his office quickly without having to deal with the rules about uniforms in public.  Even though the actual address of the flat was on Davies Street, there was a communal hallway with the Italian Embassy that led to the front of the building at 5 Grovsner Street, directly across from his office.

In less than ten minutes, Harm was walking through his front door.

“Honey, I’m home!” He almost couldn’t suppress his laughter long enough to finish the old line.

Mattie was the first one to come down the hall.  Still in her pajamas, she had an expression that bore a tremendous resemblance to a zombie in a Boris Karloff movie.

“I know the restaurant is casual, but I don’t think it’s THAT casual,” Harm gestured in the general direction of her attire.

“Do you realize it is only seven o’clock in the morning in Virginia?”

“I think that would be a yes.”  Harm bit his lip, knowing instinctively that laughing at her now wouldn’t go over very well.

“Well, the last thing I feel like at seven in the morning is LUNCH.” Rolling her eyes, Mattie moved the wheelchair past Harm towards the kitchen. “Mac made me some tea and toast with Prince Charles Black Raspberry jam.”

“Prince Charles makes jam?”

“You bought it.  You should know.”  Most of the kitchen had been remodeled, making it easy for Mattie to help herself to almost anything she wanted.  Rolling over to the fridge, she reached inside and handed over a jar of jam to Harm. “See?”

“Hmm.” Harm looked at the jar a moment before returning it to its place and re-addressing Mattie.  “I take it this means you’re not joining us.”

“Not today.” She took a bite of her toast.

“Where’s Mac?” Harm looked around, suddenly aware he hadn’t seen her yet.

“She was in the bathroom getting dressed.  I think she knows it’s seven in the morning, too.”

Nodding thoughtfully, Harm made his way down the hall in search of his new bride.

“Sorry, I’m running a little late,” Mac smiled as Harm came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

“Mmm.” Nestling his nose into the back of her neck, Harm began laying gentle kisses under her ear, slowly moving along the side of her jaw until he had turned her completely in his arms.  Their lips locked in a passionate exchange of the heat that constantly simmered under the surface.

Mac’s arms snaked fully around him. She could feel her knees going weak as his strong hand gently stroked the small of her back.  With a greeting like this, who needed food? Somewhere between the sizzling kiss and heated touch, her mind debated over how hard it would be to close the door and skip lunch.  What would Mattie think? Leaning her weight more heavily against Harm, Mac brushed her hips against his.

Harm’s lips separated from hers long enough to release a low deep sigh. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” Leaning in again for a more chaste kiss, he murmured, “I don’t have much time today. Something’s come up at the office.  We probably need to get you some food and then I’ll deal with the rest of our appetite tonight.” His eyes twinkled at the implication.

Pulling back reluctantly, Mac flashed a seductive smile. “I’m not so sure food is all it’s cracked up to be.”

“I’m sorry, but what have you done with my Sarah MacKenzie Rabb?”

Smacking him lightly on the shoulder, she pushed off in search of her shoes. “Comedian!”

Sitting on the bed to slip into her sandals, Mac noticed a far off look in Harm’s face that had little to do with the moment they’d just shared. 

“Is something wrong?”

“Yes and no. Work. I’ll tell you about it over lunch.”

Maroush IV Restaurant
Edgeware Rd
Short time later

After being shown to a somewhat secluded table in the back of the tiny blue tiled restaurant, Mac set her menu aside and took hold of Harm’s hand.

“Okay. Want to tell me what has you looking so disturbed?” She let her thumb doodle lightly on the back of his hand.

“There’s been a murder, a petty officer from Ruislip. And… it looks like a UA we have from last month may have been the first victim.”

“First?” Mac looked up a moment as the waiter brought the bottled water Harm had requested, then waited for Harm to order.  She was unfamiliar with most things on the menu and was perfectly contented to allow Harm to order for her.

Once the waiter was out of earshot, Harm continued. “It looks like we may have a serial killer on our hands.”

“Why do you say ‘looks like’?” Mac let out a quiet sigh and took a sip of water with her free hand.

“Mac,” Harm leaned closer over the table. “They were found in Whitechapel, their heads nearly severed and their bodies sliced open.  We think we’ve got a Jack the Ripper copycat, and if it turns out the first victim is indeed Corporal Jenkins, then the only connection so far will be the United States Navy.”

Mac swallowed hard.  One murder was unfortunate.  Two were unlikely to be a coincidence. “What else do they have?”

“They hadn’t completed processing the second scene, but so far the MOs appear identical.  Both women were left stark naked and badly mutilated.  It’s likely a similar sharp-edged surgical tool was used.”


“Mm hm.  Whoever this person is, he knows his Ripper history.”

“Then why is he picking on the Navy? Jack the Ripper targeted prostitutes.”

“We’re still working on that.  I spoke with Lt. Philips.” Harm paused while the waiter brought their appetizers, smiling at Mac as she looked down awkwardly at the interesting concoction before lifting her fork, waiting to hear the rest of what Harm had to say.

“She had the initial investigation on Jenkins’ UA.  From what we could gather, the Corporal had a date Friday night and never came home.    The roommate didn’t report it because it wasn’t unusual for her to spend the weekend at her boyfriend’s house.”

“The boyfriend checked out?” Mac continued munching on whatever the Lebanese delicacy was she’d been served.

“Yeah.  He’s a police officer. Got called in Friday night to fill in for someone whose wife went into labor.”

“Yeah, that definitely constitutes an airtight alibi,” Mac smiled as Harm slipped his hand over hers.

“He reported leaving her at a pub in Kensington.”

“How’d she wind up in Whitechapel?”

“Neither of the locations was the actual murder scene. Not enough blood for the damage done and position of the bodies.  They could have been murdered anywhere.”

“What else do you have on Jenkins?” Mac noticed the waiter approaching with their lunch.

“Not much.” Harm waited again for the waiter to leave before continuing. “She’s squeaky clean. Good fit reps, no enemies that anyone knew of.  Didn’t belong to any odd clubs or organizations.  She’d recently started dating this new boyfriend a couple of months ago after her previous boyfriend was rotated to Iraq.”

“What about the PO they found last night? How much do we know about her social life? Maybe the killer is confusing multiple relationships with promiscuity.” Mac took a bite of the odd looking meatball on her plate.  “Mm, this is really good.”

Harm chuckled.  “You doubted me?”

“Sorry, handsome.”

“I bet you say that to all the guys who buy you lunch.” This was such a relief to be able to sit here with Mac and share information on a case. It reminded him of the days when they’d been partners. Only this time, they were partners of a better sort.

Chapter 6

Same time

“We don’t have much personal info on Howard.  All I’ve had time to look over is her official record, and it looks stellar. She recently re-enlisted.” Harm took a bite of his falafel. It reminded him of hush puppies back home.

“When will we know if the first victim is Jenkins?”

“Baskin didn’t say.  James made copies of both women’s files for him, including fingerprints and DNA information. I got the distinct impression that this is being given top priority by Scotland Yard.”

“Why isn’t NCIS handling it?”

“Scotland Yard wants it, and the resident agency here isn’t as well equipped.  We’d have to send a lot of evidence to Naples.  Last time they had a serial killer on the loose, Manetti and I were flown in from HQ. We just don’t have the staff for a case this potentially volatile.”

“Who will be investigating the Howard case?” Mac took another bite. She was going to have to remember the name of these things. They were absolutely delicious.

“Lt. Philips.  She already has a handle on Jenkins and is one of my best investigators. She’s green, but good.  I just wish I had a senior attorney here who was strong in investigation to take the lead.”

“You mean a man to cover her back?”

“Hey, I covered yours a time or two.”

“And I’ve saved your six plenty of times, mister.”

“Okay,” Harm chuckled, “I think I’ve heard this before.”

“Glad you agree,” Mac smiled saucily. “So what are you going to do?”

“I was thinking of calling Cresswell and seeing if he could spare Bud for a while.” Harm called the waiter over. Looking back at Mac, he continued, “I’m running short on time. Do you mind if we skip desert?”

“Not a problem. Do you think Cresswell will go for it?”

“Probably not, but it won’t hurt to try. Besides, this way it’s only TAD so Harriet can’t have a cow, and it would give Bud a first hand chance to see what life is like in Merry Old England.”  Looking up at the approaching waiter, Harm signaled for the check.

“What about Manetti? You said she’s done this sort of thing before.  Doesn’t she have a background in profiling?”

“I have no idea where she’s stationed now, but it might not be a bad idea. She was pretty good, though, Baskin already mentioned putting a profiler on it.”

“There are a lot of good investigators besides Bud.  There’s Mason and Grier.”

“I know, but this could get out of control fast, Mac.  I’d prefer someone I’ve worked with, someone I can trust.” Harm watched the waiter set the check on the table, then pulled a few bills from his wallet.  Reaching across the table, he slid Mac’s hand in his as they exited the restaurant.

“You don’t always have that luxury when you’re in command, Harm.  You have to take who Uncle Sam gives you.” Mac released Harm’s hand momentarily to walk through the door he was holding for her.

“I know.” Harm took hold of Mac’s hand again.  “This is just so critical.”

On the short walk back to the flat, the two continued batting ideas back and forth.  They had just reached the front door when Harm’s cell phone rang.


“Captain. Baskin, here.  I’ve got the results on the fingerprints.  Corporal Jenkins is indeed our Jane Doe.  I’m going to need to interview everyone associated in any way with both Jenkins and Howard.”

“That can be arranged.” An idea was taking a foothold in Harm’s mind.  He had no idea if this guy was any good, but at least he was a local to help cover Mary’s six. “I’ll have Lt. Philips contact you ASAP.”

Mac listened carefully as Harm finished his call. When he flipped his phone shut. “Those things are awfully tiny. How do you dial?” she asked.

“James programmed it for me.  They call them ‘mobiles’ here too.  Fortunately I don’t have to discuss my ‘cell’ phone with too many natives.”

Mac nodded her understanding, waiting for Harm to bring up the phone call.

“That was Baskin.  Jenkins and Jane Doe are a match. Looks like Naval Command is our only link. Until I can make other arrangements.  I think I’m going to have him and Philips work on this.”

“Well, I’ll be anxious to hear how it goes with Cresswell.” Silently Mac prayed Kate Pike was on terminal leave somewhere.  Guam sounded far enough away.

London Headquarters
Harm’s office

“Get me Lt. Philips ASAP,” Harm practically barked as he marched past Beth’s desk into his office.

“She’s not here, sir.”

“Well, when she gets here, send her in.” She was probably already out at Ruislip checking out Howard.  If she kept this pace up, someday she might have his job. Harm just wished that annoying feeling in the pit of his stomach would go away.

Harm began rustling through the files on his desk. “James!”

“Yes, sir.” Beth was in the door with the speed of light. She couldn’t remember ever hearing him call for her so loudly.

“I need the…”

“Jenkins and Howard original file. Yes, sir.” Not allowing him to finish his sentence, Beth handed Harm the two files she’d used to make copies for the Inspector.

Harm looked at her with that single, raised eyebrow again. “I need to speak with General Cresswell.  Get Petty Officer Coates on the line and set up an appointment for me.”

“Done, sir.  Just got off the phone with the Petty Officer. You have a conference call scheduled with the General in forty five minutes, sir.” Beth’s eyes remained focused on some distant point behind Harm.

“Thank you, James. Dismissed.”  Harm sat back in his seat, still clutching the files Beth had given him. Momentarily off balance, he couldn’t help but wonder if the Petty Officer’s annoying habit of anticipating his requests had anything to do with Mac’s ability to tell time?  He still wasn’t sure if James’ ‘skill,’ was a good or bad thing.  At least none of it involved anything else with Mrs. Atkins.

Rabb Flat
Same time

“How was lunch?” Mattie had been lying on the couch watching some home invasion show where a group of decorators storm the house and make it over in a few days using only the supplies available.

“It was actually quite good. Harm ordered me some wonderful deep fried lamb meatballs called, kebbeh shamieh.”

“I dare you to say that three times fast with your mouth full,” Mattie snickered softly, suddenly very glad she opted out of lunch.  She wasn’t too sure she’d be too fond of any food so hard to pronounce.

Shaking her head slightly at the teenager’s feeble attempt at a joke, Mac finished what she was saying. “I’ll have to take you there for dinner one night, I suspect Harm is going to be working rather long hours in the upcoming days.”

“Anything wrong?”

“Not exactly.  Two enlisted women were recently murdered, and we need to figure out the connection before whoever is responsible strikes again.”


“Well, Harm and his staff.”  Mac tried not to blush. The ‘we’ had just slipped out.  In all honesty, Mac had little idea what she was going to do with herself during the day.  She had worked every day of her life since she joined the corps. Even though she had weekends off, technically she was always on call. The logical thing to do was immerse herself in Mattie’s therapy during the adjustment period of moving to London.  That and find her own specialist so she and Harm could start working on that elusive baby.

“Mac. What are ‘we’ going to do here?”

Sitting on the other end of the sofa. “Well, this week, we’re going to sleep late until we catch up with the right time zone, and when we aren’t sleeping, we’re going to play tourist and visit some of the sights of London.”

“I can live with that,” Mattie nodded her head with a slight smile on her face.

“THEN, next week we get started on your therapy and tutoring.  We’ve got to get you caught up on all you missed this spring before school starts up in the Fall.”

“Yeah, school…”

“Mattie, you’ve made great progress.  There’s every chance by the time classes start up in September you’ll be able to walk on your own.” Mac hadn’t stopped hoping for a miracle for Mattie. For either of them.  The doctors gave Mattie an 80% chance of walking again unassisted.  Mac only had a four percent chance and she was going to hold onto every bit of it, no matter how discouraged she often felt.

London Headquarters
Harm’s office
1545 hours

“Yes, sir... I understand with Mac no longer there, and Sturgis in San Diego, Commander Roberts is both your Chief of Staff and most experienced senior officer.” Harm nodded his head as the General spoke from across the Atlantic.

“I agree this could become an explosive situation.  It’s best to have a senior officer with HQ experience.” Harm would really have preferred Bud’s keen perceptive skills.

“Yes, sir… Understood… Yes, sir, that will be more than satisfactory. Thank you.”  Placing the phone back in its cradle, Harm hadn’t really considered this scenario as an option, but it might turn out to be a better team yet.

Chapter 7

Rabb flat
1830 hours

“Sorry, I’m late,” Harm called the moment he crossed the threshold.

“We’re in here,” Mac’s voice carried from the dining room.

“Mm, smells good. I didn’t think I had enough ingredients here for you to cook anything.”

“You didn’t. Mattie and I went for a walk and brought home some take out from the pub around the corner.  It’s just fish and chips, but boy are they good!! Oh and I also bought some summer pudding.”

“Looks great, thanks.” Harm gave Mac and Mattie a quick kiss then took a seat across the table from Mac and filled his plate. “I didn’t realize how hungry I was.”

“I bet. Anything in particular keep you at work?” Mac was trying to find her footing between being an interested wife and a pushy unemployed marine.

“Lt. Philips gave me an update on her findings on the Howard case.” Harm had to admit Mac was right, the fish was really good, even if it was fried.

“Find any connections?” Mac served herself some of the summer pudding. All the berries looked scrumptious.  It took every ounce of strength not to interrupt Harm with a moan at how delicious the first spoonful was.

“Not yet. Other than they’re both around the same age, and both have excellent fit reps.”

“Did Petty Officer Howard have a boyfriend?” Mac inquired between spoonfuls.

“No. She broke up with her last boyfriend over three months ago.  She lived alone and didn’t seem to have very many friends to fill in the blanks in her personal life.”  Harm served himself another piece of fish.

“Where did Jenkins live?”

“At the BEQ in London.  Enlisted up to E4 are required.”

“Wasn’t Howard a third class?” Mac glanced over at the desert debating silently if she should serve another bowl.

“Yes, but she got an exception because housing was full when she arrived.  Housing is a bit of a challenge here. The waiting list for military housing can be as long as six months.”

“So they didn’t work in the same place. They didn’t live near each other. Did Philips interview any of the friends? Maybe there’s a common link there?”

“She covered everyone in housing at Ruislip.  Howard did her job well, but other than a polite ‘good morning’, or ‘have a nice day’, she pretty much kept to herself.”

“How’d you find out about the ex -boyfriend?” Mac gave up the battle and served herself another helping of summer pudding.

“Apparently she used to keep a photo of him on her desk and then one day about three months ago, it was just gone. She never talked about it, and no one that we know of asked her about it.”

“Does anyone know who he was?” Mac was starting to develop an odd sense of frustration, considering this wasn't her case.

“No. The Petty Officer was very tight lipped about her personal life. Her parents live in Virginia, not far from Bud and Harriet.  I put in a call to Bud and asked him if he could find a few minutes, as a favor, to go speak with the parents.  Perhaps we can find out more from them.”

Mattie had sat quietly watching the conversation.  Reserve marine, huh? She wondered if she could get anyone to take bets on whether or not Mr. and Mrs. Columbo here would be the ones to solve this case, or the Lt. actually assigned the investigation.

“What about witnesses at the scene?” Mac got up to put her dishes in the sink.

“Philips and Baskin are going to hit the two pubs tomorrow, as well as interview everyone from the pub in Kensington where Jenkins disappeared.  It would be more likely to find a witness who heard or saw something if they actually did the killing in Whitechapel.” Harm followed Mac with his plate.

“Don’t you want some desert?”

“Maybe later.” Leaning sideways for a quick kiss, Harm set the dish in the sink and turned fully, pulling Mac into his arms. Within seconds, they were completely engrossed in the fiery passions surging between them when the sound of a rather loud ‘huff,’ and then Mattie’s voice clearly grumbling, ‘newlyweds!’ before the sound of her wheels rolling away along the wooden floors dragged them back to the here and now.

“Oops,” Mac giggled.

“I can’t help it. I’ve waited the better part of nine years to be able to do that.” Stepping back slightly, Harm let his fingers run softly down the side of Mac’s cheek. “What do you say we spend a little time with Mattie and then call it a night early?”

“Works for me.” Mac kissed his lips lightly then swatted his six as she walked away.

Next Day
Harm’s office

Harm looked up at the light tap on his door.

“Sorry to interrupt, sir, but Lt. Philips is requesting a few minutes.”

“Send her in.” Harm waved, quickly putting the photos scattered across his desk into a neat pile.  As CO of this office he had a list of responsibilities as long as his arm, and none of them included working the new ‘Jack the Ripper’ case.

“Have you seen the morning Times, sir?” Mary held a folded newspaper out for the Captain to look at.

‘COULD JACK BE BACK?’ in large bold print announced the banner story.

Sighing heavily, “At ease. No. I haven’t.” Reading the name under the headline, “Who is this guy and where did he get the story?” Quickly scanning the paragraphs, Harm was horrified to find every detail he knew of was clearly written for all to see in black and white.  So much for an untainted investigation.

“We don’t know, sir.  From what Darrell, I mean Inspector Baskin tells me, this guy usually writes for one of the tabloids. He hangs out a lot at the police stations looking for some scoop on some celebrity or royal, but we have no idea how he got a hold of so many details.” Lt. Philips was still standing at ease.

“I want to know where he got his information from, and then you’d better pray that none of the people on your list of interviews today has read the paper.  At least the damn story is buried on page…” Harm flipped the paper, “Nine.”

“Yes, sir. Inspector Baskin is on his way to pick me up.  We thought we’d start with the two pubs in Whitechapel, then work our way back to Kensington.”

“I want a full report on my desk first thing in the morning.” Harm informed her.

“Yes, sir. I’ve also taken the liberty of making a list of all single female E4’s stationed in the London area.”

Harm’s eyebrows reached his hairline waiting for her reply.

“It’s just that, besides the Navy, E4 seems to be the only other link.” Mary tried not to let her uneasiness show.  “Of the 136 E4’s, 61 are single, and 22 are female.”

“Agreed, Lieutenant. Very good.” Harm set the newspaper on his desk. “You may be on to something. The average age of Jack the Ripper’s victims was between 39 and 47. Our victims have been in their early 20’s.  Perhaps he’s targeting E4 Naval personnel instead of middle aged prostitutes. After you speak with the Yard’s profiler, let’s see if you can figure out why and narrow down that number a little further. ”

“Yes, sir.” Mary couldn’t hide the small smile of pride at the Captain’s obvious approval of her initiative.  She’d had a tough time with Captain Edward’s.  He was part of the old boys’ club and getting him to notice anything more than a female officer’s smile was tough.  She was delighted to work under a man who appreciated skill, regardless of gender.

“Sir, have you given any thought to the positions the bodies were posed in?”

Harm flipped open the two folders he’d set aside.  She was right.  The bodies were in very similar positions.  He had been so focused on the physical details of the injuries, he’d overlooked the obvious.  The bodies weren’t merely dumped, they were strategically placed.  Whoever the killer was, he was sending a message.

“How soon do you meet with the profiler?” Harm inquired, still looking down at the photos.

“We were supposed to meet this morning, but Dr. Mitchell had to cancel.  He’s supposed to call us this afternoon and let us know when we can do this again.”


“Behavioral Scientist. Scotland Yard’s best.”

“Very well.  Let me know if you turn up anything helpful.”  Harm was interrupted by the sound of the intercom.

“Yes, James?”

“Inspector Baskin is here for the Lieutenant, sir.  He says it’s important.”

“Send him in.”

“Sorry to hit and run, but I heard from Dr. Mitchell and if we head to the Yard now he can give us half an hour.”  Darrell barely popped his head in the door.

“Excellent. Dismissed, Lieutenant.” The more he learned about this case, the more his stomach twisted in knots.  What he really needed was two aspirins and to get home to his wife.  His wife… those words still sent shivers up his spine.

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