Hitting Hard: Chapter 1-Opening

Summary: New NCIS Special Agent Kim Tomblin has a lot of adjusting to, after returning from a fourteen-month deployment to Iraq, leaving the Marine Corps, moving away from San Diego - and Dr. Jeff Cunningham - and starting a new job with NCIS. Her first case, which is supposed to be simple, proves to be anything but, following her around when that is exactly the last thing she needs.

A/N: I'm back! I've had requests for a sequel to Falling on Unyielding Ground, so here it is (you should probably read that one first, or this one will seem like it's missing a lot of background information. Because it is). The story will cover the time from Kim Tomblin dropping off Jeff Cunningham at the airport to the epilogue of Falling, but writing has been rather slow. I'll give you a new chapter whenever I can, but be patient-it won't be every day, or even every other day. As always, I like to know what you're thinking as you're reading, and if you have any suggestions for where you want the story to go, feel free to give those as well.

This chapter is written with an opening, in the same fashion as my NCIS stories, so you won't see any of our main characters until the next chapter. Be patient-they're coming soon enough :)


March 2007

Petty Officer Third Class Vince Spivey rolled his eyes as he checked his watch again, only to discover that only three minutes had passed since the last time he checked. I though Canadians were supposed to be punctual? he mused to himself. "Dude, is this guy coming?" his friend complained. "I thought you said he'd be here half an hour ago."

"He'll come," Spivey muttered back. He better, he added silently. This was not a deal anyone wanted to go flat, least of all the Canadian. If the sailors went home empty-handed, they'd get a slap on the wrist; if the Canadian didn't get what he wanted, he'd go home with a lot less money.

It was another seven minutes before the sound of wheels on the gravel road got the attention of both waiting sailors. "'Bout time," Spivey complained, his arms wide in an expression of annoyance. He dropped them, the sound heavy in the deserted valley. "Thought we agreed on 0900."

"I had some things to take care of," Ryan LeBlanc, the Canadian contact, replied.

"And we have a base that we have to get back to," Spivey said in return. "And a border to cross, but, you know."

LeBlanc frowned, his eyes going from one sailor to the next before settling on Spivey. "Thought you were coming alone."

"I told you," Spivey said, annoyed. "This isn't a one-man job. I never said anything about coming alone. This is my friend. Reggie."

LeBlanc's frown deepened. "He isn't my friend," he finally said. "I don't know him, and I don't trust him. How do I know he's not a cop or something?"

"Shit, Vince. I told you this was stupid," Reggie complained, running a hand over his short dark hair. Spivey ignored him, his attention focused on LeBlanc.

"Did we make all these arrangements for us all to go home empty handed?" Spivey asked. He wondered how the Canadian had ever managed to get any business done, if this was his usual attitude. Spivey's annoyance was beginning to turn into anger, but that wouldn't do any of them any good, so he kept his cool. "Why the fuck would I bring a cop to this meeting? Do I look like that much of a fucking idiot? Reggie and I have known each other since we were kids. Trust me, he's no cop. What he is, though, is on the flight line just as soon as we head back out to the carrier. Those are going to be our biggest customers, and you need his cooperation if you want any of them to buy your stuff." He held the other man's gaze unwaveringly. "You've tried out four different partners without any luck. We've been working on these arrangements for months. We," he gestured to him and Reggie, "had to get off base and figure out a way to cross the fucking Canadian border. We're going to get in trouble for that, because we didn't have the right leave forms and, well, Canada's another fucking country. Or something. So. Did we waste our liberty for the next month? Do you need to try to find someone else to distribute your merchandise? Or are we going to make the deal?"

They made the deal. LeBlanc would get his stuff from his cook and pack it up with stuff he swore would evade the drug sniffers and ship it to the carrier, and then it was up to Spivey and his network on the carrier for distribution. Shouldn't be too hard to find customers for high-quality meth on a carrier, especially if it was as high-quality as LeBlanc claimed. The guys on the flight line were always looking for a quick pick-me-up, and for everyone else, well, life on a carrier could be pretty boring sometimes. Pretty much all the time, actually. Spivey was already counting down the days until his contract with the Navy was up: 722. Little less than two years, and he was free and clear of all the bullshit his recruiter never told him about.

Reggie drove the rental car down the rural British Columbia roads harder than it deserved and faster than the Mounties would have appreciated, had they been around, which fortunately, they were not. The urgency was understandable, though, which is why Spivey didn't say anything to slow Reggie down. They had a deadline to get back to base, and LeBlanc's tardiness and general unwillingness to trust other people wasn't doing them any favors.

They made it to the border on schedule, fortunately facing a short line to go through customs. "Passports, please, gentlemen," the US Border Patrol agent requested, sounding as bored as he looked.

"Sure," Reggie replied, handing the passports over, where the agent scanned them with his passport scanning machine.

"Buy anything in Canada?" the agent asked as he handed them back.

Just some meth, but it'll be delivered later, Spivey thought. "Just a tank of gas and breakfast," Reggie said instead.

"You just crossed the border this morning?" the agent asked, his attention on the passport scanner. His shoulders moved in what could have been a shrug of disinterest. "Short trip in Canada. Hope you had fun." They were waved through without any further questions.

"Well, that was easy," Reggie commented as they continued the drive back to port. "Thought they were going to say or ask something about being military."

"Nah," Spivey replied, not bothering to point out to his friend that in the rental car without base decals and without showing their military IDs, that the Border Patrol agent would have no way of knowing that they were in the Navy. "That'll come after they give some MP the task of going through border patrol reports. They'll come chatting with us in a day or two." It was inevitable, but Spivey didn't care. In fact, he found it a little amusing that they'd be giving him little more than a slap on the wrist for the felony he just committed.