Last week, Hetty Cole walked into her husband, Bertram Cole's, room at a posh Los Angeles nursing home only to find him shot dead and covered in his own blood, lying across his bed. A nurse, whom Hetty told Callen and Sam had been kind to Bertram, was also dead in his room, lying shot on the floor. Hetty remarked that the rules had changed since her inception into the Cold War and she didn't understand how two helpless and innocent people could have been murdered like they had been. The little black book that Bertram had hidden was said to contain important spy information dating from thirty years back, at least, and it could not be found. Where could it be, Hetty mused?
Hetty sent Agent Jones to search dead millionaire and supposed antiques dealer Renner's posh mansion high atop the Hollywood Hills for that little black book whee she managed to locate an old paperback book from the 1970s that bore microdots of long past information, not useful to any one now. Hetty thanked Jones for her diligence and told her to begin making a copy of the book. It was going to be used to confound and confuse the foreign operatives after the book. Jones began work at once on the desired product.
Cold War German spy Matthias called Hetty on her cell phone and asked for a meeting. She met with him, his arm in a sling from a bullet fired into it by Sam the previous week. Nothing much was decided, just that Matthias really wanted that little black book, if indeed it did exist. Matthias said that he was cooperating with the CIA in exchange for his freedom if he could hand over the little black book. What he did not tell her at the time was that he was also dealing with Russian operatives in exchange for a very large sum of money, that he was double crossing both the CIA and the Russians and that he was not at all worried about the consequences of his future actions when they both found out.
At the nursing home, Callen and Bligh found the survelliance cameras had been ripped out and the security tapes stolen, but a camera had been hidden in something in the hallway and that tape proved to show two young thought-to-be Russian male operatives. Agent Deeks said that he knew the two young men and that they were possibly Russian military intelligence, and they had obviously been after the much hoped for little black book. Hetty told him to find out whatever he could about the two men. Meanwhile, agent Jones had found a hidden safe deposit box key at Renner's mansion and brought it back to CBI headquarters where she turned it over to Hetty, who told her to track down the bank to which it might belong. It proved to belong to the Certified National Bank in downtown Los Angeles.
A sting operation was set up across the street from the Certified National Bank downtown and agents Sam and Callen, using binoculars, discovered that Matthias was parked across the street from them. Matthias mentioned that in exchange for the little black book that was hoped by all to be lying safely in that safe deposit box, he would allow the team to leave unharmed. A quick discussion among Callen and Sam with Bligh standing outside the car they were sitting in whipped up an impromptu plan. Bligh asked for some gum from Callen before she left the car. Sticking it into her mouth, chewing it, she went into the bank and stuck the gum under a counter and pressing the safe deposit key into it, she milled around a bit in the lobby and left. Sam and Callen had entered just behind her and after Sam retrieved the key, he told a clerk that he had power of attorney for Renner and wanted to retrieve anything left in the box. He gave the name Maruice Tony Greyson, which cleared him to look into the box. The clerk opened the box and handed it to him, and when she turned to go, she saw Matthias standing at the door of the room. She asked him if she could help him, but he had seen that the box was empty when Sam opened it, and turning on his heel, Matthias left the bank empty handed, a grim expression on his face.
Deeks and Bligh followed a car containing several young Russian operatives who stopped and got out, aiming their guns at the agents who followed suit. They were standing there threatening each other when Deeks suggested that the Russians take him hostage. They took Bligh instead and placed her in a stadium bathroom laced with lasers hooked up to trigger a bomb if they were broken. Deeks went back to the CBI headquarters, mentally kicking himself all the way, but when he told Hetty about the abduction, she told him that it was not his fault and that he had done the very best he could at the time.
A visual computer link was sent to CBI headquarters by the Russians to show the agents where Bligh was being held captive. Immediately, Hetty told Sam and Callen and Deeks to head out there, which they did. Sam and Callen searched the stadium for the Russians whilst Deeks found Bligh in the women's bathroom of the facility. Bligh immediately told Deeks to shut off the light, showing him the lasers. Deeks mentioned that this was why Bligh had not moved at all when the agents viewed the link back at headquarters. She was covered in sweat from the strain of holding still. Deeks came up with a brilliant idea: using a laser on his own gun that would and could be used to disrupt the lasers crossing the bathroom. He used it to temporarily erase one so that Bligh could come closer to the door, but another one was set up too high. He said she would have to cross this one on her own, which she did by bending and contorting her limber body. Finally she was nearly free of the red light beams when the last one caught her foot, but Deeks grabbed her and together they flung themselves from the room just as the bomb went off. They didn't sustain any injuries, happily. Meanwhile, agents Sam and Callen had found and shot the Russians who died at the scene. The Russians had done their best to kill the agents. Callen had handed over the fake black book that Jones had prepared to one Russian and he had walked off, but now was lying dead at the agents' feet.
Matthias called Hetty's phone for one more meeting, this time in a parking garage near downtown. The two met and he told her that he had double crossed both the CIA and the Russians in exchange for his freedom and lots of money. He said that he knew there was no little black book, never had been. Hetty agreed with him. The two parted after Hetty cautioned him that he would be hunted for the rest of his days. He did not seem to mind.
Later that day, a musing Hetty returned to the nursing home where Bertram had been murdered and a scene from the past crossed her mind in which Bertram was telling her that it was all history now. She remembered that he had given her a book entitled "The Red Badge of Courage". She smiled wryly and went back to CBI headquarters where she retrieved the old book from her desk and took it to her bank, depositing it in her safe deposit box. She knew that the vaunted spy information was somewhere in that book, but what did it matter now? The Cold War was long over and Bertram Cole was dead. The information would lie dormant and unused now because if it were ever found, that many more deaths would be the result of it getting out. No one but Hetty knew where it was now. Let it lie. Matthias was sitting outside the bank where Hetty stood when Agents Sam, Callen and Bligh walked up to his car and threatened him with divulging his mistress and his many secret bank accounts to his wife back in Germany if Matthias ever bothered Hetty again, and perhaps more. Matthias was shocked, surprised, taken aback and agreed to leave Hetty alone, though it was plain to the agents that he did not like the impromptu agreement. He drove off and the agents looked satisfied.
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