A space ranger, Ziva believed she was doing a respectable and law-abiding role, the intergalactic police regulating rocket ships, aliens and trade. Ziva was proud, representing the rangers, preventing a parasitic species from escaping into her homeworld, capturing several cowboys trying to leapfrog their way to the outpost and its unregulated currency. What shocked her were the underhand dealings; some were harmless, a wrist slap, the promise to stay clear of trouble. It was the corruption Ziva discovered, it shocked, a fellow ranger, someone she trusted, was loading contraband; he winked at her, hoping she would be on board with the deception. Investigating and arresting rangers, omitted from the job description, instead, policing the rangers contracted to another independent unit. She had witnessed this same individual on two previous occasions; neither gave cause for concern as her partner assured her they were looking into the situation. Making a passing sweep, she counted boxes stacked in the cargo bay; this time, she would make the arrest herself. The spectacle which followed, rather than going with her quiet, subdued, the ranger made a scene, yelling at her. Mistakes were common, Ziva needed to show confidence in this decision; opening a box, unregulated alcohol, communication devices, stolen laptops, onlookers with phone in hand captured the moment as she wrestled him, handcuffed and led him to the holding cell.
The high profile arrest forced management to make changes, firing or paying-off those involved in the deception and the arrest. In this was the requirement for Ziva to resign, an offer of a hefty payout and ample pension to ensure she kept quiet. It seemed she disrupted the delicate power balance, the SpaceY leader liked to grease his palms with illegal trade without question. He had to appear to uphold the law, and protect the galactic community; Ziva had exposed major flaws in, so she took the offer relieved that his unblemished reputation was under scrutiny, although she knew he would receive a mere warning, it might deter future deceit.
Ziva worried, Emilie talked, their phone conversations flowed, with Rylan, a rare text since he hated the phone. It was coffee, the key to helping her brother open a dialogue, communicate his feelings. His nerves frayed, Eliza showed such promise; in his eyes, she was his redeeming feature, the one who would succeed where he had failed, at least from an academic stance. Emilie had turned her attention to keep routine with the younger two, but Rylan knew he was the reason, putting pressure on Eliza. Rylan’s initial comments were dismissive when Eliza expressed her annoyance in the presence of family; Rylan blamed hormones; he had a similar feeling at her age, and he expected rebellion instead, she ran. Her leaving put a strain on the family, his relationship with Patrick and Charlotte, who blamed him, and Emilie, who hid her pain and tears, pretending she was positive. The weight of holding the family together overflowed into an argument, resulting in Rylan sleeping alone with his guilt, wishing he could repair the damage by bringing her home.
The question of “what next?” rested in the silence; Vicky looked shocked, suggesting Ziva enjoyed her retirement. They were comfortable, it could be tight on Vicky’s small wage, but her paintings were selling. Vet bills was a strain on their resources; Patches ill health and the extension for Milly made a dent in Ziva’s savings. Ziva wondered if they could save enough for Milly to attend university or assist her in buying a house on the sole income. A withheld number brought the answer, praying for Eliza, Ziva answered, her hope faded, a cryptic voice invited her to join him. His suit, smart patent leather shoes an odd pairing amongst the sand, he fussed Asher who purred contented as Ziva approached.
The government was still sifting through the chaos brought by the arrest, it had made them pay closer attention to the rangers regulation and Ziva. Recruitment from the rangers was common, they wanted Ziva to take a position as lead detective in the Secret Service, her cover with Vicky would be simple, she was a liaison with the police department, her experience with computers and recent role would support this. Ziva had one request, could she make use of their resources to locate her missing niece, the man smiled, handing her a small file, they knew where she was, and in exchange for her discretion he was happy to share.