Tony’s cell buzzed as he and Ziva regarded the frozen image on the screen. While Ziva pressed forward staring intently at the screen, burning the details deep inside her mind, Tony pulled it out and flipped it open.
“Yeah, boss,” he said, “Yeah, she’s here now, and I brought her up to speed.” He frowned as Ziva turned towards him. “Damn. Yeah, on our way boss, I got copies of everything for McGee already.”
He started to say something else, but ended up jerking the phone away from his ear as it became obvious Gibbs had already hung up. “You know, one of these days he’s gonna say goodbye, and I’ll end up having a heart attack.”
Ziva just looked at him. “Where does Gibbs wish us now?”
Tony frowned again. “Looks like we got us another crime scene to go look at. Probably. McGee’s on his way back to headquarters, so we’re up.”
Ziva nodded once firmly, and strode quickly to the exit. “Very well, Tony. Let us proceed.”
As she looked back into the monitoring centre, she saw Tony quickly scribbling something down on a piece of paper and passing it to the attractive red haired Chief Petty Officer that had been helping them. Flashing her a dazzling smile, he mimed picking up a telephone and pushed himself away from the desk he’d been leaning on.
Typical Tony DiNozzo. Sometimes Ziva did not know why she worked so well with such an arrogant womaniser. As the womaniser in question picked his way through the desks towards where Ziva was waiting, she amused herself by delivering a death stare at the poor CPO, who flushed and made a great show of dropping the phone number into the waste bin beside her.
As Tony reached the doorway, he spread his hands upwards and shrugged. “Hey, birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim...”
“...DiNozzo’s have to follow their little DiNozzo’s,” Ziva smoothly finished.
Tony gave her a mild glare as he exited past her. “Well, I see someone’s feeling a lot better suddenly,” his voice trailed back down the corridor. Ziva shook her head in bemusement and smiled, before pushing herself off the doorframe and heading after her partner.
Her good mood lasted until she glanced back and saw the CPO leaning over and searching through the waste bin.
~ + ~
Back in the bullpen, Tim McGee pursed his lip and considered the knotty problem before him. Gibbs had given him strict instructions, and he was going to carry them out to the best of his ability, but still... there was a certain amount of self protection that was going to be needed here.
He had two large, and heavy, boxes of evidence collected from the MacArthur Supply Base warehouse, including Buffy Summers’s ID card which Gibbs had insisted was priority. Somehow, he had to carry both of those down to Abby’s lair, and manage to pick up a Caf-Pow along the way.
He brightened, as a brilliant idea struck him: take the Caf-Pow down solo first, and distract Abby with that, giving him enough time to nip back up and start bringing the boxes down.
His face fell just as quickly. Ducky and Palmer would have been back with Seaman Balboa’s body for half an hour by now, and there was no way that Abby wouldn’t have gotten the story of the fight out of Palmer by now (he doubted Ducky would have told her unless he decided she needed to know. That guy had the most amazing way to distract anyone with his stories). But Palmer... Palmer was the weak spot.
Maybe two Caf-Pow’s and pray the caffeine overdose temporarily stunned Abby long enough?
His computer buzzed suddenly, and several different programs came online. He jerked away, startled. Oh god, she knew he was in the building...!
“Wait a moment...” he breathed, studying the programs closely. “What the hell..!?!”
Those were all his data protection programs, both the official NCIS ones and all the ones he’d built personally. And whatever had suddenly come online had breezed straight through most of them in seconds!
Scrambling down into his chair, Tim grabbed his keyboard and started typing, trying to track whatever this was, or see what it was going for. His brow furrowed in thought, ideas and tricks flying directly from his brain to the keyboard, his hands darting swiftly over the keys.
Straight through the NCIS firewalls, straight through the first (weakest) of his layered personal protection programs... “Ha!” he said in triumph as the intruder paused for a moment at his second layer. His face fell, as his encryption just... fell to pieces and the intruder charged straight on to the final line of defence.
“Oh no you don’t,” he breathed grimly, and started typing like a madman, pulling out every trick he knew in the book, a few he knew that weren’t in the book, and one he invented on the spot in a mad flurry of invention.
He failed. “Shit!”
The penultimate trick he’d tried was a mirroring program, so he could see just what the hacker was after. “... the hell?” he found himself saying. Whatever the hacker wanted, it wasn’t casefiles or secure Naval information. It was them.
All the Personnel records on his team.
Starting with Tony DiNozzo and his time with the Baltimore police, then his subsequent NCIS career, they quickly flipped through his own file before moving onto Gibbs and then Ziva. The cursor seemed to blink almost when it met Gibbs’s info.
Then, suddenly, it was gone. And all traces of their intruder as well. He ran a few traces through the system, and got nothing, even on the approaches he’d seen the hacker using with his very eyes. Nothing at all. Everything was strangely clean and golden, no stray pieces of code. Everything had moved so fast, even hitting the emergency button and cutting off the building computers from outside wouldn’t have worked.
If he hadn’t been at his desk, he’d never have noticed anything later.
How the hell did this tie into the case? He’d picked up enough over all the years working with Gibbs to never underestimate his gut, and right now all his instincts were shouting at him this was connected to MacArthur Supply Base. But how, and why?
He groaned internally and sagged back into his chair. More to the point, how the hell was he going to able to explain this to Gibbs in a way the team would follow?
“McGee!” said a loud, and very annoyed, female voice in his ear, “Is there something you should be telling me about, I don’t know, a fight!”
Always assuming, of course, that he survived Abby...
~ + ~