But at the same time, this is a top-notch NCIS investigative team. They're going to find some traces, follow some tracks, and in general, also be very good at their jobs. It's an interesting balancing act, and one I hope I'm managing to pull off so far.
Timothy McGee stared thoughtfully at the images now playing across his screen. “Boss? Got something that might interest you here,” he called.
Gibbs was there in a flash, bending over the desk. “What am I looking at?”
“The north end of the road had a 7-11 with a camera facing the turning onto the main road. I’m still searching for a car that might fit the profile, but then I spotted this.” McGee hit the final button in a complicated sequence with a flourish.
The grainy black and white image displayed the parking space in front of a 7-11 and most of the road passing by it. Just visible at the edge of the screen was a phone booth. A few seconds passed and Gibbs was about to growl at McGee when two very familiar faces came into view.
Buffy and Faith glanced around, then the blonde stepped into the booth, pulling something out from inside her jacket. Faith remained in view of the camera, and leaned against the side of the phone booth obscuring the view for a moment. She stretched languidly, causing one nearby cyclist to wobble momentarily as they looked at her.
McGee nodded towards the corner of the screen. “Timestamp puts it at just about when the hacking attack occurred.”
“Interesting,” said Gibbs, eyes still fixed on the two women. Faith was now flipping the bird to the cyclist in question, while Buffy was still tantalisingly half out of view but evidently doing something with the telephone. “Could you do that from a public phone?”
McGee spread his hands in a no-idea-boss type of way. “Theoretically, all you’d need is a phone line and the specialised equipment. All we can see for certain is that she’s got the one.”
Gibbs grunted as Buffy finished with whatever she’d been doing in the booth, came out and spoke to Faith. He concentrated on their lips, trying to discern any indications of what they were speaking about, but the image quality defeated him.
“Records from that phone?”
McGee smiled humourlessly. “Wiped clean boss. According to the phone company servers, no calls into or out of that phone all morning.”
On the screen, Buffy and Faith looked at each other and walked off out of camera view as a woman started using the telephone after them. McGee nodded at the screen, “Even that lady’s call hasn’t been registered.”
Gibbs checked his watch. “Two and a half hours back. They could be anywhere in this time.” He moved to go back to his desk.
McGee cleared his throat. “Um, boss? I got an idea.”
Gibbs stopped in place. Across at their desks, Tony and Ziva exchanged a slightly worried look. Gibbs turned around and fixed McGee with his stare. “An idea?” he repeated.
“Well, more of a theory,” McGee gulped and shrank back in his chair a bit. “It’s just... both you and Ziva think these girls are y’know... pretty good at all the tracking?”
Gibbs said nothing, but continued to stare at McGee. Fortunately, behind Gibbs, McGee could see Ziva frantically nodding. He took a deep breath. “So, would I be good to assume that Mr X or Zero or whoever would most probably have come this way if those two have tracked him to this spot?”
Gibbs thought about it for a moment. He nodded briskly. “Good thinking. Keep your efforts focused on that area, and before they appeared.”
McGee let out a sigh of relief as Gibbs turned back to his desk. Ziva nodded respectfully at McGee and even Tony flashed him a thumbs up. Tapping away at the keyboard, he started to isolate all the records from that area of road.
Staring at his own phone, Gibbs found himself tapping his fingers impatiently. “C’mon Fornell, check your goddamn messages...”
“Gibbs,” came Director Vance’s voice from above them. Gibbs leaned back in his chair and studied him. “Need to borrow McGee for a while, get some new temporary defences set up.”
Vance was standing at the rail overlooking the NCIS division, directly over their section. His voice was pitched just enough to not carry across to the other workstations. He looked straight down at McGee, “Bring copies of all your programs that actually had an effect.”
Gibbs raised his eyebrows. “Kinda need him to run this record search right now, Leon,” he said casually.
“It’s okay, boss,” McGee said hurriedly, “Now I’ve got a small enough search criteria I’ve got it running on an automatic search and compare routine, so it’ll do all the work for us.”
Gibbs swept a hand out towards McGee. “All yours, Director.”
Tony smirked and looked up from his desk. “Just remember, don’t feed him after midnight. And don’t get him wet!”
Ziva’s brow furrowed as she tried to work that comment out. Gibbs just glared at Tony, who gulped. “Getting back to work now, boss.”
Gibbs returned his scrutiny to McGee who was now standing in the middle of the section, resembling nothing more than a boy who hasn’t done his homework. “Um, boss? Bosses?” he said, his eyes flitting back and forth between Vance and Gibbs. “I haven’t got copies of my programs here, I’d have to go home to get them.”
Gibbs looked at Vance.
Vance looked back at Gibbs in a he’s-your-agent manner.
Gibbs sighed. “Then go home and get them, McGee,” he said gently.
Tim flushed, grabbed his bag and headed off to the elevator. Passing Tony’s desk, he glared at DiNozzo, daring him to say anything. Halfway to the elevator, there was a coughing noise from behind him that sounded oddly like “dogatemyhomework”.
Which, coincidentally, was also followed by a noise that sounded like a hand hitting the back of someone’s head. “Ow!”
McGee found himself whistling a cheerful tune as the elevator descended.
~ + ~