It wasn’t for another two days before they made any sort of progress with the case. If anything, the questions kept building and there were little answers to bring that list down. Because of the state of the corpses, DNA testing was the only sure way they got identifications but that led to a great deal more of a mystery.
Why were these bodies appearing so much older than the victims? The one wasn’t more than twenty years of age and looked like that of a sixty year old man. Even interest searches for related cases came up with nothing. McGee even went as far as to hack into the FBI to see if they might have something in some of their hush hush cases that they kept from even their own people at times.
Ziva and Tony were out dealing with another notification together leaving McGee and Gibbs alone in the office. McGee couldn’t help but be frustrated because he was sure that there had to be something somewhere that could give them even the slightest clue as to where to go. There were no drugs they could think of that would cause the aging and decomposition to that extent. Again, another mystery.
This was disturbing news to say the least. One thing that was certain, General Landry was actually relieved that he hadn’t sent someone in particular back through the gate yet. Calling him to his office, he thought about how he would break the news to him but decided to give it cold. “Colonel Sheppard,” he greeted and closed the door of his office. “We might have a Wraith on Earth, I want you to check it out.”
“Sir?” he tilted his head. “I thought we had found and killed them all.”
“Apparently not!” Landry said tiredly. “According to our computer geeks, Google received a few queries about ‘drained’ and ‘aged’ bodies, and I want you and your team to check it out before it gets out of hand,” he continued. “Teyla, McKay and Ronon are on their way from the Pegasus Galaxy already.”
“Sure, sir.” he nodded. “Where have the bodies been found?”
Landry looked down at the notes on his desk. “A park in Virginia, Fairfax county. It’s almost an hour from Washington DC. I’m trusting you to handle it as you and your people are the most knowledgeable about this race. You will have any resources necessary at your disposal as well.”
“What agency do we have to deal with?”
To that, he couldn’t help but make a face. “Navy cops. Which usually shouldn’t be a problem but my superiors also gave me the heads up that the lead agent may not hand over the case willingly. They said he tends to be quite stubborn – and that’s putting it nicely!”
Navy cops, I love it, he thought wryly. “We might need a handful of zat-guns…” he thought out loud. “Oh, what’s the lead agent’s name?”
The General had to shift more papers around the mess on the desk to find the right form it was written on. “It was ehm… Gibbs. A Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Sounds like a pain in the ass if that was ever a name,” he chuckled.
He tried not to choke and then die of laughter. “Yeah… I’ve heard of him,” he scratched his head. “Might need a couple of non-disclosure agreements to make this easier.”
“Do you think that’s necessary? The president made it clear he wants this to keep a low profile and handled quickly.”
“Believe me, General. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this man despite his…” he thought for a second and decided to go for the diplomatic answer, “record. I’m sure that the president knows about Agent Gibbs’ capabilities.”
Landry nodded and called out for Walter but the Sergeant already was coming into the room with a manila envelope stuffed to the gill with forms. “Non disclosure forms Sir,” he said. “Ten copies should be enough. I have included a list of names that would be recommended due to the management of the case and resources already involved.”
“What would I do without you?” Hank grinned and passed the package to Sheppard. “You should go to the Gateroom and wait for your friends. They should be here soon. Dismissed.”
Sheppard nodded and started to leave. “Thank you sir.”
“Be sure to tell your lady friend hello for me,” he said as he sat back down to get to work.
Sheppard muttered something about having a private life and it not being so private anymore and headed towards the gate room, hoping that Teyla would have thought about bringing his gear.
Twenty minutes later, after the AR1 team had time to pack their belongings for a possible extended visit to Earth, the trio made their way through the gate. Ronon, who had been to the SGC and off the base a number of times before thought nothing about it, had his gun resting on his shoulder as he looked at Sheppard with a bored expression.
“Where’s this Wraith?” he asked.
Teyla meanwhile looked around briefly to get reacquainted. She’d visited the SGC before in John’s memory during their time on the misty planet their first year and then again a few years later during the IOA interviews when she was with child. “Colonel Sheppard,” she smiled. “You have been quite missed at home.”
“Yea, yea, yea, what’s the deal? Can’t you take a vacation without dragging us here, there, everywhere to get into fights and trouble?” McKay rambled on. “Where’s Sam? Does she know I’m here? How do I look?”
Sheppard rolled his eyes. “I missed you guys too,” he smirked. “And believe me, I had no intention of finding a Wraith on this planet after last time.”
“So where is it?” Ronon spoke up wanting to get to some wraith hunting.
“Virginia,” he answered. “But we’ll have to stop by on a Navy yard first, we’ll be working with the team who discovered the bodies and…” he looked at Ronon and shook his head. “You need a better outfit.”
The Satedan looked down at his usual clothes of leather and ripped fabric that exposed his arms. For him it was convenient and comfortable. Not restrictive to movement which aided him in his fighting skills. “Whatever,” he shrugged.
Teyla smiled sympathetically. “I too could use some more appropriate garments. Lieutenant Cadman was kind enough to lend me some of her civilian outfits but – she is smaller than I…”
He looked Teyla over, and tried to keep a neutral face. “I’m sure that we can find something more… suitable here on base,” he said. “Something that doesn’t focus on your… ehm… assets.”
As they went off to become more Earth friendly, Rodney looked at John and had a haughty smile on his face. “Navy yard?” he questioned. “We’ll finally get to meet your mystery girlfriend?”
“Believe me, I wish another team had encountered the bodies.” John groaned as he got into his BDU’s. He hated official business. Rodney, Teyla and Ronon were always lucky with their civilian clothes while on Earth, but not him. At least his clothes were more comfortable.
Once they were all ready, the Hammond beamed them to Washington DC, where a car waiting for them. “Don’t piss them off, Rodney,” he warned as he started to drive towards the Navy yard. He wished he had time to text Ziva for a heads up, but maybe it was better he didn’t.
“What? Why would I piss them off?” he asked defensively from the backseat.
“I dunno, you have a knack of doing that,” John said while he focused on the traffic.
By the time that they reached their destination, Teyla had been entirely engrossed in the level of development that the planet had reached. Never been past the walls of Stargate Command, this was truly a treat for her, regardless of the circumstances. As John pulled up to the security gate, he waved to the group to pull out their IDs, of which the SGC had ones created for Ronon and Teyla for use while on the planet.
“Head straight and turn left at the promenade, Sir,” the guard directed. “When you park you will need to check in at the HQ desk to get an escort the rest of the way into the building.”
“Thanks,” he said and followed the guard’s instructions.
“Shouldn’t you give your girlfriend a heads up?” Rodney shot at him, Sheppard could tell he was annoyed.
John glared at his friend as a response. Pulling into the parking space he locked up and checked his weapon on his thigh holster. How anyone could use the waist and shoulder ones was beyond him. This was just simply more comfortable and convenient.
The foursome went through the necessary routines with checking into NCIS and a young pimply face agent came down. “You’re here to see Director Vance?” he asked looking at them and cowered at the look Ronon passed.
“Yes, we are.” John replied. “Including the team that’s working on the dead, drained bodies case.”
“Erm, okay. Sorry I don’t know which team that might be. I haven’t heard of any case like that but I’m sure the Director would know,” he apologized. “Please follow me.”
The agent led the team up through the bullpen where Gibbs sat on his phone and curiously watched the new people walk by. McGee was oblivious as he was still searching for information through the FBI archives and considered hacking into other agencies next.
Once in the office, Vance nodded his dismissal to the escorting agent. “Thank you, I will handle it from here,” he said, closing the door.
Downstairs, Gibbs hung up his phone and sat contemplating what he just saw. “Hey McGee,” he called looking across the desk.
Tim looked up with a tired and frustrated look in his eyes. “Yea Boss?”
“Pull up the surveillance footage from in here for the last fifteen minutes,” he said as he came over to his desk and leaned over to watch. “The group that came in while I was on the phone. Can you ID them?”
“Something wrong?” he asked as he went to pull up the requested data.
“Yea, my gut.”
While Gibbs was waiting for McGee to be done pulling up the data he requested, Ziva and Tony came back. “Well, that was a bust.” Tony said and plopped down on his chair.
“Well, it was a bit funny when you stepped into some dog crap,” Ziva smirked.
“Oh yes, that made my day.” Tony grimaced. “Whatcha doing, boss?”
“Ah, two civilian specialists for the Air Force,” McGee started.
“What is the Air Force doing at NCIS?” Ziva wondered out loud.
“Teyla Emmagen and Ronon Dex,” McGee said. “Funny how they pop up so easily.”
“Are those real names?” Tony quipped. “I swear that those names sound as if they belong in a science fiction movie.”
“And the other two, McGee?” Gibbs asked.
“Doctor Rodney McKay, also working for the Air Force, and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, also, Air Force.” McGee read from his screen. “I don’t get it, what’s the Air Force doing here?”
Ziva was already at Tim’s desk looking at the monitor that clearly showed John’s picture. Her face was full of recognition and confusion as she too wondered about the visit. He hadn’t told her that he was going to be in town, let alone at her workplace.
“Something wrong, Ziva?” Gibbs asked.
She looked at him still very much frozen. “It’s him,” she replied softly before turning to look up the stairs where Director Vance was standing with John Sheppard beside him, hands on his hips with a look of seriousness that she never saw before.
Vance met Gibbs eyes and pointed. “You and your team in my office now,” he ordered before returning to his office with Sheppard in tow. John hadn’t looked back at Ziva, but this also wasn’t a social call as much as he preferred it to be.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me.” Tony rolled his eyes. “An Air Force pilot? Looking like THAT?”
Tim was already following Gibbs and Ziva up the steps and laughed. “NCIS accepted you looking like you do,” he pointed out. “Wonder what this is all about…”
“Aliens, I bet!” Tony joked.
McGee only rolled his eyes as the group filed into the office where Vance was still standing at the door to close behind them. “This is the team that has been handling the case you are here about,” he started. “Gibbs, I told Colonel Sheppard here that he would have to tell you himself as I wouldn’t.”
Agent Gibbs was silent and turned his cool eyes onto the man. They looked at the dark mess of hair pointedly and narrowed, wondering how the Air Force would approve of such a cut. “Ya?” he questioned, remaining fairly neutral for now.
Oh, Ziva was going to be pissed with him, he suspected. “My superiors asked me if I could come here and take over the case, but I’d rather work with you. I know that’s impossible without a lot of paperwork.” John started. “So, to make it easier for all of us, I’d like you to hand over your case, to me,” he continued coolly, not impressed by Gibbs’ somewhat impressive stare.
Tony immediately took a step back. Whoever this guy was, he had no idea who he was dealing with. You just don’t go up against the Great White! Ziva made a face and struggled to keep from saying something too, starting to raise her hand in warning, putting it down, and repeated.
Of course, John Sheppard knew danger. This was not. Try going up against a Wraith Queen, or ten. That’s danger. So, he just stood there, looking pretty with his cocky smile waiting for Gibbs to make his move. Even Director Vance scratched his head, looking at Gibbs and Sheppard with expectation. This was going to be one hell of a pissing contest.
“Ahh, no,” Gibbs smiled. “I don’t think so. The victims were marines, not Air Force. My jurisdiction.”
“With all due respect, what killed your people is not your jurisdiction,” John said. “We know what is going on and had to ask as a formality honestly. I pretty much knew that you weren’t going to agree to just hand it over without knowing all the details. Ziva told me enough about you so I came with a back up plan.”
“Oh!” McKay started, “She’s not a blonde, but …”
Sheppard glared at his friend.
“I’ll shut up now.” Rodney nodded and went to put his briefcase he brought on the table. Opening it he set out the stacks of confidentiality agreement forms for each team member that had to be about fourty pages thick.
“Ziva?” Tony repeated speaking up. “This your new boyfriend that you been hiding from us?” he asked her while she just sighed and rolled her eyes.
Waving her hand, she went to introduce the team. “Tony, McGee, and of course Gibbs,” she said to John and gave him a look that he had better have some answers.
“Whatever. If you want to stay on the case with us, because we can pull it from you if we really wanted but for some odd reason Kirk here thinks that you should be read into the program, you need to sign these forms…As a formality of course,” McKay babbled as Teyla and Ronon stood back looking somewhat bored as this was a common spectacle for them.
“Trust me in this case, you’d really want to sign these forms,” Sheppard said, not impressed by Gibbs. Tony and McGee had already stepped back towards the door, and even the NCIS Director looked amused. “A whole new world will open.”
Unsure of how else to convince these people, John looked back Vance who knew what the whole situation now was. “The information that they want to share with you is highly classified. I knew about it from SecNav when I took office but I didn’t consider it a possibility until the Colonel came today. If you don’t sign those forms, I am inclined to give them the entire case with evidence and reports,” he said.
“I’ll sign,” Ziva replied in hopes that her move would encourage the others of her level of trust in the man.
“Ziva?” Gibbs questioned, looking at her as she went to begin signing what she needed in the packet of papers.
She looked at him and nodded. “If you trust me… I trust Sheppard,” she said firmly.
McGee accepted that as enough and went over to sign off as well. The only two still holding out were Gibbs and DiNozzo.
“I know that you probably are annoyed by me and my team, intruding on your playground.” Sheppard directed himself towards Gibbs, knowing that this Tony was sort of Gibbs’ lap dog. “But it is necessary and if you don’t sign these papers, you are off this case, and we’ll get all the information we need from Agents David and McGee.” He was still standing relaxed as ever, with his hands in his pockets, not looking away from Gibbs.
“Boss has a problem with authority,” Tony said, which earned him a glare from Gibbs.
“Yeah, I’d be pissed too if someone younger than me would try and take over my case.” John nodded.
The older agent still was debating whether or not to sign. Anything that required that kind of paperwork was nothing but trouble. However, the fact that two of his agents being to readily trusting to the stranger… He wasn’t a stranger to Ziva though. Looking at her and seeing the unwavering support that she now displayed… Nodding he went over to get it over with, signing what he needed to before throwing the pen down on the table.
Following suit, Tony silently but reluctantly signed. He didn’t want to be left off the case and at least by staying on he could keep an eye on the surfer boyfriend. Once all was done and settled, Gibbs turned back to Sheppard.