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Time for Change

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Antonietta Darlene DiNozzo surveyed the evidence board in front of her, old school though it was it helped her think, it was much easier to see everything laid out in one image of sorts rather than the way some people preferred to throw information all over a plasma screen. Don’t get her wrong, she did use the plasma often herself and it was a great way to view information and move between different things a team were working on, but sometimes you just had to take a step back and observe in another way.

This particular evidence board was only a miniature version of course, it was her own portable board that she used to keep the pertinent information of whatever cold case she was working on at a time. This case had been had been on her board for some time though, so much so that she had gotten another one to use for cold cases and this one was for this case alone. She didn’t know what it was about this case that was bugging her, but it had been bugging her for a while now. Neither McGee nor Ziva had seemed that interested in it when she had talked them through it, but then again neither of them had her natural aptitude when it came to actual detective skills, and cold cases seemed to them the worst punishment they could receive, whereas Toni saw them as a puzzle, a challenge.

The case was several years cold, the case of a missing Petty Officer that had warmed up once when his body had been discovered and then gone cold again. The team that had originally worked the missing persons case had been called in when his body had been discovered, but they had been unable to discover who had killed him or why, not that his death had been ruled as a murder. When the Petty Officer had originally gone MIA there had been no obvious reason, there was nothing in his personal life that would have led to him going AWOL, his Navy file had shown him to be a conscientious and hard worker who seemed to live for the Navy. The team unable to find him eventually allowed the case to go cold, the lead agent having commented that the petty officer seemed to have just vanished off the face of the Earth. His body turning up several years later in the state that it did had garnered a few interested parties, but it appeared that no-one was close to an explanation and once again Petty Officer Clark’s case went cold.

Petty Officer Clark had gone off at the end of his shift, left the base in Norfolk and headed for his own apartment but had never made it there. There were no signs that he had ever made it back to the apartment and no signs of foul play in his leaving the base. He had signed out like he normally did and the CCTV had shown him leave, but no other cameras picked him up after that. No-one had even noticed that he was missing until he didn’t turn up for his next shift, by which point it seemed that he had vanished into thin air. His body turning up three years later just outside of the base at Norfolk was even more of a mystery, there was no signs of anyone having dumped his body, and even weirder was the fact that there seemed to be no signs of foul play.

Antonietta had checked with Ducky when she came across the case but he stuck with his initial cause of death, a cardio infraction. Petty Officer Clark died of a heart attack, but his circumstances were definitely odd to say the least. Ducky had put his time of death as an hour before he was found and had concluded that other than the heart attack the Petty Officer appeared to have been in perfect health. He had puzzled the fact though that the Petty Officer didn’t seem to have aged much from when he had disappeared, in fact it looked like no time had passed for him at all, he was even still dressed in his uniform.

It made absolutely no sense, it was a complete mystery, and that was what kept drawing Toni’s attention back to it. The team investigating him being missing and then his death had never been able to find any link between his disappearance and reappearance just outside of base. No cameras had picked up where he had gone or where he had appeared from, and there had been no trace of him in the years between. Toni couldn’t let this case go, there was something just outside of her consciousness about it, there were pieces of the puzzle missing that she wanted to find and fit together.

“Gibbs.” Toni called out to her boss, the surly Marine looking over at her. “Take a look for me? I know it’s colder than the arctic, but there’s something about it.”

“Clark?” Gibbs grunted as he looked at the board that Toni had propped against her monitor. “There was nothing to find at the time, doubt you will find anything now.”

“There isn’t much to go on, but surely that is something to investigate the fact there is nothing to go on. There has to be something there somewhere, my gut is telling me there is something we are missing.” Toni explained.

“Give me the board.” Gibbs said, “Lay it out for me.”

“There is footage of him leaving base, but he is never caught on any cameras after that, even though he should have shown up on at least one camera. He appears back in nearly the same place he disappeared from a couple of years later, but again doesn’t show up on any cameras.” Toni started, “So he either knows how to evade the cameras better than I do, or he had some sort of tech that was disrupting the feeds. Or someone else made sure that he didn’t show up on any of the cameras, and whoever that was is partly responsible for his disappearance if not his death.”

McGee looked up at that, “I doubt he had anything to disrupt the cameras Toni, he was just a Petty Officer, he didn’t have any tech skills.”

Toni glared in his direction, “Listen McGoo, just because he doesn’t have a degree in computers like you do, doesn’t mean he didn’t know enough or couldn’t be in possession of some technology that could disrupt the feeds.”

“This one isn’t going to warm back up again Toni,” Gibbs said as he looked at the board. “I see what you mean about the cameras, but it’s unlikely anything will come of the searches though. You can carry on with it, but unless you can bring me something concrete it is staying cold.”

Toni took the board back from Gibbs and headed back to her desk, propping it up against her monitor she stared at it for a while longer before putting it aside and bringing up the digital files on the case and beginning some searches on Petty Officer Clark’s history. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she had a feeling that there was something just out of reach. Her instincts were screaming at her that she needed to look at this one a bit closer, it was a feeling that she had let guide her in the past.

Her instincts had served her well in the three police departments that she had worked at before she had joined NCIS. Her deductive reasoning had helped her solve many a case in the past, but this case was a minefield, there was so much missing that it tugged at her. She knew that there was something there for her to find, it seemed too neat and tidy that the other team just didn’t find anything and let the case go cold.  She knew of course that such things happened and you couldn’t help it, often you would find nothing, no single scrap of evidence to provide a lead, and the case would go cold. However, with the amount of interest there had been in Petty Officer Clark’s case she would have expected that someone would have managed to scrounge up some lead to follow.

NCIS hadn’t been the only agency that had been looking into his disappearance, according to Agent Johnson’s notes on the case several members of the Air Force had been poking about, as well as a couple of Homeland agents. Toni wondered if anything ever came of their investigations into Petty Officer Clark’s disappearance and reappearance and why they had been interested in the first place. Checking that the searches she had started were still running she brought up her email and started to type out a couple of emails to a few of her contacts hoping that they could put her in touch with the right people. All she had to go on were a couple of names that Johnson had noted in his case notes, a Major Davis and an Agent Lancaster, neither were people she had met to her knowledge, but she knew enough people in the Alphabet Soup that someone was bound to be able to get her the files, or at least an introduction. She had just hit send on her last email when Gibbs’ phone rang and she immediately locked her computer and grabbed her bag, ready and waiting when Gibbs told them to gear up.

Her searches would continue to run and hopefully some of her contacts would come through for her and by time they had wrapped up this hot new case she might have something to thaw the ice around Petty Officer Clark’s case. Perhaps there was no foul play in his actual death, Ducky ruled it a heart attack and she believed him, but there was definitely something hinky as Abby would say surrounding the circumstances of his death. She just wanted find out what had happened, Petty Officer Clark didn’t have any family and there was no-one waiting to hear what had happened to him, but she felt that he deserved to have someone looking out for him. His case had gotten to her in a big way, completely inexplicably to her, it had become her personal project, the puzzle that she was unwilling to put back in the cupboard, even though everyone who had tried to put it together assured her there were pieces missing, though she herself knew they were missing, she was determined to find them and make the case complete. She threw one last look at her work station and her computer as she walked towards the elevator, maybe she would break the case, or at least find out what the other agencies interest in Petty Officer Clark was. Agent Johnson hadn’t really given any clues to their motivation in his notes on the case and it wasn’t as if she could ask him without the help of a clairvoyant, she would just have to do the digging herself.

~

General Jonathon ‘Jack’ O’Neil was not having the best of days, being in charge of Homeworld Security was a lot larger headache than General Hammond had ever made it out to be. He supposed that was how he had managed to get him to take the job in the first place, well that and his loyalty to the Stargate programme. Even though he had let himself be promoted to a desk it had not been without a fight, he hadn’t wanted to come out of the field or leave his team, but it had been pointed out to him that the best way to protect his team, in the field and otherwise, was to protect the programme itself.

There were many issues of the safety of the programme, issues between the major powers involved, and certainly an issue of Trust throughout the programme. It had been pointed out to Jack that the best way to keep the programme running properly was to have someone trustworthy at the helm. He didn’t disagree with that of course and General Hammond’s promotion to Joint chief had left a gap in the command structure that had needed to be filled, but he hadn’t expected to be the one that would step into the breach as it were.

With the position came long days, lots of paperwork, and nearly every problem in the programme falling across his desk at some point. Most of the time half the things that crossed his desk needed to be interpreted for him, while he knew the theory behind the stargate and the logistics of it the intricate details of all the science still baffled him at times. Luckily for him Carter was willing to explain most things to him in a way that made sense, and Major Paul Davis, his trusty aide was adept at explaining the science side of things to him as well as pretty much running everything for him.

Today was not going to plan though, having started off badly with an explosion in one of the labs that had necessitated evacuating part of the base, the experiment was well beyond his understanding but he knew that explosions were not a good thing. He had then had to deal with an off world trip that had gone badly, SG-4 coming in hot with injuries, the planet they had been visiting had now been on a list not to return to until they had a thorough debriefing and they knew exactly what had happened. Danny, his best friend and resident archaeological geek, had spent the time he was trying to eat lunch in his office rambling on about some book or other and some ancient rite that Jack should be interested in, and now he was being handed a file on a potential security issue. All he had wanted was for the rest of his afternoon to go smoothly while he looked over some boring budget reports or something before going home to some cold beer and a football game on tv.

“Break it down for me.” Jack ordered his aide, knowing that the Major would give him a full and detailed verbal report while he flipped through the file.

“An old case that we had interest in is being looked at thoroughly by the sounds of what I have heard. It was an NCIS case, I ran point on it from our end and we used Agent Lancaster from a Homeland stance, it went cold and stayed cold, but there seems to be some renewed interest in it. It has been looked at several times over the last couple of years, but there is one persistent agent who has logged into the files almost compulsively, and now seems to be trying to make waves.” Major Davis informed him, “They are rather well connected for a Navy Cop, and people seem willing to make connections for Agent DiNozzo, so much so that I was given a direct number and asked to call and help out with NCIS’s enquiries.”

Jack looked up from the file at that, it was odd that anyone would ask them to cooperate with one of the federal agencies other than Homeland due to the secretive nature of everything they were dealing with. They probably wouldn’t even work with Homeland if it wasn’t the public front and cover of Homeworld Security, that someone was suggesting Davis cooperate meant that DiNozzo had some serious connections. “Petty Officer Clark?” Jack asked, referring back to the file, “It was open and shut wasn’t it, a temporal accident, no foul play?”

“Yes sir, Petty Officer Clark’s body was unable to cope with the temporal shift and he died of a heart attack, it was open and shut for us, but obviously the knowledge of how he disappeared and reappeared in the same place several years later never made it into the navy cops reports. They had an unsolved disappearance that ended up in a natural death after a reappearance after a period of time with no known whereabouts of the Petty Officer. It went cold of course, there was no evidence of anything untoward happening, the device that the Petty Officer came into contact with had interfered with cameras in the vicinity, and I removed the device from NCIS before they noticed it or logged it into evidence.” Major Davis explained.

“So, this NCIS Agent is looking into the case again, why? Do we know what they are focusing on?” Jack asked, hoping that this was going to be something that they could deal with easily and quickly.

“From what I have been able to find out, Agent DiNozzo seems to be looking into the lack of evidence, the lack of security footage, or rather how there can be such a lack of footage and why other agencies felt that it was an investigation of interest. I may have watched the footage of the discussion about the case in the NCIS bullpen and then sourced copies of the emails that Agent DiNozzo sent.” Major Davis answered. “I don’t believe that Agent DiNozzo intends to give up anytime soon, if anything they are just beginning to gear up to dig through whatever can be found. The team have a current case at the moment, but from what I was able to ascertain as soon as that is closed DiNozzo will be back on Clark’s case, it seems to have a personal project.”

Jack sighed, while he loved when his people were dogmatic and ran things to the ground when necessary, he hated when it wasn’t someone in the know and it could potentially spiral out of control. “I know that name as well, DiNozzo, NCIS you say, they were one of Tom’s Agents, DiNozzo the one that got away.” Jack knew that he was muttering to himself, loud enough that Paul was able to hear him of course, but thinking out loud had always helped him work through a problem. DiNozzo, if it was the same agent, and it seemed unlikely that there were two agents with such a name at the same agency was someone that Tom Morrow was forever bemoaning the loss of. Apparently one of the best agents to have come through NCIS Tom had tried to sway DiNozzo into transferring to Homeland with him when he had made the switch, but he had been unsuccessful, DiNozzo’s loyalty to the team lead the reason Tom had given.

“Tell me about DiNozzo, what do we have?” Jack asked, knowing that Paul would have done a deep search on the Agent before bringing the situation to his attention.

“Agent Antonietta Darlene DiNozzo, Senior Field Agent on the MCRT at NCIS, came to be there via Baltimore, Philadelphia and Peoria, was a detective before she became a Federal agent. Undergrad degree in sports science, masters in criminology and appears to be working on a doctorate in criminal profiling. Mother is deceased, English nobility from the Paddington line, her father is still alive, but they appear to be estranged. Anthony Dominic DiNozzo, who her name was no doubt styled after, seems to be a conman that jumps from one scheme to the next, gaining financial prosperity with one scheme then losing it on the next.” Paul looked up from the tablet in his hand, “DiNozzo on the other hand is independently wealthy, a trust fund from her mother’s family and canny investments, she could live off the interest alone, but apart from splurging on her clothing appears to live mostly from her own salary. She is rather well connected in Washington, whether it is a result of her family connections or her own work I am unsure, I would suppose that it was a bit of both, but she is often tapped by several agencies in the alphabet to help with undercover operations and her security clearance is extremely high as a result.”

“How high?” Jack asked, wondering about whether it would be feasible to read her in on the programme, if she was as good as Tom made her out to be then it would be beneficial to have her in the programme. They had been looking to get an investigator for the programme for some time; currently all investigations were being run by command staff and if he never had to investigate another petty crime on base he would be ecstatic.

“High enough that she has been vetted for the programme if it ever came to that. Director Morrow has given her glowing recommendations, as have several other Directors of the alphabet agencies.” Paul replied, staring at his tablet with a vexed expression on his face. “Although her own Director doesn’t seem to like her that much, whether it is a case of two headstrong women clashing or something else I am unaware.”

“If she has been vetted then what is the big issue? Invite her to speak with you at the Pentagon, see whether you can get her to back off and give her the party line, if she pushes it make her sign the NDA and read her in. Sound her out for the investigative role within the programme, she sounds like she could be the perfect fit, and potentially who Tom was talking about trying to nab for the position.” Jack hoped that would be the end of his involvement until it came to a final decision on whether she should have a place in the programme, but he had a feeling that she was not the only issue on the Major’s mind.

“Her team would be an issue, from what I have found her team is a security leak waiting to happen, if they decide to start digging it could be problematic. Eli David’s daughter is the liaison on that team and they have a fairly competent hacker as well, Admiral McGee’s son. I am wary that any contact with DiNozzo could lead to information we don’t want out there making its way to Mossad.” Paul replied, “Not from DiNozzo of course, but I believe that the junior members of that team are a bit unscrupulous in their information gathering methods and may realise that they are being left out of things and seek to gain access to information they have no right to.”

Jack sighed, why this sort of thing had to come to him he didn’t know. What he wouldn’t give at this moment to be going through the gate with his team at this point and taking on a goa’uld, it was a lot less of a headache than the sitting in the big chair. “You’ll just have to be cunning and stealthy then Major, from what I gather if she is as good an undercover agent as you have made her out to be she can sell whatever scenario you choose to play out.”

Jack could tell that Paul was thinking his words through and he wondered what route he would take to separate her from her team. As the Major left his office he decided not to think on it any more, he still had a rather large stack of paperwork to get through before he could leave for the evening, and that was only if another emergency didn’t crop up before he got out the door.

~

Toni couldn’t wait to finish up this case and make her way home, a long hot shower and eight hours of sleep were all she needed. They had been running all over the place on this one, in her case literally, chasing down their suspect while McGee panted along behind her. The case itself wasn’t difficult, a Petty Officer murdered by one of his fellows over a drug deal gone bad, it was trying to catch up with the culprit through the wooded area he had tried to escape into that had been the hard point in her day. She was definitely going to need a new pair of shoes, and her dry cleaner was probably going to take her off his Christmas card list with the state of her suit trousers.

Once they had gotten him back to the Navy Yard and into interrogation their suspect had folded, not that she had believed he wouldn’t he was a young kid really, in his early twenties who had gotten mixed up in something he shouldn’t and  who had ended up going further than he had ever dreaded. Sitting him down in interrogation opposite Gibbs it was obvious to her that Petty Officer Wilkes would fold, he admitted to killing Petty Officer Green and the drug offences, the fight having gone out of him completely as he started to go into withdrawal. It turned out that Green had been hooking some of his fellows on high dose painkillers and then selling the pills to them in smaller doses for higher prices, knowing that the more desperate they were the more they would be willing to pay. Unfortunately for Green demanding a higher price from Wilkes when he was almost desperate for his next fix had not been his best idea and the Petty Officer had stabbed him and left him to bleed out, taking with him the few pills Green had brought to their meeting.

As Toni put the finishing touches on her reports she looked around at her team mates, they looked as tired as she felt, and they seemed to be dragging with doing their reports. A pointless error, as they wouldn’t be able to leave until they were done, but with Gibbs currently out of the bullpen it was up to her to push them along a bit, after all she couldn’t leave until she had checked through their reports. A quick reminder that if they wanted to go home at any point that evening they should try and have their reports completed before Gibbs got back to his desk got them moving, but not without comments about her sucking up and playing teacher’s dog from Ziva.

Toni didn’t bother to correct her, instead focussing on finishing her own report and updating some of her other paperwork that came of being the Senior Field Agent. Once that was all done, she checked her emails while she waited for Tim and Ziva’s reports, it was amazing how many emails she could get in a day on a server that didn’t allow for any junk mail. She supposed some of it came from her being so helpful to other agents, she was forever getting messages asking her questions, or for advice, or emails thanking her for her help and guidance. What she was hoping for was a response from some of her contacts in response to the feelers she had put out about Major Davis and Agent Lancaster earlier that day.

She did to her surprise have an email from Lancaster with her notes attached from the investigation, from what Toni could infer Lancaster had gotten interested in the case for a similar purpose to her, the lack of camera footage was suspect. Homeland had apparently heard whisper of there not having been any footage of his disappearance and the same when he reappeared and Lancaster wanted to find out if it had been technological interference or if there was a human element to the problem. Toni wasn’t really surprised that people at Homeland had heard about the case, Director Morrow had been in charge of NCIS at the time and he had good links with Homeland, so much so he ended up moving there, no she was far more suspect that there had been an Air Force Major looking into things. Agent Lancaster’s notes showed that she hadn’t managed to come up with any evidence of tampering with the camera footage, and she hadn’t intervened with the NCIS investigation, questioning the people who had been manning the recording stations on the nights in question had never been in her purview. She did ask in her email that if Toni managed to crack the case as it were if she would let her know as it was something that had been getting to her for years now.

Two emails in quick succession turned out to be her junior team members reports and she read through them, making notes and comments before sending them back for further revision and detail in some places, and grammar and spelling correction specifically with Ziva’s report. She saved copies of their original reports and the details of the corrections she had outlined in her folder for the case on her computer before printing her own reports for Gibbs and shutting down her computer, the searches she had started earlier having turned up fruitless while she had been out. She had just placed the reports on his desk when he walked back into the bullpen. She nodded at him and then at the reports she had left him, “My report on the case, the update SFA paperwork, and the requisition forms to be processed. Ziva and McGee are just finishing off the corrections on their reports and they should be with you. Now I am in dire need of a shower so I will see you tomorrow Boss.”

Gibbs just nodded at her as he took his seat and pulled the pile of papers towards him, not even looking at her as she grabbed her bag to leave. She could feel the eyes of both Tim and Ziva on her as she left their area, both no doubt annoyed that she had kicked their reports back to them for correction and that she was getting to leave while they were still working. She kept walking, not allowing the thought of their childishness to annoy her, nothing was stopping her from going home for a shower at this point. She left the building, smiling at security as she did so, while declining Anderson’s offer to walk her to her car, she was a fully trained federal agent with a gun, she could walk a small distance to her car alone on the Navy Yard.

She had just reached her car when her phone rang and her smile dropped. If this was either Gibbs calling her back or dispatch calling about a case she would be tempted to scream, while she had a change of clothes in her go bag simply changing and starting work all over again was no comparison to a long hot shower to wash away the mud.

“DiNozzo.” She barked into the phone, less polite than she usually answered, but the thought of walking back into work was filling her with annoyance.

“This is Major Paul Davis Agent DiNozzo, I believe you have been asking around about my and trying to be put in contact with me.” The voice on the other end of the phone answered, not at all seeming put out by her snappish tone.

“Yes, Major Davis, sorry about that, I was hoping to speak to you about a case you were involved with several years ago and to get a look at your notes on the case if that is possible. It was an NCIS case that the Air Force had an interest in for some reason, the case of Petty Officer Clark, do you remember it?” Toni replied as she got into her car, she might as well have the conversation in some sort of comfort.

“I remember it Agent DiNozzo. If you wish to meet to discuss it I will be available for a short time tomorrow morning, I have an office in the Pentagon where we could meet at 0900 hours, or earlier if required.” The Major replied, pausing for a moment before continuing, “I would rather your colleagues were unaware of the meeting, I am not in the habit of meeting with every agent that has questions and some of the projects I work on are highly confidential and the lack of concern for security on your team is worrisome.”

Toni didn’t need to be told twice, she understood the need for secrecy and told the Major as much, before rearranging their meeting for 0700 hours which would allow her time to get to the office without suspicion. Her whole drive home she couldn’t get the conversation out of her head, she knew that there was something in the Clark case, the Major wouldn’t have been so cagy about security if there wasn’t something he was worried about getting out. It could be that he just didn’t want McGee or Ziva looking into him or the projects he was working on as a result of Toni meeting with him, but Toni had a feeling it was more than that, one of those projects was tied up with her cold case, she just wondered if she was going to be allowed to ask her questions and just fed the party line or if she would get any real answers as to what happened to Petty Officer Clark.

~

Walking into the Pentagon dressed in an Armani pantsuit and a new pair of shoes Toni strode with purpose towards the office that Major Davis had given her directions to, security must have been informed that she would be there as she had no issues reaching the door she needed to be at. The name on the door was not Major Davis’s but rather a General O’Neil however the Major was waiting for her and directed her to take a seat. On her side of the rather large desk was a rather large stack of paper and a tablet laid out next to it, she took the seat and waited for the Major to speak as he was obviously intending to do.

“I have no doubts that you have questions, and have probably come up with several conclusions of your own considering all that I have heard about you.” Major Davis began. “I had considered answering your questions as minimally as I could, however several sources have indicated that you would be a good fit for the programme I am currently a part of and as such you have already been vetted for the programme. In front of you is an NDA I need you to sign before I can tell you anything about the programme and if you sign it I will be able to answer your questions about Petty Officer Clark. Signing doesn’t mean that you have to take the position that I will be offering you, and you can certainly take some time to think about it, however you will be unable to speak about any of this, including the job offer, or what I tell you about Petty Offficer Clark’s case or Gitmo will look like a holiday park.”

Toni pulled the stack of paper towards her, intending to read it thoroughly before she signed it, with the promise of somewhere worse than Gitmo as a consequence for breaking the agreement she wanted to know exactly what the agreement was. Not that she intended to break an NDA, she wasn’t stupid, she knew that the government and the military kept secrets for a reason, nothing good ever came of a secret being revealed. The NDA was pretty standard in the terms of if she broke it she would never see the light of day again, and was very long and involved without actually telling her anything about this programme of Major Davis’ or rather General O’Neil’s as she had no doubt the man was working for him if the General was allowing the use of his office for this. She signed the papers in the relevant places before picking up the tablet, scanning the document quickly making sure that it was the same document before signing it digitally as well.

The next hour, was it only an hour it seemed much longer, was devoted to the Major filling her in on a top secret project shared by several of the worlds governments into travel to other planets, and didn’t that sound strange in her head. The travel to other planets was definitely strange, but the fact that it was a multinational project seemed almost foreign to her, even if the majority of it was based on US soil. Major Davis informed her of the need for an investigative presence within the programme and how although it was a project that the Air Force was running point on there was a large contingent of Marines involved so it would be conceivable for their investigative arm to be a NCIS resident unit rather than someone from AFOSI.

The sales pitch for the job was an interesting one, she would be a one woman investigative team who could draw on personnel from the programme to help her if necessary, investigating anything from petty theft to the supposed corruption within the programme that General O’Neil was trying to weed out. She refused to give an answer there and then, this was a change that would need careful consideration, a snap decision after just being told that aliens exist was not the way to go. Investigations were run by those in the command structure at the moment and occasionally they would read in a Homeland Agents to help with certain things, Lancaster it seems hadn’t been read in to the programme, but had been set at the Clark case to look for certain things without her being aware that she was looking for alien interference.

Petty Officer Clark’s case was apparently open and shut though, and Major Davis provided her with the file to read through even though she would be unable to take it with her or replicate any of it in her own files to close his NCIS case file. That Petty Officer Clark had essentially stepped on a time hopper, she couldn’t think of it as anything else a tiny little rounded stone that jumped him forward in time, was crazy but it explained so much. The fact that none of the cameras had picked him up after the first one saw him leaving the base, apparently the time hopper interfered with recording devices, and no-one appeared to dump his body. That he was still in his uniform and hadn’t appeared to have aged during his disappearance, that no-one had any hint of where he had been in the years he was missing, it all made sense to her now. The puzzle was now complete but she would never be able to put all the pieces in the box, she had seen the completed puzzle, but it had to stay broken up with pieces of it hidden in her consciousness never being fitted together lest she end up somewhere worse than Gitmo, which if the briefing she had just been privy to was all true then she supposed it would be some alien planet she would be relocated to.

Toni gave the file back and sat back in her seat for a moment, trying to take stock of everything she had learnt in the last short while, this was definitely not what she had expected when she got up this morning. Her watch buzzing let her know that she needed to leave soon to make it to work at a semi-decent time, she would still be late of course, but it would be a time that it would be conceivable that she had been caught in traffic. She was only a 15 minute drive away from the Navy Yard at the moment but depending on how busy the roads were she would be lucky if she made it in before half nine, which considering she normally arrived just after eight some mornings would be suspect, but sleeping in and then getting caught in traffic were reasonable excuses.

“How do I contact you about my decision once I’ve made it? And how much time are you giving me?” Toni asked, she had a feeling that he was hoping to have the position filled sooner rather than later and if there was a lot of corruption within the programme she could understand why.

Major Davis handed her a business card, “Any of those numbers would do, or alternatively you could contact Tom Morrow, I’ll let him know I have made the job offer. The sooner the better, but we can give you a fortnight to make a decision. I don’t believe I need to impress upon you the importance of not bringing attention to yourself, the programme or Petty Officer Clark’s case.”

Toni just snorted, “Of course not, I will need to keep investigating the case of course it would look strange if I stopped now, but obviously there is nothing to find like everyone keeps telling me.”

Toni shook the Major’s hand before leaving, her mind reeling her whole journey to work. Aliens! Aliens were real, Abby would freak if she could tell her, she knew she couldn’t but that was one hell of a mother of all secrets. As she pulled into the Navy Yard she got her game face on, strolling into the bullpen she made it to her desk and sat down before Gibbs’ hand appeared at the back of her head, the barked “You’re late DiNozzo.”, bringing her right back down to Earth.

“Sorry Boss, slept in, then traffic, won’t happen again.” Toni said as she booted up her computer, ignoring the jibes from Tim and Ziva as she did so. It certainly wouldn’t if she went to work for the programme, she would no doubt be living on base if she were based in Colorado she wouldn’t have to deal with traffic getting to work ever again, it was something to think on at least.