Coming Home: Chapter Two<br> <br>
Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it belongs to someone else. I make not profit from the following.
Constructive Criticism always welcomed, flames cheerfully ignored.
Story Starts Here >>>>>>>>>
Major General Jack O’Neill stood in front of his hall mirror and straitened his tie. Sometimes it was good to be the boss, like today. He had no meetings until after ten o’clock in the morning, so he had told his staff not to show up for work before nine-thirty.
Because he had not had to be in early today, he had been able to stay up guilt free and watch not one, not two, but three hockey games last night. Even better, no emergency of world destroying stature had reared it’s ugly head, so all there had been had been hokey. He smiled as he reached for his door to head into work. He never made it, a flash of white light lit up the room and when it faded Jack O’Neill was gone.
Jack blinked and looked out over Earth. He recognized he was in an Asgard spaceship, so when he turned around he was somewhat unsurprised when he saw Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet, sitting at his control chair. Which was surprising in itself, because to the best of O’Neill’s knowledge, the Asgard race were extinct, and had been for over a year.
“Thor, good buddy!” O’Neill greeted his friend, “I thought you were dead!”
“Greetings O’Neill,” Thor replied. “I’m afraid I bring you a problem, and yes I am dead. What you see is a projection, generated by this ship’s computer core. ”
O’Neill blinked; he told himself it wasn’t to get the tears out of his eyes, “So this isn’t you,” in a much more subdued tone.
“No, O’Neill, while the AI is based off of my mental processes, it is not your friend Thor.”
“So, what’s the problem?” Voice becoming slightly more chipper.
“I’m afraid it is Loki,” Thor told him.
O’Neill winced, the last time the Asgard scientist had shown up they’d ended up with a teenage clone of himself. That reminded O’Neill, he needed to check out how his clone was doing at the Academy. “Didn’t he pass on with the rest of your folk?”
“We believed all Asgard had passed, however, Loki apparently faked his death, and escaped. Thor left this ship and core behind to monitor our home system to make sure nothing like this would happen and I followed him to Earth.”
“What did he do?” O’Neill asked, not liking where this was going.
“When last he was here, besides making a clone of you, he had captured another Terran who has what you call the ATA gene. He had hoped that by combining yours and her DNA he could create a genetic structure that would be helpful to the Asgard’s problems.”
O’Neill saw red, “He made a kid?”
Thor shook his head, “He did not reach that stage of his research.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“The clone was killed.”
“What did he do with the woman then?” O’Neill was starting to wonder if they could put this little menace on trail. They’d have to capture him first of course, and how exactly they could put him on trail might be a little dicey. But, something needed to be done about him and unfortunately they just couldn’t kill him.
“He had her in suspended animation in a lab on Earth we were not aware of. Loki was captured before he could decide exactly what he was going to do with her, and did not inform the Asgard Council of her existence during the investigation of his last journey here..”
“Alright,” O’Neill said, “Tell me where she is and I’ll have Daniel and a couple of people from the SGC be there when you wake her up. They can explain what happened to her, and we’ll see about putting her life back together.”
Thor blinked at him. O’Neill hated when Thor blinked at him; it was almost always bad news.
“I regret that is no longer possible,” Thor began. “Loki fled to Earth to rectify the situation.”
O’Neill groaned, “He woke her up didn’t he.”
Thor sighed, “Yes.”
“What else did he do?” O’Neill knew there had to be more, otherwise this Thor AI would not have grabbed him; it would have dropped her off.
“He decided that he had done a great wrong by this woman and is trying to make good on his mistake.”
O’Neill froze, “What did he do?” That sinking feeling in his stomach could be keeping the Titanic company right about now.
“Fortunately, the woman’s apartment was still free, so he used his records and our beaming technology to recreate what was in the woman’s apartment as best he was able. He reacquired her car and placed it in the spot she had left it the night he abducted her. Apparently she didn’t notice anything Loki had missed, or if she had, it didn’t slow her down on here way out to work.”
“I don’t suppose you can intercept her; before she gets in front of witnesses I mean, can you?”
“I regret I can not O’Neill. She has arrived at her place of work before I made orbit. I beamed you aboard immediately after that.”
Sometimes it wasn’t good to be the boss, “Can you give me her name and location so I can get a team heading in that direction?”
“Certainly, her name is Caitlin Todd, and she works at Naval Criminal Investigative Services Headquarters in Washington D.C.”
“Do you have Loki in custody?” O’Neill asked. He knew that name from somewhere and at least she already seemed to be a government employee.
“I have his ship, but as soon as Loki had replaced Ms. Todd into her life he joined the rest of our race.”
Jack frowned, he still missed these guys. Having one around, even if it was Loki would have been comforting. “What about you?”
“I will take this ship and Loki’s out into intergalactic space and self destruct.
“I’m missing you buddy,” O’Neill told the AI
“I know, but what must be, will be.”
And with a flash of light Jack O’Neill found himself back in his apartment.
Digging out his cellphone he hit a button and said, “Paul? Meet me at NCIS Headquarters, Bring a briefing kit, we have a problem. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Leon Vance had a problem too, actually he had the same problem, even if he didn’t know it yet; he had someone down in Interrogation who supposedly had been dead for four years. He was chewing on a toothpick because the health Nazis’ had banned smoking in Government Offices and he really needed a cigarette right now; never mind he had quit almost five years ago, while he was deciding who he should call with his little problem. He hadn’t quite worked it out when his phone rang.
“Vance,” he said after he picked it up, at this point any distraction was welcomed.
“Director Vance, please hold for General O’Neill,” the voice on the other end of the phone said.
Vance snorted, he should have known. Nobody had ever told Vance exactly what the sarcastic three star was in charge of; instead they had told him it was over his clearance level, which was scary in itself. But, any time anything weird happened, the name O’Neill seemed to be right in the middle of it. Given the current situation, Vance should have thought of calling him first.
“Director Vance,” O’Neill’s voice came over the phone, sounding way too chipper.
“General O’Neill,” Vance replied in a more dead voice, waiting for O’Neill to get on with the purpose of the call.
“Tell me Director, have you had any interesting personnel issues today?”
Vance spit the toothpick that was in his mouth out to keep from swallowing it. Though given his previous thoughts on the General, he really shouldn’t have been surprised at the question, “I take it by that question that you are referring to the dead woman that we are currently holding?”
“Uh, yeah, that would be her. Look Director, I’ll explain when I get there, I’m about thirty minutes out, for right now though, that is Caitlin Todd, so treat her politely. Also, make sure who ever has been exposed to her is at the meeting, they have some NDAs to sign.”
“What about her family? She’s going to want to let them know she’s back.”
“One thing at a time Director, one thing at a time.”
Vance hung up the phone. He got national security, he really did, but if O’Neill thought he was going to disappear Caitlin Todd after her miraculous reappearance, he defiantly didn’t know Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Speaking of , Vance picked up his phone and hit speed dial 2. “Gibbs, I just got a call from General Jack O’Neill, he says that’s Caitlin Todd down in Interrogation One. He’ll be here in half an hour. You want to bring her up to my office with the rest of your team, Ms. Scuito and Dr. Mallard?”
Two minutes, twenty seconds later Gibbs sailed into his office, sometimes Vance regretted that Gibbs was such an asset to the agency; his constant insubordination could get tiring.
“That can’t be Kate,” was all Gibbs said as he stopped in front of Vance’s desk.
“Look Gibbs, I know it’s impossible too. And if it was anyone else but Major-General Jack O’Neill delivering the news I’d laugh him off, at best. But, O’Neill seems to be in the know and he has pull, he had Robert Kinsey for an enemy and he’s here and Kinsey is gone. He’s connected in the Pentagon. He has Henry Hayes’ ear, and he seems to know things that no one else does, or at least will admit too. If he says that’s Caitlin Todd, then I’d at least give him a chance to explain.
“Now get your team and Agent Todd up here, he’s about twenty minutes out at this point.”
Gibbs turned, but he stopped at the door and turned, “If this is Kate, he can’t have her.”
Vance nodded, “If that’s Kate Todd down there, she’s one of mine; he gets her over my cooling corpse.” Like he had thought, keeping Gibbs around could be a pain in the a… butt.
Five minutes later Gibbs’ whole team, plus Doctor Mallard, Jimmy Palmer, Ducky’s assistant and Abby Sciuto where in his office clustered around Kate Todd, who was sitting on his couch with a large glass of scotch in her hands. Abby was seated on one side of her, one hand on her thigh; as if she thought if she didn’t maintain physical contact, then Kate would vanish again. Ducky was on the other side of her, one arm around her shoulders holding her tight. McGee was sitting in front of her on Vance’s coffee table leaning in as if he was trying to memorize Kate’s face. Tony was seated in a chair on the other side of the room, studying the dark haired agent, not willing to believe yet that this was Kate, it would upset his world view too much if she was. Plus, he wasn’t sure what this would do with is relationship with Ziva. He had liked Kate, a lot; when she had been killed it had ripped something out of him. He was only just now putting it back together, and he wasn’t sure he was strong enough to choose between was, and what could be.
For her part Ziva was standing in one corner of the office staring at the scene in front of her. For the first time in a long while she felt like an outsider in this group. Reminded that she had joined them because of what her half-brother had done. Her first days, when she had been so sure of her brother’s innocence, and the shock and rage when she had discovered that they had been right, and she wrong. The curious deadness she had felt when she had shot Ari in the back after his confession to Gibbs. She ideally wondered with Kate’s apparent return, did this mean she would be cast aside, reassigned to another team, or even recalled to Israel, and why she felt she really didn’t want to go.
Gibbs had positioned himself between the door of the office and Kate, his gut was telling him, had been telling him from the beginning, that this was Kate, back from four years in the grave. His mind had been telling his gut to shut up, that it was impossible for this to be Caitlin Todd, but he caught himself, when picking a place to stand, he had positioned himself between the door and Kate, daring the incoming General O’Neill to try to get past him to harm her. Good enough, he finally admitted to himself, however impossible, this was Kate. He’d protect her from the legions of hell if he had to, he wasn’t loosing her again.