Coming Home: Chapter 3
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Constructive criticisms always welcome; flames cheerfully ignored.
“Yes Sir, I understand,” O’Neill said into his phone. “We’ll try and make it as gentle as possible for her.” As O’Neill spoke, his driver pulled up to the Washington Naval Yard’s front gate and O’Neill fished his wallet and ID card out of his pants pocket. Thankfully there was no heightened security alert today so, after a perfunctory check they were waved through. His driver followed the car’s GPS system to the appropriate building and O’Neill found Paul Davis waiting for him next to his car. O’Neill finished his conversation up with, “I understand Mr. President. I was faxed the files on the people she works with and I looked them over. I think she’ll be taken care of from that end, and I have a couple of idea’s floating around in my head with how to handle the situation. “O’Neill listened for a few seconds then replied, “I’m sure that Agent Gibbs reputation is over stated, and he will be reasonable to what I’m going to suggest. It’s really up to Kate Todd though, if she’s not willing to go along with what I have in mind we might have to consider what lengths we’ll go to keep the SGC secret.”
O’Neill pulled the phone away from his ear, “I wasn’t suggesting that either Henry,” O’Neill said heatedly. “But this wouldn’t be the first time we had to move someone off world for our own good. I suggest sir that I talk to the people, see where they stand, and then move from there, let’s not borrow trouble. I’ll call with an update as soon as possible.”
O’Neill got out of his car and waved at Colonel Davis. Turning back to the driver he said, “Bill, I’m not expecting trouble, but just in case, keep the engine running.”
Staff Sergeant Bill Cunningham smiled at his general and said, ‘Understood sir, I’ll keep it running and my eye out for you.”
“Good man,” O’Neill told him as he went and met up with Davis.
“What’s the plan sir?”
“We go in, get them to sign the NDA’s and then explain what happen to Kate Todd, after that we play it by ear.”
“Sir,” Davis began, “Caitlin Todd’s death was a national news story for a week, she was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom; it’s going to be hard to just pop her back into her life. I doubt anyone will believe that she has been off on some kind of secret mission that required us to fake her death.”
O’Neill started walking so Davis was obliged to follow his general, “I know Paul, I was thinking something along the lines that she had been put into witness protection and we couldn’t admit she was alive or it would put her back into danger, but that doesn’t fly, and it ends up making the president look like an idiot that he didn’t know that we’d faked it, or heartless that he went ahead with the pomp and ceremony anyway. I have an idea that I think will work for everyone, but I want to meet the woman first.”
“Could you let me in on it?” Davis asked hopefully.
Now that Gibbs had his own feelings sorted out, he looked around the room; something was bothering him. He realized they were one person short around Kate. Ziva didn’t know the woman so he really didn’t expect her in the huddle, but DiNozo? Gibbs was about to go and head slap him for not being there for Kate, but catching the expression on his face Gibbs realized that the agent was working through what had happen. He put off the head slap to see if DiNozo could get it right by himself. Glancing at Ziva Gibbs realized he hadn’t been completely right in his estimate.
Gibbs moved to where Ziva was standing in the corner looking at the group around Kate. She looked up at him as he approached with almost a lost expression on her face. Leaning in he said softly, “Relax David, you aren’t going to be replaced.”
Ziva started, even after four years working with the man she was still surprised how sometimes he could seemingly read minds. At least that’s what she hoped he’d done, not that she had so broke discipline that she was transmitting her feelings for all to see. “I took her place on the team Gibbs, she’s back.”
“You’ve more than earned your spot on this team in the last four years Ziva. Kate being back doesn’t change that.”
“It’s a four person team Gibbs,” Ziva persisted.
“Four is not a hard and fast number. We had three before McGee joined up, we can do five.”
Just then the Director’s phone rang, he answered and nodded, “O’Neill and a flunky are on the way up,” Leon Vance informed the room.
Gibbs gave Ziva a look that said, “Relax, everything will work out,” then took up position between Kate and the door again. Ziva, for her part, didn’t look all that convinced. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The first thing O’Neill saw as he came into the room was a tall grey haired man dressed in a sport shirt and coat, khaki pants and loafers, he recognized him from his file. Taking the measure of the man O’Neill decided that maybe his file hadn’t overstated things.
Turning to the black man behind the director’s desk O’Neill said, “Director Vance, I’m Major General Jonathan O’Neill, but you can call me Jack.”
Vance was not impressed by either the General or the Lt. Colonel, neither was Gibbs he saw. To forestall his subordinate from starting a fight with the two star Vance said, “You said you were going to explain how Agent Todd is back with us?”
O’Neill nodded, this was going to be a tough audience. “Colonel Davis is going to be passing out some non-disclosure forms, in order to stay for the explanation you have to sign. Agent Todd, you are obviously the exception to that.”
Kate gulped and nodded. She stood up and smiling at Tim moved to the General, “I understand that people believe I died four years ago, I want to call my parents and tell them I’m alive.”
“If you truly want to do that Agent Todd…” O’Neil began.
“If you are going to help me put my life back together again, maybe you should call me Kate.”
Jack smiled, maybe this wouldn’t be as tough as he thought. “Kate then. Kate , trust me when I tell you, we will get you back in contact with your parents as quick as we can, but from personal experience, coming back from the dead is something you should do face to face, not over a phone. There is a plane being prepped at Andrews Air Force Base, it will fly you home as soon as we are done here.”
“I’m coming,” Gibbs stated flatly.
O’Neill looked at the senior agent.
“Until I’m satisfied you aren’t going to try and disappear Kate, I’m going anywhere you take her.”
“Me too;” “Yes indeed:” “Oh, yeah,” came from McGee Ducky and Abby.
“Count me in,” came from DiNozzo.
“As I,” Ziva said with conviction
O’Neill shrugged and glanced at Vance, who also shrugged and said ruefully, “Someone has to say and mind the fort.”
While this was going on Davis had pulled out a stack of NDA’s and was passing them around. Ziva was surprised she hadn’t been kicked out of the office. As an Israeli citizen she had some diplomatic protection from American prosecution, plus she was a Mosad Agent, they had to believe that she would pass anything classified she learned back to her parent agency.
Once he had passed the NDA’s out to everyone Colonel Davis pulled a small laptop out of his briefcase he asked the director, “Can I hook this up to your offices projector?”
Vance waved him to where it was sitting in the corner and then commenced to start reading what he would be signing.
“Didn’t I already sign one of these when I started working for the NCIS?” DiNozzo griped.
“This has some expanded penalties if you blab to anyone not authorized to know,” O’Neill explained.
Dinozzo flipped to the penalties section and gave a long whistle after reading them. In the end everyone signed, they were all curious about what happened to Kate and they couldn’t not know. Davis collected the paperwork and after making sure that everyone had signed everywhere they were supposed to he started the projector up. Projected on the screen was a large circular object. “This was discovered on the Giza Plateau in 1928, it is the first recorded instance of mankind finding an artifact of alien manufacture; it’s called a Stargate.” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Paul was used to giving this speech, since the IOA had come into existence he had been giving it on average of once a month. Usually the people he was giving it to were in such a state of shock at that revelation that he got through about ten minutes of the presentation before they started asking questions. With the NCIS Major Case Squad he got 5. He’d just finished the basic overview of the Stargate and the SGC when Abigail Scioto suddenly straightened and turning to Tony she said, “You owe me fifty bucks!”
Tony frowned, “For what?”
“The bet we made when Wormhole Extreme won that Emmy for that spaceship effect. I told you that there was no way that was a special effect. And it strains coincidence that a TV show about people going through a stable wormhole has nothing to do with these folks.”
DiNozo stared at the forensic tech for a second, then his face cleared and he turned to Davis and asked, “You guys covered the program with a cheap television show?”
“Do you two mind?” Gibbs barked. He neither knew nor cared what some stupid TV show had to do with Kate coming back, and that’s what was important right now.
“Sorry boss,” Tony replied, with Abby apologizing a moment later.
Davis shrugged, “Yes that was an actual spaceship they filmed, one of the executive producers of the show is a refugee, his planet was taken over by the Goa’uld.” Davis hit the next slide, and a foot long worm appeared on the screen. It had long jaws with a couple of arms that were grouped around its mouth.
“It’s ugly,” Gibbs agreed, “Doesn’t look all that dangerous.”
“Outside of a body it’s not,” Davis agreed. “But it has the ability to burrow into a person and attach itself to the brain stem and take over the person. They usually pass themselves off as gods and use technology that they have stolen to back up their claims. Until about three years ago they were the dominant political force in our galaxy.”
“What happened to them?” Ducky asked.
“We did,” O’Neill said with no small amount of pride.
Kate had sat back down between Ducky and Abby, she raised her hand and said, “This is all very fascinating, but what does this have to do with me, unless you are going to tell me I was abducted by aliens.”
“Alien,” Davis told her. He switched over to another file and a picture of an Asgard popped up on the screen.
The NCIS agents blinked. “Kate was kidnapped by a Roswell Gray?” McGee asked incredulously.
Davis shook his head, not exactly. “The Asgard were one of our closest allies, they were a highly advanced race and were the force to be reckoned in our galactic cluster. Unfortunately the race had turned to cloning for reproductive measures, they would clone a new body, then download the personality into it, achieving immortality.”
Abby frowned, “How did they beat the copy machine effect?”
It was O’Neill’s turn to frown, “In the end they didn’t,” he said sadly.
“One of their scientists believed that there was some aspect of the human genome that would be able to help his race come back, to this end, and without his government’s permission he was conducting experiments on Terrains.
“What kind of experiments?” Gibbs growled.
Davis looked uncomfortable answering so O’Neill did it for him, “About what you think.”
Gibbs turned red, “We’re allies with these people?”
“Hey,” O’Neill snapped, “He got me too!”
“You were probed?” DiNozzo quipped
O’Neill was about to respond when Kate asked in a quiet voice, “He kidnapped me? If he did, why am I still alive?”
“Agent Todd,” Davis said gently. “When Loki, that was the Asgard’s name, took someone for tests he made a clone of that person and downloaded a copy of their minds into it so no one, including the clone, would notice anything wrong. When Loki was done with his tests, he would switch them back after downloading what the clone had experienced during the week it had carried on the subject’s life. The process wasn’t perfect, which is where a lot of the Alien Abduction stories come from, but we believe most of his subjects never realized they had been taken.”
“So what happened to Agent Todd?” Leon Vance asked, might as well remind everyone he was in the room.
“Her clone was killed in front of witnesses,” Davis replied. “Loki decided that he would put the real Kate in suspended animation until he was finished with the main reason for his visit, which was studying then Colonel O’Neill.”
O’Neill took up the story, “He replaced me with a clone, but due to some prior experiences with the Asgard, they had placed a marker in my genetic code so any clone of me would not mature to the correct age, we ended up with a 17 year old mini-me. This alerted us to what was going on and we managed to capture Loki. Unfortunately Kate, we didn’t realize that you had been taken also, and at the time Loki hadn’t mentioned to anyone that he had you on ice. So as far as everyone was concerned you were dead, so no one was looking for you.”
Kate blinked back tears, four years of her life missing, “What did he want with me?”
Davis took this one, “The race that built the Stargates was called the Ancients, the race ascended and became beings of pure energy, but they built to last and a lot of their technology is still floating around out there. Somewhere in your far past Agent Todd, one of your ancestors either was, or mated with an Ancient before they ascended. You have a gene that Ancient technology will recognize and respond to. Loki apparently thought that gene would have some bearing on his races reproductive problems.”
“Is he still out there? Will he come back?” Kate asked quietly. Gibbs and Tony moved closer to her, along with the rest of the NCIS crew.
“No,” O’Neill stated with quiet finality. “The Asgard are extinct now. He committed suicide right after he dropped Kate off, we think he didn’t want any loose ends.”
“So what happens to me now?” Kate asked hesitatingly.