Chapter 17! Normally I wouldn't post this right now, 'cause the last chapter only got four reviews and I usually wait for five. But I'm trying to keep up one a night for as long as I can… goals help motivate me, even if all this writing is taking a bit off my homework time. Lol. But this one takes a bit of explaining, too, so forgive me another longish author's note. Dominic DeMedici. He always takes some explaining. He is a character of my friend's creation, which I helped out with a bit. He is Pendergast's sort-of partner, and is brilliant… but a liiiitle crazy. Which I'm sure you'll figure out after only a few moments' acquaintance with him. But he will have a little part in the rest of this story, so I hope everyone will learn to love him… or, at least, to laugh at him. I do. So, anyways, review please… try to get me at least five this time? Please? Thanks!

Chapter Eighteen

Kate sighed, tapping her fingers idly on her desk as she stared a bit blankly at the computer monitor. She was doing a rather desperate search for something, anything suspicious within a ten-mile radius of the abandoned gas station the terrorist had called from. So far, nothing. No, there was a farm. Which was a little odd, considering the location, but it was registered and recorded and there was nothing suspicious about a farm. But if she didn't find something soon, she'd find something suspicious about the farm, just to have something.

Her mind was working a mile a minute, whirling with unanswered questions. How'd he get in, for one thing? After the things with Ari - she shuddered slightly at the memories - security had been upped. And how could he have avoided the cameras the way he had managed to? Like he knew where every one was. She didn't even know where every camera was. And she'd worked here almost a year now. So how had he known?

The more she thought, the more questions she came up with. Why Abby, for instance? Why not someone else… like the director? If she wanted a ransom, she'd go for someone higher up than a lab tech. And why were there only prints on those three numbers? Was there a meaning behind that, a clue? Or was it just some odd coincidence? Or a trick to throw them off? Why only $1 million? Yes, it was a lot, but he could ask for more, if he were really so sure he'd get it. Or he could ask for other things on top of the money, so why only ask for $1 million. And then there was the rudimentary but still noteworthy 'how did he get Gibbs' cell number?' Sure, it wouldn't be terribly difficult to find it, if he had some computer skills, but it was still a question worth asking. So she was left with a lot of questions and no answers. Except for that danged farm. Some answer.

She looked over at Tony, who was sitting at his own desk, typing frantically. He'd been working at top speed ever since he'd come back up from Abby's lab. She'd never seen him work so determinedly. "Find anything?"

"Nothing. You?"

"Nope," she sighed heavily.

Tony matched her sigh. "So we have security tapes with no clear shot, a payphone with no useable prints, a handful of coins that still need to be printed…" Tony was obviously rather annoyed that 'top priority' didn't seem to mean the same thing to the other lab techs as it did to Abby, "and miles of bare land."

"And a farm."

"Yes." Tony glanced up at her. "Owned by one Richard Thomas, registered as a produce and dairy farm, no suspicious activity previously reported there, and he's definitely not Palestinian. Thus, not our guy, and probably having nothing to do with our guy."

"Tell me something I don't know," Kate muttered. The voice that answered her was not Tony's.

"The British are coming, the British are coming!" They both spun towards the voice in time to see a tall blonde man stepping out of the elevator, holding a briefcase in one hand. "One if by land and two if by sea, and I on the… something, something, something."

"One what?" Tony questioned.

"How on earth should I know, Tony, I didn't write the damned thing!" the man snapped, waving his free hand wildly. "All I know is that the British are coming! Specifically, they have arrived."

"What are you doing here, Agent DeMedici?" Kate asked, her current stress level keeping her from being amused by the banter.

"Katie, I have told you before, call me Dominic, if you must be formal, though most pretty ladies call me Dom." He half-bowed, as if this were his first introduction to her. "And I do not rightly know. Pendergast sent me. But it had better be pretty damned important, because I have driven the past hour handcuffed to this bloody briefcase!" He held up his arm, showing all who cared to look that he was, in fact, handcuffed to the case. "And I don't even know what's in it," he complained.

"Don't call me Katie," Kate said automatically. She was silent for a long moment, thinking. "So, Pendergast sent you all the way here handcuffed to a random briefcase?"

"He said Gibbs needed it and that I had to get it here 'post-haste', and that it was not to be opened until Gibbs had it." Dom shrugged. "Usually I would not have… remembered the specifics." Translation, obeyed the order. "But it sounded as if it were an urgent matter. So now if you could kindly direct me in Gibbs' direction so that he might get this thing off me!" His voice got louder on the last few words, and Kate finally laughed slightly at the annoyed look on his face.

"Gibbs is with Abby," Tony alerted Dominic coolly, turning back to his computer.

"Ah, yes, and dear Abigail is in her lab. Of course." He started to walk away, but Tony's voice stopped him.

"She's down in autopsy." Kate snapped her head up; she hadn't known that. Her frightened "Why?" was overshadowed by Dom's response.

"Visiting Ducky, I assume," he said flippantly, starting to walk away again, but again Tony stopped him.

"Not exactly."

This paused Dom a bit longer. "Surely she hasn't switched career paths with the doctor?"

He could have kept this going for a while; Kate knew Dom would never guess. But Tony apparently got sick of the back-and-forth. "Abby's sick. A terrorist broke in, infected her with a biological weapon, and gave us 72 hours to get him a million dollars in exchange for the antidote or she dies." There was little emotion in his voice; Kate would have been mad at him if she hadn't been able to see the look in his eyes.

Dom stared open-mouthed at Tony for a long moment, glanced over at Kate, and at her nod of confirmation looked back at Tony. The emotions in his eyes were numerous, and it was a good minute before he snapped his mouth shut, shook his head slightly, and said, amazingly calmly, "Oh. That's not good." He shook his head again. "I… should go see Gibbs then, I suppose." He spun on his heel and headed for the elevator.

Tony was content to stay at his desk, but Kate's curiosity had been piqued. What would Pendergast send Gibbs that was so urgent? There was only one answer she could come up with to that question, and from the way Dominic was looking at the briefcase, she thought he had probably reached the same conclusion. She stood and followed Dom to the elevator. "I'm going with you," she announced, leaving Dom no room to respond as she stepped into the elevator behind him and pressed the button for Ducky's floor.