A/N: This is based on another dream I had. Yes, I'm weird that way. It's shorter than the last. McGee is still the main character, but the gang's all there. I tried to make it realistic, but there's only so much research I'm willing to do for fan fiction. If you see any glaring (or minor) errors, feel free to point them out. The story is finished, but I'll be posting it a couple of chapters at a time.
Disclaimer: NCIS isn't mine, nor are the main characters. If only...
"Hey Wheeler! I think there's someone in the tunnels! Wheeler?" The man looked around. The security guard on duty was nowhere to be found. He headed back down under the building, muttering about reprisals. He rounded the corner and saw one of the entrances open and two men standing over it while a woman was on the ladder. At his approach they all turned toward him.
"James, what's going on?" Suddenly, sensing something was very wrong, he started to back away, drawing his gun. Not quickly enough.
"Who is he?" Ziva leaned over the body.
"A soon-to-be-retired Colonel, Aaron Matheson. He was acting as a consultant on the security in the building," McGee answered, looking at his notes. "He was looking for security breaches and helping train the staff."
"What was he doing down here?" Tony wondered as he looked around the empty room. He turned to the security guard who was staring at Matheson and swallowing convulsively. "Hey." He waved his hand in front of the guard's face to get his attention. "Your name?"
"You knew Col. Matheson?"
"He was the unofficial head of security." He laughed a little. "Said he was going to whip us all into shape."
"What would he have been doing down here?"
"I don't know. He was always conducting little surprise inspections. He said that the criminals wouldn't take the time to schedule their invasions, so neither would he. He could have been trying to find any weaknesses down here, but I wouldn't know where or what."
"Thanks," Tony said and nodded his dismissal. James left gratefully.
Gibbs said, "No sign of a weapon. McGee, any security footage?"
Tim sighed. "No. I talked to the people in security and there was a scheduled power shutdown this morning. There was some sort of glitch in the cameras and they didn't come back on. Security was doing sweeps, but except for Wheeler, the one who found the body, no one was scheduled to be down here." When Gibbs kept staring at him, he gulped a little and continued, "But I'm having them give me all the footage they have up to the shutdown. Maybe it will show something."
"Why would someone want to be down here in the first place? What's down here that's valuable?" Ziva asked, echoing Tony's earlier question.
"Power boxes? Phone lines? I don't know. Nothing valuable is stored down here. There's no sign of any illegal activity going on down here." Tim paused, a little embarrassed at what he had just said. "Besides the murder, that is." He cleared his throat and continued, "The manager said that this section is the hub for all the apartments, but that wouldn't be useful to anyone that I can think of since the building hasn't been opened yet," Tim said.
"What about the bank?"
"Separate basement. Separate systems. They'd have had to drill through the walls to get in there. Even then, it's sealed off from the vault."
"No sign of drilling here."
"Any other businesses using this space?"
"No. Each one has its own basement, separate from the others. The power, gas, fiber optics are all on separate lines for better security."
Then, Ducky arrived to examine the corpse. "Good morning, Jethro."
"It's three in the afternoon, Ducky," Tony interjected.
"Is it really?" Ducky sounded a little weary.
"Indeed. The cooling system in one of the city morgues broke down and the ME's are on strike. We're taking up the slack. I left Mr. Palmer behind." He shook his head. "But let's take a look at our colonel." He knelt down by Matheson and began examining the body. "Two shots, one to the head, one to the left shoulder. Poor man was probably dead before he hit the ground. Liver temp indicates he died quite recently, perhaps three hours ago. He doesn't appear to have been moved: the blood pool is consistent with exsanguination in this location. Cause of death seems straightforward, but I'll know more after the autopsy," Ducky finished. He set about loading Colonel Matheson onto the gurney while the team continued their examination of the crime scene.
"Where's his gun?" Ziva asked, suddenly.
"Whose gun?" Tim asked.
"Colonel Matheson's. He was a Marine. He was working in security. I would assume that he would have a gun. Where is it?"
"Ducky! Hold up!"
"What is it?"
"I need a look at the colonel before you take him."
Gibbs opened the bag and checked Matheson's body. "No gun. Ducky, be sure that his belt and holster get sent to Abby to test for fingerprints. Ziva, Tony check with security. McGee, get on the footage."
"Got it, boss."