Chapter Twenty-five: Wrap-up
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Tony, Ziva and Jenny stood in the Interrogation Observation area while Gibbs grilled Ekerot/Johansson once more. This time, Ekerot was finally confessing…a little. There was still a lot they hadn't gotten out of him, and might never learn.
"Where do you suppose he'll wind up, Director?" Tony asked. "Gitmo?"
Jenny shook her head. "I'd like to think so, but the SECNAV is sure that Sweden is going to ask for extradition, and the US will probably grant it. He has a lot to answer for in his home land, apparently."
Ziva frowned. "I know that in some cases, criminals with brilliant minds are kept close at hand, so no one else can get their services."
"I wouldn't be surprised," said Jenny. "Androids! Living circuitry! An incredible weapon…Ekerot is, no doubt, a genius. He's created items that otherwise might not exist for decades! No, he is certainly a danger." Will they bargain with him; make use of him?
Will this be the last we hear of him? She shuddered.
"Abby said she hasn't had any luck with the Nell androids," Tony remarked.
"If Abby cannot, ah, bring them back to life, I do not know who can," said Ziva. "Perhaps McGee, working with Abby, when he is better…"
Jenny nodded. "They'll give it a try. It may take time, and it's certainly going to be low-priority. This is so far beyond anything we know! But wouldn't it be impressive if they were able to reactivate the Nells?"
Tony grinned. "Particularly Lindholm; the one Probie called 'Baking Nell'. He says she really was a great cook!"
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Tim lay in his hospital bed, glad for a little peace and quiet, for once. Abby had just left, after coming to give him a very gentle hug. "I just had to reassure myself again that you're you, Tim," she'd said. "After seeing the android-you cut open on the Autopsy table…well…"
He'd lightly patted her arm. She was obviously still a little shocked by her ordeal, even three days later. That she cared so much warmed his heart. Yes, he had seemingly come back from the dead. It was worth coming back, when you knew your friends cared so very, very much.
The door creaked open. Another visitor? "Hiya, Tim! I've decided to go AWOL for awhile. Let's see if anyone misses me."
It was Alvarez, in a wheelchair, pushed by a smiling nurse. Not exactly AWOL, then, but Tim could let his friend have his fun.
"It's over, Enrique! Finally over!" Tim sighed happily.
"About time. Now my daughter really does want me to take time off and come see her. I think I'll do just that. I have too much leave accrued as it is."
"Ha! I'm never in that position."
"Stick with it, son. The more years in, the more you accrue. You'll get there…so, your Baking Nell never really existed. I still can't wrap my mind around that."
"She existed. She just wasn't alive, in the sense that we know it. No more than a computer is alive. She was his original Little Nell, Gibbs said. Named for a Dickens character."
"I'm still croggled. They all seemed alive to me. And aren't robots forbidden from harming humans? She sure put a hole in me!"
"That's only in fiction. Asimov's laws of robotics. If you can create a robot…an android…you can design it to behave in any way you want to."
Alvarez shook his head. "Damndest thing. Anyway, did they tell you the good news about you and me?"
"That the circuitry inside us has stopped growing? Yes, I heard just a little while ago. And it should have all withered and have been flushed out of our systems within a week. We'll be back to normal soon!"
"I don't pretend to understand why that would be. I'm just satisfied that it is."
"Wait, let me call Klara Schultz; see if she's up to joining our little party," said Tim, reaching for his phone. In a few minutes, Klara came in, also in a wheelchair…escorted by Gibbs and Jenny!
"I would have brought some snacks if I'd known there would be a party," Klara cracked. "How are you doing, Enrique? And Tim; I'm so sorry that Lindholm carved you up! What happened??"
So Tim told them the story he'd already told Gibbs and Jenny. In the pre-dawn hours of the day in which Lindholm helped Alvarez escape and then shot him, she had lured Tim out of the apartment, out to her car, and then attacked him, stabbing him several times, in a nearby secluded area. She needed a significant sample of his blood, with its circuitry, to speed up the activation process of the Tim android. This much she had told him. He only remembered after that lying in a small locked room in great pain. Why she hadn't just killed him, he didn't know.
"You were still a fallback plan, I'm guessing," said Klara. "She didn't care much for your well-being, but she did need you—what was in you—to power the destruction gizmo. If the first blood sample didn't prove to be enough, by keeping you alive she'd have another."
"Gah. I like reading science fiction; but I don't want to be part of it," Tim said. "Does that tie up all the loose ends, now?"
"That depends," said Gibbs. "Do you still have the paranoia?"
Tim considered. "No," he said at length. "I feel…normal again. It's good."
"I'm glad of that," Gibbs smiled. "I'll be glad when all three of you are back at work."
Tim's eyes widened. "You too, Klara?"
Jenny grinned. "Yes, we're stuck with her again. Jethro will be glad to go back down to a smaller team, I'm sure."
"You got that right," Gibbs said.
"Oh, speaking of loose ends," said Alvarez. "Tim…one more thing…back on Monday you had come to Anacostia to fix my computer…?"
"Oh, no!" said Gibbs, and Jenny looked alarmed, while Klara only laughed.
"Have someone on your staff deliver the computer to NCIS, and Tim will work on it in-house, when he comes back to work," said Jenny firmly, but there was a twinkle in her eyes. "I need him too much at NCIS. No more geek house calls for him. That's how this all started."
"I can live with that," said Alvarez, giving Tim a grin. "Tim, it was a pleasure sharing an adventure with you. But let's not do it again, anytime soon."
"Agreed!" said Tim, and sighed in contentment. It's over. It's all over.
Yes, and you're safe now, deary, said two of the Marthes at the other side of his bed.
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