a/n - Another WIP, but I am currently working on chapter 6, so I should be able to post pretty much every day. This challenge was based on how much Hetty looks like Edna from the Incredibles. It started out as just a humor piece in my mind, but then a plot showed up and brought his friend, angst, with him. What do we fear, and why do we fear it?
After the uprising at Kaunas, Superheroes were deactivated and hidden among the general population. Now that the threat from terrorists is increasing, the Supers are returning, but will one Super in particular be able to live with the restrictions?
Memo to: all agencies
From: Homeland Security, Department of Superheroes
Pursuant to Presidential Order B7-33, all surviving Superheroes will be recalled to active duty. Strict regulations will be in place to prevent another Kaunas Uprising. See attached. Any Superhero not willing to accept a handler and to live within the requirements will be incarcerated in the Delta Wing of Leavenworth Prison or will be required to take the third option within 48 hours of notification.
Thomas R. Morrow, HS, DofS
"Gibbs, need to see you for a minute." Vance didn't slow down as he yelled, neither did he let go of McGee's arm. Ducky was two steps behind them. Annoyed at the summons, Gibbs followed them up the stairs to Vance's office.
Down in the bullpen, DiNozzo chortled in glee. "Looks like Probie's in trouble. Wonder what he did? Hey, Palmer, any ideas?"
"I don't know." Palmer's words didn't quite match his face and DiNozzo was instantly up and across the room. He slung an arm around Palmer's shoulder and escorted him to a free chair next to DiNozzo's desk.
"Sure you do, Palmer, and you're going to tell us or my little Mossad friend is going to be very unhappy. Across from him, Ziva played along, pulling out one of her throwing knives and twirling it between her fingers.
One look at the knife and Palmer folded. "It has something to do with NCIS getting a Super."
"A Super? We're getting a Superhero?"
"Maybe. Apparently the CIA is trying to stop it and take him for themselves." Palmer blushed and scooted his chair further back from Ziva.
"Vance probably has McGeek hacking into the CIA database to figure out how they're going to try and stop it." Tony stopped and ran back through exactly what Jimmy had said. "He? Are you sure it's a guy; we're not getting some hot blonde Super with big…" He held his hands up in front of his chest to approximate a well-endowed bustline.
"Vance, what in the hell is going on?" Gibbs looked around. Ducky was leaning against the window sill, looking very displeased with the proceedings, while McGee was slumped in a chair across from Vance's desk, wearing a dejected expression as he stared at his shoes.
Leon handed him a large stack of papers. "There's no time; just sign these where they're marked." Over a dozen post-its marked where signatures were needed. Two agents from Legal came in the witness the signing.
Gibbs still wasn't convinced. "What exactly am I signing?"
"You're agreeing to become the handler for a Super. Either you agree to this, or Trent Kort gets to take ownership of McGee." Vance looked down at his watch. "Security is trying to stall him, but he's already in the Yard."
"McGee is a Superhero? You're joking, right? Here I thought Clark Kent was mild mannered." When it was apparent that no one in the room was joking, Gibbs reached out and tapped McGee on the back of the head. "Are you all right with this? Is this what you want?"
"What I want became a moot point when the Presidential Decree came down. I don't have a choice, but of all the options for a handler, you're the only one I fully trust, Boss."
One of the MP's came into the office. "Kort is in the building. Gloria is trying to delay him, but we're talking minutes, Sir." Angry and feeling coerced, Gibbs started signing the many pages. Marti from Legal was scanning the last signature as Kort came through the door.
"You, Gibbs?" Trent Kort started laughing. "Do you have any idea what you've agreed to? Well, when you get tired and want to get rid of him, give me a call. Our lab could use a few more specimens." Still laughing, Kort turned and left, his two bodyguards right behind him.
On the best days, Kort made Gibbs' skin crawl. Today he wanted a shower. "Lab specimen?"
Ducky explained, his eyes never leaving McGee. "Timothy received the neural implant within hours of his birth, so we have no idea what powers he will develop or what will happen when the implant is removed. We don't even know if he will survive the removal."
"Then we don't remove it." Gibbs turned to the Director. "McGee's a damn fine agent, and we're managed this long without a Superhero on the payroll, who says we have to start now? If I'm his handler, don't I get some say in all this?"
"I'm no longer on the payroll, Boss." Tim shrugged as he filled in the details, knowing Gibbs would have never bothered to read any of the memos. "I'm now part of the inventory. I'm a tool at the disposal of the agency. If another agency feels that I'm not being used to the best of my ability, they can petition Homeland Security for my removal."
While Gibbs stared at him, McGee pulled his keys out of his pocket and held them out in front of Gibbs. "All of my personal effects now belong to my handler; that would be you. "I am now required to live under your supervision, either at your home or if you'd prefer, you can house me at a secure military facility when I'm not in use."
"For God's sake, Leon, you can't be agreeing with this. The human rights violations alone…"
When Gibbs didn't take the keys to his apartment and the Porsche, McGee dropped them on the desk. "That's the point, Boss, in the eyes of the international community, Supers are not human. In the hands of a terrorist, we're a weapon of mass destruction."
"I'm not going to kennel you like some service animal, so I guess you'll be moving in with me." Gibbs' pronouncement was greeted with a wan smile.
"I do have some leeway in how you are treated here at the agency." Vance gave McGee what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "You will continue to have the designation of Special Agent and your stipend will be equivalent to what your take home salary was. I understand how difficult the situation is for you, McGee."
"Nothing personal, sir, but I don't think you do."
Vance smiled and moved his coffee cup in front of Tim before touching the steaming liquid with his finger. The steaming increased as the hot liquid froze in a matter of seconds. "Actually, I do understand. A few of us were never put in the program." He laughed at the expression on Gibbs' face. "Don't be so surprised, Jethro. You've always thought I was a cold-hearted bastard."
Gibbs shook his head. "I should have known. So how did you rate not having a handler?"
"Don't worry, I have one. You two break the news to your team while I arrange for a truck and some Marines to get McGee packed up and moved into your place."
Gibbs kept his hand on McGee's back as they left the office. "DiNozzo, David, you're with us. We're going to take this to Abby's lab." They joined up at the elevator, Palmer still in tow.
"So, Boss, rumor has it the team is getting a Super." DiNozzo grinned as he bounced on his toes. "Does that mean we're going to be a five person team, or are we trading in the geek?"
Vance closed and locked the door before making a sweep for listening devices. Kort tended to leave a trail of them wherever he went. Once they were disposed of, he turned to Ducky. "I need your honest opinion, Dr. Mallard. Is McGee up to this?"
"Up to what exactly? Having his entire life upended? Losing his status as a human being? Knowing that the CIA wants to cut open his skull to see how his brain works? First things first. Let's see if he even survives the removal of the neural implant." Ducky turned around when he reached the door. "You've had your powers your entire life, Leon; don't make the mistake of assuming you know exactly what Timothy is going through."
Abby looked up to see the entire MCRT walk through her door. "Hey, guys, what's up? Do we have a case?" She looked at the group. Gibbs and McGee looked somber, Ziva seemed confused, while Tony was ecstatic. Behind them Palmer hovered at the door, obviously uncomfortable.
"Guess what, Abby, we're getting our very own Super." Tony couldn't wait for Gibbs to break the news. "Isn't that right, Boss?"
"Really? How soon? Will I be able to spend some time with it in the lab?"
"Abby!" Abby blinked at the anger in Gibbs' voice. "You will never refer to him as an it and you will not be running any experiments on him. Is that understood?"
"Gibbs, I'm just saying that the science of superpowers is really fascinating and…"
"And nothing, Abs. Did you know that Superheroes are now classified as non-humans?"
"What? No, Gibbs, that's not right." Abby realized exactly what she had said and how it could be interpreted. "I didn't mean it like that, honest."
Gibbs was beginning to appreciate why McGee had been so reluctant to be activated as he laid down the law for his team. "At no point do I want McGee to be treated as anything other than an equal member of this team. Is that understood?"
DiNozzo appointed himself as the team spokesman. "Sure, Boss, we'll make sure that… wait a minute, you said McGee. McGee is our new Super? McGee?"
His laughter died out quickly after that.
Once Ducky had left for the lab, Vance had a phone call to make, one he'd been dreading.
~Operations, this is Hanna.~
"Special Agent Hanna, this is Director Vance." Over the phone line he could hear the scraping as Hanna sat up straight.
~Director Vance, what can we do for you?~
"I need to speak to Hetty. Transfer me to a secure line." It took a few minutes, before she came on the line.
~Leon, why are you intimidating my people this morning?~
"I need you back here as soon as possible. It's time… Edna."