Special Agent Timothy McGee looked down at his hands. He didn't dare blink or the tears would overflow and drench the front of his jacket. They were gone. All of them: Tony, Ziva, Ducky, Palmer, the Boss… Abby. When he thought her name, all his effort to keep was wasted, because the tears fell anyway. Light thuds sounded as the salty tears hit his polyester jacket.
"Agent McGee?" A kind male voice came from the real world and penetrated Tim's little world of sorrow.
He couldn't respond, only looked up at the SecNav with teary eyes.
"Agent McGee, with your permission, we'd like to proceed."
Tim nodded, attempting to compose himself for the long walk to the sub-basement. A top secret government sponsored machine was down there, waiting for him. He didn't know what it was, but he was promised that this thing would help him solve the case that was unfolding before the Navy's eyes.
Fourteen squadrons had disappeared over the course of three weeks. Cleared from existence, no trace could be found of them. No trace… that is except a very unique radioactive signature, that no technology, Naval or governmental, could decipher.
Then, just last week, Director Vance went missing. His wife swore up and down he had been next to her when she'd fallen asleep, but he was gone when she'd woken up. Scientists tested the radiation levels and the signature was identical to that found at the last known locations of the squadrons.
But yesterday had been the worst day of all… The team was headed out to investigate the death of three Marines. McGee had to go back to the office to get a file, and when he got back to the garage, the team was gone. He went to check Abby's Lab and autopsy, but everyone was gone. He was the only one left.
Radioactive testing confirmed: the same kidnappers.
Now, McGee stood in the elevator headed for the sub-basement with the SecNav standing silently at his side.
"What's going to happen to me down there?" McGee finally asked.
The SecNav sighed and stopped the elevator in its tracks.
"Agent McGee… the government has been working on cryogenic technology for years now. We've developed it to such an extent that we can freeze a human being now and in, say, a thousand years, we can thaw that person and have them in full working order." The man said, quite seriously.
"So, we're facing our biggest challenge yet, and all you want to do is test your cryogenic technology on me? Don't we have better things to do?" McGee was dumbfounded. How could they think about testing technology when so many people were missing?
"We're freezing you, Agent McGee, so that you can be thawed at any point in the future when this case is possible to be cracked."
"Okay, fine. How long are you planning for this case to go on?" Tim wasn't in the mood to argue. After losing everyone you care about, you don't care about what happens to you.
The SecNav put a hand on his shoulder. "Not in this lifetime." He turned and switched the elevator back on. The humming of the machinery eased Tim's fears of the future, imminent or otherwise.
As the door whooshed open to reveal a monstrous technological sight before him, McGee looked back to the SecNav.
"What about my sister? My parents?" although his voice was dead with grief, he was scared for them.
"They've been informed, and they agree that it will be beneficial to the case."
McGee took that as Navy code for "they're torn up but if I told them you wanted to, which you don't, they'd be willing to let it happen."
Tim was handed a set of clothes that turned out to be a spandex jumpsuit. He was told it wouldn't be destroyed by the freezing process. He nodded and ducked into a supply closet to change, as there were no formal change rooms in the sub-basement.
He emerged and was ushered to a kind of semi-upright coffin. He thought of Abby and her coffin-bed as he climbed in.
He didn't hear the worker bees mumbling to each other about the process. He saw one of them give him an encouraging thumbs up as the door closed.
He barely felt the cold of the substance they encased him in. In fact; it felt warm against his skin, the sorrow had made him so cold already.
He began to panic as he felt his consciousness slip away. He held on to the image of his team as he fell asleep. Everyone: Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, Ducky, Palmer, Abby… even Vance. He would wake up and find them. He would save them.
For good measure, on his "dying" breath he mouthed the one name that meant more to him than the whole team put together: "Abby".