Message in a Body

Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or it's characters. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. This work of fiction is just for fun, not profit. The character of Shaun Mahanay was used with the generous permission of L. Kyle. Also copyrights for "The Mission" lyrics belong to Puscifer.

A/N: I know I tend to leave things hanging a lot, hope it's not frustrating everyone too much, I just can't close a chapter on a fin type note until I'm at the end of the story. This story being my first NCIS fan fic is still a little out of my usual genre too so I'm struggling a bit. As always, I am so happy to have people reviewing at all. The feed back is so appreciated, lets me know I haven't botched everything completely. This is my sort of fill in some blanks chapter. Hope you enjoy.

Chapter Seven


May 23rd, 1992

Twilight settled over the lone country road, muddied shades of bloody skies heralding in the night and it's sorted secrets. Heat lightning and a stiff breeze had raised concern of fires, but so far there were no news of growing inferno's, dancing out of control. Special agent Frank's and his Probie were on their way to see a Navy Lieutenant's wife who had relocated to a communal group home with their son while he was deployed to Iraq.

They'd already been told that the FBI was handling the bulk of the questions filtering in by loved ones of the 'cults' members. The groups name was The Celestial Temple, sharing some sort of religious affiliation with the Planets and their Moons as an off shoot of the Zoroastrian religion. The group had become more and more vocal and fear was arising that despite their contributions to the community around them, they were becoming unstable, possibly a threat to themselves or others. So far jurisdiction had been passed from the Metro PD's Seventh Substation to the FBI with agents Tobias Fornell and Francis Black running point.

NIS was coming in just to question the wife as there was talk of kidnapping charges in regards to her and the Lieutenant's son. Leroy Jethro Gibbs had been with the NIS just a short while, the number of cases under his belt countable on his fingers. Franks adjusted the radio as he drove them in silence. The fields, road side, lit up sporadically with the yellowed green of fireflies. Gibbs was quiet, starring out the window, lost in thought. Franks respected his silence without prying as to what he was thinking.

All of the silent reflection was lost as soon as a threesome of Metro squad cars suddenly raced passed them with lights and sirens a blazing. " Hold on..." Franks immediately sped up as Jethro took hold of the handle on the door. They pulled into their destination into a circus of spot lights and scrambling uniformed men, some PD, some FBI. NIS was the last to arrive to the insanity.

As if the scrambling wasn't enough of a dead giveaway, Gibbs knew it was bad when he rose from the passenger seat to see an officer reintroducing his dinner to the base of a tree a few feet off the driveway. He looked over the top of the car to Franks, meeting his boss's eyes. Franks looked less concerned, but there was a hint of fear there. You could smell crimson and copper in the air, the stench of blood, still fresh.

They closed the car doors in tandem and started at a hurried walk up the drive, passing squad cars and unmarked's parked all over the place. The house was already surrounded, the sound of ambulances on their way keeping tune to the light show from the fireflies as Gibbs suddenly ducked an object swaying from a tree that overhung the drive way. He had been reaching for his gun, ready to assist with what was going on when the body nearly swung into him. He and Franks both jumped and found their gazes draw upward, realization dawning.

The order to stand down was given just as they glimpsed what had the whole of the estate unnerved, some to the extent of throwing up. In the trees, that adorned the side yard, all twelve of them, 52 bodies were swaying from the branches, the ground beneath soaked with the blood that was dripping from their still fresh wounds. Exiting from the front door, Fornell walked hand in hand with a small boy, the only survivor, Lieutenant Edward Grant's son, James Grant. The boy looked lost as Fornell shielded him from the sight of the bodies, his own body soaked with blood, though whose...Gibbs wasn't sure.

He felt his own stomach churning. The rest of the night felt like a blur. It took the resources of all three agencies and then some to sort it all out. They had five medical examiners working on the case...including Dr. Mallard. The leader of the Celestial Temple caught wind of a rebellion sweeping the compound. Faced with the threat of losing his followers, he'd convinced his right hand man that he'd heard the will of the Gods. James Grant was going to be his protege but first they had to deal with the nonbelievers.

Malcom Anderson and Justin Down had locked the occupants of the compound into a meeting hall on the ground and systematically killed them, one by one, hanging their bodies in the trees as a sign for future generations. James Grant had been locked in a different room, hearing the screams, but never understanding what had actually happened until Anderson came for him, at last. He'd killed Justin Downs by then, wishing to have no witnesses of the atrocities they had committed together. He didn't count on James seeing the bodies out the window and sneakily finding a way to make a phone call while he packed.

They'd been just about to leave when the first of the cavalry arrived. Malcom Anderson, died trying to kill himself and James...

Present Day.

Three explosions, all related. There wasn't a question in his mind. A case number from the vaults of hell in Gibbs mind. One dead retired FBI agent that worked the case, killed in the same manner as the victims. The three agencies that were bombed were in chaos scrambling to mobilize their people. It would take days to realize that those that were unreachable were truly missing. The explosions were the perfect cover to get to so many highly trained individuals.

The inside of the car sounded like a ruckus of one sided conversations as soon as the pieces began to fall into place for Gibbs, as soon as he found out that Abby and McGee were missing. Fornell was unreachable, Black was dead, He had a hard enough time getting Franks on the phone when he needed him...There were two detectives to check on in order to prove his theory...

He caught the surprise in Ziva's eye when there wasn't a rebuke for Tony's negligence, even though she, herself, knew that they couldn't have known that Abby and McGee were in any further danger. They had pulled into a drive way marked Grant on the mailbox but were waiting, waiting for the dual frantic information seeking quest to end.

"I am reading the list back to you now...Metro PD...Shaun Mahanay, John Foster, lead investigators. FBI...Tobias Fornell and Francis Black...NCIS...Special Agents Mike Franks and Gibbs." Ziva omitted Gibbs first and middle names and went on. " Medical examiners...Dr. Mallard, Dr. Sans, Dr. Alverez, Dr. Green, and Dr. Harris. Forensic scientists...Jared Fresco, Amy Daniels, and Chad Morgan."

"That's what it says..." Tony replied quickly, covering the mic for a second to call out. "They haven't swept the parking garage yet? What...the..." He came back to Ziva. "I need to there anything else?"

"I'm checking." Ziva replied softly, wishing that it would reassure Tony, but realizing that the chances of that were miniscule. She looked to Gibbs who was in the middle of his own conversation.

"I just need to know if detectives Mahanay and Foster came in today... Has anyone been able to reach them?" Gibbs exhaled in exasperation. "Do you have their home addresses handy?" He motioned for Ziva to wrap it up as he saw her list and reached for it, getting the hand off readily. He covered his phone mic as he wrote the addresses down. "Call Ducky and get him to pull up the case file that Tony's already got. Tell him I want a protection detail for himself and Palmer, purely precautionary, until I can connect the rest of these dots."

"Yes, Sir...Tony that's all..." She broke off as he gave a frustrated growl at someone beside him and hung up on her, then she quickly dialed Ducky.

A few moments later they hung up in almost perfect unison. Ziva caught Gibbs arm when he reached to let himself out of the car. "Sir, I need to know what you think might be happening. I can help, if I know more." She offered, meeting his eyes pleadingly. She had to do more then this...taking orders that seemed so random out of context. For a moment she doubted that he was going to tell her, that he was going to put it off until a latter moment.

Instead Gibbs closed his eyes, breathing deeply before he spoke. "The case number that I gave Tony was a mass murder involving a cult that happened 18 years ago. Right now, it looks like the explosions targeted the two agencies and the one police substation that worked the case. More then a handful of the agents that worked the case are missing..."

Ziva narrowed her eyes in confusion. "But Abby and McGee....they were not here then."

Gibbs shook his head and held up the pad pointing out Franks and Amy's names. "He's replacing the people that he can't get to with people that are available in the same departments. Abby and McGee were hurt and easy targets..."

Ziva swallowed tightly and looked to the house whose drive way they now occupied. "And Grant?"

"He's the only survivor. He was seven...He's the best lead we have right now." Gibbs explained.


...Droppin' bombs from above cut you all down to size...'Cause they're hip to the bull and they're hip to the lies...And they're hip to the lies.

"This reminds me of a movie!" Abby's voice rose over the new music that was being looped. Now Fornell it served another purpose. It hindered communication between those in the same room, even if they had gotten the tape freed from their lips. At least it was a different song...

Our turn to decide, who lives and who dies...Right in front of your eyes, it's time to get up...Our turn to decide, who lives and who dies...Now answer the lies it's time to get up...Our turn to decide, who lives and who dies

Whatcha' know about the ways on the underside?

"S.F.W. I know I sound like Tony, but it really does. It was a really nice cast and there were hostages all immobilized in folding chairs, only they were in the back of a convenient store and there were several men with pantyhose over their head and..." Abby trailed off when McGee called her name to bring her back to the task at hand.

What do you know?

Bought a hot shot gat from a north end guinea...Now answer the lies, it's time to get up...Ante up with your ass 'cause you ain't got a penny...Time to get up...Dropping bombs from above cut you all down to size...Now answer the lies, it's time to get up...'Cause they're hip to the bull and they're hip to the lies...And they're hip to the lies.

"Right...sorry." She yelled apologetically as she dug her feet into the floor once more, trying to put the weight of the push on her hips, legs and feet instead of her torso as her ribs were already screaming almost as loudly as her head. They were trying to blindly maneuver so that one of them could get free before the guy came back. She knocked into someone's chair and heard McGee bite back a scream. "Sorry!" She called quickly.

"Don't worry about it, you're almost there." McGee called back when he could think clearly enough through the haze of pain to speak again. Fornell hitched in a breath in anticipation, praying that McGee could get Abby undone so that she could free the rest of them.

Our turn to decide, who lives and who dies...Now answer the lies it's time to get up...Our turn to decide, who lives and who dies
Right in front of your eyes, it's time to get up...Our turn to decide, who lives and who dies...Now answer the lies it's time to get up...Our turn to decide, who lives and who dies

What do you know?


A/N: The rest of the story is going to mainly focus on the peeps in the basement as Gibbs, Ziva, and Tony try and put together the rest of the puzzle. I hope everyone enjoys.