Cinn: Still going.
Cutter looked up from the pool table he was practising at when he heard footsteps. The pub he was in was usually fairly empty, he'd become a regular as it offered him a reasonably cheap pool table on his route home. "Should I ask how you found me?" He asked, taking his shot.
Gibbs picked up the other pool cue and chalked up whilst Cutter continued with his turn. "No." He decided.
Cutter missed his shot and looked up at the American man who was trying to investigate the death of a navy lieutenant who'd been mauled by a creature, a creature Cutter knew was probably not from their time. He didn't want to block the investigation, but the nature of his job stated that he had to. "You're here because there's something you don't trust about me."
"I just wanted to know who I was working with." Gibbs replied, stretching over the table to try and make his shot. "I like to think I know how they work."
"That doesn't surprise me." Cutter replied, stepping back to the table as Gibbs missed, but only just. "So, how am I doing?" He asked.
Gibbs took a step away from the table, and just observed for a minute before replying. "You don't want to lie to us, but you have to." Gibbs stated. "I think it's that way for your whole team. You're all hoping that our investigation will lead away from your secrets and that we won't have to be read in."
"I would have thought that was understandable, and somewhat obvious." Cutter replied calmly, cursing under his breath and he missed his shot.
"My problem is that I don't know how likely you are to lie and block my investigation." Gibbs explained as he stepped back to the table.
"Do you have a choice but to trust that we will be as helpful as possible?" Cutter asked. He was slowly deciding that he liked this man, despite the fact that their worlds were clashing in an annoying way, he had a vague dawning of respect for him.
"Well, most people who know me think I'm a bastard, and it's because I tend to overrule and bypass their authority." Gibbs replied off-handly, missing another shot.
"So basically you do things the old fashioned way." Cutter decided.
"Yeah, something like that." Gibbs decided, as Cutter finished the game by potting his remaining ball and the black.
"Well, let our bosses argue the territory, and just stay where your investigation takes you and we might not have any issues." Cutter suggested, finishing his pint. "But I don't think you'll play that way even after this conversation."
Gibbs gave a sideways grin and chuckle. "Depends where the investigation takes us." He agreed, Cutter was smart, and quick. He would probably figure out if they strayed too far from the investigation's path, and would probably quite happily throw them bodily from the building if they did. The way their jobs were clashing reminding Gibbs a bit of how his and Fornell's friendship had started out.
The two men parted ways after a brief good-bye, and Gibbs decided Cutter didn't require too much watching, so he could keep a firm eye on Jenny Lewis.
In the morning when they all arrived in to work there was a meeting about what Ducky had found in his autopsy, Abby listened carefully to make sure that all the details were included appropriately. She didn't expect him to lie, but she knew you could never be too sure. He had been quite happy for her to assist him, though she hadn't done a right lot, she had been present throughout and therefore liked to think that she'd been told everything as it had been found.
"So basically we have a navy guy who's been ripped to pieces by an animal of some kind?" Tony asked, leaning back in his chair. "There was an escaped tiger, so case closed?" He added, and Gibbs turned to him and fixed him with the steely gaze he had. "Case not closed because everything must always be double checked." Tony added with a finger in the air, sitting up straight and going back to typing on his computer, Gibbs vaguely grinned in amusement.
"Tony's right, we have no evidence to suggest chicken play and an escaped tiger." Ziva stated with appropriate arm movements. Everyone turned to her and Tony stopped his typing again. "What?" She asked, realising she'd made a mistake somewhere.
"I think you mean foul play, not fowl as in chicken." McGee stated, slightly confused, and Ziva thought for a second.
"Yes." She decided.
The ARC team exchanged slightly confused looks. "She does that." Tony stated. "You get used to it."
"I do speak five languages, Tony." Ziva added sharply.
"Five?" Abby asked, both impressed and shocked. Ziva simply turned to her with a vague smile, and then back to her boss waiting for the decision. She knew Gibbs wouldn't be happy until they'd caught the creature and proved it was responsible.
Gibbs was about to speak when Becker got a phone call, being a soldier it was over pretty quickly due to his efficiency. It was definitely not good news, and he wasn't happy about sharing it in front of the visitors, though not many people could tell that, as he could hide his emotions effectively, however Gibbs could still read him. Becker tapped Jenny's shoulder and whispered into her ear. "The ship's returned to the dock, but it's smashed straight through. My men don't reckon anyone is controlling it." He explained, Jenny didn't need to ask if he'd told his men to secure it and stay clear, he had already done so.
Jenny mentally sighed. She read it the same way Becker did; the creature was on-board the ship, and had either killed everyone, or had put them into hiding to prevent them from being in control. But either way it meant that Gibbs and his team were likely to uncover the truth. She couldn't keep them away without them asking too many questions and finding out anyway. Gibbs would probably follow them.
"Get your men ready." She simply stated, and Becker nodded and hurried off. Jenny took a breath. "The ship has returned from the dock. Which means that we're loading up and going back there."
"Why the urgency?" Gibbs asked, all the NCIS team looked up sharply, was Gibbs really asking why it was urgent? He'd have already been on their asses to get them down to the dock the moment he got the call.
"I didn't think you were a man who liked to wait." Jenny replied calmly. Tony chuckled and without even looking Gibbs clipped his head to shut him up as he knew what he was thinking. Jenny didn't give Gibbs a chance to interject. "Get to the cars." She added, and the ARC team jumped up to go, the NCIS team followed. However Jenny and Gibbs stayed behind. "You don't trust me." She stated.
"Why should I?" He asked.
"Because I'm in charge." Jenny replied. "If you need to know, I'll tell you."
"I'm not known for following orders."
"I've heard." Jenny replied.
"If you are blocking my investigation-"
"What?" Jenny asked. "Are you going to threaten me? I've worked in PR for a long time, threats don't work."
Gibbs turned his glare on her, and Jenny returned it with her own hard stare. This was not a woman he'd be able to intimidate, like Tony often said - worse than lawyers. "So what do I 'need to know'?" He asked, the emphasis clearly quoted her from earlier and in a way that suggested he didn't like it. Which he did not, and he had every intention of finding out the rest of it anyway.
Jenny considered things quickly. "The ship has just crashed into the docks." She explained, she could tell Gibbs read that the same way she and Becker had done. "Special forces go in first. We wait until they've cleared it." She added firmly, turning around to hurry down to the cars. "Sarah, do you and Dr Mallard want to wait here unless we call you down?" She asked, which was really code for 'keep an eye on him'.
"Sure thing, Jenny." Sarah replied, and offered her arm to Ducky and led him to her lab to get him settled with a cup of tea. Abby had told her enough to know how to keep him happily occupied. Get him talking and he'd probably never notice how quickly the time was going by.
Jenny clambered into the passenger seat of the car Nick was driving. Becker and his men had already left, and the NCIS team were in their cars. "Get there fast." She stated. Nick didn't even nod in response, but simply put his foot down and set off. Nearly sending Connor flying as he'd not got his seatbelt on yet.
"So what's got you worked up?" Nick asked as they were en route.
"If they get there before us then they'll go in without authorisation."
"Chances are we'll have to tell them." Nick stated. "If it's on that ship."
"I was hoping Becker and his men could sort it whilst we all wait outside."
"They'll kill it!" Abby interjected before she realised she and Connor were supposed to be being invisible at this moment in time. Jenny turned sharply and breathed deeply. Abby felt slightly guilty, Jenny was trying her best to keep a cover on the situation which was doing it's best to uncover itself, she was stressed, and didn't need anything else to worry about. "Sorry." Abby stated.
"You're right." Jenny sighed. "If it's from the past then we can't risk it."
"I can play the vet card again." Abby stated.
"You might not be able to identify it though." Cutter replied. "Either Connor or I would have to go as well."
Connor opened his mouth to object to letting Abby go anywhere without him, but closed it again as she might notice the objection and that might cause an additional awkwardness which they didn't need, especially now. Jenny decided to take her mind off the issue by phoning Lester and filling him in, and then half put the phone down on him because he was reiterating all the things she already knew.
Becker and his men had arrived at the docks first, and the first thing he did was get the perimeter resealed to keep the creature in. The other two cars arrived at practically the same time. "What's the situation?" Jenny asked, shutting the car door.
"The ship's in a decent enough shape with the exception of the bow which has been smashed in. Nothing's come out of it whilst we've been watching." Becker explained. "We're going to do a sweep of the ship, starting from this end."
"Do you need plans?" Cutter asked, always the practical man.
"Appreciated, but not a necessity." Becker replied calmly.
"What's the plan?" Tony asked, attempting to get some information of this strange team of people.
"We go in, we neutralise the problem, and then you can investigate." Becker replied calmly.
"Try not to kill it." Abby half stated and half asked. The look Becker gave her didn't give her much in the way of encouragement, she returned it with her own stare. They both knew they couldn't have a full argument about this, but it was clear they both wanted to.
"It's only a tiger..." Ziva stated, slightly confused. "Do you not have any tranquillizer darts?"
Becker looked even more unhappy, and instead of replying looked to Jenny, who nodded. So the soldiers headed towards the ship, and into it. "So we wait?" McGee asked.
"We wait." Jenny stated firmly, hoping that it wasn't anything Becker and his men couldn't deal with. She wasn't surprised when Gibbs half stormed, half walked back to the car to wait. The other NCIS members followed, and it wasn't long before the ARC team heard hushed voices quickly discussing the situation.
"Are you sure the best way is to not tell them?" A voice cut through Jenny's thoughts, she turned to see Cutter standing next to her shoulder as she stared at the ship. Abby and Connor weren't stood far away.
"I'm not sure at all." Jenny replied honestly.
"Didn't think so." Cutter replied, an almost smug tone in his voice that made Jenny turn sharply to look at him again, and half frown at the amused half grin on his face. Deciding against attempting to reprimand him in some form, she simply turned back to the ship, watching and waiting for any signs. She tried to keep half an eye on the NCIS team, but they didn't seem too intent on trying to do something stupid.
They waited, it was almost unbearable, but they waited. Eventually the two teams joined up again to chat, trying not to think about what was going on in the ship. They did manage to just about forget about the waiting , until they got a message in their ear. The first was just starting to speak before there was a scream, and then they heard Becker demand what was happening, but getting no response.
Jenny and Cutter shared a look, and then Cutter took charge. "Becker, we're coming in, tell your men not to shoot us by mistake." He stated, going to the car to find a gun. Abby and Connor obeyed without question, following to get their own preferred weapons. Jenny did too.
"What are you doing?" She asked.
"We can't keep this under wraps any more" Cutter stated, as the NCIS team joined them at the car. Jenny glared at the floor for a moment, waiting for the inevitable question.
"Keep what under wraps?" McGee asked, as Gibbs just stared at them, knowing by this point, an answer would come.
Jenny sighed. "The real reason that there is a creature on that ship."
Cinn: Sorry it's so short, but I wanted to leave it here before the next chapter... Oh well. Thank you to duchessfaleen, illuminazione and Idril-Lune (ie those who have reviewed the last chapter).