Whirlwind

Written for the NFA Bermuda Triangle Challenge. This is a slightly altered version of my alternate WEE idea for BlackSwan and I will also be using two prompts from Fingersnaps.

Multi-chapter

Genre: Suspense/Angst/Friendship/hints of supernatural

Rating: FR13/T

Warnings: none

Characters: Tim, Gibbs, and the team; original characters

Disclaimer: Don't own, just playing, yadda yadda

Summary: Gibbs and McGee are sent to investigate a series of strange events aboard a Navy research vessel, with unforeseen consequences.


Prologue

Tim McGee sat at the computer terminal, typing furiously as he followed the data trail he had discovered. He had been working for nearly eighteen hours straight, barely speaking as he peeled back the layers of encryption which obscured the identity of the saboteur. He ignored the cacophony around him as he broke through another level to access the final piece of information he needed. He delved deeper into the data and came up with a name.

"Gotcha."

"McGee?"

He turned to the man behind him. "I found him, Boss. Petty Officer Scott Corwin, quartered on the C deck, berth 213. He's the one who has been altering the navigational, communication and electrical systems, which accounts for all the problems the crew has been having with the ship. Mystery solved."

"That's good work, Tim," his boss said with a rare smile. Gibbs turned to one of the security officers waiting for his command. "Let's go get him." Both men left the control room and McGee turned back to his computer where started to dig through the records he had just uncovered, hoping to find a motive. Suddenly he froze, wide-eyed as a new and distressing set of information rolled across his screen.

"Oh crap…"

He sprang to his feet and yelled for the captain, who rushed over.

"What is it, Agent McGee?"

"We need to abandon ship!" He pointed to the information on his screen. "Corwin wasn't just sabotaging the systems, he wants to take down the entire vessel. He planted explosives throughout the ship and-" He checked the screen. "—they're set to go off in less than five minutes. We've got to get everyone off, now!"

The captain let out a stream of invective and began barking orders as he sounded the alarm. McGee pressed his com. "Boss? Are you there?" There was no response. "Boss? Damn it!" He felt a hand grip his shoulder and turned to find the captain.

"Let's go, Agent McGee."

"I can't. I need to tell Gibbs-"

"He'll hear the alarm. Come on."

McGee followed the captain to the deck and watched the group preparing the lifeboats for launch. He stood back as most of the crew boarded the boats, scanning the crowd for the lead agent but he didn't see him. He was left with the captain and two other officers as the last boat was lowered. He looked around in panic, hoping to see Gibbs and the security officer emerge with their prisoner but the deck remained empty.

"Agent McGee?"

"I can't go without-" He was interrupted by the sound of gunshots.

"BOSS!"

He disregarded the captain's yells and ran towards the sound, ignoring the churning of his stomach as he made his way to the rear of the vessel. He arrived at the scene just in time to see Corwin point his gun at Gibbs who was crouching near the rail, the body of the security officer slumped against him. McGee raised his own gun.

"FREEZE!"

Corwin swung his arm towards McGee and the agent fired, striking the man in the chest. The petty officer fell to the deck and McGee ran to his boss's side.

"You OK?"

Gibbs nodded and lowered the security officer to the deck, checking for a pulse. He sighed and looked up at McGee, shaking his head.

"Boss, we have to go. Corwin wired the ship with explosives. They're going to-"

The sudden blast rocked the ship, causing McGee to stumble and fall against the railing. Before he could catch himself, he overbalanced and tumbled over the side. He barely had time to let out a cry of surprise before he hit the water and, with the wind knocked out of him, he started to sink into the black depths.

Sorry, Boss…

Just as consciousness was beginning to fade he felt something grab his arm and drag him upward. His head broke the surface and he gasped for air, sputtering and gagging as some of the salty water entered his throat. He started to struggle against whatever was holding him but relaxed when he heard a voice in his ear.

"I gotcha, McGee."

"B-boss?"

"We have to swim. If we're too close to the ship when it goes down-"

"It will take us with it."

The two men started to swim away from the damaged vessel and McGee flinched as each explosion shattered the night. Finally they turned to look back at the blazing hulk just as it disintegrated and sank, leaving behind a few burning pieces of flotsam.

McGee continued to tread water as he turned to his companion, barely visible in the distant firelight.

"Thanks, Boss."

"You, too McGee. I think we're even this time."

McGee gave a faint nod and watched as the flames diminished. He scanned the area and searched for one of the lifeboats, hoping for a rescue that seemed more unlikely with each passing moment.


A/N: If you're wondering, where are Tony and Ziva, it will be explained in the next chapter.