a/n - One of the nice things about participating in the annual SeSa is that sometimes you get to play out of your "box" and it really works. This was one of those years for me with both stories I did. This is finished, 13 chapters, and I'll post a chapter a day until it's all up. Enjoy.
What Happens in Vegas...
McGee ducked as a bullet ricocheted over his head and hot metal splattered down his neck. "Damn it, Kort, why is it that every time we have a joint op, there's a dirty CIA agent in the mix?"
"How do you know it was my guy?" Even as he changed magazines, Kort knew the leak hadn't come from any of Gibbs' people. "Don't suppose you've gotten a signal yet?"
Rolling his eyes, McGee didn't even bother to respond as he shifted to the left, hoping for a better angle. It worked and one of their attackers went down just as another car arrived. Now seriously outnumbered, the two men decided to risk making a run for it. Tim scooped up the laptop bag as Kort laid down enough firepower to slow down their pursuers. They made it out the back door of the warehouse just as their car exploded.
"Crap, come on." Between the burning car and the two groups of gunmen, there was only one way out, a narrow passage between a row of abandoned box cars and the solid steel wall of the warehouse. Knowing it was a trap, they had no choice but to go for it. Tim spotted the tripwire first and they carefully stepped over it and the next two before they reached the end. Before they stepped out into the open again, Kort picked up a large rock and tossed it back at the first tripwire. The resulting explosion set off the other two bombs but they were through the opening and crawling through a gap in the fence before the debris stopped falling.
"There." Kort pointed as he changed direction, never slowing down.
Tim's eyes widened as he realized the new plan. "You've got to be kidding me." Even as he voiced his objections, he angled towards the new destination.
Kort was determined to not show any weakness in front of the younger man and picked up the pace as he forced his words out. "What, you never wanted to play hobo when you were a kid?"
The train was picking up speed as it was leaving the yard. Kort reached the open box car first, grabbing the edge of the door and swinging himself up. McGee was a few seconds behind him and tossed the case into the empty car first before following Kort's example. Kort grabbed his arm and hauled him in the rest of the way before McGee retrieved his bag. Not only did it carry their evidence, but the emergency supplies Gibbs insisted he bring, and he had a sneaking hunch he was going to need them.
From the open door, they watched as one of their pursuers attempted the same maneuver further back on the train, but slipped and fell, his scream cut short as the heavy metal wheel ended his chase.
Twenty minutes later, they were well into the countryside. Tim shook his head, pulling out his phone. "We can't stay on here, it won't take them long to figure out where this train is going."
"No, don't." Kort latched onto his wrist before he could check for a signal.
"My team is not dirty."
"Yeah, but if mine is, I guarantee you they've already hacked into Gibbs' phone, the rest of your team's, too."
"Damn it." Realizing that they were probably already tracing the GPS on his and Kort's phones, McGee pulled the battery cover off in order to remove the chip, but Kort shook his head.
"I've got a better idea."
Tim looked up and saw that another train was approaching on the adjacent track, immediately realizing what Kort had in mind.. Without explaining what he was doing, Tim's fingers were nothing but a blur as he typed in a series of commands as the other train came closer. He quickly replaced the battery cover and handed the phone over to Kort who carefully lobbed both their phones into a passing box car. An hour later Kort tugged on McGee's sleeve and they jumped from the train as it prepared to enter a freight yard, randomly picking another box car to ride.
"Find them." The gravelly voice of Petar Cvetko always brought fear to his underlings, even over the phone. Glancing around he quickly ran a trace on Kort's phone and sent the current location to Cvetko before carefully erasing his search.
"Damn it, Hicks, they've missed their check-in."
"You know Kort, he always has his own timetable." Smirking, Ryan Hicks leaned back and set his feet on McGee's desk, kicking the keyboard out of his way. He didn't have a chance to get comfortable before Gibbs knocked his feet back onto the floor.
"Not when he's got my man with him. McGee doesn't miss deadlines. Check it again."
Hicks checked for the signal, finding no sign either man had attempted to link up with the computers at NCIS. He called his counterpart at the CIA and received the same answer.
When Gibbs saw Hicks shake his head, he turned his attention to DiNozzo and David as they intensified their search, while Abby attempted to track their missing man's cell phone. Two hours late was way too long and his gut was churning.
Two silent sentries watched as the train slowed and eventually stopped at a siding before a sniper took out the three crew members in the lead engine. The crewmen in the caboose were dispatched just as quickly. Given the all-clear, the rest of the men searched the box cars, their heavily accented voices low and fast as they only found two abandoned cell phones.
"I have something, Boss." Tony had barely hung up the phone before he was up on his feet. "What's left of their car's been found at the scene of an explosion and apparent gun fight. Local LEO's have the site secured and state troopers are on their way."
"Casualties?" Gibbs was already heading for the parking lot, still shoving his SIG into his holster.
"Several, they are still looking."
It was a tense drive to the abandoned factory just outside of Culpeper. The fact that Gibbs handed the keys to Ziva told how worried he was. DiNozzo and Hicks just hung on for the ride.
The trooper at the gate raised an eyebrow when they pulled in. "Thought you folks were driving out from DC? Weren't expecting you for a while, yet."
Gibbs ignored the question. "Where are the bodies?" The older man didn't relax until he was staring at the last of the unfamiliar faces. Tony was leaning over his shoulder.
"If they didn't use the car, how'd they get away from here?"
"Over here." Ziva's call brought Gibbs and DiNozzo quickly as Hicks lagged behind. Scuffs and a scrap of torn fabric caught in the bent chain link showed a likely escape route. Gibbs scrambled through first and led the rest of them as he followed the faint trail.
With Gibbs and Ziva bent over, looking at the multiple spots of disturbed gravel, it was Tony that first spotted the remains on the tracks. "Umm, guys..."
Gibbs ordered the rest of them to stay put while he approached the body. It was a testament to how stunned Tony and Ziva were that they didn't argue with him. He stopped at the severed legs first, struggling to remember if he'd ever seen McGee wearing the expensive Italian shoes. Finally, taking a deep breath, he moved to the mangled body. Everything from the shoulders up was destroyed beyond recognition, so Gibbs forced himself to focus on the torso. He'd never been so grateful that his boy had been serious about losing weight as when he stared at the thick waist. "It's not McGee."
Relieved, Tony and Ziva joined him, Hicks a moment later. "Boss, is it Kort?"
At Tony's question, Gibbs gave the body a second look. "I'm not sure."
Ziva pulled out her phone to let Abby know that none of the bodies were their teammate, only to discover that she had no signal. One of the State Troopers came up behind her. "This is a dead zone, I'm afraid. You'll have to get back on the main road about a quarter of a mile before you'll get anything."
Gibbs looked over at Tony, seeing the same realization on his face. If the meet had been set up where McGee and Kort could not call for help, chances were their covers had been blown. Somehow their stolen handguns case had gotten a lot more complicated.
Petar Cvetko glared at his men. "Find them. I don't care if you have to track down every freight train within five hundred miles of here. I want them found, I want my codes back and then I want them dead."