A piercing scream punctured the normal noises of the bullpen and everyone stopped what they were doing. Silence descended and with it so did the lights. Then the pandemonium started.
McGee heard Gibbs whistle. He assumed he was trying to quiet everyone and help those who were hyperventilating focus and calm down.
“Everyone under their desks and keep quiet while we figure out what’s going on,” Gibbs ordered.
Most of the bullpen followed Gibbs' order and silence descended again. With the lights out the darkness was starting to feel ominous to McGee, but he knew Gibbs and Tony wouldn’t stay put, so he joined them. Bishop also moved over to where they were.They huddled together, hunkering down to present a smaller target since they didn’t know what they were dealing with.
“Who screamed?” McGee couldn’t help asking.
“That’s part of what we have to figure out.” Tony pointed out.
Another wail echoed through the building. All four of them looked around, but no one could see any obvious signs of distress. Gibbs pointed at himself and Bishop and then Tony and McGee and indicated that they should separate into groups of two.
All four nodded and separated, McGee and Tony headed left while Gibbs and Bishop took the right. Neither group had gotten very far when another ghoulish scream filled the air.
“I hate this,” McGee whispered to Tony.
”It would be nice if we had any idea what was happening. We should start keeping track of who is here just in case anyone is missing and that’s what the screaming is related to.”
McGee shivered in the dark. “You think our people are being kidnapped or killed?”
“Who knows. Remember never assume.”
McGee nodded. “Right. We need to figure out what’s really happening.”
“You take that desk, I’ll take the one next to it. Find out what they know,” Tony whispered.
They both crouched down to peer under the desks when another scream echoed down the hallway past them. Tony and McGee both turned their heads to see where it was coming from, but there was nothing.
“This is so creepy,” McGee whispered.
Tony nodded, but didn’t say anything. McGee watched Tony turn to the person underneath the desk he’d taken only there was no one there. McGee would have sworn someone had been there just moments ago.
“Is there someone under the desk with you, McGee?” Tony choked out in surprise.
McGee looked and then murmured, “No. Where did they go?”
“That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?”
Tony gestured to the next desks and McGee nodded as they moved in concert, hoping to find people this time. They both crouched down at the next desks and started to ask what the people knew only for another shriek to pierce the air. They turned their heads to try to catch the movement and then immediately turned back to look at the people they’d started to talk to.
“Gone?” Tony asked as he glanced back at McGee.
McGee nodded. He didn’t understand what was happening. It seemed like each screech resulted in the expeditious disappearance of someone new.
The eerie feeling McGee had felt when this all started was growing exponentially now. He couldn’t help wondering if he’d be next. After all, they didn’t know what was happening, so what was to prevent it from happening to him?
After the fourth set of desks where they started to talk to the people under them and then a wail sounded and the people vanished, Tony called it. “Let’s regroup.”
McGee nodded. He was eager to be done with this creepy business whatever the hell it was. He hoped that Bishop and Gibbs had better luck. Tony and McGee rounded their desks and settled on the floor in the bullpen to await Gibbs and Bishop’s return.
“How long do you think it will take them to come back?”
“I don’t know. Depends on whether they were having better luck than we were.”
“I hope someone is having some luck.”
“Should we go the direction they went and see if we can find them?”
McGee frowned. “I feel like we’re in a horror movie and that would be the dumb move that everyone watching would tell us not to do.”
”This isn’t a horror movie, McGee.”
“Are you sure? People don’t randomly vanish in real life, Tony. Not in these numbers.”
Tony frowned. “Fine. Then you have a choice, follow Bishop and Gibbs or go to Abby’s lab ‘cause I’m not staying put to be taken out by whatever this is.”
“Abby,” McGee immediately answered. “For some reason I feel like she will know what’s going on.”
“If she’s even there,” Tony dryly pointed out.
“Don’t jinx us,” McGee hissed.
“Don’t worry so much. Let’s just get down there before whatever it is gets us too.”
“You’re not helping,” McGee growled as he felt his stomach clench up in fear.
“Shh,” Tony whispered. Finally, Tony waved McGee towards the stairwell.
Tim nodded and quickly moved through the shadows heading for the stairwell. He heard Tony following behind him. He stopped at the level Abby’s lab was on and frowned as there was absolute silence.
That never happened. Abby had battery backups for everything. “Tony?” McGee turned around worried, only to realize that Tony wasn’t behind him anymore.
“Tony?” McGee shouted, freaked out now. He could feel the beginnings of panic setting in. Now, he was alone in what seemed to be turning into a horror movie and he didn’t like the sounds of that at all.
Silence answered his call and with a shiver, McGee headed for Abby’s lab. He really hoped Abby was there and if she wasn’t that there was a clue that would tell him what the fuck was happening before he started hyperventilating.
He didn’t understand what was going on. He really hoped this was somehow all a prank that Tony orchestrated, though, he had to admit he had no idea how Tony could have done so given that McGee had been with him basically the entire time. With trepidation, he opened the door to Abby’s lab.
The fact that it was shut worried Tim even more. Abby never shut her door when she was in her lab unless she was working on something top secret, which was really rare. He was pretty sure the employee handbook did not cover what to do in the scenario where agents were disappearing left and right for no discernable reason.
Abby’s lab was in darkness like the rest of the building. The door to her office was closed. The ballistics lab was closed. There was no sign of Abby or anyone else in the main lab. He opened the ballistics lab, but no one was there either.
Her office was his last chance. He didn’t know what he’d do if she wasn’t there. ”Abby?” Tim called out.
Silence greeted him. He walked deeper into her office and let out a girlish scream as something grabbed his ankle.
“Shhh,” Abby hissed. “It’s just me, McGee.”
“You scared me, Abbs.”
“What the hell is going on, Tim?”
“I don’t know.”
“I heard a scream and then the lights went out.”
“Same. The team split up. I have no idea what happened to Bishop and Gibbs, but every time Tony and I found an agent we’d hear another screech and they would be gone.”
“You didn’t see where they went?”
McGee shook his head.
“Super hinky,” Abby murmured.
“Right? Anyway, Tony gave me the choice between heading to your lab or looking for Gibbs and Bishop. I chose your lab, but Tony disappeared on our way down here. I don’t know what to think anymore, Abbs. Are we all going to die?”
Abby wrinkled her nose. “Come on, McGee. This isn’t a horror movie. There’s not some chainsaw massacre guy after us.”
“No. Just a heck a lot of wailing.”
Just then another shriek sounded.
“What’s happening now, do you think, Tim?” Abby asked.
”Probably someone else just vanished,” Tim muttered bitterly.
“What are we going to do to stop this and get our people back?”
“You’re asking me? How should I know? I don’t even know what’s doing this.”
“Well let’s figure it out.”
“We can hack the security cameras.”
“The power is out.”
“That’s true.” Abby nodded thoughtfully. “The backup generator should have kicked in by now. We should investigate and find out why it hasn’t.”
“Abby, no!” Tim hissed. “The last time I moved locations Tony vanished. I don’t want that to happen to you too.”
“It will be fine.” Abby waved dismissively. “We’ll just hold hands.”
“This is such a bad plan,” Tim whimpered.
“Don’t be a wuss.” Abby grabbed Tim’s hand and dragged him out into the hallway. “Where’s the backup generator?”
“The basement?” Tim guessed.
“Then that’s where we’re going.”
“We’re going to die. We’re going to die. I just know it,” McGee mumbled under his breath.
”You’re such a worrywart, Tim.”
“You’re not the one who has seen everyone near him vanish.”
Abby made a pbbt sound.
Tim did his best to ignore her as they made it down to the next level with autopsy. At least, Abby hadn’t vanished, yet. “Should we check on Jimmy and Ducky?”
“We’re already here. Of course, we should.”
Abby and McGee poked their heads into autopsy, but there was no sign of Jimmy and Ducky. “Do you think they vanished too?”
McGee shrugged. “I have no idea. I really wish I knew what was going on here.”
Abby nodded and lead the way down to the basement. McGee followed. They were no longer holding hands and he really hoped that wouldn't mean that Abby was going to vanish on him.
Fortunately, he kept her in his sights the whole time and nothing seemed to happen. They finally found the room with the backup generator. At first nothing seemed wrong beyond the obvious fact that it wasn’t functioning.
“Hey, McGee. Look at this.” Abby pointed to a section of the backup generator.
McGee moved closer and nodded. “That’s definitely the reason it’s not working.”
He eyed the sparking wire with concern. Before they could figure out what to do about it, the building lights came back on.
“Power’s back!” Abby jumped up and down in excitement.
“Let’s go see if we can find everyone now.”
As they headed back up the stairs they found Ducky and Jimmy just poking their heads out of autopsy. “Is everyone alright?” Ducky asked.
“Let’s go find out.”
The four of them trooped upstairs together. Everyone else they found seemed to be unharmed as well. The only people they couldn’t find were Tony and the other agents that vanished almost before Tony and McGee’s eyes.
A few others had disappeared, but most of the agents were fine. No one could explain what happened and no one could find any proof that McGee had anything to do with the disappearances. A ticket was put in to fix the generator, so that this didn’t happen again and life went back to normal. Or as normal as it could with Tony missing as well as a number of other agents.
There were about 7 missing in total. NCIS searched for years, but no signs of these agents were ever found. Team Gibbs never gave up searching for Tony, but they began to lose hope that they’d ever find out what happened to their friend after 10 years of searching and zero evidence of any wrongdoing or anything that could indicate where Tony had disappeared to. The question of what happened to Tony DiNozzo remained an unsolved mystery for the rest of their lifetimes.