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2. Back at NCIS

"What have you got for me, Duck?" Gibbs asked, when he saw the expression on the medical examiner's face.

Ducky shook his head. "Something I've never seen before. Take a look at this."

Gibbs followed Ducky to the nearest autopsy table, where one of the dead burglars were lying.

"What am I looking at?" Gibbs asked, noticing the strange X-shaped incision on the abdomen of the man.

Ducky lifted up one of the 'flaps'. "It looks like some sort of... pouch."


"Like the one marsupials have, yes. Fascinating, isn't it?" He stuck his hand inside.

"Why would a human have a, ah pouch?"

"I have no idea. At first I thought it was an injury, or maybe a birth defect, but then I examined the other one." He walked over to the body lying on the next table. "He's got the same... oddity."

"Very strange, but it's not what killed them, is it?"

"No, that was done in a much more mundane way, by the bullets fired by our law enforcement officers."

"All right. What about the Lieutenant Commander?"

"Paul Simpson, according to his tags. He was killed by the strange plasma weapon carried by the thieves. Hit three times in the chest, as best I can tell. He would have died instantly." Ducky showed Gibbs the deep hole.

"Anything else you can tell me about him?"

"Young. Healthy. Shouldn't be dead if he hadn't had the bad luck of passing by the museum just as the thieves were breaking in, and decided to intervene."

Gibbs nodded. "Well, this part of the case is at least fairly straight-forward. If you don't have anything else, I'll go talk to Abby."

"Wait! I didn't say that. Come over here." He waved Gibbs towards the fourth autopsy table.

Gibbs had not noticed it before, but something was lying on that too. Something small. "What's that?"

"A fourth body."

"I can see that. Is that a snake? Or an eel, or what?"

"Neither. Something else, but I don't know what. I found it inside the 'pouch' of one of the dead men."

"How did it get in there?" Gibbs leaned closer to look at it.

"That's the strangest thing - I think it was supposed to be there. Why I don't know, but I found some signs that it was maybe connected to his body, like some sort of parasite. A symbiotic creature. I'll have to investigate further."

"An infection?"

Ducky shook his head. "No, I don't think so. Both men are completely healthy - well, except for being dead, of course."

"What then?" Gibbs looked curiously at the small body on the table.

"Maybe some sort of medical treatment. Maybe a religious ritual, or perhaps genetic engineering meant to enhance them in some way. According to the report, it did take a lot of bullets to take them down - something I can confirm."

"It sounds crazy."

"And well beyond anything we have the technology to do. Maybe the experiments of a foreign government?" Ducky shook his head, clearly not sure he believed it himself.

"All right. Why did only one of the men have a creature in him then? Shouldn't they both have had one?"

"Maybe they did. I did see signs in the other's pouch too. The symbiotic creature could have fallen out - or left him, I guess."

"That sounds vaguely creepy." Gibbs made a wry smile.

"I doubt we're in any danger, if that's what you mean. From what I can tell, the creatures can't survive long outside a host - or possibly some sort of aquatic environment. This one died when the host did, or shortly after."

"All right. If you think it could be the work of a foreign government, then we should probably report it."

"I agree, but to begin with I have taken some pictures and posted them on a couple of forums - just to see if it's something others have seen. I've also sent blood samples to Abby - of both the men and the symbiotic lifeform." Ducky straightened his back. "You know, this reminds me of a case I once worked in Palermo. There was this woman - she was a fantastic dancer, by the way, and you..."

But Gibbs was already leaving before Ducky could get to the end of what was sure to be a very long story.

"Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs!" Abby exclaimed enthusiastically when she saw him enter her laboratory.

"What's going on, Abby?" he said, smiling a little.

"I am going to get the Nobel prize!" She laughed happily. "I found a new element. A new element, Gibbs!"

"I'm glad to hear that. Does it have any bearing on the case?"

"Of course!" Abby looked offended. "Did you think I would be working on one of my own projects now when you need me?"

Gibbs shook his head. "Never mind. Just tell me, what is this new element, and how does it relate to the case?"

"Glad you asked!" She smiled. "I ran the blood sample Ducky sent me through Major Mass Spec. The sample from the symbiotic creature. Do you know what I found? It's got a completely unknown chemical element in its blood!"

"What does that mean?"

"It means I am the first to discover this element. Gibbs! It's a very heavy element. Heavier than the heaviest we've found! Even in the labs! And it's stable! Or at least so slightly radioactive that it could just as well be stable. It changes everything we know! The 'island of stability' that scientists have been looking for - one of those elements exist naturally!"

"All right, I get it! Can you tell me anything which is relevant to this case!" Gibbs insisted, getting annoyed.

"But, but... this is important!" She sulked for a moment.


She sighed. "All right. I ran the fingerprints of both the dead and the living criminals through AFIS. No match. I checked on their tattoos too, and I didn't find anything. Well, I guess there are some minor resemblance to the symbols of certain old Mesopotamian deities, but other than that..."

Gibbs nodded. "Okay. Well, call me if you find anything else. I asked the museum to send over the artefact. It should arrive here soon. I want you to see if you can figure out why that was singled out."

"Sure." She looked unhappily at him when it seemed he was about to leave. "Gibbs?"

He grinned. "Here you go." He put a large soda cup with the word 'Caf-pow' on the table before her.

Abby quickly took the cup, smiling contentedly as she took a big sip.

Gibbs sighed as he left the interrogation room and closed the door behind him.

"Tough ones, boss," Tony said.

"I got their names - at least I think that's what it was. Hopefully Abby will be able to find something, though I doubt it."

"Tre'lac and Vid'nor. Weird names. Sounds foreign... Middle Eastern, maybe," Tony mused.

"Hm." Gibbs looked thoughtful. "The doctor that bandaged their bullet wounds said they were recovering at an incredible rate. Have Ducky check them out - and see if they have a cross-shaped incision on their abdomens."

"A what?" Tony asked, confused.

"The two dead burglars both had a kind of... pouch in their abdomen."

"You can't be serious! Like a kangaroo?" Tony grinned.

Gibbs just looked at him and began to leave.

"Wait!" Tony hurried after him. "That's crazy! Why would they do something like that to themselves?"

"I didn't say they had. Ducky doesn't know why they have it - except that apparently one of them had some sort of parasite in it."

"That's wild! Like in 'Alien'! Maybe it would have burst out of them and killed them if we had waited! Pow!"

Gibbs shook his head. "Spare me - and go give Ducky my message."

"Yes, boss!" Whistling happily, Tony hurried off.

"You were in one of the dead Jaffa?" Selket asked the Goa'uld she had just transported onboard.

"I was. It was most fortunate I had time to take a communicator from one of them without the humans noticing, or I would not have been able to contact you."

"Most fortunate." She studied her nails, making sure they were perfect after the altercation earlier that day. "Did any of them see your transference? Or suspect anything?"

"They did not. In fact, it would seem no one here knows anything about the Goa'uld. Most unusual." He got a sneaky expression. "I learned much from following the human law enforcement officers back to the workplace of my host. He is a Sergeant there. His name is Jason Peterson."

Selket snorted. "And now you think you can use that to gain a better position? With that host? He cannot have been very intelligent, nor can his colleagues, if they were not informed of the Goa'uld. It is well known that the humans of this world use their chaapa'ai to go out into the Galaxy and stick their noses where they do not belong. No, you should be pleased I agreed to transport you aboard, as I have some small use for you. You might even gain a minor position with Ba'al when we return." She yawned. "What do you call yourself?"

"Aned." He added, with a small bow, "My Lord. I would be most grateful if you would speak on my behalf in front of Lord Ba'al."

"Hm," Selkhet said, feeling placated by his deference. "I shall consider it. If you do well on your mission."

"You wanted to show me something?" Gibbs asked as he stepped into Abby's laboratory.

"Gibbs!" Abby smiled. "Yes! Do you know what I found?"

"No, what did you find?" Gibbs asked, humouring her.

"The ancient Egyptian artefact also contains the same unknown element that the blood of the symbiotic lifeform does!"

"And this means what, exactly?"

"It means that it's not something that's been produced! It has to occur naturally, or they wouldn't have had access to it in ancient Egypt! Well, unless those theories are true and they were much more advanced back then. It is either that - or aliens."

"I think we can discount that possibility. Have you learned anything of importance to the case?"

"Gibbs! This is important science! And of great importance to history too!" Abby gave him a disapproving look. "In any case, I think this may explain why they stole the artefact. Or tried to."

"Okay, why?"

"To get to the fancy element! Ducky said it looks like that, that symbiotic creature probably helps people heal faster, or maybe it's a side effect and it's a treatment for something."


"Well it makes sense? What if this element is needed to make people into supersoldiers? Maybe the creatures need it. Or something. What do you think?" She smiled.

Gibbs sighed. "I think it sounds like science fiction. Contact me when you have something less... fantastic."

"'Morning, boss!" Tony said, seeing Gibbs walk into the squad room.

"Did we get anything back on the BOLO?" Gibbs asked.

"Straight to the point. That's good, boss. No, we didn't. No one's seen the woman. Which, I may say, is strange. I mean, I'd definitely remember seeing her." He whistled low. "Just look at her."

"We got the surveillance video this morning," Kate elaborated.

"Good stuff, boss." Tony grinned. "Really good angles!" He threw the video up on the wall screen, showing a close up of the female thief, seen from above. She was very scantily dressed, and it was obvious why Tony was happy.

Kate rolled her eyes. "We found a few shots where we can see her face better. I know that is not what Tony is interested in, but the face recognition software has other priorities."

"Add the picture to the BOLO and make sure all the airports have her picture."

"They already do," a young man with curly blond hair and dark eyes said.

"Who are you?" Gibbs asked.

"Sergeant Peterson from Metro PD, sir. I was sent here as a liaison."

"Hm." Gibbs looked less than pleased. "Do you have any other information for us, Sergeant?"

"I do not."

"Then why are you still standing there? Get to work, or go back to the police department!"

The Sergeant just stared at him for a moment, then opened his mouth to complain, but he was interrupted by Kate who put a hand on his arm.

"Relax. It's nothing personal," she said in a low voice. "Come on - you can help me go through the surveillance videos from outside the museum."

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