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Multiple crossover; DC Movieverse / NCIS / West Wing / possibly more to come. See the first chapter for disclaimers etc.
by Marcus L. Rowland
Washington, Saturday 7.30 AM EST
Gibbs was working on the boat he was building in his basement when the doorbell rang. He went upstairs, paused for a moment to put his gun into his belt behind his back, looked through the door viewer, wondered for a second if he was seeing things, then opened it.
“Can you spare a few minutes?” asked Superman.
“I’d imagine so,” said Gibbs. “You might want to come inside before the neighbours come asking for autographs.”
“There’s nobody looking at the moment.”
“And how can… never mind, stupid question. Come in, would you like coffee?”
“I saw Supergirl on TV last night, she was looking pretty good. The outfit suited her.” When Clark raised his eyebrows he added “I’m not that old, and I’m not blind. So… not that it isn’t always a pleasure, but what can I do for you? More machine gun tests?”
“On Labor Day one of the inmates of Arkham Asylum in Gotham City committed suicide. He allegedly hanged himself with a cord made of braided dental floss. It must have taken him weeks to prepare.”
“It happens. What about it?”
“The inmate was apparently a paranoid schizophrenic who was under the delusion that he was Lex Luthor. He reacted to any mention of my name with terror, and after my cousin’s arrival began to react the same way if she was mentioned. And we were both very busy over the Labor Day weekend.”
“So what’s your point?”
“It’s possible that he wasn’t entirely delusional.”
“Go on,” said Gibbs, pouring the coffee. He noticed that Superman took his with cream and two sugars.
“Hypothetically, if someone dug up a body illegally and took samples from it, would the samples have any value as evidence?”
“No… no judge would allow that.”
“What about the body itself? If a forensic scientist examined it legally at a later date, would the evidence be admissible?”
“The scientist would have to report that the body had been tampered with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that forensic evidence couldn’t be used. Why ask me?”
“Because Gotham PD and the FBI both said that the inmate wasn’t Luthor. If he was, someone has gone to a lot of trouble to hide the fact. This needs to be investigated by someone with no previous involvement in the case, and Kara told me that you have a very good forensics department.”
“How can it be our case?” asked Gibbs. “Luthor didn’t commit any crimes involving the US Navy.”
“I think that you may find that he did, if you check. Luthor decided to build his artificial continent at the edge of the continental shelf off Metropolis. Right in the middle of the anti-submarine sensor net you had out there. ”
“It’s possible. That’s pretty much a leftover from the Cold War, but they use it to track whales. I guess it’s still worth something to the Navy.”
“I know that you’ll need all sorts of authorization to get involved. I’ll do anything I can to help, naturally.”
“You know,” said Gibbs. “If that was Luthor, I can think of one obvious suspect to put him in the asylum. That continent of his would have destroyed Gotham a few hours after it hit Metropolis. And I hear that Batman doesn’t take kindly to people who endanger his town.”
“That’s true,” said Clark. “That’s why he was interested in the body.”
“Great,” said Gibbs. “Just what did he find there?”
“I think that should come from your own people. If there’s anything he’s spotted but you miss I’ll tell you, then you can check to see if he’s right.”
“That ought to work.”
“Time may be a factor, especially at this time of year.” Superman produced a sheet of paper. “Here are the details.”
“Let me make some calls.”
NCIS Headquarters, Washington Navy Yard, 10.45 AM
“We have a compromised burial site,” said Gibbs, “the temperature in Gotham’s in the high eighties, and that corpse isn’t getting any fresher.”
“This has to go through channels,” said Director Vance. “You’ve made a good case for our involvement, but we’re going to need warrants, approval in multiple jurisdictions, and…” He was interrupted by the phone. “Mister Secretary…? Okay. Yes, that’s not a problem. I’ll tell him.” He hung up the phone, and turned back to Gibbs. “That was SECNAV. You have a go. Take your team, warrants will be ready by the time you reach Gotham.”
“I don’t have my team… if you want me to actually solve this thing I’ll need them.”
“DiNozzo, David and McGee? Out of the question.”
“I’ll need them.”
Vance considered for a few moments. “I’ll let you have McGee back; if you produce some results I’ll review the others.”
“Don’t thank me; thank Superman, and whoever he spoke to at the White House.”
Gotham International Airport, 12.30 PM
When the NCIS transport touched down, Gibbs wasn’t surprised to see two waiting police cars. As the crime scene van was unloaded, one of the onlookers came forward; a handsome man who Gibbs suspected was some sort of politician or lawyer, carrying a bulky envelope.
“I’m Harvey Dent, Deputy District Attorney.”
“Sorry, nothing important. Got some paper for me?”
“Search warrant for Arkham Asylum, Exhumation Order for Arkham Cemetery, permission to transport a cadaver out of state, and everything else you’ll need. It wasn’t easy getting the judge to sign them a Saturday morning.” Dent didn’t hand him the papers.
“I sense a ‘but.’”
“I want to be kept in the loop. If it is Luthor I want to know. If anyone in my office or Gotham PD was involved in this I want to know about it. If Batman is involved I definitely want to know.”
“You’ve got it, provided national security isn’t compromised.”
“Thanks,” said Dent, handing him the envelope. “The cars will escort you to Arkham.”
“One car will be fine.”
“You don’t know this city,” said Dent. “Take both.”
“I’ve been here before,” said Gibbs, “arson investigation in the navy yard in ninety-seven. One car will be plenty.”
“My exhumation. And the fewer stray extra people I have around to mess up the graveyard and the crime scene, the happier I’ll be.”
Metropolis, 2.10 PM
“Doesn’t it worry you that Batman knows who you are?” asked Lois.
“He knows who I am,” said Clark, “And now we know who he is. That wasn’t much of a disguise for someone with X-ray vision.”
“Except that he doesn’t just know you – he knows about Jason and Kara.”
“Okay… have you ever heard of Batman doing anything to hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it?”
“I guess not… but the grandstanding worries me. He didn’t need to dress up and give Kara those papers in person; he could have let them go through the company and pretended not to notice.”
“He wants us to know who he is, I think, and doing it that way ensures that we keep his secret.”
“Maybe… but it worries me.”
Rescuing the passengers of an overloaded ferry off Bombay, Kara was having similar thoughts. Like Lois and Clark, she decided to wait and see.
Arkham, 3.30 PM
“Lee, Keating,” said Gibbs, “finish up here. McGee, wash up, then with me. Let’s go talk to crazy people.”
“You sure they’re okay with the grave?” asked McGee, after he’d used the van’s tiny washroom.
“We’ve got the body and the casket bagged, and any evidence left in the grave has probably been contaminated by bat-boy. They can’t do much harm.”
“You don’t like Batman?” asked McGee, following Gibbs to the asylum’s side entrance.
“I’ve never liked vigilantes, and the idea that this town’s first line of defence is a guy who dresses up as a bat is just… stupid. At least Superman isn’t afraid to come out into the open, and he’s saved a lot of lives. Even if he does wear his underpants over his clothes.”
A guard let them into the asylum; another escorted them to the cell. As they walked the corridors they heard yells and occasional screams. “Must take some getting used to, huh?” said McGee.
“What must?” asked the guard.
“All that screaming and shouting. Or is that just because we’re here?”
“Screaming and… oh, I guess. It goes on all the time, you get so you hardly notice.”
“Daylight’s wasting,” said Gibbs, picking up his pace.
“Okay,” said Gibbs. “I think we’ve got everything we can from that cell, doesn’t really tell us much. Now, there were four other prisoners in that wing and floor that night. We’ve got the guy who dresses as a penguin, the eco-terrorist with the pheromones, the computer geek, and the guy who lives in an icebox. Any thoughts?”
“Forget Poison Ivy,” said the warden. “You’re men, she won’t talk to you. And Freeze is totally focused on his own problems; he wouldn’t pay attention to anything else that was going on.”
“What about the other two?”
“They’re both delusional, both hate Batman, and both consider themselves criminal masterminds. Nigma is probably the saner of the two, but more dangerous. Penguin is a coward.”
“You take Penguin, McGee, I’ll tackle Nigma.”
“Works for me.”
“What is it that travels on all fours in the morning, on two legs at noon, and three at twilight?” asked Edward Nigma.
“Don’t know, don’t care,” said Gibbs. “Any idea who’d want to kill Lex Luthor?”
“Come on,” said The Riddler, “give me a bone here. Answer a riddle; I’ll answer one of your questions.”
“What is it that's always coming but never arrives?”
“A porn star.”
“Not quite the answer I had in mind.”
“It’s all you’re getting. Any idea who’d want Lex Luthor dead?”
“Pretty much anyone, I’d imagine. What do you throw away that keeps returning?”
“Bills. Did you know that Luthor was a patient here?”
“You really have no sense of fun, do you? No, I really had no idea; if I had I might have seen if I could hit him for a loan. How many sides has a circle?”
“As many as I want it to,” said Gibbs, getting up.
“No more questions?”
“Why should I bother? You don’t have any answers.”
As he turned for the door Nigma rushed at him. Gibbs dodged, grabbed his arm and neck, and slammed him into the wall.
“You broke by dose!”
“Was that another riddle? Sorry, don’t have an answer for that one either. Thanks for your time.”
“So how did you get on with the Penguin?” Gibbs asked as they walked back to the van.
“His file says he loves fish, so I sent out for a couple of lox and cream cheese bagels and bribed him. He doesn’t know anything useful. Kept going ‘wak’ and saying that Batman must have killed Luthor.”
“You think so?”
“I’ve hacked the FBI reports. Batman is… well, I was reminded of you. Not that you’d ever dress as a bat, of course,” McGee added quickly.
Gibbs stared at him.
“What I meant was that if he’d really killed him we’d never have known that Luthor still existed. He’d make sure of that, quietly and efficiently.”
“Good save. Any thoughts on what we do next?”
“Get the evidence back to Ducky and Abby and hope they find something we can use.”
“Works for me."
To Be Continued
Riddles used in this chapter (but not their answers) come from the 1960s Batman TV series:
Q: What is it that travels on all fours in the morning, on two legs at noon, and three at twilight?
A: A man
Q: What is it that's always coming but never arrives?
Q: What do you throw away that keeps returning?
A: A boomerang.
Q: How many sides has a circle?
A: Two, inside and outside
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