Evil Author Day: Earthquakes

Title: Earthquakes
Pairings: None
Fandom: NCIS, SG1, MCU, SGA
Warnings: Mention of character death, canon typical
Word Total: 3342

 

Tony stared at the man who walked into the interrogation room he was being held in. Tall, fit and commanding, he filled the small room with the force of his personality and he hadn’t said a word. Tony figured he was roughly the same age as Gibbs.

When the stab of pain came, he ignored it. He didn’t have the time to break down and grieve like he wanted to for the old bastard. His list still had a few names on it.

“You’ve been a very big busy man, Agent DiNozzo,” the other man said as he sat down.

So he was going for neutral, with a faint hint of admiration, Tony realized. Well, it wasn’t like he hadn’t used the same tactics on people before. From the way the other man was acting, he had interrogated people before. And Tony himself wasn’t new to being in the hot seat.

“So glad that you approve of my activities, General O’Neill,” Tony said, voice quiet and body language neutral.

From the sharp look he got, the general wasn’t expecting to be recognized. Tony had no idea why he thought he could get away with that. The man was in command of a large number of Marines as an Air Force officer. Heavy combat asset marines who mostly stayed out of trouble, despite what service their CO was in. That was unusual enough that it had attracted his attention.

“Well, you have managed to get rid of some persistent thorns in my side with your crusade,” O’Neill told him. “And caused a number of promotions when the people in charge got arrested for all the bad things you found.”

“Did Colonel Maybourne enjoy his promotion?” Tony asked. He was ignoring the faint sounds of panic coming from the other side of the one-way mirror.

“Yes. After he stopped laughing, he enjoyed it immensely,” O’Neill informed him. “Now he’s just hoping you won’t come after him.”

“As much as Maybourne reminds me of a skeevy used car salesman, being slimy isn’t a crime. So as long as he remembers which side of the law he should be on, he’s fine,” Tony explained, voice pleasant.

“And the presumptive director of NCIS?”

Tony almost growled at the thought of that woman. “Being obsessive is all well and good in law enforcement, up to a point. But indulging your personal obsession with unsanctioned use of government resources is not okay. Especially when the plan is to kill the said object of the obsession while fucking over a number of other operations.”

O’Neill nodded once. “Well, I can see that. And the two Senators?”

“If you must have dirty laundry, make sure it’s properly buried. Or better yet, make sure it’s incinerated. If it’s anywhere a cop can find it, we will,” Tony bitched. He was still disgusted at how obvious the two men had been. Kinsey had been extremely easy to take down. “They weren’t on my target list but I found out how dirty their laundry was along the way. You’re. Welcome.”

The snort of laughter the General let loose seemed almost involuntary and Tony tried not to relax. He wasn’t out of his current mess yet and he didn’t need to get cocky.

“You have been busy,” O’Neill confirmed. “And I know none of us were upset at what you did to Kinsey. But he was apparently a side project as you took down a number of movers and shakers worldwide. Wanna tell me what caused the snap?”

Any amusement he was feeling disappeared and Tony stared at the General, eyes hard. “I’m sure all of you who survived the fallout have discerned the trigger.”

“Yeah, kid, we know,” O’Neill confirmed. His voice was colored with compassion.

“So now what?” Tony asked.

“Now? Kid, now we need to find you someplace to land. Your scorched earth campaign means everyone is too wary to take you in,” the general told him. “Everyone but me.”

That was a surprise. O’Neill and his merry group of madmen recruited from the military and from the science corps around the world. They did not, as a rule, recruit from the various alphabet agencies. He barely knew that and he had no idea how he would fit in.

“Why you?” Tony asked, curiosity stirring.

“Because you are a damn good investigator, you have an ethical code that you stand by, a steel spine and a sense of loyalty that won’t quit,” O’Neill explained. “We need someone with your skill sets and have for years, but we resisted adding one due to reasons that have proven to be utter bullshit.”

”That explains why you want me. It doesn’t explain why the directors from the FBI, the NID, S.H.I.E.L.D., and NCIS are all in the observation room having fits. Also, I thought Agent Coulson was dead?” Tony asked.

If O’Neill was going to give him a place to land after the earthquake his vengeance had caused in the halls of government, he wanted his curiosity assuaged.

“DiNozzo, you would kill everyone you didn’t arrest if you went with the NID. As much as Fornell wants you under his banner, he’s already admitted you would spend a good 85% of your day bored out of your mind, so he passed out of a vague concern for the mental health of his other agents,” O’Neill said. His voice and body language showed he was amused by what he was relaying.

Tony snorted out a laugh and sat back in his chair. “Okay, I can see that. And yes, enough of the NID needs to be killed in a fire before the earth is salted and then nuked that Maybourne would be left with nothing to run if I went over there. Even then, some of those cockroaches might find someplace to hide. At least until I got bored.”

“Gee, tell us how you really feel, son,” O’Neill, drawled, voice wry. “Not gonna tell me how you know who’s back there?”

“I can hear them,” Tony admitted with a shrug. “And the Maybourne wears a rather unique aftershave, so I can smell him.”

“Huh, lemme guess, you have ears like Radar?” The general asked. “And the sense of smell?”

“I’m not Jim Ellison, General, but I’ve always had good ears. Being a supertaster and smeller is just annoying,” Tony told him with a shrug. “What’s up with Coulson?”

“We got him after New York,” O’Neill gave him a level look. “Gonna tell me what’s got your tail in a knot?”

He suppressed a sigh with the skill of long practice. “S.H.I.E.L.D. needs a pest control man to go through it with fire to cauterize every nasty bit. Discreetly. And they needed to have started killing the pests about three years after it was founded.”

Tony ignored the hubbub that pronouncement caused. He had found all sorts of things when he was tracing the assholes who had killed Gibbs. And not all the facts he had found were easy to stomach. If the Powers That Be wanted to expand on his mess, they would need to get into his laptop, because he couldn’t. When he had been escorted into the interview room, his laptop had been confiscated.

“And NCIS?”

“Yeah, no,” Tony said, voice hard. “Those bastards got Gibbs killed. And they wanted us to do nothing to hunt down the responsible parties. McGee may have folded but I wasn’t planning on letting anything go.”

O’Neill sat back in his chair and nodded. “Okay, I can see that.”

Tony didn’t say anything else, just looked at the door right before it opened. He was totally done hiding his lights under a bushel and he was going to get the respect he deserved at the start. If it made people uncomfortable? Too damn bad.

The man who entered the room looked bland. He had an ordinary face, receding hairline and a nice, bland suit in a very sedate color. It was only when you saw him move that you started paying attention to him. Coulson had spent years perfecting his camouflage of ordinary.

But for Tony, he seemed willing to shed it. “What do you mean?”

“You’ve got a mess of snakes in your hen house. To the point where there are more snakes than hens. You need to start some serious fires to drive them out,” Tony told him bluntly. He had what he needed to back up his claims, so he wasn’t worried about that. “Who’s got my laptop?”

“Carter,” the general said.

“Tell her to look under the file labeled Kahn,” Tony instructed him. Turning to Coulson, he took a deep breath. He was going to give the other man some profoundly bad news and he hated that. “Get Jasper on ice. He’s a major hemorrhage point.”

“Fuck,” Coulson cursed once before striding out the door.

“Well, that wasn’t good,” Tony observed. Coulson rarely cursed and for him to have done so showed how rattled he was.

“No, not good at all. What’s turning out to be good is you coming with us. I’ve got the perfect spot to stash you too. Should keep you out of trouble for at least a year,” O’Neill told him with a bright smile.

Tony felt a stirring of interest before his common sense reared its head. “Have you met me? I tend to find trouble without much of an issue. And if I can’t find it, I make it. Also, I want to review everything about this hiding spot.”

Waving a hand at him in a’ hurry up’ gesture, the general started for the door. “I think you’ll enjoy yourself. How much do you know about Atlantis?”

“Say, what?”

 

 

“Please tell me you were joking,” Tony demanded as he settled into a chair on O’Neill’s private plane.

“You wish,” the general said with a grin a shade too evil for comfort.

“But where? I thought we had mostly mapped the major landmarks under the oceans,” Tony asked, bewildered. “An underwater city would be huge news.”

“Yeah, no. We know more about our solar system than we do about the depths of our oceans. And I never said that Atlantis was under our oceans,” O’Neill said with a snort. “How much do you know about what we do?”

”Enough to know I wasn’t to go poking around your secrets as long as you seemed aboveboard. Especially if I didn’t want to get sucked into them,” Tony told him, voice blunt. He eyed O’Neill warily as the general pulled a very thick document out of his briefcase and set it before him. From the first page, he could tell it was a non-disclosure agreement. “Just tell me I’m not going to sign away my soul if I agree to that thing.”

“We don’t put soul clauses in our paperwork, Agent DiNozzo. But if you do ascend to a higher plane of existence, we do request that you check in with us at least once a month,” the general said with a straight face.

“Right,” Tony pulled the stack of paper closer and started reading. “I’m gonna hold my questions until after I’ve gone through this thing.”

His mental list of questions started with the first page and kept going. After the sixth popped up, he leaned over and grabbed his backpack to retrieve the legal pad and pen be had stashed to take notes.

“You are so going to get along with Danny.” he thought he heard as he jotted down his notes.

His watch showed it had been two hours when he surfaced from his reading. He had several pages of questions all neatly written out along with some observations that needed looking into. Glancing up, he saw O’Neill was going through his own paperwork, although it seemed to be on a laptop.

“Seriously. Stargate Command? And you weren’t kidding about the checking in thing. What on the hell are you hiding under Cheyenne Mountain?” he asked.

“Things that will blow your mind, kid,” O’Neill said. Tony could tell he was serious and that more than anything got him considering what he had read as more than an elaborate ruse.

“Well, shit,” Tony muttered as he sat back in his seat. He tapped the pages of his legal pad and thought about what he had read. ”This is gonna fuck with my world view, isn’t it?”

“Like nothing else on earth. Not even the stuff S.H.I.E.L.D. has hidden will fuck you up this bad,” he was told.

“How close has the planet come to being decimated?” Tony asked after several minutes thought.

“In the last ten years? Several dozen times. New York and the mess that happened there was rather minor on my scale of planetary invasion scenarios. Messy as all get out,” O’Neill allowed, “but not as bad as it could have been.”

“That’s not actually reassuring,” Tony fired back.

“It’s not meant to be,” O’Neill said. “Due to the dust-up in New York, we had to change things around. Then you and your rather pointed response to Gibbs went further and uncovered a number of dirty operators and situations that directly impact us. You caused a lot of havoc when you started tossing rocks around. Most of it good, but havoc none the less.”

Tony suppressed the urge to squirm. His quest had done what it needed to; to make those responsible for the death of his mentor pay. Most of the bastards he had caught even managed to get to trial. Those that hadn’t suicided after it got out what he was doing.

“I wasn’t kidding about the conference we had,” O’Neill met his eyes, his own brown eyes level and serious. “What you did served us all well and we didn’t want you to get lost down a black hole somewhere. I won the argument. I want you to take your skills and apply them to my program. Top to bottom and all our facilities. I don’t care whose toes you step on.”

Huh. “You know I’ll dig until everything’s exposed, right? Every single doubtful, dirty or iffy decision. It’ll all see the light of day and get picked over. If anyone is doing shady shit, I’ll find it. And it will stop. I don’t care if your command is basically decent, I’m gonna make sure it’s clean.”

O’Neill sat back in his chair and smiled. “I’m counting on it.”

 

 

Tony walked into the General’s office and sat down across from him. He had been in the Mountain for two weeks and had moved through the place like the earthquake O’Neill had called him, shaking everything up in his path. The General was often horrifically amused and seemed like he was egging him on with every new discovery.

Not that Tony cared. He had targets. Legal targets that had earned their retribution.

“Do you know that your Medical personnel are skirting the edges of appropriate behavior?” Tony asked as he settled into his seat.

“Do I want to know?” the General asked.

“Want? I’m sure that’s a no, but you need to know,” Tony admitted. “Whoever