McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.
Chapter 339: Director McGee?
Thursday morning, he got in, and noticed ten more introductory emails.
He's noticing something else, his nametag says Director of Cybercrime. The emails he's getting are from people with the title of Team Leader.
It is occurring to Tim, that possibly, actually finding out what this job was, instead of going off his memory of what Jenner was doing when he worked down here the first time, before waltzing into Leon's office and saying he could do it, was probably a good idea. Because, as he gets more of these 'Hi, I'm (insert name here) out of (insert NCIS station). My team's on blah. We often do blah, blah, and blah. Looking forward to working with you,' emails he's coming to the conclusion that he may actually be the Director of Cybercrime and not, as he thought, the DC Office Team Leader.
For most of NCIS the hierarchy goes something like this: Agent, Team Leader, Department Head, Office Director. People like Abby and Ducky are Department Heads (because of their more specialized work, and they do work for all the teams in the office) and report directly to the Office Director. Team Leaders report to the Office Director, too. Office Director report to... He doesn't remember, but there's a Director of Operations who's in charge of the ins and outs of what all the Field Offices are up to.
Leon is, in addition of Director of NCIS, the Office Director for the Navy Yard.
So, Tim was thinking that, like Abby and Ducky, he was moving into Department Head.
But, looking at his inbox, where yet another Hi, I'm Blah (This one is from the Reykjavik Office. Why they have a Reykjavik Office, he has no idea.) it's occurring to him, that possibly Cybercrime doesn't follow that pattern.
This puts him in something of an odd position, because he can't exactly head on up and ask Leon what the fuck his job actually is, because he got the job by saying he could do the job better than the guy who, at that point, had the job, and way better than the other guy who wanted the job. (Manner's comments about Tim moving to this job being some sort of pay off from Leon are making a hell of a lot more sense now.)
So, on Thursday, he did some rather discrete research on what Jenner had left for him, and rapidly came to the conclusion that he may, in fact, be the Director of Cybercrime for the whole of NCIS, and that running his twelve Minions was only one of his jobs.
Figuring this out left him simultaneously feeling exceptionally proud and wanting to hyperventilate.
He fires off a text to Abby and Jimmy: Lunch?
Sure! Comes back from Abby.
Autopsy. Tomorrow? Comes from Jimmy.
So he heads out of his office and down… nope… up to Abby's office, collects her, and she can tell something is up, she keeps looking at him sideways as he fidgets in the elevator on the way out.
Once they're at Carlo's, food in front of them, she says, "What? I haven't seen you this antsy in a long time."
"I think I'm Director of Cybercrime."
She's staring at him, not getting it. "Well, they did write that on your door."
"No. I mean Director of Cybercrime. All of it. Every branch. All the teams, all hundred and fifty people, are reporting in to me, and… I was going through Jenner's files, and they've been reporting to him for years now. It looks like Cybercrime consolidated under him in '11. Every month they all check in, let him know what's up, get his approval for hires and fires and send him budget updates and… I think the whole department is mine."
Her eyes go very wide, and then she starts to giggle.
"It's not funny!"
"Oh, no, this is funny. This is the definition of funny. You're telling me you got a senior level position by accident? You swaggered on in to Leon, told him you could do the job, and didn't bother to find out what the job was?" She laughs some more.
"I thought I knew what it was!"
"Apparently not." She giggles again. "So… You outrank me, then, right?"
"Um… Yeah, I think so."
The more research he did, the more it seems that Cybercrime is spread out all over the place because it's convenient for one part of its job, namely offering computer support to the Field Teams. However, for bigger jobs, terror threats, major cyber-attacks, they all work together as one team, reporting to, apparently, him.
"I think I might be the fourth or fifth highest ranked guy at NCIS. You answer to Leon because you're in DC. I could be based out of Los Angeles, and I'd still answer directly to Leon."
She smiles widely at that. "So, what does think mean?"
"I'm not entirely sure if I am or not. I mean, when I told Vance I could do the job, I meant I could run the DC branch."
"Do you want to run Cybercrime?"
"If I'm right, I'm going to have to. Not like I can head up and say, 'Oops.'"
She giggles at that, too. "Obviously… I mean, assuming you're right, Vance thinks you're up for it. So, how do you intend to find out for sure?"
"Money hits the bank in a week. If it's a lot more than you make, that'll be a hint."
She laughs again. "Yeah, that would."
"And, at least now, I'm sending emails to the other Team Leaders… Speaking of hints, there's one, they all have Team Leader as a title… Anyway, the letters are kind of vague, but basically… I'm assuming…" He cringes at that. Assuming got him here, and he's hoping it doesn't bite him too hard. "That I'm the guy in charge."
"Well, if you aren't, who is?"
"I thought it was like Tony. You know, report to your Office Director. But, the more I read up, the more it looks like that's not how it works."
She sips her drink, smiling at him. "So… what are you going to do with all your new power, Director McGee? I mean, there's, what, Leon, Craig, Operations Director, who handles all of the field teams, and then, what, you?"
"I think so," he says with a slow nod. "Operations… What's his name?"
"And, God, he's not at the Navy Yard, right? He's based out of where…?"
"Okinawa last I heard. Craig handles all the politicking and Severin handles the Office Directors."
"And I've got the Cybercrime teams reporting to me. So… yeah… I think it's Leon, Craig, Severin, and then… me."
She laughs again. "Youngest department head in NCIS history, by accident. Do you think Leon has any clue that you didn't know what you were asking for?"
Tim shrugs. "He looked really amused when I handed in my Special Agent stuff, but I haven't talked to him since."
"Bet he's going to want to check in soon."
She squeezes his hand. "You can do it, you know that, right? And you're going to be brilliant at it."
He gives her a lopsided, self-depreciating smile. "Yeah."
Thursday afternoon he sees Manner get up, paper in hand, walk a few steps, and then turn around and sit back down three times.
Each time he sits back down, he works on his computer a few more minutes, stares off into space, taps his fingers a bit, picks the paper back up, and then repeats the standing up, taking a few steps, and then sitting back down again.
The fifth time he does it, he's half-way across the basement before he starts to turn around, which was when he notices Tim is watching, so he squares his shoulders and heads to his office door.
It's open. (Tim's figuring that's going to be true a lot.) But Manner stops at the door, waiting to be waved in.
"You resigning?" Tim asks, waving him in, nodding at the door so Manner knows to shut it.
Manner bristles. If he asked right, (and he's not sure if he did) there was just enough challenge in his voice to make Manner want to stay and prove that he can do this job. If he did it right, (and once again, Tim's not sure he did. Gibbs would have gotten it right. Tony definitely would have gotten it right, but he's not Tony or Gibbs.) that voice would have indicated that he thinks Manner is up for playing the role of Scotty, and it's just a matter of if he's got the balls to step up and do it.
Manner sits down, holding his letter, not answering. Finally he says, "I can do the job."
Tim nods. "I never said you couldn't. I've never thought you couldn't. I know you can do it. You graduated fourth in your class at CMU. You've got over-the-moon recommendations from your professors. You passed my tests and tracked me down. Once upon a time, you were a creative worker, able to dissect problems at a glance and come at them in directions no one expected. Somehow, in the ten years between then and now, you got in a rut. So, it's not about can; I know you can. It's about will.
"Will you do the job? Will you put the hours in? Will you get out of this bureaucrat mindset and become a computer guy again? Will you be a cop? If you want to do that, I've got a job for you. If not, then it's best we part ways now, before I'm no longer willing to give you a glowing review."
Manner thinks about that for a moment, then stands up, doesn't hand over the piece of paper in his hand, and heads back to his desk.
Tim's feeling like that's a victory. Then, seeing them all working away, he goes back to tweaking his case triage system. They noticed some bugs in it yesterday, and he wants it fixed fast.
After all, if he really is Director of Cybercrime, that means he can roll this out to the whole of NCIS. Assuming it works, (They'll test it in just the DC branch for a month or so, give DC's best and brightest a good chunk of time to break it in ways they'd never imagine on their own.) and assuming its better than the systems his other teams currently have (He jots a quick note to let them know what he's doing and see how they handle it, and what they want in a system for this sort of thing.) he'll have made a positive change for the whole system.
Might as well earn his pay. (Whatever it might be.)
One more thought hits as he's coding away. If he really is Director of Cybercrime, then there's no reason why he can't be sending his casework to whoever's best at it. If John in Reykjavik is the best guy for the job (even if the job is in Bogota) there's no reason, short of the need to get hold of the physical computer, for John not to do the job.
Tim gets back to programing, but he makes a note for himself, he's sending out an email to each of the Team Leaders, finding out exactly who works on each team, what they're best at, and building a database of who does what.
Once this system goes live, any casework that comes up will get triaged, diagnosed, and then whoever's best at this is going to get flagged. It's 2016, long distance communication is easy, so there's no reason to run Cyber cases like it's 1999.
Quitting time Thursday he's got his alpha version in play.
Team goes onto the intranet. They fill out a Cybercrime request form. Originally the form just included name, location, and a brief description area for what the problem was.
Now it still has all three of those things but includes bits like what sort of case this problem belongs to. Do they have a physical computer in custody. There are detailed directions for how to get said computer/phone/whatever it might be also onto their intranet (Yes, he knows he's got to build a safe haven for that so that you can't infect the whole damn system that way.) so that the tech in question can crack into it right away instead of having to wait for the field team to get moving on it. What sort of information is the field team trying to get. All of that's on the intake form now.
He's got the basic triage up and ready: Terror, Kidnapping, Murder threat, Rape, Assault, Murder, Theft, Drugs, Misc. (There are many things that are technically illegal in the Navy and Marines that Tim has no interest at all in having his guys slogging through computer logs working on. For example, inappropriate fraternization cases will be dealt with shortly after Hell freezes over, or every single other case on the docket is clear.) So that the jobs should show up in the queue based on what sort of case they're for.
He's got a keyword database up and running for the tech who will do the diagnostic. S/he'll read through, maybe get onto the computer, mess around a bit, and then keyword it. He's also got his twelve techs sorted by keyword as well.
So, if this works the way he hopes it will, jobs will come in, they'll get sorted, the next available tech will diagnose, and once she's done, the program will send an email to the three techs that matched the most keywords.
He sets it live, and sends out a last email of the day letting them know it was up and to each spend an hour messing with it tomorrow.
And then he heads to Abby.
They're halfway home when she asks, "Did you get to talk to Jimmy or Breena today?"
"No. Just a few second to ask if Jimmy wanted to do lunch with us. Why?"
She shakes her head a bit. "Tried to call Breena today, but she let it go to voicemail."
"Okay…" He's still not getting it.
"It's the seventh, Tim."
And then he did get it. "Oh." He winces, feeling the dull ache of it. Better off not having remembered.
"Yeah. Ducky dropped off samples for us today, so I'm guessing Jimmy's feeling pretty low today, probably pretty anti-social, too."
"I'll stop in early tomorrow, make sure to get to Autopsy. Just, give him a hug or something."
She nods at that. "If the case is wrapped in time, I know Ziva's got something planned for tomorrow's Shabbos, in remembrance."
"Okay." For the first time all day, Tim realizes that it's January 7th, which means this time a year ago Jimmy and Breena were going through the torture of delivering a stillborn baby.