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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:14 pm 
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Crossover between NCIS Season 2 and The West Wing (end of Season 4/beginning of Season 5)

Chapter One

"As the Saying Goes"


...at the top of the hour, Upfront with Tom Glassberg. Now, Erica McKenna with a news update from the ZNN studios in New York.

The Washington Dispatch and Washington Post newspapers are reporting that a group of high-ranking Republican congressmen met overnight to discuss President Bartlet's continued capacity to govern given the Qumari kidnapping crisis, now in its 11th day.

All four senators and six representatives named in the Post and Dispatch reports have refused to comment on the meeting. None have been seen on Capitol Hill so far today. House Speaker Glen Allen Walken also refused comment on the meeting.

Democratic Party leaders from both houses met the media briefly this morning, reiterating their faith in the President and his ability to govern. House Minority Whip Howard Van Gelt:

"This President has consistently shown he is able to handle crises from Day One. His actions, especially given the extraordinary situation we are in with our two kidnapped citizens, are probably the reason we haven't put troops into Qumar nor crossed paths with the Russians."

These are live feeds from Washington. On the left is a crowd gathering in front of the White House lawn for the 10th straight day, for a vigil later tonight for the President's daughter, Zoey.

And on the right of your screen is a smaller crowd gathering at the Navy Yard, in front of Naval Criminal Investigative Service headquarters for NCIS Special Agent Caitlin Todd. She was kidnapped 11 days ago by this man, Ari Haswari, a rogue Israeli intelligence officer now confirmed to be working with the Qumari regime. Four days ago we learned that Zoey Bartlet was kidnapped in Paris by a Russian mercenary also working for the regime, Sergei Mishnev.

And here is a live shot from our camerawoman on board the USS Harry S. Truman in the Persian Gulf. Just off its bow is the Russian supercarrier Ulyanovsk. Both carriers and their supporting ships are in the Persian Gulf, just off Qumar and its main port...


Washington
Navy Yard


Tony DiNozzo and Tim McGee looked down from the windows adjacent to the Major Case Response Team's bullpen, at the growing crowd gathering near the building.

On Day One - after Haswari called Gibbs and gloated that he had kidnapped Kate, following with his recital of the audacious demands set by the Qumari regime - forensics specialist Abby Sciuto created a small shrine for her best friend Kate.

By Day Four, when Mossad Officer Ziva David arrived to aid in the investigation - and Gibbs' team learned of her relation to Ari - the shrine had drawn over 500 people for an evening vigil nicknamed 'Pray for Kate and Zoey'.

"You going down there?" McGee asked Tony, as both saw the growing crowd gathering near the shrine. "Abby's there."

"Abby's always there," Tony said, solemnly. "She can be there for us. We're on the job."

"Yeah, I know," McGee said. "You haven't been there yet--"

"McGee, I was there to help Abby set it UP," Tony snapped. "OUR place is HERE. Trying to FIND her. IF they LET us."

DiNozzo turned, sulked to his desk, and stood there for a moment. Then, in a fit of anger and frustration, he screamed an obscenity and kicked the trash can right next to his desk. The can hit the nearby monitor and bounced back towards the aisleway in front of Gibbs' desk; the six paper cups of coffee, the empty Chinese take-out box and dozen candy bar wrappers formerly in the trash can were now spread out in front of the monitor.

"Tony," McGee said, as Tony stood in front of the monitor, his back turned from the probationary agent, and his hands clenched. "Tony...TONY! TONY!"

"WHAT?" DiNozzo turned and shouted at McGee. "WHAT do you want us to do? Go down there and hold a CANDLE? PRAY?--"

"Tony--"

"STAND here, McGee? Like they want us to do???"

"I'm with you, Tony. I'm just as frustrated--"

"As what, Probie???"

McGee, as patient as he's been during this crisis with everyone - including Tony and especially Gibbs - had enough.

"As YOU, DiNozzo. I'm frustrated, pissed, waiting on THEM to save her. Pissed that we can't do something, that we're benched, that we got CAUGHT."

McGee stopped talking, seeing the four people coming their way from the rear elevator. Tony only noticed himself and the younger agent inching his way towards him.

"YOU really think YOU were going there?" Tony said, not caring about the growing crowd of staffers overhearing their 'conversation'. "YOU would've been here, in MTAC, or on a SHIP, while Gibbs, and ME, and Super Mossad Ninja and the SEALs went to rescue Kate and the President's daughter. But that's not gonna happen now, IS it? They're both DEAD, McGee, and it's the--"

Tony's rant was stopped cold, by a harsh elbow to his gut and a slap to the back of his head.

"GODDAMNIT KATE, WHAT in the HELL are you--"

Tony shut up, trying to figure out why Kate decided to dress like Abby, then realizing that this WAS Abby, and that Kate wasn't there, even if the elbow DID feel like Kate's own.

Abby, hands on her hips, spoke up emphatically a few moments later.

"Buster. You need to calm down RIGHT NOW," Abby said, as Tony noticed Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, his assistant Jimmy Palmer, and former assistant Gerald Jackson standing next to McGee's desk. "You going crazy like this, isn't going to do ANYONE any good."

Tony began to calm down, even as he began to feel the aftereffects of Abby's Kate-like elbow, and her faux-Gibbs headslap.

"Anthony," Ducky said calmly. "We understand your frustration, and feel it ourselves. This time of crisis is a time to remain CALM and rational...Anthony, that is what we need from you the MOST right now."

DiNozzo looked at Ducky, then back at McGee, then at Gibbs' empty desk, and finally at Abby, who reached out and drew him into a tight hug.

"We need you, the real you, the cool-headed YOU, right now," she whispered in his ear. "We're going to find her, and Zoey. Gibbs is NOT going to stand by and let something bad happen to them."

If only you knew the details, Tony thought.

He looked at his boss's empty desk.

"Where's Gibbs?" he asked aloud, to no one in particular.

"Upstairs. MTAC," McGee said. "With Director Morrow, Assistant Directors Vance and Shepard, Officer David and that scary little woman."

MTAC

As he and the others watched the live feed from SEAL Team Six's joint operation with the Russian Spetsnaz officers, Special Agent in Charge Leroy Jethro Gibbs kept hearing a song, running on a loop in his mind.

Quote:
You are my grace and you are my home
And you dwell in my heart
You are my peace, and with you it's two
And dwell inside of me

All doubts, all the changes, I'm staying with you
All melodies, all directions, I remain yours

For you are what my heart has chosen
After all it has gone through
Yes you are what my heart has chosen
And to your embrace always returned... you...

Close to you, to your feelings
And with you it's real
Please excuse me if I did not say
You are in my room, my love

All the doubts ...

For you...

You are special, I know
And that is secret that connects it all
And without you, without your words
I am alone, I am lacking

All doubts ...

For you...


He heard the entire song - recorded on cassette, by its Israeli composer sung in Hebrew, given to him by Officer David - in his own voice (in English, of course).

Gibbs had worn his poker face well during this crisis, even when that song wormed its way back into his mind during the most inopportune of times.

No one, he judged, knew exactly HOW he felt about Agent Todd.

But they knew what he WOULD do to get her back.

Neither he, nor Morrow, Vance, Shepard, Ziva nor Henrietta Lange reacted visibly to the SEAL Commander's word that no one was in the so-called safe house, outside the Qumari capital. His own stoicism masked well the heartbreak in his soul.

"So we're back to square one," Morrow finally said, before stepping in front of MTAC's giant monitor. "Everyone. Give us the room."

After the technical assistants cleared out, leaving the six men and women alone, Vance walked over to a terminal. He punched a few buttons, and a moment later the images of White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry and Russian government official Anton Pavlenko appeared.

To be continued....

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Last edited by Briwd on Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:43 pm 
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Chapter Two

MTAC


"As you can see, no one was home," McGarry said, his upper body taking up the left half of the screen, Pavlenko taking up the right half.

"I assure you that the Russian government will continue to work with the United States to accomplish our mutual goals, including the rescue of your citizens," Pavlenko said. "Now if you will excuse me. I must attend to different, but equally urgent, business."

After Pavlenko left whatever room he and McGarry were speaking from, McGarry was seen turning to the back of the room as audio went silent; a few staffers were seen departing the room, leaving McGarry and two Marines guarding the door. McGarry put on a headset and plugged it into a jack.

"Let's get down to business," McGarry said. "The President has become aware of your operation, and wants to talk to you about it. Today. At the White House."

Morrow, Shepard and Vance stepped forward; Morrow shook his head at both of his assistant directors, and both stepped back with Gibbs, Lange and Officer David.

"Mr. McGarry. I accept full responsibility for NCIS's actions, for the operation's failure. The others were acting on my knowledge and approval," Morrow said.

"The President knows that, Director," McGarry said. "He also told me to tell you, and I quote, 'I know Tom is going to fall on his sword over this. So tell him I don't want his hide, nor his head on a platter, nor his resignation.'"

Morrow presumed otherwise.

"Mr. McGarry. What does the President want from NCIS? Is there any way we can--"

McGarry shook his head, to Morrow's chagrin.

"Tom," he said. "The President wants to talk to you. But not now. He wants Agent Gibbs."

"Agent Gibbs?" Morrow said, as Gibbs stepped forward and stood side-by-side with the NCIS Director. "Mr. McGarry. This is on ME--"

"As I said, Tom, the President doesn't want you falling on your sword," McGarry added. "He wants you, Agent Gibbs, at the White House, tonight, in 45 minutes. A vehicle is on its way to the Navy Yard now to pick you up."

"Mr. McGarry, if anyone is going to fall on his sword, it's me," Gibbs said emphatically. "This operation is MY idea, MY responsibility--"

"You can tell HIM that, Agent Gibbs," McGarry continued. "Make sure you're there."

The bullpen

Tony DiNozzo had calmed down, but not as much as Ducky would've liked.

The senior field agent was standing at the window, watching the growing crowd for the nightly vigil that Abby, McGee, Palmer and Gerald had went downstairs to join.

"You should go down there, Tony," Ducky said. "As a sign of support to your fellow teammates, if nothing else."

"I'm not going down there," Tony replied. "Feels like going to her funeral. I should be...I should be WORKING. Trying to find Kate, and the President's daughter. Or finding the bastards who abducted them."

"The vigil is not anything like a funeral," Ducky said. "It's a visible sign of support for Caitlin, and to let the world know we haven't forgotten her and won't forget her--"

"They DON'T know that, Ducky?" Tony said, sharply. "I've talked to God knows how many Secret Service agents, FBI, NSA today. Hell, I probably talked with someone from CBS."

Ducky chuckled, until noticing Tony's demeanor slowly growing more angry.

"I've had three dozen cups of coffee and zero hours of sleep in the past two days," he continued. "I've been grilled every which way. And now I'm benched. And nobody here in this damned city gives a rip about Kate--"

"That is NOT true, Anthony--"

"--EXCEPT for US, Ducky. EXCEPT FOR US."

Tony walked away from the window, threw himself down in the chair behind his desk, and closed his eyes. For a minute, he looked like he had fallen asleep, and Ducky was content to let him have his rest.

Then Tony shot out of his chair.

"Holy crap--has anyone fed Kate's dog?" Tony said. "Duck. Where's Abby? McGee?"

Ducky quickly stepped to block Tony's path before he could leave his desk to go who knows where. "Anthony. Caitlin's dog Toni is fine. Abigail is watching and caring for her."

Tony nodded, turned back to his chair, paused for a beat or two, then turned to leave after noting Gibbs and Ziva leaving MTAC and walking towards the stairs, while the others followed Morrow to his office.

"Anthony." Ducky said, putting both hands on Tony's chest and preventing the agent from going further. "As your physician, and as the Chief Medical Examiner of NCIS, I am ordering you to the morgue immediately."

"For what?" Tony snapped right as the front elevator dinged.

"For a quick examination from me, and a nap by yourself," Ducky said, as an unexpected visitor approached them from the elevator. "No matter WHO else may want to talk to you."

"Even if it's the President?" said FBI Agent Tobias Fornell. "I don't think you can turn down that invitation, DiNutso."

Tony whispered a mild expletive to himself.

"He's not the one the President wants to talk with, Tobias," said Gibbs, as Ziva followed him to his desk. "That would be me."

"So they sent for you, Jethro," Fornell said.

"Did they tell ya something different, Tobias?" Gibbs replied, as he grabbed one of his go bags from behind his desk. "Hope your jacket fits me if the Director's doesn't."

"They're waiting for you, Gibbs," Fornell added. "As soon as you get into your 'go-to-Sunday-meeting-with-the-President' clothes."

"Wouldn't miss that ride, Tobias," Gibbs said, bag in hand, turning out of the bullpen and walking towards the men's restroom before stopping just within earshot of the three other men, and Ziva. "DiNozzo. Don't give Ducky any crap. If you're up to it, go downstairs for a few minutes, show your support. Then get your ass in the morgue, let Ducky do his check-up, and get some rest."

"Boss?" Tony said.

"Are ya deaf, DiNozzo?"

"No Boss."

"Then do as I say," Gibbs said. "Officer David. Escort DiNozzo to the vigil. Then to the morgue."

To be continued...

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Last edited by Briwd on Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:10 pm 
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Quote:
...Qumari Army and Air Force divisions overwhelmed the capital of Jabal Nafusa, while Elite Guard First, Second and Third Divisions moved into the Palace. That meant the troops, Guards and Security officers defending the Sultan and his family were now outnumbered 19-1.

The firefight, if one can call it that, ended in less than five minutes. Abdul ibn Shareef personally led the First Division into the Sultan's bunker, only to find the Sultan himself, his daughters and sons, and loyal officers prepared to fight to the death.

Shareef contacted Colonel Mustafa and ordered him to implement Black Order Zero. As Shareef and the First Division retreated to safety, the poison gas began to infiltrate the bunker's ventilation system. All within the bunker had put on gas masks. However, the masks malfunctioned, as they were tampered with at the onset of the Drive to Jabal Nafusa. It took two minutes for all of those with the tampered masks to succumb to the gas.

When the First Division re-entered the bunker - properly outfitted, as the gas was still present - they found 18 corpses, including that of the Sultan, and one survivor, the Sultan's youngest son, fourth in line to the monarchy.

Shareef, also properly outfitted, entered the bunker. He looked upon the corpse of the now-dead Sultan and, with his foot, turned his face upwards, towards the ceiling. Shareef then stepped on the corpse's face, making certain that the tread of his boot would leave an impression, and then ordered one of the surviving guards to photograph the face.

Next, Shareef walked to the lone survivor of the gassing, the Sultan's son known as Jamal. The 26-year-old no longer would hold the disdain of his brothers; he would be able to control his own destiny, be the celebrity he truly thought himself to be, and help build Qumar into a Middle Eastern giant.

"By my authority, and for your loyalty to the Qumari people, I deem you to be Jamal Nafusa, my Minister of Communications," said Shareef, now Qumar's Acting Head of State. "You will help spread the fame and glory of Qumar far and wide." And the new dictator placed a medal on the son's shirt - a Brazilian football jersey that he wore underneath the family uniform he ripped off after seeing everyone else dying around him.

It was at Jamal's word that Shareef cut off relations with the United States and strengthened its ties with Russian oligarchs and billionaires, then with the Russian government, going so far as to lease its Kalifa Air Base to the Russian Air Force (the Americans moved their personnel into nearby Afghanistan) for 50 years. ...

...Jamal would grow in stature within the Shareef regime, going so far as to implicate Army Colonel Khalid as the actual mastermind of the attempted terrorist attack on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Jamal also came up with the plan that Shareef eagerly signed on for - the abduction and kidnapping of U.S. President Bartlet's daughter Zoey, and of Caitlin Todd, a former Secret Service agent working for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, with the aim of engineering the assassination of Bartlet himself...


--Weatherly, A. Conrad. The History of Qumar. London: Kings Press, 20xx. Print.


Washington, D.C.
Navy Yard


"You need to be here, Tony," said Ziva, now acting as more of a friend, as opposed to the all-business Mossad officer she had been during her brief stay here in the States. "Hulking up will not help you."

Tony looked at her like she was crazy. A charming crazy.

"Say what?"

"Hulking up. I saw you hulking up earlier, and you've been doing so for the past four days."

Tony figured out what she was saying - or fairly sure she was trying to say. "You mean sulking," he said to her, as they approached the shrine put up for Kate, making their way through the growing crowd. "'Hulking up' is what Bill Bixby did, when he turned into the Incredible Hulk. Sulking is...that's what I did, what I've been doing."

"Oh," Ziva said with a chuckle. "Of course. I have...difficulty with some of your American idioms. Is this Bill Bixby one of your professional wrestlers, who would 'hulk up' when he was on the verge of defeat?"

Tony chuckled, then paused with a smile, for the first time...since the last time he saw Kate.

"That's Hulk Hogan," Tony said. "Bill Bixby is an actor. He played a Marvel Comics hero named the Hulk, on TV." Ziva's face was blank. "You don't know who that is?" She shook her head. "Do you have comic books in Israel? Television?"

"Yes, Israel has both," she said. "I was not given much time for trivial things like those. My father wanted me to train for the defence of Israel from an early age. Everything I did was with his goals in mind."

Tony wondered what in hell was going on with this woman, and suddenly had a thousand questions for her. But as he opened his mouth, he found himself and Ziva in front of the shrine.

There were dozens of pictures of Kate, and posters praying for her safety and return, boquets of Rosefern flowers, lit candles.

His eye found one photo, of he and Kate in Paraguay, from a case that wasn't all that long ago.

"God. I miss you so much," Tony whispered, and a moment later he felt someone push against him, then draw him into a bear hug.

"TONY!!!!" shouted Abby, squeezing him so tightly he was having trouble taking a breath.

"Abs," he croaked out, "don't squeeze so tight. Gotta...breathe...you know."

Abby loosened the embrace, then put her hands on his shoulders.

"I'm so glad you're here, and if you're not out there finding Kate, you're going to BE here, every night, until we rescue her. Comprende?" Abby said, and Tony nodded.

Then Abby saw Ziva.

"Ziva! You made it!" she said, grabbing the Mossad officer into another bear hug.

Not a particularly religious man, Tony nevertheless grabbed one of the candles, looked skyward, and whispered a quick prayer: "God. It's me...bring her back safe. Please. I don't feel good about this and...there's nothing I can do right now to make it better."

A Secret Service limousine
En route from the Navy Yard to the White House


"Nice ride," said Fornell, as he sat with Gibbs across from two Secret Service agents, one of whom they both knew.

Conrad Baer was on Air Force One the night Gibbs and Fornell caught the case where someone tried to poison President Bartlet. After it came to light that Kate had broken Secret Service protocol regarding fraternization with fellow agents, she was fired, only to be hired on the spot by Gibbs to work for NCIS.

The attempted attack on the Golden Gate Bridge several months later put Washington on edge, and that kept her from being abducted by Ari Haswari as part of some kind of Qumari-financed attack on the United States. In fact, Gibbs's confrontation of Ari at the coffee shop helped expose the former Mossad officer as a double agent. It led to Ari's resurfacing months later in Qumar, and a rumored 'come-to-Jesus' meeting between the President and the heads of every U.S. intelligence agency.

Gibbs remembered what Baer had told him before he decided to bring Kate onto the team, and wondered if he should've listened. Maybe Kate would be safer, perhaps working for her father's law firm, away from the danger that came with the job, and from sociopathic terrorist stalkers.

Then, he remembered the note sent to him from the White House, after his and Kate's case on the USS Philadelphia. The President himself seemed to be proud of Kate's work with NCIS, and the Commander-in-Chief's opinion was good enough for the former Marine.

Now that Gibbs's aborted rescue mission had come to light, God only knew what the President had to say to him now.

He looked at the two Secret Service agents on the other side of the limo. One looked fresh out of college, no military experience, probably an athlete, most likely had parents who knew somebody who knew somebody else who knew the right somebody. The other was Baer, and he looked a tad too tired of the routine.

"Thought you would've retired by now," Gibbs said to Baer.

"I wanted to. But Butterfield reeled me back in for a couple more years," Baer replied. "There's no Vice President right now with Hoynes gone. So we double up on the President and his family." Baer smiled, then grimaced at the thought of Zoey Bartlet's abduction.

He went to change the subject. "Still building that boat?"

"Yep," Gibbs said. "Halfway done."

"I always wondered how you managed to get those things out of your basement," he said. "Mind telling me that secret?"

Gibbs chuckled. "That a Presidential Order?"

Baer chuckled in response. "No," he replied. "Just a question."

"Trade secret," Gibbs answered, and the four men chuckled, then sat in silence the rest of the short trip, until the limo pulled into its space near the West Wing of the White House.

To be continued...

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:38 pm 
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The White House

After Gibbs joined the Naval Investigative Service and he had some down time, he went on the tour of the White House given to the general public. He returned soon afterwards, working on a case. He hadn't returned since NIS became NCIS, until now.

He didn't know the hallway he and Fornell were sitting in, but it was well-lit, with paintings and sculptures along both sides of the aisle.

Better than an interrogation room. Or a cell, thought Gibbs. He supposed that might be ahead of him, but that came with the territory. Perhaps the President would lop his head off, but so be it. This wasn't the first time he did something that could end his career for those he loved. This wouldn't be the last, either.

"Wish I had that cup of coffee right now," Gibbs said.

"Thirsty?" Fornell replied.

"A little."

"Guess they thought that rotgut you drink would be a little too dangerous," Fornell said, and both men chuckled. "Secret Service has its protocols."

Gibbs cleared his throat. "Why are you here, Tobias?"

"You mean 'why did they ask me to come along'."

"Yeah."

"Don't know why," Fornell replied. Gibbs pondered that, then nodded.

"Did I ever tell you why I stay out of politics?" he asked Fornell.

"I think so. Was it when we were drinking near the boat you built for Diane?"

"There were TWO boats, they had her name on it, I didn't build either of them for her. And are you talking about the one before the divorce or after?"

Fornell laughed, drawing the attention of the young Secret Service agent who sat in the limo with them on the way to the White House. "I forgot, Jethro. Must've been the whiskey."

Gibbs smiled. "Answer is, get things done."

Both men settled in for a comfortable silence.

Minutes later, Ron Butterfield - the Secret Service agent heading the Presidential Detail, and one of the men who interrogated Gibbs eariler that morning - walked through a nearby set of double doors. Walking right beside him was McGarry.

"Agent Gibbs, please follow Agent Butterfield," McGarry said. "Agent Fornell, please follow me."

Fornell went with McGarry somewhere, while Gibbs followed Butterfield, Baer and another agent through a series of hallways.

The West Wing

Toby Ziegler was shut in his office, reading two sets of speeches written for the President.

The first, by Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, was from the viewpoint of the President's daughter and Agent Todd having been rescued and returned alive and safe to the U.S.

The second, by recently-hired Deputy Communications Director Will Bailey, was from the viewpoint that one, or both, had died.

Both men, and Lyman's senior assistant Donna Moss, were standing outside Ziegler's office door. Nearby, Press Secretary C.J. Cregg was preparing for her next briefing with the media.

"I can't get a read on him," Bailey said.

"He's reading the speeches the President may have to give," Lyman said. "There's no emotion, no weeping over prose, no outward expressions of joy or sadness or anger. He's simply reading a speech, one of our speeches, and I'm certain I speak for all of us when I say I hope mine is the one the President gives."

Bailey looked around for the coffee pot, and found it was half full, but cold. As he went to warm the pot up, Donna broke the silence.

"Didn't Gibbs go before a JAG lawyer once?" she asked aloud.

"The incident in question never got that far," Lyman replied. "The incident you're thinking of is the one where he arrested the JAG officer."

"He ARRESTED the guy? Over what?" Moss asked.

"Suspicion of murder, later found innocent after Gibbs found the real killer," Bailey interjected. "I heard the story, inside and out, when I worked as a JAG lawyer."

"You worked with NCIS?" Moss said.

"Air Force Office of Special Investigations," Bailey said. "They rarely worked with NCIS, but we heard the story. The Navy JAG officer understands it was business but they're not drinking buddies."

"Did the OSI agents know Gibbs?" Lyman said.

"They knew of him, and they either disliked him or respected him greatly," Bailey continued. "The former, because of his alleged unorthodox methods, the latter because he got the job done...I wonder how he's worked here, in Washington, for so long."

"Because he gets the job done, I suppose," Moss said.

"Yeah, but Washington is the most political city on Earth, and this guy is anything but a politician," Lyman said. "Gibbs rarely works with anyone outside of his team, even within his own agency - present case excluded - and almost never with outsiders other than the guy from the FBI who's their liaison to NCIS."

"The one who also married his ex-wife," Moss added.

"His ex-wife?" Bailey said.

"Second ex-wife," Moss said. "His first wife was murdered. He divorced the next three, is currently single. The FBI liaison also married the second wife, and later divorced her."

Bailey whistled, briefly drawing Ziegler's attention; a moment later, Ziegler resumed reading the speeches. Cregg, hearing the whistle, decided to stop what she was doing, and stretch her legs.

"Any further word on the President's daughter or the NCIS agent?" she asked, walking out of her office. "And is there any coffee left in the pot?"

"Half a pot, and it's warming up now," Bailey said.

"No word on either of them since the joint raid on the safe house came up empty. Leo said they're back to square one," Lyman said. "Interpol's still following up that lead in Serbia."

"Mishnev had dealings there," Cregg said. "So we're going with what the President discussed, then...Danny's been nosing around."

"Nosing around." Lyman said. "About what?"

Her answer would have to wait.

Butterfield came around the corner, Gibbs behind him, Baer and the third agent following. They briskly walked through, heading towards the Oval Office.

Even Ziegler noticed, focusing on the NCIS agent who was a ringer for the deceased Secret Service agent Simon Donovan.

Cregg watched them pass out of sight and gathered her thoughts, not noticing Ziegler walk to her side.

"C.J.? Are you alright?" he asked, as her cellphone buzzed with a text, from McGarry. AM INDISPOSED RIGHT NOW. WILL FIND YOU WHEN I'M DONE.

"I'm fine," Cregg said as she walked to the coffee pot, and poured herself a cup, then turned to walk back to her office. "Tell Leo I need to talk to him if you see him before I do," she said, shutting the door behind her, then drawing the blinds.

"Speeches were fine. Both of them," Ziegler said to Lyman and Bailey before opening Cregg's door.

Navy Yard
NCIS, Medical Examiner's Office


For Tony DiNozzo, the cold slab he fell asleep on was just as good as the chair at his desk, or the warm bed in his apartment.

Give him a good night's rest, and he'd change his mind about it being as good as the bed. Right now, ten minutes after falling asleep, he was sound asleep, filling the morgue with his very loud snores.

"He must be jumping saws," said Ziva, watching from the doorway.

"I beg your pardon?" Ducky asked.

"Jumping saws," she answered. "Is that not what they say here, in America, when someone is snoring?"

Ducky chuckled. "My dear, you mean 'sawing logs'. Or do you mean counting sheep?"

"Whatever the saying is, Tony is getting his rest," Ziva said.

Ducky didn't need a bachelor's in profiling to see her concern for the agent was...more than would be expected for a person in her position. A foreign officer who only met him days ago, whose time had been spent working with NCIS.

Whose eyes, unlike her brother's, showed her heart and concern as genuine.

Somewhere in the Eastern Hemisphere

Kate tried to draw on every bit of second- and third-hand knowledge about survival she had learned over the years. From her father and brothers; her Secret Service training; and her time at NCIS.

And from Gibbs.

Every little thing, ANY thing, could be the difference between life and death not only for her but for her cellmate.

Kate had gotten to know Zoey Bartlett more in the past week than she did when working on the President's detail in a year. In Kate's judgment, Zoey was holding up better than expected, but scared out of her mind, jittery even when it was just the two of them.

The wind blew against the window pane, and Zoey stirred, then went back to sleep on the floor. Kate looked around at their cell - actually, a room in a cabin, somewhere in a forest - and moved over towards Zoey.
Kate lay down next to the young woman who should be celebrating her graduation from college, and instead was jittery and shivering on that cold floor, underneath a flimsy blanket and with only a ratty pair of jeans as a pillow. The former Secret Service agent kept her eyes and ears open and her gut on high alert.

Anything could happen, at any time, and she wanted to be ready.

She heard the footsteps before the door was kicked open, and she knew who would be striding in.

"Caitlin," said Ari Haswari, as Zoey began to wake up. She saw Ari and screamed.

Ari reached down, put his finger on Zoey's open mouth, and shushed her. "Now now, little one. You have nothing to fear," he said. "Neither you nor Caitlin."

"I don't fear you," Kate spat. "I hate your guts, you bastard."

Ari's face darkened, and he briefly reached for something in his jacket pocket.

His reach was stopped by Sergei Mishnev, who looked at Ari, then at Kate, then turned his gaze to Zoey.

"Do you want some privacy?" Ari said, turning his gaze back to Kate, who spit on his leg.

"We need to talk. Privately," Mishnev answered, as he nodded to someone outside. Moments later, two more blankets, two pillows, a box and a jug of water were tossed in the room. Ari glared at Kate - who shielded Zoey - then walked out, before Mishnev slammed the door behind him.

Zoey began to cry. Kate quickly grabbed the blankets, water and box, then reached out to hug the younger woman.

"Shhh. Shhhhhh. We're going to be okay," Kate said, as she began to examine the box, and its Cyrillic lettering.

Before she could open the box's contents, the door flew open, and two thugs grabbed them both.

"What the hell--" Kate shouted, before she was silenced by a slap from Ari.

"You both have a message to deliver to the Americans," Mishnev said, as the thugs led them outside the cabin, to a nearby truck. "To your father."

The White House

President Bartlet stood up from his desk, exercising a mild cramp he sure was from sitting down for so damned long.

"Something else to tell Abbey tonight - if she'll talk to me," he said to himself.

He then heard a knock on the door, then checked his desk drawer before answering.

"Come in," he said, and Gibbs followed Buttefield into the Oval Office.

"Leo's in the other room?" Bartlet asked.

"With Agent Fornell," Butterfield said.

"Very good." He nodded to the Secret Service agent, then turned and stretched his hand out to his guest. "Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Please, have a seat."

The Russian Embassy

"You are certain?" the Russian Ambassador to the United States said to the Spetsnaz officer on the screen.

"In the Kola Peninsula," the officer said. "At least twenty men, and the Americans."

"I will speak with the President," the Ambassador said, and a minute later when the conversation ended Counselor Pavlenko watched him go to his office. Eight minutes later, the Ambassador left his office, and nodded to Pavlenko. "With me," he said, and the small Russian delegation hurried towards the vehicles that would take them to the White House.

To be continued...

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:02 am 
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Chapter Five

The Oval Office


President Bartlet pulled a bottle and a thermos out of his desk drawer, then carried both to the couches between his desk and the fireplace, and put them on the table next to two coffee mugs.

"I have here a bottle and a thermos," the President said, sitting on one of the couches opposite Gibbs. "The bottle is maple whiskey, made in my home state of New Hampshire. Nausha, specifically. If you and I were having a conversation away from the job, I would pour us a glass, and I'd ask you about woodworking."

"Woodworking, Mr. President?" Gibbs said.

"I understand, when you aren't working, you have an unique hobby," Bartlet continued. "Building boats, in your basement."

Gibbs smiled. "You've done your homework, sir."

"I wonder how you get those things out of your basement," the President said.

"Well, Mr. President, I'll tell you. I--"

"Keep it to yourself, Agent Gibbs. Some things a man has to keep to himself."

Bartlet opened the thermos, and poured black coffee in both mugs, then gave one to Gibbs. "Some things, he shares. Some things, he has to work through on the job, in the eyes of the public, the press, his friends, his enemies and the entire world."

"Thank you, sir," Gibbs said, drinking the pure black coffee, which put him a little more at ease.

"Fourteen days, Agent Gibbs, since my daughter and your agent were kidnapped. That first day was pure hell. For both of us, I'm certain."

"Yes, it was," Gibbs said. Kate went missing on her way to work, then Ari called his cell phone, to gloat and to deliver the Qumari government's insane demands. He, DiNozzo, McGee and Fornell went everywhere from Kate's apartment to the farm Ari took her to the year before to Gibbs' basement. By the end of the night, Ari had called back - and told Gibbs she, and Zoey Bartlet, were out of the country.

"This stays between us," Bartlet said, before holding his thumb and forefinger a hair's width apart. "I was going to invoke the 25th Amendment and resign."

"Sir?"

"We were THIS close to midnight. The Doomsday Clock. It hits midnight, Armageddon. You're familiar."

"Yes, sir."

"We got word that evening, through our intelligence sources, that Zoey and Caitlin were sighted in Jabal Nafusa. The Truman was in the Gulf. We thought we could go in undercover, find them, get them out, return them to the ship. Before we could get our people ready, Shariff contacted me and informed me that he discovered our plans to send in troops into his country, and considered it a declaration of war.

"As their ally, Russia was obligated to intervene on their behalf. That's when we learned the Ulyanovsk was moving into the Gulf...I had scheduled a meeting with my cabinet and written two letters, one my temporary resignation during the crisis and the second my reinstatement once the crisis ended. I spent all night doing two things: convincing the Russians not to start World War III, and worrying about one of my daughters, whom I love with all my heart as much as the others, and an agent I had grown very fond of during the brief time she worked for me."

Bartlet glanced at the bottle of whiskey on the table.

"By the time I left the Situation Room, I had forgotten about the letters and assumed everyone on my Cabinet had found their way out of the White House," Bartlet continued. "Leo talked me out of invoking the 25th. Afterwards we began to negotiate with the Russians, secretly, to bring our people home and resolve our shared 'problem' with the Qumari regime without it leading to nuclear Armageddon. As you know, we went on a wild goose chase starting in Virginia and ending at that safe house in Qumar."

He finished his coffee, then poured himself another cup, and offered a refill to Gibbs, who politely declined.

"When you made contact with your associate in Serbia, things changed," Bartlet said. "While you were contacting the assistant directors of your agency, and getting your people together, that associate reported back to his allies in the Russian Federal Security Service, who sent it up the chain all the way to the Russian President himself. They were pissed, and rightfully so, because in a situation with all these moving parts and two superpowers trying not to restart the Cold War and light it on fire, here was the agency that is colloquially known, and I quote, as "the cowboys of the intelligence community", going off on its own and not telling anyone what you were planning."

The President sat back, waiting for Gibbs's answer.

"That's right, Mr. President," Gibbs said. "I'm a Marine. Not active, but--"

"--once a Marine, always a Marine."

"Yes, sir. The Marines have a saying: leave no man behind."

"And you didn't want to leave your agent behind. As you did when Haswari kidnapped her a year ago."

"I...no sir."

"And you're not sorry, for talking your boss into going along with an operation that went against my orders, for going into an operation half-reckless, like something out of a movie and in the process, nearly undoing everyTHING we've built with the Russians in this crisis AND putting my daughter and your agent in further jeopardy."

"Mr. President? May I speak freely?"

"By all means."

"I have a list of rules. Personal rules that guide my career and my life. I run my team by those rules. One of those rules is rule number six: 'never say you're sorry. It's a sign of weakness.' I have another rule, 18: 'better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.'"

"So...Agent Gibbs. You're telling me not only are you not sorry, you figured it was better to seek a pardon than to ask for my okay for an operation I would never have signed off on."

"Yes, sir."

Bartlet looked at the bottle of maple whiskey, then decided against opening it.

"I admire your bluntness," Bartlet said, leaning forward. "You've been married four times. Three ex-wives, I'm told."

"That's right, sir."

"The first, you and she had a daughter that were taken from you."

"Sir?"

"I have one wife, whom I'm still married to, despite her anger at me over a decision I made that helped lead us to this point, and three daughters, one of whom I hope is alive and well, as much as a certain Secret Service agent now under your employ," Bartlet said. "Do you know why I wanted to invoke the 25th?"

"I don't, sir."

"Because I'm a father, like you," Bartlet continued. "I realized there was nothing I would do to bring my daughter back home, safe and sound, and that I felt the same way about Kate. Now, you seem like the kind of man who would do anything to protect those he loves."

Gibbs felt like the President had just drove a tank at his gut.

"So am I. I love my family more than anything. The 25th would have removed my temptation to give in to these demands, to bomb Tel Aviv and write a billion dollar check to a terrorist-sponsoring country that would wreck our economy. Not to mention, put my head on the literal chopping block. But being the President, while we went to 11:59 on the Doomsday Clock - and I assure you, we were 60 seconds from midnight - changed my priorities. No longer was I a father, just a father, I also was the leader of the free world. So I couldn't do just anything and be tempted to give in and throw my allies under the bus to save my daughter, not with Russia and terrorism and Qumar and nuclear war in play."

He looked at the bottle of whiskey. "Want me to open that up?"

"No thank you, Mr. President," Gibbs said. "May I ask another question, freely?"

"Sure."

"Why am I here?"

Bartlet finished his second cup of coffee, then looked at Gibbs.

"You are here so I can remind you, Gunnery Sergeant Gibbs, that I am the Commander in Chief, not you, and that I call the shots and I expect you to follow orders as a Marine is expected to," the President said. "No matter what."

Bartlet got up from the couch, and picked up the bottle of whiskey.

"Take this with you, and have a drink on me," the President told him. "And trust me."

"Trust you."

"Trust me, Jethro," Bartlet said. "As hard as this is on ALL of us, as much as you're tempted to go off the reservation, that is one thing you cannot do. This crisis is one we play by the book. This time, I'll give you a pass because if I were you I would've done the same thing. Next time...I won't be so charitable."

THe President pulled his glasses out of his pocket and put them on. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some business to attend to before I get the six hours of sleep my doctor requires of me. I would love to have you and your entire team here for a visit at a more opportune time--"

McGarry burst through the side door from the secretary's office. "Mr. President, we need you in the Situation Room immediately...and I think Agent Gibbs should be there as well."

"Leo?" said the President. "What's going on."

"The Russians found Zoey and Caitlin."

To be concluded.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:57 am 
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Chapter Six

Gibbs stood towards the back with Fornell in the White House Situation Room, as they and others - from SecDef Hutchinson to Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Fitzwallace - watched satellite footage as the Russian special forces team rescued the two hostages and took down the thugs holding them prisoner.

After Kate and Zoey were secured, the President ordered Air Force One to prepare for a flight to Helsinki, where the Russian Air Force would take the two women. Gibbs went along, and as the President, his wife and their other two daughters reunited with Zoey, Gibbs and Kate embraced.

"How're ya holdin' up, Kate?" Gibbs asked.

"Well...Gibbs...I'm ready to go home," Kate said, before burying her face in Gibbs's neck and sobbing until no more tears were left.

The next morning, Air Force One was back in Washington. Most of the media pictures and video were of the President's family, but one of the gothic, pig-tailed Abby Sciuto running like crazy to embrace Kate got a fair amount of play on the networks and online.

Pavlenko arrived at NCIS to inform Morrow and Gibbs that Ari Haswari had been killed in the firefight, but that Sergei Mishnev had escaped.

After Kate's reunion with her colleagues and friends in Washington, she was given leave by Morrow to visit her family in Indianapolis. Her second night there, Tony dropped in on Gibbs's house, finding him in his basement working on a boat.

"What're ya doin' here, DiNozzo? I gave ya and McGee the day off."

Tony put a six-pack of beer on the workbench. "Felt a little empty at home watching The French Connection," he said, walking over to where Gibbs was sanding a patch of wood. "So, I decided I wanted to hang out with someone. McGee and Abby are bowling."

"Why didn't you go with them?"

"Not my thing," Tony replied. "Didn't feel very social anyway. But I didn't want to be all alone, so--"

"So ya came here."

"Yeah." Tony saw a bottle on the workbench and picked it up. It was the maple whiskey the President sent home with Gibbs, along with a note taped to it.

"Didn't know there was a maple whiskey, Boss," Tony said.

"You hungry, DiNozzo?"

"Uh...yeah. A little."

"Grab the beer, and that whiskey, and take it upstairs. I'll cook some steaks."

Two steaks, two potatoes and a six-pack later, Gibbs and DiNozzo sat at the kitchen table, the clock showing 3:34 a.m. Tony this would be as good a time as any to say what was on his mind. "Boss. I had another reason for showing up here. I got something to talk to you about."

"Okay," Gibbs said, finishing off his beer. "Shoot."

Tony reminded himself Gibbs didn't do elbows and that he could endure the ensuing headslap.

"DiNozzo." Gibbs repeated. "Spit it out."

"Well..."

"Well what? DiNozzo. What is it...you 'like' me or somethin'?"

Tony spit out his last mouthful of beer all over the table, the plates and on the napkin Gibbs had placed on his lap.

"Guess the answer's no," Gibbs said, with a smirk, as he walked over to pull a couple of dish towels out of a drawer. "What is it, Tony...I'll headslap ya if you DON'T tell me."

Tony took a deep breath. "BossIlikeKatealotmanI'vegotitbad."

Gibbs froze. "Tony?!?"

"IKatelike...I mean, I lake kite--dammit, I mean I like Kate. Break Rule 12."

Gibbs sat down and took a deep breath. "Tony..."

"I got it bad, Boss."

Gibbs looked at his senior field agent, ready to launch into a lecture about the importance of Rule 12 and why it should never be broken. All he could say was, "that's it?"

"Yeah...no. One more thing...Ziva--Officer David--Ziva thinks you have it bad for Kate, too."

That was the first time Tony had ever seen the eyes bug out of Gibbs' head. He held that expression for a moment, then reached for the maple whiskey. He got up, took a couple of shot glasses out of the cupboard, and put them in front of Tony and himself.

"Gonna need to break the whiskey out for this one," Gibbs said, filling his and Tony's glasses.

"Ziva's right? For real?"

"Yeah," Gibbs said, taking his first drink. "Might need to empty the bottle."

"I'll drink to that," Tony replied, downing his own glass, then reached for the bottle. He saw the note taped to the bottle, and Gibbs nodded his assent to open it.

Jethro - As the saying goes, 'I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.'

"We got a pass this time," Gibbs said. "That's why we're here, and not in a cell somewhere."

"And now we're HERE, both thinking about Kate. And Rule 12," Tony said. "Might have to think outside the box on this one, Boss."

"You might be right, DiNozzo," Gibbs said, figuring it'd be easier to down the rest of the whiskey than to figure out what they were going to do about Kate.

--poof--

(To be continued?)

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