Prologue

Prologue

It was a cloudy night, when the dark van parked in front of the warehouse near Pier 12. Two men climbed out of the front seats and opened the side door. Both dressed in black, wearing caps, one looking Arabic while the other had blond locks showing out under his cap. They signaled a third man, who waited in the warehouse, to come to them. He jumped on a pallet transporter and carefully transported a 2m x 1.5m container that was loaded on the van into the warehouse. The blond man climbed back into the van and drove away, while the other closed the warehouse doors and made his way to the now settled container. Smiling at his companion, he opened the container to display multiple packs of TNT. He looked up and grinned.

"Our day will soon come, Fahim! We just need a little bit patience."

--

Chapter I

„What a day!" Anthony DiNozzo said to himself while he climbed out off his car into the warm mid - June sun. Too bad he had to spend it at work and not out somewhere on a beach. He really needed a vacation.

He had to admit he was not getting any younger and the days of endless nights, with lots of alcohol and flirting with an uncountable number of women were definitely a thing of the past. A nice trip to an exotic beach, doing nothing and maybe …

At that moment Ziva showed up next to him and Tony could not help but picture Ziva with him on this beach wearing only a bikini or maybe … and that thought made him grin.

"What?!" Ziva eyed Tony suspiciously.

"Nothing, everything's in perfect order, isn't it? The weather is fantastic and I'm really in for a cozy day at work and maybe ice-cream!" he said not even trying to hide his fantastic mood.

"If you say so," Ziva shrugged and turned towards the main entrance of NCIS Headquarters.

Tony could really be unnerving sometimes. But who was she kidding; he was all of the time. And especially now, where he started to hum the theme of Magnum but stopped half way through to start something else.

"This is my boss! Jethro Gibbs! A self-made special Agent! He is quite a guy!" Tony spoke with a deep, raspy voice.

"What is this?" Ziva asked annoyed, getting the elevator.

"And this is Miss David, she is gorgeous! She is one Lady and knows how to take care of herself!"

"Tony!!"

"By the way. My name is Tony. I take care of both of them. And it ain't easy! Cause when they met. It was murder!"

"Tony!! What is that?"

"Hart to Hart!"

"Heh?!" Ziva stared at him.

"Hart to hart! Come on. Hit Show from the 80´s. R.J. Wagner and Stephanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. You have to know that one Ziva. It's a classic!"

"Never heard of it!" Ziva shrugged and stepped out of the elevator, followed by a head-shaking Tony.

Entering the bullpen Tony immediately recognized that Gibbs was nowhere to be seen. Noisily he let himself fall into his chair and threw his bag pack onto his desk.

"So Probie? Where's the boss?" he asked casually.

"I don't know!" was all McGee answered absent minded, not looking up for a second, typing something into his keyboard.

"Ha!" Tony stated.

"What does that mean?" Ziva frowned sitting at her desk.

"That means," Tony stated while getting up and throwing a piece of paper into Ziva's direction and only missing her by inches, "That our dear boss probably took the day off for sun bathing!"

"You think so?" Ziva asked skeptical and let out a snorting laugh.

"Yes!" smirked Tony, "Obviously! He is not here and that would mean he is late. But Gibbs is never late! So there is no other explanation than him taking the day off."

"Wrong!" answered Gibbs strong voice behind him and in the same second his hand slapped Tony's head.

"Ouch!" Tony sat down again.

Ziva and McGee grinned at each other. They both had recognized the coffee cup which was placed on Gibbs desk, and therefore knew that he had been already there.

"Okay, listen everybody," Gibbs asked for his teams attention, "The director just informed me that we have a physical test coming up for this week. And for that we have a meeting with the supervising medical stuff in 20 minutes." Gibbs announced while passing the bullpen and walking towards the elevator to inform Abby about the matter.

"Wait boss! What kind of test?" DiNozzo asked slightly worried.

Gibbs turned on his heel and walked back to Tony, stopping just inches before him and then hissed into his ear. "Oh, the real mean one. You know, Semper Fi!"

Tony swallowed, while Gibbs went back to the elevator, a smirk on his face.

Tony fell back into his chair. He was not in a bad shape not at all. He was running frequently and tried to pay a visit to the Gym twice a week. But the fitness test of the USMC. No way he could do it. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Ziva, who seemed totally at ease with this new revelation. McGee on the other hand was more than worried.

"Hey guys. What's your problem?" Ziva asked satisfied to see her two men struggling to come up with an idea to get out of this test.

"Didn't you hear what Gibbs just said?" McGee stared at her.

"Sure!" Ziva shrugged. "So what? It's just a test."

"No, no, no, no, no!" Tony nearly shrieked in a very girly way. "It's not just a test. It's the damn Marine-Thing-Test. Zee-Vah!"

Still Ziva did not seem to understand the consequences of this.

"Yes?? Where is the dot?"

"Point, Ziva, where is the point!" Tony corrected her.

"That's what I said!"

"It's the hardest test you can do." Tony emphasized, waving his arms about.

"After the one for the SEALS!" McGee threw in.

"Anyway! There is no way! No way! One of us is going to make it. Not even me!" Tony declared.

"I could easily make it!" Ziva said, totally aware that she had stepped into a mine field.

"Ha!" was Tony's only reply.

"You'll see!" Ziva answered and kept staring back at Tony.

Suddenly Tony broke the battle, out of the corner of his eye he recognized that someone unfamiliar had stepped into the bullpen. There, looking a little bit out of place, stood a blond woman, probably in her early 30ies. Wearing blue jeans, high heels and a white blouse. Her blue sparkling eyes searched the bullpen and after a short look around she made her way straight towards the team. Tony immediately sat up behind his desk and greeted the beautiful intruder.

"May I help you?" he asked his most charming smile in place, which caused Ziva to roll her eyes.

"Yes, I hope so. I am searching for Agent Gibbs and his team. My name is Dr. Moa Bengtsson. Are you Agent Gibbs?" she looked at Tony.

"No!" Tony laughed, "That would be the gray-headed elder man who will show up any minute behind me and …."

"Ouch!" Tony winced.

"Hello Dr. Bengtsson. I am Agent Gibbs." he extended his hand.

"Nice to meet you. Agent Gibbs."

"And this is my team. Agent Anthony DiNozzo, who still has to learn to respect the age. Agent Timothy McGee, our IT-Specialist. Officer Ziva David from Mossad and Abby Sciuto, Forensic Department."

They all smiled back at Dr. Moa Bengtsson. She was the one who would supervise the upcoming test. Gibbs led her and the team to one of the conference rooms to give her a chance to introduce herself and to inform the team what was going to happen over the next couple of days.

"Who wants to tell me, she is with the Marines?" Tony asked.

"I think Gibbs mocked you. Again!" Ziva laughed. "And by the way, you do not look a bit like Max, more than Freeway!"

"I know you knew it!" Tony exclaimed and pointed at her. Ziva just shrugged and followed the others but could not hide the little smile creeping up her lips.