DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Never will be.
A/N: Hello! Anyone out there good at AP Bio? I need help! I wish McGee or Ziva could answer these questions for me! I mean, who WOULDN'T wanna spend their afternoon reading up on cellular respiration?
"Ah!" Ziva smacked the computer monitor, repeatedly clicking the mouse. She cursed in Hebrew, looking up to meet McGee's curious stare from his desk. "It will not work!" She explained.
"Your computer?" McGee stood up and made his way behind her desk. "Whaddaya mean? It's on."
"It will not let me access these files." Ziva scrolled the cursoe over a clickable link. She demonstrated. "See?"
"Are they within your clearance level?"
Ziva nodded. "They're leveled in the clearance level I had before I left."
McGee hesitated, leaning over the keyboard. He took the mouse form Ziva. "Are you sure it's your current clearance level still?"
Thinking for a moment, Ziva relaxed. "I guess not." She sank back into her chair, confused. "I don't understand. Why am I not able to access them?"
"Maybe you're not re-entered into the system?" McGee suggested.
"Try under investigation." Vance's voice made them both jump a little.
"Why am I being rejected?" Ziva almost demanded. "Gibbs signed the paper, Director. I gave them to you."
Vance looked icily at her. "McGee."
"Go down to Ms. Sciuto's lab. She needs your assistance."
Taking the hint, the junior field agent hurried past the two, heading towards the elevator.
"Follow me, Ms. David." Vance led her to the conference room, sitting her down on one side of the long meeting table. He chose to sit directly in from her, possibly creating a good amount of distance.
"Why am I being rejected?" Ziva repeated.
Vance cut her off. "I believe I should be the one asking questions since we've answered yours, and you haven't answered any of ours."
"I was never asked anything," Ziva stated. "You only asked me how I was, psychologically."
"Yet you want to be an agent of NCIS."
"You know that I passed--"
"Barely." Vance said. "But that's not what I need to know."
"Is that all that's keeping me from work?"
"Maybe. I'm not entirely sure yet."
Ziva sighed, keeping her temper low. Rolling her eyes, she sat up in her chair. "What is it that you need to ask? I will hide nothing if it means becoming an agent."
Ziva froze. "The...Da--"
"What happened on that ship?" Vance demanded. "And don't tell me that it went down in that storm."
Ziva swallowed, unsure of what to say. "Is that not what the report said?"
"Frankly, I don't believe a word of it." Vance reached for a file that was laying on the table in front of him. He pulled out a document and placed it in front of Ziva.
Vance nodded. "Clearly written as a cover up by the Israeli government to hide an operation."
"Mossad." Ziva whispered. She scanned through the words.
...went down in terrible storm...
...lost at sea...
...supply ship to US troops in Africa...
"Take me back to the Damacles." Vance said in a low voice.
Ziva shuddered, releasing an equally shaky breath. "I cannot."
She looked up at him with what looked like horror and sadness in her eyes. "It's--"
"--the only thing keeping you from NCIS. Now talk."
At that moment, the door flew open, letting in three new people to join the conversation. Gibbs looked pissed. He stormed directly next to Vance, followed by Tony and McGee.
"What're you doing, Leon?"
"This is a private talk," Vance replied coldly. "You weren't invited."
"Pulling one of my agents, and I'm not invited?" Gibbs got up in his face. "What's this about?" He looked over at Ziva, who continued to stare blankly down at the report in front of her.
"Ziva?" Tony put a hand on her shoulder.
McGee picked up the report. "The Damacles?" He looked up at Vance. "It went down off of the Somalian coast, Director."
"That's what I'd been told...until today." Vance looked at Ziva. "She's about to tell me the truth."
Gibbs leaned in to whisper into Vance's ear. "I told you she'd speak when she's ready."
"We've gone on long enough without knowing where we are, Gibbs. Now, I want to know the truth; not some cover-up. Ms. David, " he looked her in the eye. "Are you gonna tell me what happened?"
Slowly, Ziva closed her eyes.
"That's enough!" Gibbs was about to save Ziva from this confrontation, but stopped when she spoke up.
"The Damacles was Mossad's operation to take down Saleem..."
Interested, Tony and McGee looked at her. Gibbs watched her with sad eyes.
"...I took over Michael's spot as an undercover shipman. No one knew I was Mossad--"
"They were Saleem's men?" Tony asked.
Ziva nodded. "Yes."
"They all...died?" Tony pushed.
Ziva nodded. "Yes."
Ziva looked up at the sky. It was pretty tonight. There were no clouds to block out the full moon, no harsh wind to bite at her skin, and no rain to tap on her head. The only sound was the soothing crashes of the waves below, hitting the ship as it sailed on towards the designated docking area.
She had gotten the news earlier that evening, after the crew had eaten their crummy dinner of what was supposedly bread rolls and vegetable soup. She had snuck out of the mess hall, into the empty radio room, and picked up the delayed coded message from her father.
It is time. You must do it tonight. Tomorrow, by this time, you must be gone. Leave no witnesses. Leave no hearts beating. Do this for Michael, and do this for me.
She had tossed it overboard after reading it for one last time. No one could know that Mossad was behind this.
Taking one last glance at the moon, she turned and left the dock. She headed straight for her bunk, avoiding eye contact with anyone that she passed. It would be easier that way.
Her bunk mate wasn't there when she entered the room. He was probably playing cards with some of the usual gamblers. They held their games in the steam room, not bothering to hide from the captain of the ship. He sometimes even joined in himself. What a leader he was...
The gun was stuck far in between her mattress, deep enough to be hidden from any nosy crew members. She grabbed it with ease, checking the clip and cocking the weapon. Five more clips were also stuck in between the mattress. Grabbing them, she put them in her pockets, easy for access. With luck, she wouldn't need to use up all five clips. After all, the ship only carried twenty people, herself included.
She concealed the gun behind her, holding it close to her back. In her mind, she calculated where the majority of the people would be. After carefully studying everyone aboard, she memorized where many of them liked to spend their evenings after dinner.
"Five in poker," she whispered, nearing the steam room. Thankfully, the nozzle of the gun was accompanied by a silencer to keep others oblivious. Keeping her gun at the ready, she reached for the hatch of the steam room door, hearing the laughter and groans of losing before firing her first shot.
Everyone looked at Ziva in total shock. Even Gibbs had on an expression that was impossible to read.
"Ziva...?" Tony fell into a seat beside her. "You...killed them all? Why?"
Tears threatened to fall from her eyes, but Ziva held them in. She must learn to live with what she'd done. "I...It was...my duty, Tony."
Tony shook his head. "You didn't hafta do it. You could've rejected the job and--"
"Yes, you could!" McGee agreed with Tony. He slammed a fist onto the table. "Nobody can make you do something you don't wanna do, Ziva!"
"Except her father," Gibbs corrected, bringing his face to a neutral expression. He had wanted to speak to her alone about all of this in order to avoid a crisis like this from happening. She didn't deserve any more pain. Not after what she'd been through.
"Did you kill them all?" Vance asked, his voice steady.
Ziva closed her eyes and nodded. "Yes. I did what I was told."
"And then what?"
Thud. The Lieutenant's body hit the ground with a dull noise as it didn't even try to stand up; it couldn't because it was dead.
Ziva looked around the quiet room. Only the Captain remained, and he was standing in the corner of his quarters, watching Ziva with wide eyes filled with terror.
"Who are you really?" He demanded. "You are obviously not from the camps."
Ziva shook her head, her eyes filled with the redness of hatred and vengeance. "No." She slowly neared him, causing him to squirm with every step she took.
"Then who are you?!"
"That bombing in Tel Aviv, in front of the Mossad Headquarters. You led the operation, did you not?"
The Captain's eyes widened even more, if that were even possible. "You're Mossad?"
"Answer the question!" Ziva banged her fist on the wall, letting the sound echo throughout the dead ship. "Did you lead the operation?"
"I only followed orders! Salim...He told me what to--"
Ziva shot the Captain in the knee, causing him to fall to the ground, crying out loud in pain. "What were you trying to accomplish?!"
The Captain gasped aloud, holding his injured knee close to him. "We...were ordered to...take out as many Mossad Officers...as we could! That day was the one...when the new recruits...were all rounded together!"
Ziva listened to his story, grasping the gun with an even firmer grip. "They were your target?!" She pointed the gun at him. The Captain was too afraid to reply, but she already knew the answer. "That day, a sixteen year old girl was standing in front of the Mossad building. She was sixteen!"
The Captain gulped.
"She wanted to make her father proud that day by becoming an agent that day! Her brother and sister came for the event, to show how proud they were of her! But they never got to! She died from your explosion!"
"I didn't mean to--"
"You were out to kill Salim for the bombing of the Mossad Headquarters?" Vance asked.
Ziva didn't respond immediately. Her eyes flew around the room, hoping she would be understood, that no one would judge her for acting like she had. But would they understand? Gibbs might. After all, he had done the same thing once before.
"Tali." Tony said the name with a soft, silent voice. "You did it for Tali."
Ziva gave in to a few tears. They slowly rolled down her face as she nodded once more. "Yes. Salim was the man who ordered the attack that day. It was his fault that my sister is dead."
McGee nodded in understanding, not really sure what else he could do at that moment.
Gibbs gave the Director a nasty look, wanting to really punch him in the face, or shove every existing toothpick up his....
"Vengeance, Ziva." Tony stated. "That's what this all was."
Ziva looked at her partner. "It was wrong, Tony."
The senior field agent shook his head. "When we thought you had died...I wanted so badly to kill the man responsible for your death."
McGee joined in. "We all felt it was our obligation to take him out before we lost anyone else."
"So when I was tied up to a chair in North Africa, I didn't care," Tony admitted. "Because like you, I wanted nothing more than for that bastard to be dead."