Lion's Den

Rated: T for be safe.

Summary: The team goes to Africa when three Naval officers turn up dead. One of the agents will end up fighting for their life...

Pairings: most likely none...but who knows.

Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS. But I play with them often. Also, while I'm thinking about it, Camp Lemonnier is a real base in the very real Djibouti, Africa. But I don't claim to know what really goes on there, besides what is found in this chapter to be said by McGee. Google it, if you must ;).

Hope you enjoy!!


Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo was announced by the dinging of the elevator as he tried to stealthily make his way to his desk, balancing four cups of coffee in a tray. He failed, of course, as Agent McGee spotted him immediately, and Ziva soon after.

"Late night, Tony?" Tim smirked.

"Late morning, McHallmonitor," Tony made a face as he swung off his backpack and set it on the floor beside his desk. "Had to go back to the coffee shop twice..."

"Did you forget something?" Ziva raised an inquisitive brow.

"On the contrary, I forgot nothing, Zee-vah," he said as he placed her cup down in front of her on her desk.

"Then...why did you go back?" McGee asked, cocking his head in curiosity. Tony spun around as he walked toward the Probie's desk and handed him his cup.

"Student driver...side-swiped my car right as I was pulling away," he said with narrowed eyes.

"Were you hurt?" Tim's expression became more of concern.

"No. Wasn't that bad, except the sudden jolt toppled every last cup of coffee into the upholstery of my passenger seat," frustration was clear in his voice by the end of the statement.

"Awwww..." unanimously came from Ziva and Tim, and they shared a quick glance with amused grins.

"Aw, nothing," Tony glared between the both of them. "Do you have any idea how much it's gonna cost to get it cleaned? I came back here with fresh coffee, but I need to drop the car off to be cleaned before the stain sets in. Where's Gibbs?"

"He has been in MTAC all morning," Ziva told him.

"Think I've got enough time to get there and back before he realized I'm gone?" Tony asked in a hushed voice.

"Something tells me that you do not," Ziva replied as she focused up the staircase at Gibbs, who was on his way down.

Tony spun around to see him as he reached the bottom and turned the corner into the bullpen. "Morning, Boss," Tony handed Gibbs his coffee as he walked past him toward his desk.

"You're late," he replied without looking up.

"Yeah, about that...I had a little accident..." Tony began, and Gibbs looked at him with raised brows. "I'm fine, but my upholstery is covered in freshly brewed coffee, and I" his sentence drifted when Gibbs' infamous glare caused him pause. "Not important...sorry, Boss. Won't happen again."

"Go home and pack your bags," Gibbs said as he fished some items from his desk.

"Boss?" Tony panicked for just a moment.

"Got a case," he elaborated. "Triple homicide; all Naval officers."

"Where we goin',?" Tony asked.

"Camp Lemonnier," he replied.

"Uh...Djibouti?" McGee questioned. Gibbs and Tony looked over at him.

"What'd you just call him?" Tony asked, squinting at him.

"Djibouti is in Africa, Tony. It's where Camp Lemonnier is located," he turned back to Gibbs, who seemed slightly surprised at his knowledge. "Is it just you and Tony going?"

"We're all goin', McGee," he told him.

"All of us?" Ziva asked, as if needing more confirmation.

"Includin' Duck," Gibbs said as he turned to head toward the stairwell.

"Ducky, too?" McGee confirmed, and Gibbs turned to come back into the bullpen, slightly annoyed.

"Is there some kinda echo in here?" he glared.

", Boss. Going home to pack, now," McGee turned to grab his pack.

"Gibbs," Ziva warily called, almost ducking her head when he turned to face her. "Just one more question," she said. "Where do we meet you when we are packed?"

He cocked his head at the question, in thought. "Meet me at my place," he replied as he turned toward the stairwell again, "We'll ride there in my car. Flight leaves in two hours, so hurry the hell up."


"Didn't realize we were takin' a private flight," Tony grinned as he got comfortable in the leather seat aboard the plane.

"For security reasons," Gibbs told them.

"Are you gonna read us in on the case, Boss?" McGee asked.

Gibbs looked at him where he sat across the row. "I dunno, McGee. I was thinkin' you might have an idea of what we're headin' into."

"What?" Tim was suddenly unnerved. He fidgeted in his chair for a moment, "What do you mean?" Gibbs just continued to look at him; expressionless and expectant. Tony and Ziva shared a glance before looking curiously between Gibbs and McGee. "How did you know...?"

"Know what?" Tony narrowed his eyes.

Tim took a breath and sighed in resignation. "It's really nothing," he shook his head. "I was offered a job."

"In Djibouti?" Ziva asked.

Tim nodded, "In the computer security department. All they did was offer; I never accepted, so I don't know why you'd think I know anything about it," he said to Gibbs.

"Ya must know something about what they asked you to do," his boss replied.

"Well, nothing you couldn't find out online...but probably didn't...right, Boss. Um..." he fumbled over his words as he tried to recall the details. "Camp Lemonnier is the only U.S. military infrastructure located in Africa. Basically, they're in charge of providing a base of operations geared toward building security, sovereignty, and stability in the region. When they contacted me, they needed someone to help create a new security program for a section of the department. I don't know any of the details about it, because they're strictly on a need-to-know basis."

"Why didn't you take the job?" Tony asked.

"Because it's in Africa, Tony," he cocked his head. "And it was a temporary thing. I would've been there for a year, tops."

"They tell ya how much the job was gonna pay?" Tony asked.

"It's not important," Tim rolled his eyes, hoping he wouldn't have to explain further. Luckily, Gibbs gave Tony a look of warning.

"The point of me askin'," Gibbs said, and turned back to face Tim, "Is because the person they ended up hiring, is one of the three officers who were killed."

McGee seemed a little something more than shocked. His brow furrowed and his eyes darted around as he tried to throw together an audible sentence, "D- do they know w-why?" he asked.

"Might've been to gain some kind of knowledge of the program he created," Gibbs explained.

"And they need McGeek to figure it out before they can use it against them?" Tony surmised.

"They asked for us by name," Gibbs explained. "Each of us. But yeah, I think they specifically wanted to bring you in, McGee. The rest of us will need to figure out who and how."

"And why," Ziva added. "It is possible that it was a coincidence that this programmer was killed."

"Gibbs doesn't believe in coincidences," Tony said.

"We will still need to prove his 'gut feeling'," she reminded them.

"So why drag Ducky halfway across the world?" Tony inquired.

"'Cause the other two officers were the only medical examiners on base," Gibbs replied. "And Duck has high enough security clearance."

"I dunno... This almost seems staged, Boss," Tony said. "Why'd they ask for us specifically?"

"Not sure. But I've got Vance and Abby doin' some digging. Meanwhile, by the time we get there, it'll be ten in the morning at the base. So you might wanna figure out when to get some shuteye."


1030 hours, Djibouti, Africa...

Corporal Edward Lanswerth escorted the team to their accommodations. "You'll be staying on base in the East-wing barracks. Used to be a storage room, but we had them set something up for you."

"Storage room?" Tony asked. "I don't suppose there's a bathroom close by..."

"Across the hall," Lanswerth told him. "It's climate controlled, and honestly, it's this or bunk separately in different wings. We figured you'd be more comfortable working someplace away from everyone else."

"I'm sure we'll manage," Ducky said as they entered the room. There were five cots set up on either side of the large room, and a fair-sized table and chairs against one wall.

"Agent David, if you'd be more comfortable bunking in the women's bunker-" Lanswerth began, but she held up a hand.

"I will be fine, thank you," she moved to the furthest cot and dropped her bag onto it.

"When do we start, Corporal?" Gibbs asked as he turned to face him.

"I've got men ready to escort you to the crime scene, when you're ready. I can take Doctor Mallard to examine the bodies."

"I trust you documented the scene before removing them," Gibbs confirmed.

"Case file is on its way here, now. We bagged and tagged everything; photographed first, of course."

"If you've got an investigative team here," Gibbs said, "Then why'd you call us? Why not just find an M.E?"

"Our investigative unit has been detained," he explained.

"Why is that?" Gibbs inquired.

"Because there's suspicions that they might have been involved."

"Who bagged and tagged?" Tony asked.

"Corporal Ardin and myself, Sir," he replied. "After we got the call in, and the anonymous tip off about the possibility of some of our officers being involved, we were ordered to collect everything and wait until you arrived to proceed."

"Did you wear gloves?" Gibbs asked.

"Yes, Sir."

"And where's Corporal Ardin?"

"He's bringing the evidence here, now, Sir. But I feel I should warn you, Sir..."

"What's that?" Gibbs cocked his head.

"I don't think it was our officers who were involved in this." Gibbs narrowed his eyes.

"Do you have an idea of who might have been?" he asked.

"Yes, Sir. There's a group of natives that call themselves the 'Tau'. They're a resistance group, proclaiming not to be connected to any government. But they've been fairly active in attempting to make us go away."

"What have they been doing?" McGee asked.

"Usually, small things. Setting traps in wooded areas where we sometimes do training exercises. Letting air out of our vehicle tires... Just giving us a hard time. But we think they may have stepped up in their tactics."

"Who is 'we'?" Ziva asked.

"Anyone who's encountered them. A few dozen of us have seen them."

"How many are there?" she asked.

"We're not sure," he replied. "We know there are at least a dozen we've personally seen. But they stay well hidden. And since they've become more of a nuisance, we estimate they might have recruited a lot more. Possibly hundreds."

" have no idea who they are, where they are, and if they were even involved in this?" Tony summed up. "And what exactly are they resisting now?"

"What people usually resist against, Agent DiNozzo," he said, "Change. They don't want us here."

"No offense, Corporal," Ziva chimed in, "But you have thousands of soldiers. Your primary goal is for security. Why have you not scouted these men out and removed the enemy?"

"Because we have no physical proof... and politics; public relations...that would be a nightmare. Don't get me started. We just wanna get to the bottom of this, and we need your help. We think they took out our programmer in an effort to gain access to a new security program he created. If they figure out how to use it, we could be in for some major trouble. Not just here on base, either." He turned to look at McGee. "That's why we specifically asked for your team, Sir. We need you to figure out what they might have taken, and find a way to override the program."

"What makes you think they got anything from your programmer?" Tim asked.

"There's evidence that...he may have been tortured before he was killed..."


more to come...