Chapter One


Gibbs was falling in love again. No he thought, scratch that, he had fallen in love. He sat in his basement sipping his jug of whiskey contemplating the unthinkable. It was unthinkable for him, he had had many affairs and had married three more times after Shannon, but none of them had been love, of that he was sure. He cared for all the women he had been involved with, cared for some of them deeply, but love. No he was sure that the only woman he had truly loved was Shannon; that was until now. She had become part of his life, part of his being. He could not imagine his life without her presence, without her soft voice, her gentle laugh. He had not felt like this since Shannon and it scared the hell out of him. The ring of his cell phone brought him from his reverie.

"Yeah… Gibbs." He answered in his usual manner.

"Agent Gibbs, you are requested to report to the Directors office as soon as possible." The voice on the other side of the line said.

"Right." Gibbs responded slapping the phone closed without saying anything further.

Gibbs stood and placed the half finished jug of whiskey on the table. Making his way up the stairs to the main bedroom he gazed at the woman lying on the bed taking in the the beauty of face. He walked silently to the side of the bed and bent down to kiss her gently on the forehead. The woman stirred slightly then opened one sleepy eye.

'I got to go…just got a call." He whispered into her ear his face inches from hers.

"Mmmm, Ok…just be careful and come back to me…" She smiled and placed a soft kiss on his lips.

'I will." He confirmed kissing her again before making his way to the door. He stopped and turned back to look at her once more. She was beautiful he thought a slight smile on his lips. "I love you Jessica." He whispered before turning and heading out.

"I love you too Jethro…" He heard coming from the bedroom as he picked up his keys and left the house.


He arrived at the office walking out of the elevator to see his entire team assembled waiting in anticipation to find out why they had been called in at this ungodly hour of the morning. He barely acknowledged their presence as he passed them and made his way up the stairs to the Directors office.

Director Vance sat at his desk talking quietly to the men who were seated around the room; it was obvious that they had been awaiting his arrival.

"Now that we are all here I'll get strait to the point." Vance stated as his most senior agent sat down before him. The need for introductions were not necessary, all of these men had worked with each other at some time in their careers.

"I have received information that there is an imminent terrorist threat to the Washington DC area." Vance said, his statement causing little to no effect on the men before him. They were all seasoned veterans, either FBI; CIA; NSA and of course from his own agency NCIS.

"What kind of threat?" Fornell from the FBI asked for all of them.

"We have reason to believe that there is a nuclear device armed and ready to deploy." Vance replied. This did bring a response in the form of raised eyebrows and each of the four men sat up rigidly in their chairs.

"How reliable is the information?" Gibbs asked watching his Director closely.

"Reliable." Vance replied.

"So we are working this interagency?" Fornell asked.

"That is correct Agent Fornell. NCIS will take point as our assets gave us the intel and hopefully will continue to be able to give us updates." Vance paused, he could see that the men other than his agent were about to protest so he continued before they could. "Your Directors have already agreed to this. Gentlemen if we are going to get through this we are all going to have to work together and work quickly." Vance said looking at each of them before continuing. "Agent Gibbs will be lead, but we are going to need all the resources and abilities each of our agencies can give. Am I going to have any problems gentlemen?" Vance finished.

"No sir." Agent John Carter from the CIA responded immediately, he knew Gibbs and had worked with him before as had Agent Ben Zimmerman from the NSA. Fornell was a good friend of Gibbs and his working with him without problems went without saying. "What information do we have sir?" He asked Vance after watching each of the other two men nod in agreement with him.

"Good." Vance said rising from his seat and approaching the screen that was hanging from the far wall in his office. The men all moved so that they could have a clear view, all of them waiting to hear the full report.

"Right; our intel is that a 'hot' nuclear device was brought into the country about five days ago. We believe this man…" Vance pointed to the image of a young Arabic man on the screen, "Abdul Ul Zak is responsible for bringing it in. He is an Islamic Fundamentalist who will have no qualms in detonating a nuclear weapon. We do not know his current whereabouts however it is presumed that he has holed up somewhere in the Washington area. This man…" Vance brought up the image of an older Caucasian male, "Christopher Jenkins is the man responsible for building the device. Christopher is a nuclear physicist who enjoys the good life and will sell his skills to anybody. He used to be on our payroll until he stole a store of weapons grade plutonium and then disappeared into the underground selling his product to the highest bidder. Now we know that the bomb is here, what we don't know is where and when they plan to detonate."

"What size?" Carter asked as he memorized every feature on both the men displayed on screen.

"Of that we are not sure, but it is nuclear so size does not matter." Vance said ominously.

"Where do we start? Did your assets give any indication of where we can find either of these men?" Zimmerman asked quietly.

"No, the only intel we have is that Christopher likes the high life, he is not going to sit holed up in some room somewhere. He is going to want to do what he does best, spend money."

"What makes us think that Christopher is still with Ul Zak, why would he not just arm the bomb and walk away?" Fornell questioned.

"Our intel is that the bomb had to be brought into the country in segments in order to avoid detection. They would need him to reassemble it and I don't think that Jenkins would allow Ul Zak the power of setting it off before he was well gone. So we are assuming that he has remained in the area in order to ensure his own safety."

"Sounds right, but sir, why would he stay after he had assembled the bomb, I would think that he would high tail it as far away as possible with his money before Ul Zak could detonate." Zimmerman reasoned.

"Good point Agent Zimmerman, however our intel is that for whatever reason he is with Ul Zak here in Washington." Vance replied.

"Well that's as good a place to start as any." Gibbs said as he stood up from his chair. "Anything else Director?" He asked before he headed for the door, the three men hard on his heels.

"No Agent Gibbs, just find this son-of-a-bitch before he blows my town to hell; and gentlemen this does not go beyond this agency, if and when you contact your people you make sure that they are kept in the dark, use whatever cover story you need but this does not get out. Make that clear to anybody you get working on the team. We cannot afford to cause a panic and if Ul Zak sees that the game is up he might detonate sooner than later." Each man nodded but before they left Vance added quietly, "I know we all have families or loved ones in the city, you cannot tell them or get them out of town. Are we clear?" Vance asked.

"Crystal" Gibbs said looking at his colleagues. Fornell had a family who lived in downtown Washington, the others too had families. He could see on their faces that they were going to get them out of town before Vance's instructions, now they would not, he hoped. His mind drifted to the woman lying sleeping peacefully in his bed and his heart cringed.