Politics, unexpected visitors, secrets disclosed, and impossible assignments….oh, and Ziva in handcuffs. A slightly longer chapter to tide everyone over the weekend. Enjoy! And thank you to everyone again for your reviews!
Disclaimer: Don't own NCIS, just borrowing the characters for a little fun.
Gibbs strode into Vance's office. He could hear Vance from the outer office, his voice raised and angry, "….already running facial recognition on the two men who took him. I hope you're right and they don't work for you. It would be very unfortunate to find out otherwise." A long pause interrupted him before he said with finality, "I will be talking to you again, Director David." He hung up.
Snapping the toothpick savagely in half with his teeth, Vance threw the pieces into the waste can in disgust. "Fornell is having his men canvas the area around the hospital." He picked up the remote and pressed a button, aiming it at the video screen on the far wall from his desk. "You need to see this, Gibbs. The video covering the hallway outside DiNozzo's room has been erased. However, we did find video in a different part of the hospital that shows two men dressed as orderlies wheeling DiNozzo out on a gurney. He wasn't struggling, so the docs assume he'd been drugged."
That part of the video ended, and another view replaced it and started playing, showing the elevator bank at the end of the hallway on the floor DiNozzo's room was located. The timestamp in the corner showed it was overlapping the time of the first video. A woman appeared, and pressed the button to call the elevator. As she turning back toward the camera, Vance paused the display. It was Ziva.
Gibbs stared at the image, totally motionless, his face set. Come around to his side, Vance told him, "Balboa's team is watching her apartment. She'll be brought in for questioning as soon as she shows up."
Gibbs turned to face him, cold fury in his voice. "She was at my house several minutes after this…." He jerked his head at the screen. "When McGee called, I could see she knew something. I asked her point-blank about what happened to Tony, and she denied any knowledge."
Vance nodded, "I'll let Balboa know." As Gibbs turned to leave, Vance spoke, "Fornell will be doing the interrogation, Gibbs."
Without turning around, Gibbs nodded, then continued out the door.
Fornell was waiting for him when he returned to the bullpen. Lifting another thick folder of papers, he said grimly, "Transcripts of those phone calls. NSA came through for us. I already gave a copy of the recordings to McGee. It's still being translated from Hebrew so I don't know how much help it'll be right now."
Running a weary hand across his face, Gibbs asked, "Summary version?"
"Rivkin was losing it, totally out of control at the end. His control officer had lost track of him. He wasn't supposed to be anywhere near the SecNav's house that night. We've correlated most of the calls to emails he'd sent, confirming details we already knew." He pulled DiNozzo's office chair over and sat down near Gibbs' desk.
Noticing the large cup of coffee waiting on his desk, Gibbs gratefully sat down and took a deep sip. "Ok, what won't I like that you're going to tell me now?" He expected Fornell to at least smile at his efforts at humor, but the FBI agent didn't.
"As suspected, Officer David had been passing information onto him, mostly general summaries and NCIS personnel movements. There were several short discussions of a personal nature; sounded like the two of them were becoming close.
"There were two recent calls of particular interest. First one was the day before Rivkin was killed. Officer David asked Rivkin what to do with "the laptop". She knew of its existence, and she knew whose laptop it was. The second call was from Officer David to Amit Hadar just before DiNutzo shot Rivkin. She wanted an immediate extraction of him, said he was out of control and she'd keep him at her apartment until an extraction team could arrive."
Gibbs shook his head slightly, wondering why she'd let things get so far out of control before trying to step in and deal with it.
McGee entered the bullpen and sat at his desk, fingers already typing away on his keyboard. Looking to Gibbs, he asked, "Anything on Tony, boss?" He looked worried.
"Anything on facial recognition of those two men yet?" Gibbs asked in return.
Before McGee could respond, Abby came clomping into the bullpen at a fast jog. Grabbing the video remote, she brought up a display. One of the orderlies appeared on the left side of the screen, an ID photo of the same man on the right side. The ID gave his name as Malachi Ben-Gidon. Mossad. "Nothing on the other man yet, Gibbs. Records show Ben-Gidon is a member of a Kidon unit. The unit whose team leader was none other than….Officer Rivkin."
Fornell snorted softly, "Of course."
Gibbs said, "Let Vance know, McGee."
His agent nodded, and opened a new window to send a message to the Director.
Abby bit her lip nervously, "Tony will be ok, won't he, Gibbs? I mean Kidon, those guys are nasty and dangerous. But Mossad is supposed to be our ally, right? Why would they kidnap Tony? This is all because of Ziva. She's so messed up and it's all her fault. How could she possibly not believe Tony? He doesn't go out and kill people just for the fun of it. And he'd never kill for jealously, not that he did. He was trying to help her. How could she doubt him? If I find out that she knew about the kidnapping, I'll….I'll…."
McGee broke in, "Abby, stop. Take a breath. Calm down." He rose and steered her out of the bullpen, talking to her quietly. Gibbs nodded gratefully to him.
Fornell looked at Gibbs for a long moment, and said gently, "He'll be ok. He's got more lives than a cat, and more luck than a leprechaun."
The soft bell of the elevator sounded and the doors opened. Balboa and two of his agents exited, holding tightly to Officer David who was swearing loudly that she'd kill every one of them for daring to lay hands on her. She was in handcuffs, disheveled, and very very angry. All three of the men showed signs of injuries – bloody lips and chins, black eyes, jackets ripped, two were limping, one had an arm held stiffly, another had a hand wrapped in a bloody bandage.
When Ziva spotted Gibbs looking at her along with most everyone else on the floor, she yelled to him, "Gibbs! What is going on?"
Deputy Secretary of State Anna Elliot glowered at Vance and Gibbs from the big screen in MTAC. "You want me to believe that Special Agent DiNozzo was kidnapped by the Israelis?" She shook her head in disgust, "Gentlemen, you must know how sad this attempt at covering your agent's backside sounds. I don't know what games you're playing over there at the Navy Yard, but rest assured, if you do not have Agent DiNozzo present and available at the Israeli Embassy at noon tomorrow, the Secretary will be taking this matter to the President. And I speculate that there will be two new vacancies at your organization to be filled shortly thereafter." With a jab at an unseen button beneath her display, Elliot cut the feed and the screen went blank.
Shaking his head, Vance told Gibbs, "I'll brief SecNav and see how he wants to handle this. It's turning into a damn circus." He pulled out a new toothpick to replace the one he'd chewed into fragments earlier. "All we need now is for the media to find out and it really will be a circus."
Gibbs shook his head slightly, "It won't leak from this end, Leon. No guarantees about her though," he said jerking his head at the blank screen.
One of the MTAC technicians turned in his seat, "Director, security at the main desk says there is a man there who wishes to speak with you and Agent Gibbs. Won't say who he is, just that it's important. Shall I have him escorted to your office?"
Rolling his eyes at what might be the next disaster heading his way, he nodded, "Conference room though." Turning to Gibbs, he said in a weary voice, "Let's go see who it is. If it's related to this fiasco, I'm not going to suffer alone."
With a half snort of amusement, Gibbs followed him out of MTAC.
Gibbs had just poured himself a fresh cup of coffee when the conference room door open. Turning, he was taken aback when Amit Hadar entered the room. There were dark circles under the man's eyes, and a general air of tiredness hung over him. Extending his hand to the Director he said, "Director Vance, thank you for seeing me." He nodded at Gibbs who passed him a cup of coffee, which he accepted gratefully, "Agent Gibbs".
Vance looked askance at Gibbs while pointing to a chair at the table, "Sit, please." As the three settled into chairs, Vance said in a cautious voice, "What can NCIS do for you, Officer Hadar?"
Rubbing his hands across his face, Hadar sighed heavily. In a drained voice, he started, "First, I must tell you that I am not here officially. In fact, I am not here representing anyone but myself. Things have happened, are happening…." Visibly taking hold of himself, he continued, "I would like to offer my services to you…privately…to help locate your Agent DiNozzo."
Gibbs' eyes narrowed, "Locate him? You don't know where he is?"
"No. Things have become…difficult in Israel. Director David….he's become a bit….irrational over this situation. He's not making wise decisions. And he's not been discussing them with anyone before he issues orders. Things are not going well there." He paused to take a sip of coffee. "I am not sure that what he is doing is what the government there would want, if it knew what was going on."
Vance leaned forward, alert and intent, "Are you saying that Director David has….gone rogue?"
Looking up at the ceiling as if it had answers for the reading, Hadar eventually nodded. "Yes. And someone has to stop what he's doing before it blows up in everyone's face."
Sitting back, Vance glanced at Gibbs before asking, "Does Officer David know what is going on? Does she know you're here?"
Hadar shook his head. "No. The last contact I had with her was when she left Israel with you." He looked conflicted, but eventually said, "I do not believe Officer Rivkin was following orders when he returned to Washington from Los Angeles. He was…having difficulties. And I am not sure how much assistance Officer David was giving him before she finally came to her senses and called for an extraction."
"And what help can you offer that would be helpful in finding Agent DiNozzo?"
With an expression of faint apprehension, Hadar straightened in his chair, "I know where most of the safe houses Israel has set up are in the DC area. I also know and have worked with the team leader of the unit who took him, and perhaps can serve as a liaison between them and you. I can also try and reason with the Mossad station chief at the Embassy and enlist him in convincing the unit to release Agent DiNozzo unharmed."
Gibbs asked, "How much danger will you be in if you start revealing Mossad secrets? How far will Director David go to get his hands on DiNozzo?"
Hadar pulled a sour smile, "I am hoping that perhaps Director David will have a change of heart before it comes time for me to return to Israel. As to how far will he go?" He paused, thinking carefully, "He is irrational, dangerous. I am not sure he is aware of how precarious his position is should the authorities there find out what he has ordered, what he is doing. He is very determined to have your agent pay for Officer Rivkin's death."
"And you do not agree with his wishes to see Agent DiNozzo 'pay' for his actions?" Vance asked curiously.
"He is not responsible for Officer Rivkin's actions. He was attacked and defended himself. Rivkin has no one but himself to blame."
"And Ziva's involvement?" Gibbs prompted.
Looking Gibbs in the eye, he replied, "I know you value her place on your team and think she is a good investigator. However, in this instance, she has let her emotions rule. If she were in Israel, she would be returned to training, or perhaps even let go from Mossad."
He narrowed his eyes slightly and looked speculatively at Gibbs. Fiddling with his coffee cup, he appeared to be conflicted about something. Finally he said carefully, "There is something you should know, Special Agent Gibbs. You should…if you are going to be making decisions affecting Ziva and her place on your team, you should know the full truth about her orders regarding Ari Haswari."
Vance shifted slightly, and Gibbs realized that he was aware of what Hadar was going to say. He waited silently for Hadar to continue.
"Ziva was specifically chosen to kill Haswari when it became clear that he was a Hamas operative and had abandoned Mossad and Israel. Director David felt using Ziva to save your life was the best way to leave you in debt to her. Knowing the high value you place on family, as his half-sister, it would provoke your sympathy for her."
A surge of disbelief at Hadar's words flooded through Gibbs, and he turned to Vance, reading the truth of it in his expression. Anger followed and he stood up, furious at Vance for leaving him to play the fool, and even more, for letting him trust Ziva. Vance rose and held up his hand. "Gibbs…."
Slamming his fist down on the table, sending everything on it rattling, he yelled, "You had no reason to keep that information from me, Leon. None!" Struggling to rein himself in, he paced the room for a minute. Finally he stopped in front of Vance and demanded, "Why?"
With a mixed gesture of apology and something else Gibbs couldn't decipher, he replied to his Lead Agent, "There never seemed to be a need. Ziva was working out well, and I couldn't see a reason to cause disruption within the team by sharing the information."
Shaking his head, Gibbs turned from him in disgust and sat back down. "We'll discuss this later, Leon."
The office door opened without notice and Fornell entered followed by Trent Kort. Hadar stiffened at seeing him. Kort slammed the door closed, and stood staring at Hadar. Fornell jerked his head over his shoulder, "Lookie who I found loitering alone in the bullpen."
Hadar stood and faced Kort, both looking ready to jump each other and fight to the death. Fornell sat down and looked at them with an amused expression. "Well, lookie here, I don't think they like each other, Jethro."
Vance broke in, "What do you want, Mr. Kort?"
With a disagreeable expression, Kort said, "I'm here to buy back one of my markers from Gibbs." He turned to look at Gibbs.
Sipping his coffee, Gibbs said, "How?"
"Not here," Kort said, glancing again at Hadar.
After a suitably pause, Gibbs said, "Ok." He led Kort out of the conference room and into Vance's vacant office. Turning, he said, "Speak."
"DiNozzo really got under Director David's skin. He's gone a bit off his rocker with his desire for retribution. If you're expecting your pet dog to survive this, you're gonna have to do better in your hunt for him."
Taking another sip of his coffee, Gibbs grimacing at how cold it'd gotten. "Nothing new, Trent."
"Why is Hadar here?"
"Offered to help."
"You trust him?"
Kort stared hard at Gibbs, trying to read him. He finally shrugged, "It's your problem."
Crumpling the empty coffee cup, Gibbs tossed it into the nearest trash can. "Talk or get out."
Kort wrinkled his nose in disgust, "Arrogant, as usual. One of these days…"
Gibbs turned to leave, not wasting another second on Kort's game playing.
Pausing, Gibbs looked over his shoulder.
Stepping forward to face Gibbs, Kort sighed. "Director David has a secret, heavily encrypted cache of data somewhere. It has…information on many individuals."
When Kort didn't go on, Gibbs prompted."And?"
"Blackmail. He's worse than Hoover."
After thinking about what Kort has said, Gibbs asked, "Who? And where is this data?"
"More people than you can imagine. Many in Israel's government….Mossad, other governments, financiers, arms dealers, spies, military, politicians, business executives, academics..." Kort paused, "He keeps his position because those who could remove him from office are afraid of what he might have on them."
Gibbs nodded, then turned to leave in a hurry. Kort watched him yank the outer door to Vance's office open and move out of sight. "You're welcome, you bastard."
Moving quickly, Gibbs entered Abby's lab, pausing only to slam the CD player's off button. "McGee," he said, stopping beside the man. "Forget what you're working on. New job. Eli David has a cache of encrypted data somewhere he uses for blackmail. Find it. Don't stop until you do. And don't get caught. Abby, help him."
McGee and Abby stared after him as he stormed out of the lab, then at each other, mouths hanging open. McGee asked Abby in a strangled voice, "How am I supposed to find that?"
Abby froze in thought for an instant, then head slapped McGee. "The same way you do every other impossible thing Gibbs tells you to do. Now get to it."
A/N: And once again, I'll be busy tomorrow night through Sunday with cat rescue work. Next chapter should be posted Monday night. Have a safe weekend.