The Art of War

NCIS Fan Fiction Series - Story 5

It was a regular day at a DC area middle school when an unmarked white van pulled up to the front door. Two men rolled the wheelchair with what, it first glance, appeared to be a third person in the chair. One of the men pressed the call button to page the front office.

"Please show your ID to the camera in front of you," the receptionist said.

The two men reached into their pockets, obstinately to pull out their identification. Instead, one of them pulled out remote and press the button on top.

The wheelchair exploded, directing shrapnel towards the front door.

The previous afternoon...

To say that the past 3 months have been a whirlwind for NCIS agents Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo would be an understatement. It all started when Ziva's father asked for their help. During the mission, not only did they realize how much they love each other, they also found out her long thought dead sister was alive and was a dance teacher, albeit with some friends in the intelligence community.

The relationship that begin in Israel led to the pair conceiving a child together. On this Thursday afternoon, the couple were waiting in the doctor's office for her 12 week appointment. "Ziva David?" the nurse called. Ziva and Tony stood up. "I take it you two are little nervous?"

"Ya think?" Tony answered. Ziva snickered at Tony's impression of their boss.

The nurse brought them into a room and motioned Ziva onto a table. A few minutes later, the doctor came in to begin the checkup. "Let's see how our little one is doing."

Ziva relaxed as the doctor applied the ultrasound gel to her 'bump.' She listened to the monitor for the little one's heartbeat. When she found it, she placed it on the speakers for the parents-to-be to hear.

"It is amazing," Ziva noted.

"I'd be more than happy to provide you with snapshots if you like."

"Please do," Tony replied. "We got a whole lot of friends and family who can't wait to see the little ones first pictures."

After finishing up with the doctor's appointment, Tony and Ziva drove over to the dance studio where Ziva's sister worked. Since reuniting, Tali had decided to move closer to her sister. After finding a job in DC, Ziva found out she was pregnant. Tony decided that, with a little help, that it was time to move in with the Ziva full-time, and Tali took over the lease on his apartment, promising to look after his prized piano.

"Hey!" Tali explained as Ziva entered the studio. "How is my little niece or nephew?"

"He or she is growing healthy," Ziva stated as she instinctively put her hands on her stomach

Another friend entered the conversation. "Hey, Ziva," Tessa stated.

"Well, if it isn't my favorite dance student," Ziva answered as she hugged her friend. "I hope you have been good to your teacher."

"You know she is," Tali replied. "Now, do you have those ultrasound pictures to show us?"

"Of course," Ziva replied as she brought out the pics.

As the David sisters look at the pictures, Tessa turn to Tony. "So, are you ready for tomorrow?"

"Of course, mini-ninja," Tony answered. "I've had it circled in red since you told me about it."

"What about tomorrow?" Tali inquired.

"It's career day at Tessa and CJ's school. The girls invited me to be their guest."

Tali gave Tony a friendly head slap. "That's to make sure your head doesn't get too big," she quipped.

The wheelchair exploded, directing shrapnel towards the front door.

Tony was in the classroom in the middle of his presentation when he heard the bomb. His first instinct was to drop what he was doing and reach for his sidearm. As a federal law enforcement agent, he was allowed to come into the school with his SIG. "That did not sound good. Do you all know what to do in case of an intruder at school?" As a consequence of the Sandy Hook massacre, the school had indeed ramped up at security procedures. "Good," he stated before turning to the teacher. "Is there a school resource officer?"

"He called in sick today," the teacher answered.

"Okay, then as a trained law enforcement officer, I'm going to investigate. While I do, try to get a hold of the local police.

Gibbs had just come back from a coffee run. While DiNozzo was out, his team was taken off the active case rotation, giving the team a chance to catch up on paperwork. The Special Agent in Charge had just sat down when his phone signaled an incoming text message. He pulled out the phone to read the message. It was from his daughter. "Gear up. There's been an incident at the school. DiNozzo may need assistance." The entire team got up to respond to the call. "David, where do you think you're going?"

Ziva knew she had to care for her child and herself first; however, she had to help her baby's father. "MTAC," she replied. "You will need a base to coordinate with other agencies."

Gibbs couldn't help but smile. He knew Ziva would find a way to take an active role when her partner was in possible danger. "We'll let you know when we get there."

Tony returned to the classroom. "Were you able to get a hold of the police?"

"The hard line is dead," the teacher noted, "and my cell phone is showing no service."

CJ raised her hand. "I was able to send a quick text message to Gibbs."

"Good thinking, Catherine," Tony replied. "Could I see your phone?" CJ handed DiNozzo her phone. "Looks like you sent the message just in time. There's no bars on your phone, either. I did a quick scan of the office area. The front door's been blown open. The intruders have guarded all of the exits, and they have automatic rifles. They probably cut the hard line and brought in a cell phone jammer. This isn't Newtown, it's worse. Everyone, stay away from the doors and windows." The students did as DiNozzo instructed, gathering in the back corner of the classroom. "The good news is that they aren't interested in rounding everyone up or going on a shooting spree. I checked all the other classrooms, they're all locked down."

Two blocks away from the school, a white van was sighted tailing Gibbs's Charger. Gibbs's gut was telling him something was hinky, so he pulled over. The van pulled over behind him. The Special Agent's instincts kicked into full gear. He got out of the car with his badge and SIG drawn. "Federal Agent. Show yourself."

The driver and passenger did show themselves, along with a pair of AK-47s. Before either gunman could fire, the veteran agent fired two rounds into the first shooter, while McGee got out of the car and took care of the second man.

The junior agent was not standing idly by. He attempted to make contact with NCIS headquarters. "Boss," Dorneget stated, "I've got zero bars on my phone."

McGee looked at his cell phone, "My phone doesn't have any signal either. They must have some sort of signal jammer, or they took out the cell tower."

Gibbs looked at his cell phone. He also had no signal. "Use the backup radio," he noted. "MTAC is monitoring 'TAC 1.'"

After several minutes of silence, the gunmen in the school finally spoke over the school intercom. "This facility is now under the control of the Alathad Al'ereby. Do not attempt to leave this building. Anyone attempting to do so will be shot on sight. Any law enforcement agent who breaches the premises will be shot on sight."

Tony snickered briefly, "Oh, great," Tony quipped, "the local terrorist cell has unionized." He removed his sidearm and badge, placing them in the teacher's desk. "At this point, it's probably not a good idea for them to find me with these. The best thing we can do now is stay here and lay low until the Calvary comes."

"When will that be?" Tessa asked.

"Something tells me, it will be when the bullets start flying."

Gibbs had grabbed his radio gear before the team left for the school. He had turned his radio on and called back to headquarters. "Ziva, can you hear me?"

In MTAC, the radio tech was monitoring the channel. Upon hearing activity on the line, the tech put Gibbs on the speakers. "We read you," Ziva answered.

"Good," Gibbs shot back. "I need you to get a hold of everyone: FBI, Homeland, hell, even Diane over at the IRS. Tell them that this school is under siege. We just took out a two man team that appears to have been patrolling the neighborhood."

"Any word from Tony?"

"We haven't gotten a chance to contact DiNozzo yet," Gibbs answered, "We're moving in slowly. Tell Homeland that we need eyes on that school building. We have to assume that there are still multiple gunmen, heavily armed."

"On it, Gibbs," Ziva answered.

While locked down in the classroom, the students started asking Tony questions about his job. Tony began to explain "As I said earlier, I'm basically a cop that specializes in crimes involving the Navy and Marine Corps. For example, since Catherine's father was a Marine, his murder was ours to investigate."

"What kind of cases do you typically see?" one of the students asked.

"The teams handle anything and everything, from smuggling to full-blown terror attacks. The team I work on tends to draw homicide cases. Though, I have to admit, this isn't the first time I've dealt with a hostage situation in a school."

"So, what do you keep in your backpack?"

"My boss, he likes his team to have our gear ready. There's all sorts of things in here." He pulled out an example. "Rule number two, always wear gloves at a crime scene. We don't want to contaminate potential fingerprints. And here we have the fingerprint kit, a camera, sketch pad, evidence markers, radio..."

"Wait, Tony, did you just say radio?" Tessa inquired. "Do we need to head-slap you for forgetting that was in your gear?"

Tony mentally pictured receiving a 'Gibbs slap.' He dug into his gear and found a spare set of batteries for the radio, just in case. Once he turned the radio on, he quickly switched to 'TAC 1' to find an ongoing conversation.

"FBI agents are on route," Ziva stated. "I spoke to Murrow over at Homeland. He's patched me directly into their satellite feed over DC right now. It looks like there are multiple white vans in the area of the school. There's also a sniper on the school roof."

"Got an ID on the plate I gave you?" Gibbs replied.

"Yes, it is registered to a car dealership in Reston. FBI called the dealership and they had leased it to the Georgetown Athletic department. Georgetown reported the van stolen this morning. I am pulling all reports of thefts of white vans in the DC area over the last week. Have you been able to make contact with Tony?"

"Negative," Gibbs replied, "he is likely still in the school."

Now, Tony had to put his two cents in on the conversation. "Ya think, boss?" he said. "These kids are smart, they wanted me to show them what was in my gear bag, and lo and behold, I happen to have a radio on me."

"Enough with the yabba yabba DiNozzo, what's your situation."

"Well, they are calling themselves the Alathad Al'ereby. If I remember my Arabic correctly, that translates roughly into 'Arab Union.' As far as I know, none of the students or staff have been touched, but these guys have made it clear that anyone attempting to enter or leave the building will be shot."

"I'll contact our sister agencies and see if they have any chatter on the group," Ziva answered.

"Until then, I'll be standing by," Tony stated. "and boss, I'd make sure backup arrives first before attempting to show up at school. As I'm sure you've been able to tell, these guys have full-blown Kalashnikovs, not those sexed-up hunting rifle look-alikes."

"I know how to handle a guy with a gun," Gibbs stated.

Before her first visit to the doctor, Ziva had been apprehensive about being taken off of field duty. Now, a month later, she was glad to be in the relative safety of the Navy Yard. Her pregnancy had required her to lay off sharpening her physical skills, but she did have an impressive aptitude. She looked at the big picture, trying to look at what these gunmen were up to. Where are the local police officers, Ziva thought. They should be quick to respond.

Ziva instructed the tech to contact the police chief. "I just received your bulletin," the chief said as he came on the line. "However, we're still trying to recover from a mess in the motor pool."

"What sort of mess?" Ziva inquired.

"All the cars in the motor pool have been drained of their motor oil. Whoever did this was nice enough to put the drained oil in a barrel for us and leave the drain plugs in a box on top. It will take several hours before we can get them back up and running. At first, we thought it might have been a prank."

"Then, you heard about the gunmen at the school."

"We then checked our SWAT team gear, found out they removed the firing pins from our weapons."

"Understood. We will provide you with backup as soon as possible."

"Not a problem," the chief replied. "Just curious, why is NCIS involved in this situation?"

"One of our agents is the only one on the scene," Ziva answered.

A black Suburban arrived behind Gibbs's Charger. The driver got out and approached the Driver's side window. "We got to stop meeting like this, Jethro," Fornell noted.

"I take it you've been apprised on the situation."

"Let's see, we have an Arab terrorist group siege a middle school. The local police have had their vehicles and weapons compromised. They've hung a net around the campus and are armed with AK-47s. One of your best agents is behind the lines in the school, and another one is riding MTAC because she got knocked up. Am I missing anything?"

"Nope," Gibbs answered.

"Do we have a plan?"

"Working on it."

"That's what I thought." Fornell noted. "In the meantime, we're playing catch-up. Quantico is sending new M-16's to the SWAT team, and the FBI motor pool is freeing up as many vehicles as possible for the locals. However, it's still going to take a couple of hours before we can get them out here."

"We can wait," Gibbs noted. "These terrorists aren't after the kids, they're after us."

"I hate to bother you guys," Ziva stated over the radio, "but there are three white vans converging on your location."

"In that case, we better get out of here," Fornell replied.

"Lead the way," Gibbs stated.

Ziva watched from MTAC as Gibbs and Fornell dodged a possible attack. While she was watching, her cell phone rang. "Agent David," she answered.

"Ziva, it's Tali," her baby sister stated. "I'm watching what's going on at the school on ZNN. Have you talked to Tony?"

"Yes, everyone's fine for now, but I can't talk about an ongoing threat."

"I understand, but I can tell you about some friends of mine that might be able to help you." Left unspoken was the fact that both knew that this was not your average school gunmen situation. "Use my alias. I thought it was better if they did not know my real name."

As soon as Ziva got off the line, she made a phone call. "Hi, my name is Ziva David. Lauren Sloane referred me to you." She paused as the person on the other end spoke. "I was wondering if you knew anything about the Alathad Al'ereby?"

Tony had kept the radio on if Gibbs or Ziva needed a SITREP from him. He was listening as Ziva returned with the info she had received. "According to one of Tali's contacts, the Alathad Al'ereby is one of the more extreme groups around. While most content with an objective of removing western influence from the Middle East, this group desires to conquer Israel and expel all non-Arabs."

"So, why would they attack a middle school in Washington?" Tony inquired. Tessa raised her hand, "Looks like our mini-ninja has a thought. Care to explain."

"This is the nation's capital," Tessa noted. "Which means that the town in full of politicians, government workers, lobbyists, and members of the military." She turned to the classroom. "If your mom or dad is any of the above, raise your hand."

Most of the students raised their hands, proving Tessa's point. "And, while none of you are as prominent as, say, the president's kids, together, you can be just as valuable to a terrorist," Tony noted. He turned to the radio. "Ziva, it's been three hours. We have not seen or heard from our captors as of yet."

"It appears they are content with holding the school and the surrounding neighborhood," Ziva noted. "The gunmen are now conducting armed foot patrols." Ziva had been monitoring the patters of the gunmen. She thought back to what she had learned in her years as a solider, spy, and cop. The works of Sun Tzu came quickly to mind, as they were practically required reading at Mossad. It was clear that someone in this group has also been reading the same book. Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Until today, this group was not on anyone's radar as a threat. Certainly, there was no indication that this group even had a presence in the states. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war. If this group were following these words, then they would not have engaged without believing that they had a plan to win. The best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact. There is no way that a terrorist group, officially representing no state, would be able to conquer the United States. However, they have managed to take control of a piece of land, and hold it without so much as any plan for the conquered to re-take it.

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Ziva knew she had to come up with a counter-insurgency plan, and to do it quickly. The longer the enemy holds on to the school, the more likely they will be able to have a strategic victory. It was safe to say that most of the terrorists were within a five-block radius of the school and managed to throw a gorilla wrench into the response plan. There was something that the terrorists didn't realize: a federal agent was already in the building. That man was one of the few people in the world that could disarm Ziva David with a smile. "Tony," she stated over the radio, "Do you have an earwig in your gear?"

Tony dug through his bag and found a radio earpiece. He put the earwig on. "Read me, sweet cheeks?"

"You do realize that Gibbs can still hear you," Ziva replied.

"So, what do you want me to do?"

"Do what you do best," Ziva answered, "be the wild card."

Gibbs's team, Fornell's team, and a re-armed SWAT team had assembled half a mile from the school. "As far as we can tell," Gibbs stated, "they are sweeping the area around the school on foot. They are also using stolen vans from area colleges, and quite possibly from the school itself. They will, no doubt, shoot to kill. It is possible that, if faced with certain capture, they will kill the students. Therefore, we must approach with extreme caution. Keep your radios on 'TAC 1.' MTAC has eyes above the school, and each team has a map of the building."

"Gibbs, McGee and Dorneget will be Alpha 1," Fornell continued. "Sacks, Roberts, and myself will be Alpha 2."

As Fornell continued to indicated the call signs for the teams, Dorneget approached the senior NCIS agent. "Gibbs, Agent David indicates that DiNozzo is on the move locating the gunmen inside the building."

Gibbs nodded in acknowledgment. If anyone could understand the thoughts of Ziva and Tony, it is him.

Tony knelt in front of a men's room door. He was looking down the empty hallways at the guard near the side exit. "Got one gunman at the 'A' hall exit," Tony stated.

"Understood," Ziva answered.

While Ziva and Gibbs have perfected the art of stealthily approaching DiNozzo, he was no slouch at sneaking up on others. One on one, Tony easily placed the gunman in a choke hold, knocking him out monumentally. He grabbed the AK-47 and a radio from the man, the sneaked back into the restroom. "You know, I'm not sure if I should just take this rifle, or if I should remove the firing pin."

"Seeing as how you left your handgun locked in the teacher's desk, I'd keep it with you," Ziva noted. "Can you tell me the model of the radio you got off of your attacker?" Tony read off the label on the back of the gunman's radio. Ziva ordered the radio techs to cross-reference the model with the possible frequencies that the radio could broadcast. "We can probably tap into their conversation."

Before Tony could move on, the gunman that he previously subdued had woke and entered the bathroom. He searched the stalls for the man who disabled him, only to be KO'd again, this time courtesy a butt-stroke. He placed the gunman's radio on the floor before proceeding to exit the restroom. "That ought to keep him down for a while."

"On a Kalashnikov, the safety is on the right side. If you pull it down all the way, it will be in semi-automatic mode."

"Roger that," Tony replied. Although the rifle was designed to fire bullets in bursts, the field agent was more in tune with the one-pull, one bullet approach of a semi-automatic weapon, like the P229 he left in the classroom. Adrenaline surged through DiNozzo as he scoured the halls for more gunmen. He was Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series, the man of action. His job was to take down the terrorists from the inside. Peaking around a corner in the hallway, he tested his ability with the captured weapon. The second terrorist was taken down with double-tap to the right shoulder. DiNozzo had enough time to kick the terrorist's AK-47 away, then he took out the magazine and placed it in his pocket.

Outside the school, the tactical teams swiftly went into action, with coordination from Ziva in MTAC, "Bravo 2, got a bandit at your 8 o'clock." Ziva watched as the FBI team took out the stolen van and disarmed the terrorists. "Bravo 5, two gunmen approximately 20 meters to your east." The Bravo 5 team saw them first, and laid down fire on their targets.

Gibbs's team, Alpha 1, laid in wait in front of the school building, partially protected by the armored FBI Suburban. Taking out the rooftop snipers required a similar counter-approach. Gibbs set up his M40 on the roof of the Charger. He carefully aimed the sniper rifle at the first gunman before pulling the trigger. One shot was fired, one sniper was taken out. The other rooftop gunman hurried over to the first one's position. That was his last mistake. Gibbs chambered a second round, aimed, and fired again.

Dorneget reached for the radio. "This is Alpha 1," he stated. "The rooftop gunmen have been taken out."

By the time Tony had reached the front office, the terrorist leader had become furious. He shouted obscenities in Arabic, which Ziva had picked up.

"He's upset that his plan is falling apart," Ziva noted in her partner's ear. "He wonders how come no one inside the school is able to back up the teams outside."

"Didn't he hear the sound of AK-47 fire in the building?" Tony whispered.

"Of course, he did," Ziva replied. "He assumed that his men had taken out someone wandering the halls."

Tony pointed his gun at the terrorist leader. "You know, assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups," he noted, borrowing a line from Under Siege 2.

"And just who the hell are you?" the terrorist leader replied.

"I'm just a fly in the ointment. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass." Tony shifted from quoting Die Hard to quoting himself. "I'm the wild card. I'm the guy who looks at the reality in front of him and refuses to accept it."

"You talk about reality, in that case, tell me what you think of this." He pulled out his AK-47, and two more gunmen entered the room pointing their arms at him. "You our outnumbered, and we are more skilled with these weapons than you are. We may be killed in battle today, but there are others like me, and we will not rest until the Jew Cancer is stricken from this earth.

The gunman's words caused DiNozzo's blood to boil. The terrorist leader was not talking about him, but he was talking about two women very close to him. Talia had become the little sister he wished he had his whole life. She was cheerful, somewhat flirtatious, and had the most beautiful singing voice he had ever heard. She had been saved from death once before, and given the chance to pursue her passion in music and dance. Then, there's Ziva. She was a crazy ninja chick, but she was his crazy ninja chick. When he thought she had been killed, he led his team to the end of the earth to kill the man responsible. She was his rock, a serious counter to his humor. Most importantly, she was the mother of his unborn child, and his partner in all things.

DiNozzo once again began to repeat the words he said to another terrorist. "There's only one force on Earth that can short circuit a man's better instincts, put fire in his veins, makes him dive head long into danger with no regard for his own well being. You have just found it. Zh beshebyelk, Ziva." Without a second thought, he immediately pulled the trigger.

Ziva listened as she heard the exchange of fire in the school office. She could discern at least three different weapons had been fired, meaning that her mate was outnumbered two-to-one. She heard a sharp thud from the earwig. "TONY!!" she screamed. There was no question about it, he had been hit. She pulled herself together to send out a message to the teams outside. "Agent is down, main office. There's at least two gunmen left in the building." After making the announcement, she took off her headset, sat down on the chairs, and let her emotions take over.

When Gibbs heard Ziva's announcement, he knew that she was in no condition to continue. "This is Alpha 1," He stated over the radio, "I'm taking over coordination. We're heading in."

"Roger that," Fornell acknowledged.

Gibbs and McGee took lead as they headed through the front door and entered the office. Before going down, DiNozzo had managed to take out the leader and both associates. Dorneget checked his pulse, "He's still alive," he stated.

Gibbs and McGee checked the gunmen. "Not so lucky for these bastards," Gibbs commented. "Alpha 1, office is secure. We need an ambulance here, now!"

Gibbs sent Agent Dorneget out to check on all of the classrooms. Thankfully, there were no casualties among students or staff. He found the previously subdued gunman in the 'A' hall bathroom. He was cuffed and escorted to a waiting FBI agent.

When Dorneget got to the last room, he was accosted by two young women who wanted to see his badge. "You must be Gibbs's daughter," he said to the young redhead.

Catherine acknowledged the junior agent's assumption. "How's Tony. Is he all right?"

"Agent DiNozzo has been shot," Dorneget replied. "We've got an ambulance on the way to get him."

"Where there any other casualties?" The teacher asked as she handed the agent DiNozzo's badge and SIG.

"None among students or staff," Ned noted. "I can't say the same thing about the gunmen."

Once the school was secure, the ambulance arrived to receive the sole surviving casualty. All of the gunmen were either killed or arrested unharmed. Gibbs and McGee stood back and let the EMT's do their job. As they did, McGee turned to his boss. "Any word from Ziva?"

"No," Gibbs replied, "but between having Tony in critical and her own pregnancy, she's in no condition to continue working."

"I'll contact Tali, let her know," McGee stated as he pulled his cell phone. The FBI team found the jamming equipment, and he now had full strength on his phone. He immediately pulled Tali's name from his contact list and initiated the call to her cell phone.

"Hello," Tali answered.

"Tali, it's Tim."

"Hey, Timmy," Tali responded in a flirtatious voice. "What's up."

"DiNozzo's been shot," McGee stated. "EMT's are taking him to Bethesda now."

"Oh, my God!" Tali exclaimed. "How's Ziva? Does she know?"

"She was in contact with Tony when it happened. We think it's best if you go pick her up and take her to the hospital."

"Of course." Tali knew her way to the Navy Yard. "I'm on my way."