Prologue

Anthony DiNozzo crept along the edge of the camp, keeping to the deeper shadows of the night. He stopped at each tent, listening carefully to the sounds from within.

Sensing the approach of someone behind him, Tony dropped into a crouch, spinning about at the same time. The swoosh of an iron bar where his head had been seconds earlier told him all he needed to know about 'friend or foe'. Tony threw a punch at his attacker, putting his whole body into it. He hit the assailant firmly, burying his fist in the man's abdomen, bending him over. A second hit worked up and into the man's face, shattering his nose. The Arab, too stunned to cry out, fell to his knees, dropping the bar.

Tony grabbed him around the neck, twisting sharply until he heard the tell-tale crack. He caught the body as it fell, dragging it to the tarp-covered crates and barrels behind the camp. A quick search of the body yielded a knife worthy of Ziva as well as a wallet filled with cash.

He patted the dead man's cheek. "Appreciate the contribution," he breathed, pocketing the money.

After carefully tucking the tarp over the body, Tony scrubbed at the blood on his arm with handfuls of sand. Once he did as good a job as he could cleaning up, he stayed in the shadows, listening for any signs of disturbance in the camp. Reassured that everything appeared unchanged, Tony resumed his search.

He moved to the last tent he had reached during his covert sweep of the camp. He put his ear up against the rough fabric, listening for sounds from within. Hearing a wet cough and groans, he took the borrowed knife and ripped through the sturdy cloth. Once the opening was big enough, Tony slipped through.