Tribute to Whom Tribute is Due

Chapter 11


A large crowd gathered around the underground arena once again, just as they had at least once a week ever since Dr. Gisborne and his backers, a man by the name of Richard Driscoll and his sister Regina, had begun the fight club over a year ago. They grew rowdier when two of the guards escorted in Craig Lucien, who was wearing shackles over his wrists and ankles for the men's' protection, as the drugs in his system made him wild and vicious, into the center of the arena. The large group of moneygrubbers loved the scene Lucien was creating as he hollered and screamed to try to amp them up.

Ten minutes later, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo was also escorted in by two more guards, also wearing shackles as he too had now been drugged to make him just as aggressive as his opponent. After Tony finished revving up the onlookers even more than they already were, the four guards carefully removed the cuffs as Dr. Gisborne announced the fight to get it started.

Once everyone except for the fighters in the night's event had cleared the arena, the fight of both men's lives had begun and the spectators all cheered and shouted out the names of the man they hoped to win. Most of them cried Lucien's name, though after seeing how well Tony handled himself, more and more men and woman began to cry out Bacic. The fight was like a cross between an MMA fight on television, though real, without any kind of censors, and a scene from the movie, Mortal Kombat, without the special effects and monsters. The spectators were loving every moment and large sums of money were being exchanged as they bet on who would win in the end.

While the Driscolls observed it all, the brother leaned over near his sister and spoke out above the shouting saying, "This latest patient appears to have quite the survival instinct. I've got a feeling that he'll be a great new investment."

Regina kept her eyes on the opponents as she replied, "Perhaps, but if Connor Bacic does manage to beat Lucien, which I am hoping he does, will the drugs in his system be strong enough to get him to kill?"

"No matter what kind of man he was before, he's not that man anymore," Richard answered smugly. "Everything's going to be fine, you'll see."

"If you say so," his sister responded, when all of a sudden, screams began to erupt throughout the crowd as a large number of agents and police officers carrying their weapons flooded out from the tunnel into the arena, led by a man with salt and pepper colored hair.

The men and women scattered as the invasion began and the officers attempted to wrangle in as many of the criminals as they could, while Gibbs and McGee attempted to fight their way through to find their missing teammate. When they finally found Tony, he was fighting against an agent trying to calm him down and the other man they were also there to rescue. Dr. Woolsey had been right about them being too late.

McGee quickly turned to his boss as he shouted, "How are we going to calm him down? Whatever drugs they've given him, they've turned him into the terminator and he's angry!"

Gibbs knocked out one of the fight spectators, who attempted to knock him down, then looked over toward Tony as he shouted back, "He's still Tony. He won't hurt us."

The older agent slowly moved toward DiNozzo as he motioned for two officers to back away from his friend and Lucien, while the two drugged men continued fighting one another. However, it was then that Lucien suddenly got the upper hand on Tony as he kneed the senior field agent in his chest, causing him to double over. The dirty move was a distraction enough to make it so that Lucien could wrap his arms around Tony's throat as the older man began to choke him, until Gibbs came up from behind the man and hit him hard over the back of his head using the butt of his gun. The force wasn't enough to knock him out completely, but McGee swiftly jumped in and finally knocked him out for good so that Gibbs could focus on helping Tony.

"Tony, I know you're not feeling very well right now, but I need you to try to stay calm," Gibbs said calmly as he slowly placed his gun back in his holster and continued looking directly at his friend.

"You and McGee really shouldn't have come for me, boss," Tony replied angrily.

Gibbs moved a little closer to him as he asked, "I promised you that I would always have your six. Why wouldn't I come?"

Tony suddenly took a swing at Gibbs, the force of the punch causing the senior agent to fall hard to the ground, and then stated, "I don't get it, Gibbs. Why do you two care so much about what happens to me? I'm no good to you anymore and you know it, so I suggest you get the hell out of here or I'll do more than knock you off your feet. Trust me, I'm not worth it!"

"You're wrong," Gibbs answered genuinely as he slowly got back to his feet. "You're the best agent I've ever had the privilege of working with. You're also our friend and I know that you won't do anything to hurt me or McGee."

"Oh really; you mean like I didn't do anything to hurt Vera?" Tony continued. "Do you have any idea what she thinks of me? I'm an accident waiting to happen; bad luck. She was afraid to work with me and she had every right to be! She ended up getting hurt if you recall! And what about Kate or Ziva?"

McGee moved to stand beside Gibbs as he calmly responded, "Vera was hurt because a criminal tried to run and she just happened to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Gibbs added, "Tim's right. That wasn't your fault, nor was everything that happened with Ziva leaving and not before when she blamed you for what happened with Michael. I'm not sure why you feel guilty for anything involving Kate, but you did nothing wrong in regards to her either. Come back to us, Tony. Please, let us help you."

"Just get away from me and leave me alone!" Tony cried out painfully as he turned away from his friends. "I can't…"

Before Tony could get out the rest of his plea, he stopped short when he saw one of the men responsible for doing this to him raise a gun from a distance and aim it toward Gibbs and McGee. Before they knew what was happening, as their backs were to the man, Tony suddenly ran forward and threw himself over them, causing them all to fall hard to the ground, as three shots were fired before the man was finally taken down by Agent Fornell.

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