The West Wing
By Cindy firstname.lastname@example.org
"Donna, you still coming to the Embassy party tonight?"Josh Lyman asked as he poked his head out of his office.
The blonde woman blinked in surprise. "Embassy party?"
Josh frowned. "I told you about that, right?"
Donna shook her head. "No."
"You sure I didn't tell you about it?"Josh asked as he walked into the bullpen.
Donna nodded as she placed a letter into the fax machine. "I keep track of your schedule, remember? You made no mention of a party."
The brown haired man shrugged. "Well there is one tonight "
"Can't go."Donna replied knowing it was a futile gesture. This had been her first full night off in eons she wasn't letting this go without a fight, or a raise.
Josh raised an eyebrow. "You have plans?"
Moss nodded. "First night off in months Josh, you promised."
"I know and I'll make it up to you."Josh replied as he sat on the corner of her desk. "Just show up for a couple hours and then duck out."
Donna sighed. "If I go I want three nights off a week."
"You know I can't promise that, Donna."Josh replied.
"Have a good time."Donna stated as she stood and walked over to the copy machine.
"Okay, two nights, best I can do."Lyman relented as he rose to his feet."Be ready by six."
"Why are we here?"CJ Cregg asked as the quartet of White House staff members stood just off the main room near the stairs of the Embassy.
"White House needed to be represented."Sam Seaborn replied with a grin as he snatched a glass of champagne from a passing waiter.
The press secretary shook her head. "There's an Embassy party every week. What's so different about this one."
"I was asking the same thing."Donna interjected
"This is the Saudi Arabian embassy."Josh replied as he watched guests spill out from the main room into the hallway and onto the small patio. For late February the night was unseasonably warm.
"So?"Sam replied as he took a sip of champagne.
"We have troops in Saudi Arabia."Lyman replied as he absently tugged at his bow tie.
CJ glanced at him. "We've had troops in Saudi Arabia for years."
Josh grinned. "It's a party guys and we get paid to be here so just relax and enjoy."
Chief of Staff Leo McGarry was just flicking off the light in his office when Toby Zeilger appeared in the doorway.
"Whatever it is, Toby, forget it."The older man stated as he grabbed his jacket and briefcase and walked around his desk. "Mallory and I have had this trip planned for weeks."
The brown haired man nodded as he stepped into the room. "I know Leo and I 'm sorry. But we've got a situation breaking on one of our bases in Turkey."
Leo stepped out into the hall. "How do I know this can't wait until Monday."
Toby shook his head. "A teenage boy was shot and killed."
"By one of ours?"Leo asked even though he already knew the answer.
The communications director nodded. "Guard claims the boy had a gun but no weapon was found on him."
"Does the President know?"Leo asked.
McGarry sighed. "Let me call my daughter and I'll meet you in the Oval office in a few minutes."
"How long have we been here?"CJ asked Donna as the four friends started to move back into the main room of the Embassy.
Donna glanced at her watch. "About an hour."
"Is that all?"CJ replied just as Sam glanced back at them.
"You're having fun, admit it."Sam commented with a grin.
Glass shattering behind them interrupted the conversation causing the group to come to a stand still.
They turned just in time to see fifteen masked heavily armed men burst through the front door and spread throughout the Embassy.
One of the gunman who had been at the center of the group wrapped an arm around a startled Donna and dragged her in front of one of the reporters covering the party.
Josh instinctively started toward his assistant but Sam placed a restraining hand on his friend's arm.
The gunman shoved the reporter roughly away from the cameraman. "Turn it on!"
"It is on."The young blond haired man replied struggling to keep the fear out of his voice.
The gunman slammed his semi-automatic rifle against Donna's temple. "People of America."The man stated in a Middle Eastern accent. "Your government has two hours to remove the sanctions from Iraq or we will kill every person in this building. "
Donna closed her eyes not quite believing what was happening.
The gunman shoved Donna closer to the camera as he aimed the gun at the back of her head. He squeezed the trigger just as the Embassy lost all power.
White House reporter Susan Johnson rapped lightly on Danny Concanon's open office door. "Hey Danny wasn't CJ going to that Saudi Embassy party tonight?"
Danny nodded as he glanced up at the blonde woman. "Yeah, why?"
Susan's face was grim as she pointed to the small TV in the corner of the office. "Just turn on channel four."
At Margaret's small scream Kathy glanced up at the bank of monitors that covered the right wall of the bullpen.
The dark haired young woman moved to stand next to her friend as she scanned the monitors trying to find what had upset her friend.
Then she saw it.....on the far left monitor one of the local stations had been covering the embassy party. Now it showed a masked man pressing a gun against Donna Moss's head.
"Get Toby."Kathy ordered shakily once she found her voice
"Was that live?"Danny asked in a tight voice his gaze fixed on the now dark TV screen.
Susan shook her head sadly. "No, channel five's cameraman was the unlucky one to be at the party. They ran it live and since then every station in town has run that."
The red haired reporter stood as he grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair. "Is she alive?"
Susan shrugged. "We don't know. They killed the power deliberately so we wouldn't know her fate."
"Did they say who they were?"Danny asked as he double-checked to make sure he had a pad and pen.
Susan shook her head. "No, but the latest rumor is that they're a group called Black Moon, new to the terrorist game."
"Obviously not that new."Danny replied grimly as he found what he needed and stepped past her into the hallway.
"Where are you going?"Susan asked with concern knowing Danny's feelings for the White House press secretary.
"To find out how the hell these guys came out of nowhere to capture an embassy party."Concanon replied sharply.
The power came back on as quickly as it had gone off. The gunmen quickly forced the partygoers to sit where they were.
CJ, Josh and Sam sat with their backs against the wall nearest to the embassy's main room. Which left them a clear view of Donna Moss's still form twenty feet away.
"If everyone remains calm and cooperates fully,"The lead gunman began as slowly walked around the foyer looking each party guest in the eye,"No one else will get hurt."
"You won't get away with this!"Josh shouted gaining the man's attention. "The government's policy is not to give in to terrorist demands."
Sam grabbed Josh by the shoulder before his friend could rise to his feet. "Josh, this isn't helping."
The leader stalked across the room and hit the deputy chief of staff across the temple with the butt of his gun. "No one will talk!"He shouted as he walked back to the center of the room where Donna lay. "No one talks, no one moves, no one gets hurt. Is that understood?"
Silence engulfed the room like a thick rain cloud on a summer's day.
The leader nodded before lowering his weapon and walking into the main room of the embassy leaving his henchmen to stand guard.
CJ quickly took Sam's handkerchief out of his breast pocket and pressed it against the deep cut on Josh's temple.
"Is Donna alright?"Lyman asked weakly as he struggled to sit up.
Sam gently pushed his friend back down as he exchanged a concerned glance with CJ.
"I don't know, Josh."CJ replied quietly, "We can't tell from here."
Danny Concanon scurried through the familiar White House pressroom. He almost made it to C.J's office before four secret service agents blocked his path.
"No press."A tall burly man in his forties with thinning blond hair snapped as he shoved Danny none too gently back into the pressroom.
Danny glared at them in frustration as he yanked off his press pass. "See? I'm not here as a member of the press. I have some information that the President really needs right now."
The men didn't budge which forced Danny to resort to plan C. He yanked out his pad of paper and quickly scribbled a note before he folded it in half.
Danny replaced his note pad and returned to the secret service agents and handed the note to the one who looked the friendliest.
"Please, can you at least give this to Mrs. Landingham as soon as possible?"Danny asked knowing that the secretary was his one link to the President.
The men glanced at each other before the one holding the note nodded.
"She'll get it."The sandy haired young man promised quietly.
Danny nodded his thanks before turning and leaving the pressroom.
President Jed Bartlet's face was grim as he faced the two remaining members of his senior staff as they sat in the Oval Office.
"How the hell did this happen?"Bartlet demanded as he stood and walked around the left corner of his desk.
"The party had light security since the ambassador wasn't on the premises."Toby Zeigler replied quietly.
"Do we know if the others are hurt?"The president asked knowing that Josh Lyman would be a force to be reckoned with if Donna Moss had been killed.
Leo McGarry shook his head sadly. "Not yet. The police and FBI have secured the perimeter of the building and are trying to establish negotiations with the terrorists.
Bartlet leaned back against the corner of his desk. "Leo, wherever the negotiations are being held I want to be there."
Leo exchanged a concerned glance with Toby before replying. "Sir, I know how you feel but you being there is impossible."
Bartlet shook his head. "Nothing's impossible, Leo. This group whoever they are has my staff at gunpoint."
"Which is exactly why you can't be there, Mr. President."Toby replied firmly.
Josh angrily batted CJ's hand away as he struggled into a sitting position. "I'm fine, CJ."
CJ shook her head as she exchanged a concerned glance with Sam. "The cut may have stopped bleeding, Josh but you may have a concussion."
Lyman ignored her as he leaned back against the wall ignoring the wave of pain and dizziness that came with the movement. It had been nearly an hour since the terrorists had taken over the embassy party and Donna hadn't moved.
He knew CJ and Sam assumed she was dead and was trying to shield him from that knowledge but Josh didn't want to believe it.
He couldn't believe it.
If Donna was dead her blood was on his hands....he was solely responsible for her death. He had practically dragged her to this party.
It was supposed to be her night off....he should've let her go.
Sam watched Josh warily. He wasn't sure if Donna was dead but he was fairly sure that she had at least been shot. The pool of blood on the left side of her body was a clear sign of that.
He knew Josh blamed himself for her being hurt and Sam wasn't sure how Josh would handle another confrontation with the terrorists.
For all of their sakes Sam had to calm his friend.
"Josh."Sam began quietly as he turned to face the deputy chief of staff. "This isn't your fault."
Lyman glared at the younger man. "Shut up, Sam."He replied in a weary voice his gaze never leaving Donna's still form. "Just shut up."
"Do we have any idea who this group is?"Bartlet demanded as he paced the Oval Office.
Leo shook his head. "Could be any one of a number of splinter groups that have formed over the last three years or so. CIA and State are working on Intel."
Jed glanced at his chief of staff. "Are they aware we have a clock?"
McGarry nodded grimly. "Yes,Sir. They're going to give us updates every twenty minutes."
Bartlet glanced at the clock on his desk with a worried frown. "Better make that every ten minutes, Leo. We just passed the hour mark."
Leo stood. "Yes, Sir."He replied and quickly left the room praying that whatever information they got would arrive in time.
"Sam,"CJ called quietly as she leaned against the wall,"What's our clock?"
Seaborn glanced at his watch then warily at the four-armed terrorists patrolling the room. "We've got just under an hour left before the deadline runs out."
The Press Secretary gestured toward the flashing police lights outside. "They obviously have the place surrounded. What are they waiting for?"
Sam motioned toward the terrified partygoers clustered around them. "Look around, CJ. This place is full of Washington's upper crust. The cops don't want to make a rash move that will end in a fatality."
Josh Lyman couldn't stand it any longer. One way or the other he had to know if Donna was dead. No matter what the risk.
He had made it half way to Donna's still form before Sam noticed he was gone.
"Damn it, Josh."Seaborn called in a loud whisper. "Get back here."
Lyman ignored him as he risked a glance at the gunmen. One was by the stairs, one by the front door and one by the far window, and one was with the leader in the main room behind them. None had noticed him yet.
It was only when Josh reached Donna's side that he saw the large pool of blood emerging from her left side.
"Oh God."Josh whispered as he quickly reached for a pulse. He had to look away from the blood or he knew he'd faint.
Josh nearly jumped out of his skin when his fingers found a pulse.
"Donna?"Josh called softly as he gently turned her onto her back risking a glance at the terrorists.
"She alive?"Sam asked with concern as he reached his friend's side.
"Yeah."Lyman replied relief clearly in his voice,"Help me carry her back. We need to get the bleeding under control."
"What do the press know?"Bartlet asked quietly.
Toby Zeilger shook his head slightly. "Considering we found out about the attack from the Press I'd say they know more than we do."
Before Bartlet could reply his long time secretary stepped into the room.
"Sorry for the interruption, Sir."Mrs Lanaham stated quietly as she stepped into the room, "But the Secretary of State is on the phone regarding the situation in Turkey."
"Tell him I'll call him back."Bartlet replied as he stood.
"He said it was urgent, Sir."Lanaham replied as she stepped out of the office.
"It always is."The President muttered under his breath.
CJ glanced at the guards warily as Sam and Josh quickly carried Donna's still form back to their spot near the wall.
"Is she alive?"The red haired woman asked with concern as the two men gently laid Donna onto her back.
Sam nodded tightly. "Yeah, but barely. Looks like the bullet grazed her left side."
CJ glanced at him in surprise. "When did you go to medical school?"
Sam shrugged. "That's what my parents wanted me to do so I took a few medical courses before switching to law."
Josh quickly took off his tuxedo jacket. He folded it up and pressed it firmly against Donna's wound.
"We've got to get her to a hospital."Josh stated in a tight voice barely keeping a reign on his emotions. He glanced down at his wadded up coat, his hands were covered in blood. He swallowed hard and looked away.
"I don't think these guys are going to let us just walk out of here."CJ replied as she took off her red shawl and gently placed it over Donna not liking at all how pale the younger woman's face was.
Josh's eyes narrowed dangerously. "They will if they want a chance in hell of the President agreeing to their demands."
CJ tried to grab Lyman's right arm as he stood but he shook her off. Sam quickly took his place continuing to apply pressure to Donna's wound.
"Josh!"CJ called not caring who heard. She'd never seen that look on his face before and she wasn't sure what he was going to do.
The Deputy Chief of staff ignored his friend as he crossed the short space to the main room of the embassy. Three terrorists quickly blocked his path.
Josh tried to move around them and was rewarded with the barrel of a gun smashing into his rib cage. Fiery pain swept through his mid-section causing him to instantly double over.
Sam instantly started to stand to go to his friend's aide but CJ's restraining hand stopped him.
"Sit down!"The terrorist on the right of the trio ordered as he raised his gun.
Despite the deadly circumstances Josh glared at the man as he straightened ignoring the pain. "You have no idea who I am, do you?! My name is Josh Lyman and I'm Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States."
Recognition flashed across the men's faces as Josh took a step forward. "Yeah that's right. So if your leader there wants any chance of getting what he wants he'll let me talk to him."
"Let him in."A voice commanded from the room beyond.
The trio of terrorists reluctantly parted allowing Josh entrance into the room.
CJ exchanged an anxious glance with Sam. "Does he know what he's doing?"
"God,I hope so."Sam replied quietly as he glanced down at Donna's still form.
Mrs. Landingham returned to her desk and sat down. As she picked up a file she noticed a folded piece of paper that she was sure hadn't been there a few moments earlier.
Recognizing Danny Concanon's handwriting the blonde woman skimmed the information. Standing quickly she retraced her steps to the Oval Office.
As Josh stepped into the center of the room he saw that the leader of the terrorists was sitting in a plush black wing-backed leather chair near the small fireplace at the back of the room. Lyman's blood began to boil as he watched the man sip champagne and munch caviar. One of his closest friend's was bleeding to death less than twenty feet away while this bastard sat drinking champagne like he was a King.
"You claim to be someone of importance."The terrorist began as he gestured for the guards to step away from Josh.
Josh warily glanced at the heavily armed men before approaching the man who was maybe a year or two older than Sam. Lyman tried not to wince as pain shot through his ribcage with every step. He had to keep it together.
"Yes."Lyman replied hoping his voice sounded calm. "I can get you in touch with the President faster than anyone else can. But I'll only help you on one condition."
The leader smirked. "You're in no position to make demands, Mr. Lyman."
Josh took a deep breath to control his temper. "There's a woman in the next room who needs to go to a hospital."
The terrorist set down his glass of champagne on a nearby table. "Why would I do this?"
Josh forced himself not to glare at the man. Donna needed him to keep his emotions in check. "She works for the President and it would go a very long way with him if you allowed her to get the medical attention she needs. Trust me if she dies you won't get any of your demands."
For several long minutes Josh thought the man was going to refuse. Then the leader motioned to one of his men standing near the door. They exchanged a few words in Arabic before the second man nodded and quickly left the room.
Josh watched him go before turning his attention back to the leader. The man stood and walked toward Josh.
"Very well, Mr. Lyman, the injured one may leave."The terrorist stated calmly.
Josh felt relief wash over him as he realized that Donna would finally be safe. "Let one of my friends go with her to the hospital."
The leader glared at him. "No! No one else leaves!"
Lyman shook his head. "The President won't deal unless he knows she's being taken care of."
The terrorist took a cellular phone from one of his men and slammed it into Josh's right hand. "The injured one leaves and no one else! Make the call! Now!"
Josh reluctantly opened the phone as the risked a glance back at the other room. He was just in time to see two Paramedics enter the Embassy.
Sam glanced worriedly at CJ as he continued to apply pressure to Donna's wound. Her breathing had become shallow making Sam wish he had taken more than two medical courses.
CJ glanced up as a terrorist left the main room and walked quickly toward the main door where he spoke quietly with three others.
"Wonder what's going on?"The press secretary asked as she tried to look into the main room to see who Josh was.
"Whatever it is it better be good news."Seaborn replied grimly as he pulled his jacket tighter around Moss's shoulders. "I think she's gone into shock."
"They're letting paramedics in."CJ stated with relief as she glanced down at Donna's still form.
Sam nodded as he looked at the door to the main room. "I just hope that Josh didn't make a deal with the Devil that he can't reinforce."
Danny Concanon arrived at the Saudi Arabian embassy just in time to see an ambulance pull away. He stood watching it leave for a moment his thoughts instantly flying to C.J. Forcing aside his emotions as best he could Danny forced him way through the crowed of onlookers, police and reporters.
After a few moments Danny spotted an old friend, Detective Mark Newman leaning against one of the police cars.
Mark spotted him before Danny could duck under the police barricade. "Forget it, Danny."
Concanon shook his head as he snagged the blond haired man's arm. "Mark, do you realize who those hostages are?"
Newman nodded. "Yeah, half the upper crust of Washington which is why you're not getting a statement from me."
"Listen to me, Mark."Danny replied tersely. "You have half of Bartlet's senior staff....."
Newman sighed knowing Concanon wasn't going anywhere any time soon. "We know."
"It was one of them in the ambulance, wasn't it?"Danny demanded.
Mark glanced around quickly before nodding. "Yes."
"Who?"Danny asked in a tight voice.
"Danny, you know I can't tell you....."Newman replied nervously.
"They're friends of mine....."Danny countered, "This is off the record."
"Donna Moss."Mark replied finally in a quiet voice.
"How bad?"Concanon asked as he recalled the TV news report.
"I'm no doctor, Danny,"Mark replied grimly as he glanced in the direction the ambulance had gone,"But I've seen my share of gunshot wounds......she lost a lot of blood....doesn't look good."
"Sir?"Leo McGarry called as he reentered the Oval office. "We just got word they released one of the hostages."
Bartlet sank down onto the corner of his desk. "That's a good sign....."He glanced up at his best friend. "Why just the one?"
"Show of good faith."Leo replied quietly, "They wanted to release the injured."
Jed caught something in McGarry's tone. "Was one of ours?"He asked tightly.
The chief of staff nodded. "Donna."
Bartlet closed his eyes briefly. "How bad?"
Leo shook his head. "We don't know yet.....she's at St. Anne's."
"Get somebody over there, Leo."Bartlet ordered as he stood.
Leo turned to leave. "Yes, Sir."
Bartlet's question halted him half way to the door. "Leo? Anything on the tip Danny gave us?"
"Not much,Sir."McGarry replied quietly as he glanced down at the small pile of computer printouts he was carrying. "They're small in number....thirty or so....from Iraq.....formed about five years ago."
"We need more Intel than that Leo....."Bartlet broke off as Mrs. Landingham poked her head into the room.
"Yes, Mrs. Landingham?"Jed asked in a tired voice wondering what else could possibly go wrong.
"Josh is on the phone, Sir."The secretary replied quietly
Bartlet blinked in surprise and glanced at Leo. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, Sir."Mrs. Landingham replied."He's calling from a cell phone."
Sam had never been good at being helpless. The dark haired man stood and walked over to the doorway of the main room straining to see inside. However he was stopped at every step by a terrorist pressing a gun in his face.
Reluctantly Sam returned to his seat next to C.J.
"Did you see anything?"The press secretary asked in an anxious whisper.
Sam leaned back against the wall. "He's still standing, but we're running out of time. The two hour time limit's almost up."
"I hope Donna pulls through."C.J. stated quietly as she pulled her knees to her chest.
Sam glanced at the open door of the embassy. "So do I. I honestly don't know what Josh will do if she doesn't."
Danny hadn't wanted to leave the Embassy especially without knowing what was going on with C.J., but he also knew he couldn't do anything for her there.
As the elevator doors opened onto the third floor Danny instantly spotted Charlie Young leaning against the wall flanked by two secret service agents.
The young black man walked toward him shaking his head. "Danny....."
Concanon held up his hand. "I know you can't give me a statement. I don't care about my job right now. I just came to find out how Donna was."
Charlie turned back signaling the agents to stay where they were. He turned back to face Danny just as the reporter came to stand next to him.
"She's hanging in there."Charlie replied quietly.
"But....."Danny prompted as they moved out of the way of a pair of doctors.
"They're worried about the blood loss and she's picked up a fever."Charlie commented as he leaned against the wall.
Bartlet impatiently waved the CIA director and the FBI director into the Oval office. Josh had already been on hold for ten minutes and Jed didn't want to waste another precious second.
"Can I pick up the phone now?"The President asked as the men stopped next to Leo.
"Yes, Mr. President."The CIA director replied as he attached a sophisticated tape recorder to the phone line. "Try to get your man to get the head terrorist on the phone we need to get a voice match."
Bartlet nodded as he sat on the corner of his desk and picked up the receiver. "Josh? Are you alright?"
"For the moment, Sir."Lyman replied.
"What about the others?"Jed asked with concern.
"Sam and C.J. are fine."Josh replied glancing at the head terrorist warily. "Donna was..........shot."
"We know."The President replied sadly. "She's being taken care of."
"Thanks."Josh replied just as the phone was ripped out of his hand.
"We've been extremely patient, Mr. President."The terrorist stated coldly as he roughly shoved Josh away. "We've shown good faith and we expect something in return."
Bartlet stood as his hand tightened on the receiver. "You hurt one more of those people and you won't get anything from me!"
The terrorist laughed. "You're in no position to make threats, Mr. President. You have our demands, I expect to see results in twenty minutes. Or we will start tossing a body out every five minutes."
Jed winced as the line went dead.
Josh bit back the cry of pain as he landed hard on the floor next to Sam. He closed his eyes for a moment expecting to feel the rifle smack him across the face. When no more pain came Josh opened his eyes and looked around.
"You okay?"Sam whispered his gaze never leaving the terrorists who were standing in the center of the room.
Josh nodded. "Fine."
"What happened?"C.J. asked quietly from Sam's right.
"He talked to Bartlet."Josh replied grimly. "How was Donna when the paramedics left?"
Sam exchanged a concerned glance with C.J. before replying. "They got her stabilized, Josh."
That got Josh to look at him worry clearly etched on his face. "She wasn't awake, was she?"
"No."C.J. replied sadly.
Before ether of them could ask Josh for more details the head terrorists right hand man walked toward the left side of the room. He scanned the group of frightened party guests for a moment before roughly yanking a young brown haired woman to her feet.
The head terrorist came to stand next to the younger man who had the hostage in a chokehold. "We have talked with your President."The man stated bitterly as he glanced at the crowd. "He is aware of our demands and of our act of good faith. And yet he has done nothing in return."
"You haven't given him enough time to respond."Sam called out gaining the older man's attention.
The terrorist shrugged as he returned his attention back to the terrified woman. "He has fifteen minutes to meet our demands or she is the first to die."He whirled back to the White House trio. "Followed by her."
C.J. blanched, though as she returned the man's gaze she did her best not to show her fear.
"Did we get enough?"Bartlet demanded as he turned to face the directors of the FBI and CIA.
The CIA director checked the machine one last time before turning to face the President. "Yes, Sir. I think we got just enough to run through the voice match program."
"So why are you still standing here?"Jed demanded.
The red haired man nodded and quickly packed up the equipment. "We'll do our best, Mr. President."
"You better do more than that Mr. Stewart."Bartlet replied angrily hating that his hands were tied by all the red tape.
Stewart nodded and quickly left the room.
Bartlet turned back to McGarry. "Leo, get me the head of the U.N.."
"Sir, the policy against terrorism is very clear...."Leo replied awkwardly.
Jed glared at his old friend. "I'm well aware of the policy, Leo. Just get the man on the phone. For the sake of those people I want to know I did everything I could possibly do."
"Yes, Sir."Leo replied as he stood and walked out of the oval office.
After Leo left Bartlet motioned Toby to move closer. "Toby, is Danny still with Charlie?"
Zeigler nodded. "Yes, Sir."
Bartlet nodded. "Tell Charlie to keep him there."
Toby raised a questioning eyebrow but didn't press the matter. "Yes, Sir."
Danny stared at Charlie in disbelief. "He wants me to do what?"
Despite the situation Charlie grinned. "Be a reporter."
"I am a reporter."Danny replied as he stepped away from the wall.
Charlie shook his head. "He needs you in front of the camera."
"I don't do well in front of the camera."Danny replied his palms already starting to get sweaty.
"Danny...."Young started but the reporter held up his hand.
"Forget it, Charlie."Danny replied with a shake of his head. "You guys really don't want me in front of a camera, I mean it, it's scary. That's why I became a newspaper reporter. I get clammy, my throat dries up, my hands shake....."
Charlie placed a hand on the older man's shoulder drawing him away from a trio of medical students. "It's part of his plan to get CJ and the others out."
Danny instantly forgot his fear. He'd do whatever he had to do, to get CJ out of danger. "Just tell me where and when."
"Everything in place?"Bartlet asked as Toby came to stand next to him.
Ziegler nodded. "If this works I'm going to buy the Brooklyn Bridge."
"It has to work, Toby."Bartlet replied grimly as he leaned against his desk. "I don't want this to come down to the Swat team bursting in and shooting up the place. If I have to call them in the odds....."
"I know, Sir."Toby replied quietly his thoughts on his friends.
C.J. glanced to her left where there was a small office just off the main entrance of the embassy. The door was open and perched on a small coffee table was a television apparently linked to a close circuit network similar to what the White House had.
The press secretary blinked in surprise as the image on the screen suddenly shifted and Danny Concanon's familiar face appeared.
C.J. elbowed Sam in the ribcage to gain his attention. "Look."She whispered gesturing toward the office.
Sam's eyes widened as he recognized Danny. "We see it how do we get them to notice it?"
"Notice what?"Josh whispered.
However one of the other party guests took the problem out of their hands. The balding man in his early fifties stood gaining the head terrorist's attention.
"Did I say you could stand?!"The terrorist barked stalking toward the frightened man.
The man however stood his ground and motioned toward the office. "That guy's a White House reporter....you might want to turn the volume up and hear what he's saying."
The terrorist glanced at the television before roughly shoving the man into a sitting position. He turned and walked toward one of his men. "Go turn it up."
"This could be a trick."The younger man replied glancing warily at the trio of White House employees.
The leader grabbed him by the collar and propelled him toward the office. "Don't you think I know that?! Do what I say!"
The younger terrorist regained his footing and quickly entered the office. He picked up the TV and brought it into the room as far as the cord would allow. As he set it down on the floor he cranked the volume almost all the way up.
/.......to recap this historic moment.....just moments ago President Josiah Bartlet and the Secretary of the United Nations struck a deal that will free the hostages trapped in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington. Details of the deal have not yet been released.....stay tuned for more details on this breaking story. This is Danny Concanon reporting for channel three..../
A terrorist holding a young woman whirled her around so they were facing his boss. "That means nothing! There is no car, no helicopter....."
"The President keeps his word."Josh stated quietly drawing the men's attention. "If he says it'll happen it'll happen."
The head terrorist chuckled. "Since when do American politicians keep their word?"
"This one does."C.J. interjected wondering what Bartlet had up his sleeve.
Before the head of Black Moon could reply they all heard the sound of a helicopter approaching.
One of the terrorists closest to the window looked out and saw a green helicopter landing in a large parking lot a few buildings down.
Detective Mark Newman stared at the Assistant Director of the FBI as if she'd suddenly grown four heads. "Bartlet wants us to do what?"
"Leave."Valerie Gibson replied as she tucked a stray piece of blonde hair behind her left ear.
Newman shook his head in amazement. "We've got over fifty hostages including half of his senior staff under the gun and he wants us to leave?!"
Gibson nodded. "Yes, and you have less than ten minutes to do so."
"Is the fact that the cops are leaving a good or bad sign?"Josh whispered as he stared incredulously out the window
"I'm hoping it's a good thing."C.J. replied quietly as she drew her knees to her chest. She knew how terrified Danny was of speaking in front of a camera and she was pretty sure that the President knew that as well. So it was a safe bet that Bartlet's back was up against the wall. C.J. shuddered, if the President's plan didn't work she didn't want to think of how much innocent blood would be shed.
"Now that's more like it."The head terrorist commented with a wide smile. He turned away from the entrance and strode toward the back wall where C.J. sat.
"I've always admired a woman in red."The leader stated as he reached forward and snagged CJ by the wrist yanking her to her feet.
Josh rose to his feet. "You got what you want. You have a safe passage, you don't need her."
The leader's eyes narrowed sharply. "You have been nothing but trouble......"He began as he aimed his gun at Lyman's head.
Josh stiffened and Sam slowly rose to his feet searching for a way to help his friends.
C.J. placed a hand on the barrel of the gun gaining the man's attention. "I'll go with you willingly if you promise not to hurt them."
"C.J......"Sam warned as he took a step forward.
For a long moment the head terrorist remained silent his weapon still trained on Josh. Sam wasn't even sure he had heard CJ's offer.
Finally the man lowered his weapon and turned on his heel dragging C.J. toward the door.
The leader paused in the doorway keeping a tight grip on C.J. despite her offer. He turned to face the group of party guests. "If anybody tries to follow us this woman won't be the only dead body lying on the street."
The young woman who had been held by the terrorist earlier cried out as the man roughly shoved her. She stumbled, lost her balance and fell hard to the floor near the small television.
The terrorists turned as a group and left the embassy with their single hostage.
Josh instantly started toward the door but Sam held him back.
"I want to help her too."Sam replied quietly. "But we have to trust Bartlet."
Lyman whirled to face his friend. "I don't think them taking C.J. was part of his plan."
Outside the embassy the members of Black Moon quickly made their way toward the helicopter. None of them noticed the lone member of the National Guard perched on the Embassy roof, rifle poised.
C.J. made every effort to swallow her fear as the group of terrorists whisked her along the street. What C.J. noticed most during those quick moments was the fact that the street was empty. No people, no cars.....just her, a helicopter and a group of heavily armed men.
The leader held the press secretary toward the rear of the group as the first six men clamored aboard the chopper. The pilot was a middle aged black haired man in a Navy uniform with the rank of lieutenant. He caught C.J's attention and gave her a brief nod.
Before C.J. could even begin to think of what to do the world erupted around her. The red haired woman instantly covered her ears as bullets sprayed the air around them. She tried to break free of the lead terrorist's grasp but the man was too strong.
Blood splattered on C.J.'s clothes as four terrorists fell to the ground at her feet The leader cursed in his native language as he whirled back in the direction of the embassy firing widely at the unseen attacker.
But in the end Black Moon was no match for the National Guard's best sharpshooter.
In minutes it was all over.......C.J. was the only one left standing.
The navy pilot took care of the terrorists that the sharpshooter didn't get.
As soon as the gunfire stopped the silence was split by sirens, which seemed to be coming at the chopper from all directions.
C.J. squeezed her eyes tightly shut refusing to look at the carnage at her feet. Her hands were still covering her ears as she leaned shakily against the helicopter. She jumped as the Navy pilot placed a reassuring hand on her left shoulder.
"Ms. Cregg, are you hurt?"The pilot asked as he moved to stand in front of the woman, not quite believing that she could've come out of the gun battle unscathed.
Slowly C.J. opened her eyes and she forced herself to focus on the man's question. But for some reason her mind refused to form a single coherent thought.
The pilot gently grasped her shoulders as he reached up and tenderly pried her hands away from her ears. "Ms. Cregg? Are you hurt anywhere?"
C.J. shook her head just as three police cars screeched to a halt. As C.J. glanced at the approaching officers it started to sink in that this nightmare was finally over.
The pilot gently placed an arm around her waist and escorted her to a waiting ambulance. "Not that I don't believe you, Ms. Cregg, but let's get you checked out just to be on the safe side."
The first person Josh saw when he stepped inside Donna's hospital room was Charlie Young. Charlie instantly stood and walked over to the deputy chief of staff.
"How is she?"Josh asked his gaze never leaving Donna's still form.
"They're worried about the amount of blood loss."Charlie replied in a hushed voice.
"But?"Lyman prompted in a tight voice.
"She's picked up a high fever, docs haven't been able to bring it down yet."Young stated quietly.
"Has she woken at all?"Josh asked as he took a step past the President's personal aide.
Charlie shook his head sadly. "No, but the doctors said that was normal with what she's been through."
"Can you give me a minute with her?"Josh asked as he reached the foot of her bed.
Charlie nodded. "Sure. I'll let the others know where you are."
"Thanks, Charlie."Josh replied quietly as the young man left.
After some misinformation Danny finally found C.J. sitting on a chair next to Sam outside of Donna's hospital room.
"Thank God, you're all right."Danny commented anxiously as he reached them.
Sam grinned as he glanced from C.J. to Danny and back again. "I don't think he means me so I'll go over there and talk with Charlie."
Neither Danny nor C.J. seemed to notice his departure.
"Why are you sitting here?"Danny demanded as he spotted the blood on her dress. "I'll get a doctor."
C.J. reached out and placed a hand on the reporter's left arm halting him. "Danny, it's not my blood."
Wordlessly Danny dropped into the chair next to her. He placed an arm around her shoulders and drew her into an embrace.
C.J. rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, her right hand closed tightly around his.
Bartlet glanced up from his desk as Toby entered the room. "It's over?"
Ziegler nodded grimly. "Yes, but there was a hitch with the plan."
The President stood and walked around the corner of his desk. "What?"
"At the last minute the leader grabbed C.J. as a hostage as they were exiting the embassy."Toby replied as he came to stand next to the older man.
"Is she alright?"Bartlet demanded concern clearly in his voice.
Toby nodded still amazed by the turn of events. "I still don't know how, but she's fine. All of the terrorists fell dead at her feet but somehow she came out of it without a scratch."
"Thank God."Bartlet replied quietly as he sat down on the corner of his desk. "How are the others?"
"None of the party guests were hurt, at least not physically."Toby stated as he glanced down at a small pad of paper. "One woman was admitted to the hospital for a stress related illness."
Bartlet nodded. "How are Sam and Josh?"
"Josh is with Donna, she's still unconscious with a high fever."Toby replied quietly. "Sam's fine he's keeping C.J. company."
Josh pulled a small chair over to Donna's bed and sat down. He took her right hand in his and for several long moments he just sat there holding her hand.
She looked so tiny and frail.....a far cry from the vibrant, brilliant woman who kept him sane more times than he cared to count.
"I'm not going to let you go."Josh whispered in a choked voice as he tenderly reached up and tucked a stray blonde hair behind her right ear. "You mean far too much to me."
Josh glanced out the window and saw that dawn was starting to color the sky. When he looked back at Donna he found himself staring into Donna's bright blue gaze.
"Joshua."Donna stated in a weak voice. "Next time you need a date for an embassy party, don't think of me."
Lyman laughed as he stood dropping her hand. He leaned forward and cradled her face with his hands as he captured her lips with his in a soft kiss.
"I promise."Josh replied quietly as they broke apart. "No more embassy parties for us."
Donna smiled before drifting off to sleep.
Sam and Charlie stood a few feet away from Danny and
C.J. in the doorway of a small waiting room.
"What time is it, anyway?"Sam muttered wearily.
Charlie glanced at his watch. "Almost six."
Sam nodded as he turned to look out the small window.
Faint streams of sunlight were just starting to show.
It was amazing that the recent events had all occured
in just one night.
Charlie leaned against the doorway exhausted both
physically and emotionally. The night's events had
taken their toll on everyone. It was only then that he
noticed that the tv in the corner of the room had the
morning news program on.
"Sam."Charlie called as he noticed the embassy picture
appear above the reporter's right shoulder. "Turn the
Seaborn reached up and hit the right button before
coming and standing next to Charlie.
/".....In breaking news.....never play poker with the
President of the United States. In a daring rescue
plan the President used one of the White House
reporters to make a fictional news broadcast on a
close circuit television. This convinced the terrorist
group that the President had indeed given into their
demands and when they went outside to get on the
waiting helicopter they were taken out by the National
We will update you as soon as more information becomes
available.....this is Susan Johnson reporting for