As much as Tony DiNozzo was missing having Ziva David around the place, he was, not surprisingly, enjoying the steady stream of female agents filing into the squadroom all vying to replace her.
The last had been a particular joy to behold. One Officer Heather Kincaid, the current topic of conversation between Tony and his long time colleague, Timothy McGee.
"Have to agree with you Tony, Kinkaid was kinda hot."
"Oh yeah. Sure was one tasty burger, McGargle."
"Excuse me, a what?"
"Pulp Fiction. Samuel L Jackson, coolest man in the world to John Travolta, second coolest."
"I saw that movie, Tony. They were actually discussing burgers. You know, the kind you eat. Or are you comparing women to meat products now?"
"I was using a metaphor, McPedantic."
"I'm surprised you even know the meaning of that word."
Tony threw a scrunched up piece of paper at him.
McGee ignored it and picked up a typed sheet of paper from off the desk. On it were background notes on another likely candidate.
"Anyhow, Fornell is sending somebody over for us to consider."
"Is there a picture? Is she pretty?"
"No, just a name."
Tony made a grab for the paper, wrenched it out of McGee's hand and quickly scanned the details printed on it.
"Unusual last name. Based in LA up till last year, but now based here in DC."
"Fornell can't praise her highly enough."
"Not sure if that's a good or bad thing, Probie."
"She might work out fine. We'll get a better idea soon enough. She should be here any minute. And Tony, just remember this is a recruitment drive, not the Miss America pageant."
It was actually five minutes later when she arrived. DiNozzo and McGee were hunched over a computer monitor screen and so did not see her enter.
She spotted them, walked up to their station and introduced herself.
"Hello. Might One of you two gentlemen be Special Agent Gibbs?"
They turned from the monitor screen to greet the new arrival, who held out her hand in greeting.
"Special Agent Sophie Trinh, FBI."
Their eyes popped out of their heads and their jaws dropped as they stared down at the diminutive young Asian woman standing before them. Neither of them could speak, they could only gawp at the round face, the long, thick black hair, parted to one side. The big eyes, the full lips, everything was the same. They were looking at a ghost.
"Oh my God." thought McGee, "The resemblance is uncanny. What's the Boss gonna say? And as for Jimmy Palmer!"
"Oh my God." thought Tony, "She looks exactly like..."
Sophie looked from one to the other of them. She'd seen the blood drain swiftly from their faces, hadn't failed to take note of their looks of abject horror, and wondered what was up.
She'd also noticed by now that everyone else in the room was staring at her too. She became uncomfortable but still tried to remain unphazed. Had she infringed on some special NCIS protocol for entering the squadroom in some way? If she had then that would be a less than auspicious start.
Politely bemused, she asked, "Er, is everything OK?"
It was Tony who was first to utter words.
"You remember what you said that time, Probie? I never forgot it. About her being a Cylon!"
Despite Fornell's recommendation and her impeccable record, Special Agent Sophie Trinh's application to NCIS was turned down.
Nobody ever did tell her the reason why.