Ah, the annual Army-Navy Marathon! This year it looked like someone from the Army would win it. Unless Lieutenant j.g. Denzel Hold can overtake the three Army sergeants in front of him. One of them started to look like he was going to falter as the finish line came into view. "This is your chance, Denzel!" Hold thought, and pushed himself to run faster.
But then someone jumped at him and knocked him down to the ground. "Stay down!" the stranger said. Some shots were fired. The stranger got out his gun and fired a few shots, but it was no use. The failed hitman was gone.
"Get off me, man!" Hold said.
"Guess you're not Kenyan," the stranger said. "Sorry about that."
NCIS theme music, followed by inane banter at NCIS headquarters. "But you see, the thing is, it's a test of endurance," Tony said.
"I know I'd win it," Ellie said.
Gibbs came in. "To the interrogation room. DiNozzo, you'll question Lt. Hold," Gibbs ordered. Tony went to the interrogation room, Gibbs patted him on the butt before he left. "And I'll question the man who cost Lt. Hold the marathon."
Hold wasn't of much help. "I was just minding my business, trying to win a marathon, and this jerk comes out of nowhere and knocks me down," Hold recalled.
"So that jerk didn't save your life?" Tony asked.
"As far as I know, the hitman was there for him, not for me. If he had gone somewhere far away from the marathon, I would have gone from fourth place to first place."
"You didn't see the hitman?"
"All I saw was that dumb ass on top of me."
In the next interrogation room, Gibbs was learning a lot more. "Please tell me you have a protective detail on Lt. Hold," the stranger said.
"We do. But first things first," Gibbs said. "Who are you?"
"I'm Garrett Alberts. I quit my position at the Wikimedia Foundation after learning about the plot to assassinate Lt. Hold."
"Okay, back the hell up. When did you start at the Wikimedia Foundation?"
"What was your job back then?"
"I was to lead the computer programmers in creating a superior alternative to Wikipedia's talk pages, codenamed Lava Threads."
Gibbs signaled for Ellie to come into the interrogation. "I'm an old man, I don't understand a lot of this technological mumbo-jumbo."
Ellie came in with a laptop. "Here's the Wikipedia article about Tikifa, Iraq. And here's talk page for the article about Tikifa, Iraq."
"This article has been rated low importance in the Arab Geography WikiProject," Gibbs read off the screen with a very confused look on his face. The talk page also had a message that read "Archives: Strangenabot is no longer running. This page will no longer be automatically archived, learn more." And nothing else.
"Maybe that wasn't the best example," Ellie admitted.
"Pick another Iraqi city," Gibbs suggested.
"Here we go, Baghdad." Ellie scrolled down, past the high-importance Arab Geography WikiProject, past the "please be calm and avoid personal attacks" and other such warnings, past the table of contents listing the various threads.
"This article is very biased by all the Persians," Gibbs read. He scrolled down a little bit. "Baghdad means garden of opium. No, it means dwelling of the gods. How come there's nothing about the mayor of Baghdad? Eric Miller is the mayor's bitch. You need to put in the article that the British have bombed Baghdad, too. There's too many run-on sentences in the monuments section. Americans are murderers, that is all. The name of the city was found on an Assyrian cuneiform tablet." Gibbs paused for a bit. "What do I do if I want to respond to one of these?"
"Like for instance, the thread about the Baghdad Zoo?" Ellie asked.
"Next to the Baghdad Zoo heading, there's a link that says Edit. You click on it, and this text window comes up. Hit Enter a couple of times, then three colons to indent your response, and then what you want to say?"
"The American Ambassador is not the Viceroy of Iraq. Check your facts," Gibbs said.
"Then you type four tildes and hit Save."
"But I'm sure you young whippersnappers can figure that out without any help," Gibbs said.
"It's still problematic," Garrett chimed in. "For instance, you noticed there were like two or three spots in which they were arguing about how the city came to be named Baghdad."
"Yes, I noticed that," Gibbs said.
"Well, with our revolutionary Lava Threads software, it would be much more intuitive to respond to a specific thread, it would automatically sign your user name and date, and, most exciting of all, the software would be intelligent enough to group together threads on the same topic. So those three threads about the name of the city would all be together."
"When was the gamma test?" Gibbs asked.
"Beta test," Ellie corrected.
"In 2013," Garrett replied. "But I told Eric Miller it wasn't ready for a beta test. There were a lot of bugs. I told him I needed more programmers, more focus groups and more UI testers. Eric said money was no problem, because the Wikipedia year-end donation drives keep on raking in thousands and thousands of more dollars in cash each year. I got two more programmers but no focus groups and no UI testers. The beta test was a disastrous failure. The Wikipedia community hated it. Everyone said they preferred this," Garrett said, pointing to the laptop screen.
"It's not so bad," Gibbs said.
"After that, I thought Eric would give me all the programmers, focus groups and UI testers I had asked for. Instead, in 2014, he put us on another project, called EmoBar, that went nowhere. I wanted to quit so bad," Garrett recalled.
"Why did you stay another year?" Gibbs asked.
"My pay was very good. I had just paid off all my student loans, was halfway done paying my house, and signed a Mercedes-Benz lease. So I said to myself I would tough it out another two years."
"What changed your mind?"
"When I found out the Wikimedia Foundation's assassination program. It's funded by donations to Wikipedia! The assassination program is targeted at anyone who could threaten Wikipedia's search engine rankings and dry up the incoming donations."
"And how does Lt. Hold threaten all that?"
"I'm not exactly sure, I think it has something to do with the Pentagon's Wikipedia Warfare Division. What I know is that Lt. Hold is on the hit list."
"And where is that hit list?"
"On a piece of paper in Eric Miller's office at the Wikimedia Foundation headquarters in San Francisco."
This sounds like a job for NCIS: Los Angeles. Deeks and Kensi, dressed as Han Solo and Leia, were holding hands, kissing, and other public displays of affection on New Montgomery Street in San Francisco. A couple of security guards came out to look. Sam and Callen sprung into action, shooting their way into the Foundation headquarters. "These nerds have a lot of firepower," Sam remarked while reloading his gun.
"But they don't really know how to use it," Callen said. Sam and Callen weren't aiming to kill anyone. They did a lot of that kicking a gun out of reach thing. Soon the entire staff of the Wikimedia Foundation was under arrest.
Gibbs visited Director Vance at his house. "So when do you tell your kids we killed Wikipedia?" Gibbs asked.
"Oh, no, Wikipedia will be fine for now," Vance said. "The Government didn't freeze all the Wikimedia Foundation assets. The account that pays for the Wikipedia servers and their upkeep, that will continue to pay out for the foreseeable future."
"I see," Gibbs said.
"And don't worry about Wikipedia's content either. Unpaid volunteers will continue to work on that, at least for the foreseeable future."
Author's Chapter Notes:
A defector reveals that the Wikimedia Foundation's assassination program is targeting Department of Defense employees.