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FORT BRAGG, NC

Major Leroy McCloud received orders to take a handful of men and to travel to Northern Ireland to destroy a terrorist group known as the Orange Brigade. They were under the command of the SAS, which he did not like. He briefed his men on the situation and told them that their gear would be waiting for them at the US Embassy in Belfast. He and his men were hand picked for this mission and loaded onto the C-130 and buckled in for the long flight. He severely hoped that his wife Mary would be safe at her parent’s farm in Northern Ireland while he attended to business.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND

The C-130 landed at a British military airport just outside of Belfast. A British officer walked up to McCloud and introduced himself as Major Thomas Harrington of the SAS. “Major, I’m going to make this plain so even you can understand it. I don’t like being put under your command but we’ll do your dirty work. Now lets see your Intel so I can tell my men how I want this done.”

“Very well Major, I was not pleased that they called in the help of the yanks on this myself.”

McCloud and Harrington went through the Intel provided.

Then came a knock on the door.

“Enter.”

The door opened and the British SAS officer was amazed to see an American sergeant standing there.

“One of yours I assum.e”

“Parker what’s going on.”

“Well Major our equipment is not here. Their armorer could only give us our handguns but they misplaced our rifles, subguns and the rest of our gear. Sir.”

“Thank you Parker.”

The sergeant then left without being told.

“All right Harrington where are our M4 Carbines and HK MP5-SD’3’S at.”

“I really don’t know and that’s the truth.” McCloud picked up the phone and made a quick call and told the person on the other end that he wanted those weapons immediately. “Well time to brief the others. Oh by the way a Marine will be showing up. When he arrives bring the guns to me and the others.”

“You’re not in charge here”.

McCloud stopped and looked at his counterpart ."Maybe so but when it comes to this job and keeping my men alive it is my business. So that makes me responsible not you.”

TWO HOURS LATER

McCloud briefed his men and had their weapons secured. No one had any questions, they had all worked together before and knew what their CO expected out of all of them. They then boarded an APC and headed for the warehouse where the terrorists were. Their job was an easy one... eliminate everyone inside except for the UK observers.

WAREHOUSE, DOWNTOWN BELFAST

The team of rangers did everything according to plan. They took out the Terrorists and got the captive back without him being killed or any of his men for that matter.

But the man was not very happy to be free. He walked up to McCloud “Major do you know who I am?”

“Yes sir I do.”

“Good then you know I was here trying to get these men to follow the peace accord.”

“Yes sir I do. But if you ask me, you little limey. They were all heavily armed with L1A1’S and several .45 caliber pistols and submachine guns. They gave us no choice.”

“Figures coming from a yank.” And the man walked off. They all loaded back inside the APC and were taken back to the staging area.

THE STAGING AREA

When they got back all the Rangers noticed Major Harrington a British Colonel, a man wearing a suit and a Marine Corps. Chaplain. Harrington then walked over and started talking to McCloud. “These men need to talk to you there’s been a terrible accident.” McCloud followed Harrington.

COL. JOHNSON’S OFFICE

Everyone took a seat as the Colonel spoke “May I offer my most sincere apologies for your loss Major.”

“Colonel no disrespect sir but what are you talking about?”

“Major, this morning the SAS raided a few houses in Portadown. These were homes of suspected IRA Terrorists.” The man with the tie introduced himself as James Ferguson from the state department. “Major you married an Irish national named Mary O’Leary I believe. She was killed this morning along with her entire family."

"So this is why my men and I were asked to come here... because the SAS thought it was more important to kill non combatants than to rescue one of there own.”

McCloud got to his feet and looked directly at the man from the State Department, then at the Colonel who had given him the details of the raid, and spoke to both of them. “Look My wife came here because her father was hospitalized with a heart condition. I was against her coming here but I know why she came because she loved her father. You raided the wrong house by the way.”

The Colonel returned his gaze and said "How do you know this?”

“Let me guess some of your men were watching a man named Patrick O’Leary.”

“That’s right according to the information we have he left armed everyday.”

“With good reason Sir, he was the first catholic police officer in Portadown.”

He then turned to the chaplain. “Let me guess, your here to council me and to tell me that I have thirty days emergency leave coming. “

“That’s right.”

“Well Sir I need a dress uniform since all I have is a BDU at the moment.”

Harrington left the room and returned with a US. Army uniform with all the right insignia and medals. “McCloud, the rest of what your embassy sent is in my office."

He left and was gone for about fifteen minutes and he was in full dress. “I’d like to go to the house and have a look.” McCloud and Timmons then left the room, walked outside and got into a vehicle and left.

THE ROAD TO PORTADOWN

On the ride to McCloud's father-in-law's home he couldn’t help but remember the day that he married the fiery red head. She had originally gone home to help her father but she also wanted to tell him she was three months pregnant. When they reached the house a huge crowd gathered around the car. McCloud looked at Harrington and said. “I think you should stay here.”

“I think your right.” The crowd backed off as he exited the vehicle. People came up to him and offered their condolences. They all were aware that Marry had married an American but had no idea he was military. He entered the house. The Browning Hi Power was still on the table and bullet holes were everywhere and so was the blood from their wounds. He then walked out the back door.

He saw where the SAS had trampled the garden in the back and how they even tore the barn apart looking for weapons.

One of the men who were out front came around back and asked who he was.

McCloud looked at the man and said. “My wife was Mary.”

“Well sir we took the bodies to the undertaker after the police left. Your wife was a fine woman just like her dear departed mother was. If you need anything ask for Brian O’toole, I run the local pub.

THREE DAYS LATER

The family was waked and buried in the family plot at the cemetery. Just about the whole police department and some big wigs from the American embassy were there among many family friends. Everyone paid their respects. McCloud set a single red rose on Mary’s grave and that of their unborn child and he promised her that whoever was responsible for this senseless act would pay.

THREE MONTHS LATER
THE SILVER STAR

The team had been off for awhile and Matt was doing paper work in his office. Matt heard a knock on his door and told whoever it was to come in.

Xavier Trout looked like death warmed over when he entered the office. “Trout you look like hell.”

“That’s putting it mildly.”

This peeked Matt’s interest a great deal because he had no idea where Trout was going with this. "

"Matt do you remember a man you went to college with by the name of Leroy McCloud?”

Matt’s interest was suddenly peeked by hearing his good friend’s name. “All right Trout what's going on with Lee?”

“Well I’m afraid he’s gone rogue on us.”

Matt looked at Trout and was speechless by what he was just told. Matt then rose to his feet to speak to Trout at eye level. “Trout, that’s impossible I just saw the man and his wife four month’s ago and everything was fine.”

Trout then took his hands and brushed his hair back. “Matt things have happened since then.”

“Trout what are you talking about?”

Trout was hoping to avoid having to tell him what happened to his friend’s family. “Matt, you see, McCloud's wife’s family was killed... including his wife.”

Matt could not believe what he was just told. “By whom?”

“Matt, it appears that the SAS made a mistake when they raided the home of an under cover police officer in Portadown.”

Matt stood there having a rough time believing what he was being told. “Trout where’s the General on this?”

“Well General McCloud is backing his son to the hilt saying there is no way his very own blood would kill 40 SAS troopers in cold blood. His position is his son is a warrior and will make who ever is responsible for this outrage pay.”

“Sounds a lot like he’s putting his career on the line.”

“Matt, he is, I need you and your people to go and bring McCloud home.”

Matt walked over to one of the pictures on the wall and looked at it. “Trout how about his team?”

“Matt that’s the one thing no one understands because they’re still there.”

“Interesting Trout but I want to use CJ on this since he knows the area and the various terrorist groups that breed over there like flies.”

“Well that’s fine, just be advised that Green Sleeve wants him dead.”

“What the hell for?”

“Matt, he took out Nathan Flynn while he was there, the leader of Green Sleeve.”

Matt picked up the phone and made his calls. He also took the Intel from Trout and made his way to the basement.

THE BASEMENT OF THE
SILVER STAR

Matt had called the team's beeper system and they arrived one by one. None of them seemed very happy that a mission was on but one look at Matt told them this was very serious. They all gathered around the table in the middle of the room as Matt handed out folders to each of them. They opened the folders and each took a look at the contents of the files.

The only comment came from Nick. “Who is this guy Rambo?”

Everyone looked at him and said nothing.

Matt then spoke again. “People, the subject is one Leroy McCloud. He is currently a Major in the US Army and heads up a ranger unit that is a hand picked counter terrorism unit. McCloud is a trained sniper, demo man. He is also an expert in small arms, Intel gathering, most forms of cqb and urban combat.”

No one said a word except for Benny Ray, “Sir do we have a fix on him at all?”

“Yes he’s been suspected of killing 40 SAS soldiers in the last four months in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland.”

Nick now looked very confused and asked. “Why the SAS?”

“His wife Mary was an Irish national and was killed while at her fathe'rs home there. It was raided. Nick, it's called payback.”

Margo looked at Matt and asked, “Were these your friends who were here just four months ago?”

“Yes they were and if I had known I would have been at the funeral.”

“Trout will have our weapons on the ground by diplomatic pouch. CJ will be meeting us in Belfast. When we hit the ground, Nick, you and Margo hit the pubs from there to Portadown. CJ and myself will be meeting with a liaison officer named Harrington. Benny Ray you need to collect our weapons. Nick, Margo, I want to talk to Lee first. One other thing... CJ has a price on his head by a splinter group of the IRA so keep your eyes open. We leave in two hours by commercial flight from LAX."

No one could add anything else so they all left to get packed.

SHANNON, IRELAND

CJ’s plane landed. He was stopped going through customs and the Irish authorities then detained him.

A tall slender woman walked in and introduced herself as Deborah Leary. “Mr. Yates welcome to Ireland. I am with the constables office.”

“Oh great, I get back to this God forsaken place and am arrested, just great.”

“Actually you are being detained until you answer my questions sir.”

“Fine.”

“What brings you to Ireland, business or pleasure?”

“Both actually.”

"What kind of business and what kind of personal business?.”

“I’m here to look at a plane for my friend who runs a charter service in Hawaii. Plus I was going to visit my grandmother's grave in Portadown.”

“You understand that I need to make confirmation. I will need your friend's name and your grandmother's name.”

“Not a problem, Jason Walker and my Granny’s name was Colleen Finch.”

The young women then left and came back a half-hour later. She handed him his passport and said. “Welcome to Ireland Mr. Yates.”

“Thank you I think.” CJ then went to get his bags.

In the concourse a young Irishman, about 23 years old, noticed CJ and went to the phone banks and made a call. He told the person on the other line that CJ Yates was back in the country.

Matt and the others arrived while CJ got his luggage. They had no problems getting through customs. They ran into CJ outside of the airport and exchanged pleasantries. They split up into two cars and made the long drive to Belfast while Benny Ray took the train to Dublin to get there gear at the embassy.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND

Major Leroy McCloud watched the man through the scope on his rifle and pulled the bolt back to chamber a round into the Robar QR2 Sniper's rifle. He watched his target close on a British trooper. McCloud saw what was going on and pulled the trigger. His target fell and McCloud picked up his things and left.

The British trooper scanned the rooftops and saw nothing except for the man behind him who held a gun in his hand and who also had a very neat hole between his eyes, the man had probably died instantly. The trooper immediately went to his radio and called it in.

BELFAST... THREE HOURS LATER

Matt and the others checked into their hotel to stow their gear and to start work immediately. Nick and Margo hit the pubs and started looking for their quarry and to find out any little bits of information they could get about what was going on.

Meanwhile, CJ and Matt went to SAS headquarters to talk to this Major Harrington.

SAS HEADQUARTERS

Matt and CJ sat waiting to be seen by this Major Harrington. They sat and waited for about the next 45 minutes.

Then the secretary in the outer office showed them in. Matt and CJ introduced themselves to Major Harrington and he instantly told them to have a seat and then began to speak.

“Well this is a bit differen,t a yank along with an Englishmen. It could be worse, I guess I could be talking to that nut case McCloud”

Matt did not like the man and neither did CJ for that matter. “Major we're here to bring McCloud home for one thing and the other is we did not come this far to be insulted by you.”

“Well Mr. Shepherd, the man is responsible for the deaths of 40 SAS troopers who have either been car bombed or victims of sniper attacks and a few have just been shot with a handgun. The phone rang and Harrington picked it up and spoke to whoever was on the other line. He finished in a few minutes and started to speak again. “Well it appears that McCloud struck again, this time in a sniper's attack he missed a trooper but killed a civilian who just happened to have a gun in his hand.”

“Major I don’t think McCloud is behind your killings because if he was that trooper would be dead.”

“You know him then?”

“Yes we went to college together.”

“That figures.”

“Well Yates what do you think of all this?”

“I really don’t know sir.”

"Major why is McCloud's unit still here?”

“Got no idea. You can ask them yourself, they are quartered at your consulate.”

“Well thank you for your time Majo,r we’ll be on our way.” Matt and CJ then left.

US CONSULATE

It took Matt and CJ about 20 minutes to get to the consulate. Matt asked to see a Lieutenant Watson. Watson was a big man about six foot four inches tall with sandy blonde hair and talked with an Alabama accent. Matt introduced himself and CJ.

“Well, I guess your wondering what we're still doing here?”

“The thought had crossed our minds mate.”

“Mr. Yates and Mr. Shepherd, that’s classified information which I can’t give out. The only one who knows for sure is Major McCloud”

“When was the last time you saw him?”

“That was this morning sir.”

“Thank you lieutenant."

The young officer then left.

Matt picked up a phone and called Trout. He told him that it looked more like McCloud and his men were on a mission than anything else.

PORTADOWN, IRELAND

Margo and Nick had been to just about every pub they could find in the visitor's guide from Belfast to Portadown plus some that were not even in the guide such as their last stop, a place called the Boars Tavern. They both walked in and the place grew very silent.

Nick ordered two ale from the barmaid and struck up a conversation with her.

Margo struck up a conversation with the bartender as she finished her ale. When she mentioned the name of the man she was looking for he went and made a phone call. She then returned to her seat next to Nick who had ordered another round.

Nick looked at Margo and spoke. “Well it looks like the news around here is that someone is killing members of Green Sleeve, one of the IRA'S splinter groups along with someone killing SAS operatives.”

“Got any idea who it is?”

“Afraid not, the bar maid was not that talkative.”

They then noticed a man walk in with a close cropped military haircut.

Margo walked back to the bar as the man turned around. What she saw was a big man standing six feet tall and weighing around 220 pounds with rugged good looks and dark hazel eyes. The big man stunned Margo for a minute. “Major McCloud right?”

“That’s right. Now who are you?”

“Well I’m a friend of Matt Shepherd, my name is Margo Vincent.”

“So your Margo, you I have heard about.”

“All good I hope?”

“Yes it was.”

“Major can we talk?”

“Sure. O’Toole, mind if I use your office for a few minutes?”

“Help yourself.”

They walked to the back of the pub and Nick followed. McCloud looked back at Nick and Nick went back to his seat.

Margo took a chair and sat in front of the desk, while McCloud sat on the desk. “Lets cut to the chase Miss Vincent shall we.”

“Please call me Margo and that is fine with me.”

“All right Margo. I know you work with Matt, so is he in Northern Ireland?”

“Yes he is.”

“Let me guess... he’s here to bring me back... dead or alive.”

“We were told, preferably alive.”

“My next question is why?”

“Because of your targeting the SAS.”

“Well that’s a blatant lie. Look Margo, bring Matt back here, let's say at seven tomorrow morning so that we can talk things out.”

“Sure.” Margo then got up and left.

McCloud sat back and watched her leave. He also began to think about what his good friend was doing here in the first place.

THE PENTAGON
SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND (SOCOM)

General Charles McCloud sat at his desk and was working late. He was also wondering if his son was still alive. He also needed a sitrep so he called the US Consulate in Belfast and spoke with Lieutenant Watson who filled him in as much as he could. What they had all hoped for was a nice clean operation to get these splinter groups under control. But the violent death of his daughter-in-law had made this a very personal mission.

The General heard a knock on his door and answered, “Enter.” He was shocked to see Xavier Trout walk into his office. “Well Xavier it’s been a long time.”

“Well Charles this is not a social cal,l I need some information that only you can provide.”

“Sure, what do you need?”

“I need to know if your son and his unit have gone rogue or are they on assignment?”

“Trout, that’s a tall order but the answer is on assignment.”

“So my team leader was right.”

“I’ve heard about that bunch they do good work.”

“Who ordered this op Charles?”

General McCloud fixed himself a drink at the bar. “Well Xavier, only a few people know about it and they are the joint chiefs, the man himself and myself. It's called Operation Thunderbolt and it's sole purpose is to get the IRA splinter groups under control by any means necessary.”

“Thanks Charles for your help.” Trout then pulled out a satellite cell phone, placed a call and left a voice message for Matt, since he was not carrying his phone.

DUBLIN, IRELAND

Benny Ray had picked up the team’s gear and was about ready to hit the road when he heard some marines talking about a rogue army Ranger. He really did not want to get involved with it so he left in an embassy vehicle and started the long drive to Belfast.

BELFAST

Matt and CJ waited patiently for the others to get back.

Matt was not expecting Benny Ray till sometime the next day due to the long ride from Dublin to Belfast.

Margo and Nick were late but CJ told him how many small pubs and taverns they had to cover.

An hour later Margo and Nick arrived. Nick was a bit miffed but in good spirits. Margo was tired, he could tell.

“Well any luck?”

Nick looked at Matt, “Yeah why didn’t you tell me your friend could play fullback for the Jets, the guy is huge.”

“Sorry about that Nick. So what did Lee have to say?”

Margo sat in the chair and took off her boots before she spoke. “He wants to meet with you at the Boars Tavern at seven in the morning. I’m supposed to bring you there. By the way, he denies killing any British soldiers.”

“I’ll wait to talk to him tomorrow then. Nick, tomorrow I want you and CJ to follow our friend Major Harrington. Something about him bothers me."

They all went to their own rooms.

Matt looked at his phone and there was a voice message from Trout confirming what they had hoped for all along.

BELFAST
EARLY MORNING

Benny Ray arrived in Belfast early in the morning. He parked the car and walked into the hotel and checked in. He saw Matt in the hallway and asked if they had any luck in finding Major McCloud.

The answer he got was yes and Matt told him about the morning meeting.

Benny Ray walked into his room and retrieved his sig. P229 Sport already loaded with 125 gr. hollow points in 357 sig.

Matt took the weapon and put it in his waist band.

He then retrieved Margo’s gun and left it with Matt. “Sir if you have no objections, I’ll leave the personal weapons here so I can get some shut eye.”

“Go ahead Benny Ray you deserve it."

With that the sniper left without saying a word.

Margo woke to the sound of her alarm clock. She really hated early morning. She much preferred to sleep in most mornings but she knew she had a job to do. So she hit the shower and then got dressed but not in the style she had dressed in the previous night. She thought about Matt’s friend, how easy it was for him to intimidate Nick with his size. She also thought under the right circumstances she could be attracted to this man on many levels. Her thoughts then shifted to the man’s dead wife and she wondered what kind of women she was. Margo then grabbed her purse and went to Matt’s room. She ran into Matt on her way there and they left the hotel, headed for their early morning meeting.

PORTADOWN

Matt and Margo arrived at the Boars Tavern exactly at seven. Matt had given Margo her P232 before they left and she'd put it in her purse. They walked in and were shown to a table already set for three people by the owner.

McCloud then joined them. “Matt, it’s good to see you again and Miss Vincent, it is also a pleasure to see you also. So Matt, what brings you here?”

“Well Lee, you did.”

“How’s that?”

“Someone in the State Department believed you and your men went rogue after Mary’s death.”

“Let me guess they are suspecting me of killing those 40 SAS troopers.”

“Yeah they are.”

“Look Matt, I was sent here on assignment and it's not finished yet. Did whoever gave you this task mention the elimination of the Orange Brigade and the deaths of the members of Green Sleeve?”

“No one knew about it.”

Margo ate her breakfast and drank her coffee, as horrid as it was, before saying a word but just listening to their conversation, which was pretty low keyed. She then asked some questions. “Major how do you know it was not the SAS who killed your wife’s family?”

“Miss Vincent that was the easy part. For one thing the SAS are experts as are the Rangers in live fire control meaning only those holding a firearm would have been killed. This was nothing more than a massacre. Fact number two, only berdan primed cartridges were found at the scene, the SAS uses boxer primed like every member of NATO does. Fact three, the foot prints outside the house were regular work boots not military jump boots. The foot prints were all wrong.”

Margo began to see a picture forming of some kind of payback from someone. "Could one of these splinter groups have used your raid against the Orange Brigade as a start off point."

McCloud was thinking about that while O’Toole cleared away the dishes and said yes. McCloud told the man to sit. Which he did.

O’Toole looked confused as he looked at the three Americans.

McCloud asked the questions to his family’s friend. “OK Brian what's going on?”

“When a SAS trooper named Yates killed old Nathan Flynn, Green Sleeve made no bones about wanting to rid the world and especially Northern Ireland of the SAS.”

“Do you know who’s running their operation now?”

“Afraid not, no one does whose still living any way.”

They allowed O’Toole to finish his work.

McCloud explained there had to be a leak on the English end of things.

Matt agreed and all parties went their own way.

BELFAST

Nick and CJ sat in a car and watched SAS headquarters. They made notice of who came and who went. They were surprised to see Harrington show up for work in the mid morning hours. They both wondered why he was there so late. When lunchtime came they saw Harrington get into a car and leave. They followed him into the Catholic section of Belfast and saw the man knock on a door. CJ took a picture of the woman who opened the door. She stood about 5’6” tall with frosted brown wavy hair and a face and figure that belonged to a model. Harrington stayed for several hours. They then followed him back to his office. CJ made a phone call and told Matt what they had found. They then headed back to the hotel to check back in.

US CONSULATE, BELFAST

McCloud got to the Consulate around nine in the morning. He was way overdue in making a sitrep and having it sent to the Pentagon. He sat at a secure computer terminal, entered an access code and sent his report to the Pentagon. His second-in-command then entered the room.

“Major there's something you need to know.”

“All right Jim, what is it?”

"Yesterday a man stopped by and started asking questions about you sir, so I had him followed by Johnson. Johnson came back this morning with an Irishman in tow.”

“Pull surveillance off of the man you had followed, he’s a friend.”

“Yes sir Major, what would you like us to do with the Irishman, we're running his prints now.”

“Is he in a secure room?”

“Yes sir."

A third man entered and handed Major McCloud a report. He looked at it and told his second he’d be interrogating the prisoner himself.

SECURE ROOM IN THE CONSULATE

McCloud entered the room and saw a young man being guarded by a Sergeant.

The Sergeant moved forward and handed him a highly customized browning Hi-Power and went back to his post. The young man was handcuffed to his chair. “All right boy, lets have a talk shall we.”

“What right do you have to hold me?”

“Look I’m gonna ask the questions and your gonna answer.”

The young man did not know what was going on but he decided to cooperate.

“What's your name son.”

“Martin Murphy.”

“All right Martin where did you get the gun from?”

“My grand father left it to me.”

“Well Martin that’s highly unlikely, so what was your grandpa’s name, Harry Murphy?

"Why?”

“Well you see Martin, I had this gun customized for my brother-in-law, Patrick O’Leary.”

The youth’s mouth dropped wide open because he could not believe what he was hearing. “No that’s impossible. They had no American relatives.”

“That’s where you’re wrong son.”

“How’s that?”

“My wife’s name was Mary McCloud, her maiden name was O’Leary. Now Martin, who gives you your orders.”

“If I tell you I’m as good as dead.”

“Well Martin, if you don’t you’re as good as dead.” McCloud reached around his back and produced a sig. P226 that he laid on the table.

“All right Meagan calls all the shots.”

“So she gives you your orders and you obey them.”

“Yes.”

"Sergeant, ask Doc to come in.”

“Yes Sir.” The sergeant left and returned with another man.

“Boss you wanted me.”

“Yes, shoot our friend here up with some of your babble juice.”

The medic did as he was ordered and everything came out the same as before.

“OK take this gentlemen and turn him over to the SAS."

HOTEL ACROSS TOWN

CJ and Nick returned to the hotel and went directly to Matt’s room where everyone was assembled.

Nick gave Margo the camera and she downloaded the image from the camera. It took her a few minutes to clear the picture up and to do some other touch up work. She then started hitting the keys on the laptop computer and in a matter of minutes came up with who this person was.

“Matt, according to what I have been able to come up with the women is Meagan Flynn. Not much background on her here other than being the wife of Nathan Flynn.”

“Bloody hell.” Exclaims CJ in a bit of sarcastic wit.

"Well she also has ties to the US where she was born and educated. She also worked for the CIA and was assigned to the Paris office as a field operative. She worked for them for about 2 years. Upon returning home she then joined the FBI and was their first female member of a Hostage Rescue Team. All in all, a very impressive resume."

Matt picked up the phone and dialed the consulate. His message was brief and very short. He put the receiver down and waited for an answer, which came very fast. A meeting was set up at the cemetery in Portadown where Mary McCloud was buried. There was then a long discussion why he should not go alone but Matt ran things and just about everyone trusted his judgment on this except for Benny Ray and CJ.

CEMETERY IN PORTADOWN

Matt arrived right on time. He just hoped that Benny Ray and CJ did as they were instructed which was to stay back in Belfast.

McCloud joined Matt at his wife’s grave. “Matt you asked to see me so what's going on.”

“Le,e my people and I want to help you in any way we can.”

“Matt thanks for the offer but I have enough help at the moment.”

“How about someone in the SAS having a fling with a member of Green Sleeve.”

“Now you got my attention.”

“Matt unslung the laptop and placed it on a headstone and showed McCloud what they had.

“So Harrington is having a fling with this Irish tart... very interesting.”

“Well Lee it gets better, you see she’s actually an American.”

McCloud read the name on the file. “So the boy was telling me the truth.”

Matt looked a bit perplexed and asked what he was missing. “Lee your not telling me something so what's going on?”

“All right Matt, my second-in-command had you placed under surveillance and after our meeting they caught someone else following you... a young Irishman named Martin Murphy, a member of Green Sleeve.” McCloud told Matt what he found out about the organization and the two men walked away toward the street.

OLD BELL TOWER 500 YDS AWAY

Benny Ray was watching Matt and McCloud through a sniper's scope just in case something happened and CJ was watching from a car down on the street. Benny Ray was busy watching and did not hear the man approaching him until he heard the racking of a slide that belonged to a Mossberg 590A1 combat shotgun. Then he heard a voice, that had a bit of a Texan drawl to it, start to speak.

“All right son, move away from the rifle now.”

Benny Ray knew this guy had to be a ranger and did as was instructed. They both moved down the stairs and were greeted by two other men who relieved Benny Ray of any weapons he had. Benny Ray spoke into his COM and got no response from CJ and knew something was definitely wrong. Benny Ray was then relieved of his pistol and placed in riot cuffs and stuffed in a car. “Someone get the Major.”

Matt and McCloud saw what was happening and went over to check it out.

“Matt is he one of yours?”

“Yeah he is.”

“All right cut him loose.”

They dragged Benny Ray out of the car and cut off the riot cuffs.

As Benny Ray flexed his wrists he asked for his rifle and pistol back and was obliged.

“Benny Ray I told you and CJ to stay put.”

“Boss I know and maybe we should have but we thought covering your back was more important. By the way I think CJ’s missing or something happened to him. He wouldn’t answer his com.

McCloud gave the order for his men to look around for anything. About five minutes later one of the soldiers came back with his com link. “Sir it looks like whoever he was has been taken by force. There was a little bit of blood in the car where I found this.

“Doc get the others and head back to the Consulate.”

“Yes sir.”

Matt and Benny Ray stayed and talked to McCloud for a bit and then left.

BELFAST

CJ was able to jolt the cobwebs from his mind. He noticed he was in a cellar chained to a wall He then heard the cellar door open and four people walk down the stairs. He notices Meagan Flynn right off the bat and he figures the other three are just Muscle.

“Well Mr.Yates, we finally meet. But I need to know one thing... why did you kill poor Nathan.”

“Because he was a bastard and deserved a first class trip to hell.”

She looked at her men and told them she wanted answers to why he was in Ireland and whom he was working for and not to come back up without those answers.

PORTADOWN

McCloud was not pleased by what Harrington may have done by dropping something that may have caused his wife’s death. “Watson grab two men and bring our friend Major Harrington to the consulate and make sure you’re in uniform when you do it. As for the rest of you, when we get back, get your combat packs ready because it’s party time.”

“Yes sir.”

McCloud's men climbed into vehicles and were off.

“Lee what about my missing man?”

“Let’s go and see the man with the answers. My friend O'Toole."

They all took the walk over to the Boars Tavern.

The three men entered and found the place just about empty. They sat at a table and O’Toole joined them.

“What can I get for you gentlemen on this fine afternoon.”

“O’Toole drop the act.”

He did as McCloud suggested. “Who’s your other friend.”

“Don’t really know who he is but my friend keeps him on a short leash I bet.”

The other two men laughed at the inside joke.

McCloud got up to leave and bid Matt a good bye and asked him to keep him informed.

Matt started to talk to O’Toole. “I’d like you to meet Benny Ray Riddle.”

“OK so what can I do for you gentlemen.”

“Well amigo I need to find my compadre, his name is CJ.”

“Never heard of him.”

“Well actually you mentioned him this morning, his last name is Yates.”

“Well gentlemen, I know someone who can help you but keep me out of it.” O’toole yelled for a man named Tommy. A man of around twenty-nine with average height and weight and a balding forehead joined them.

"How may I help?"

"Brian, these men’s friend is missing and his name is Yates.”

“The man who sent Nathan Flynn to hell?”

“Yeah that would be right.”

He flipped open a cell phone and got the answers they were looking for. He gave them the information he was given.

“Friend that was way too easy, how did you come by it?”

“You see I was pretty high up on the ladder of the IRA at one time but we hated Nathan Flynn with a passion. Besides I saw who brought you in here. You know there's not a man here who does not owe the O’Leary’s some kind of debt.”

Benny Ray and Matt left to get the others.

OUTSIDE OF SAS HEADQUARTERS

Three men waited in a panel truck. All were dressed in military fatigues and they carried the same weapons. They also carried M9’s on their hips and were also equipped with M4 carbines. They sat and waited. When they saw Major Harrington head for his car two men jumped out, M4’S aimed directly at him. He was then told not to move. He obeyed each command as it was given. He was then placed in riot cuffs and thrown face first into the panel truck.

“I demand to know where you’re taking me.”

His guard, a red headed kid from the mountains of New Hampshire answered him. ”You see Major someone wants to talk to you real bad. So if I was you I’d be very quiet.”

Nothing more was said until they reached their destination.

US CONSULATE

The rangers brought their prisoner in and placed him into a secure room. Moments later a man entered the room whom Harrington recognized and he was now getting a bit angry.

“What the hell are you doing McCloud?”

“That’s funny Harrington, I was going to ask you the same thing”

“What do you mean, I’ve done nothing wrong.”

McCloud reached around his back and produced a very large tactical folder and he cut off the man’s restraints. He then handed him the information he had been given about Harrington’s girlfriend.

Harrington read the information and was thoroughly shocked. “This can not be true. Meagan would not do these things.”

“Well Harrington I verified all of this with the CIA, FBI and the Irish constabulary before coming to talk to you. Now what I want to know is if my men and I were compromised before we even came here.”

“Well I might have said something but I’m not sure.” McCloud viciously attacked Harrington and left nothing but a bloody mess. He helped the man up and spoke. “Listen up Harrington, I want a list of properties her group might have and I want them now. By the way you can kiss your world good bye. Maybe you did not pull the trigger but you’re just as guilty as the person who did kill my wife.

Harrington gave him everything he wanted and then some. He then left the room and told his men to suit up and they all headed out in two groups.

BELFAST

CJ was moved several times during that night and each time he had received a beating just as ordered by Meagan Flynn. He awoke that morning being held up by chains hanging from the ceiling. He noticed that the terrorists were playing with what looked like C4 plastic explosive and a detonator. They then walked up to him and beat him some more then they fastened the bomb to his chest.

Both teams hit their targets with fast and ferocious attacks taking out anyone there. They both had the same agenda and that was to bring an innocent Englishman home. Both teams met at the last target on their lists. Matt and McCloud formulated a plan where their teams would go in at the same time but from different vantage points. McCloud's men would take the rear while Matt's took the front. They both gave the word that this would be a live fire exercise. Both teams hit the warehouse at the same time taking out anyone holding a gun. When the smoke cleared Meagan Flynn was holding a pistol to CJ's head.

She knew for her the war was over now all her followers were dead. She viewed this as a losing proposition as she looked at an American, with very dark eyes, holding an MP5SD6 and speaking with a southern accent and then she noticed the other men holding M4 carbines and one very big man with piercing hazel eyes. She then dropped her gun and two rangers took her into custody.

“Major we got a problem here sir.”

“What is it Benny Ray?”

“Well sir he’s a time bomb and I can’t defuse it"

Matt and McCloud walked over and took a look.

“Matt take your people out of here now and take the rest of my men with you.”

“Lee your gonna need help with this.”

“Matt don’t argue, I was crossed trained in this kind of thing so get going.”

Matt grudgingly left with everyone else. He did not like leaving his friends in this kind of situation but he knew his friend was right about this.

McCloud removed a small tool set from one of his pockets on his combat vest.

CJ was awake and alert. “Mate I sure hope you know what you’re doing with this thing.”

“Well Mr.Yates, the bastards really did not make this easy for me. Because if I guess wrong we get blown to hell.”

McCloud then starts getting down to business. He clips a wire and the clock hurries down to zero and stops at the one-second mark. He then unstraps the bomb from his chest. The two men leave the building. CJ looks a little worse for wear but is basically fine.

McCloud looks directly at Meagan Flynn. “By the way Mrs. Flynn, you won’t be tried by the Irish. You're going back to the states to face criminal charges there.”

She looked shocked as she spoke. “That’s not possible, is it.”

“Well its already been worked out by the State Department. You’ll be tried for your crimes there because you killed an American citizen.”

“I beg to differ on that. I only had the English killed and the family of an Irish traitor killed.

McCloud's blood was boiling now as he grabbed the women’s chin and pushed her head up to face his. “You see that Irish traitor as you call him was my brother-in-law. His sister Mary was my wife.” He explained as he walked away.

Matt’s team had disappeared into the mist of the evening.

BOULDER, CO.
THREE MONTHS LATER

As Meagan Flynn's trial had progressed each day there was one person in the courthouse and that was one Major Leroy McCloud wanting his piece of flesh very badly and everyone knew it. He made no bones about his wife being killed as a non-combative who was just visiting family and that of their unborn child as well. But he really could not believe the verdict he heard. He then headed out because he was so mad at the moment. He met an officer in the hallway who gave him his official orders.

THE SILVER STAR
THE SAME DAY

The team had gathered in Matt’s office each day to watch the trial then, when they found her innocent, no one could believe it.

Trout had entered the room as her lawyer gave a press conference on the court house steps... when a loan gunshot rang out... that killed Meagan Flynn instantly.

“Well Boss I really can’t blame him one bit." Replied Benny Ray.

“Neither can I Benny Ray."

Trout cleared his voice and handed them their cash and spoke “Then it’s a good thing for McCloud that he received orders on his next assignment about a half-hour before this horrible accident occurred.”

Matt looked at him and spoke, "What do you know about this?”

“Matt, not a thing.” He then left but everyone knew what had happened... the man was given an unbreakable alibi.

Finni

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