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Author: Rae Evans. Thanks to Tim for the edit, fantastic as always mate and Ray for the read through, glad you spotted the deliberate mistake (phew)!
Rating: Rated PG13 -Contains minor violence and some bad language
Summary: Is Benny Ray the next Buffy?
Disclaimer: The SOF team and associated characters are not mine, they belong to Rysher. The others are mine. No profit is made by my use of the Rysher characters, so please don't sue. 

CHAPTER ONE

Benny Ray enjoyed the journey. It was long and lonely but that was part of the appeal. As much as he loved working with the team, there were times when he longed for the solitude that sniper training had taught him to accept. The trip to Utah was one he took every year without fail. The young Benny Ray with no father and eight older siblings who watched his every move, felt the need to escape every now and then. On one such bid for freedom he had met an old Indian man. Charlie One Horse and the young run away had become great friends and on many occasions Charlie had filled the head of the young Benny Ray with stories of great Indian fighters battling against the odds for the freedom and liberty of their people. The impressionable young boy had imagined himself at the head of a great army of warriors or fighting hand-to-hand in single combat against the likes of Custer. His head was filled with heroism and justice and for a short time he was able to forget the difficulties of home life in a trailer park. When Benny Ray was 16, Charlie went to live with his daughter in Arizona. It was not long after that the youngest Riddle joined the Marines. Since then he had made this trip once a year to visit Charlie, to relive those times and to listen to those stories once again.

It was late afternoon and he was on Highway 160 between Monument Valley and Tuba City. As always it was his intention to stop in Tuba City and eat at Pancho's. The restaurant served some of the best Mexican American food in the State. From there he would make it to Flagstaff where he already had a reservation at the La Quinta hotel. Breakfast at Denny's early the next morning would see him back at the Silver Star within the day. Up ahead he could see flashing lights, the highway patrol were in action. As he approached he saw a bad accident; one car was on its roof and the other badly dented. The road was blocked and he was directed off the main highway on to a side road having been promised by the patrolman that the diversion was only a short one. The diversion was not as short as he had anticipated and five miles further on he came across two more cars.

One man had obviously stopped to help. His car, with the engine running was parked up on the side of the road, the other car was in a bad way. It was on its side with skid marks showing where the driver had failed to bring his car under control. The Good Samaritan waved down Benny Ray who was slowing anyway. Grabbing the first aid kit from his car he ran to the up turned vehicle and knelt down by the car. Inside a man was bleeding. His injuries looked bad and he was unconscious.

" He needs help." The stranger stated the obvious. " My phone won't work here, I have tried. Will yours?"

Benny Ray took out his phone and dialled 911. He had no signal.

"Nada."He replied to the stranger.

" There was a house about a mile back I passed on my way through. I could go get help if you would stop with him?" The man suggested.

" OK by me amigo. I'll do what I can to help him till you get back. Just don't take too long."

The man was soon in his car and driving back in the direction that he had come from. Benny Ray took a closer look at the man in the car. Carefully wiping away the blood he saw that the head injury did not appear to be as serious as he had first thought. But checking further it was apparent that the man could not be moved from the vehicle as his leg was trapped where the front of the car had buckled in. Benny Ray made the man as comfortable as possible and applied what little first aid he could manage. As he bandaged the man's head, the man started to stir and became distressed. He was muttering in a language Benny Ray could not understand. He wished that Margo was with him. As the man lapsed back towards unconsciousness he repeated one word "Anloch, Anloch." It meant nothing to Benny Ray. The man stopped talking and checking his pulse Benny Ray found he was dead. Sitting back on his heels he checked his watch. The other man had been gone some considerable time and he thought it strange that as yet neither the man had reappeared nor had paramedics arrived at the scene.

Time dragged on. Benny Ray stayed with the body considering that he should drive back to the highway and report the incident to the highway patrol at the very least, but something held him back and as he waited the sky darkened as if in warning. Eventually another car came up behind Benny Ray's and he waved it down. The driver confirmed that the highway patrol was still attending the accident on the Highway and he agreed to drive back to report this accident. Shortly after a lone patrolman arrived on a bike. He took charge and got details from Benny Ray as to where he would be staying overnight and a description of the apparent Good Samaritan who had never returned. Benny Ray also gave the patrolman the description of the car and its plate number.

It was considerably later that Benny Ray arrived at his hotel in Flagstaff and as his head hit the pillow his last thought was of some awaiting menace which he could not specify. The next morning after the promised breakfast at Denny's, Benny Ray reported to the police station as promised. The desk sergeant looked at him with long suffering patience.

" You say this happened last night just off Highway 160. I'm sorry sir, I have no record of any accident on that road at any time yesterday."

Benny Ray could hardly believe what he was hearing. He explained again the circumstances of the accident and once again the desk sergeant told him there was no record of such a matter. Even worse there was apparently no record of the accident on Highway 160 which had caused Benny Ray to be diverted in the first place.

"What the hell is going on here, people are dying and no one seems to know anything about it?" Benny Ray questioned.

The desk sergeant did not reply but started to tap the desk with his pencil as if his patience had finally run out. Benny Ray left the police station and after making inquiries found his way to the local morgue. Once again he drew a blank. There was no body brought in from any road traffic accident the previous day. Fortunately the local hospital sat next door to the morgue, but inquiries there proved just as fruitless. This is crazy thought Benny Ray. He knew what he had seen, a man had died and these people had to be covering it up. Getting back into his Dodge he drove back out along Highway 160, passed Tuba City and onto the side road. There was no vehicle on the road but the skid marks were still there. At least I'm not losing my mind he thought. As he stood by the side of the road his cell phone rang. Answering it without thought he heard Matt Shepherd's voice,

" Benny Ray how far away you?"

" I got held up Major. I'm still at Flagstaff."

" I need you back here Benny Ray. Trout has just called. He is on his way in and has a mission for us."

" Roger that. I'm on my way."

As he cut the connection he looked at the phone. The signal strength was maximum. This gets weirder and weirder he thought to himself, but he put those thoughts out of his mind as he got back into the Dodge and continued his journey back to California. The red Dodge disappeared into the distance and two men dressed in black and standing by the side of the road watched the vehicle as it grew smaller and smaller. Neither man spoke but thoughts passed between them.

< He is trouble>

< He must be watched>

< Agreed>

CHAPTER TWO

Benny Ray arrived back at the Silver Star minutes before Trout. The disgruntled spook was not a happy man. The Senator who was head of the oversight committee which gave approval to Trout for his covert operations was at present sponsoring a Bill which would enable the business assets of criminals convicted overseas of being seized here in the United States. This had particularly annoyed certain elements of the Russian Mafia and one attempt had already been made on the Senator's life. The attempt had failed but had left an aide dead and one of the Senator's security detail in hospital in a coma. The Senator, scared witless wanted Trout's help. Whilst normally the Secret Service would have dealt with this matter the Senator insisted that he see some return for his continuing support of Trout's operations.

The team had gone in and for the first few days everything went smoothly. The Senator started to relax and announced that he had changed his mind and would attend the official function at the Russian Embassy that he had previously declined. The Russian Government was very much in favour of the Senator's Bill and despite Matt's advise that the risk was too great, the Senator insisted on going.

The Ball at the Russian Embassy was a grand affair. To mingle unobtrusively the team were forced to wear dinner jackets and in Margo's case her best and slinkiest little black number. CJ complained bitterly and failed utterly in his attempts to tie his bow tie. Margo came to his rescue. With the team in place the evening seemed to be going without incident when two waiters pulled out AK-47's and targeted the Senator. Benny Ray at the Senator's side pushed him to the ground and bringing out his Glock shot one of the men. Leaving Margo to effect the Senator's extraction from the Embassy Benny Ray went after the second tango. He followed his target up a sweeping staircase and down along the corridor. As the tango reached the end of the corridor he turned and bought the rifle round on Benny Ray. The tango was dead before he targeted the sniper.

In the ballroom two men, dressed in black, had watched the team all evening.

< We must know.>

< It will be difficult.>

< He is stronger when he is with his friends.>

< Separate him.>

< How?>

< We will find a way.>

CHAPTER THREE

Matt Shepherd sat in his office at the Silver Star holding a bottle of water. The team were back after the Senator had been persuaded finally to go into protective custody until the Bill was passed. He stared at the bottle of water, his mind far away. His peace and quiet was shattered when the door to the office was pushed open and a tall black handsome man walked in. Chance Walker made his way to Matt.

" There are two guys outside. They are obviously watching the place but making no attempt to hide themselves. What gives Major?"

" I saw them earlier and have been keeping an eye on them." Matt nodded in the direction of a small security TV on his desk.

CJ had installed the security cameras some months ago and this was the first time they had really been useful. A third member of the team entered next. Margo was about to tell the two tall men that they were being watched when they turned to her and together said,

" We know."

With CJ and Benny Ray at the shooting range the three of them decided to confront the two men. As they exited the Silver Star they fanned out and approached the spot where the two men had last been seen. Neither man was there. Two hours later CJ and Benny Ray found the three members of the team hunched over the security TV in the basement. Margo showed the latecomers the video footage from earlier. No one could identify the men. CJ suggested taking stills from the video footage and getting Trout to run the pictures through the CIA computer records.

" There's just one problem with that CJ," Margo pointed out as she threw about 20 photographs on to the high table." These are our earlier attempts to print off still photographs."

Benny Ray and CJ inspected the shots. Each one was marred in the same way. Where the face of a man should be there was just a blur. No features could be made out at all.

Matt turned to his team, " I don't know why but this one worries me. I want everyone bunking here tonight and keep your eyes open."

They all nodded.

The next day Margo and Chance were up early for a run along the beach. About halfway to their normal destination they spotted the two men.

" This time they don't get away. " Promised Chance.

He and Margo took off after the two men, running all the time further away from Silver Star.

In the basement of the Silver Star Benny Ray was going through his daily ritual of cleaning the team's personal hand guns. CJ was playing computer games and from the sounds coming from his corner of the room, he seemed to be losing. Matt was sitting on the couch reading the paper before contemplating a morning of paperwork in his office. The phone rang. Matt answered and listened to Margo tell him that she and Chance were in pursuit and giving their location. As the three men got ready to head out a noise was heard upstairs. The place was closed and no one else was in the building. Changing their plans the men headed upstairs to where the noise had come from. A thorough search revealed nothing apart from an open window which should have been shut. The window opened onto the fire escape. Matt stepped out of the window and heard footsteps in the alley below. Signalling to CJ and Benny Ray all three men climbed out onto the fire escape and shutting the window behind them made their way down to the alley.

" This way." Matt indicated.

Quickly falling into a well rehearsed drill, the three men made their way quietly but quickly up the alleyway. Matt was at point, CJ in the middle and Benny Ray bringing up the rear. Coming to the end of the alleyway there were only two buildings offering access for anyone trying to evade them. Approaching the first building, CJ and Benny Ray quickly established that all the doors were locked and no windows were open. Matt approached the second building, a shop that until recently had sold jewellery and local crafts. The front door was unlocked. CJ checked the rest of the building.

" That's it Major, only one way in or out."

" We're going in. Be careful people."

Inside the building three glass counters stood close to the walls. The place was deserted. A thin layer of dust covered everything but there were no footsteps to disturb the grime. Checking behind the counters the three men slowly walked to the centre of the room. Under the dust they could faintly see something painted on the floor. It was like two triangles, one overlaying the other. There was nothing else to be seen.

" Where the hell did he go?" CJ asked.

The other two men were thinking the same and Benny Ray was about to answer when a powerful light encompassed the three men and they fell to the floor unmoving.

CHAPTER FOUR

Chance and Margo had not managed to make up any ground on the two men, they had always been in sight but no matter how fast they had gone the two men had matched their speed. The longer the chase went on, the angrier Chance had become.

"There is no way those guys can keep doing this. How do they know how fast we are going?" He puffed.

On a sudden thought he slowed down and pulled Margo back to match his speed. The two men slowed too.

"We've been had Margo. This is no chase, this is a distraction."

As Chance stopped so did the men. The two pairs looked at each other. Chance blinked and the two men were gone.

"Where did they go?"

He couldn't believe what had happened right in front of him and turned to Margo for reassurance. Margo stood in the sand her mouth open. Chance knew she had seen the same as him. Margo started to walk back, she looked at Chance with a dawning horror,

"We have to get back, something is wrong."

She started running back towards the Silver Star, her speed never letting up til she hit the door at full pelt. There was no one anywhere. She started to panic,

"Chance we have to find them." She turned to the black man and pleaded with him.

Catching his breath he tried to reassure her. He couldn't understand her level of anxiety. On the run back he had convinced himself that the men disappearing was just a trick of the light, someone must have walked across his line of vision when he blinked and the men had just darted into cover. He had told himself that must be the truth. Standing in the basement they both turned as Matt and CJ staggered down the stairs. Both looked shocked and disorientated. Both were blinking and hiding their eyes.

"Matt, what's wrong? What happened?" Margo pressed for answers as the two men were guided to seats.

It was CJ who answered and explained about the trip into the alleyway. He became more vague when he tried to tell them what had happened in the empty shop. Margo took hold of CJ's shirt,

"Where is Benny Ray? CJ where is he?"

The Brit shook his head.

"When we woke up he had gone, he just wasn`t there."

"Get up." Margo demanded, "We have to find him." She pulled CJ up and steered him towards the steps, "show me the shop."

Matt's voice stopped them both, "Margo, wait. He's not there. There is no point in going back."

Margo's eyes were wide and they pleaded with Matt. "I need to see the ............ shop." She finished lamely.

"It's okay Matt, I'll take her. For all the good it will do." CJ replied.

Whilst Chance stayed with Matt, CJ led Margo back down the alley. As they approached the shop CJ slowed. His face was pale and before Margo reached out to open the door of the shop, he put his hand on her arm,

"Margo, I can't go in there."

He had expected her to explode and to complain about his cowardice. But she studied him closely and merely nodded. She headed into the shop on her own. When she came out she was as pale as him. She strode purposefully away from the shop pulling CJ by the arm with her. At the Silver Star Matt, having drunk a medicinal Jack Daniels, was feeling better. That feeling quickly evaporated when he saw the faces of his demo man and linguistics experts. He stood,

"What?" he asked.

Margo replied to him, " On this one we need professional help."

"I thought we were the professionals." Chance stated.

"Not this time." Margo said quietly and her hand reached for the phone.

CHAPTER FIVE

Benny Ray awoke and knew immediately that he was not in the shop. He was lying on a chair, like the one used at the Dentist's. He stood and apart from a slight tilt that the world took as he found his feet, he was unharmed. He was also on his own. There was nothing else in the room, the walls were bare brick work. There was one door which was open. It led to a corridor. The same brick walls with matching doors off confronted him. Stepping out of the room he noticed the cold. He left the door to his own room ajar to distinguish it from the others and systematically went down the corridor checking behind each door. Each room was exactly the same. His was the only room with anything in, all the others were empty and bare.

He returned to his room pushing his hand through his hair, wondering how he was going to get out. Stepping into the room, the door closed behind him. He tried to grab the door handle to open it again, but there was no handle. It had been there the first time he was sure. Turning in a wide circle he saw a second door. Now he was spooked. That had definitley not been there before. Ok he might have made a mistake on the door handle but not on a second door. Cautiously he opened the door and looked out. Another corridor exactly the same as the last one faced him. If this was the way they wanted to play it, then he could too, he told himself and once again he stepped into the corridor ready to check the other rooms. As soon as he was outside his door slammed and he was left in the corridor. None of the doors opened. The corridor seemed to get longer and the lights dimmed. Benny Ray shook his head as if to scare away the shadows. He walked to one end but behind him a light blossomed. Turning to the light, Benny Ray saw a man standing at the end of the hallway.

"What the hell!" he shouted.

Benny Ray could have sworn he heard the man speak but his lips had not moved.

"I want to know what is going on here and I want to know now. Where is Matt and CJ." Benny Ray was suddenly angry at these games.

The voice was louder. The words were repeated from behind him. There was another man behind him. They were the ones from the Beach outside the Silver Star. Benny Ray could tell that much.

They spoke in unison and it was as if their voices reverberated in his head.

"I'm not telling you fucking clowns anything til I know where Matt and CJ are. So tell me and maybe we can all get out of this place." He fairly spat out the last word. He took a step towards the first man and fell to his knees. The pain in his head was excruciating.

"Tell you what?" He shouted.

How could he answer the bastards if he didn`t know what the hell they were talking about. He tried to put his hands over his ears to block out the sound of those two words repeated again and again. It was as if the words were causing the pain. A small drop of blood fell from his nose onto the floor. He was doubled over, the noise and pain increasing all the time. As the drip of blood touched the ground the pain stopped. He gasped in breath after breath and placing his palms on the floor he pushed himself up. The wall steadied him the rest of the way. The men were gone. He slapped the wall in frustration and heard a door creak open. It was the door to his room. Slightly unsteadily he made his way back to his room and inside. He sat on the chair and considered what had just happened. He had no rational explanation. I must have been drugged he thought, or I am dreaming. Through the door he had just come he saw a glow appear. It was not the same as before, it looked like sunlight. Slowly he got up. His body was sore and ached but he was alright and the nose bleed had never developed. He walked out of the room again and at the end of the corridor there was now another door, an open door leading to the sunlight. He walked to the light and out through the door. The brightness was intense. He put up his arm to shade his eyes and fell into darkness.

CHAPTER SIX

LONDON 1941

The boy made his way carefully across the rubble. Small fires still burned amongst the ruins and the boy was drawn to the heat. He should have been at home and he would have to be careful to avoid the Air Raid Wardens who would be on patrol. Home was the last place he wanted to be. Six months ago his father had died in some nameless battle in an unknown field in a corner of France that the boy would never visit. Since then his mother had been quietly dying inside. She saw in the boy the last trace of the husband she would never see again and in her efforts to hold on to the memory of her husband she had smothered the boy with love. Thomas, for that was the boy's name, had been an only child and whilst he was used to his parents' attentions he could not survive in that cloying atmosphere. Each night when he could he would leave the house and walk the streets of London looking for solitude.

The sirens sounded and Thomas knew he must find shelter. He shunned the tube stations and the official shelters, there were too many people for him there. Instead that evening he made his way to a house that stood untouched amongst the ruins like a single tooth in a baby's mouth. He ducked into the doorway as the first of the bombs made the ground shake. Overhead he could hear the whine of a bomb . It sounded close and when the unholy noise stopped he was suddenly afraid. Breaking the glass in the door with his elbow, he quickly let himself into the house. As he closed the door behind him a quiet settled. The house appeared to be empty, no doubt its occupants long since evacuated or scared away. His eyes adjusted to the gloom and he could tell that whoever had left the house had done so in a hurry leaving much of value behind them. He went from room to room collecting trinkets and placing them in a velvet bag he had found on the floor. Having scoured the ground floor he turned his attention to the upper level. In one room he found a man lying on a bed. The man was almost dead. Piled high around the bed were books, hundreds of them, old books bound in leather and worn from use. As the boy looked around him his eyes wide with fear he could not draw his attention away from the skeletal figure on the bed. Thomas approached the bed and a hand reached out and grabbed his arm. He tried to draw away but there was much strength in the claw like hand. A key was placed in Thomas's open palm and as the death rattle started in the old man's chest he spoke one word.

"Anloch." And died.

For some reason Thomas was no longer afraid and continued his search of the rest of the house. Almost at the end he found a room which was locked. The key opened the door and as he walked down the stairs into the cellar he could not have imagined what he actually found. There was money everywhere and not just money, jewels , gold, treasure of all kind.

Thomas never went home. He stayed at the house reading the books, revelling in the solitude and learning the desire for wealth. The skeleton slowly decayed and the boy became a man. Never again was he known as Thomas, he took as his name the one word spoken to him by his deathly benefactor and few were trusted to know his name, and none to speak it. As the man grew stronger so did his yearning for knowledge. He knew that he must leave the house and seek greater minds and find those books which could tell him greater secrets, secrets which would give him greater power.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Before Margo could pick up the receiver the phone rang startling her. It was Father Bob from the local Church. Margo felt a shiver run down her spine. It had been her intention to call the local priest. On previous occasions the team had helped the generous spirited man and he had been a help to some of the team when their souls had been troubled.

" Margo, I have Benny Ray with me. He was found asleep on the steps of St Mary's 30 minutes ago. As St Mary's has been closed for some years but falls within the diocese I was called. Can you come and collect him, I don't think he should make his own way back to the Silver Star."

After promising they would be there within minutes, Margo turned to the three men in the room with her and explained. As the four entered Father Bob's study they found a slightly dishevelled Benny Ray trying to persuade the priest that there was nothing wrong with him and that he could walk the few yards to the Silver Star on his own. With the arrival of the rest of the team Father Bob ordered tea and coffee and invited them to take a seat. Benny Ray explained, as best he could, what had happened to him, but he was not sure himself. The priest listened intently and asked Matt to describe the drawing on the floor of the shop. Margo obliged and when she had finished Father Bob stood and asked if the team would wait a few moments as he wished to introduce them to someone. Matt nodded and looked at the faces of the rest of the team. No one objected.

When Father Bob returned to his study he was accompanied by someone Benny Ray immediately recognised.

" You ," he spluttered, " you're the man from the accident. You left me with the dead guy."

" Indeed I did and my apologies for that. Let me introduce myself my name is Father Lucien and I think I owe you all an explanation."

" You bet you do Father. What the hell happened that night?" Benny Ray was suddenly embarrassed at his choice of words. Lucien did not seem to notice.

He spoke with a slight accent which Margo recognised. She was intrigued at what a Romanian priest was doing this far from home.

" Go ahead Father ," she said to him in their native tongue, " explain to us all."

Lucien smiled and sat on the edge of the desk.

" As you are singularly well placed to know there are men of great evil abroad in this world. Some wear their evil like a coat of many colours for all to see and people such as yourselves will always find this evil and destroy it. But evil has many forms and some more devious than others. Such men seek either great wealth or great knowledge or both. They bide their time amassing their wealth and like spiders on a web they manipulate all around them. And whilst one evil man may distract the world with his acts of depravity, the clever man will wield great power in the name of justice and good intentions and in doing so enslave the world in its ignorance. It is these men that we must guard against, men who control great Corporations that shape our lives, men who run Governments behind closed doors. These are the men you should fight."

The room was quiet until CJ spoke, " Right then mate just point us in the right direction."

Margo who sat next to CJ poked him in the ribs with her elbow.

Lucien smiled at CJ and answered him. " As you wish Christopher."

The smile disappeared from CJ's face.

" There is one such man. We do not know his name. His power is immense. He has spent the last 20 years studying in the Old World and his dedication has revealed much to him. Word of his studies was brought to us here in the New World by one who paid a high price. We are forewarned but that may not help us. Even now the Calusari seek the man, but he has disappeared and we fear that he is here now in the New World. We believe he has learnt knowledge that will enable him to combine his worldly power with something unearthly. If this is true he will be unstoppable and thus we must act."

Matt started to laugh." I am sorry but does anyone here believe this mumbo-jumbo? Have we just stepped into an episode of the X Files? Come on people this guy needs serious psychiatric help."

He looked around at the team for support but only CJ had a smile on his face. Father Bob interrupted,

" Please Matt hear him out as a favour to me."

Matt sat back in his chair and shrugged as if to say nothing that he would hear would persuade him otherwise.

" Acquiring this knowledge has cost this man much and he is forced to move slowly while he regains his strength. This works in our favour." Lucien paused and looking round the room his eyes rested on Benny Ray.

He continued, " Recently one of you crossed the path of a minion of this man and in doing so found something that could destroy him. In an effort to ease his path, the man sent ahead of him an emissary to attend to his physical needs. I have told you that one of us paid a high price to bring us information. That information was the name and whereabouts of the emissary. We, of the Templar, hunted him down and nearly caught him but he was well chosen and caused the death of four of our brethren before he too was in turn overcome. I was there with the emissary waiting for him to speak the name of his master as his last act before death when you interrupted, Benny Ray. Fate, as she so often does in these matters, took a hand and revealed to us the means to destroy this evil. You heard a word that night you should not have done, but you possess it now and you must use it. You, all of you, must destroy this evil while he is weak. You must confront him and destroy him."

CHAPTER EIGHT

The Atlantic Ocean

On a ship slowly heading to America a man sat alone in his cabin. He had not been seen by the crew. His meals were left outside his room and he was never disturbed. It had cost him much physically, as a man, to gain the information he now had and in doing so he had taken risks which had revealed him to those who guard the world. The Calusari had chased him out of Romania, the Templars across Europe and now he neared his destination. The New World where the Guardians had less influence, where evil had greater sway and where men had not yet learnt to be afraid. The man was confident that his emissary would meet him and would take him to a place of refuge, a place where he could heal and recoup his strength, where once again he could establish his influence and power. Darkness would seep into the world and would go unnoticed until it was too late.

The man became angry when the emissary did not arrive. He was able to discover the fate of the emissary and knew that old foes still pursued him. He was forced to do something he had not done for many years. He walked among men, travelled their roads and sought safety. Many days after his arrival in the New World he found what he had been seeking. Wandering a street lined with trees he came across a house. Built by early Spanish settlers it had been left empty and was soon overgrown. Walls surrounded the house offering protection from the men of this New World and inside the building shadows never completely disappeared even when the sun was at its highest.

It was of little effort to buy the house and reinforce its protection. He still had enough strength to create the wards that would insure that most men would walk past the house without even noticing it. He settled into the house content that the steps he had taken were enough. Sure that he now had time to wait and grow stronger, wait for his time to come.

CHAPTER NINE

" OK," Matt stood," I have heard enough. No one on my team is going to chase down some lunatic and confront him about anything. If this guy is as bad as you say then he must have a record and the police can deal with him." Matt was adamant.

" Believe me we did all we could to save you from this fate ." Lucien looked slightly shamefaced.

" We tried to take the information from you but you were too strong for us."

It was Benny Ray's turn to stand up. " Was that you in the corridor?" He poked a finger at Lucien.

" It was not me but some of my brethren and on their behalf I must once again apologise to you. We live by rules that prevent us from harming innocent people."

" I didn't notice you sticking to that one in the corridor." Benny Ray muttered menacingly.

" Perhaps I did not explain myself properly. We are not allowed to shed blood. We could have detained you but feared that your friends would not rest until they found you and that in doing so that they would expose us. But you have his name and with that knowledge great power. Fate brought us to you Benny Ray Riddle and together we will rid the world of this evil."

Back at the Silver Star the debate raged.

" No way," CJ argued for the tenth time, " the man is a raving lunatic and we shouldn't have anything to do with him."

" I don't know CJ, you hear about a lot of weird stuff that makes just about as much sense." Chance replied.

" Chance is right CJ. In my country no one would disregard the warnings of the Calusari. They are wise men with much power." Margo contributed.

" Margo, Chance, I can't believe you are ready to go along with this guy. Benny Ray tell them you don't believe a word of this."

Since they had returned from the Church the sniper had been quiet. He sat now in Matt's office twirling the 50 calibre bullet in his fingers as he so often did.

" Major, I may have been brought up in a trailer park but believe me I saw stuff then, and since, that would turn your hair white overnight. I'm not saying I believe this Lucien guy 100% but I believe him when he says he needs our help."

Matt sighed. Somehow he had known from the outset that they would be taking this mission regardless of his concerns.

" OK, if we do this we do it right and we do it our way. We go in ready for anything."

" Roger that, Sir ."

CHAPTER TEN

Lucien had given them plans of the house and grounds. He insisted on accompanying them, assuring them that he could help and not hinder. He warned them all not to trust their eyes but to trust only in themselves and each other, that together they were stronger.

CJ easily overcame the alarms and sensors and they were soon in the grounds of the house. It was just before dawn and a slight mist still lingered. Lucien, standing at the back where Matt insisted he stay, closed his eyes and spoke words that only Margo understood. The mist disappeared. The team spread out and gained their allotted spots around the outside of the building. Locks were no barrier to CJ and they were soon in the entrance hall to the old house. It was cold inside but lights were on. Chance shivered as he remembered that from the outside of the house they had not seen the light at all.

Lucien directed them to the left and they were soon in front of a pair of double doors that reached almost to the ceiling. The doors opened of their own accord and inside the room they could see a man sitting behind a desk. Behind the man a bank of computers dominated the room. His fingers forming an arch and his elbows on the desk the man looked like any other businessman you might find, but when he laughed all such thought fled.

< Your petty weapons do not threaten me.>

Matt brought up the MP5 and fired. The bullets never even reached the man behind the desk. It was as if there was a barrier between them. Bullet proof glass, Matt thought, brilliant. Suddenly men erupted into the room covering the team on both sides. They all brought up their weapons and started firing. Margo went down and as the four men adjusted their positions to protect her, she heard Lucien's words repeated in her mind. She checked herself quickly and realised that she had not been hit. Standing quickly she shouted at the four men to stop firing. As they obeyed her the men they had been firing at disappeared as quickly as the mist outside the house. Margo grabbed Benny Ray's hand and he in turn gripped Matt's arm. The others followed suit til a circle was formed. They stood connected as Benny Ray spoke the man's name.

At first nothing happened and he repeated the name. Suddenly he found it difficult to breathe. The air felt thick and he fell to his knees letting go of Margo's hand. She gripped his shoulder and her nails dug in hard. He repeated the name and as he did the pressure eased. He stood again and as he faced the man he smiled. The man smiled back,

< Did you think it would be that simple?>

At that Margo, Matt, CJ and Chance fell to their knees. As they did they lost their grip on each other and slowly slid to the ground.

< Choose.>

With a superhuman effort Margo reached out her arm and put her hand palm up on the floor. Chance watching her placed his hand on hers. CJ and Matt copied them. Benny Ray knelt down and put his left hand on top of the other four. The air felt thick again and as he struggled to breathe he could see stars in front of his eyes. At the point where he thought he would pass out he heard a familiar voice. It said words that Benny Ray knew he did not know but somehow understood. The words became a phrase from his childhood and the voice one he recognised. It was Charlie. The words were some that he had spoken to the young Benny Ray . He had not understood them then and Charlie had not offered to explain them. As Charlie's words grew louder in his mind he knew what he had to do. Taking the Glock from its holster he pointed it at the man behind the desk.

< Do your worst Benny Ray.>

Something was stopping him from focusing. The man was somehow a blur even though he sat still. Benny Ray shook his head as if he could clear his vision. But it made no difference. He closed his eyes, he knew where the man was, what he could see was only distracting him. He fired and the bullet stayed true to its target. Silence descended. As the rest of the team got to their feet, Benny Ray remained kneeling. His eyes still closed, he could see in his mind a far off place and another time and a man he recognised. The warrior shouted a greeting to him in a tongue he should not have understood. Benny Ray waved his arm in greeting and thanks and replied in the same tongue.

EPILOGUE

Later that day the seven were reunited in Father Bob's study. The team all had questions and both Lucien and Bob did their best to answer them. Margo wanted to know how she had known what to do. Lucien explained that he had known Margo's grandmother many years ago. She had been a member of the Calusari, but she had left when she found she was pregnant with Margo's mother. She had believed that her destiny lay with her children.

" It would seem she was correct." Lucien nodded.

The questions continued and it was obvious that they were not going to be answered to everybody's satisfaction.

" What happens now then ?" CJ asked, " the bad guy is no more and we all live happily ever after?"

" Something like that CJ." Bob laughed.

Lucien became serious, " I could tell you that in to each generation is born one whose destiny it is to always fight evil," he paused dramatically.

Chance chuckled and gestured theatrically, " Benny Ray Riddle is Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

They all laughed.

" And that is the problem, not only would you not believe me but it would not be true. Evil in all its forms must constantly be fought by all men."

CJ still chuckling at Chance's comment interrupted, " no, it's the Arch Angel Riddle."

Benny Ray looked at CJ and circled his head so that the joints in his neck clicked. It was a warning to the Brit.

" After all," Lucien continued, " look how easy it was for George W Bush to get into the White House."

All five of the team stared at Lucien in disbelief.

" Only joking." He laughed.

They joined in his laughter and as they left the study and exited the Church, CJ continued the banter. On the steps of the Church he struck a pose as if holding a Light Sabre,

" The Force is strong in you young Benny Ray Skywalker. Do not be turned to the dark side ."

Benny Ray moved towards CJ threatening to use his 'force' to kick CJ to the bottom of the steps. Sighing, Benny Ray knew he would have to put up with CJ's antics for some time to come.

The two priests, both dressed in black, stood at the door to the Church and watched the five leave.

< Did you tell him?>

< No.>

< Does he know?>

< Possibly.>

< One horse?>

< Yes.>

< He will need to be watched.>

< That is already taken care of.>

FINIS

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