Benny Ray Riddles Apartment
The loud buzzing of the alarm woke Benny Ray from a sound sleep. He rolled over and hit the top of it until it turned off, being careful of the cast still on his arm. Only two more weeks until I get this thing off, he thought, trying to remember why he was getting up so early.
After getting dressed, which took
twice as long as usual one-armed, Benny
"Our continuing coverage of
the latest hostage situation in Iraq continues
"Thank you, Andrew. Here in
Riyadh, the capital, is the closest we can get
Benny Ray shook his head and went
back into the kitchen to clean up. A
"Well, gmornin Boss. Whatre you doin out so early."
"Thats what I needed to talk about. Hows the arm?" Matt asked.
"Doing much better. Rico says
I need a few more weeks and Ill be good to
Matt sat down on the couch, looking
out through the balcony doors at the
"Major, Ive been watching
the news. Its the hostage thing right? Trout
"Yes he did. As you probably know theyre not journalists."
"When do you leave?"
"Now. I wanted to tell you personally."
Matt struggled for words. He
"You set on hardware?"
"Yup. Margo has a contact there."
Matt paused and said something into his
"Nothing...hang on a sec."
Benny Ray turned as he heard the
door open. CJ Yates and Chance Walker
"Hey, nice joint." CJ looked around.
Chance grabbed Benny Ray in a bear
hug, being careful of the snipers arm.
"Yeah, well, the Major thought
he could use the backup, and its the rainy
"Sorry we dont have time
to stay longer," Matt said. "Therell be plenty
"No problem. Watch yourselves."
Benny Ray closed the door behind them,
The team moved in on the low concrete
building. It was poorly lit, and had
"We go on my mark, three, two..."
They moved in rapidly, CJ blowing
the doors. He had the diversion ready
Suddenly, bright lights came on overhead.
Another voice called for them to
"It was a setup!" Chance growled.
"Drop em people. Theres nothing we can do," Matt whispered.
There was a brief struggle from the
top of the stairs, and Nick was dragged
"Best you do not move, American," a harsh voice snapped.
Coronado Naval Hospital
"Thats great. One more set and youre done for today," Rico said.
Benny Ray laughed. "Best news Ive heard so far, compadre."
Trout watched through the window
in the office room. He sighed, not looking forward to what he
had to do, and opened the door. "Rico, I need to have a
"Sure. Do all twenty, no cheating."
"Yes, sir!" The smile on
Benny Rays face disappeared when he saw Trout.
"I dont really know how to tell you. Matt and the others were taken prisoner. The Iraqis were waiting for them. Im sorry, Benny Ray."
Benny Ray put the weight he had been
working with on the floor. His eyes
"I dont know. Ill find out..."
"And when you do, I want to know. When are we getting them out?"
"Its just the way things are. I regret it too, but we cant risk an international incident. Matt knew the risks. The government will deny it ever knew of them."
It was a few moments before Benny
Ray said anything. He couldnt believe
"Im sorry. Theres nothing we can do."
"Everybody comes home. Matt knows that, he knows if something goes wrong someonell pull him out." Benny Ray spoke in a low, dangerous tone. "And that someones me. Soon as I get this cast off, Im going for him. I owe him, big time. We dont leave our own behind, you know that."
"Out of the question. I hate to do this but I will place you in protective custody if you make a move. We cant risk it."
"Is that a threat? Because if it is..."
"Take it easy, Mr. Riddle. I cant allow you to take any action."
"You just deny you even heard of me. Like youre doing to the Major."
Trouts eyes narrowed. "I dont deserve that. You know Id try if I could. My hands are tied."
"Mine arent. Im
going, and if you want to try and stop me be my guest!"
The Silver Star
Rico carried the bags of takeout from the Chinese restaurant, waving hello to Debbie. He headed down to the basement, surprised to find the sniper not there. He expected Benny Ray to be cleaning one of his weapons, as he often did so when he needed to think or unwind. Thinking Debbie would have seen where Benny Ray had gone, Rico left the food on the counter and went back upstairs.
"Debbie, did you see Benny Ray leave?"
"Yup, sure did. He headed down to the beach, said hed be back in a little while."
"Thanks." Rico went out the door, noting the van sitting down the street as being out of place. It had been there since he had gone to the restaurant. A little long if theyre just waiting for someone, he thought. The sun was setting, and it would be dark soon. Rico scanned the beach, checking the volleyball courts in case Benny Ray had gone to watch. Nothing. He headed toward the rock jetty, thinking that maybe his friend had gone for a walk. Rico climbed the rocks, and spotted the sniper sitting on one at the end of the jetty, staring out over the ocean.
"Want some company?" Rico asked, carefully making his way over the wet, slippery rocks.
Benny Ray turned to see who it was.
"Hey. Sorry to disappear on you. I
"Any word on the major yet?"
"No. And somehow I dont think theres gonna be. Two weeks and Im gone. Trouts already having me followed. Im going to go get them."
"Not you. Us." Rico looked
at the sniper. "Like you said, we dont leave
"Ive got dinner back at the Silver Star. We have our work cut out for us."
"Dont I know it. If you
need cash, get it now. The last time, remember,
"Understood. Were gonna need more than just the two of us. Busting into a prison with only two people..." Rico stopped talking as they entered the bar, waiting until they were safely downstairs to continue. "It's going to be next to impossible."
"You know anybody?"
Rico shook his head. "I dunno. Well need intel, transportation, the works."
Benny Ray thought for a minute. He looked at Rico. "I know one person."
Matt shifted restlessly on the small
cot. He had already been over the
The door slammed, and Ahmad Kassem
entered with two of the guards. He
Matt met the other mans look evenly. "My people need a doctor."
"Why? After your trial, you
will be executed regardless. However, we
"Sorry, I dont know who that is."
"Oh, you do. Why not cooperate?
It will be a lot easier if you do. There
The White House
"I regret that this had to happen.
We do have our own extremists in this
Trout waited impatiently outside of the secretarys office. The receptionist had only said that he was on the phone. Trout was hoping to get some leads on tracking down the leak. He was sure that it was the same person involved in past problems. It needed to be stopped, fast. The cell phone interrupted his thoughts.
"The subject just loaded some
equipment into the truck. I suggest we take
"I was afraid of this. Do it." Trout sighed as he hung up the phone. He had known Benny Ray wouldnt sit still while his team was being held prisoner, but there really was no other way.
The leader of the surveillance team turned off his phone. "Were a go. Be careful people, hes not going to be too happy with us."
Benny Ray started his Dodge pickup
and turned up the radio. Driving
He started to pull out of the bars empty parking lot when the van pulled in front of him, blocking the exit. Trout, he thought. Benny Ray pulled the truck into a left turn, heading for the other exit at the back of the lot. Another car was ready there, cutting him off. He turned off the engine and got out, reaching for the holstered Glock as he did so. Seeing the others move to prevent him from going back inside the building, he backed up against the truck, using it for cover.
"Take it easy, Mr. Riddle. Trout sent us. I dont want anybody to get hurt."
"Neither do I. Now step aside."
"I cant do that. Put your weapon down. This is for your own good."
Benny Ray said nothing, the weapon never moving.
Charlie, the team leader, sighed. He knew the sniper wouldnt fire, but neither would he back down. "Okay, Mac, take him down."
Mac nodded, shooting a dart into Benny Rays shoulder. Benny Ray whipped around, leading with the Glock, but his legs were already wobbly. He collapsed on the ground, trying once to get up before the sedative took effect.
"Get him into the van. Someonell come by and take the truck back to his apartment. Well continue to monitor the second subject for now."
Benny Ray woke up slowly. His head was pounding and waves of nausea hit as soon as he tried to stand up. Giving up on that for the time being, he laid back down on the couch, looking groggily at the man and woman who had entered the room.
"Good to see you awake. Im Charlie, and this is Rebecca. I know youre probably wondering what youre doing here, and Ill try to answer all your questions. Trout wanted to make sure you stayed in a safe spot until the situation is resolved. He didnt tell us any more than that."
Rebecca took over. "Youll be escorted to all doctors appointments, therapy, and any other medical related places. Other than that, you will stay here with us. Im sorry, but it is necessary."
Benny Ray said nothing, continuing to watch them from the sofa. He realized that they had told him all they knew. Trout would not have told them the whole story. He also knew that getting out would probably be relatively simple.
"Now we know you will try to leave," Charlie said. He had noticed the sniper eyeing the windows. "So we took the precaution of using a monitoring device."
Benny Ray looked at him. "What?"
"Its the same system used to monitor prisoners on parole. It tells where you are, when you are supposed to be there, and will set off an alarm if there is any deviation. Its not in widespread use yet, but has proven quite effective." Rebecca explained. "Thats what the band around your ankle is."
Benny Ray sat up and looked for himself. It would take time, but he would escape. He knew how to wait.
One week later
Rico finished signing the forms stating that Benny Ray was finished therapy. The sniper waited quietly for him to finish. They had closed the door to Ricos office on the basis of doctor-patient confidentiality. Benny Rays escort was outside.
"Okay, heres the deal.
I got in touch with some members of the SEAL
"Understood." Benny Ray picked up the phone and dialed.
"What do you want?" Drummers familiar, if somewhat grouchy, voice answered.
"Yeah, its me. Benny Ray?"
"Yeah. Listen, I dont have a lot of time. We need your help."
"Really. Well, the answers no. Im enjoying my retirement too much."
"Sorry amigo, I cant take no for an answer." Benny Ray explained the situation in a few brief sentences. "Were going to need at least two more people. Id rather one of them be you."
"Why didnt you go?" Drummer heard a loud knocking on the other end.
"Listen, I gotta go. Trouts having some people keep an eye on me. Theyre using one of those parole monitoring things. Ricoll call you back, see if you can find out ways to get it off."
"Okay, okay, Im in. Ill see what I can do about both problems."
"Preciate it amigo." Benny Ray hung up. "Hes in."
Rico opened the door. "Is there a problem?"
"We need to get going. Are you done?"
"Going where?" Benny Ray looked at them suspiciously.
"Were expecting Trout to call in an hour."
Benny Ray didnt have to say anything. The look on his face said exactly what he thought of Trout at the moment.
"Take it easy," Rico said.
"Its controlled information. We give the suspects the same story, with minor differences. When the Iraqis call back with the info, we will know exactly who told them."
"They know about the team. The last time they called they dropped some names and that was enough. I have lots of people asking questions. We have to plug this leak now." Trout sighed. He was at the end of his rope.
"What should we tell them?"
"Well have to use Benny
Ray. Their negotiator, a man called al-Hassan,
"Right. This will work. We should have it taken care of within two days."
"Ill hold you to that."
The Iraqi Desert
Margo looked at the tray the guard
had pushed under the cell door. Nothing
"Are you going to eat that?"
The man in the cell next to hers had already
"Im going to try," she replied, with a smile.
"Well, it was nice of you to try to get us out. I dont think the network will be too happy when we get back. We were supposed to get a story, not get captured."
"Uh-huh." Margo knew that couldnt be farther from the truth. "Well, we go where we get paid to." She was sticking to the cover story the group had decided on before leaving. In agreement with what Trout was saying, they were mercenaries, hired by an anonymous citizen. The money was in place to support that, if the Iraqis wanted to, it could be checked.
"They sent mercenaries?" He looked at her.
"You do your job, we have ours. No comment."
"Sorry. Im not used to
stuff like this. My names Gerry. From CBS. The
"Hows he doing? The leg isnt too bad, is it?"
"I dont know. We dont have a doctor with us."
Nick, who was next to Matts now empty cell, had been listening. "I dont feel so good, Margo."
"Hang in there. Well be out of here soon."
Chance, who was closest to the door,
signaled for them all to be quiet. He
Matt was dumped unceremoniously back into his cell. The guards left, slamming the door behind them.
"Yo, major!" Chance waited,
but got no response. "You think they used drugs?"
"Yeah, right." Chance sighed. "A fair trial for everyone."
The phone rang. Benny Ray, who was sitting on the couch reading the paper, ignored it. Rebecca came in and picked it up.
"How are things?" Trout asked.
"Fine. He hasnt said more than ten words since we got here."
"It shouldnt be too much longer. I need to talk with him."
Rebecca turned to hand the phone to Benny Ray. The couch was empty. She walked into the kitchen, only to see the monitoring device lying on the table. The sniper was gone.
Hals Shooting Range
"Were closed!" The person doing the yelling sounded annoyed.
"Hal, its Benny Ray."
"Oh, why didnt you say so." The ranges owner unlocked the door to let the sniper in.
"I have a problem. Theres
gonna be some people looking for me." Benny
"What did you do this time?"
Hal, a balding man in his sixties, had opened
"Not something I did, amigo. Its sorta a long story."
"Well, get your stuff in the truck. I got room at my place. You can fill me in on the way."
"What do you mean hes
gone?! How can he just walk out without nobody
"Deke, I have a problem."
Benny Ray watched the road, realizing
that the yellow line was starting to
A blinking sign up ahead announced a truck stop. Benny Ray pulled in, paying cash for gas, food, and more coffee. Rico didnt wake up.
"Todays papers come in yet?"
"Yup. Thatll be fifty cents." The bored attendant handed over the paper.
Benny Ray scanned the cover, finding no more news on the hostage situation. At least that was what the papers were calling it. Hang in there, Major. Were coming.
The Iraqi Desert
Matt woke up, somehow managing to
get to his feet. He looked around,
"Hey. Howre you doing?"
"Fine." Chance looked at Matt, then looked pointedly at the door.
Matt shook his head no. They had
no ideas for escape and nothing to use to
"You will comply with our requests. My superiors will execute your American spies on television." Al-hassan was yelling.
"How do I know you even have them? They could be dead already. Im under a lot of pressure here from CBS to get their reporters back."
"Im sure. We have all four of your rescue team."
"Youre lying." The secretary was reluctant to push the diplomat, but Trout waved for him to go on. "There is something missing."
"Yes, Benny Ray Riddle. I know
he has worked with your, shall I say,
"Anyone could know that."
"Yes, but not everyone could
know this." Al-Hassan looked at the paper in
The secretary handed the number,
written on a slip of paper, to Trout. He
The Motor On Inn
"If I even see the inside of
another car..." Rico trailed off as they
Benny Ray motioned for Rico to be
quiet. He headed around to the back of
Drummer lowered the pistol as soon
as he saw who it was. "Glad you finally
Benny Ray turned around. "Yeah. Rico, its clear."
The spotter emerged from the clump
of shrubs where he had been covering
"I think I know where I can
get us some info." Benny Ray followed the
"Dont talk too long." Drummer passed over his cell phone.
"Speak to me."
"Deke, Benny Ray."
"Well, if it aint the man of the hour. Lotsa people interested in finding you. Trout called me a few days ago."
"Yeah. He tell you whats goin on?"
"No, just that youre getting ready to start a war."
Benny Ray sighed. "Thats not it. Were not gonna start anything, just get our people back. I need intel. If its a no-go, just tell me now."
"The Major and the others are in Iraq. I need to know where."
"That whole thing on TV? Sure thing, Benny Ray. Need some backup?"
"It would be appreciated. Trouts not gonna be too happy."
"Big deal. You didnt worry
about that, neither will I. Where can I meet
Drummer opened the door, finding
a very tall, green-haired man standing on
"Hey Deke," Rico called from the kitchen.
"I got all of it. Names, locations,
and where theyre going to hold the
Drummer didnt move. "This guy for real?"
"As real as you can get, baby."
Benny Ray stopped Drummer from taking
a swing at Deke for the baby
"One problem. Are the three of us going to be enough?" Rico looked around at the small group.
"I got that covered. Theyll
be over in an hour. Then were outta here."
The Iraqi Desert
"You are a spy. Admit it now and save yourself the trouble."
"You want me to talk?" Nick looked at Kassem from inside his cell.
"I think youre going to regret that," Margo said.
"Silence! Talk now. If you do not, we have ways to "
"Do you hear that? He wants me to talk." Nick was grinning.
CJ groaned. "Thats a really
bad idea Do it in another room, for my
"Talk! You are a spy."
"If you say so. So when I was
born my mom already had a few kids. I kinda
Hassem looked very confused. He started
to say something but Nick just
"She says, okay, Ill share,
and then crams the slice down the front of his
Over the Atlantic
"Heres the prison diagrams.
They are most likely being held in the
Drummer had recruited two of his
fellow scuba instructors. Both retired
"If we hit the place in the middle of the night, theyll be tired. It should be easy enough to cut electricity. Since its the middle of the desert, that probably has happened at one time or another. Deke, you can get us a chopper for the exfil, right?"
"Sure thing, Drummer. My contact
in Saudi Arabia can help us out. If the
"Benny Ray, one thing. I know
Matt likes to use the non-lethal option.
"The Major usually has a good
reason for doing that but were not going to
"Thats why were
not using American weapons. They cant trace it, and
Matt tried to see under his blindfold. Nothing.
"I have someone here who would like to say hello."
"Matt, dont tell them any-" Margos voice was cut off.
"You see, I have ways to make
everyone talk." Hassem spun the cylinder on his revolver.
"This has one bullet in it. Russian roulette, they call
"No!" Matt couldnt
say anything. Margos words echoed in his head.
He heard a dry click as Hassem pulled
the trigger. "Every ten seconds I
Matt struggled against the ropes holding him to the chair.
"I am pulling the trigger." The revolver went off with a loud report.
Matt yelled Margos name as he was dragged from the room. He received no reply.