Mike was tired. He had been working
undercover; staking out the armory where several shipments of
guns and ammo had gone missing but so far all their leads had
come up empty. His contact had called wanting to meet him alone,
said he had some important information and wouldn't give it to
anyone but Mike. Finally Mike had the last piece of the puzzle.
Stowing his gear he slides behind the
wheel starting the engine. It was going to be a long drive home.
Dawn was breaking as he drives his car along the twisting mountain
road. He swerves sharply as the huge truck veers onto his side
of the road driving his little car over the side and down into
a gully. The truck continues on leaving the scene and the twisted
wreckage of Mike's car.
Mike had said he had some work to do
so Kaleigh had arranged to meet friends for dinner. The evening
was unbearably long and for some reason she was uneasy. Later
as they pull up in front of the house Kaleigh says good night
to her friends before unlocking the door and stepping inside.
The house is quiet and she wonders if Mike decided to go out
after all. In the kitchen she finds a little note on the table
from Mike saying. "I'll be late, don't wait up for me."
Undressing she lays in bed unable to fall asleep, hoping Mike
would walk through the door. Several hours later she falls into
a fitful sleep.
Kaleigh had slept late. Hearing the
persistent knock she drags herself out of bed, she smiles thinking
Mike had locked himself out again.
Looking through the peephole she sees
an unfamiliar face and cautiously opens the door to see two military
officers standing on the porch. Her heart races as she asks,
"Can I help you?"
"Are you Kaleigh Harner?"
"Yes," she murmurs, "is
something wrong?" But she knows the answer before they say
"Your husband, Mike was killed
this morning in a accident. It looks like he might have been
drinking and went off the side of the road."
Seeing her distress, the second officer
steps in saying. "He didn't feel a thing, Ma'am, he was
Leaving the door open, Kaleigh stumbles
into the living room plopping onto the couch as the tears begin
to fall. "Mike," she whispers. To never see him again,
never to touch him or love him! Numb with shock she hardly hears
the officers as they tell her where his body has been taken.
Several hours later standing beside her husbands body she knows
this couldn't have been an accident. Mike had been working under
cover last night, but she doesn't know if she can make any of
his co-workers believe it.
It's early evening before she finally
gets home, the ordeal of dealing with the funeral home over.
The front door is slightly ajar as she steps onto the porch.
Pushing the door open she pulls the little .38 special Mike had
given her out of her purse before stepping in. The house is a
shambles. Tables overturned books and papers strewn all over
the floor. Now she knows Mike's death was not an accident. But
what could they have been looking for?
Resolved now to finding his killers
Kaleigh reaches for the phone. Dialing the number she waits as
the phone rings, but no one answers as the familiar voice on
the other end tells her to leave a message. Waiting for the beep
she says, "Mike's dead Benny Ray, I need your help, please
call me." Leaving the number she begins the task of cleaning
up the mess."
Hermosa Beach, CA
Chance and Benny Ray were tired but
they still had several things to take care of at the Silver Star
before they could call it quits for the night, a quick stop at
Benny Ray's place first to drop off equipment though before they
headed back to the bar. Looking across at his answering machine
Benny Ray reluctantly punches the button. The voice is familiar.
But the words Kaleigh says make his blood run cold. Numbly he
sits on the edge of the chair and plays the message again. Beside
him Chance lays a comforting hand on his shoulder. The shocked
look in Benny Ray's eyes as he glances silently up tell Chance
that Benny Ray and this Mike the woman talked about were very
"I have to go," Benny Ray
says as he jumps up out of the chair.
"Hey Amigo," Chance says,
taking him lightly by the arm, "we're here for you, let
Stopping he shakes his head to clear
the fog as he turns saying, "I'd really like that my friend."
"Mike got me outta more jams than I care to count, I owe
While Benny Ray pulls himself together
and packs a bag, Chance calls the Major, explaining the situation
as best he can.
Matt writes down Kaleigh's address before
saying, "Let us know if you need help, we'll be there if
you need us."
"Roger that Sir!" Chance answers
before hanging up.
A few minutes later with Chance driving
and their gear stored in the back of the big red dodge, the duo
head toward San Diego.
"So Amigo," Chance says, "tell
me about Kaleigh and Mike."
Gathering his thoughts, Benny Ray turns
to stare out the window before he takes a deep breath and begins
to talk. "Kal and I grew up together, she was a rag tag
little tomboy who use to follow me everywhere. At first I use
to think up things I knew she'd never be able to handle, but
she always did." A wiry grin crosses his face as he continues,
"I almost got her killed once and that's when I realized
how much I loved her. Not that romantic bull, but loved her like
she was my sister. She sure was a pain sometimes, but I couldn't
imagine my life without her. She could out ride, out shoot, and
out track anyone I know, even me." It's too bad she was
Chance burst out laughing at the last
"How'd she meet Mike," Chance
prompts? Seeing the sadness in his eyes, Chance is almost sorry
"Mike," Benny Ray chuckles,
"we were stationed together a few years back met him during
a special assignment. He was the MP assigned as team leader during
the investigation. He pulled my bacon outta the fire more times
than I care to count."
"We worked together a couple times
after that and got pretty close, he'd watch my back I'd watch
his. When Kaleigh moved out here I introduced them. It was pretty
inevitable after that. They were great together and got hitched
a year later I was the best man at their wedding. They've been
together ever since."
Camp Pendleton Cemetery
Friday 1330 hrs
The cemetery was crowed with people
a tribute to the kind of man Mike was. As the ceremony concludes
they walk slowly back to their cars. Mike was a good man who
made friends easily, his outlook on life his honesty and integrity
drew people to him like moths to a flame.
Kaleigh was standing alone beside the
open grave, her shoulders bent and shaking. A little distance
away another couple stands watching and waiting, giving her time.
Chance stands leaning against the hood
of the truck as Benny Ray's long strides take him quickly across
the lawn toward the lone figure. Placing a hand on her shoulder
Benny Ray hugs her close as she turns and collapses into his
"He's gone, Benny Ray." Kaleigh
Pulling her closer he rests his chin
on top of her head as his eyes fill with tears. Only time will
heal their loss now and in Benny Ray's mind; finding out what
really got Mike killed. It wouldn't bring him back but it sure
as hell would make him fell better.
A few minutes later the couple moves
toward them and Kaleigh steps out of Benny Rays' arms to introduce
them. "Benny Ray, I'd like you to meet, Shane and Kelly,
friends of mine, we work together."
Shaking their hands his soft southern
drawl rings out, "Pleased to meet you!"
After greetings are exchanged, Kellie
says, "Come Kaleigh, it's time to go back to the house.
Everyone is waiting." Nodding Benny Ray says, "I'll
take her with me."
Kelly smiles a sad little smile as she
watches Kaleigh walk away tucked beneath Benny Ray's comforting
arm. As they reach the truck Benny Ray introduces Chance before
they slide into the cab. With Chance driving and Kaleigh giving
directions they soon reach the house.
Sad but comforting smiles greet them
as they go into the house. Walking around the house Kaleigh greets
and talks to everyone as Benny Ray hovers protectively beside
her. The smile pasted on her sad face hides the fact that all
she wanted to do was lock herself in a room and cry, she felt
like she was walking in a dream and hoped someone would soon
wake her up. But reality had a way of intruding as a tall man
wearing military uniform walks up to her and hugs her tight,
whispering words of condolences in her ear. A genuine smile of
welcome crosses her face as she greets him. "Bill, I'd like
you to meet a very dear friend of mine, Benny Ray Riddle this
is Bill Johnson, Mike's partner."
Johnson's greeting is warm and friendly
as he holds out his hand saying, "Mike's told me a lot about
you Mr. Riddle, I feel like I know you already."
But Benny Ray's greeting is less so,
he couldn't put his finger on why, for Kaleigh sake he said all
the right things.
Turning to Kaleigh, Johnson says, "I
wish I could stay Kaleigh, but I've got to get back to the base,
Mike's accident has caused quite a stir as you can imagine."
"I know Bill, I hope you'll come
back soon, I'd like to talk to you about that night, if it's
"Sure honey," he says, "I'll
call you later." Planting a kiss on her cheek, he gently
taps her on the cheek before walking away.
A few hours later after all the guests
have finally departed Benny Ray finally gets the chance to ask
Kaleigh to explain.
"I had gone out with friends,"
Kaleigh begins. "Mike had a pile of work to do and was here
working when I left. When I got home I found a note, but he didn't
say where he was going. Some of the guys were getting together
to play poker and I thought maybe he'd gone over there. I know
he's been working on some special case with Bill, undercover
work and stakeouts, but he didn't tell me anything about it.
When the officers showed up they said his car had gone off the
"That morning I found Mikes car
in the garage. Someone must have come by and picked him up. They
car he was driving was a military vehicle. The only way he could
have gotten it was from the base. Now they're saying he misused
government property and was drinking and driving."
"Mike never would have done that
Benny Ray, you know him. If he had the car he was on duty, but
no one will believe me."
"That afternoon when I got home
the whole house had been torn apart. None of my neighbors saw
"Do you have any idea what they
might have been looking for did you find anything missing,"
Benny Ray asks?
"I don't know," she says,
"They broke a lot of things but I don't know for sure if
anything is missing. "They tore his desk apart looking for
something, I don't know if they found what they were looking
"Hey Amigo," Chance pipes
in, "Why don't we take a look around."
"Please do," Kaleigh says.
"Did Mike have any special hiding
places or a safe," Benny Ray asks?
"Only one that I know of and he
built it special for his guns, it's upstairs, come I'll show
Walking into one of the upstairs bedrooms
Kaleigh opens the closed door pushing the clothes to one side.
A well hidden catch pops the door open to reveal a small 8 x
8 room filled with different types of weapons hanging on the
walls. Mikes' military footlocker is pushed up against the back
Thinking out loud Benny Ray says, "Mike
must have been getting close." "He must have found
something, which is why they ransacked the house." "But
"The sixty-four dollar question,"
Chance says as he steps into the room.
"Did you pick up Mikes personal
effects," Benny Ray asks?
"I tried," Kaleigh says frustrated,
"but they kept giving me the run around. I finally got Mike's
commander to look into it. He said he'd call me when he found
"Kal tomorrow you and I will go
find Mikes effects," Benny Ray states. "Maybe something
there will give us a clue. "Was Mike working with anyone
else that you know of?"
"No, usually it's just him and
Bill, and I know Bill often gets pulled to work other cases."
"We need to find out what Mike
was working on," Chance says.
Looking up Benny Ray smiles as they
simultaneously say "Trout"
"Whose Trout," Kaleigh asks.
"An associate of ours," Chance
says, "He usually knows a lot more than he lets on."
Pulling the phone from his belt to call Matt, Chance heads for
the back yard. Just in case the intruders left a few bugs hanging
"Kal," Benny Ray says, taking
her by the shoulders, "if they haven't found what they're
looking for they'll keep coming back until they do, which mean
you could be in danger." Wrapping his arms around her he
hugs her tight whispering, "We'll find out what happened
A few minutes later Chance comes back
in. Matt had agreed to call Trout and was putting the rest of
the team on alert in case they were needed.
"I hope the both of you will stay,"
Kaleigh says. "There are more than enough bedrooms to go
around and I'd feel safer if you did.
Saturday 0630 hrs
Kaleigh is standing in the kitchen tying
the laces of her running shoes as Benny Ray and Chance walk in
dressed for running.
"Hey can I tag along with you guys,"
Kaleigh asks innocently?
"You can come if you can keep up,"
Chance smiles wickedly. Looking her over he can see that she's
in great shape and may even present a challenge, but there's
no way she's going to beat him.
Winking at Kaleigh, Benny Ray knows
that Kaleigh was state champion in High School. She was probably
going to kick their asses all over the street, but he just grins
and let's Chance think what he wants, knowing they were in for
one hell of a run.
The run starts off pretty slowly and
soon all three stretch out picking up the pace. When they reach
the park Kaleigh points to a long stretch of road and moves toward
it. That's when Kaleigh kicks it into high gear and starts to
pull away. Neither Chance nor Benny Ray can keep up and Chance
looks across at his buddy seeing the cat that ate the cream look
knowing he'd been suckered.
Looking over her shoulder Kaleigh sees
that she's lost both of her partners and turns heading back the
way she came. Rounding the corner she sees a car racing toward
then at high speed. Waving her arms to catch their attention
she yells pointing behind them. They turn but the car is closing
in fast. Both men jump to the side rolling out of danger. They
can feel the whoosh of air as the car speeds by heading toward
Kaleigh. Seeing the danger, Kaleigh sprints toward a small grove
of trees just off the road.
Gaining his feet Benny Ray takes off
after her, while Chance pulls the cell from his pocket and dials
911. Luckily the park was heavily patrolled and sirens ring out.
The occupant of the cars veers away, as the sirens grow close.
Minutes later several cars pull up before
the trio. The officer greets Kaleigh and questions fly as they
try to figure out what occurred. Several minutes later the phone
in Chance's hand rings. Stepping to the side he punches in his
code and answers. "Yes, Major?"
"Looks like Trout came through
on this one. Mike was supposed to meet his contact that night
and report directly back to a Phil Donovan over at the Pentagon,
but he never made the call. His contact was found by a couple
of hikers two days later in a small canyon. One bullet to the
"Well Major," Chance says,
"It looks like they just upped the ante. Someone just tried
to run the three of us down."
Concerned Matt asks, "Anyone hurt?"
"Nothing serious Sir, just some
scrapes and bruises, the police are here now, Kaleigh and Benny
Ray are giving them the details."
"Roger Chance, do you have a description
of the car?
"Yes Sir," he says, "Black
Mercedes, probably a 98 or 99 license plates ABM34DY."
I'll get Margo on this right now, Matt
states. Trout is on his way here, as soon as we can we'll be
headed in your direction. Trout's setting up a cover. I'll keep
"Watch your back Chance."
"Roger that Sir," Chance says
before ending the connection.
Putting the phone in his pocket, Chances
listens to the conversation between the officer, Kaleigh and
Benny Ray. Benny Ray is upset but so far Chance can see that
he's keeping his cool.
As they are finishing up an unmarked
car pulls up and a suit get out. He's tall, well over six feet
with dark brown hair graying slightly at the temple. His eyes
are filled with concern as he walks up asking Kaleigh, "Are
"I'm fine Mark," she answers.
Turning to the officer Mark says, "What
have we got?"
"They gave us a pretty good description
sir, and it going out over the wire now. If it's out there we'll
find out. But what does this have to do with Homicide?"
Before Kaleigh can answer Mark steps
in saying, "When something like this happens to one of our
own, we want to know as he glances toward Kaleigh!"
"Sorry Officer, I should have told
you, I'm Detective Kaleigh Harner with San Diego PD." The
officer is surprised as he looks toward the trio.
Kaleigh continues, "As soon as
the car is located I want it cordoned off. No one touches it.
I want forensics in for a full sweep of the car and please have
several officers canvas the area, someone must have seen something."
"Yes, ma'am," he says. Turning
away the officer goes to his radio relaying the information.
Chance's jaw drops as he turns to Benny
Ray saying, "I think you left a little something out of
the translation Compadre." Shrugging his shoulders Benny
Ray mumbles an apology.
Mark standing beside Kaleigh asks, "What
the hell happened."
"Someone tried to run us over,"
Benny Ray answers.
Breaking in the officer says, "They
found the car," as he hands Kaleigh the address. "It's
about six blocks from here the owners reported it stolen yesterday."
"Mark", Kaleigh says, "I'll
explain on the way over, will you give us a lift?
Eyeing the two men standing beside Kaleigh,
he hesitates, but Kaleigh is determined and grabs him by the
arm leading him toward the car.
Turning to Chance Benny Ray asks, "What
did the Major have to say?"
"I'll fill you in later,"
Chance says glancing toward Mark.
Forensics is already working on the
car when they pull up. Thirty minutes later the investigator
shakes his head as he walks toward them. "We didn't find
much Kaleigh, a couple of strands of hair and some dust bunnies
but not much else. The car was wiped clean before we got here.
Who ever did this knew what the hell they were doing. We'll run
a few more tests but I don't think we're going to find anything."
"Thanks Jeff, if anything does
turn up call me," Kaleigh say shaking his hand.
As Mark pulls up in front of the house
Chance and Benny Ray step out walking up the sidewalk as Kaleigh
hugs Mark saying, "I'm glad you were there partner."
"What the heck is going on Kaleigh,"
Mark asks, why did someone try to run you over? Does this have
anything to do with Mike's accident?"
Sighing, Kaleigh says, "I don't
know Mark, truly I don't know, but I intend to find out"
"What about these guys," Mark
says nodding toward Chance and Benny Ray?
Laughing, Kaleigh says, "I have
know Benny Ray since I was in pigtails Mark, he's the best friend
I've ever had, except for you." Hugging him one more time
she get out, waving as he pulls away.
"Benny Ray, I'm going to get cleaned
up, I think you and I need to head out to the base in a bit and
see what we can dig up."
"Roger that Kal," Benny Ray
says, watching as she heads for the bedroom.
Tapping Benny Ray on the shoulder Chance
nods toward the backyard. Stepping out of the house, they can
hear the quiet chirping of the birds and crickets as Chance relays
Silver Star Hotel
Matt, Margo and CJ waited impatiently
for the call. With Trout still enroute it might be a while for
the call to come through. But the three of them are surprised
as the phone rings right on time.
"Shepherd," Matt answers.
"Matt," Trout says, "I
have Phil Donovan on the line he's going to brief you on the
"Major Shepherd," Donovan
begins, "This mission has a Top Secret classification attached
to it. My boss was very reluctant to hand it off to civilians.
Mr. Trout has assured me that you and your people can be trusted."
"You're wasting time, Mr. Donovan,
my people are down there right now in the line of fire. We will
do our utmost to see this mission through. It seems that your
people are the ones with the problem, not ours."
"Your right Major," Donovan
apologizes, "I'm sorry and we will find that leak."
"Several weeks ago two shipments
of new weapons were stolen from the armory at Pendleton. The
Pentagon suspects someone high up in the chain is responsible
but so far we have been unable to find out who or where the weapons
are going. Mike may have found that leak and paid the price for
it. What we do know is that a buy is set to go down in 48 hours.
You and Miss Vincent will be those buyers Major. Your covers
have already been set in place. You should be contacted within
the next 24hrs as to the meeting site. That's all we know! You
will be supplied with anything you need. Phone and wire taps
are already in place."
Breaking in Trout says, "Thanks
Phil, my people will get the job done. I'll keep you informed,"
before he breaks the connection.
"Thanks Matt," Trout says?
"You owe us for this one Trout,"
"I owe you a lot more than one,"
Trout says as he hangs up.
"Alright people, let move it"
With their gear already packed, Matt and his team head for the
Benny Ray was steaming as he walked
through the door but Kaleigh was worse. Typical military bull
and red tape had kept Kaleigh from picking up Mike's effects.
Even his commander had been unable to rattle the cage.
Storming up the stairs she slams the
door so hard it fails to catch and springs open. Sitting on the
bed, Kaleigh picks up the phone dialing Mark, listening as he
relays what little information he has. The forensics' team had
failed to turn up anything. The officers who had canvassed the
area also came up empty. No witnesses, no sighting, nothing.
"Thanks Mark," she murmurs
hanging up. Swearing softly she pulls the department issued Glock
9mm from the draw beside her bed, checking the clip she snaps
it in place before holstering it, pulling several more clips
from the draw before closing it.
Leaning again the door jam Benny Ray
watches as Kaleigh check her weapon. "I always did prefer
a woman who knows how to pack a weapon," he says grinning.
She slowly turns to face him and Benny
Ray wasn't surprised by the look on her face. She was fuming,
and a mad Kaleigh was an awesome sight to behold. Her eyes flashed
fire and her cheeks were hot with suppressed rage. He for one
had no plans to get in her way, back her up yes, get in her way
- Hell No, his life wouldn't be worth it if he did
"What'd Mark have to say?"
"Not much," she answers, "Forensics
found nothing, the canvas turned up nothing. But something is
going on here and I'm sure as hell going to find out what."
"Kaleigh," Benny Ray says
quietly, "It was a professional hit, these people are too
smart to leave anything to chance. We're probably not going to
find anything. What do you think you can do?
Eyeing him, she says, "I don't
know, but I can't just sit here and let Mike go without a fight."
"Kaleigh wait," Benny Ray
says, as she starts to stand. "I have some friends working
on it, just give them some time?
"Friends Benny Ray," she asks,
"What kind of friends?"
"That I can't tell you Kal, you'll
just have to trust me."
"I trust you Benny Ray, more than
anyone, but if you can't trust me or keep me in the loop, I'm
outta here to see what I can dig up on my own." Storming
out of the room she rushes down the stairs, Benny Ray following.
His voice quiet but angry he says, "Kaleigh!"
She stops at the front door, turning
slowly toward him.
Benny Ray, frustrated knows she's not
going to relent and he can't explain. "At least let me go
with you," he says, knowing maybe a little recon will help.
If he can keep her occupied and out of trouble it will give Matt
more time to unravel the puzzle.
Kaleigh reluctantly nods her head, having
him along would definitely be an asset. Besides she really wasn't
mad at him, just the whole stinking situation.
"Do you mind if I borrow some of
Mike's gear," he asks.
"I don't mine at all," she
says, "Help yourself!" Leading the way back up the
stairs she flips the catch, moving away as the door slides open.
Without realizing it Benny Ray sighed
with pleasure as he steps into the little room. Beside him Kaleigh
smiled for the first time in days, as she watched him pull Mike's
Glock 21 from the wall. It was a nice weapon, and one of Mike's
favorite. Grabbing a couple of extra clips Benny Ray steps back
closing the door. Seeing the smug expression on her face, he
grins sheepishly, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie
jar. Stowing the Glock in the back belt of his pants beneath
his jacket he follows her down the stairs.
Chance walking in through the back door
hailing Benny Ray, pulling him off to the side he explains the
Majors' mission. "They'll be down here in a couple of hours."
"Did the Major say anything about
Kaleigh," Benny Ray asks?
"Just to keep her safe and out
of trouble, she might have something they want and not know it,"
Benny Ray groans at Chance's out of
trouble remark, "He has no idea what he's asking."
Slapping Benny Ray on the shoulder,
Chance chuckles saying, "You my friend attract trouble like
bees to honey."
Faking a punch to Chance stomach, Benny
Ray grins. " I'll keep in touch he says, patting the cell
phone on his belt."
Kaleigh sucks in her breath as she looks
at the wreckage of the military sedan. Forensics had been over
the little car with a fine toothcomb. But Benny Ray knew Kaleigh
had to check it anyway. Mike had meant too much to her to let
it stop here. Thirty minutes the search turns up nothing and
the two head back toward town her first stop the police station.
Asking Benny Ray to wait she steps into
the captains' office she listens as he tries to console her,
telling her everything that could possible be done, is. "As
of this morning Detective, your on leave, your too close Kaleigh,"
the captain say. "Go home, let us do our jobs."
"But captain," she begins.
"No buts detective, you're on leave."
"Yes sir she answers," frustrated
turning away. Mark is waiting for her as she walks through the
squad room pulling her into a side room he asks, "How are
you holding up?"
"This is bullshit Mike," she
says angrily, "No one will tell me what the hell is going
on. Mike's office is stalling. The captain wants me out of the
way - I'm on leave," she mimics waving her hands. "Why
won't anyone talk to me?"
"I don't know Kaleigh, but the
captain is right, if I find out anything, no matter how small
I'll call you. So far all we have is dead ends."
"You promise," Kaleigh says?"
"Promise," Mark answers.
Frustrated but knowing she's batting
her head up against a brick wall, Kaleigh opens the door nodding
to Benny Ray as she heads for the exit.
"Go Home Kaleigh, I'll call you
if anything come up." Shrugging Mark sends Benny Ray a look
hoping he can talk some sense into her.
Taking Kaleigh by the elbow Benny Ray
gives her no options. "Let's head back for the house maybe
Chance has turned something up.
Kaleigh really wanted to argue, but
deep in her heart she know that the Captain, Mark and Benny Ray
are right. It just didn't make her feel one lick better about
Chance is waiting as they pull up. "I
swept for bugs, found one in the kitchen but I also found this,
he says holding up two disks." "I'm headed for the
hotel now, Margo's waiting."
"Where did you find those,"
Kaleigh asks in surprise?
Seems they were in plain sight all along,
Chance replies holding up Mike's minidisk player. "He had
it modified to play special CD's."
Kaleigh fingered the little disc player
a sad little smile on her face a she whispers, "It's the
one he always used when he went running."
"Gotta go folks, Margo is waiting
for these babies," Chance says as he's heading for the door."
"I'm going with you," Kaleigh
says stepping in behind him.
"No Kaleigh," Benny Ray says
blocking her path.
"I have every right to know why
Mike was killed and I'm going."
"Please Kaleigh," Benny Ray
says glancing toward Chance, knowing they might have to restrain
her the hard way. "We can't risk blowing their cover, if
you go barging in there now that's exactly what's going to happen."
As a detective, she knows their right
but Kaleigh wanted to know what was on those disks. Why did Mike
have to die? She desperately wanted to find the people that did
this. She wasn't use to being shut out and it made her very angry.
Frantically she searches for an excuse. "Chance need backup,
what if they somehow know he has the disks, we can't afford to
"That's already been taken care
of, Chance says as a black SUV with tinted windows pulls up.
CJ sitting behind the wheel smiles grimly as Chance ducks out
Reaching out Benny Ray grabs Kaleigh
around the waist as she tries to follow.
"Dammit! Let me go," she yells!
I can't do that Kaleigh and you know
it. Chance will let us know what they find. There's too much
at stake here. Mike couldn't tell you what he was working on,
what makes us any different."
He was killed because of what he knew
and was trying to stop, Kaleigh. I know your hurting but let
it go for now.
Pummeling her fists against his chest,
she begins to cry and the blow stop as he holds her tight, rocking
her gently until the tears begin to subside.
Margo was frustrated it was going to
take hours to sort through all the information on the disks.
"Anything Margo," Matt asks.
"Not yet, Margo replies, "these
are recording of all mikes meeting with top level people from
the base who might be involved. I think we're going to need a
lot more coffee.
"Ok, people, let's pair up, Chance,
CJ you work on this disk," Matt says handing it to them.
"Margo and I are going to work the other one."
"Hey did I ever
Only to be cut off as the others yells "NO!"
It was nearing dawn when Benny Ray cell
phone rings. He and Kaleigh had sat up talking over old times,
their escapades as kids and the adventures the three of them
"Roger that Sir," Benny Ray
says glancing toward Kaleigh.
Several minutes later the SUV pulls
up with Chance at the wheel. Tossing two duffel bags in Kaleigh
climbs in with Benny Ray beside her as Chance takes off. Behind
them a small blue car pulls out and starts to follow. Seconds
later a second SUV pull out. Slowing down, both SUV are now bumper
to bumper with the little car effectively sandwiching it between
them. Like a finely choreographed ballet, the two SUV maneuver
the car into a ditch.
"That my friends is a three pointer"
Chance chuckles as he high five's Benny Ray.
"Well done Mate," CJ's voice
chimes over the comlink.
Twenty minutes later the team is together
once more in the hotel room. Everyone knows their places and
quickly done their gear before checking their weapons.
Kaleigh standing in the middle to the
side says, "What do you need me to do."
Matt can see the mulish look on her
face but plows on. "I need you to stay put, we can handle
it from here."
Crossing her arms she stands straight,
glaring at Matt saying, "I don't think so, Mike was my husband
I'm not sitting this one out."
We don't work with civilians not matter
who they are, Matt says. I need you to stay here where you'll
"Will all due respect
Kaleigh says sarcasm dripping from every word. "I may be
a civilian, but I served my time. I know a military op when I
see it. I will stay out of your way."
Matt gives her that smile, like a parent
talking to a recalcitrant child. "That may be so, but you're
not cleared for this one." Turning away Matt says, "Lets
"Major, we've go company,"
"Four or em Sir and they are ready
"Thought you shook that tail,"
Matt says glancing toward CJ.
"We did major this is a whole nother
ballgame," CJ answers.
"There must have been a second
tail," Chance pipes in.
Turning to Kaleigh, Matt says, CJ, she's
with you in the suburban, keep her down and out of sight.
"Roger that," CJ answers
"Are you armed," Matt asks
"Yes" she answers pulling
the Glock from beneath her jacket. From beside her Benny Ray
tosses her a vest saying, "Put this on darlin, I think your
gonna need it."
"Plan B people," Matt says,
"Let's loose this tail once and for all."
Using the back stairs, the team moves
quickly and quietly to the SUVs parked behind the hotel. Checking
for tails, they find none and breathe a sigh of relief as they
head for the meet.
It would take them about twenty minutes
to reach the deserted airstrip where the Arms deal was to take
place. Two building, with a walkway/catwalk connecting them sit
on the west side of the strip, with a third building directly
behind them. Matt and Margo, in the suburban, wait patiently
in the shadows of the first building. Benny Ray stationed on
the rooftop next to the catwalk has a clear view of the meet
site. Crouched behind several crates Chance waits in the alleyway
between the buildings. CJ and Kaleigh are in the second suburban
parked in the alleyway out of direct line of site of the entry
but have a good semi hidden view of the meet site. CJ initiates
a comms check ensuring all systems are working.
From across the comlink the team hears
Benny Ray, "Heads up folks, we've got company. Two tango's
front seat," CJ says. "Smile gents your on candid camera,"
as he watches on the monitors.
"Ready," Matt says grinning?
"Just like old times," Margo
"We are in position," Matt
says, "let them come."
Less then a minute later the car pulls
to a stop about 20 feet from the suburban. Two men step out.
Opening the doors Matt and Margo follow suit.
"Major we have a problem,"
Benny Ray's voice rings out for a second time. "Our party
boys have come a crashing."
"Damn," CJ mumbles! "How'd
they find us? Confirmed; same guys from the hotel. They're coming
up behind your position Major."
Pulling their weapons Margo says, "Looks
like we're going to have to end this party a little early."
The two men dive for cover pulling their
weapons as the second vehicle pulls comes to a screeching halt
sending a cloud of dust into the air, four men tumble out taking
up positions behind the car.
"Why do they always want to do
things the hard way," Margo mumbles?
"You noticed that too," Matt
"We could use a little help down
here," Matt yells.
"Roger that Sir," Benny Ray
says. The thick cloud of dust hinders visibility, but Benny Ray
can see movement and takes the shot. One man grunts as the bullet
hits him and he flies backward. The three other continue to fire
their bullets pinging off the suburban where Matt and Margo lay
Though the tangos were closely huddled
behind their car Benny Ray decided against sending a shot into
the fuel tank, Matt and Margo were too close and they might get
caught up in the explosion.
From his position in the alleyway, Chance
has a clear shot at the men in the first car. Firing he knocks
one off his feet. Firing again he catches the second man in the
side as he turns. The shot spins him around and he falls, face
first into the dust.
Going low, the dust partially clearing
from the air Matt fires beneath the car catching one man in the
From above Benny Ray fires shot after
shot into the car shattering the glass. But the angle is bad
and he can't get a good shot at the targets. Picking himself
up he moves toward the corner of the building above Chance trying
to find a better position.
Unknowingly a lone figure moved in behind
the building heading for the alleyway.
CJ and Kaleigh hit the deck as bullets
riddle the suburban. Though the glass was suppose to be bullet
proof it shattered easily under the assault.
"Matt," CJ yells, "We've
got a little problem here.
"What's going on CJ," Matt
asks before he hears the explosion?
With Kaleigh's side clear the two of
them slide out the partially opened door crawling away from the
car toward Chance as it explodes bursting into flames behind
them. The confined area in the alleyway focuses the concussion,
sending it forwards and up. Chance, CJ and Kaleigh are thrown
forward into the crates at the side of the building.
With the assault from the roof momentarily
gone, the two men remaining try to make their escape. Stepping
up Matt and Margo take aim and the retreating figures go down.
The lone figure had moved quickly through
the next building up onto the second floor. Through the window
he can see the tangle bodies as they slowly gained their feet.
The slender woman moving toward the crates is his first target.
The slim Ruger P85 finds it's target and he pulls the trigger.
Kaleigh's body jerks forward as the Teflon coated bullet rips
through her vest and right side like they were butter. Kaleigh
groans as she falls forward into Chances arms. Lifting her up
Chance yells for CJ to take cover behind the crates out of the
line of fire.
"Kaleigh's down, the bloody bastards
using cop killers," CJ yells. As the bullets ricochet around
"He's in the other building,"
Chance says catching sight of the movement in the windows above
"Benny Ray can you see him,"
But Benny Ray doesn't answer. Up on
the roof, Benny Ray had been standing close to the wall when
he heard the explosion. As the concussion reaches the rooftop,
it picks him up tosses him hard against the wall. Stunned he
shakes his head to clear the haze as tiny rivulets of blood streak
down his face from a small cut over his right eyebrow.
"Benny Ray," Matt queries?
"Roger, Sir," his shaky voice
answers. Picking himself up Benny Ray moves toward the alleyway
wall wiping the blood from his eye with the back of his hand.
He can hear the repeated sounds of shots and finds the shadow
standing in the window. Squeezing the trigger he waits, the shattering
of glass and flailing arms tell him he hit the target.
Benny Ray is pacing the floor furiously.
A slight concussion and two stitches are not enough to keep him
down. The rest of the team sits quietly around the waiting room
keeping a safe distance from Benny Ray. He was ready to snap
and none of them wanted to be too close when it happened.
As the doctor walks through the door
he is immediately surrounded. But Benny Ray pushes his way through.
"How is she doc," he asks?
"Are you her family," the
"Closest thing she has," Benny
Ray answers. "Her parents are gone." His eyes flashing
with menace, Benny Ray says, "Doc?"
"There was a lot of damage," the doctor says. "We're
doing everything we can. We've repaired as much of the damage
as possible and stopped the bleeding. It's only a matter of time
now. If she makes it through the next 24 hours, she's got a good
When can I see her, I need to see her,"
Benny Ray says!
"We don't normally let
"I will see her
Ray says stepping closer,
Matt starts to break in before Benny
Ray goes ballistic. But the doctor relents.
"Come with me. She's being taken
up to ICU now."
"Benny Ray," Matt says, "one
of us will be here if you need anything.
Benny Ray sat vigilantly by her side
for the next 24 hours. The hours had taken their toll, his nerves
were stretched to the limit, several times Kaleigh had come close
to death, but Benny Ray knew her fighting spirit wasn't yet willing
to give up.
4 Weeks later
Hermosa Beach, CA
Trout and Matt are on the boardwalk
across from the beach as Trout relays the results of Mike's investigation.
"Two top brass officers are being court martialed. The minidisks
contained enough evidence along with everything else Mike had
collected to put them away for a long time. All of the arms have
"So who was the lone gunman in
the car", Trout asks?
Behind them Benny Ray softly says, "Bill
Johnson, Mikes partner." Then continues walking solitarily
toward the beach
"How's he holding up Matt,"
Trout asks as he watches BR walks off?
"Day by day," Matt answers.
"What about Kaleigh," Trout
You'd have to ask Benny Ray about that,"
Matt says. "But I don't think it's a good idea right now,
he's still pretty mad about Johnson. Johnson betrayed his partner.
It seems Bill Johnson and Colonel Raeford, were brothers. Raeford
was the brains behind the armory theft ring. Bill was in a perfect
position to keep the investigation away from his brother and
keep tabs on Mike. Johnson killed him and his contact when they
got too close to the operation."
"What about Johnson," Trout
A grim smile crosses his face as he
looks at Trout saying, "One bullet to the head"
Both men look across the beach toward
Coming up behind them a couple of water
bottles in hand Margo asks, "You ready Matt.
"Hello Margo," Trout smiles
asking, "Hot date?
"You could say that," she
Flashing a heart-stopping smile she
walks away, Matt shrugs at Trout as he quickly follows Margo
toward the Volleyball net, joining Benny Ray and Kaleigh in warming
Story Line By Tink
Dialogue and Technical by Dee
Technical Support by Rattler
(Special thanks to Dee, without her help this story would still
be rattling around in the back of my brain.)
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