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Camp Pendleton
0515 hrs

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 it."

"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 killed instantly."

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
2215 hrs

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 close.

"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 us help."

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 him."

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 a girl."

Chance burst out laughing at the last comment.

"How'd she meet Mike," Chance prompts? Seeing the sadness in his eyes, Chance is almost sorry he asked.

"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 arms.

"He's gone, Benny Ray." Kaleigh cries.

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 okay."

"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 road."

"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 a thing."

"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 for though."

"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 you."

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 wall.

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 what?"

"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 out something."

"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 around.

"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 Kaleigh."

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 head."

"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 you posted."

"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 you alright"

"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.

Kaleigh's House
1010 hrs

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 Matt's information.

Silver Star Hotel
1030 hrs

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 situation."

"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," Matt says."

"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 suburban.

Kaleigh's House
1345 hrs

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," Chance replies.

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."

Crash Site
1425 hrs

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 it though.

Kaleigh's House
1620 hrs

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 loose them."

"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 the door.

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.

Empress Hotel
1745 hrs

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… CJ begins. Only to be cut off as the others yells "NO!"

Kaleigh's House
0445 hrs

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 had shared.

"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 be safe.

"Will all due respect…Major?" 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 go people!"

"Major, we've go company," CJ yells.

"Four or em Sir and they are ready to party."

"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 Kaleigh.

"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 answers.

"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 says chuckling.

"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 hidden.

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 leg.

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 him.

"He's in the other building," Chance says catching sight of the movement in the windows above him.

"Benny Ray can you see him," Matt asks?

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.

Military Hospital
Camp Pendleton

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 doctor replies?

"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 chance.

When can I see her, I need to see her," Benny Ray says!

"We don't normally let…."

"I will see her…." Benny 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 been recovered.

"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 asks?

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 continues.

A grim smile crosses his face as he looks at Trout saying, "One bullet to the head"

Both men look across the beach toward Benny Ray.

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 says flirtatiously.

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 up.

-Fini-

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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