NORTH OF LA IN THE COUNTRY
I looked out over the open field and
watched the herd of deer play as I cleaned my weapons from my
last mission which was a 155 hour stand off by right wing extremists
in North Dakota. I had done what was necessary to get my people
home in one piece. As I placed each gun in its case except for
my personal gear, I wondered how things would have changed if
I had gone home to western Mass instead of coming west after
getting out of the army. I had originally bought this cabin because
of its location and that it reminded me a lot of the place I
grew up where one could hunt and fish without worry of being
hassled. I finished up and put my gear into the back of my twin
cab Chevy Cheyenne. I then thought of the woman whom I had a
date with this evening and I knew she had a right to know what
I did for a living. Every time I tried, my beeper had gone off
and I had to leave. It was always bad timing. I went to loading
magazines for my pistols and placing the mags in my vest. I then
checked my revolver to see if it was loaded. I believed that
the revolver was still a valued piece of equipment as a defensive
tool. My father had given the S&W 586 to me when I joined
the army many years ago.
The phone inside suddenly rang. I went
in to answer it and as soon as I heard the voice on the other
end I knew it was gonna be a long day. I told the man on the
other end to call everyone else in and I'd be there in an hour
and a half and told him to have an agent onsite. I went outside,
grabbed my personal gear and while heading to my truck I thought
this was just great, a situation with political ramifications
for both home and abroad. I got into my truck, started the engine
and headed towards LA.
ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE LA SPORTS ARENA
I was stopped by a police officer when
I tried to gain entry. I went back to my truck and pulled out
my vest and put it on. But this time I blew past the officer.
I saw the agent onsite was John Peterson just sitting and drinking
"Miller what are you and your people
"We were called in. So point me
to who is in charge."
He escorted me to the man in charge.
I looked at a grey haired man who looked like he was in charge.
I explained to him the situation and that I have the authority
to take control of the situation. This made the Sergeant a bit
"Look Agent Miller, with no disrespect
intended but my men are the best in the business and with all
the success's the FBI teams have had like Waco, Ruby Ridge and
so on. Just to name a few."
"Well Sergeant how about that standoff
recently in North Dakota. Your argument holds no water because
in each case you mentioned the ATF were involved."
The sergeant did not respond. He told
his men too pack up and go home. My men quickly took their places
and my hostage negotiator Karen Reynolds tried to make contact.
THE SILVER STAR OPS CENTER
Matt, Benny Ray and Nick were doing
some weapons maintenance and Benny Ray was doing an ammo inventory,
when the news of the hostage situation came over the news. They
all knew Margo was inside with her brother. Matt went over a
plan very quickly. Benny Ray had handed out handguns to Matt
and Nick and secured his own to his holster and had weapons ready
in about five minutes. They went over the plan and hit the streets.
SECONDARY ENTRANCE NORTHSIDE OF BUILDING
The team arrived at the southeast entrance
which led to the basement through a manhole. Benny Ray had taken
the manhole cover off the entrance. They started to make their
move when they heard the all too familiar sound of weapons being
cocked. They turned and saw two men carrying HK Ump's pointed
directly at them.
"Gentlemen, your weapons please."
One of the two men collected their weapons.
They gave no sign of a fight what-so-ever. One of the men dressed
in black spoke over his comm link.
"Boss we're heading in and your
not gonna believe this."
They all headed back to the command
post with their prisoners intact
I was busy looking over the building
plans and formulating a plan of attack in my head. I turned to
my hostage negotiator Karen Reynolds who seemed happy.
"What's going on."
"Well they've agreed to release
all women and children except for one. Well it seems she's causing
some kind of problem inside."
"What kind of problem?"
"Sorry Ray but they wouldn't say."
"Ok no problem then."
"I want those people debriefed
immediately upon release."
"I got two agents standing by to
I then turned as I saw two of my most
experienced men coming in with prisoners and thought what the
hell. As I recognized each one of them.
"Swanson and Simmons, what's going
"Well Boss caught these guys trying
to go in an entrance we were guarding."
Simmons placed their guns on top of
the map I was looking at. I noticed the handguns no big deal
but when I noticed the MP5-SD's I was wondering who these people
I called my friends really were.
"Swanson put them into the equipment
truck and I'll take care of it."
As Swanson did as I asked I had to really
wonder what was going on here.
Nick had taken a seat on a bench. Benny
Ray had noticed black fatigues and weapons that were all unloaded.
Matt looked around and was thoroughly confused.
"Benny Ray how much do we know
about your friend Ray?"
"Well boss. All I know for sure
is that he helped me get a job at the police academy teaching
an advanced pistol course for police officers and at the time
he was working as a deputy for the LA Sheriff's Department. The
rest you know."
"So what's the big deal, he's obviously
from some alphabet soup organization." Replied Nick.
In unison he got a. "Shut up!"
Then the truck door opened and the man
they knew as Ray Miller entered.
I entered the truck and changed I knew
I was not going to be rushed but the weapons we found had no
serial numbers on the weapons which made me wonder exactly what
was going on. I looked at each one of them.
"All right who's gonna tell me
what's going on here?"
I then double-checked my gear a second
time. As I was putting my vest back on along with my tactical
thigh rig, Matt spoke.
"Ray who are you to be asking us
"Ok Matt I think I owe my friends
that much at least."
I pulled my ID from my wallet and handed
it to him. They all looked it over.
"You're a special agent that deals
with tactical situations?"
"That's right Matt I'm in charge
here and had quite a confrontation with the local swat team leader
to get them out of here. I am real sorry for not telling you
guys sooner but you had no reason to know. Now that I answered
your question how about mine. I'm not making any threats here
guy's so speak up or I can guess."
Each one of them looked at each other.
Then Benny Ray stated.
"Sir we do owe him some kind of
explanation. After all he answered ours."
Matt looked at his friend and spoke.
"Benny Ray I wish I could."
I did not like what I was hearing so
I had to play my trump card.
"Alright I've heard enough. I'm
gonna turn you boys over to the police when this is all over
on weapons' charges."
A knock on the door came quickly. I
went to the door and walked out. Wilson was the man who knocked
on the door and he looked real nervous.
"What is it?"
"Well sir we got a problem."
"Which is what."
"Sir all the women and children
have been released but one women is demanding to speak to you.
She gave me this."
I looked at the ID wallet and inside
it contained a picture and a name but it was stamped CIA. This
gave me a bad feeling.
The woman was giving everyone a hard
time about being debriefed. Everyone tried their best to calm
her down but she was having none of it. I approached and told
my negotiator that I needed to send in two paramedics we had
standing by to check everyone inside. She started on that task.
I then walked over to the red haired spitfire.
"I'm agent Miller and I've been
told you refuse to be debriefed."
"That's right. I have a message
for whoever is in charge."
"Well Miss Trout look around and
you will see these people do as I tell them."
"You're in-charge? A bit young
for this kind of thing aren't you?"
"Not really, what I need is the
information in your head, then we'll talk. I promise you that."
Her debrief went quick and was right
to the point and took her about fifteen minutes. I went over
the debriefs and decided on a course of action if it went that
far. I was informed the terrorists would allow the paramedics
in as long as there were no tricks. I gave them an armed escort
and I then signalled for Wilson to bring Miss Trout forward.
"Alright, what is so important
it could not wait till you were debriefed and thanks for co-operating."
"Well agent Miller... my father,
who is Xavier Trout, has told me to tell you to call the Silver
Star Bar and to ask for Matt Shepherd and to give him this message...
"Thank you Miss Trout. By the way
is your father a pentagon official?"
"Well he's part of the reason I'm
I remembered that call from my days
with the 101st airborne. I saw the paramedics come back and they
seemed healthy enough. I then walked back to the equipment truck.
I opened the door and everyone was seated
on the benches inside. No one made a move but they were kind
of somber. I looked directly at Matt. "A gentlemen named
Trout sent you a message through his daughter.. the message was
Matt rose to his feet and walked straight
"I can see you know what that means."
"Yeah I do, heard it a lot in Somalia
just after the gulf. Let me guess, you guys are some kind of
pentagon strike team."
Matt looked into my eye's.
"How did you know?"
"Easy, weapons without serial numbers
plus most of you have been in the military. It all adds up to
total deniability. I know the game. One question though, is Margo
part of your little group here?"
"Since it's truth time and you've
been seeing her for awhile the answer is yes."
"Alright come with me then."
We walked back to the command post and
I briefed them on the way.
There was one more debrief waiting for
me. It came and it came in late. Benny Ray and the others got
armed in a hurry.
"This changes things a bit."
"What do you mean."
"According to this last debrief
they got a bomb inside the building."
I gave Karen the signal to terminate
negotiations. Matt walked over to me.
"What's going on now."
"With a bomb inside this changes
the game plan big-time. From the debriefs we'll get one chance
at this. Plus it'll be done by the book."
Matt's team joined mine for the briefing
on the situation.
"All right folks just so we're
all on the same page. Johnson you'll take five men and will take
the first floor and your men will take over everything down there.
Take these gentlemen along with Wilson. So Wilson get your tools."
Johnson spoke up next.
"Boss who are these three?"
"Well you do deserve to have an
answer and here it is. These men work for the pentagon and that's
all you need to know."
"We go in five."
Wilson came back wearing a tool pouch
and handing over three comm units and radios. They made a quick
change and were ready. Matt walked forward.
"May I have a word?"
"Look Ray I don't want you to get
the wrong idea or anything but my people don't work with civilians
and that includes the FBI."
"Alright Shepherd. I just listened
to you and now you're gonna listen to me. My men are all ex-military.
After Waco the director here gave me cart-blanch to re-organize
the West Coast team. I can vouch for all my men, they are the
best. As for myself, I did five years in the 101st airborne.
I am sniper qualified. Postings include Kuwait, Somalia and a
lot of things I can't talk about. If you got any further questions
on my record why don't you call Col. Jameson who was my CO. Other
than that we're finished Matt."
LA SPORTS ARENA
The first wave of agents hit the building
and took out anyone holding a gun. The firefight lasted just
a few seconds. Everyone heard the all clear come over our comm
links. I gave the order to secure the first floor and the stairwells
plus all the inside exits. The next communication that came through
was another all clear. We then entered the building. Wilson,
Delvecchio and myself took one set of stairs while Matt and Benny
Ray took the other. Their job was simple, find the hostages and
get them out. Ours was to find the bomb on the upper floor.
Benny Ray and Matt fought their way
up to the upper dining room and took out the terrorists there
and brought the hostages down. They had killed about fourteen
terrorists. They watched the hostages get into the elevators.
Trout and John were among them but Margo was not.
"Miller we have a friendly still
on the field of play do you copy."
I heard that and Nick told me it was
"Roger that Shepherd now get yourselves
out with the hostages."
We also fought our way up and were very
careful. A terrorist appeared out of nowhere and my UMP drilled
him from his waist to his sternum. I also took a hit in the side
from his Uzi. It was only a flesh wound on my side but I remembered
the pain from when I was shot in Somalia. I took a field dressing
and put it over the wound to stop the flow of blood. As we started
around the corner I heard gunfire. I moved ahead and what I saw
was a sight... a women holding an old Thompson submachine gun.
She then turned and looked at me.
"What are you doing here?"
"Well for one thing my job and
I thought we had a date tonight?"
"Well we do but things happen."
"Ok, have you seen a bomb up here."
"Yes, it's around the corner I've
been trying to get to it."
The others appeared. I looked at Nick.
"Look, get her out of here now."
Nick tried but to no avail. She was
as stubborn as the day was long. I handed her some spare mags
and my UMP and she gladly accepted them.
"What are you gonna use?"
I then withdrew my 1911-A1 and my revolver.
"Your kidding right"
"Afraid not Margo."
We rounded the corner and killed the
remaining terrorists but they activated the bomb before we could
"Look Margo leave with Nick now."
"We leave together or not at all."
She was one stubborn lady but that's
what I loved about her.
I ordered the men on the first floor
to get out of the building immediately. Wilson rushed ahead and
opened the breastplate of the bomb.
"Boss this is a piece of cake."
With bombs and other gadgets I tended
to believe Wilson as he quickly defused it and started to carry
it out of the building. We all exited the building together.
The bomb was handed over to the bomb squad. An agent came up
and told Margo she needed to be debriefed.
I was having my wound attended to and
the paramedics told me I should be in the hospital. I told them
I've had worse and to just stitch it up. An older man approached
after I got changed back into my civvies.
"That was good work agent Miller.
If you're ever looking for a career change give me a call."
"I was warned about you Mr. Trout
but thanks for the offer."
I grabbed my gear and threw everything
into the back of my truck. I was getting hungry at this point
when Margo walked over.
"Look I really need to explain
about my work. I have tried for month's now."
"Ray look, there's no need. Matt
told me. He had to tell you what I did for a living but it looks
like we're both in the same business so to speak."
"So your alright with that."
"Yeah I am."
"Okay, do you think we can make
our dinner reservation?"
"Afraid not. But I was looking
forward to it."
"Ok how does left over venison
stew and rolls sound at my place."
She took a minute to answer me.
"Sounds good, can I follow you
in my car?"
"Sure why not."
NORTH OF LA, IN THE COUNTRY
The drive north always helped clear
my head from a hectic day and today was no exception but right
now I had two reports to write instead of one. We both arrived
at the same time. She followed me inside.
I put the stew on and set the table
and she brought out a garden salad that she had found in the
fridge. I forgot I had even made it. I brought out the stew after
it had warmed and poured what was left into the bowls. I noticed
Margo looking at the pictures of my family and my old army photos.
"Ray whose this?"
"Margo that's my father and me
on my first hunting trip. That seems like ages ago."
I walked her to the table and we ate.
After dinner I took her into my arms
and softly kissed her and it was as if the world had stopped.
We then walked to the bedroom where we stayed all night. We awoke
in each other's arms.
"Margo can you get away for a couple
She grabbed her cell phone. I was guessing
she was calling Matt.
"Well you're in luck. I can get
away for two weeks. What did you have in mind?"
"Well I haven't had a vacation
in the last four years and was thinking Maui."
I just wanted to stay in bed all day
but knew I had to get those reports written and turned in.
"Look I need to finish some work
so can I meet you later."
"Well if we're going to Maui it's
Margo was gone in no time and I was
typing out my reports on the two incidents.
FBI HEADQUARTERS LA
I walked in and the place was a busy
place today as I handed in my reports plus I also put in for
my vacation with the agent in charge.
"Miller your nuts."
"Well Charlie it's been four years
since my last one and I'm taking two weeks."
"Ray look your making me lose the
pool on when you'd take one."
"Oh who wins it?"
"Good because he owes me money."
I then left and headed towards the beach.
I ran into Margo and we had a nice lunch.
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