Silver Star Hotel
Hermosa Beach, CA. 0900hrs
Opening the door to his sleek corvette
Matt climbs in as the phone on his belt began to ring. He groaned
as he looked at the number glaring at him from the display.
"Good Morning Matt," a familiar
"Trout," Matt answered, "It's
Sunday can't we catch a break even on Sunday."
Expecting the man to chuckle he's surprised
when the line goes silent before Trout's tired voice sounds again.
"It's important Matt, or I wouldn't ask you. I know your
teams tired and I've asked a lot of you but this can't wait."
"Alright Trout, what could be this
One of our operatives has been captured. It's imperative that
we recover him - intact.
"Recover," Matt asks seeking confirmation?
"Yes, we need him back and the information contained
in his head. This comes straight from Director CIA - Matt - it's
crucial we bring him back - alive."
"Send me the Intel Trout, I'll call my team," Matt
sighs heavily knowing this one was not going to be a walk in
Silver Star Hotel
Hermosa Beach, CA. 1030hrs
The room was quiet as Matt and his team digested the Intel
sent by Trout. Bags were stacked at the base of the stairs waiting
for their respective owners to claim them. Standing up Matt nods
to Margo. Hitting several keys on her computer the wall screen
lights up as Matt gathers the teams attention, "Listen up
people, Trout wants this man back alive and in one piece."
"This," indicating a picture on the wall, "Is
Martin Kline, he is being held hostage in Kosovo." The picture
on the wall showed a fairly tall dark haired handsome man, but
the eyes staring out of a rugged face were cold and secretive.
Continuing Matt says, "Trout has no idea what kind of shape
he will be in. Intel coming out the area is pretty sparse and
what does come out is usually wrong. I know none of you are looking
forward to going back in there but Trout has made this a priority
one mission." At Matt's nod Margo flashes a second picture
on the wall.
"This is the compound where he's being held. Benny Ray
you will set up on the North side. Your job is to keep us informed
of any movement within the compound. Ingress is through a small
valley to the northwest, the tree line should provide enough
cover to get close to the compound. According to imagery and
infrared there are four buildings and several guards posted around
the compound. With extra guards posted here on this building
in the center. Intel indicates this is where our subject is being
held. When we have retrieved the package we will head east. We
have approximately twelve miles of rugged terrain to traverse
through hostile territory before rendezvousing with the chopper.
CJ, I want you to set explosives on the east side. Just in case
we need to cover our escape route."
"We do this, as quickly and quietly as possible, do not
want to stir up the natives. No repeat of the last time. Questions?"
"Sir," Benny Ray asks, "What makes this guy
Matt grimaced before replying, "Trout didn't say."
"So the wolves could be snapping at our heels the whole
way after we snatch him," Benny Ray growls.
"That is a possibility," Matt answers.
"I don't like it Boss, not having good Intel has gotten
us into big trouble before."
"Are you opting out of this Mission Benny Ray;"
Matt asks staring at the sniper?
Seconds fly by before Benny Ray answers, "No Major, Just
letting my concerns be known.
"Noted," Matt states.
"Anyone else have any concerns," Matt asks?
Four heads positioned around the table nod no."
Matt could see the concern in their eyes, but there wasn't
much he could do about it unless he turned the mission down.
"Grab your gear, we leave in ten."
Rheinmain Airbase, Germany
Tuesday, 1915 hrs
Matt and his team were waiting patiently in a little hanger
at the end of the runway, conserving energy. The airmen circulating
throughout the hanger shot interested look at the team but none
dared approach. Dressed in black, loaded with weapons and ammunition
they looked intimidating even to the hardened soldiers.
Two hours more and they would be in the air on their way.
The drop off point was five miles north of the compound. The
choppers would come in low and set them down as far away from
prying eyes as possible. The team knew the drill.
Several hours later with Benny Ray taking point the team moved
silently through the forest. Benny Ray was glad to find that
the little Intel Trout had provided was on the mark. They had
skirted a minefield, a small village and avoided contact with
one small band of soldiers. Two more hours would put them at
It was beginning to drizzle as the team reached the compound.
Benny Ray found a vantage point overlooking the compound. With
his night vision goggle he carefully searched the compound for
tangos. Spotting several roving and two stationary guards he
relayed the information to the rest of the team. It was his job
to neutralize the guards on the prison building.
CJ, going east started laying charges in some of the vehicles
and across the trails and paths. If after snatching Kline, they
were being pursued, CJ would blow the charges. If not, the Tango's
would have a big surprise waiting for them in the morning.
Matt, Margo and Chance headed down into the compound.
"We are in position, Raven 3, are you set," Matt
"Roger that, Raven 1," CJ snickers, "Let the
bloody party begin."
"Raven 2, any change," Matt asks?
"Negative Sir," Benny Ray answered.
"Go," Matt whispered, watching as one after the
other the two guards jerk backwards and slid sideways to the
ground. Chance sprinted across the small clearing his silent
tread carrying him quickly to his destination, with Margo and
Matt close on his heels. The door was locked but luck was with
them as Chance checked the guard closest to the door, finding
a set of keys clipped to his belt. Seconds later with the door
unlocked, three silent figures stepped inside. The door opened
into a large room dimly lit by one light dangling from the ceiling.
The large room was sparsely furnished with several tables and
chairs lined up against the far wall. Two doors on the right
were closed but light filtered through the floor crack on the
door nearest the back wall. Checking the first door, Margo opened
it, as Chance and Matt stand ready. Shadowy light filters in
revealing an empty room. Backing out of the room they moved on.
Checking the handle of the second door, Matt motioned to Chance
to hand over the keys. Three keys later the doors swung open.
Inside the cell it's occupant had heard the grating of the
key as it slid into the lock. Leaping from the small cot its
occupant slid into the shadows at the far corner of the room.
His piercing gaze assessed the two figures stepping into the
room. Their nearly silent approach told him they were not part
of the compounds contingent. Were they here to recover him or
terminate him? He hoped it was the former. The tall dark haired
man would be a formidable opponent, his lithe muscular body told
the story of a well-trained soldier. But it was the presence
of the second man that had Kline holding his breath. The black
man was a lethal killing machine, his tense taunt body - was
totally in control, deadly, silent and beautiful to watch. Taking
the initiative Kline drew a deep breath.
The room is steeped in shadows as Matt opened the door. He
could see a cot pushed up against the back wall of the room.
A gruff voice whispers out of the darkness, "What the hell
took you so long!" A man steps out of the corner holding
out his hands encased in handcuffs. "Get these damn things
off me," he growled. Cocking her eyebrow at him Margo pulls
a small key from a pocket on her vest and fiddles the locks open.
"Mr. Kline I presume," she stated. The prisoner stood
quietly his eyes raked her body before he licked his lips in
Slipping the cuffs off his wrists Margo stuffs the little
key and the cuffs back into her vest. She watched as he rubbed
the raw skin on his wrists. She could feel his eyes on her and
she shivered at the raw, hungry emotion written on his face.
Tearing his gaze away Kline pushed past Matt and Margo as
he says, "What the hell are we waiting for, let's get the
hell out of here."
Catching him by the collar of his shirt Chance hauls him back
whipping him around to face Matt.
Kline shivered as the man's hand clamped around his neck.
He felt like a rag doll as the big man swung him around.
"I don't know who the hell you think you are, as for
getting out of here, this is my gig and unless you want to be
thrown back in that cell I suggest you stay put and follow orders
- You do know how to follow orders don't you, Mr. Kline,"
Kline's eyes glitter with annoyance as he nods his head yes.
Taking a deep breath Kline settled himself down, getting out
of here was his number one priority. It wouldn't hurt to let
the man think he was in charge.
"We're coming out Benny Ray."
"Roger Sir," Benny Ray answered.
"CJ," Matt asks?
"Primed and ready, Major," CJ answers excitedly.
Two more on this team, Kline mussed, small but efficient
Chance moved to the door first stepping out, Margo behind
him with Kline and Matt following.
Sprinting toward the bushes the team heads east. Picking himself
up Benny Ray followed taking up a position a few yards behind
them. "Problem Major," Benny Ray whispered, "Two
tango's headed for the prison building."
"Take them out Benny Ray," Matt replies.
Kline stopped turning to watch as Benny Ray raised the rifle
to his shoulder. Taking aim he was silent and deadly as both
men one after the other are jerked off their feet.
Matt nearly stumbled over Kline his voice rough and angry
as he pushed Kline forward saying, "Move it Kline before
I leave your ass here."
Kline ignored Matt's jibe but moved on. He was amazed at the
deadly accuracy of the sniper. He could barely see five feet
in front of his face but the man had just taken out two men nearly
three hundred meters away on a moonless night. He grinned again
though no one saw it in the endless darkness of the forest.
Sliding into the trees the team began the long trek to the
rendezvous point. It would take them several hours and the sun
would be high in the sky before they reached it. Pushing the
team hard Matt hoped to make it in less than five hours.
Dawn was breaking over the horizon as Matt called a halt.
"Take five people," he whispered.
Hooded eyes looked around the small clearing it was time to
see what these people were really made of. A plan had been forming
in Kline's mind for a couple of hours. It was time to put that
plan into action.
For the first time the team got a good look at Kline. For
a man who had spent the last several days in captivity he was
in excellent shape. Several bruises, one on his cheek and one
on his jaw and a black eye were the only evidence of his captivity.
Why? Matt wondered.
Kline glanced toward Margo. "God she was beautiful,"
he though. Stepping toward her he reached up to run his thumb
across her jaw line saying, "Hey beautiful, I've been waiting
for you my entire life."
Margo's eyes flashed angrily as she knocked his hand away.
"What the hell do you think your doing," she asks?
"Just making pleasant conversation," Kline chuckled,
reaching his hand up he rubbed her arm.
Slapping his hand away again Margo whispered, her voice cold,
"Keep your hands to yourself, Mr. Kline."
"O come on beautiful, I'm just trying to be friendly."
"Go Away Kline," Margo growled.
Kline ignored her moving closer.
Neither Margo nor Kline was aware of the silent tread of the
Sniper. Stepping in from the side Benny Ray reached out grabbing
Kline around the throat. Pushing him backward the sapphire blue
eyes go flinty, his voice low and deadly he says, "I think
the Lady asked you to leave her alone."
Benny Ray could feel the rage building in the man. Kline struggled
against the vice like grip around his neck - to no avail, "This
is between me and her," he choked out.
Benny Ray's voice dropped again as he leaned closer his eyes
never leaving Kline's as he whispered, "I won't warn you
again Mr. Kline - leave the Lady alone."
Kline suddenly backed down as the hand around his neck tightened.
The look in the snipers eyes was deadly and unrelenting. Kline
swallowed convulsively and nodded waiting as seconds flash by
before Benny Ray released him. Reaching up Kline rubs his neck,
stumbling backwards away from Benny Ray.
Putting her hand on Benny Ray's shoulder Margo could feel
the tension coursing through him. "Thanks," she whispers.
Benny Ray relaxed cracking a smile as he slowly turned his
head to look at her.
"That is one arrogant asshole," Margo whispered
laughing up at him.
"Yes Ma'am, he is," Benny Ray chuckled back.
Kline watched them from a distance, seeing the smile Benny
Ray gave her and the answering laugh from Margo. That was unexpected.
He had already ruled out the little Brit - at least Kline thought
he was British from the man's accent. He had expected the tall
dark haired man - Matt or even the black man to come to her rescue
not the sniper. The man was a loner it came with the territory
of being a sniper. Kline didn't think they were lovers, but the
scene a few moments ago proved the bond between them was strong.
Storing that little piece of information away, Kline settled
back against a rock biding his time. Kline was a driven man;
his lust for prestige and money had brought him up from the gutters
of Kosovo to the top of the CIA's ranks. But he had learned a
long time ago to hide his appetites. This one last mission and
all his troubles would be over.
Rheinmain Airbase, Germany
Wednesday, 1415 hrs
The trip out had been without incident, pursuit had never
materialized. The mission had been easy and Matt was relieved
that it was over. Kline had been an egotistical, conceited ass
and Matt would be glad to get him off his hands. Even now after
Benny Ray's warning, Kline continued to throw seductive looks
Margo's way. She on the other hand ignored him spending time
with Benny Ray. Matt could feel the hard knot of jealousy building
inside him, though he knew it was only friendship between the
two. Benny Ray acted more like her big brother than a lover.
Deep down Matt knew someday the feelings he had for Margo would
have to be examined and acted upon but for now he had a mission
The chopper landed near a large hanger on the east side of
the airbase. Trout and several cars were waiting as Kline and
the team jumped off. Walking across the tarmac Trout waited with
outstretched hand as Matt crossed to him. "How'd it go,"
Smiling Matt takes the outstretched hand as he replies, "Walk
in the Park!"
Trout looked at him quizzically before slapping him on the
shoulder and walking away. "I'll come see you later, then
we can talk?"
"Fine by me," Matt answered.
Trout ushered Kline into the limo, waving to Matt he indicated
they take the second waiting vehicle. Tossing their gear in the
back the team settled themselves in the big limo. Trout had done
them up right. A two story posh house with all the amenities
was waiting for them. A note awaited them tacked up on the refrigerator
relaying Trout's heartfelt thanks and a week's vacation - all
expenses paid. Several cars were also at their disposal - currently
sitting in the garage or driveway at the side of the house.
CJ whistled appreciatively as he stepped into the big entryway.
Lavish would be the only word to describe the house. Old world
charm built with marble, gilt edging and intricately designed
woodwork were the major themes through out the house. Plush carpeting,
velvet draperies and antiques finished the décor.
"I've died and gone to heaven," CJ whispers!
Stepping into the entryway, Benny Ray grumbled under his breath
turning back to the door saying, "I'm going to a hotel,
this place is way outta my league."
Behind him Margo laughed and pushed him back into the room
saying, "Oh no you don't, you are just going to have to
suffer like the rest of us.
Stepping up Chance throws his arms around Benny Ray's neck
pulling him close as he laughingly says, "Relax Amigo, lets
go pick out our dungeon, then we can raid the kitchen, I'm starving."
"Are you ever NOT hungry Chance," CJ quips.
"Nope!" Chance chuckles winking at Margo as he drags
Benny Ray up the stairs.
Wednesday, 1520 hrs
Kline was tired even though his stint as a hostage had been
easy - the trek out had been tiring. He had spent the last forty-five
minutes with the medics. While the medics' back was turned he
had quickly made a phone call. Settling back he waited for the
medic, as he was finally declared fit for transport and debriefing.
He knew the drill! He was escorted down a long corridor to
a large corner office. Opening the door Kline was not surprised
to see Trout waiting. Standing in front of the window with his
left hand in his pocket Trout turned quickly as he heard the
"Mr. Kline," he said crossing the room with his
hand outstretched. "I hope you've been taken care of."
Kline pasted a smile on his face his cagey eyes wondering
where this man fit in to the scheme of things. Having never met
him before Kline held himself in check. "Everything went
smoothly," Kline, answered, "The medics were as usual
- very thorough and competent."
"I'm glad to hear that. I was also glad to see that your
incarceration was not too unpleasant."
"Could have been a lot worse," Kline said grunting
in agreement. His eyes turned cold and spiteful as he continued.
"Whoever the hell picked the team that pulled me out sure
blew it. They were like a herd of elephants, could have heard
them 10 miles away. I'm surprised we made it out of there alive.
That damn southerner was useless, he almost got us killed, and
you can sure as hell bet it will be in my report. Incompetent
- the lot of them!"
Trout raised one eyebrow at the man's statement. Matt's team
was the best in the business. He was certainly going to have
to ask Matt what went on out there. He looked at the man closely
- for some unaccountable reason he didn't like him, but for now
his job was to get Kline back to the states and debriefed. Whatever
happened out there could wait for an explanation.
A long leisurely dinner had restored everyone's humor, Kline
and the mission forgotten as they settle themselves in the living
room. Trout had stopped by a few hours ago making sure they had
everything they needed. He refrained from asking about Kline
he could see they were in no mood to discuss it. As Trout drove
away the driver of a dark sedan parked around the corner waited
and watched the scene. The tall dark haired man escorting Trout
to his car met the description. His boss would be pleased.
Inside the house Margo looked around the room wondering whom
she could talk into going to Berlin with her. She didn't think
it would be Matt he hated to go shopping. CJ or Chance maybe,
but Benny Ray looked tired as sat slumped in the chair his head
resting against the back cushion with his eyes closed.
"What does everyone have planned for tomorrow,"
Margo asked slyly?
CJ was the first to answer, "I am headed to London, friends
of mine are in town. This is the perfect opportunity to go visiting."
Margo wrinkled her nose, but her inner voice yelled "Drat,
one down three to go."
Paging slowly through a book in his lap Matt piped in, "Chance
and I are headed for Paris - see the sites, pick up a few gorgeous
French ladies and enjoy life. Why do you ask Margo?"
"Mmmmm Paris sounds wonderful," she whispered her
voice soft and velvety trailing off suddenly with "but
Matt had asked him to go to Paris but Benny Ray just wasn't
in the mood. Margo hadn't exactly answered Matt's question evading
it neatly. Opening one eye he wondered what she had up her sleeve.
He'd heard her use that tone before and from the purring sound
of her voice she wanted something. Knowing he was probably going
to regret it, Benny Ray asked, "Now darlin, what exactly
did you have in mind?"
Margo turned to him instantly, her green eyes soft and pleading
as she says, "Claudia Schneider, has a whole new line and
she begged me to come look at it."
"So go," Matt mumbled.
"I just wanted a little company," she pouted pleadingly
at Benny Ray.
Benny Ray looked at her closely; maybe all she did want was
company. Going to Berlin would give him a chance to see Maureen.
Hmm not a bad idea!
"What time do you want to leave," he asked?
Margo almost bounced out of her seat as she said, "You're
really going to go, is 7am too early."
"7am it is."
Margo did bounce out of the chair this time, startling all
four men as she leaped across the room. Grabbing Benny Ray by
both cheeks she planted a kiss on his lips before bouncing out
of the room. Waving she yells, "Good Night!"
In her wake four jaws pop opens before they all break into
Road to Berlin
Thursday, 0730 hrs
Margo and Benny Ray had breakfasted early and climbed into
the sleek green Mercedes sitting in the garage. Pulling out into
the street they are unaware of the car pulling out of the side
street behind them. Their pursuit was well organized. Several
cars were waiting and switched positions several times keeping
their targets in sight. Pulling onto the autobahn outside of
town, several more cars and a large truck enter behind them.
Minute's later traffic behind them began to slow as the truck
and pursuit cars begin blocking oncoming traffic. The Mercedes
pulls away as the truck swerves across the road blocking all
traffic behind it. Two of the pursuit cars continue following.
Picking up speed Benny Ray rounds a bend in the road as a
second truck pulls out in front of him. Slamming on the brakes
he yanks the wheel to the right trying to avoid the truck. Beside
him Margo yelps in surprise. But the screeching of tires and
smoking brakes are not enough to stop the collision. Sliding
sideways the Mercedes slams into the side of the truck. Metal
crunches and windows shatter. Pain echoes through Benny Ray's
skull as his head hits the door. Beside him Margo too feels the
pain of impact and slumps unconscious in her seat as the smoking
brakes begin to cool. Raising his head Benny Ray reaches up feeling
the bump beginning to form on his forehead and the slow trickle
of blood as it courses down his cheek. Darkness hovers and his
vision blurs as he sees several men running toward the car. Rough
hands drag Margo from the car. Before they reach in for him a
vaguely familiar voice shouts instructions "Get them in
the van quickly." Unable to bear the pounding in his head
any longer Benny Ray reluctantly slides into darkness.
Same day 1800 hrs
Even though the team was officially on vacation, Matt had
asked everyone to check in at least once a day. CJ had phoned
in an hour ago, but Margo and Benny Ray were overdue. Pulling
the phone off his belt he dials Margo's number frowning as the
phone rang once and went directly to e-mail. Leaving a scolding
message asking her to call he hung up. An hour - he mumbled to
himself, he would give them an hour before he tore them apart.
Friday, 1915 hrs
Margo woke slowly, her head throbbing. Struggling against
the ropes binding her wrists she carefully looked around the
room. She was lying on the floor in a small room; beside her
Benny Ray lay still. The rise and fall of his chest the only
indication he was still alive. Struggling to a sitting position
Margo started pulling at the rope with her teeth. It took nearly
ten minutes before the ropes finally came free. Untying her feet
she moved toward Benny Ray, swearing at the knot she saw, it
was the size of a golf ball and the small cut marring his forehead
above his left temple. At least they had cleaned up the cut put
a couple of butterfly bandages on to keep it closed. Untying
his hands and feet she whispers, "Benny Ray wake up!"
Receiving no response she tries again, "Wake up Benny
Ray, we're in a little bit of trouble here and I can't drag your
ass out of here on my own."
Margo sighs in relief as his eyes slowly flicker open. "Margo,"
he croaked painfully.
Pulling himself up he grabbed for the wall as the room spun
crazily. "Do you know where the hell we are," he whispered.
"No, haven't seen anyone since I came to, that was about
20 minutes ago. It's quiet - too quiet. I don't know who the
hell they are or what they want but I think we need to get out
Taking a closer look at him Margo can see the unfocused look
in his eyes as he swipes the back of his hand across his face.
"You Ok," she asked worriedly?
Taking a deep breath he ignored the question as he looked
around the room seeing two doors and two windows. "Check
the windows Margo, I'll check the doors."
Quietly turning the handle he finds both doors locked. Behind
him Margo checks the windows find both of them nailed shut. Pulling
on the nails she rocks them back and forth, hissing as one comes
loose in her hand. "Benny Ray," she whispers. Crossing
the room he pulls at the nails, rocking them from side to side
pulling two more from the windowsill. Slowly together they raise
the window and peer out in the waning evening light. The room
was situated on the second floor of the building and the drop
was about fifteen feet to the grass below. Looking out Benny
Ray finds the ground and surrounding area deserted.
"It's too easy Margo," he whispered.
"I know Benny Ray, but what choice do we have?"
Growling he helps Margo out the window lowering her down before
she drops the final few feet. Sliding out the window Benny Ray
drops to the ground below, stumbling he falls to his knees as
the pounding in his head grows. Gritting his teeth again the
pain he stands up. Trying to focus his eyes and scan the area
for movement as he steps toward the trees.
Inside the house
Sitting in the chair he watched as two green lights moved
across the screen. Transmitters hidden in their clothing would
allow the game to be watched. He leaned back in his chair watching
as his two guests set themselves free. He smiled in anticipation
as they pulled the nails out of the window. Even injured the
man was superb and Margo he would enjoy wooing her.
"Are the men tagged and in position Kersh," he asked?
"Yes sir, they are waiting just inside the tree line."
"I don't want either of them hurt. I just want to know
what they are capable of.
"I understand sir, the weapons are loaded with blanks
the men know what to do."
"Perfect, I think it's time we watch the fun.
Nearing the trees Benny Ray stops - listening intently. That
sixth sense told him something was wrong, but he just couldn't
put his finger on it. Stepping into the trees he sees a small
line of smoke coming from behind one of the trees. Silently he
moves in reaching around the tree he grabs the guard by the shirt.
Off balance the unwary man spins around as Benny Ray's right
fist lashes out catching the man in the jaw. Sprawling backward
the man falls to the ground unconscious.
Moving on Benny Ray halts as two more men talking and smoking
move in their direction. Hoping the men will move away from their
position Benny Ray motioning Margo behind a tree, as he slides
behind another. Laughing the two men move closer. With Margo
on the left Benny Ray on the right they wait until the two men
were level with their position. Still talking both men walk on
unaware of the prisoners hidden behind the trees. Margo and Benny
Ray wait with baited breath as precious minutes pass and the
men move on. Signaling to Margo - Benny Ray slides from behind
the tree and make they're way through the thick brush.
Close to the house several men wait impatiently for the game
to play itself out. "Where the hell are they Kersh?"
"They are headed east sir, my men are moving to intercept
they will not be able to escape!"
"I have seen these people in action Kersh, do not underestimate
"No Sir! Pulling a radio from his pocket Kersh presses
the talk button, "Damlon, move your team in now."
"Yes Sir," a voice answers over the radio.
The man named Damlon motions his men forward into the brush.
Benny Ray could hear the cracking of twigs and the snapping
of branches. Running men coming fast from behind them. Grabbing
Margo's hand together they sprint deeper into the forest.
Back at the house, Kersh orchestrated his men, moving them
closer to the two escapees. Two men moved in from behind and
a third stepped out in front of them to cut off their escape.
Again a brief struggle ensued and again the two green lights
"Enough Kersh, I think our guests have shown me just
what they are capable of. Bring them back."
"Yes Sir!" Kersh answered. Pulling the radio from
his belt he barks orders to his men in the field. Ten men - red
blips on the screen began to move slowly tightening the circle
around the two green blips.
Four men stepped out to block Benny Ray and Margo. Without
hesitation, Benny Ray dropped into attack mode and closed the
gap. Beside him Margo followed suit. Kersh's men were unprepared
for the swift attack. Two men quickly hit the ground and the
second pair staggered under the brutal attack. Six men moved
in, doing their utmost to subdue them but Benny Ray would not
give up. Ten more of Kersh's men moved in. It took four burly
men to finally get Margo under control. Six more men converged
on Benny Ray, taking him roughly to the ground. He went down
hard his already battered head striking a wayward boot. He laid
still, six wary battered men piled on top of him. When he remained
still Kersh's men slowly and reluctantly moved away - yet prepared
to restrain him again if necessary. Several of the men swore
loudly when they saw their unconscious captive. Unmoving, a small
trickle of blood streaked down his cheek from the reopened cut
on his brow. The muttering stopped and a path was quickly cleared
as two men approached.
Margo held tightly between two men growled deep in her throat
as a familiar face came into view. "You rotten pig!"
"Easy my dear Margo," a rumbling laugh echoed.
"Why Kline," Margo asked angrily trying to shake
off her captors.
"In due time, Margo, in due time,"
As one of the men tries to explain away an unconscious Benny
Ray, Kline holds up his hand to silence the speaker looking down
he says, "I understand, Mitch - Mr. Riddle can be quite
a handful. None of you will be held accountable. Motioning toward
Margo and Benny Ray, Kline says, "Please take our guests
back to the house; carefully in Mr. Riddle's case and Kersh have
Mr. Riddle's injuries seen too immediately."
Walking away he smiles, his plan is slowly falling into place.
He just hoped the sniper would be fit for duty when the time
came. "Ah well," he sighed thinking to himself, "Fit
or not the sniper would complete his assigned task."
Friday, 2230 hrs
Margo and Benny Ray had been MIA for two days. Calls to Maureen
and Claudia Schneider revealed they never made it to Berlin.
Their car had been found a hundred miles from Frankfurt. The
crumpled metal and broken glass and blood told of an accident.
Searches of the hospitals had turned up empty. Matt was worried.
CJ had been recalled from London, Drummer and Rico were on their
way and should be arriving in twenty minutes. Chance was standing
quietly staring out the window - waiting.
Matt quickly grabbed for the phone on his belt as it began
"Matt," Trout's familiar voice stated, "I think
we have a problem."
"No, Trout, I have two people missing, what ever mission
you have planned can wait!"
Cutting Matt off Trout continued, "Kline jumped ship
Matt, he's missing."
"What," Matt asked confused?
"Kline, he never arrived at Andrews's, the director has
uncovered several inconsistencies and thinks the man is a double
agent or has gone Rogue."
"Where was he last seen," Matt asks his mind whirling
"Two of his escorts were found bound and gagged behind
the hanger at Rheinmain the third one is missing. The man who
got on at Rheinmain and off at Andrews was paid to impersonate
Kline. He's being questioned but so far he's seems to be just
Matt's mind flicked back to Kline's rescue. Something hadn't
seemed right at the time, he had put it down to the stress of
captivity. Maybe it was something more. He'd seen the smirk and
the self-satisfied look on Kline's face after the confrontation
with Margo and Benny Ray. It was as if he had planned it. Well
maybe he had!
"Trout I need everything you can dig up on Kline,"
"Already on the way Matt. Now tell me about your people."
"Margo and Benny Ray went missing two days ago, they
were headed to Berlin but never made it. The police found their
car but nothing else. They'd been in some kind of wreck but forensics
came up blank. Somehow, I think Kline is involved - I don't know
how or why but I think his disappearance and theirs are related."
"I'll do everything I can Matt," Trout replied.
Matt closed the connection without saying anything. He didn't
like the possibilities opened by Trout's call but at least he
had a place to start.
Calling Chance and CJ inside he relayed the latest information
about Kline. CJ moved to sit in front of the computer hunting
for information about Kline and anything else that might help
them track down their teammates.
Several hours later Rico and Drummer were ensconced in the
library. Matt paced the room restlessly, a caged tiger unable
to fight or flee. The not knowing was the worse part, were they
still alive, injured or fighting for their lives. Matt wanted
to break something; anything would be better than the waiting.
Kline's Compound - Kosovo
Saturday 0815 hrs
Kline's patience was wearing thin, Benny Ray Riddle had regained
consciousness several hours ago, but the doc had recommended
he be left to sleep and regain some strength before Kline confronted
Sitting in his study Kline gave the order for Benny Ray to
be brought in. Time was running out, he had less than 48 hours
to put his plan into play. He hoped Riddle would agree to help
him without reservation, but Kline knew he wouldn't hesitate
to play his ace - Margo!
Benny Ray stepped into the room, his eyes wary. The sight
of Kline or the big man standing behind Kline's chair didn't
surprise him. He knew whatever Kline had planned wasn't going
to be pleasant. Kline flashed him an oily smile waving him toward
a leather-overstuffed chair in front of the desk.
Benny Ray's eyes were guarded as he sank into the chair. His
quiet demeanor hid the pounding in his head as he faced Kline
and waited. His two escorts took up positions on each side of
him and slightly behind. The ropes binding his wrists to them
hung loosely over the arms of the chair.
Kline looked at the man sitting across from him, not a single
emotion or thought had crossed the man's face as he came into
the room. Kline had expected anger or frustration at the very
least. Kline hated the fact that he couldn't read him, Riddle
was too controlled and on the defensive never letting his guard
down, he had hoped for a swift conclusion to the negotiation
but realized it wasn't going to happen.
Breaking into laughter he says, "Very good Mr. Riddle,
you're very, very good at this and I respect that, but I have
a job that needs doing and you Mr. Riddle are perfect for the
Still Benny Ray said nothing staring hard at the man in front
"Do you not even want to know what I have planned for
you Mr. Riddle? A long pregnant pause followed his words. "Well
I'm going to tell you anyway. I want you to kill someone for
me," again his captive betrayed nothing and he chuckled
before continuing, "two people actually." Kline paused
then growled, "I've watched you Mr. Riddle, deadly accurate
even in the dead of night."
"I won't be your assassin Kline," Benny Ray sneered.
"Oh! But I think you will Mr. Riddle. What would it take
- a hundred thousand -two hundred thousand? Again Kline paused
waiting for an answer, but none was forthcoming. Is there nothing
I could tempt you with Benny Ray?"
Quirking an eyebrow Benny Ray slowly grinned his voice low
and deadly as he said, "Only if you're one of the targets
Kline laughed as he slowly stood up to move around to the
front of the desk settling himself on the corner he snapped his
finger at the man behind him and pointed toward the door. Crossing
his arms he waited as his bodyguard strode from the room.
"I'm sorry you feel that way Mr. Riddle, but you will
do as I ask or she will pay the price, and I think you know who
I'm talking about." Benny Ray's head snapped around as the
door opened and a struggling blindfolded and gagged Margo was
dragged into the room. Kline's goon his hand tangled in her hair
roughly pulled her against him. Two more guards stepped into
the room taking up position of either side of her. Benny Ray
came up out of the chair only to have the two guards beside him
yank him back down.
"I am going to kill you Kline," Benny Ray growled.
"I think not Mr. Riddle, but you will kill the two targets
I have picked out for you. If not Ms. Vincent will pay the price
for your stubbornness. I would hate to do that to such a beautiful
woman." Kline's voice dropped as he leaned forward staring
into Benny Ray's eyes, "but I will." Snapping his fingers
one more time Kline's big bodyguard pulled Margo close, running
his hand suggestively over her body. Margo writhed beneath his
touch. She fought and kicked at the two guards holding her -
to no avail.
Benny Ray swore as he too struggled with the guards holding
him down. Murder was written in his eyes as he swiveled toward
"Your choice Mr. Riddle," Kline smirked. When he
didn't answer Kline nodded toward Margo's captors.
Her guards grinned as they took her to the floor - the large
bodyguard strattled her body ripping at her clothes. Rage engulfed
Benny Ray as he leaped from the chair dragging his captors several
feet across the room before he too was wrestled to the floor.
He struggled wildly for several seconds as the goon's hands touched
Margo's skin. Then he gave in defeated, whispering, "I'll
"I don't think I heard you Mr. Riddle," Kline chuckles
"Leave her alone Kline, I'll do your dirty work,"
"Perfect, Mr. Riddle. Angst," Kline called to his
bodyguard, "Take the lady back to her room.
When Kline came to her room and looked her up and down, his
eyes cold and assessing she knew her captivity was not going
to be pleasant. When his goons came and hauled from her room,
gagged and blindfolded she fought them tooth and nail. She had
no idea what he wanted but she wasn't going to give up easily.
After their failed escape attempt Kline had separated them. Margo
was worried, the last time she had seen Benny Ray he had been
unconscious and the triumphant look on Kline's face as his men
took him away had chilled her to the bone. As she stood in the
room with men on each side pawing her she growled in frustration
and fear. That's when she heard Benny Ray's voice, low and fierce
as he swore at their treatment of her. That's when she knew they
were using her as leverage, but for what? What did Kline's sick
plan have to do with Benny Ray? She screamed deep in her throat,
though the sound came out as a muffled groan. She didn't want
this to happen, but she knew sooner or later before they went
too far he would give in. She knew he would do whatever it took
to protect her even if it killed him. That's the way he was made.
She heard his voice, low and defeated and she wanted to scream
again, tell him not to give in, it didn't matter what they did
to her. She fought harder but knew it was useless as they dragged
her out of the room. They tossed her on the bed, roughly removing
the gag and blindfold before the goon loosened the ropes binding
her wrists. Leaping from the bed she pounded on the door. Frustrated
she turned away breaking everything she could find before throwing
herself back on the bed crying in frustration.
Benny Ray lay motionless on the floor watching as they dragged
Margo from the room. His captors dragged him back to his feet
at Kline's signal. He stood glaring at Kline his face a mask
of murderous rage his eyes flashing fire and revenge.
Kline shivered at the look on the man's face. His actions
had bought the man, body and soul, but he had also earned himself
a mortal enemy.
"She won't be harmed," Kline stated pausing slightly.
"If you carry out your orders I promise to deliver her back
to Rheinmain safe and unharmed."
Benny Ray stood still staring at Kline in an instant his demeanor
changed. His face a mask his eyes cold and assessing. Benny Ray
wondering if he could trust the man. His head said no, his heart
hoped he could. At the moment he had no options. Stepping back
he dropped into the chair dragging his guards with him. Waiting!
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