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Matt had laid of half his staff for the Christmas holiday season since things had slowed down on both fronts the team was hanging around not doing much and helped as much as possible. Most of the team had gone home except for Margo who volunteered to help clean things up. Matt had told the waitress's to go home along with the bartender and bar manager. Two men entered the bar with guns drawn Margo stopped what she was doing and Matt showed them where the money was. They took the cash and one of the men spoke to Margo in Romanian and then shot her. The two men left in a hurry and Matt quickly dialed 911. An ambulance arrived with police and they loaded Margo in for the ride to Mercy general hospital. Matt went to his car and followed.


Matt had successfully avoided the questions by the police and was talking to the doctors in emergency. They took Margo right in for emergency surgery. Matt then called Nick and had him get a hold of everyone else. He then called Margo's brother John and suggested he get here quick. The team filled in pretty fast they got their orders and headed out again. One determined cop remained he walked upto Matt. "Mr. Shepherd I'm lt. Diaz and I need to ask you some questions?" "Alright lieutenant go ahead I can't dodge you for ever." The cop asked his questions about the robbery and the shooting. Matt answered all of his questions and the cop asked him to come down to the station to sign his statement when he had time. The doctors came out of surgery one of them walked upto Matt. Mr. Shepherd we were able to remove one of the two bullets but we need consent for a specialist to operate you see the slug is next to her heart and where not qualified to do that kind of work. He'll be here tomorrow. So I really need to talk with a member of her immediate family." "Her brother will be here in the morning he's flying in from Rome." "She'll sleep through the night so you may want to go home." "I'll stay Doctor. Matt followed her to her room and took a seat in one of the chairs.


Benny Ray and Nick went back to the bar. Nicks old ID got them in the cops left after only finding one shell casing. While Benny Ray found the other and pocketed it. "Well amigo looks like a berdan primed 10mm." Nick looked confused "berdan what?" "Nick it's a European, made cartridge." They then left and went to talk to matt.


Morning came and Matt shifted in his chair he really had a bad night. Plus the couple hours of sleep he got really did not help him that much. He got up and stretched to get the kinks out of his back. He noticed a woman in scrubs who looked familiar attending to Margo. The women turned and said. "Good morning I always wondered what her name was." "How are you Dr. Newman?" "Just fine so his my other patient doing." "He's good." "When do you expect her brother soon. I hope." Benny Ray and Nick came in a few minutes later. "Sorry we were not here last night boss but I needed to talk to some ammo suppliers I do business with. The shell we found was berdan primed and I showed it to a friend last night he looked up the numbers on the shell and it's Romanian made especially for their security teams. Caliber was 10mm probably 175 gr. Weight." "So where's the shell now?" "Matt this morning I dropped it off to a friend of mine who works in the FBI lab here in LA. Replied Nick." "Ok sounds good can one of you guys go and pick up Margo's brother?" "Got it boss." Benny Ray then left.


Benny Ray waited and watched the passengers disembark from the Rome flights but he still did not notice a priest. There was one more flight from Rome this morning. Benny Ray noticed a man also waiting for the same flight. But he noticed the bulge under his coat. He wished he had brought one of his pistols with him. Benny Ray watched the man closely then the plane landed they both got up and waited Benny Ray moved closer to the guy just in case.

John looked around for a familiar face and found it and waved to Benny Ray. The man in front of Benny Ray quickly pulled his gun from its shoulder rig and pointed the gun right at John. Benny Ray had maneuvered behind him and quickly brought one arms underneath the attackers while the other he brought around the mans neck and he clasped his hand together and violently pulled the mans gun arm into the air until he heard a crack in his shoulder. The man dropped his gun and screamed violently in a foreign tongue Benny Ray did not understand. He retrieved the mans weapon and placed it in his waistband. He then hauled the man up and told John to go and get his bags. Benny Ray took his prisoner outside and tied him up in the back of his truck.

John emerged with his bags and Benny Ray through them into the back of his truck and they were off. He stopped at the Silver Star first and left his prisoner with Deke and told him to call Rico to check out his arm. He then left to deliver John to the hospital.


John and Benny Ray walked into the hospital and found Nick and Matt outside Margo's room. Pleasantries were past and Matt had told John all he knew about what happened. Dr. Newman emerged from the room and asked if her relative was here yet. Matt steered here to John and she asked him to sign a few papers, which he did. She turned and smiled at Benny Ray. Margo was then wheeled out of her room for more surgery.

The surgery was very long and Matt noticed the pistol in Benny Ray's waistband. Then Trout appeared and asked to talk to Matt. "Matt we have a little problem." Matt looked at Trout and said. "Not now Trout " "Matt she's involved in this. Well actually it began with her father." "Trout what are you talking about." "Alright there's a hit team out there looking to take down all members of a former Romanian Physicist team that migrated here and there heirs. Since Miss Vincent's father is already dead then her and her brother are at risk. Are only hope of stopping them is finding them and terminating them." "Who started this whole thing?" "Some renegade general who was recently arrested." "Can we atleast wait till the surgery's over?" "Of course."

The surgery was long and everyone wanted some justice for this one 5 hours later Dr. Newman came out and explained that she had removed the bullet but she had gone into a coma shortly after. She then explained that someone needed to talk to her at all times while she was in this condition John took first watch. Everyone else left


Matt had gone over what he was told by Trout. So the rest of the team would know what was going on as well. 'Well boss that explains this then." As Benny Ray held up the pistol. "Benny Ray that is an odd looking gun." Matt replied. "Yes sir it is what I have here is a 10mm CZ-75 made in checkelsavkia most of them are 9mm but the Romanians bought quite a few of these in 10 mm before they over took the old regime. So what I would like to do sir is contact an old friend in Navel Intelligence and see what he can dig up." "Okay Benny Ray make your call." He got up and walked upstairs. "Deke I want you to use your contacts to see where these guys might be hiding." "Already in the works." "Nick you and I get to talk to our guest in the other room.

Well it took Benny Ray awhile but his friend came through as a fax came over the wire at Margo's workstation. Telling him everything he needed to know about 10 men traveling in a group who had been there for atleast a week and had already killed three scientists and their families all with 10mm ammo. All the men were ex-military and he even provided their passport photos.

Matt and Nicks interrogation had only given them a name in two hours of work they began to wonder how much he truly understood. Benny Ray walked in and handed him the fax. "Well Sir according to this they all speak English very well and his name should be Alexi Shinnooskus." Benny Ray walked over to the wall pressed some numbers and a wall revealed weapons hung on a wall Benny Ray grabbed one of the big revolvers and filled the cylinder full of .454 Casull ammo and pointed the gun to the man's head. "Amigo talk or you get your brains spattered all the way back to Romania. The hostage remembered Benny Ray from that morning and gave everything up. Matt quickly called Trout to see if he could not get the cops pulled off of this one.

Deke's cell phone rang and the info he was waiting for was confirmed. He then walked into the other room and he saw bags packed and tactical vests being readied. Deke grabbed his gear and made sure everything was ready to go. They then hit the road.


Margo's brother John was telling her about all the things he had done since they last saw each other. John was beginning to wonder if this had anything to do with his past and things that he wish he could forget. He then said a prayer for each of his parent's plus a special prayer for his sister and the men she worked with. He had known such men but he just wished that Margo would settle down and raise a family. Trout walked in and told him that he could take over if he wanted to get some rest. His answer to trout was "no."


The team moved into position very quietly Nick and Matt took the front and Benny Ray and Deke took the rear of the secluded beach house. "Major where in position awaiting further instructions." Matts voice came over the COM link "Benny Ray count two five and lob a flash bang from your position and we'll lob one from ours." "Roger that." He waited as the numbers ticked down in his head and he then lobbed in a flash bang.

As Matt and Nick entered they eliminated the men in their side of the house and screamed "Clear" They then checked the upstairs and found machine guns, pistols and Sniper rifles with plenty of ammo for each type of gun ammo ranged from 10mm to 7.62 X39 Russian.

Benny Ray and Deke caught the rest of the Killers in the other side of the house and did in kind to them before they could react. Then he and Deke took a body count and realized one was missing there were eight bodies not nine like we had hoped.

Nick and Matt came back down stairs and they all agreed that they needed to have another talk with their prisoner back at the Silver Star. They then headed out the door before the cops showed up.


When they got back matt grabbed the prisoner by the throat and asked. "Ok my friend who was your other target and where's the hit going to take place. He told him UCLA but this was going to be a sniper job. Matt handed the clean up to Benny Ray. He quickly grabbed his Remington 700 loaded it and was out the door with out a word.

Matt then called Trout to tell him what was going on and to have one of his men come by and pick up their prisoner. Deke and Nick had already started stripping and cleaning their weapons and putting everything back where it belonged. Matt headed back to the hospital to see if anything had changed.


Benny Ray had thought about it on hi drive over and the faculty parking lot seemed like the logical place for a sniper to hide he thought about where he would hide and as he checked the area out there was a chapel across from the parking lot. He parked his truck on the sidewalk and pulled out a pair of binocs and he was right there was definitely someone there. Benny Ray immediately grabbed his drop bag and started lookingfor a vantagepoint of his own. Finding a very high building that had transmission gear for the campus radio station he then started climbing up to an empty platform rewarded him.

He made himself comfortable on the platform and got himself in the seating position he took the Remington from the Drop bag and took the scope covers off of the scope he then raised the rifle to his shoulder as he looked through the scope. He was rewarded with a target a man holding a Romak-3 probably in 7.62 Russian. Benny Ray dialed in the proper distance, which was about 450 yds. And waited for his target to make the first move.

Benny Rays counter part checked everyone who entered the parking lot checking the picture he had to ID his target. He waited patiently but he had the feeling he was being watched he looked around but saw no one at all. He just chalked it up too nerves because it had been a long time since he was given this kind of job. He then checked the next man to approach a car and was rewarded by his target.

Benny Ray noticed the man raising his rifle and taking a target acquisition. He then raised his own weapon and fed a cartridge into the chamber and placed the cross hairs right on the mans chest. He took in a half breath and released it very slowly. His finger then squeezed the trigger and his opponent fell from his nest onto the pavement.

Benny Ray gathered up his equipment and put everything in the drop bag and started his climb down. Once on the ground he took the five-minute walk back to his truck threw in his bag and walked over to the crowd and realized his shot had hit him right in the heart and that he was probably dead before he hit the ground.
He then walked over to his truck climbed in and slowly drove away.


Benny Ray arrived in time to see Trout's people take their prisoner away in handcuffs. He started the climb down the stairs and was greeted by Deke and Nick "So how did things go?" "Well Deke really well. One shot one kill you know the Sniper motto." "I still got no idea why Matt let you go solo on this." "Well Nick he knows I was trained for this in the first place and he knew the job would get done. Besides amigo it's a one man job any more than that and you would have gotten in the way." He then took his gear down stairs cleaned his rifle and emptied the magazine and put it back on the wall with the rest of the weapons besides his personal sidearm.


When Deke and Nick arrived at the hospital Matt had just convinced John that he was wiped out from his flight and the entire sitting he had done with Margo. Deke also convinced Matt that John was not the only one who needed rest. Matt agreed. Nick pointed out that he needed to go to the police dept. and sign his statement before the cops came looking for him. Matt and john then left and Deke took his turn with Margo.


Matt walked in and asked for Lieutenant Diaz. "I was just gonna call you Mr. Shepherd". "Oh why?" "Well you see I had your name run on a background check. So what comes up that you're a retired Major in the Army." "But then we had that killing at UCLA and on the beach." "So what are you getting at Diaz?" "Well I begin to think of the stuff I learned in the seals and it all looks to professional." "Sorry to disappoint you but I do run a business plus I've been at the hospital. Two alibis' you can't break. Besides I left all that stuff behind me when I retired." Diaz looked at him and slid his statement forward. "If you say so." "I do." Matt then picked up the pen and signed his name and went home to get some sleep.


Benny Ray arrived at the hospital at the hospital in time to see Dr. Newman leaving the room. "Doctor how is she?" "Well there's no change and for that I am very sorry." "Not your fault it's mine." "What makes you think that?" "Well if I had stayed she wouldn't of been shot" "How can you be so certain of that?" "Just a feeling I have is all." "You care what happens to her don't you?" "Yes ma'am I do she's a good friend." Dr. Newman turned to walk away and turned around to face Benny Ray once more. "What is your name anyway?" "It's Benny Ray." "Thank you. I was beginning to think you only answered to John Doe" With that Benny Ray laughed. And walked in two give Nick a rest Benny Ray stayed by her bedside for the past five hours until Matt and John relieved him and the others got back as well. Benny Ray knew he needed some coffee and some food. He walked to a machine and got both. Then he heard Matt yelling for a doctor and Dr. Newman came running she threw Matt out of the room along with John.


Once inside the room Dr. Newman checked the equipment she was hooked up to and she was flat lining she was able to stabilize her but her pulse was very weak. Everyone was banned from her room.

Margo's spirit then left her body and floated towards a bridge with a bright light that she was following she was greeted by her mother and father who both told her "It is not your time yet." She argued with them and her father left her to her mother. "Dear come with me you need to see some things before you decide to cross over or not." She followed her mother.


Dr. Newman briefed everyone on what was happening. "I strongly recommend that those of you who pray. You might want to find a church and do it." Benny Ray got up and headed out with John and Nick. "Where are you going asked Matt." Benny Ray turned and said to church boss." Matt had not stepped inside a church other than the occasional funeral for about fifteen years and the same held true for Deke. They just sat and said their own prayers in their own way.

LIMBO (The world between the living and the dead)

Margo stood by a pool with her mother. "Well child there is one person right now who I want you too see who would be lost with out you." She stirred the pool and she saw Trout sitting behind his desk. "Mother why Trout?" "You see you and your friends work is not done you actually make a difference in the world. With out you the others will just fall apart and go their separate ways. You see you are the glue that holds them together." Her mother moved on. She then showed her two headstones there were names on the stones they read Benny Ray Riddle and Nick Delvechio. "Mother how did they die?" "Trying to avenge your death in Romania." "Her mother moved on this time to a Mirror "Margo just look at what has happened to John without you alive. He has turned to the bottle and just sits in his chair and does nothing." "But John is strong and he does not need me." "Yes he does child more than you will ever know." She moved on this time once more. "There is one more person your death will affect very deeply." She looked and saw Matt. "Mother I don't understand Matt is only a friend." "Yes but one who respects you and is also in love with you. But denies his feelings about you." They wound up back at the bridge. "I suggest you think about this for awhile before you cross over."


The three men walked in both john and Nick walked to the altar and kneeled and both said a prayer and blessed themselves. While Benny Ray took a seat in the back and said one of the prayers he learned as a child from his mother. Both Nick and john said their prayers in an empty front row. "Look's like you brought friends this time." Said a familiar voice. Benny Ray looked up and saw his friend the priest sitting down beside him. "So do you feel like talking?" "Well Padre a friend of mine is near death and we thought we would just come here and pray for her." "Do you mind if I say a prayer for your friend?" "Feel free Padre." "How about a name?" "Her name is Margo." The priest got on his knees and said a prayer and then left. They stayed at the Church through evening Mass and the whole congregation said a prayer for Margo. They then left and headed back to the hospital.


Margo heard the prayers of her teammates and those of the strangers also she hugged her father and then said good bye to her mother. And headed back to her physical body. So she could do some more good in the world. She also did not want those things she saw to come true.


Benny Ray, Nick and John returned they saw Matt and Deke sitting very quietly not speaking but praying or thinking to themselves. John walked over to the nurse and asked if he could sit with his sister. He was told yes he could as long as he remained quiet and stayed out of the way. "Oh by the way we have a priest on stand bye just in case." "I don't think that will be necessary since I am a priest." "Sorry Father." He then walked into Margo's room.

Benny Ray and Nick walked over to Matt and Deke and asked if the doctor had said anything more. "Sorry but she has not been back since. You three left." "Thanks boss."


John took a seat and just watched his sister like he had when she was just a baby. He remembered those times more and more since he learned that she was alive and his last remaining relative outside of Romania and he wondered who would have wanted to hurt her. Suddenly Margo's head moved and he went to get the nurse.

The Nurse took Margo's vitals and called the Doctor.John left the room without being told the Doctor came in a few minutes later and took over for the nurse. Who stood back so that she could do her job and Margo came out of her coma very slowly within the next few minutes? She checked her eye's and reflexes and then asked if she could speak. She spoke in a low voice and asked. "How long have I been here?" "Oh a few days." "Listen I want you to rest and I'll tell your friends you'll be fine." "Thank you" The doctor then left the room.


Dr. Newman gave everyone the good news about her coming out of the comma in the last half-hour or so and that her vitals were normal again and that the danger had past.

Benny Ray noticed an orderly taking more of an interest than he should of in what was being said plus the gaze that the man gave John.

Dr. Newman thought it would be a good idea if they all left and got something to eat because it would do her patient no good in worrying about her friends and family who were not taking care of them. She looked at them and spoke. "I really think you all should go and get something to eat." Matt spoke for the group. "Alright Doctor we'll go but we'll be back.

Benny Ray got another look at the orderly and saw nothing but hatred in the man's eyes as he stared directly at John.


Benny Ray told them that he would meet them at the restaurant and to order him a beer and some barbecue chicken. He stood by his truck until they were out of site. He then slid in the passenger's seat and opened the glove box and removed the glock 21 and checked to see if it was loaded and put it. In his waistband and walked back into the hospital.


Benny Ray took the stairs two at a time till he got to the floor Margo was on. He walked through the emergency exit and down the hall the funny thing was he saw the nurse's but he did not see Margo's doctor anywhere he suddenly got a very sick feeling. He then looked for the orderly and could not find him. He looked through the window to Margo's room the orderly was holding them at gunpoint. Benny Ray drew his Glock 21 and kept the gun behind his leg. He then opened the door to Margo's room.


Benny Ray entered the room quietly and his adversary did not see him he was in engaged in a conversation with Margo in Romanian. But Benny Ray recognized the ploy she was using to buy time and the Doctor was also being very quiet the orderly then spoke to her in English. "Lets wait till your brother comes back and I'll get two for the price of one." Margo looked at him and gave him his answer. "Sound's good just don't look behind you or my friend will kill you." "They all left with your brother." "Wrong amigo. Benny Ray replied. "Now put your gun on the deck and do it very easy." The man turned to face Benny Ray. His eyes met his and he saw the eyes of a man who had killed many times. "So you must be the one who took out vladimere my best Sniper." "Actually I think I was better on that day."

Benny Ray sized up his opponent real well and thought this was the man who was in charge. He knew every outfit had a leader and he was it. The man's finger started to pull on the trigger but Benny Ray was just a little faster and put two slugs center mass in his chest and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Newman checked the man and she pronounced him dead. "You know your going to have to talk to the police." "We'll see. Benny Ray pulled his cell phone out and called Matt and told him what happened.


Lt. Diaz was walking up to Benny Ray. "We need to have a talk Mr. Riddle." A phone rang and the nurse called over to Lt. Diaz "Sir phone call." Matt caught the look on Diaz's face and he was not happy. "Well Mr. Riddle you can go." "That was the man you work for. How I really hate spooks."

They wheeled the body out of Margo's room and brought him down to the morgue and Trout's boys would see who took possession of the body. They were now out of it.


Margo sat with John and the nurse wished her a Merry Christmas. She then turned and said. "Oh by the way your' being released to day. Margo was thrilled to hear that. "John you can stay right?" "Yes I can for a few days. Matt dropped by with some clean clothes and a laundry bag and some other things she might need.


They all walked in and the rest of the team had dinner brought in the place was empty because it was Christmas Eve. So they all ate drank and watched the clock turn to midnight together.


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