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KOSOVO

My squad returned from it's three-day patrol. Upon arrival I was told that the Colonel wanted to see me asap so I went to my quarters, stowed my gear, grabbed my stuff for a quick shower and shave and a clean uniform. I did wonder what he wanted but I knew better than to guess. After I showered shaved and changed I put my gear away. So I could find out what was going on.

THE BASE COMMAND POST

As I entered the CP, I noticed the Colonel sitting behind his field desk but I also noticed two other men. One I recognized as the CIA section chief in this part of the country. The other, I had no idea who he was.

"Colonel, you wanted to see me sir?"

"Come in Sergeant and take a seat."

As I sat in the chair provided I felt very uncomfortable... like something was wrong and I should know what it was. The Colonel got up and began to speak.

"We have just received word that your Cousin Laurie was murdered three weeks ago. I understand she was your only living relative."

"Sir, I know what the regulations say... that I must return to the States and be released from my current obligations that I have to the Army since no one with any living relatives may put there own lives at risk to endanger the family line."

"Yes Sergeant, that is what I was going to say."

"Permission to speak freely Sir."

"Permission granted."

"I need to know how she died."

The CIA man got up and said, "Well she was working under cover and was murdered by a single bullet to the back of the head."

"What caliber Murphy?"

"Well it was a .380 auto."

"Let me guess... she infiltrated Fritz's Terrorist organization."

"Yes she did."

I immediately got up and put my hands around the man's neck and began to squeeze. It took the other man plus the Colonel to pull me off the man.

"Sir, since he has made this personal, I ask one favor. Let me finish the job I started back in '89. His name is still in my kill book and I need to finish the job."

"Sergeant, I would like to give you that order but I can't. I would like you to meet Mr. Trout whom you will accompany back to Washington and from there you go to Fort Campbell and pick up your things and that is it. Your plane leaves in two hours, so get packed and be on it."

"One thing Sir... where was she buried... I would like the body dug up and reburied in the family plot in New Hampshire. If that can be arranged by Mr. Murphy I would appreciate it."

"We'll get it done Sergeant."

"Thank you Sir."

I then left but I promised myself I would hunt him down and finish the job I had started years ago.

THE MILITARY AIR STRIP IN KOSOVO

As I boarded the plane with Mr Trout, I thought how strange it was to be leaving here when there was still much work for me to do. I sat down, thinking of Laurie and how she did not deserve to die the way she had. I also wanted to know what kind of idiot would allow a field agent, with only 2 years of experience, into this kind of situation. If I found out who he was, he would pay a price. The older man suddenly interrupted my train of thought.

"I see you travel light Sgt. Kelly?"

"Only take what I need Mr. Trout." I answered.

"What are you going to do on the outside?"

"Well Sir, besides taking care of some personal business - not quite sure yet." I answered vaguely hoping to dissuade this line of conversation. It didn't work.

"Well I can always's find work for a man with your particular skills." He looked briefly over the top of the seats.

"Sorry, I ain't no mercenary or soldier for hire."

"Here's my card, if I can help in any way - give me a call."

"Thanks, now if you don't mind I need to get some sleep."

Just as I drifted off to sleep, I thought this conversation was quite strange for someone who worked at the Pentagon. I didn't awaken until the wheels touched the runway with a bump.

WASHINGTON, DC.

When we left the plane I was told my connecting flight would leave in two hours, so I had some time to kill. I said goodbye to Trout and we each went our separate ways. I hailed a cab outside the airport and told him I wanted to go to Arlington National Cemetery.

When we arrived I asked the cabby to wait - I would only be a moment. As I walked the rows of white headstones, a walk I had made many times, I came upon the grave I was looking for... that of Cpl. Raymond L Kelly. As I kneeled down to say a little prayer and a friendly word to my father who died in Vietnam, I could sense I was being watched. I got up, looked around, walked back to the cab and told the driver to take me back to the airport. I could not shake the feeling that someone was watching me, but I had no idea who it was or why they picked me. I went to the gate, boarded my plane and sat and waited for take off.

FORT CAMBPELL, KENTUCKY

When we landed, I grabbed my gear and got off the plane. The MP on duty asked for my orders then told me to go and see Lieutenant Anderson on the double. When I got there they kept me waiting for about 15 minutes, which I did not like at all. I was told that I could go in. I saw three men in suits walking out, I could tell that each of them was armed. Anderson was army intelligence, I knew, so this did not surprise me at all.

"Sir you wanted to see me." I asked the Lieutenant.

"Yes. Close the door please." He indicated behind me.

"Sorry to do this sergeant, but here are your discharge papers. I also need to debrief you on your Kosovo trip."

The debrief was quick and painless. I mentioned the feeling I had about being watched.

"Sir, while I was in DC. I felt that I was being watched by someone" I said.

"Well, you were being watched by the CIA - they have been wondering what you would do in DC."

"Well Sir, you can tell them that I will be stopping by Langley to pick my cousin's things up and to get some answers."

"That chore has been done by the man who helped raise you, after your mother died. They won't give a civilian any answers they don't want to or need to.

"Well, as I have learned through the years, there's more than one way of getting the information I need. Just remember how good a job I did with little or no Intel."

"Don't do something you'll regret".

"No chance of that."

I left his office and walked to my quarters, packed my belongings, loaded up my pick up truck, then I dropped off all my military gear and left the Fort.

OUTSIDE ASHLAND, KENTUCKY

I drove down the driveway that was so familiar to me as a young man. I needed to talk to the man who had practically raised me and Laurie, ever since I was 12 and Laurie at a much younger age. As I parked my truck, the dogs came out of the workshop, barking. When I spoke they all stopped barking and my dad's friend emerged from his workshop, greeting me the way he always had - with a firm handshake and a rebel yell.

"Dam boy are you a sight for sore eyes," he bellowed, wrapping me in a bear hug!

"Sorry, I wasn't here for the funeral - but I only found out yesterday."

"They let you out early?" he stuffed a rag in his back pocket

"Afraid so."

"There was a women at the funeral who gave me a note to give to you."

"Who?"

"Don't know her," he motioned me towards the house. "But it's inside."

I followed him in and he handed me an envelope. I opened it and read:

Dear Ray,

Sorry for your loss. I am writing you this because I have no idea when I will see you again, but if you need to talk to me, I can be reached at the Silver Star Bar at just about any time. I hope that we are still friends.

Love Margo.

Just hearing the name brought back some serious emotions that I have not thought about for years. My train of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door. I went to answer it and the postman handed me a special delivery. I signed for it, then opened it and found it contained a computer CD. I remembered Laurie always sent me one while she was in college. I asked Jim if the library in Ashland had computers yet. He told met they did. So I walked out to my truck and drove to town.

ASHLAND, KENTUCKY

As I walked toward an empty row of computers I thought this must be very important for her to have mailed it here instead of where I was last stationed. When I sat down I was asked if I needed help. I replied, "No but thank you for asking." I then opened the drive and put in the disk that had been mailed. On the surface it looked like the others she had sent telling me about her new job and all. I then scrolled down and found everything else on the disk in code and it was one I recognized as the military radio language, which I knew quite well. With a few keystrokes I was able to get the language to clear up. She had sent me her field reports, the name of her contact at Langley and what Fritz was planning and where his base of operations was. I got up and headed for a pay phone. I started dialing the number Trout had given me. The phone was answered on the second ring. I asked to speak to Mr. Trout and gave my name. He was on the line in three seconds. I told him I needed to speak to him but not over the phone. I set the meeting for a bar I knew in Monasus, Virginia at 3:00.

I then called Jim and told him I was going out of town for a few days and would call him when I got settled. He knew better than to ask questions because he knew the kind of life I chose for myself. Plus he knew what Laurie had chosen for herself. I then walked to my truck and from my bag in the back I took out my SIG P229 and made sure it was loaded and slipped it underneath the seat. I began to drive and I got to Monasus about three in the morning, pulled into a motel to get some rest.

THE SOUTHERN CROSS BAR
MONASUS, VIRGINIA

I watched Trout get out of the big silver Lincoln Continental along with another man whom I thought I recognized. I waited about 15 minutes to be sure they weren't followed. I then saw a man with a brown suit enter the bar, the bulge on his left side gave the man away big time.

As I entered I stopped by the bar first and ordered a beer. I asked the bartender about the guy in the suit, and was told he had been coming in for the last couple of days. I then walked over to where Trout and his associate were seated. "Ok Trout, I thought I told you to come alone. So who's the Boy Scout here?"

"May I introduce Matt Shepherd. Besides, he needs to hear what you have to say. Since it will be his team that goes into the field with the info you have."

I thought I had seen the man before and I had... in Bosnia. My squad was running a recon in a battlefield, when some Delta force boys got into some serious fighting.

"Major Shepherd I believe. It is nice to see you again Sir."

"I know you?"

"Yes sir I was with the 100 Special Forces Battalion 75th Rangers. When your Delta op went bad in Bosnia, me and my men kept your LZ clear for your evac."

" I thought you looked familiar."

"Small world sir."

I looked at Trout who was getting a bit annoyed.

"Mr. Trout, the reason you are here is... I got a package yesterday. The contents seem to be field reports that my cousin made copies of and sent to me in case anything happened to her. What I understand - you want the guy."

"I am not crazy but there are at least 150 other terrorists in that same baja compound."

"So you need help taking it down?"

"That's right."

I slid the CD to the middle of the table as a sign of goodwill.

"So you want what in return Mr. Kelly" Mr. Trout asked?

"I want in."

"Well there may be a problem." Matt Shepherd interjected, "You see, there are only five members to my team."

I was watching the man in the brown suit, who kept getting closer. I said nothing for several minutes til the man made a move for the CD. I suddenly threw him onto the table drew my SIG P229, placing it at the back of his neck. I asked him who he was and he told me CIA. I told him to get lost or the next time we met would be the last time.

Shepherd looked surprised as if he had seen a ghost. "Mr. Kelly when can you be ready to leave?"

"Right now." I said.

I followed Trout's car to the airport and in three hours we were in California.

THE SILVER STAR

As we walked in, I remembered Margo's note saying she could be reached here. I promised myself after the business at hand was taken care of, I would leave her a note with a number to call.

Major Shepherd approached a very tall blackman and said something to him about finding the others. We went downstairs through his office. I noticed a very nicely stocked armory plus a computer terminal and a table in the middle of the room. "Well what do you think of our little war room. The others should be here soon."

"Very nice I must say. I can tell one of your men is a shooter."

"How can you tell?"

"The bolt action rifles and other tools of the trade."

"What trade is that?"

"One of a sniper - you see it takes one to know one major."

"I forgot, that's also your specialty I believe."

"Yes Sir it is."

After about fifteen minutes wait, two men came down - one was the very tall black man with blonde hair and an earring, the other was short and thin with well kept hair. "I would like you to meet two members of the team... Deacon Reynolds and Nick Delvecchio."

"Nice to meet both of you."

But Mr Reynolds, you are a billboard by the way."

"Another comic."

Then two other people walked in, one was male, well built with an attitude that said I am completely in charge of this situation: the consummate professional. The other took me by surprise. From what I saw she was a very lovely young woman, shoulder length hair and very well put together. She seemed to be respected by her peers. The sunglasses she wore hid what I thought would be a set of very pretty eyes.

"Kelly may I introduce Benny Ray Riddle and my intelligence officer Margo Vincent."

"Nice to meet both of you."

Then Riddle spoke "Sir have I been replaced?"

"No Benny Ray."

"Then why the need for another Sniper, Sir."

"Well Benny Ray, because he's good." Interjected Margo.

"Well how do you know that?"

"Because we worked together eight years ago."

"How are you Ray?"

"Oh pretty good considering the events of the last few days."

She asked Major Shepherd for the Intel that they must have been given, took the CD, placed it in the appropriate drive and asked where the CIA Field reports came.

"Evidently Laurie sent them to me for safe keeping just in case something happened to her."

"Well Matt this guy is trouble! What it say's in these reports is that Fritz came back from Iraq recently with smuggled biological weapons. He needs to be taken out - before he can put those things to use."

"Who is this Fritz Character any way?" Delvecchio asked and I answered him.

"What we know of him is this. He is 44 years old now. As a kid he was taken in and trained by the Beadier Mainhoff gang - he is the last of that breed."

Riddle jumped in "How come he was not dealt with before?"

"Well Riddle he was... that was my assignment eight years ago. Unfortunately, I never had a clear shot at the guy but all his bodyguards went down. The man hid himself behind a little girl. He has been living on borrowed time ever since."

" Why is this so personal - it's only a name in your kill book?"

"Because he made it personal when he put a .380 slug in the back of my only living relative."

"So he sent you a message."

"Yeah he did. And this time he's a dead man walking."

"All right people listen up.

Major Shepherd laid out his plan of attack that called for two three-men teams consisting of Riddle, Delvechio and Reynolds. The second team consisted of Margo, the Major and myself.

"Benny Ray you have weapons detail."

"Kelly take your pick of what ever you need."

"No thanks I'll supply my own - if someone can give me a ride to Hermosa Beach."

Margo replied sure, "Let's go."

BEACH HOUSE
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA

The ride from the Silver Star was very uneventful. It seemed like there was something she wanted to say but she didn't know how. I knew what it was but I wanted to give her every opportunity to do it. We entered the beach house, she asked who it belonged to and I told her it was Laurie's. She had bought the place with money left to her by her father while she was attending UCLA. I showed her the house, then went downstairs, which is where I kept everything. I walked over to what looked like a closet and punched in a password. Her eye's lit up when she noticed it was a full-fledged armory.

"Well what do you think of my little workshop and armory?"

"Oh Benny Ray would love this place."

"You bet he would."

"What weapons do you guys use on this kind of operation?"

"MP-5-SD3'S sound suppressed."

I then started gathering equipment. I took down an MP-5, and very quickly turned it into an SD3 after I attached the sound suppresser. I also grabbed a colt M4 assault rifle, then started loading mags and putting them and the guns into a pile. The magazines went into my sniper vest, while the guns were put in a black duffel bag. I grabbed one of my combat knives and attached it to my vest, which then went into my duffel along with a Smith & Wesson 586 357-magnum revolver. I then put my SIG P229 in a tactical thigh holster. I then took an old olive drab rucksack from under the bench and started filling it with claymore mines and plastic explosive and electronic timers... they were all shaped charges.

"Ray isn't that a bit of an overkill?"

"Not really."

I finished packing and slung the bags over my shoulder, "Ok ready to go."

"Ray we really need to talk."

"OK ,upstairs alright so we can at least sit down."

"That would be fine."

We walked upstairs. I went over to the bar, grabbed myself a beer and offered Margo a drink which she declined.

"Ok what's up. You wanted to tell me something in the car but couldn't - so what's going on."

"Well it's about what happened eight years ago."

"You mean that one night where we were very close."

"Yeah but what happened afterwards. You see after you left, about a month afterwards I wasn't feeling very well, saw a doctor and he told me I was pregnant. You were the only one I was with at the time. The baby was stillborn."

"Margo I know about the baby."

"How?"

"I was running an op in East Berlin three years later and my contact was your associate Richard. He told me all about you getting pregnant and even told me where the baby was buried. After the East Berlin job, I checked it out.What a surprise to see the marker read Joshua Kelly. I looked for you but I had no luck. I'm sorry."

"Nothing to be sorry about. I just wish you had tried contacting me."

"I didn't know what you would have said?"

"I would have left the service to be with you."

"That's what I didn't want." She started to cry. I got up and put my arms around her to comfort her. I told her everything would be all right. Then all of sudden she reached up, pulled me down and kissed me, we ended up turning back the clock and made love for the rest of the night.

Early the next morning we both agreed that could not happen again. We headed for the Coronado Naval Air Station to catch up with everyone else.

CORONADO NAVAL AIR STATION

Upon arrival we were told to get changed and to check our gear. When we rejoined the group we were asked why we were late. The answer given was quite vague.

Everyone noticed the revolver I was carrying on my tactical vest.

"You actually use one of those things." Came out of Reynolds mouth.

Yeah I do, it gives me more knock down power than any of my auto pistols. You got a problem with that?"

"Not really brother, was just wondering."

A young officer wearing an olive drab jump suit introduced himself as our pilot and led us to a Blackhawk. The ride was like the one's I had been on before.
We approached the compound from the east where the first team was supposed to rappell down, walk the three clicks to get inside and secure transport for our escape.

The rest of us rappelled down, three clicks to the west.

COMPOUND IN THE BAJA DESSERT

On our way to the compound, I took point, Margo behind me and Major Shepherd took rear guard.

We made it at a pretty good pace. We began to cut our way through the fence using wire cutters. Our main objective was extracting Intel from their computers and taking out any transport they had, except for what we planned on using to leave the area.

I heard Riddle over my COM say that transport out was found and that Deke took out the other aircraft and that they would see us inside. Once inside we found the motor pool, I went to work rigging one of the fuel pumps to go by radio controlled detonator. I also left them a little surprise under one of the hummers in the form of a grenade rigged to explode when someone started the vehicle.

We then proceeded to the building that was two stories high. The door was locked so I took a small amount of explosives and blew it open. When we got inside Riddle and Delvecchio met us.

"Sir this place is swarming with tangos." Came from Riddle and Delvecchio added, "Yeah we must of gone through about 15 of them so far."

"Ok Nick and Benny Ray you two clear the upstairs and we'll take care of downstairs." They went to the stairs, taking them two at a time.

"Kelly, you and I start clearing down here, Margo watch our backs." Shepherd motioned.

We began clearing each room, there seemed to be surprises behind each door.
I cleared a total of ten rooms, I must have killed at least 20 terrorists. It sounded like upstairs was also a war zone until an all clear was given from above. They were told to come down and to give us a hand. When I heard the explosion of the Hummer, I took out the radio controlled device and blew the gas tanks. Rooms started to empty as all hell broke loose, the gunners were met by the thuds of Shepherd's Mp-5 and my own. We ended up clearing the rooms this way. A crackle came over my com... "Major it looks like we found the command center, it has computers and communications gear sir."

"We'll be right there Benny Ray."

THE COMMAND CENTER

When we walked into the command center we noticed Delvecchio holding his gun on a prisoner whose hands had been tied. From the looks of things the operation was first class all the way. Margo went to each computer, attached a zip drive to each and downloaded all the information from each computer. My main concern was the location of the biological weapon that Fritz had.

"Boss there's a log book of radio contact - but I find this interesting though."

"Why Benny Ray?"

"Well boss it came from Bosnia."

This was getting more interesting as it went on. I asked who the twerp was in makeshift handcuffs. I was told he was the radio operator and was being very unco-operative.

"Mind if I try?"

"Go ahead, he won't talk." Delvecchio groused.

"Delvecchio, want to make a bet."

I walked over to the man who looked a little nervous.

"Well friend, where's Fritz and his chemicals?"

"I don't know." Stammered the man who looked more and more nervous.

"When did he leave?"

"Last night."

"Did he take the cannisters with him?"

"I believe so."

"Why do I make you nervous?"

"Because I know who you are."

"Who am I?"

"You're the cousin of the CIA agent he killed."

"How do you know this?"

"Fritz has a man inside the CIA who freaked when he saw Laurie. After Fritz killed her he told him he had just sealed his own death warrant and then gave him a folder that contained your picture and those of others serving near Bosnia who could put a damper on his plans."

"Ok what's this mans name?"

"Jim Walsh."
I walked over to where Shepherds team was standing. "Major what do you want to do with him?"

"Give him to Trout as a gift." Nick got the man up and marched him out.

"Kelly can you blow this building up?"

"Yeah I can do that."

"Take Benny Ray and get started."

I started in the command center putting charges around the different pieces of equipment and then handed Riddle some charges and told him what to attach them too. Riddle was gone for about five minutes and when he returned he said everything was set.

When we boarded the chopper I thumbed the switch and everything went up like the fourth of July. We headed back to Coronado.

THE SILVER STAR

When we got back the gear was stowed along with the prisoner in the basement. Riddle and I drove to Hermosa so I could stow my gear. The guy nearly flipped when he saw my supplies. Then we headed back to the Silver Star ASAP. When we arrived they were leading the prisoner out the back.

"So boss what's next."

"Well Benny Ray, Margo and Kelly and I are going to pay Mr. Walsh a visit."
"Oh please don't tell me I have to go back to DC. How I hate that place."

"Nope, the guy has a home hear in Los Angeles and he's there on vacation - interested?"

"You bet I am."

We then left the bar and climbed into Shepherd's SUV, I checked my P 229 on the way there. So did Margo and Shepherd. We discussed the plan. If I walked in first, the guy would run, so I would wait until they had an impasse with the man. One good thing was that Margo knew the guy.

WALSH'S CONDO

Margo rang the buzzer, he let her in and we followed. I waited in the hall like I was instructed to do, for what seemed like hours to me. When the door opened, the Major asked me to come in and when I did Walsh's mouth dropped wide open.

"Margo I should have known you would have brought this killer to my home. I know all about your past together."

"Unfortunately Jim, we're not here to discuss that." Margo turned to me and said, "He's all yours, just leave a piece for Trouts' boys to take into custody."

I got face to face with the man who cost my cousin her life. I gave the man three backhand slaps that rocked him pretty hard.

"Okay Walsh the easy way or the hard way. Your choice."

" Okay what do you want to know?"

"I want to know what Fritz is up to and where I can find him. I also want to know his target? Oh by the way - forget the compound - everyone there is dead. The building is probably still burning. Also the radio operator was scared to death of me and told me everything Walsh."

"Alright, he's in Bosnia, his target is unknown."

Shepherd got behind the man while Margo called Trout on Walsh's phone. We then led him outside and brought him back to the Silver Star.

THE SILVER STAR

Shepherd was quiet on the drive back. He seemed very serious, like I had seen officers before. Throughout my life I had seen officers get pissed and this was one of those times. We led our prisoner around back where Trout's boys met us and they took him away. When we walked inside Shepherd spoke.

"I want to see the both of you in my office now."

The others could tell something was wrong but they gave no indication as to what.

We entered the office and found Shepherd on the phone. He motioned for us to sit... we did reluctantly. He then spoke with a stern voice.

"Alright, the both of you, what is going on here?"

"Mind making yourself clearer Major."

"Ok what happened in your past that Walsh knows about."

We looked at each other and Margo spoke first

"Matt look, me and Ray worked together eight years ago the same year you and I originally met."

"Ok, that's a start, what else Margo?"

"We had a brief affair that produced a son that was stillborn."

"And neither one of you mentioned it."

"Well Sir I personally thought it was no one's business but our own."

"Ok what's the real reason you both were late this morning?"

"Matt it was a spur of the moment type of thing that won't happen again."

"Margo I believe you. But I don't know if I can trust our friend here."

"Well Sir we may have made a mistake last night but I am focused on the job at hand. I have never let my personal life get in the middle of my professional life."

"Alright you both can go."

At this point I was a bit pissed. Margo left and rejoined the others but I stayed behind.

"Major I have something to say and you will listen."

"Go ahead."

"Margo showed up at my cousin's funeral, gave the man who raised me a note. I had no idea she was part of your team to begin with. I knew no one in your team. I was shocked to even see her in this line of work. What's past is past. Our relationship belongs there."

As I turned to leave he spoke again. "Ok I believe you."

Riddle met me outside and asked to have a word with me. I agreed and we sat at a table in a corner. A waitress came up to us and took our drink order.

"Amigo I have never seen him this upset before."

Our beers arrived I took a sip and said, "What's your point Riddle?"

"Well me and some of the boys noticed how she lit up when she saw you. If you do anything to hurt the Major you'll answer to me."

"Fair enough but why?"

"Well the Major has eye's for the lady but she only sees him as a friend."

"What you told me explains a lot but I have no intention of hurting either of
them."

Margo came up and told us we were wanted downstairs. We got up and followed her.

"Well folks get packed! We are going back to Bosnia"

Everyone looked a little surprised at this.

"Margo is your contact still there?"

"Yeah he is but I don't want to do business with him again." I looked around the room and the others seemed to know what she was talking about except for Reynolds and Delvecchio.

"Just who was your contact?"

"A man named Vladdy."

"Well I got good news, the guy is in a US army Brig. He gave us some bad Intel and he and his friend were arrested a month ago. By the way, Banja Luca is now in a UN controlled area and some people there owe me some favors."

"Boss how about weapons?"

"Trout is arranging that as we speak Benny Ray."

Everyone left to get their stuff and they told the major they would be back soon.

"Kelly what are you waiting for?"

"Well Sir, I never unpacked. Everything I need is right here in this bag on the table."

"Sorry I forgot."

The others returned within fifteen minutes and we headed to the airport where we boarded a UN relief workers flight and were off.

AIRSTRIP
SOUTH OF BANJA LUCA, BOSNIA

Some 18 hous after our take off, we arrived in Bosnia. We were greeted by my old friend Murphy who looked shocked to see me back in country.

"I was told to give you all the co-operation you needed but this is just too much."

Riddle walked up to the CIA man and began to speak. "Look amigo, I know you don't like us but just do as your told since three or more of us have been here before."

The man backed up and said, "Ok whatever you want."

"Murphy how about transport to Banja Luca so we can get some answers and get outfitted."

"Sure Kelly."

BANJA LUCA

We stopped at a US Army camp. Murphy did his best to get us weapons and equipment, but as usual the CIA couldn't get anything done. I stepped forward and told the Sergeant on duty who we were, and he showed us into the armory. Murphy looked a bit pissed, but I usually had that effect on him. The armorer outfitted us pretty well, with 5 SIG P226'S and one MII. For handguns he gave us leather for each. I also asked him for two 45's and he threw in two tricked out 1911's with thigh holsters. For battle use, he handed out MP-5-SD6'S those added up to four subguns. I asked him about Sniper rifles and he handed out two M21 sniper systems in 7.62 NATO. They were fixed with day/night scopes. Riddle was unhappy. He asked if they had any M24 sniper systems. He was told no. But he was happy when he received a Blaser LRS in .338 lapua magnum. I asked for something a bit different and he handed me a Christenson in the same caliber. The armorer also gave us two HK MP5-PDW'S - a compact machine gun that would do the trick. We packed up our gear, loaded everything into a tent. Everyone got things organized except for Margo, Shepherd and myself. We went to the Brig to offer Vladdy Spazek a deal.

THE BASE BRIG

The Sergeant on duty asked who we were and what we wanted. The Major told him, but when the Sergeant saw me he knew it was important.

"Sergeant we need to speak with Vladdy Spazak immediately."

"Yes Sir."

Spazak was brought in wearing chains and when he saw Margo he swore in Serbian for quite awhile. The Major started to speak

"Vladdy what do you know about a terrorist who calls himself Fritz. IF you co-operate you'll be able to leave this hole in a few day's"

"Not a thing."

Margo even tried getting something out of him but nothing doing.

"Major mind if I try?"

"Go ahead, this guy is being very UN co-operative"

"OK Vladdy, do you know who I am?"

"No."

"Well remember that bad Intel you passed that led a Ranger company into an ambush two month's back.... Yeah that's why I'm here. That unit was mine. Those men who died were my friends. Do you know what I could do to you right now."

Vladdy looked around for help and saw no one moving to stop what I was about to do.

I reached into my pocket, withdrew my Benchmade eclipse folder, unfolded it and placed the blade to his throat.

"One more time Vladdy, where is Fritz? I know he's here. So tell me where, and we'll see if we can get you released."

"Alright, I have heard he's at his Villa in Tuzla. But that is all. What his target is, I have no idea."

I removed my knife and put the folder back into my pocket.

Then started to leave when Vladdy spoke again

"When can I and Andrea leave?"

"You in about a week. Andrea made the mistake of killing a US. Soldier - he is going on trial for murder.

"You Bastard."

I turned and looked at the man and said "I've been called worse".

OUR COMMAND POST AT EAGLE BASE

Murphy waited for us and asked if we had found anything out.

Shepherd told him to arrange transport to Tuzla.

"Why Tuzla?"

"Because the man is there. Sitting in his Villa."

"Oh that's just great." I looked at Murphy and said why.

"Because of the negotiations in three day's in Drvar. Between the Kosovo's and Serbs, plus some top ranking brass from NATO including General Clarke." The major looked at him, told him that he needed floor plans of the Villa and a chopper. We got our gear ready and headed to Tuzla to hopefully put an end to all of this madness. We went over the plan one more time and then we left.

VILLA OUTSIDE OF TUZLA

The plan called for Riddle and myself to clear the guards out from 500 yds. Riddle chose the northwest so he could snipe both areas at the same time. I selected the southwest for the same reason and everyone else would clear the eastside of the house using whatever means necessary. Another part of my job was to take out all transport vehicles. That would be easy. Riddle was the first to rappell down to his spot. I made a quick equipment check, then I was rappelling down to my spot. I quickly found a hillside that was overgrown. I headed there and set up my gear then got in contact with Riddle to let him know I was all set to begin on his mark.

I laid behind my weapon and saw a lot of activity going on, so something was definitely happening I relayed this information on to Shepherd and the rest of his crew. I waited about five minutes for the go ahead from Riddle. We both started firing at the same time but our targets seemed to fall at will. Shepherd and the rest of his team came in from the east. An all clear rang through my com, then Shepherd told us to come in from our positions. I racked another round into the chamber just in case.

I walked in slowly. The vehicles were on my way in, so I stopped in the driveway and put holes in each of the tires. Then I took a walk around the house and personally checked that each man was dead. I told Shepherd that my side was clean and that the vehicles were out of commission with more than one flat. Out of nowhere. a man with a shotgun appeared. I quickly raised my rifle and fired. The man was dead before he could rack the slide on the Remington. We found a way in - Once inside, Riddle and I switched to our silenced PDW's. We broke up into two man teams: Delvechio and Reynolds, Riddle and myself and Shepherd and Margo.

INSIDE THE VILLA

It was a two-floor house. Riddle and I went to clear the upstairs, while Reynolds and Delvecchio cleared the downstairs, Shepherd and Margo clearing the basement. We checked each room but only encountered slight resistance. Out of the ten-room house, we only ran into fifteen terrorists who were more interested in dying than anything else. We each called an all clear and met at the stairway. Riddle spoke through his com to the second unit to advise them we would be coming down to join them. We met up with Reynolds and Delvecchio and were told that the floor had been cleared but they had killed twenty terrorists.

"That makes thirty-five men in the house and not one of them matching Fritz's description." Riddle replied " You guy's don't think...."

"The basement!" everyone said at the same time.

THE VILLA'S BASEMENT

As we entered the basement we could see about ten dead bodies on the floor. I stayed mostly in the shadows but saw Shepherd laying down his weapons. He ordered his men to do the same and they did. He had a real hard time convincing Riddle to do as everyone else had because Fritz was holding his .380 Walther PPK to Margo's head.

I had a decision to make. I could take Fritz out and take a 70% chance that he might pull the trigger anyway. Then I noticed a man who looked like an Iraqi in a lab coat putting the cylinders together and attaching a detonator to them. My choice was clear. I unslung my rifle, put the cross hairs on the man's forehead, adjusted the scope for the correct distance and pulled the trigger on my sniper rifle. The man collapsed to the floor and flapped around like a dead turkey for about 5 minutes.

Fritz screamed for me to come out and to put my weapons with the others or he would kill the women. I moved to the center of the room and placed my rifle and subgun with the others.

"Now the pistols if you would not mind."

I took the 1911 and dropped it with the others and I slowly did the same thing with my P226 that was on my combat harness. Then our eyes met and I spoke

"Fritz I should have killed you eight years ago because it seems you like to hide behind women. Back then it was a four year old little girl."

"You were the one who killed my body guards and little brother?"

"Yeah just like you killed Laurie but at least those I killed deserved it."

"She was CIA. So she got what she deserved."
"Yeah a bullet to the back of the head is always a nice touch, you piece of vermin."

"Watch your mouth Mr. Kelly or she dies."

"She dies Fritz and you die. But the question is by whose hand."

Fritz thought a minute and I could tell by the look in the other men's eyes that I better know what I am doing.

Fritz then pointed his gun at me and spoke, "I'll just shoot you first then..."

My hands moved very slowly to remove my KA-BAR from its sheath. I then took off my combat vest and said, "Well then, let her go and you can try and kill me with your bare hands. If your man enough."

He let Margo go and I tossed him my knife.

Then Riddle walked up to me and handed me his KA-BAR and said, "Amigo, this I understand. It would be a pleasure if you would use my knife."

I replied "thanks."

As we circled each other with knives in hand, the others backed up to give us room. Fritz made the first slash and cut the arm of my BDU blouse. I made the next and cut him in the arm bad enough to cause him some pain, but not very deep. His next move took me by surprise a little, as he rushed me. My knife went right into his belly, then I grabbed his knife hand and held it out straight and pulled the KA-BAR up through his breast bone. As I jerked up on the knife, I could see the life drain from his eyes. I felt his whole body go limp. When I let him fall to the floor everyone retrieved their weapons. I checked for a pulse on the dead man and found nothing. Reynolds picked up the cylinders and carried them outside. I left along with everyone else and handed Riddle back his knife.

OUTSIDE THE VILLA

When we were all outside Murphy came up with a detachment of Rangers. I was asked if there was anything left inside, I told them just corpses. We then boarded the chopper and left the area. Once back at Eagle Base, we passed in all our borrowed gear and headed for home.

THE SILVER STAR BAR

We had been back a few day's. I had no idea what I was going to do next. I spent some days with Margo, we had some things to talk about. Today I was talking to Riddle and Delvecchio over a few beers when I saw Trout walk into Shepherd's office. I wondered what was going on.

A bit later they came out of the office. Shepherd walked over to his bar manager and Trout walked towards our table.

"Excuse me gentlemen but I need a word with Mr. Kelly." They excused themselves and left.

"Well Trout what can I do for you."

"I understand your job went very well."

"Yeah just had some loose ends to tie up."

" I know the feeling. Now about that job offer I made about a week ago. "

"Ok Trout, lets put our cards on the table... doing what exactly?"

"I sometimes need a man that I can use as a trouble shooter. Your knowledge of weapons, explosives, to go along with your knowledge of tactics and Intel gathering makes you my first choice for this kind of work. And occasionally you would be working with Shepherd's team if he needed help."

"Don't know Trout, we butted heads pretty hard over something that happened in the past."

"Let me guess... Miss Vincent."

"Yeah precisely."

Shepherd then joined us. "Well, have you taken his offer yet."

"We were just discussing it Major."

"Please call me Matt."

"Alright I'll take it. And thanks"

"Kelly, the reason I asked is I'm glad there's someone who cares for Margo as much as I do"

"So am I Matt."

HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA

After I packed my bags I took a walk on the beach and stopped to watch the sunset one last time. I needed to go back to New England and think about things. For one, my new job, another was visiting Laurie's grave.

The silence was broken by a woman's voice saying, "You weren't going to leave without saying good bye were you?"

I turned to look at Margo

"No I was going to say good bye. I was just wondering how you would feel about spending the weekend in New Hampshire at my folk's house, there's something I need to show you."

"Sounds nice, let me pack, call Matt and I'll meet you in half an hour."

"Sounds good."

She came back in twenty minutes packed, and we caught the first plane out.

DEERFIELD, NEW HAMPSHIRE

It was morning when we arrived. I showed her around the place where I had lived till I was 12, then drove to town for breakfast, where I also bought some flowers. After we got back to the farmhouse, I told her I had a surprise for her. So we went for a walk and we ended up at the family cemetery. She was amazed at how well the graves were kept up. I stopped by Laurie's grave, said a prayer and laid a simple bouquet of flowers down. We continued to walk until she noticed a grave that read JOSHUA KELLY. The inscription was: Born on April 3 1992 Died on April 3 1992. Below it read: To our beloved son, may he rest in peace, parents Margo Vincent and Ray Kelly. She wept and asked how this could be.

"Well when I ran across the grave in Germany it looked out of place, so I had the body exhumed and reburied here. The headstone I had specially made."

"Thank you."

"Part of my reason for bringing you here is that you had a right to know where your child was buried. Please visit any time you want."

She then buried her face on my chest and sobbed uncontrollably and I comforted her as best I could. We walked back to the house. We had a great weekend and when she left, I went away to fish.

The end

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