Matt swung around in the chair, smiling at the man tied to the other. He was still mostly out, but
then the drugs he had been given would do that to a man. He looked at the shadows, knowing his
team-mates were there.
Margo walked out and gave the antidote. "He's free now," she said and stepped back into the
Matt faced Xavier Trout again and waited for him to start groaning. "Welcome to our home," he
said when he heard the first one.
Trout tried to get out of the ropes, but failed. He thrashed and flailed around for a few more
minutes before settling down and looking down. "Why?"
"You see, that's what we want to know." Matt stood up and walked over to Trout, pulling his
head up so he could look into the bound man's eyes. "We would like to know why you did it."
Trout started to laugh. "Oh, that's rich. You want to know why I bugged you? To make sure you
were doing your jobs and not working for yourselves." He started to laugh again when Matt
pushed his head forward and walked around him.
"Oh, I think there's another reason and I would like to know what it was that prompted you to
invade our lives like that."
"I already told you."
"And I don't believe you," Matt said, walking off into the shadows to retrieve something. He
came back with a covered tray. "You have one last chance before we have to not talk any more."
He uncovered the tray and showed Trout the two syringes and the equipment to use them. "One
last time, why did you plant bugs in our homes?" Matt put the tray into the seat he had been in
and walked over to stand over Trout, pulling his head back. "I know that it wasn't business
otherwise the bar and the bunker would have been laced with listening devices too. Now, I want
"You already have it," Trout ground out.
Matt nodded at the shadows so Deke and Margo would come out. She undid the ropes around
one arm while the tall man held it still. Matt came over, injecting the first syringe into Trout's
elbow, hitting the vein on the first try. He nodded again and Trout was retied.
"Okay, now we give this time to work," he said and walked back into the shadows.
"This is treason," Trout yelled, the last word coming out slurred. "I'll..." He passed out.
The team walked out, standing around him. This whole event had been as carefully
choreographed as any other mission, each team member's position and lines laid out before hand.
Trout woke up and looked around. He screamed at the nightmares he saw gathered around him.
He tried to get away from the ropes, try to get away from the sight of the grizzly monsters
surrounding him. "NO!" he yelled and turned the chair over.
Matt smiled and had Benny Ray pick him up. "So, you were telling us why you bugged them?"
he said quietly, knowing the herbs in that drug would make it come out booming loud to the man.
"I had to, no choice. They needed information and they had my daughter."
Matt nodded and Nick gave him the other injection. They all stood there and waited while the
Finally Trout came to, looking around. He saw the smiles and sighed. He knew what had
happened immediately. "I couldn't not do it. They have her hostage and not even your team
could get her."
Matt nodded and Margo untied him. "We would have tried if you had told us. You know that."
"Yes, but I couldn't. They were watching you too, making sure I did as I was told."
"What were they looking for?" Margo asked.
"And who are they?" Benny Ray said.
"They are another intelligence agency," Trout said. "They grabbed my daughter from an
assignment and took her hostage for my cooperation. I had no choice." He looked at Nick. "I
didn't want to hurt any of you."
Nick nodded. "But it still happened." He smiled. "I may be glad it did in most ways but I could
have done without it being done *that* way." He squatted down. "Now then, who has her?"
"The new head of the official anti-terrorist squad. He's a shit and he did it to make sure you
wouldn't step on his toes."
"So, we go get her and take him out?"
Trout laughed. "You can't. He's so well guarded, not even a military coup could get to him, and
he would start one just to keep his job safe."
Matt walked around to Margo, pulling her aside. "Who?"
"Bush and Reagan, supposedly Reagan, set up a few covert intelligence agencies to combat
terrorism. This one's head is tougher than most though. The guy's usually a presidential
appointee, but not this one; he killed the guy above him and then took his place. The president
can't do a thing about him, he's too good." She rubbed her forehead. "I should have seen this
coming. I've met him and he's a real 'whatever works the best' person."
"Is Trout right or can we get to him?" Matt asked.
"No, not without some help. Some local help from another covert ops group." She smiled. "But I
know just the person to help."
"Good, sound them out and get back to me." She nodded and left.
Trout looked up as Matt came back. "What are you going to do?"
Matt smiled and motioned for the team to leave. "What we do best," he called back. He closed
the warehouse door and they left.
Matt looked up for the third time. "He's not coming," he told Margo.
"Matt, this man is better trained than you are, he's just being cautious," she said over their mic
line. "Just be a little more patient."
Matt gave his order to the waiter and then looked back up at Margo's laugh. He smiled at the
woman, dark hair, early thirties, gun almost visible under her apron. "Hello, Matt Sheppard," he
said, holding out his hand.
"I know," she said and slipped him a note. "There," she said and left.
Matt opened the note and looked at the address and time. "Okay," he said. There was more than
enough time, he finished his lunch so he wouldn't arouse suspicion.
Matt and Margo stood at the corner phone booth, looking around. He spotted a few people
watching him, but didn't look to hard. Finally the phone rang.
"Hello?" he answered.
"Margo," the voice on the other end said. Matt handed the receiver open and stepped out of the
"Hello?" she said.
"Welcome," the voice said. "Go down the alley and knock on the door that's not there." The line
She relayed the message and they left, going down the alley. They found the door opening and
knocked. It opened enough to permit the waitress from earlier to wave them in with a gun. She
frisked them quickly, handing them back their guns, and led them down the hall. She led them to
an open office, waving at the person at the top of the stairs. He was on the just short of average
side, dark hair, conservative dark blue suit. He looked like a bureaucrat, and everything about him
"Thanks Max," he said and waved them up. Matt and Margo up hesitantly, only to be waved into
comfortable chairs on the front side of the desk. "So, Major Sheppard and Margo Vincent, why
am I not surprised to have been called by your group?" He sat back and steepled his fingers.
"What can we do for you?"
"Micah, we need a favor and it's a huge one," Margo said. "But I'm sure you know that and why
we're here," she leaned forward. "You always did get some of the best people."
The man laughed. "You always give me the nicest compliments when you need something." He
sat forward. "But this time, you're right, I do want in." He smiled, really nasty. "If it wasn't for
him, we'd all be in better shape right now."
"What happened?" she asked.
"He shot a few of my people getting to Trout's daughter." He saw the shock on Matt's face and
nodded. "Oh, yeah, we knew about that, and what Trout did too, but we couldn't do anything."
He paused. "Then."
"So, now you can?" Matt asked. Micah nodded. "You'll help us?"
"Help you and give you back up both." He pushed a button. "Lauren, bring them in," he said.
Matt and Margo watched as Deke was led up the stairs.
"Sorry, those two got away from me, Max went after them." Micah nodded and pointed at a
seat, prompting Deke to take it. "I'm going back out."
Deke tapped into his mic. "They're coming," he said quietly. "We figured something like this
might happen so we worked it out amongst ourselves who would run."
Margo smiled. "Deke, we have too many layers here. Call them in." He nodded and tapped in
something else. "Thanks. We actually can trust Micah. He and I grew through the same training
process. He just got the better job."
Micah laughed. "Oh, that's rich dear. *I* got the better job? Not a chance. You get to live
someplace sunny and warm and only see politicians when you want to. I have to do the
ass-kissing routine until my lips bleed."
"I have something for that," Nick said, coming up the stairs. He set down Max's legs and Benny
Ray sat her on the floor. "Sorry, didn't know she was one of yours." He shrugged and stood
Micah laughed and called Lauren back up. "Take her to the infirmary, I'm sure she'll have a
headache when she wakes up." The tall blonde man scowled, but did as he was told, gently
picking her up and carrying her down the stairs tenderly.
Margo leaned across the desk. "I can't believe you got him back into the game," she said quietly.
"Ah, but I gave him some one to take care of and he came almost willingly after she got him
mixed up in something." Micah Simms smiled. "It's not like he came of his own free will, but it
has all worked out for the best."
"So, why all the cloak and dagger stuff, Simms," Nick asked. "It's not like we wouldn't have come
in after a nice invitation from Lauren." He perched on the edge of Deke's chair, earning a light
growl from Benny Ray. Nick turned to his partner. "He ran me on a case once," he explained.
Micah nodded. "Yes, but this time it's different. We need each other and you can't be too careful
recently. He's even gotten our Internal Affairs people onto us for trying to stop his take over." He
pulled out a file and handed it to Margo. "Here, all you'll need. I've asked Lauren and Max to help
you when and if you need it. He's running a bar a few blocks away and she's just one of us." He
smiled at Matt. "Sounds familiar doesn't it? I wonder why all of you guys run bars?" He got up
and left them alone. "Don't touch the computer, Nick" he called from the bottom of the stair's.
"Our computer person's out with a sick child today."
Nick laughed and took Micah's seat. "So, what's it say?"
Margo opened the file and smiled. "Plans and blueprints," she said and handed it over.
Matt checked around the corner and signaled Margo to go while he covered her. She led the way,
gun first, and silently shot the guard with a tranquilizer dart. She checked around the next corner
and gave the go ahead signal.
Benny Ray and Nick came next, holding the corner while Matt and Deke came last, guarding their
They made it to the holding cell unnoticed and got Trout's daughter out, Deke carrying her. They
Matt checked the young woman over while Benny Ray drove them to a safe house Micah had set
up for them. He found nothing unusual, but it had all went too easy for his tastes.
"Was it me," Nick said, "or did it seem like they wanted her taken?" He turned to look at Margo
in the passenger seat. "We didn't meet with any resistance or nothin', just a quick in and out, only
She nodded. "That was a little careless of them, but we're going to have her checked over before
returning her to her father. Just in case."
"What could they do?" Deke asked, handing over a damp towel and a can of juice to Matt. "Post
hypnotic suggestion? Implants that changed her somehow?"
"All that and/or more," Margo said. "You don't know this person. He's capable of doing anything.
This could have all been part of his plan."
"Man, I hope not. For all our sakes," Nick said and settled down for the ride. "I really do."
The rest of the team agreed.
Micah looked up at the man coming up the stairs, or more appropriately the agent coming up. He
nodded at the head of cover's Internal Affairs and got back to his paperwork.
"Simms, we got a problem," the man said, sitting down, "with what happened yesterday and your
part in it."
"Well, if you'd go find the dirty agents in your own house, we wouldn't have to worry about it,"
Micah said and signed another paper, looking up and putting his pen down. "All I know that
happened was a new group came in and took something away from the psychopath." He
shrugged. "Or so the rumors say."
The agent laughed. "Oh, the *rumors* say, do they?" He snapped his fingers and another man
came up the stairs, carrying a manila envelope. "So, why were those rumors here the other day?"
He tossed the envelope onto the desk.
Micah delicately picked them up and tossed them into the trash. "Old friends, those weren't
the rumors." He picked up his pen. "Anything else?"
The man leaned closer. "Micah, if you had come to me about this, we would have helped."
He stood and left.
Micah tossed the pen down and shuddered. "There's a scary thought," he muttered,
"us on the same side." He shuddered once more and got back to his paperwork.
Max led the doctor in, sitting him down and taking off his blindfold. She pointed at
the sleeping woman on the bed, and left them alone.
The doctor bent over her, trying to hide the small device from anyone who might be
watching, and pushed the button.
Matt and Deke came through the door and took it away from him after pushing him into
the wall and holding him a foot off the floor. "So, what's this do?" Matt said, pointing it at
the girl on the bed. "Turn her on or off?"
"Off," the man said, moving away from the two men when he was dropped. "Please don't
push it, there's no telling what would happen." He scooted away from Deke some more.
Matt nodded and Lauren came in, grabbing him by the collar and walking out. Matt gave
Max the box and smiled. "Thanks," he said. She just nodded and left.
Deke pulled out his cellphone and dialed a number by heart. "Hey man," he said,
"I need some assistance and some of your valuable time." A short pause and the sound
of yelling and laughter on the other end. "Yeah, I know the price and I'm more than willing
to pay it." He hung up and sat down. "We got some strong help comin' and I gotta
Matt nodded. "Okay, if you feel you have to." He walked out of the room, not wanting to
ask, but knowing what the answer would have been anyway. That was one thought he didn't
want to have. Well that or think about the laughing coming from behind another door in the
house. He really didn't want to know what those two did either.
Nick opened the door for Deke, his post at the window covered by Benny Ray. "Hey,
welcome home." He took the other man's jacket and hung it up. "You all right?"
Deke nodded and took a sip from the bottle Benny Ray handed him. "Yup, peachy as some
people might say." He headed up the stairs to tell them he was back.
Nick turned to Benny Ray and smiled. "I'm so glad I got out of undercover."
Benny Ray let the drape fall. "Me too, but we still have to be careful. You never know who's
watching us now."
Nick nodded across the street. "Sure we do, they are." He smiled and flipped off the window
across he street. Benny Ray laughed and they traded spots, Nick going back to the window and
him on the door.
Matt carefully tied the ribbon containing the note around the sedated girl's neck and stepped back.
They had gotten the all clear from one of Deke's 'friends' just a few hours ago and now they were
going to deliver this present back to it's rightful holder.
He watched as Deke and Benny Ray carried her out to the van, only a step behind. They had
covered her in some cloth that would block out the frequencies remote's used, and most others
too just in case. She was carefully laid in the back of the minivan and they all got in.
Margo and Nick came out after one last sweep of the house for their stuff. They were carrying a
garbage bag apiece, tied tightly. They got into the van, Margo in front again. Matt got in last and
closed the door, locking it. They left for the suburbs, to a large white house.
When they got there, Matt alone got out, carrying their target to the porch and ringing the doorbell.
He hurried back to the van and got in, buckling up as Benny Ray pulled out of the driveway.
They headed straight for the airport, eager to get home.
Nick sprinkled some cheese over the last dish and put it on the table. He buzzed the door, after
checking the monitor Benny Ray had installed, and opened his front door just a crack.
The whole team came in, smiling and laughing together. They stripped out of damp jackets and
sat at the table, talking loudly and complimenting Nick on the food.
Nick smiled at Benny Ray, taking his hand and smiling. He had his family now and nothing was
going to change, not ever again. They shared a kiss, earning an 'ahh, how cute,' from the group,
before getting down to the business of eating.
The end, full circle.
To next story arc/part: