CHAPTER FIVE

Sam watched Randy as they wandered down the streets of Belle Glade. Randy had already fallen in love with the name and was eagerly looking for just the right place to settle in. Sam had been able to curb his enthusiasm long enough to check the phone book for the nearest VA facility and wasn't happy. It was nearly 40 miles away. Heíd have to do something about that before Randy was too decided on this place.

"Randy. Randy!" Sam couldnít get his attention; he was too excited. "Randy, listen!"

Other than two times when Randy had been sick, Sam had never had any physical contact with him. No particular reason, it just hadn't happened. So Sam didn't even think about it when he grabbed Randy's arm to get his attention. It was the wrong thing to do. Sam suddenly found himself up against the wall of a building, Randy's forearm tight against Sam's throat, the other hand holding the offending arm twisted behind him. There was a cold fury in Randy's eyes.

Sam forced himself to relax. The last thing he wanted to do was go one on one with Randy in the middle of the street. People were already stopping, staring, starting to move closer. It was also getting a little difficult to breathe, as the pressure on his neck never let up. Sam kept smiling, hoping his docility would calm Randy and the crowd.

For a long few seconds, Randy glared at Sam. Just as suddenly as the attack was launched, he stepped back, releasing his hold. Sam gasped, grabbing his throat and rubbing it gently.

"For chrissake, Randy, what the hell was that?" he croaked out.

"Donít ever touch me. Just...donít..." The anger in Randyís eyes was suddenly replaced by confusion, then panic. "Sam, I...Iím sorry...Iím sorry, Sam, donít be angry, Sam, please donít be angry, I didnít mean it..."

"Hey, hey, it's okay, Randy, really. Just calm down, okay?"

"You won't go, will you, Sam? I won't do it again, I promise! Please don't go away!"

"Randy, I'm not going anywhere. I just don't understand what happened." Sam spied a small cafe that looked nearly deserted. Perfect. "C'mon, let's get something to eat, and we'll talk, okay?"

Silently, Randy nodded and followed Sam into the cafe. They ordered coffee, and sat in silence in a rear booth, Randy staring at the table top. Sam tried to appear unruffled, but inside his stomach was churning. No one had prepared him for anything like this. Mainly because it wasn't supposed to happen.


*****

Maggie sorted through the mail. She was watching anxiously for the package from the coroner but almost missed it anyway. Just a plain manila envelope, no return address, no 'official' markings on it whatsoever. If it hadn't been for the postmark from Langley, VA, she would have dropped it on the pile with the rest of the mail and left it for another time.

Her hands shook slightly as she opened it. The first thing she grabbed was a sheaf of stapled papers - the autopsy report. She barely glanced at it. She already knew what it said. Then she drew out the other items she had asked for and examined them closely.

She hoped John would call her soon. Very soon. She had to get the details, all the details, of that day. The day they were 'executed'. She had to know exactly what had happened.

She looked again at the photos of the deceased. It was not Templeton Peck.


*****

Carla was watching Colonel Smith carefully as Stockwell outlined their next mission. They would be leaving for South America the next day, to take care of a little matter concerning forged customs papers. Carla caught a little glint in the colonel's eye. Uncharacteristic, considering the team generally looked on these assignments with distaste. She turned to Stockwell, speaking low into his ear.

Stockwell straightened, cocking an eyebrow at her. She frowned slightly, trying to tell him not to say anything overt. Stockwell wasn't dumb. He never leaped into things. He made quick decisions, not impulsive ones.

"Oh, and you'll have a little company on this trip, Colonel. A couple of my men will be going along, gain some experience in the field."

"I'm not wet-nursing any of your people, General. I don't want to be watching their butts when I should be concentrating on the job." Hannibal was pissed. If there were Ables along, it would make it nearly impossible to contact Maggie.

"You won't have to worry about them, Colonel. They're perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. I merely want them to learn a few things from you. They'll just watch..."

Stockwell stared into Hannibal's eyes. There was no mistaking it. Stockwell knew there had been a breach in his security. He just couldn't prove it. Hannibal's glance slid over to Carla. Incredibly, she gave a sly smile. Hannibal immediately realized the stakes had just gone up a notch.

There was another player in the game...