Fortunate Son

Author: Kyle Bernard <csktech[at]>

Copyrighted: Oct 16, 2002

Category: Crossover


Spoilers: None

Keywords: None

Warning: Crossovers

The Following TV Series or books have been included in the story.

Trapper John M.D
Characters from Tom Clancey's works
Characters from the Book Stony Man Doctrine and the Executioner
series by Don Pendelton

Legalese: All characters with their respective rights, properties, and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers, and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Dedication: This is for April, who believes in knowing the characters, even if they are minor ones.

Saigon International Airport
27 July 1967

The rear ramp of the camouflaged C-130 dropped slowly, letting in the heat and humidity inherent to the delta of Vietnam. Along with the heat came an overbearing stench of rotting jungle and sweating bodies. Terrance Powell newly promoted to Sgt 1st class thought he was ready for his first tour of duty. The loud voice screaming in his ear would disabuse him of that notion in very short order.

"OK Ladies," yelled Master Sergeant Amos Black, "Grab your shit and get in the fucking truck before I decide that you aren't worthy of My United States Army." The troops quickly shouldered their duffel bags and marched off toward the Olive drab school bus. Some recruits didn't meet the standards for speed that the Master Sergeant expected; his size 12 combat boots assisted them in remembering just where they were.

When they were all seated, Sgt. Black stood in the isle and grabbed their attention by banging on the grate covering the window. "Lesson number one: This is the Nam and you can die in half a heartbeat if you don't pay attention 100 percent of the time." Reaching into his pressed fatigues Amos drew out his dog tags and held them up for all to see that they had been taped together with green duct tap. "Lesson number two: Anything that can make noise while you are on patrol will be taped, so I suggest that you ladies beg, borrow, or steal a roll before you are assigned to a unit." In the background, the sound of exploding mortar shells surprised Terry.

"And that ladies, is the third and final lesson. There is no safe place in the Nam."

Plain of Jars
11 Months Later

Terry and his sniper squad and been dropped off 2 klicks from a Special Forces 'A' camp. The camp had been under attack off and on for a week, but while they could handle the mass attacks of the NVA, there were reports of Viet Cong snipers that were taking a huge toll during the lulls. Terry's orders were simple: find the snipers and take them out, preferably in a very spectacular manner.

When the Huey's noise and rotor wash faded, Terry called his Squad together. "Spivey", he pointed to a short and very dark black man, "You have the point." The young man, no older then 19, nodded his head and wiped the sweat off his forehead. "Williams, you have drag. Radio your with me as normal. Lets be ultra cautious, Intel tells us there is an NVA Battalion around here and I would rather not find them. We'll check in with the beanies and then go hunting."

The next two hours passed silently. Terry reached for the handset of the PRC-9, "Highland 6 this is Gunslinger 6 we are on your perimeter." Terry released the button and waited for a response.

"Gunslinger 6. Authenticate Delta Tango, over," came through the radio.

Terry dug through the cargo pocket of his utilities and found the code list he'd been given before boarding the helicopter. "Roger Highland 6. Bravo Bravo, over."

"Roger that, Pop smoke." Terry nodded to Spivey who drew the long cylinder off of his LBE harness and pulled the pin and tossed the grenade forward 2 meters.

Terry pressed the talk button, "Smoke out, Identify."

"Gunslinger 6 we have grape smoke. Be advised: stay on the path. The sector is ape shit with mines, theirs and ours.

"Roger that."

Terry tossed the hand set back to radio and raised his arm in the air and pumped it up and down, silently calling the squad to his position.

"Ok let's get in and rest till nightfall. We'll get what info we can and then do our thing." Terry indicated for the point man to lead off and for each to follow at 2-meter intervals.

The squad made their way into the compound noting the empty beer and C-rations cans tied to the concertina surrounding the A Camp. Terry crossed through the gate and turned to the guard on duty, "Where's your CO."

He's in the commo bunker, follow me. The solider looked at Terry with a suspicious look and in a deeply southern voice "Y'all the sniper teeeam that the rumor mill keeps yakking about?"

"That's what they keep telling me."

The pair of soldiers entered an expanded foxhole that has been surrounded with sandbags. Dropping through the minimal doorway the southern soldier announced Terry. "Cap'n, this here is that sniper team that Da Nang keeps promsinn us."

Terry watched as the captain glanced up from the map he was studying. "Sgt. Powell sir," he announced formally. "We've been attached to your team for as long as you need us."

The captain, looking way too old for his 27 years, shook Terry's hand. I'm Captain Taylor please to meet you Sergeant, Did Da Nang give you the rundown?" He turned away from Terry, "Myers, will you get Sgt. Powell's men settled in? And have Andy report to me ASAP." Turning back towards Terry, "Andy is our heavy weapons specialist and we have been using him in the antisniper role so he is the best one to brief you. I'll give you the basics and he can fill in the details."

"Yes Sir."

Captain Taylor led Terry over to the map he had been studying and pointed out the problem area, "Our problem is that we had no say on where this camp was located," Taylor pointed out a small mountain on the map, "That is our sore spot. It only 500 meters from the camp and we suspect that it is honeycombed with tunnels. The mass attacks we have been experiencing and the intelligence data we got off the dead tend to confirm that.

"That would be typical sir."

"The mass attacks we can handle, what's killing us is that any night that there isn't a mass attack, we get plastered with snipers and these sons of a bitch's are good. I'm losing 3-5 men an hour and even with the 'yards we simply can't maintain that loss rate, Not and hold this position. Whoever is commanding these bastards is a real piece of work."

Terry studied the map, "When was the last mass attack?"

"Last night," the captain rubbed his tired face; "Thankfully we had puff up and our losses amounted to 6 WIA and one KIA."

"And their pattern?"

"Usually they take two days off and then attack again, so you can expect to go out tonight."

A large man entered the bunker; "You wanted to see me Captain?" "Andy… Come on over here and Meet Terry Powell. Terry this is our weapons specialist Andrzej Konzaki, But every one around here call him Andy, or guns."

The hours passed and the two men moved to Andy's tent. Andy noted the long gun that Terry was carrying and it appeared to be a standard M- 14. "You use a full auto for sniper work?"

"Well it wasn't my first choice, I would rather have had a Remington 700," he admitted, "but. It was the only weapon that the army has adapted for this. He reached into his rucksack a pulled out a large case. Opening the case he revealed an AN/PVS-2 night scope.

Andy couldn't help but be impressed, but he would be damned if he would admit it to a lowly ground pounder. "I thought Litton and the army were still arguing over the contract."

Terry attached the scope to the rifle and slapped a magazine home. "So what's the best way to approach this?"

The attacks have always come after 2100 and it's always multiple shooters. We've estimated three at a minimum, always from the mountain and never higher the 100 meters from the base.

"Ok, that works for me. Any ideas on how to bag the fuckers?"

Andy pulled out his map from a cargo pocket, tracing a line with his finger, "We Dee Dee out just after dark. Following this trail we get above them and blow their brains out.

"Works for me."

The squad was in position and set up by 2030 hours. Oddly enough the full moon was both a blessing and a relief since the night scope used ambient light and multiplied it Terry felt sure that they would get the job done tonight and he could head back to Da Nang. < I'm getting too short to be humping the boonies, > he thought to himself. A tap on his foot interrupted his thoughts as Williams crawled forward.

He whispered in Terry's ear, "We have movement down the slope."

Terry powered up the scope and scanned the battlefield below him. Before he could sight the target a shot rang out into the night. The muzzle flash of the Charlie's weapon stood out in the scope like a bonfire back in the fields in Montana. Terry tracked the sniper as he changed position for another shot.

Drawing in a deep breath just as his father had taught him Terry, slowly left half of it out and caressed the trigger of the M-14. 300 yards below him the enemy sniper's head exploded like a watermelon hitting the ground.

"Let's move," he whispered to his team.

Diem waited in the cavern near the top of the mountain. While he appreciated the opportunity to finally nail the long nose the Viet Cong had nick named the Executioner, and the Vietnamese people had named Sgt. Mercy the manner that Col. Nu had chosen disgusted him. An entire NVA battalion attacking an insignificant camp to draw in one man was simply stupid.

< Still, > he thought, < orders are orders. >

Diem sat there considering his prey. Few had seen the tall American soldier and fewer still had survived to tell the story. What little Diem knew were from reports that had filtered down over the last year. As he reassembled the Russian supplied Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle the field telephone rang.


"Be ready Diem, We have a confirmed report that one of our snipers has just been killed."

"Yes Sir." < All of this for just one man. > He shook his head in disbelief.

Andy moved along with the team, watching for signs of the enemy, yet also watching how well the members of the team he was working with moved through the night! He thought that they worked very well together. The point man moved at a steady pace not missing anything and the others eyes were always moving looking for any sign of the enemy. The squad kept their spacing properly so that a single grenade wouldn't wipe the team out. All in all, Andy felt as comfortable as he could when working with strangers that weren't Special Force trained.

Working their way across the rugged terrain silently, only the imperceptible swoosh of canvas of their fatigue legs rubbing together, breaking the night's silence.

Spivey the point man held his clenched fist up in the air signaling a halt. Andy watched as the point man scanned the area in from of him. Spivey then pumped his fist up and down three times calling the team to him.

"What's up JR," asked Terry, it was the first time Andy had heard any of the squad members addressed by name or even a nickname.

"We have an open field about 30 meters ahead that wasn't on the map, Sarge."

Mike Fetters, the one everyone called Radio, looked at JR, "What's the mojo say man?

"It say bad news for the Gunslingers." The sour look on the black man's face put an exclamation point on the warning. Spivey grabbed his canteen and took a cautious sip of water as Terry consulted the map.

Andy stared at the group in disbelief. "What's the problem? We do single cross and we are done.

"Not in this unit we don't," said Radio defiantly. "When the mojo says we don't go; we don't go."

Terry leaned over and whispered in Andy's ear, "Let it go Andy. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, if they believe it, then it is true."

Terry folded the map and returned it to his pocket. "OK we go around."

The telephone rang again. "Yes," answered Diem.

"You are cleared. We have several patrols out so confirm your target."

Diem hung up the ancient field telephone and retrieved his rifle off the desk where he left it. He blew out the single candle and headed for the tunnel entrance of the cave.

The silence of the night was shattered by the blast of an AK-47. Spivey took the burst in the chest and blood soaked his shirt before his body hit the ground.

"Cover," shouted Andy. But the men of the gunslingers had already found what meager cover that was available. Returning fire and emptying the M-16's magazine in 3 long bursts, Andy ducked down and reloaded the weapon. Slamming the bolt release, He popped up just in time to see Radio's grenade explode among the attackers. With short controlled bursts he finished off the remaining exposed VC.

"How many left?" he shouted out to Terry.

"Eight, maybe ten."

Dumping the now empty magazine for the weapon and letting it fall to the ground, "You know the odds are real good we are gonna get our heads hung in some…" Andy didn't get the chance to finish as the familiar beat of an AK-47 opened up and he was showered with dirt as the bullets impacted all around him. Andy ducked and waited for the end.

Williams yelled, "Cover," then he rose to his knees and popped a round from the M-79 that he carried as a secondary weapon. "Oh Fuck," he exclaimed as a rose of blood burst from his chest.

Daring the return fire, Andy jumped up and quickly dragged the body over to the mound that Terry had taken for cover. He checked for a pulse, but the glassy eyes told the whole story, he dejectedly lowered the body to the ground. < It don't mean nothing… don't mean nothing, > he repeated over and over to himself.

"I think its time for us to vacate the premises before they really get upset."

"Wait one…I'm not leaving these little mother fuckers without a little memento. Highland 6 this is Gunslinger 6 do you copy?"

"Go ahead Gunslinger 6."

"I need all available mortar fire and arty if you can get it on the following coordinates." Terry rattled off a set of numbers. "Give us two minutes and fire for effect."

"Roger that, two-minute delay and then fire for effect. The clock starts ticking now. Highland 6 out."

The remaining members of the sniper squad ran like hell, zigzagging back and forth to present as difficult target as possible.

True to his word, Highland 6 started the mortar attack two minutes after the initial call, and the echoes of the 60 and 81 mm mortars were soon lost as the high explosives decimated the remaining VC who had stopped to scavenge weapons from the American dead.

Diem raised the rifle to his eye and picked up the sight picture on his target. Squeezing the trigger ever so gently…

Terry staggered as the burning sensation shot through his left shoulder. Falling to the ground and unable to break his fall he smashed face against a rock and broke his nose.

"Damn it," cursed Diem as he cycled the action and resighted the target.

Fetters stopped to help his wounded squad leader. "Are you…" The back of his head exploded in a pink and gray mist as the 7.62 round shattered his head.

Andy dropped and covered Terry with his body. Knowing that they were still exposed to the sniper, he grabbed him in a bear hug and rolled the both of them into the dense foliage on the side of the trail. All the blood had Andy wondering if he had just saved a dead man. "Terry, you ok man?"

"Oh shit it hurts," Terry groaned. "Bastard got me in the shoulder and I broke my own fucking nose."

Andy reached into his med-kit and got the ampoule of morphine out. He stabbed Terry in the shoulder with the sharpened needle and squeezed the bulb. As the drug took effect, Andy could see the pain fade from Terry's face.

"Think you can walk?"

"I can fucking run if I have to." The pair took off at a slow jog; Terry's face grimacing every time his feet hit the ground, as lances of pain overcame the drugs.

Three meters ahead Andy was searching for the easiest path. He never noticed the three little wires that were sticking out of the ground. Terry stumbled on a vine that grabbed his foot, breaking his nose for the second time that day. When he looked up time had slowed and he watched the mine rise above the ground and explode.

Terry crawled to Andy every step steeped in agony. When he got there he knew he had very little time. There was blood pumping out of both of Andy's legs in time to the beat of his heart. Terry pulled his belt off and fashioned a crude tourniquet and strapped Andy's left leg, he tightened it until the blood has slowed to a trickle.

Terry desperately searched for something else that could stop the life's blood from flowing out of the stricken soldier.

"Need some help?"

A tall American soldier with dark hair and piercing blue eyes dressed in tiger stripe camouflage stepped out of the jungle. "I'm Bolan."

Diem watched though the telescopic sight as the man known to his people as the Executioner carried the wounded man to an empty field where an American helicopter picked all three up. There was one chance where Diem could have pulled the trigger on his target, but his own sense of humanity allowed Sgt. Mercy to live another day.

MAST Unit at Nha Trang

Dear Dad,

It seems strange to be writing you a letter dressed in army green again, but when Margaret called and asked me to lecture the personal assigned to the MAST units I just couldn't refuse. You remember Margaret. Or at least you should, she was our head nurse at the 4077th, well now it's General Hoolihan and she commands all nurses in Southeast Asia, who would have figured.

The MAST units are very much like the MASH units were in Korea, same cramped quarters, and same lousy food and as always, the unending wounded. Another way they are alike is personal, There's this young doctor here named Gonzo Gates, I'm sure he has a real name somewhere but everyone even the CO calls him Gonzo. He reminds me of me, only without the gray hair and the rakish sense of humor.

The wounded arrive by helicopter, only now they call them Huey's instead of choppers, and the army has a drove of them over here and they arrive day and night carrying massively wounded men to this small place of humanity in a sea of war.

I arrived early yesterday afternoon to set for the lecture and I was left standing there. The wounded just coming and coming finally I couldn't stand there any longer and I went to work. It felt strange to be standing in a crowed operation room again but vaguely reassuring, by 10 O'clock I had performed 13 operations, mostly simple stuff, but at least I hadn't forgotten how.

I'd stepped outside to take a quick brake when another Huey arrived. Dad, it was a mess. There was a stream of blood spraying off the floor of the chopper and the men inside were in pretty bad shape. The first one's face was soaked in blood and his shoulder had been bandaged by the medic, I later found out that he'd been shout in the shoulder by a sniper, and the blood on his face way a broken nose.

The second one was in pretty bad shape. He'd stepped on a land mine and both legs were mangled. The only reason he didn't die was that whoever was with him acted very quickly and improvised tourniquets out of army belts. This guy owes his life to his buddy.

I worked on him for nine hours trying to save his legs, but in the end I had no choice to amputate. What a waste. I don't know what this man's life holds for him now, but I pray that what I had to do will be understood.

Well Dad it's late, or very early, depends on your point of view I guess. I have to get some sleep now. I'll write you later.

Your Loving Son


Terrance Point, MT
December 1974

The snow covered plains of the Montana countryside, ice crystals glistening from the top, passed by the roadside, hypnotizing the driver of the van. It was fitting that he should meet his friend again, here in the place that Terry loved best and was so different from where they'd met the first time.

The road had been long and hard since that fateful day in Vietnam. First the helicopter ride from the battlefield. A combination of pain and drugs left him only brief glimpse of that ride, but the one thing he did remember with perfect clarity were the two men that had dragged him through the jungle to the waiting helicopter.

The tall soldier in the tiger stripes, Bolan, he'd learned his name was later, had stopped the bleeding from the other leg with his own belt and then had carried him over his shoulder, to the Medi-Vac, while prodding Terry to keep focused. The whole time Bolan had talked to the wounded solider, the force of his personality keeping Andy connected to the earth, when all he wanted to do was die.

Things had gotten better at the MAST unit. Andy could now smile and laugh at the kindly-faced doctor that had greeted him with a joke. "Come here often," he's said. Then he'd bent down and whispered in Andy's ear. "I should warn you; this is a terrible place to pick up nurses, I know I've tried them all."

From the MAST hospital, Andy and Terry had been transferred to the EVAC hospital at China beach. It was only having Terry in the bed next to him that had made that place close to bearable. They had talked for hours. Changing subjects as quickly as the nurses changed their bandages.

Terry could go on for hours about his hometown. How the best time of the year was between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the snow on the ground and hunting the back woods for snow rabbit. Personally Andy couldn't fathom it, being from a city where the closest he got to nature was the local zoo. Over time, Terry's words had seduced Andy, and he found himself looking forward to visiting the magical place that Terry held so close to his heart.

Then came that sad day, Andy was being evac'd back to the world. Andy's heart was heavy when he said goodbye, and he could see the same pain in Terry's eyes. The two of them had shared an experience that no one else would quite understand. What made the separation even worse, Terry was going back to duty. He'd traded the rest of his enlistment for another tour of Nam. So they had said goodbye on that dusty helipad, the scent of the ocean filling the air, masking the smell of death and the smell of war.

From China beach to Da Nang by Huey, from Da Nang to Walter Reed Hospital, where Andy had ceased being a soldier to just being a number that most of the world would love to ignore, by C-141 Starlifter. Andy couldn't find it in his heart to blame them, they were just doing and increasingly difficult job. After the Tet offensive, which everyone in the ward thought the US had won militarily, but the public believe that had been lost, the staff was overwhelmed with the wounded and suffered the callus attitude of the nation that they served.

More and more Andy found himself turning inward; ignoring the indifference of the staff and the disdain of the public. He even ignored the jealousy of his fellow soldiers that were wounded and scarred even worse then he was. He concentrated on the physical therapy that would be his ticket to freedom.

During this dark time Andy only allowed himself two windows to the world. The first was mail order gunsmith classes. He'd always been interested in guns and the Special Forces training had only whetted his appetite. From every gun manufacturer in the world, he ordered their classes; Colt, Remington, H&K, Smith&Wesson, the list went on and on. Weeks went by and, as he finished one course, he would start another.

The second escape that he'd come to rely on was Terry's letters. Andy could see in his mind's eye the places and events that Terry wrote about. He'd remembered fondly the Montenyards of the highlands, when Terry was given another temporary duty to a Special Forces camp and he was grateful to his friend for sending him an elephant hair bracelet. His has been lost somewhere along the road to Washington.

The only other tear in his indifference was the day they dressed him up in his dress uniform and the President of the United States pinned the Silver Star and the Purple Heart on his chest. A black cloud shadowed even that day when the words, from a grateful nation, laid waste to the lie that was Viet Nam.

The months had turned to years when finally the blessed day came. With a discharge in his hand, and a 100 percent disability classification to help him deal with the financial problems, Andy wheeled himself away from the United States Army.

Andy's next choice was a difficult one. Terry was still in country, and there was no one or no where that Andy was dying to see. So he took the easy way out. He accepted a job with Colt and moved to Connecticut. Working in the custom gun shop, Andy had found his niche. The weeks faded to months and then to years. And Andy was happy in this little world; then came the letter.

Terry's letters, once a highly anticipated part of Andy's week had been slowly reduced to once a month as Terry made his own adjustment to being back in the world. The balance of the fewer letters was that, instead of quick notes scribbled while hiding in the jungle or postcards from where ever Terry had leave, now Andy got long letters in Terry's beautiful handwriting, page after page, describing everything that was happening in his friend's life.

THE Letter, as Andy now referred to it, contained just eight words. "I'm getting married. Get your ass here now."

Andy still laughed his ass off at his friend's comment. No one else but Terry would make a demand like that. Then again, Andy wouldn't just quit his job for just anyone either, so the karma balanced.

The tires crunched against the newly fallen snow as Andy pulled his van up to the small house on the outskirts of Terrance, Montana. He didn't even get the chance to shut the engine off before Terry dashed out of the house like a kid on Christmas morning headed for the presents.

The Younger man threw the drives door open and in a gesture that wasn't normally seen in Montana, he hugged Andy like the long lost brother he was. "How the hell are you man?" said Terry, as he pumped Andy's arm like a man expecting water from a well. "I was so worried that you wouldn't get the time off work."

"I didn't, I quit." Just the look on Terry's face was worth not having a job anymore. "Look man, It's not everyday your best friend gets married. It's not like I need the money anyway, The Army covers anything I need."


"Still nothing. Look, you are about the only one left that understands me. I tried going back home but it was like I grew horns or something."

"I know that feeling," said Terry. "The nicest thing they call me around here is different."

"Jesus Christ it's cold. I didn't think anyplace was colder then Connecticut, can we go inside before I freeze to death."

The two men moved into the house. Andy was touched that his friend would to the trouble of rearranging the furniture so that his wheelchair wouldn't get hung up on anything. Terry led him to the spare bedroom and left him to unpack. Andy was almost moved to tears when he found that terry had installed a handrail in the bathroom nearest the spare bedroom. < Friends like that are hard to find, > He thought to himself.

"Yo, Andy, Want a beer?" came through the hallway.

"Whadda got?"

"You have two choices, Budweiser or Budweiser!"

"As long as it's not that Vietnamese Crap. I swear that shit had to be half formaldehyde."

Terry handed Andy a beer and gave him a high five. "I hear that. Never in my life have I ever had a hangover like the ones in the Nam"

The two went into the living room, and as friends often do, talked about nothing particular at all. A case and a half of beer and many hours later Terry looked at Andy and asked him if he were drunk.

"Not really, I'm feeling no pain," Andy said with a silly grin on his face.

"I have a question to ask." Terry paused for a moment, not knowing what the reaction would be. "Did you bring your uniform with you?"

"Bro, I have everything I own with me. It's in the van."

"Really?" A smile larger then the Cheshire cat claimed Terry's face. < This may work out even better then I thought. > "Boy have I got a deal for you. Now wait till I get the whole deal laid out before you make a decision."

Terry's question about his uniform lost Andy, but the whole 'deal' thing threw him for a loop. "Ok."

"My second tour I worked with a group call Project Phoenix, ever hear of them?"

"Once or twice,"

"I've been running a surplus shop out of the garage, well the have been coming to me for equipment that they can't get thought channels. The problem is that they need work that I can't provide."

"What kind of work, is it legal?"

"Let's just say that I have been giving assurances that I will never be prosecuted and leave it there. I know you know there guys and they are on the right side."

"Say I agree, what the deal?"

"Fifty-fifty all the way; you ever want out and you get half. Hell you don't even have to stay here in Terrance; you can do your work anywhere."

Andy considered the past, and the possible future, "I'm in."


"Hey Ter, what was the whole uniform thing about?"

"Oh that, I wanted to make sure you would be properly dressed tomorrow. You're the best man."

So it came to pass, that on December 23rd 1974 S/Sgt. Andrezj Konzaki, USA ret. Stood before the local minister, wobbling slightly because of the artificial legs he was wearing and witnessed the Marriage of his best Friend Terrance Powell.

Terrance Point, MT

Andy was in his element; with the fine hone in his hand the barrel- chested ex-solider displayed a touch as fine and any watchmaker of surgeon as he carefully worked the stone across the rewelded guides of the Gold Cup MK III that he was fine tuning.

Pass after pass he removed a fraction of an inch at a time, checking the fit between the slide and the frame after every third pass. He'd just reassembled the pistol for the hundredth time that day when the chime over the door of the small workshop rang.

Andy looked up, his hand dropping to the pouch on the side of his wheelchair where he kept the Browning Hi-Power, loaded and ready. Andy never really expected trouble, but past experiences always left him ready for it should it come.

"Andrezj No Middle Initial, Konzaki," a booming voice rang out the small shop. There was something very familiar about the voice but Andy couldn't place it for the life of him. "Born a foundling and found on the steps of a Catholic Church in Detroit Michigan on August 27th 1945. Adopted by Katherine and Stanislaw Konzaki three weeks later."

Andy dropped the safety on the 9mm and rolled his chair down the isle slowly. "All right asshole; show yourself, or when I find you, the only one that will be able to identify you will be your dentist."

A black man with graying hair and dressed in the uniform of a Naval Admiral stepped forward. He continued his oratory as he walked toward Andy. "Joined the Army right out of high school in 1963. Accepted for Special Forces training in 1965. Fluent in Polish and Russian and can get by in Vietnamese.

Andy aimed the pistol at the intruder. "Who the fuck are you and how do you know all of this?"

"Put the pistol down, son. My name is Greer, James Greer, and I know a lot about you. For instance, you were awarded the Silver Star for meritorious conduct in the Plain of Jars in 1968. Your former CO speaks rather highly of you." Greer pointed to Andy's stumps. "If you hadn't lost those you would have received a battlefield promotion on his recommendation.

Andy thumbed the safety back to the up position and returned the pistol to the pouch. Looking back up at Greer, "You know Capt. Taylor?"

"Of course I know him, only now it's Col. Taylor, and he is assigned to my staff. He is convinced that you are some kind of miracle worker when it comes to weapons. I have to admit that, after I looked into it, I have to agree. It's not every one that has 14 patents; most of them classified or bought up by the government."

"I get by," said Andy modestly.

"You do more then get by," replied Greer. "I find it curious that the one patent that you kept you sold to Mag-Na-Port, Inc., for the sum of 3 million dollars. Curiously enough, an anonymous donation in that amount was made to start the Vietnam memorial funding the very same day."

"They needed the money and I didn't, no big deal." Andy eyed the large man suspiciously. "You didn't come here to chat about my spending habits."

"No, I actually came here to offer you a job."

"I already have a job," Andy said quickly. He didn't want any misunderstanding about that fact.

"I know you do." Greer walked over to the wall where all of Andy's mementos and licenses were mounted. "See these." He pointed to the Class III Weapons dealer's license and the Class IV manufactures license. "I'm one of the reasons that you got them in the first place. The other reason was that everyone that ATF talked to about you said the exact same thing; want to know what that was?"

Andy shrugged.

"Each and every one of then said that you were a man that can be trusted, that your word is better then gold. Do you have any idea how rare that is these days? Anyway, I didn't come here to blow smoke up your ass; I need the best weapons designer that I can find. You are that man."

"Not interested. I did my bit for king and country. Look what it cost me."

Greer leaned into Andy's face. "Look, you might get away with that 'I don't give a shit' attitude with most of the world, but I know better. Why else did I find that you teach gun safety and shooting skills to the local Boy Scouts? So don't fill me with that 'I don't care' shit. I know better."

Something that had been bothering Andy ever since Greer had spoken his first sentences finally hit home. "Holy shit, you're Darth Vader."

"That God Damned Movie. If I ever get my hands on that guy he'll wish he'd become a garbage collector instead of a movie director."

The righteous anger in Greer's eyes struck the gunsmith as extremely funny. "If this is a councilor's ship, where is the ambassador," he mimicked in a fair imitation of Greer's voice, then he burst out laughing. "Ok Pops, give it your best shot."

"Nominally you would be assigned to the CIA's special weapons development team, in fact you'd work for me. I can even arrange for your Army rank to be reinstated and you could work from here and fly to D.C. when you were needed."

"I'll need a few days to think it over," Andy paused, "and I need to discuss this with my partner."

"Fair enough. Look son, I know you've been given a rotten deal, but your country really needs you."

Greer left a few minutes later after Andy had given him directions to the only hotel in Terrance Point. As the deputy director walked out the door, Andy already knew his answer. Now all he had to do was talk himself into doing the right thing

Terrance Point, MT

Terrance Powell stood before the city council dressed in his best suit. Feeling like the necktie was strangling him, the only thing he could do, was wait for his turn as the elected members of the council said their piece.

"So while it would be a benefit to the community I feel that the type of business belongs in the outskirts of town rather in the Town Square." The speaker was Mrs. Kilgore, the local town gossip who'd been elected simply to shut her up.

Terry knew what tack to take with her. He'd known Mrs. Kilgore since the 5th grade. "Excuse me Ma'am, but the city council didn't seem to mind in the least when I paid my taxes last year."

The Mayor, Herb Friedman jumped in. "That's not the point Terry. This is more about the image that we want to project."

Terry stared the bald man down. "Isn't that the same line you used when the fire department needed a new ambulance? Look folks, ever since that new Wal-Mart opened up the small businesses in town have suffered. I know for a fact that that building has been empty ever since the Mitchell's moved to Billings. That's why I bought it."

"An action you took without consulting this council I might add."

That comment was one that Terry knew was coming, oh not the exact words, but given that Tom Hensley had also been bidding on the old supermarket competing with Terry. Hensley and Terry were old enemies. Ever since Hensley had run off to Canada to avoid service during Viet Nam, Terry and he avoided each other, which was a shame because they had been close friends in school. "What's the matter Tom, Still mad because you didn't get it for pennies on the dollar?"

The ex-draft dodger had the common sense to remain silent.

The Mayor looked around the table. "Is there anything else the council members would like to add?" When there were no replies, "In that case, I'll look for a motion."

"Wait a freaking minute; I thought I would have a chance to speak." Terry's tone of voice was more like the Army sergeant then a prospective business owner.

"There is no need to be rude young man," Mrs. Kilgore chipped in, angry at Terry's tone of voice.

"That's what you've been doing all night," added Hensley.

Terry done with the bullshit took his jacket off and loosened his tie. "My lawyer is gonna just love that, and since this is an open meeting, tomorrow morning I'll be sure to send him the minutes and let the courts decided from there."

They Mayor's gavel silenced the babble of outrage that filled the room. "You have 15 minutes."

"I can do it in five. Let's look at the facts. Fact one, I live here because I choose to live here. Fact two, my taxes pay twenty two percent of the city budget. Fact three, there is no law either for the state of Montana, or the city of Terrance Point, that restricts me from running a surplus store in the city limits. Fact four, if you pass such a law, I'll build outside of the city limits and you can kiss all that money goodbye." Terry grabbed his coat. "Finally, fact five, if my application is denied a law suit will be filed the next day and I'll tear the son of a bitch down just to spite you."

The lawsuit had taken just three months to be settled. The Judge had found that the city had acted against their own rules when they had stopped Terry from moving into the empty building. Best of all, the city couldn't afford to pay for the appeal so Terry had won by default.

Terry and Andy stood back and admired their handy work. Splattered in bright yellow paint, Terry was the first to speak a huge smile on his face, "I have to be the biggest all time son of a bitch on the planet. The city council is gonna have kittens. Fuck'em, I have a court order that says I can do what I want with my building."

"Kittens hell, they are gonna have a cow, breach birth."

Terry slapped Andy on the back. "This calls for a celebration. Barbecue at my house tomorrow."

Karen Powell watched her husband and his best friend argue over the best way to start the fire for the grill. She could only laugh to her self as the two biggest kids in her life played together. She patted her huge belly. < Well at least they were the only two for now. >

Karen had known Terry all of her life. They had gone to the same grade school and she still blushed when she thought about their first dance in the 8th grade. Terry had come over to her house the night before. All red-faced, and in a stammering voice had asked her 'to be his date'. The embarrassing part was that Karen could barely stop giggling to tell him yes.

From the first dance on that first date, they had been a couple. She'd cheered for him at his football games. He'd coached her through algebra. The night of the junior dance Terry had given Karen his class ring as an unofficial engagement present, a promise of things to come.

Then right after graduation in 1966, Terry had dropped a bombshell. He was enlisting in the Army; he told her that he was requesting duty in Viet Nam. Anger and despair had been her reaction. Accusations of him not loving her crossed her lips and she regretted them the next second. For half a second she'd considered tossing his ring back at him and giving up, but the hole left in her life would have gone unfilled.

The night before he left for basic training they made love one last time. It was the sweetest moment and it would have to carry Karen thought two years of despair and loneliness.

For the next 13 months, Karen led a life of uncertainty. While Terry was in boot camp she got wonderful letters every week. The short notes that he wrote describing the hell that was boot camp reassured Karen that her boyfriend wasn't yet in mortal danger, though you couldn't tell that by Terry's letters. He waxed poetically about the monsters that were masquerading as drill instructors.

The day finally came when Karen boarded the train and traveled across the country to watch Terry graduate from advanced infantry school. The next 30 days would be the happiest in Karen's short life. The couple traveled around the country seeing the sights that they had always dreamed about. One foggy morning in San Francisco, Terry kissed her goodbye and boarded a troopship, and Karen died inside.

She got by day by day, working at the local bank; Karen pretended that everything was ok. She went out with her friends and even dated once or twice, feeling guilty that she even gave in, but loneliness has its price. Karen lived for the mailman, praying that each day another letter would come and dreading that a telegram would arrive instead.

It was a Tuesday that the batch of letters arrived. Karen had separated them by date. The first letter shocked her to the core. Terry told her in his blunt manner how he'd been wounded and was now in the prettiest place in Viet Nam, along the coast of the South China Sea. The next few letters consisted of how he was doing, how his shoulder was going to be ok, but that the broken nose would leave him with a funny bump there for the rest of his life.

The last letter left Karen stunned; Terry told her that he had accepted another tour of duty in Viet Nam. He tried to sugar coat it with, 'Then I'm done with the Army,' but Karen only saw it as another year that they would be apart.

Karen's reverie was torn apart as wetness flowed down her legs. The pain of the first contraction had her screaming for her husband. The sharp pain subsided before Terry and Andy could get inside.

"Honey, are you ok?"

Karen panted thorough the pain. "I'm fine, but I think you better call Doctor Grimmer. "I think our baby has decided that it's time to be born."

Terry raced for the phone, leaving Andy with his wife. Before he could find the number another scream of pain came from the kitchen.

"TERRY," Andy yelled. "Get me one of the medipacks from the garage. This baby isn't going to wait for a trip to the hospital or even for the doctor to get here."

Running through the kitchen on his way to the garage, Terry found his wife on the table with Andy at the sink scrubbing up. Terry's sense of organization helped him find one of the surplus medical kits that had originally been meant for the MAST units in Viet Nam. Grabbing the first one, he rushed back to the house. Tossing the package to Andy. "What now," he said nervously.

"Now you go boil water."

"What the fuck for?"

"Look Ter, this is gonna happen in its own time. You boil water because it's tradition and because I'm not real sure of the sterility of these kits."

Terry was reluctant to leave his wife. "Maybe if we drive real fast we can make it to the hospital." Just as he finished speaking another contraction hit Karen leaving Terry a mess.

"Terry," she panted. "Leave Andy alone. I'd rather have this baby at home than the back of your pick-up. Ahhh," She screamed again.

"Now, Terry," Andy ordered. "Take the scalpel and boil it, I'll call you when I need it."

Andy smiled at the pain-filled face of Karen. "Don't worry Hon; I've done this a couple of times in Viet Nam.

Terry boiled water as his best friend in the world delivered Karen and Terry's first child. Fifteen minutes later, Lynn Andrea Powell entered the world.

Andy stood up after cleaning up. "Congratulations Terry, you're a father."

Terry was working in the back room, silently cursing the new computer system that the guys from No Such Agency had insisted that he needed to maintain a secure connection to the ARPANET. "Hell of a lot of money for a stupid machine," he grumbled. "Still, if it make's em feel good about buying stuff from me, I guess I can live with it."

"Yo Ter. Old Faithful has struck again," Came the yell from the front of the store. Terry put down the 6-inch manual and grabbed the diaper bag. Terry found Andy making goo-goo faces at his 2-year old daughter.

"You know Andy; it wouldn't hurt for you to learn how to change a diaper one of these days." He laid a blanket across the glass countertop and laid Lynn down on it. Terry had learned the hard way that you have to hold her in place while you changed her or she would happily wander off naked in mid-change. "It might come in handy when you find the right girl."

When he pulled the tape off and peeled the diaper back another stench hit the room. Andy's face turned green and he headed for the door and fresh air. As much as Andy loved Lynn, he would never get used to the smell she could put out. When Terry sounded the all clear, Andy rolled back into the shop and reclaimed his favorite niece.

The rest of the day went slowly, the men alternating between filling orders and watching Lynn, who had already shown a propensity for getting into things if someone wasn't keeping an eye on her all of the time. Karen had put her foot down when Terry and Andy had lost her for half a day, she was found safe and sound, and sleeping in a crate that had once housed artillery shells. After that Karen insisted one of then have their eyes on her all the time when they took her to the shop.

They were just about to close up when the telephone rang. Terry grabbed the phone, "Yea." It was the smile on Terry's face that told Andy who was calling. Only Karen put that kind of grin on Terry's ugly mug. "Ok Honey, love you too, bye."

"That was Karen,"

"Well that was a surprise, I thought the Mayor called to make nice."

Terry ignored the sarcastic comment. "She's gonna stay in Billings for the night and come back tomorrow. Some sort of business conference that is going on tonight, she wanted to check it out."

"Look this is none of my business, but why? The shop does well enough to support both of us. Hell," Andy conceded, "we could quit today and still never have to work again."

Terry thought about it and then let out a long breath. "I honestly don't know. Ever since Lynn was born, she's been restless. All she can do is complain about the town, how there's nothing to do and how much better the business would do in L.A. Hopefully this business thing will calm her down. I gotta get Lynn home. I'll see you in the morning."

The next morning the two partners met for breakfast at the local diner. Andy watched the waitress walk away then turned back to Terry. "Sorry about last night, Ter."

Terry stirred his coffee absentmindedly. "Don't worry about it. Karen will come around. It's just a phase." The pair finished their breakfast in silence with only Lynn's babbling and childish laughter for company.

Driving to the store they both noticed a black Chevy Nova parked across the street. Since both of them were cautious by nature and it just didn't look right, they circled the black again so they could get another look at the strange car. As they passed it by Terry noticed that it was empty, both men relaxed, just a false alarm.

A little after 9:00 both men were back in the shop working on their own projects, with Lynn banished to the playpen temporarily when they heard the doorbell jangle. "I got it," Terry said as he rose from the computer.

Terry walked out to find a very tall man waiting for him at the front counter. He eyes the stranger, noticing the bulge under the man's shirt at the waist. "Can I help you, he asked, reaching for the Safari Arms .45 he kept under the counter.

The stranger stood there silently. For several minutes he said nothing and Terry was beginning to think that he was about to be robbed. "Freeze mother fucker. Andy get out here and bring a gun." With in seconds Andy was there with a shotgun pointed at the intruder. "Cover me." Terry went around the counter and stripped the Beretta 93R from under the stranger's shirt.

"You two really don't remember me do you." the stranger said in a shallow voice.

"Never seen you before in my life. Cover him Andy while I call the police.

"Wait. I'm Bolan, Mack Bolan and we met in Nam." He looked over at Andy's wheelchair. "I can tell you how you lost your legs."

The face was different, but the attitude was something anyone would remember, but even that wasn't what gave it away. It was the piercing blue eyes that bored a hole right through you that caused both of them to say, "Oh fuck."

It was Mack's next words that would change Andy's life forever, "Greer sent me."

Terry leaned over to hug his brother. "Are you sure about this?"

"Sure, no. But they need me and there's no one else that can do the job better."

"So do we," said Terry fighting back tears. "Lynn loves you and she is going to miss her Uncle Andy. How can you do that to her, man?"

"I'll see her on holidays and I promise I won't miss a single Christmas." Terry wasn't the only one fighting back tears, Andy's voice was choked with emotion as he tried to say goodbye to his best friend. "Look, I have to go. I'll call you when I get there."

Terry stood in the driveway, the same driveway where he and Andy had been reunited in all those years ago. He stood in the driveway and watched Andy drive off, with a sense that he would never see his best friend alive ever again. A single tear rolled down Terry's face as he went back to the house.


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