Team Knight Rider - Season Two

Chapter Two: The Vasquez Missile Incident

Estate of Muhammad Shakir - near Norfolk, VA.

A party was going on. At the front gate of international industrialist Muhammad Shakir, limousines pulled through carrying important businessmen and women both foreign and American. Security guards stood at the gate and the front entrance, monitoring the incoming guests. One guard at the front doors stood with a mini portable computer in his hand that contained the computerized guest list. He checked off each couple as they walked in.

Then another vehicle pulled up to the gate, this time not a limousine but a fancy red sports car driven by a blond-haired man. A very beautiful dark-haired woman sat beside him in the passenger seat. Both smiled politely at the guards as they passed through. Once they reached the front entrance, a valet took the keys as soon as they exited the car and went to park it. The man, handsome in a tuxedo, held his arm out for his companion, who wore a comely red slipdress and had her luscious hair artistically wrapped in a loose bun, allowing a few thick, curled strands to fall across her neck and shoulders. She took his arm and they began their ascent up the steps to the doors.

"I still can't believe I let you drive," Jenny whispered to him as they walked up.

"It would have looked strange if you drove," Kyle told her for the third time.

"Then why didn't we just bring Dante?" she asked.

"Because rich business people don't usually bring family vehicles to lavish parties," Domino responded over com-link, "Besides, I'm much more fun at parties."

Both Kyle and Jenny exchanged smiles.

"Name, please," the guard at the doors asked once Kyle and Jenny reached the top.

"Kyle Stewart," he responded.

The big, no-nonsense-looking guard consulted his mini-computer for a moment. Both Kyle and Jenny held their breath, waiting for the moment of truth.

A moment later the man looked up, a polite smile on his face.

"Welcome, Mr. Stewart," he said, motioning them in.

"Thank-you," Kyle told him, then led Jenny inside.

"Very good work, Trek," Kyle said into his com-link once they were safely inside.

"I told you I could get you in," Trek responded, "Shakir thought he was being real high-tech by using a computerized guest-list. But by doing so he left it available to professional hackers like myself."

"So that means you've managed to patch into the security cameras here too, right?"

"Do you even have to ask?"

Kyle and Jenny glanced at each other, then walked further into Shakir's estate.

Shakir had the whole first floor of his estate set aside for his party. There were about two hundred guests there, all important business people from all over the world. Many of whom, TKR had guessed, most likely dabbled a bit in illegal activities like their host.

"Shakir's computer is on the second floor in his office," Trek continued through Kyle's com-link watch, "Somehow one of you has to get up there and hook-up the mini-modem I gave you without getting caught. Then it'll only take me five minutes to download everything we need to know about the codes to the illegal nuclear missile he stole."

"Piece of cake," Jenny said, glancing around. Kyle glanced at her and shook his head.

There were many people around them, only a small fraction of whom were native Americans, like Kyle and Jenny. While they made their way slowly through the crowd, arm-in-arm, they both scanned the crowd for faces, looking out for Shakir, who would probably be able to pick them out.

"Kyle," Jenny spoke up a few moments later, "Take a look at the couple by the wine table."

Kyle followed Jenny's gaze across the room to an American couple who were just picking up two glasses of white wine. They both appeared to be young, in their twenties. The woman was very beautiful, but opposite Jenny in looks since her hair was light blond and her skin pale white. She wore a white gown and her hair was in a tight bun, revealing her soft facial features. She appeared to be in her mid-twenties. The man looked slightly younger, with short brown hair and light blue eyes. Like Kyle, he wore a tuxedo. The two of them appeared to be the youngest couple in the room.

"They seem a bit unlikely to be in Shakir's league," Jenny commented.

"And definitely not the usual characters for illegal international dealings," Kyle agreed.

"Then what are they doing here?" Jenny wondered.

Just then the young man they were looking at suddenly turned in their direction and made eye contact with Kyle. The young man seemed to recognize him, then put on a friendly smile. He whispered something to his companion, who then looked slightly troubled, then guided her across the room towards them.

"They're coming over here," Jenny said.

Kyle nodded.

"Yeah, I saw," he said, then spoke into his com-link, "Trek, can you identify them?"

"Just give me a minute," the boy-genius promised.

As soon as the young couple reached them, both Kyle and Jenny put on fake smiles.

"James Arthur," the young man introduced himself, then nodded to his companion, "and this is my very good friend, Miss Annie Stiles."

"Kyle Stewart," he responded, shaking the man's hand. He then put a hand on Jenny's arm and introduced her, "And this is Jenny Andrews."

"Nice to meet you both," James said, shaking Jenny's hand as well, "So what's your business?"

"Uh," Kyle hesitated, searching for a story; "I'm in charge of a multi-national computer software agency. We have offices in both Asian and European countries, but our main offices are out of Chicago."

James' eyebrows raised as he nodded, acting impressed.

"Good for you," he said, then turned to Jenny and asked, "So are you his girlfriend?"

Jenny smiled, embarrassed.

"Um, actually, I'm not--," she started to reply hesitantly, before Kyle cut her off.

"What my lovely companion is trying to say," he responded, "is that we recently got engaged."

"Congratulations!" James said enthusiastically. He stopped a passing servant who was carrying a tray of wine and handed two glasses to Kyle and Jenny.

"A toast to your upcoming wedding," he said, holding up his glass, "May you both be exceedingly happy together."

Jenny and Kyle exchanged glances right before they took a sip.

"So what is it that you do?" Kyle asked.

James shrugged.

"A little this, a little that," he told them evasively, "I like to keep myself open to new opportunities."

Both Kyle and Jenny nodded knowingly, realizing that James probably meant new opportunities to commit crimes.

"It's funny I've never heard of you before," James continued, "I happen to keep up with all the businesses tied with Shakir. What was the name of your company again?"

"Uh, Stewart Enterprises," Kyle responded quickly.

James frowned in thought, then started shaking his head.

"Never heard of it."

"We're a fairly new business," Kyle told him, "In fact, this is our first dealing with Shakir."

"Oh, really?" James asked, "That's interesting. I heard Shakir wasn't taking on new partners after his deal with Foerster Technologies fell through."

Kyle and Jenny glanced at one another in hesitated.

"Well, we're not that new," Jenny told them, "What Kyle meant was that this is the first party we've attended at his estate. We've actually been dealing with Shakir for quite a while now."

"Oh," James said, nodding and never keeping his eyes off them.

"Um, James," Annie interrupted, tightening her grip on his arm, "We should probably be moving off, now."

James glanced at her. Until then, Annie had remained quiet and had seemed more than a little tense at their little meeting. Now she spoke with a strangely nervous urgency.

"Of course," he said, turning back to the others, "Sorry to keep you occupied for so long. I hope you enjoy the party. Nice meeting you both."

"Same here," Kyle lied, watching as James and Annie walked away.

"Whew," Jenny breathed, "I thought our cover would be blown for sure. He was definitely giving us the twenty questions."

Kyle nodded.

"Strange that he actually wanted to come meet us," Kyle said.

Jenny agreed.

"Do you think he's on to us?" Jenny asked.

Kyle shook his head.

"He would've alerted security by now," he assured her, "I don't think he's prepared to do that."

"Why not?"

"Because," Kyle said, his eyes never leaving the young couple, "I have a feeling they're not supposed to be here either."

Kyle and Jenny watched as James and Annie crossed the room. At one point they stopped and conversed for a moment, then split up. Annie then lounged near an hors d-oeuvres table while James walked through a large open set of double doors. On the other side was a staircase leading to the second floor. Two men in black suits who most likely had weapons under their jackets guarded it.

As Kyle and Jenny watched, James spoke with the guards for a few moments. Then, surprisingly, the guards moved aside from the staircase and allowed James to go up. As soon as he was up he disappeared down a hall. Kyle then casually put his hand on Jenny's bare shoulder so he could talk into his com-link.

"Trek," he said quietly, pretending to talk to Jenny, "That James guy is heading up to the second floor. Keep tabs on him and let me know what he's up to."

"Will do, boss," Trek responded, "I got him now. He's heading directly for Shakir's office."

"Do you think he works for Shakir?" Jenny asked.

Kyle shook his head.

"I don't think so," he said, "Let's see what he does."

"He's in," Trek reported, "He must've gotten the passcode somehow."

"Let me guess," Kyle said, "He's going to the computer."

"You are correct," Trek said, "He's attempting to bring up protected files."

"Is he succeeding?"

"Well, I'd say yes," Trek said, "He just pulled a disk out of his pocket and he's downloading Shakir's files onto it right now."

"He's stealing Shakir's files," Jenny said, "That means he must work for somebody else. Someone who wants the codes for that nuclear missile."

Kyle nodded.

"What's this?" Trek's voice came through in surprise.

"What is it, Trek?" Kyle asked.

"Well," Trek said, "He finished downloading the files onto his disk. But now he's erasing all of Shakir's files. Every single one of them."

Kyle and Jenny looked at one another in confusion.

"He erasing them?" Kyle asked, "Why?"

"Don't ask me," Trek said, "I just work here."

"Why would he erase the files?" Jenny wondered also, "I mean, he's got what he wants."

"Maybe he wants to make sure no one else gets it," Kyle guessed, then asked Trek, "What's he doing now?"

"He's going back to the party," Trek told them, "You should be able to see him in a minute."

Kyle and Jenny stood casually next to each other, pretending to be interested in the party when every few seconds they would glance in the direction of the staircase. A few moments later James appeared and descended the stairs with absolutely no worry on his face about stealing not only from the owner of the estate but from a very dangerous person to have mad at you.

"You'd never guess he just committed a crime from the way he's acting," Jenny remarked.

"You think that's surprising," Kyle said, nodding towards James, "Look who he's about to run into."

Muhammad Shakir, internationally known industrialist and highly suspected nuclear weapons broker, stood in James' path between him and Annie. But instead of detouring around the wealthy man, James walked right up to him and began talking to him. Shakir seemed surprised to see him, but then became friendlier and began conversing with the young thief. Moments later, James made his good-byes and went to join Annie, who had been waiting expectantly.

"That took guts," Trek commented.

"Pretty ballsy if you ask me," Duke said. He was also monitoring the party with Trek.

"Ballsy?" Jenny asked skeptically.

"Really, Duke," Domino commented, "That's so crude."

"We have to follow them," Kyle told Jenny, "Whatever's on that disk is what we came for, and now they're the only ones we can get it from. Let's go."

So Kyle and Jenny followed James and Annie, who were making their way back to the doors they'd come through less than an hour earlier. By the time Kyle and Jenny got outside, James and Annie were already climbing into a limousine. A valet brought Domino around, and before Kyle could object, Jenny climbed into the driver's side. Kyle threw up his hands in defeat and climbed into the passenger's seat.

"That's much better," Domino commented.

"I agree," Jenny said, giving Kyle a victorious smile. Kyle just rolled his eyes.

"Follow them already?" he told them.

Driving Domino, Jenny followed James' limo away from Shakir's estate and towards the city. Twenty minutes later they pulled up to the Drake Hotel, where James and Annie entered. Jenny parked Domino along the side of the street, and she and Kyle stayed in the car.

"We can't just barge in and steal the disk," Kyle decided, "They'll be there a while. We'll leave behind some mini cameras to keep tab on the entrance. Let's go back to SkyOne and find out what's going on."

* * *

"James Arthur," Trek told them once they were all gathered in the SR, "is a suspected man-for-hire who's involved with all sorts of espionage. FLAG files actually have very little on him. He's been connected with all sorts of illegal operations, but no one can touch him since there's never any proof he actually committed a crime. There are no witnesses to his work. He covers his tracks very well. FLAG suspects he's been out in the field for at least the past three years. As for Annie, there's even less on her, but she's been James' partner for the past year. She's never been directly involved in any criminal activities either."

"Sounds like they've covered their butts pretty well," Duke commented.

"Everyone makes mistakes," Kyle predicted, "I'm sure James will make his. Obviously someone hired him to steal those files on the missile."

"Probably the same person who stole the missile from Shakir," Trek guessed.

They all looked at him.

"While James was downloading the files, Shakir's database was left unprotected for a few minutes," Trek told them, "I managed to find out that the missile Shakir's been hiding was stolen about a month ago. He's kept it a secret so his investors don't get ants in their pants."

"If someone stole the missile," Kyle said, "chances are good they're planning on using it. We can't let James get away with those program codes. We have to catch him, find out who his boss is, and find that missile."

"Kyle," Kat spoke up, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but those cameras outside of the hotel have just picked up Annie leaving."

"Has she got the disk with her?" Kyle asked quickly.

"No, Kyle," Kat said, "I don't think so. She's getting into a taxi."

"That means James is alone in his hotel room with the disk," Jenny stated.

"Someone's gotta go in there and scan the place," Kyle said, "If we can put a bug in there we can figure out what he's up to, and maybe who he's working for."

They all looked at Erica.

"No need to ask," she told them, standing up, "What'll it be tonight, silk or leather?"

* * *

Fifteen minutes later, Erica and Kat were on their way to the hotel. They parked on the opposite side of the street. Erica, wearing a very short skirt and skin-fitting silk top, climbed off the motorcycle and made her way across the street into the front entrance.

"I've managed to get into the hotel's records," Kat told her, "James is in room 812. That's on the eighth floor."

"No kidding?" Erica said, heading for the elevator.

As the elevator took her up to the eighth floor, Erica reached into her purse for her perfume and sprayed some on. The elderly man standing next to her coughed at the onslaught of aroma. Erica gave him a short apologetic look, then peered into her small purse and made sure the bug was still there.

"OK, I'm there," Erica said once she was right outside James' room.

"Be careful, Erica," Kyle warned, "No telling how dangerous this guy might be."

"Now you tell me," Erica mumbled as she knocked on the door.

"Who is it?" a muffled voice called through the door.

"Room service!" Erica replied loud enough so he could hear.

Moments later the door opened. James stood on the other side. He had scrapped his tuxedo jacket, tie and cumberbun and had the shirt untucked. Otherwise he looked the same. He also seemed both surprised and amused at her appearance.

"Room service?" he asked.

"Well, in a way," Erica said in her sexy voice, gently forcing her way into the room, "I'm in your room, and I'm here to perform a service."

James closed the door behind her and approached her, crossing his arms and still looking amused.

"Oh really?" he asked, "And what kind of service would that be?"

"Oh, you know," she said seductively, sidling up to him and putting her hands on his chest, "Anything to make your stay here more comfortable and more enjoyable."

"And did you have anything specific in mind?" he asked, lowering his voice to meet hers.

Erica moved closer.

"I'm sure if we put our heads together, we could come up with something very interesting," she told him breathily.

"I see," he said in a low voice, lowering his head so their foreheads met. "You know," he continued, "I did order down some room service. But I didn't think I'd ordered a con artist."

Erica's smile dropped and she frowned, backing away slightly. He had a wide grin on his face, and she realized he wasn't being fooled.

"I also didn't order an Erica West," he said, leaning against a nearby table, facing her.

This time Erica was totally surprised.

"How did you know who I was?" she asked. James just smiled. Erica backed up against a table and leaned against it. In her hand was the bug she had grabbed from her purse before she'd entered. She put her hands behind her back and stuck the bug underneath the edge of the table.

* * *

Back at SkyOne in the SR, where the remaining TKR members were monitoring Erica and James, they too were confused at James' knowledge of Erica's identity.

"How did he know that?" Jenny wondered.

Kyle shook his head, listening.

* * *

"Have we met before?" Erica asked.

Still grinning, James shrugged.

"Maybe," he said evasively, "I do happen to know a lot about you."

"Oh yeah?" she asked, "Like what?"

"Like how you work for FLAG in a group called Team Knight Rider," he replied.

Erica frowned.

"Oh, and, by the way," James told her as if just remembering something, "Tell Kyle and Jenny that it was really bad form crashing Shakir's party like they did."

* * *

This time Kyle and the others were very surprised.

"He knew," Jenny said in wonder, "He knew all along who we were."

Kyle nodded.

"Yeah," he said, "Obviously he was just playing with us back at the party."

"And just as obviously for the fun of it," Jenny added.

"But that means Erica's in trouble," Trek told them.

He got no response, just a trio of serious glances. They listened.

* * *

"So," Erica said, "I guess this means you'll be keeping me hostage now, right?"

James looked at her for a moment, his face serious now, and folded his hands.

"Actually," he said, "I don't really have any use for a hostage. I never liked the idea anyway."

Erica stood stiff.

"You're not gonna kill me, are you?" she asked.

James stood up straight, unfolded his hands, and walked towards her. Erica backed away a step, then remained in place. As soon as he reached her, he raised an arm and waved her to the door. When she realized what he was doing, she looked at him in puzzlement.

"You're letting me go?" she asked.

"Would you rather stay?" he asked her, his voice revealing he already knew the answer.

"Uh, no, thanks anyway," she replied, backing towards the door.

"It was nice talking to you," James told her as she opened the door, "Say hi to the others for me."

"Uh, sure," Erica said as she left, the mask of puzzlement still on her face.

* * *

"Well, that was weird," Erica stated as soon as she entered the SR twenty minutes later. She plopped back into her chair in between Jenny and Trek.

"I don't get how he knew who we were," Duke said.

"He's obviously a hacker," Trek said, "Maybe he figured out how to gain access to FLAG files and found the ones on us."

Kyle shook his head.

"I don't know," he said, "Something isn't right."

"Yeah," Erica said, "Like after he let me go even though he knew we were on to him."

"He's just cocky," Kyle said, "He thinks he's so good he doesn't have to worry about us."

"Well, he's wrong about that," Jenny stated.

Kyle nodded.

"Kyle," Kat spoke up, "James is making a phone call from his hotel room."

"Turn up the volume, Jenny," Kyle told her.

Jenny complied and raised the volume of the bug Erica had planted in James' room.

"Hola, Señor Vasquez," they heard James speaking in Spanish, "Como està?"

"Anybody here know Spanish?" Duke asked.

"I know a little," Kyle said, staining to understand to James' short conversation, "He's saying that he got the numbers and is moving tomorrow."

"Actually," Dante spoke up, "He said that he has acquired the codes and will be bringing them to this Vasquez character in the morning."

"Thanks, Dante," Kyle said sarcastically.

"Just trying to help."

"Did he say where?" Jenny asked.

Kyle shook his head

"No," he said, "We'll have to figure that out on our own."

"You mean we will have to figure that out," Dante corrected, speaking about himself and the rest of the vehicles.

"Just trace the call, Dante," Kyle told him.

"You could be polite about it, every once in a while," Dante muttered.

"Alert! Alert!" Plato announced, "Female presence detected!"

The others looked to Trek for a translation.

"He means that Annie's back," Trek explained.

"Good," Kyle said, "Maybe she and James will talk about their mission."

As they listened in on the bug, they could hear Annie return to the hotel room a few minutes later.

"What'd he have to say?" they heard James ask.

"The usual," Annie told him, "Just that he's ready to set up the funds into his account and he wishes us luck."

"Luck?" James asked, "Luck has nothing to do with our line of work. Did any members of Team Knight Rider follow you?"

"No," Annie answered, "Did you call Vasquez?"

James probably nodded.

"I'll take a flight in the morning out to his place to deliver the disk," he told her, "I should only be with him a couple days. I'll meet you at the hotel on Friday."

"OK," Annie replied, sounding a bit despondent.

They heard a bit of clothes rustling, then James' low voice as he spoke softly.

"What's wrong?" he asked her, "Feeling left out?"

"It's not that," she told him, "I'll just miss you."

TKR then listened to the brief sound of kissing.

"How about I make it up to you tonight?" James asked in a low voice.

The sound of them kissing then continued. Duke and Trek exchanged glances, both smirking.

"Maybe we should turn it off," Jenny suggested slowly.

Kyle nodded.

"Yeah," he said, "I'm sure we won't be able to learn anything else, anyway."

Jenny then shut off the bug and the sound of James and Annie making out suddenly stopped. The room filled with silence.

"Well," Erica spoke up, "It looks like they're not just partners."

Kyle ignored the remark.

"James said he's leaving in the morning to meet this Vasquez guy," he said, "He'll have the disk with him. Dante and I will follow him and intercept him before he can reach his plane. Jenny and Domino will go after Annie. She could be useful."

* * *

Both Kyle and Jenny were waiting outside the Drake Hotel in their cars the following morning for James and Annie to leave. Shortly after, the two young criminals both exited the hotel and gave tickets to the valets. One of them drove a yellow sports car around front and gave the keys to Annie, who hopped in and drove off.

"She's mine," Jenny said, steering Domino into traffic after James' companion.

Kyle watched her leave, then turned his attention back to James, who was getting into a black limousine. As soon as it pulled away, Kyle and Dante pulled onto the street after him.

"He's probably heading for the airport," Kyle surmised.

"Just to pass the time until we get there," Dante spoke up, "I just thought I'd let you know I managed to get a trace on that call James made the other night. It was to a man named Saulo Vasquez who lives near the city of San Lucas in Mexico."

"That name sounds familiar," Kyle said.

"It should," Dante said, "I'm sure you've read files about him. He's a landowner who owns and operates several mines, including one in the Sierra de la Gigantas mountains near his home. Intelligence files suspect him of operating illegal munitions depots throughout Mexico and the United States. He just recently started dabbling in nuclear weaponry."

"Sounds like a real upstanding citizen," Kyle said, "Perfect for stealing a nuclear missile. He probably has it hidden in one of his mines."

"My thoughts exactly," Dante agreed.

They reached the airport. The limo stopped at the front entrance and James climbed out with only a single suitcase in his hands. Kyle parked right behind the limo and climbed out to follow James. But as soon as he was about to pass the limo, two huge bodyguards climbed out and blocked his way.

"Mr. Arthur doesn't want to be followed," one of them spoke in a deep, menacing voice.

"Who?" Kyle asked, feigning ignorance, "I'm just here to catch a flight to New Jersey."

In response, one of the men drew back and jabbed Kyle in the stomach with one huge balled fist. Kyle doubled over in pain.

"Get back in your car and drive away," the big man ordered.

"No need to ask twice," Kyle wheezed, backing towards Dante and climbing in.

"Well, that didn't work," Dante stated the obvious, "Nice plan, Kyle."

"Enough sarcasm, Dante," Kyle told him, "We know where he's going. We'll just head to Vasquez' place and hope we beat him."

"Jenny," Kyle asked her through com-link, "Have you caught Annie yet?"

"Sorry, Kyle," Jenny told him, "I lost her. She made a switch on me. I've been following someone else the whole time."

"It's my fault, Kyle," Domino spoke up, "I was paying too much attention to the cute guy in the blue sports car next to me and not enough attention to Annie. I'm sorry."

Kyle sighed.

"That's OK, you two," he assured them, "We'll stay with James. Head back to SkyOne."

"OK, Kyle," Jenny replied.

"We're oh for two," Dante told him, "Looks like the bad guys are winning."

Kyle turned the car around and headed back for SkyOne.

"Not for long," he vowed.

* * *

Hours later TKR was on board SkyOne en route to the Baja California strip on the far west side of Mexico. About twenty minutes before their ETA, Kyle and the others met in the SR for a briefing.

"Señor Vasquez owns a villa near San Lucas, near the beach," Trek informed them, "He owns about 162 acres of land in that area, as well as in the mountains. Even though he's a suspected arms dealer, his home and his mines have all been searched and were found clean."

"Jenny and Erica will go to his villa, since that's where the call was made to," Kyle told them, "Meanwhile Duke and I will check out the mine in the Sierra de la Gigantas. Trek will stay here to keep tabs and provide backup if we need it. We move out as soon as we land."

"Kyle," Captain Wyatt's voice came through SkyOne's intercom system, "We're approaching Todos Santos. We'll be landing in five minutes."

"All right, everyone," Kyle told them, "Let's get to work."

* * *

"Looks like everyone's having a party these days," Erica commented.

She and Jenny were hiding behind an outcropping near Vasquez' villa. Below them lay the modest estate. The back yard was covered with lavish green grass and a large sparkling blue pool. It was also full of about thirty guests, most Mexican, drinking bubbly champagne and conversing cheerfully with one another.

"Looks like Vasquez is celebrating his success in getting the codes," Jenny said. She spoke into her com-link. "Domino, do you see Vasquez anywhere?"

"Not yet, Hon," Domino replied, "But there are still some people inside. He could be one of them." She and Kat were parked a short distance away out of view of Vasquez.

"It's not like rich international criminals to miss their own party," Erica stated.

"Two people are coming outside," Domino informed them, "One of them might be Vasquez."

Jenny picked up her binoculars and aimed them down at the villa below in time to see two men emerge from the main house. One of them was a short fat man with oily black hair and a bushy moustache wearing an expensive suit. The other was James. The two of them were conversing easily. Vasquez had his arm around James' shoulders and was smiling happily.

"Looks like James delivered," Jenny said, handing Erica the binoculars so she could look through.

"Kyle," Jenny said, speaking into her watch, "We've found James. He's with Vasquez at his home."

"Good work, Jenny," Kyle told her, "You two keep tabs on him while Duke and I check out his mine."


* * *

Kyle and Duke were meanwhile finding a hiding place behind a huge boulder near the entrance to Vasquez' mine in the mountains. Beast was nearby. From what they could see, mine cars were being rolled in empty and rolled out full of unprocessed ore. All the workers wore blue overalls and hard hats, as well as cloths across their mouths and noses to keep out the dust kicked up from all the digging.

"We have to get in there," Kyle said.

Duke nodded.

"No sweat."

Minutes later both Kyle and Duke were making their way into the mine, wearing the overalls and hard hats they'd taken from the two unsuspecting mine workers they'd overtaken. Both had pickaxes slung over their shoulders. As they went deeper into the mine, the dust grew thicker and the cloths over their faces became more useful than just hiding their identities.

"Looks clean so far," Duke spoke up, "Aside from the dust, that is."

"If he has a missile hidden here," Kyle said, "It's probably hidden."

"Pretty hard to hide something that big," Duke said, "Let alone steal it."

Just then they approached another part of the mine. They saw two security guards that, aside from the Uzi machine guns and walkie talkies, were dressed just like the other miners. They eyed Kyle and Duke as they walked by. The two TKR members tried to remain casual as they passed between the guards.

"Kyle," Jenny's voice came through com-link, "James and Vasquez have left the villa. They're heading right for you with a group of armed men. Erica and I are following them."

"They're probably bringing the codes in to the missile," Kyle guessed, then added, "Thanks, Jenny. You and Erica keep behind them. Do not attempt to intercept. Have Trek call the authorities and let them know what's going on."

"Right, Kyle."

"We'll wait for Vasquez and James," Kyle whispered to Duke, "They'll lead us to the missile."

Duke nodded, then he and Kyle joined a group of miners who were swinging their picks at the mine's rocky walls.

* * *

Outside, Beast watched as the two jeeps carrying Vasquez, James and the six armed men they were with pulled up to the entrance to the mine and stopped. The eight men climbed out and entered the opening, leaving two of the men outside to guard it.

"Duke," Beast reported, "They're heading inside right now."

* * *

On to Part Two