Call of Duty

Don has always said that I am lousy when it comes to keeping secrets. I hide a smirk all to myself at his obliviousness, if only he and everyone else knew of what I really do for a living. If only they knew that I am one of three of the best CIA operatives in the world, my two colleagues and I are a deadly force that has made many dangerous men disappear, permanently. For now, we have been deactivated, going back to our separate lives, putting up the façade of being civilians. But in the back of my mind, I would always wonder when we would be called back to duty, because the war between men, will never end, no matter how much we want it to.

Inner monologue of Charlie Epps Codename: " Ghost"

" Hey Ghost, you got any extra ammo on you, I'm running low. Asked Julio Vargas, looking expectantly at the young man sitting in the corner, methodically oiling and polishing the disassembled pieces of a powerful automatic-revolver.

Ghost, also known as Charlie Epps looked up from his present task to give Julio an incredulous look. He then reached into the backpack resting beside the chair he was sitting in and pulled out two ammo clips. He tossed them over to Julio.

" You still haven't learned the art of restocking, Mojave? Smirked Charlie as he turned his gaze back to cleaning his already immaculate gun.

" Your asking for a miracle on that subject Ghost. Smiled Christian Wolfe, the third man in the room.

" Shut up Nighthawk. Grumbled Mojave as he put the two clips into his pack. Charlie was now assembling his service weapon when an a nearly nonexistent sound filled his ears.

" The boss is coming. He said without looking up. Christian and Julio were about to ask how he knew that when the door to the room burst open and several men entered, the last being Commander Derek Steele, the " Boss" of this CIA unit. Charlie, Christian, and Julio all looked up but didn't stand to attention, Steele never liked it when they did, made him feel old.

" Hey Boss, what brings you here? Asked Christian.

" There's been change of plans, the deal is going down tonight, probably at midnight. Answered Steele.

Julio and Christian both exchanged puzzled looks before the both turned back to gaze at Charlie, who had finished reassembling his gun. With an experienced flick of his thumb, the weapon clicked into service and the young math genius looked up. Christian and Julio both felt a thrill of anticipation as a predatory smile slowly spread across Charlie's face. The two older men returned the smile before turning back to Steele. " No problem. They all growled in unison, grinning savagely. Steele smirked, he loved these guys, especially Charlie, out of the three, he was the most trained, deadly in all forms of combat from sniping to samurai sword fighting, Steele still had a bit of a hard time thinking that once the team was deactivated, Charlie would go back to being a simple College professor at CALSCI, and consultant for various security organizations. His older brother was an FBI agent, who was totally clueless to the fact that baby brother was a CIA operative with fifteen years of experience.

" Have fun tonight boys, you may want to keep one or two of these sons a bitches alive for a little chat, but do what you gotta do to see home again, Toby will pick you guys up in half an hour. Said Steele, grimness in his words as he turned and left, the other agents following.

With a click of the door, the three men silently and calmly sprung into action. Julio and Christian headed to their corners of the room to get their things. Charlie holstered his revolver and set about putting on his combat outfit, he checked his digital wristwatch, it was two hours till midnight in here in Damascus. Two hours before the fun began. The mission was simple, stop a small but deadly terrorist cell from acquiring a very powerful bomb, one which Intel had learned, was intended to be detonated on American soil. There orders were to stop the transaction and capture those involved, if these terrorists were armed, the three of them had permission to terminate any resistance.

As Charlie put on his modified Kevlar vest over the plain black long-sleeve shirt he had on and strapped on several more gun holsters on his hips an legs, his mind drifted to when he'd called his brother Don just minutes before he'd been picked up nearly three months ago. He could remember his exact words from when he'd been standing in the foyer of his house, with duffle bag ready. He'd called Don on his cell and instead he'd heard the voice message recorder, so he'd left his beloved older brother a message

" Don, hey it's me Charlie, listen, by the time you get this message, I'll be long gone. I know that you're gonna be mad at me and I'm sorry. I can't tell you where I'm going. Please tell dad not to worry, I promise I'll come back , again I'm sorry for doing this to the both of you, I wish there was some other way… I love you Don… Tell Dad I love him too… I have to go…bye. He pressed the end button and tried to master his now constricted throat, reigning in his emotions as he picked up his duffle bag and headed out the door, the sound of it shutting behind him, symbolic of the fate which he had just sealed for himself.

Charlie shook himself out of his stroll down memory lane and finished gearing up, strapping on several more weapons, he then took off the plain black hair band around his other wrist, he pulled back his unruly curls into a tight ponytail. That coupled with the several days worth of facial stubble made him look like a totally different person than the normally clean shaven college professor. Charlie filled another one of the numerous pockets of his baggy black cargo pants with extra bullet magazines and strapped a sheathed samurai sword onto his back. He checked his watch, one hour and thirty minutes till show-time. Julio and Christian were also ready to go, the three of them dressed in black and heavily armed.

" You guys ready to party? Asked Charlie, a small smirk turning the corner of his mouth.

" Hell yeah. Growled Christian.

" Without a doubt Ghost. Added Julio as he slid one of his own guns into a hip holster. Charlie checked his watch, they had ten minutes to spare before Toby would call them to come down to the back of the rundown motel they were at.

The three of them sat in charged silence, they were all on edge, before the night was out, blood would be spilled. It was Christian who broke the silence,

" I hate the waiting. He grumbled.

" Patience is a virtue Vargas. Smirked Charlie.

" A virtue he'll probably never learn. Muttered Christian, easily ducking out of the way as Julio tried to smack him upside the head. Charlie gave a small chuckle, but it died the moment his cell phone rang. He pulled out the Motorola Razor from his back pocket and answered

" We'll be right down". He flipped the phone off and looked at his fellow operatives, the relaxed atmosphere was instantly replaced by one of grim anticipation.

Charlie walked out of the door in silence, Julio and Christian following suite. They quickly made their way through the winding hallway before the reached the back fire exit door. The moment the three of them stepped out, they headed straight for the black van parked to their right.

" Hey boys. Said Toby, the blonde haired, blue eyed driver as the three operatives quickly jumped into the vehicle.

" Hey Tobias, take us to the party. Smirked Charlie.

" Yes sir. Said Toby as he turned the ignition and urged the car into motion, their destination, an abandoned warehouse at the very outskirts of the city. Charlie checked his wrist watch, it read 11:00 PM, one more hour till bedlam erupted, it was a twenty minute drive to the place. Charlie heaved a small sigh as he watched the Damascus street through the windshield.

" I better keep my promise. Thought Charlie.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, clear across the globe, it was early afternoon and Don Epps was sitting in the break room, staring out the window, lost in his thoughts, which were naturally about Charlie. He still couldn't imagine that three entire months had gone by since his baby brother had simply vanished off the face of the earth, leaving only a recorded voicemail on the FBI agents cell-phone. Don was tempted to pull out his cell phone and listen to the message again for what seemed the billionth time. Not a moment went by he didn't think about his brother and the unanswered questions still running through his head. He was so preoccupied with his thoughts, he didn't notice the presence of someone else in the room.

" Donnie? Came a soft, male voice, Alan Epps. Don whirled around, startled to see his father standing there.

" Dad, what are you doing here? Asked Don. Alan held up the yellow plastic bag he was holding,

" I thought I'd bring you some lunch. Answered Alan simply. As if on cue, Don stomach growled loudly, the FBI sent a sheepish grin towards his father and beckoned him over. The two of them set to work eating the sandwiches and talking, though they both had one though in common. Charlie. Where was he? What was he doing? Was he okay?

Toby pulled the car to a stop on the shadowy curb of a street, warehouse looming before them behind some smaller building. Toby turned to look at his passengers, Ghost was sheathing his samurai sword, which would come in handy when it came to knocking out the lights. Mojave was checking the barrel of one of his revolvers, the man was a lethal shot, and Nighthawk was making sure that the grenades he had on him were stable and checking his climbing gear, this dude loved to blow things up and give Spiderman a run for his money, the three of them had all donned black ski masks and night vision goggles. Commander Steele had men stationed in all of the surrounding building. The plan was simple, they'd wait till the "Three" as they were also known had had their fun, then they'd go in for prisoner pickup.

" Good luck you… Toby trailed off because when he turned, he was met with an empty car.

" I gotta learn how to do that. Toby muttered as he pulled away, hoping those guarding the warehouse hadn't noticed the black van.

" You guys are clear to execute, the deal is going down as we speak. Good luck. Came the fuzzy voice of Commander Steele into each of their earpieces.

" Copy that. The three of them said as they split up to do there parts before converging on the targets. Ghost was to take out the lights, Mojave to take out the guards, and Nighthawk would create the diversion before things would get messy. Ghost stealthily made his way past one of the guards and crawled into the warehouse via a broken window. He unsheathed his sword and proceeded towards the power room, knowing there would be more guards waiting. Mojave screwed on the silencer to the barrel of his automatic revolver, his target was insight, a guy in his thirties with a rifle in his hand, on of seven men guarding the outside of the building.

" I'm in. Came a grainy voice, Ghost.

" Copy. Mojave answered as he took aim and fired, the guard hit the ground, a perfect dime shaped hole between his eyes.

Mojave quickly dragged the corpse into the shadows and proceeded to the next target, in a mater of five minutes, all but one of the guards had met their maker, however, that was quickly rectified. Nighthawk was silently climbing up the building, his task was to get to the roof and drop some of his low power grenades down the air-vent.

Inside the building, Ghost had reached the power room without being detected.

" I'm in the power room, Nighthawk, bombs away when I get the lights, Mojave, get your ass in the building the second you here the boom. Said Ghost as he drove his sword with full force into the power box, watching as sparks erupted and a loud pop was heard.

Darkness instantly surrounded him as the lights gave out, the startled yells of the targets filling his ears.

" Showtime. Growled Ghost as he switched on his night vision goggles.

Mojave and Nighthawk felt savage joy rock through them as they heard this single word. They slid on their night vision specs and found their ways into the building, Nighthawk was above the floor Ghost was in, and Mojave was below, the three of them quickly converging on the center of the warehouse, where the leaders were. It would only be a few seconds before they would encounter the other guards. Ghost turned a corner and came face to face with the muzzle of a shotgun, which didn't faze him for a seconds. There was a blur of silver light as Ghost swung his sword horizontally, splitting the muzzle in half, but he wasn't done. He swung the sword up in a diagonal, feeling it go clean through his target. Ghost gave his sword a small twirl before continuing on, not bothering to dwell on the corpse with his head sliced in half diagonally.

Mojave pulled out one of his guns and fired at the two guards in front of him, two shots and they were both no longer a problem, even in the pitch black. The Operative could see the entrance to the center of the building. Nighthawk let out a snarl as he yanked a guard by the back of his shirt and flung him through a window, hearing the man scream before a satisfying crunch. He shook his head before turning a corner, seeing three guards ahead of him. They all stared at each other before the guards began to run towards him. Nighthawk stood still and grinned beneath his mask as he pulled out a pair of powerful stun grenades. With a flick of his wrists, he send them rolling towards their targets, then an ear shattering boom and a brilliant flash of light filled the hall, temporarily overloading Nighthawks night vision, but in an instant, the light was gone, and his nigh vision specs cleared, revealing the heat signatures of the three guards, out cold. Nighthawk bolted past them, as he did, both he and Mojave heard Ghost's voice in their ears.

" Remember to show some mercy." was the last thing they all heard before they swooped down on their prey.

Meanwhile, in an apartment building adjacent to the warehouse. Derek Steele and the surveillance team were watching the proceedings via laser scope.

" Man these guys are fast. Commented one of the computer techs as he watched the green outlines of the three systematically take out man after man, killing or rendering them unconscious.

" This is nothing, I once saw the leader, Ghost take out seven men in under ten seconds, on a mission in Brazil. Piped up another Tech.

" Could we focus people? Asked Steele, though secretly he understood the awe these Techs felt, these guys were like something out of Tom Clancy's Splinter-Cell.

If these Techs only knew, after this mission these guys would be deactivated until further notice. Julio Vargas would go back to being a deputy sheriff in Phoenix Arizona, Christian Wolfe, a pastry chef at a premiere New York restaurant, and Charlie Epps, a genius and college math professor in Pasadena California. Steele was shaken from his musings when a voice echoed through the speakers.

" Hey Steele, time for you guys to do your job. Came a slightly breathless, but strangely amused voice.

" Copy that Ghost. He answered.

" Blue unit, you are go for prisoner extraction. He voiced into a second mike.

" Acknowledged. Came the Unit leader's voice.

In an adjacent building, the blue unit quickly pulled into action. The group consisting of fifteen men quickly rushed across the street into the building, which was still pitch black inside. They were about to kick the door in when the lights suddenly came back on, the back up generator had been activated.

" Okay guys lets go. Said the leader as they stormed the building, the back up lights turning the hallways an eerie green glow. The unit quickly made their way through the winding halls until they reached the center of the building, when they reached the baron room, they all stopped dead at what they saw. Ten men lay dead on the ground and in the center of the gruesome circle were five terrified looking men, on their knees, tide together, the gags on there mouths stifling the fact that they were whimpering in fear, the warheads still safe in their cases. The "Three" were no where to be found, the Unit leader spoke into a shoulder microphone.

" Commander Steele, the prisoners are secure but your guys are gone. He said.

" Acknowledged, get the prisoners and pull out. Came Steele's voice. In the apartment, Steele gave a tired smile, he'd learned long ago not to expect the big " Three" to stick around after a job, but he knew, they'd be back at the motel by morning.

Said morning came in a full blaze of hot sunlight, smiling over Damascus. Sunlight poured slowly through the single window of the motel room. Soft snoring filled the room, coming from two of the three occupants of the single room. Julio and Christian were out cold, sprawled on their single beds. Charlie however, was wide awake, he hadn't managed to get drunk out of his mind like Julio, or taken two sleeping pills like Christian. Charlie heaved a small sigh as he went make to meditating. It would be another hour before Steele would pay them another visit. Meditation helped Charlie come to terms with the lives he had ended the previous night. A loud groan shattered any hopes of concentration, Charlie opened his eyes and stared at a very hung over Julio Vargas, rolling around in his bed before bolting to the single bathroom. Charlie bit back a chuckle as he got up and headed to his backpack lying beside his bed, fishing out a bottle of aspirin. He reached the bathroom door at the exact moment Julio stumbled out. With a knowing smile and a cocked eyebrow, Charlie held out the bottle. " Thanks. Grumbled Julio as he stumbled back into the bathroom. Another groan filled the room and Charlie turned to see a very wasted Christian Wolfe squinting against the bright sunlight.

" Rise and shine pill popper. Smirked Charlie.

" I'll rise but I refuse to shine. Grumbled Christian.

" Where's Julio? He added as he scrubbed at his face wearily.

" He's in hangover city. Answered Charlie as he gestured to the bathroom. Christian nodded before laying his head over his crossed arms, laying on his belly and staring at Charlie as he sat down on his own bed.

" How do you do it Chuck, how do you live with what happened last night? Asked Christian, the question was one he'd asked thousands of times before. Charlie looked up from the spot of the floor he was looking at to meet his subordinate's searching gaze.

" How many times have you asked me that? He asked quietly.

" As many times as needed to be asked man. Answered Christian with a small smile. Charlie returned the smile with a sad one of his own.

" I'm okay Chris, thanks for asking. He added quietly before laying down across his bed, staring at the ceiling. The sound of a door opening and closing alerted him that Julio had finally released the bathroom. Charlie smiled as he heard the Latino man groan and collapse onto his bed.

" Hey Hermano, when does the boss make an entrance? He heard a muffled question. " In thirty minutes dude, try to sober up some more before he gets here. Answered Charlie. Sobering up was one of Julio's specialties.

The half hour passed by very quickly, the three of them got dressed in there street clothes and ordered breakfast. They had just gotten a few bites of food down, the door of the room suddenly opened and Derek Steele walked in, grey business suit and all.

"Hope you all had a good night. said Steele, though he could clearly see how wasted both Julio and Cristian looked, Charlie on the other hand, look refreshed and ready for the day.

" It was a good enough night sir. Muttered Julio.

" Well, you guys better pack up, it time to home.Said Steele