From last time ...

Sarah looked over at Gandy. She could see the hard set in his jaw that wasn't there before. She could see his anger at what he'd just been told. He's pissed off. Good. Someone who will be on my side. Maybe he'll be someone who can help. Maybe.

"Step on it Gandy. We gotta get back by 4."

And now ...

The 1903 Springfield, bipod, and scope were in their cases and loaded in the car. Captain Spangler, a man who used a silver headed walking cane against his hip to help him get around, reached under the counter and pulled up two sizable boxes and laid them on the counter top.

"You'll need these, too. They're hand loads. Each projectile is matched for weight, shape and size, the powder in each cartridge is matched for weight to within a tenth of a grain, and the insertion force for each projectile is identical. These are 500 of the best, match quality .30 caliber rounds you'll ever find. Mackey asked me to make them up for you."

"What else did Mackey ask you to do? Jesus. Does that man ever stop?"

"Not Mackey. Not ever. For example, when you pull that Springfield out of its case, you'll find that the metal butt plate is gone and in its place is a special rubber one. I had to cut two inches off the stock in order to maintain the proper dimensions of the weapon, but the net result is a piece that will NOT beat you to death when you put 30 rounds through it. Mackey requested it."

"Damn. That man! Well, thank you Captain Spangler. I really appreciate all this. I'm afraid Corporal Lewis and I have to get rolling if we're going to get back to Marin County by 4 o'clock. How much do I owe ya?"

"It's paid for, ma'am."

"Another one with the "ma'am" thing. What do you mean it's paid for?"

"I knew Jake. The best man I've ever commanded. And I owe Mackey my life. The fact that you mean something to these men means that you mean something to me. So, it's paid for."

Sarah looked long and hard into Spangler's eyes. She couldn't, she wouldn't, argue with what she saw there.

"Thank you, Sir."

"I know you're not sport shootin', Sarah. I don't know WHAT you're doing, for sure, and frankly, I don't think I want to know. What I DO know is, if you ever need anything, all you need to do is call."

"Thank you, Captain. I will."

Sarah and Corporal Lewis turned and left the store, got into the car and headed for the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge.

"Excuse me, ma'am. Just who are you?"

"Why? What do you mean?"

"I think you know what I mean, Sarah. Who are you?"

Sarah paused a bit to consider her answer.

"I don't think I can tell you, yet, Gandy. But I think I will. Soon. I have to find the right time, I think."

"When will that be?"

"I don't know. But when the time IS right ... I'll know. I WILL know."

They drove the rest of the way back in silence.