Bodyguard Lockdown - By Donna Young
United States Disciplinary Barracks, Leavenworth
“Front and center, General.” The order caught on Sergeant Tom Levi’s tongue. A night of sour beer and stale peanuts left his mouth thick and woolly. It was 0500 hours, he was hungover and not in the mood for anyone’s attitude.
“Now!” He banged the cell bars with his flashlight. Tiny sledgehammers pounded inside his skull, setting his teeth on edge.
Tom wasn’t a lightweight. At five eleven, one hundred ninety pounds, he’d been able to hold his liquor since he was eighteen. Twenty years later, he could damn well do it without a splitting headache the next day.
The problem was he hadn’t stopped at two beers. Somewhere during the second drink he’d lost track of time, ended up slamming more beers then blacked out.
He woke up in his car at four in the morning, half intoxicated, with his cell phone ringing.
His commander ordered him to report to the prison. Stat.
“Damn it, Trygg, get your butt up!” Tom snapped. Nausea churned in his gut and sharpened the dry grit that gouged at his eyes.
Feet shuffled slow and steady from the other side of the door, echoed by a slight cough that came with smoking expensive cigars. “What can I do for you this morning, Sergeant?”
“You have two minutes to get yourself presentable. I’m taking you to the commander.”
It was a lie, of course. Transfer papers had hit the commander’s desk last evening, ordering the prisoner, General Riorden Trygg, from Leavenworth, Kansas, to an undisclosed destination in Washington, D.C.
Before his arrest, the general had been dealing in military weapons on the side, supplying enemies with the means to kill American soldiers.
Any one of the soldiers in the prison would give a year in solitary confinement for thirty seconds with the man on the other side of the cell bars.
Hell, if it wasn’t for his career, Tom would throw the bastard into a cell full of these guys. All of them had served overseas in their careers. And most had lost friends or family in combat.
Tom glanced at his watch. Two minutes were up.
“Hal! Let’s do this!”
Tom waited until Sergeant Harold Coffey joined him, shackles in hand. Slightly overweight with a bulldog face, Hal was known as the least intelligent of the group. But he had meat on him, enough to handle any prisoner who got out of line.
“Stand clear, Trygg. Hands on your head, knees on the floor,” Tom ordered, then flashed his light into the cell.
After Trygg was in position, he opened the door.
Hal quickly secured the shackles and hoisted Trygg to his feet.
“What’s really going on, Sergeant Levi?” Trygg questioned. “In the five years I’ve been here, the commander has never reported for duty before nine in the morning. Later, if he managed a night with his mistress.”
“Shut up, Trygg. Or I’ll shut you up.” But the damage was done. Other inmates had heard the exchange.
“You finally taking the trash out, Levi?” yelled one of the prisoners. “Don’t we get to watch him die in a few months?”
Tom ignored them and pushed Trygg forward.
The cell block erupted. Prisoners banged on their bars, spewing profanity and threats at the general.
Trygg shuffled forward, his back ramrod straight, his close-cropped hair snow-white and meticulously neat.
The general’s features remained emotionless. His square jaw balanced the low brow, the deep-set azure eyes.
Not surprising. Riorden Trygg, while a traitor to his country, was still a military man through and through.
They passed through lockdown security, and followed the procedure of being scanned.
A few minutes later, the three men stepped out onto the compound parking area. A predawn mist, heavy from days of rain, blanketed the concrete yard, settled through the high barbed-wire fences.
Tom directed Trygg toward the armored truck—army issued, muddy green and no windows—parked just beyond the exit.
Two guards stood at the back bumper. Their rifles ready, their eyes scanning the perimeter.
Tom turned to the nearest guard. “Ready?”
“Let’s go,” he ordered Trygg, and then nudged the older man forward.
The vehicle door stood open, revealing a long, narrow path inside, flanked by two benches and a thin window separating the driver and cab at the far end.
Tom shackled the general’s hardware to a bolted iron bar on the floor, pushed him onto one bench and then sat across from him on the other.
Harold settled next to the general.
“So where are we going, Sergeant Levi?”
“Where the army wants you.”
“Fair enough.” Trygg smirked, his cool blue eyes sweeping over Tom. “You look like you had a rough night.”
Tom said nothing. He had no windows to