Chapter One

A year and a half ago…

Sam Cooper, leader of a RED CELL team within the FBI's Behavior Analysis Unit, sat down on the living room floor inside a young doctor's home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Coop, as his friends on his team called him, had gone inside the home in hope of trying to talk down their latest UNSUB. However, this individual was heavily armed, neurotic, and was refusing to listen to any kind of authority figure anymore. He had ordered Coop to take a seat with the others he held hostage.

This UNSUB's name was Todd Bryant, a soldier from the British Special Forces, who had had a breakdown just under a year ago. After the incident, Bryant went through a series of tests to see if he was going to be fit enough to remain a soldier, but was soon honorably discharged because of post-traumatic stress and sent home.

Bryant begged those who were in charge of his dismissal to reconsider because he refused to believe that he was unfit for duty, but they didn't change their decision. Bryant fought them for as long as he could, all the while becoming more and more unstable. Eventually, he snapped and began taking his anger out on those, who in his mind were the cause of his anger and erratic behavior.

The doctor, who diagnosed him and gave his final word to the leaders over Bryant, was the last person alive that he had yet to finish off. He had brutally shot and killed everyone else involved in his dismissal, as well as several others who were with his victims at the time of their deaths. Some of the bystanders survived, most did not.

Outside the home, Jon, or 'Prophet' as everyone called him, Beth, and Gina worked on trying to come up with a new plan to try to get everyone, including their boss and Bryant, out alive. They could all hear what was going on inside of the house thanks to the coms that they were all wearing, so they knew that Coop's plan to talk Bryant down had backfired.

After a few minutes of deliberating, Beth pulled out her radio, called to the snipers whom the team had called in for backup in case this should happen and asked, "Does anyone have a shot on our UNSUB?"

One of the snipers, who had positioned himself on the roof of the house right next door to the doctor's house, spoke back into the radio saying, "We don't have a clear shot. Your boss is now in my line of fire and the other hostages are in the rest of my guys' views. It looks like your killer just ordered them to stand by the windows. He's smart."

"Well, he did belong to the British Special Forces," Gina replied only to those who were standing near her. "I'm telling you, Coop never should have dismissed Mick from this case, just because he and our UNSUB worked together. I think that he's the only one who can talk Bryant down."

"Then, I guess it's a good thing I chose not to listen to him this time," Mick answered as he ran past them and ordered the armed men to let him through.

Beth shouted, "Mick, get back here! He's going to get himself killed."

Prophet responded, "Gina's right. He's the only one who can talk Bryant down. They were friends after all."

"We need you and your men to stand by," Gina spoke once again into the radio. "Do not take a shot unless you have a clear shot and only if the guy makes a move to take out our men or the other hostages. Is that understood?"

"You've got it, Ma'am," the lead sniper replied.

Beth placed her hands over her mouth in a nervous anticipation and mumbled, "I hate being called Ma'am. I sure hope you guys are right."

While this conversation went on outside, Mick ran up to the front door, opened it, and slowly walked inside the living room with his hands raised. Bryant, while keeping one gun trained on Sam, quickly turned his other gun on Mick as he continued to walk toward them. Sam watched in fear as Mick entered unarmed and stopped right in front of their killer, knowing exactly what his friend was trying to do.

"Todd, I know what's happened to you," Mick began to say. "I came in here despite my boss' orders to do all I can to get everyone out of here alive, including you. You don't have to do this. I know that you never wanted to do this. We can help you. I can help you, if you just let everyone go. I'll stay here with you. Let the doctor and his family go, please!"

"I can't do that Mickey," Todd answered as he retrained both weapons back on Sam and the doctor. "You and I both know that as soon as I lower my weapons and let go of my only leverage, I'm a dead man. Besides, this man deserves to die. He's taken everything away from me; everything that I am."

Mick responded, "That isn't true, Man! You still have Claire and your boys. Think about them. Do you think that they like that you're doing all this?"

Bryant shouted angrily at Mick saying, "I don't have them anymore!"

"You would if you just stopped this and let us help you, Todd," Mick replied. "They still love you, despite what you've done."

"You didn't see the way they looked at me after I was sent home," Todd said. "You have no idea what it feels like to come home a different man; a freak!"

"Maybe I didn't see the look on your family's faces as they saw what you have become," Mick answered calmly. "But I do know for a fact that they do love you and I do know what it feels like to become a different man. I killed so many people being a sniper over there, just like you. I felt myself changing and because of it, my fiancé left me. If it weren't for Coop here, I would have ended up lost, scared, angry, and God knows what else. Because of him, I have my life back and I can help you to get yours back too. Please, Todd. Let me help you. You're my friend and I do not want to see you get killed. Please let them go."

Bryant looked at Sam, at the doctor and his family, and finally back at Mick as he responded, "I can't do that, Mick. This man is responsible for everything. I belong in the Special Forces. After everything I've done, I deserve to be the sniper I was trained to be, not a mental patient in a God forsaken institution! You're a traitor because I can see in your eyes that you choose them. If you are not with me, then you will die just like them."

As Bryant said this he turned his gun back on Mick, kept the other one aimed at Sam, and opened fired, when all of a sudden, Mick, even more quickly, pulled a gun out from behind his back and fired a shot square at the man's chest, killing him almost instantly. Bryant's shot hit Mick in the shoulder. Sam shouted Mick's name as the force caused him to fall backwards and down to the floor.

Sam quickly rushed over to where Mick lay to help him, as armed agents charged inside the house, followed by Beth, Jon, and Gina. The agents went directly over to their killer's body and pulled away the guns as they checked to make sure he was truly dead. Coop's teammates walked over to where he was kneeling over Mick, who continued to lie on the floor.

Beth spoke up first shouting, "Call for a bus! God, Mick! We heard your entire conversation with Bryant over the coms. When we heard the shots, we thought for sure they were both fired at you guys."

Gina added, "We didn't think that you were armed, Mick. That was obviously an amazing shot."

"Apparently not amazing enough," Mick replied. "I didn't manage to keep myself from getting shot."

"No, but you did manage to save the rest of us," Sam answered. "Good job and thank you! Are you all right?"

Mick looked away from his friends and stared up at the ceiling as he responded quietly, "I really wanted to save him, Coop. I fought with him and I was there when he had his breakdown. I should have known what to say to save him too. I should have."

Sam gently placed his hand on Mick's good shoulder and answered, "You did all you could, Mick. There was nothing more that you could have said. He was too far gone."

"I need to be the one to tell his wife and his kids," Mick said. "It's my job. They begged me to save him."

"I'll go with you to talk to them when you are released from the hospital," Sam replied. "Now, be a good boy and do as the paramedics say. Oh, and by the way, never disobey my orders again. Next time, you will probably get yourself killed."

The team laughed as they all stood up and backed away in order to let the paramedics do their job of taking care of their friend. The wound wasn't very bad, but they all knew just how lucky Mick was that the bullet didn't hit an inch closer to his chest. If it did, things would have been much different.

Present day…

Inside the living room of an apartment complex, a man knelt over the body of a woman about the age of twenty-five. She had been this man's easiest kill yet and it did not give him the satisfaction that he had hoped it would. She fell for his charms too quickly and didn't even put up a fight as he plunged his knife into her stomach.

He pulled the knife out of her body and quickly wiped it down with a cloth that he had brought with him before putting it back into his pocket inside of his jacket. Then, he placed his hands inside her blood that was pouring out of her body and stood quickly to write a message on the wall. When he was finished, he wiped down the entire place to make sure that his prints would be no where to find when the cops arrived to investigate.

Before he walked out the door, he turned around to admire his work one more time and then turned to look at the message he had left, the same message that he had left at each of his victims homes, knowing that eventually it would draw out the one person whom he had done all of this for. The message said, "YOUR TIME IS COMING SOON."