Chapter One

The sea was quiet after the storm. The waves had calmed, the skies had cleared, and the people actually felt like coming out of their cabins. The Captain even decided that it was time for a little celebration. The noise from the cruise ship drowned out the small motorboats, heading straight for them.

The men inside adjusted their weapons one last time as they approached the ship. Most of them were soaked from head to toe. The storm had blow up about the time they sailed from the small Mexican port. The leader of the group popped his gun one last time and signaled for the driving to cut the motor. The tide would take them the rest of the way. He turned back to the ship, watching everything. There were no lookouts or guards. Cruise ships like the old merchant ships didn't run heavily guarded unless they carried prizes. This ship had a very nice prize on it.

The boat stopped a few feet from the hull. The men paddled the rest of the way. They looked up at the ship, seeing that it would be next to impossible to get on board without some sort of assistance. A small man stepped forward with a rope wrapped around his shoulder. The leader gave him a nod to get him ready. The short man spun the rope four times and then let it fly. The hook quickly caught on the rail with no noise. The short man climbed up first followed by the others. The leader was the last one to hit the deck of the ship.

The music was even louder on board the ship. The men looked around for a long time to find only a young couple who were too drunk to even understand what was going. The leader nodded to one of the other men, who pulled out a taser gun. He shot the two quickly and began to move to where the music was the loudest.

Special Agent Kinsey Slater of the United States Secret Service stood at the back of the ballroom, adjusting her earpiece for the millionth time that night. It was hard to hear in the room; however, the music seemed to be interfering with her radio. She turned her attention back to the dance floor where the Chief of Staff was dancing with his new fling. His wife was back in Washington with the other wives. This had been a "boys" only cruise, which Kinsey had been reminded of by her partners for days. The other woman was one of the interns that was probably sleeping with her boss too.

"Are these things always this boring?" a voice next to Kinsey asked.

She looked over to find one of the FBI agents standing there. Ryan Dalton was a young agent who had been sent to perform protective duty as well. Kinsey found his company intrusive and would have loved for him to melt back into the wall. She finally just shrugged at him.

"This is my second one," she said, trying to keep the conversation to a minimum. "The first one, the wives came."

Ryan smiled. "Bet that was fun."

Kinsey glanced at him when she caught a scent on the air. It was strange because the room smelled of wine, the seafood dinner dish, cheap perfume and cologne, and cigarettes. This smelled like salt, sand, and fireworks. She looked around the room. Nothing had changed except a few dancers had moved off the floor. Kinsey fingered her gun as she looked around the room.

"Something wrong?" Ryan asked.

Kinsey forced herself to relax. She just wanted something to be wrong. She was young, impulsive, and just looking for a chance to prove herself. She pulled her hand away when there was a loud crack and the room filled with smoke. Kinsey pulled her gun as her radio went crazy with activity.

"Get eyes on the President!" Someone shouted.

"Get down!"

"Clear the room!"

Kinsey moved through the smoke, using the wall as a map. She could hear Ryan coughing and yelling out orders. Her eyes burned as she kept moving. She raised her gun when the smoke cleared a little. Kinsey knew there was a door close by. She ran her hand down the wall when someone brushed up against her. She felt water on her hands and the smooth feel of a wet suit. She spun only to have a knee smashed into her abdomen. She recovered as fast as her breath would allow and kicked out. She managed to hit something for she heard her boot crack something. The smoke had cleared, leaving the room with a very strange smell. She looked up in time to see a man standing in the middle of the room. He was tall, lean, and carrying a very big gun. He seemed to be seeking someone out. Kinsey started to talk into her radio when the man began shooting at the ceiling.

"Everyone drop your weapons!" he announced.

Kinsey immediately zoned in on his voice. They were off the coast of Mexico, but this man had a clear voice with no traces of Hispanic tones to it. It sounded more Middle Eastern. She thought about the rumors of Pirates around here, but this team was a lot more organized than normal pirates. She looked around to see that the other agents had lowered their weapons and were looking around. Kinsey turned her head to see that one of the men was holding the President. She thought about starting something but knew better. This was a hostage situation without a winner.

"Now, we are all going to play a little game," the man said. "And it's called Russian Rolette. We are going to start with the FBI agents and then the secret service agents."

Kinsey took a step forward. "Who are you?"

The man turned to her. He had a mask on, but she could see the hatred in his eyes. He walked toward her. His eyes were a deep, dark brown full of hatred. They sent shivers down his back as he got closer. He looked at her for a long time and leaned forward.

"You must be the whore," he sneered.

His breath stank. However, she did catch a hint of Arabic coffee though. Mexican, Brazilian, and Columbian all had a different odor that was more earthy. She thought of stepping back. But that showed fear.

"I'm a United States Secret Service agent," Kinsey snapped.

She regretted the words as soon as fist connected to her cheek. Her head flew back only to be shoved forward by a hand in her head. She opened her eyes to find that man glaring at her.

"You got a mouth," he growled. "Take her below."

Kinsey looked around the room for a long time as she tried to remember everything about it. The men pulled her from the room. The last thing she heard was a gun going off. She looked back in time to see Ryan Dalton hit the floor. She tried to get loose. They carried her to one of the engine rooms. Kinsey fought as hard as she could only to be dropped down the stairs with a loud and hard thud. She looked up as the men shut the door and her world went black.

Kinsey awoke to the sound more gunfire. She sat up slowly, only to have her head swim for a long time. She tried to stand, but only managed to sink back to the floor. She longed to scream, but her throat was too dry. She started to stand again when the door opened. She slid back against the wall when a light hit her eyes.

"We got a live one," the man said from the top of the stairs.

He came down quickly and walked over to her. Kinsey slid back from him as he started to touch her. He was tall with light hair, but she couldn't tell much else about his features for he had dark green and black pain on his face.

"It's alright," he said softly. "I'm Lieutenant James Curran, Navy Seals. We're here to get you out."

"The President?" Kinsey asked.

"He's safe,' the Lieutenant answered as he picked her up.

"Then, what happened?"

"You will be briefed on the way back to the States."