Okay. So apparently I have a fixation with psychology, because I'm really interested in seeing how the team reacts to the things I throw at them. I think I've harnessed my inner evilness with this villain. Simon was supposed to be creepy, but I like him too much. He morphed into this neurotic goofball loser, and I didn't have the heart to start over. Enjoy!

Disclaimer - ...*Closes eyes, crosses fingers, and wishes really, really hard* ...ow. Now I have a migraine.

Pier 14 was not a pretty place, that was for sure. The wood of the boardwalk was a deep brown, hinting of rot. The water lapping up against the stained concrete of the dock was a hideous shade of brown. The stench left much to be desired.

A sleek black car pulled up across the street, nondescript enough to be terribly conspicuous in this part of town. Black sedans spelled Trouble, with a capital T.

The first man to climb out of the car looked the part. He was tall and lean, wiry with muscle. He moved with the fluid grace of a greyhound, athletic despite the silver in his salt and pepper hair. There was a gun at his hip.

Another man slid out of the passenger's seat. Much younger, the man was tall and lanky, almost unhealthily skinny, with light hair and anxious eyes that lacked both the confidence and the been-there, done-that attitude of the first man. A newbie.

A woman opened the backseat door of the car. She was young and small, lacking both height and sheer bulk, though she was undeniably attractive. Olive skin and dark curls suggested she was of foreign descent. There was more than one gun secreted about her slight frame and a predatorial look in her dark eyes.

The last to exit was another man, perhaps four or five years older than the young woman. He was tall and muscular, handsome, with clear cut features and brown hair. He walked with a confident swagger, yet there was a bit of insecurity about his entire persona.

Interesting. He'd have to look into that.

There was one last person on the pier that night, though the others did not know it. An observer. He was there, and he was watching them with the air of a scientist taking notes on the results of an experiment, detached interest in his cold, calculating eyes. He watched the four people from his hiding place, watched and listened.

The newcomers were from a government agency and they were here to investigate an anonymous tip made over the phone, suggesting a drug deal involving a person of interest would be going down that night.

The observer couldn't help but smile at how easily they'd swallowed the bait. He'd made the call; or, at least, he'd had one of his men make the call to the agency. There was no drug deal, but something big was about to go down, and these agents were going to play a key role.

He allowed himself a minute to watch the agents. They'd approached the scene cautiously, looking for their man, a suspect in the death of a petty officer. Upon the lack of movement on the pier, they'd let their guard down the slightest bit, lowered their guns. He smiled for the second time that night, a rarity in and of itself. Emotions were to be discouraged; and yet, tonight was so groundbreaking, such a momentous occasion, he allowed himself to indulge in the foolishness. If a man couldn't celebrate such a thing like this…

He waited a moment, lulling the agents further into their sense of false security. Or, at least, that was the plan.

Even the best laid plans can go awry, as it seemed. The silver-haired man was suddenly alert, tensing with his nose in the air like a bloodhound. He could sense something was wrong. The woman, seeing her leader's frown, snapped to attention, alert and taut, like a bowstring fully extended. All of a sudden her gun was back in her hand.

Cursing mentally, the observer signaled for the troops to move in. He couldn't afford to waste time and risk giving his position away. He was better than this. He was Mr. Simon, and he did not get overcome, even – no, especially – at such a critical point in the game. This was everything, and there was no alternative. There was no guarantee he'd ever come across such diverting specimen again in this life-time. He'd hand-picked them from hundred, memorized their psych reports, dogged their every move for months now. There was no turning back.

The agents fought valiantly, he'd give them that. The silver-haired man heard the troops approach far before Mr. Simon had anticipated, and it took away from the team's disadvantage.

Luckily, a few second's warning was not enough to prevent anything. The team had spread out to look around, a poor strategy in any situation, really. Strength was in numbers, and numbers were not on the team's side that night. Four men silently attacked the youngest, anxious man from behind, clapping a drugged rag over his nose and mouth. He was out before he could make a sound. One down…

The foreign woman smelled the sedative from the rag, and stiffened. She whirled, gun cocked and ready, shouting a warning to her friends. Too late. Mr. Simon's men already had them surrounded.

The next down was the silver-haired man, thanks to Mr. Simon's foresight. He'd read ahead, done his research, and his sources had revealed the team's fearless leader was not one to be reckoned with. He fought valiantly, but twelve big men were far too much, even for him. Down went the agent, a rag clapped to his nose.

Remarkably, the attractive foreign woman incapacitated all four of the men who had been assigned to deal with her. Simon frowned. Impossible! True, her background suggested she was skilled in combat, but Mr. Simon had attributed success in her original agency to be thanks to her father's position of authority. An oversight, it seemed, that would have to be dealt with. Mr. Simon waved in the reinforcements.

A flood of darkly garbed men poured out of Mr. Simon's black van, tucked far back in the shadows of an alley, twenty yards down. Within minutes, the foreign woman and the handsome man were unconscious. Anxious to avoid further mishaps, Mr. Simon secured the plastic-tie bindings himself before climbing into the passenger's seat of the van next to his right-hand man, Adam O'Toole.


Adam drove. In a screeching of tires and an ominous creaking of rotted wood, the van tore off, its taillights fading away into the darkness.

Simon was so happy he could have danced, though that would have been absolutely intolerable and would have lost him both the respect of his men and most likely his job as well. Instead, he chuckled deep in his throat, low and menacing, and if the effect was marred slightly by the scratchy tone of his voice – it had been a long time since he'd let loose with an evil chuckle – Adam knew better than to comment. Instead, he ventured a question.

"I take it the operative was a success, doctor?"

Mr. Simon had never gone to medical school, but his men did not need to know that. Besides, there was something very impressive about being addressed 'doctor.' It did wonders for his frown-wrinkles; Simon did a lot of frowning.

Now, however, he smiled. He'd really have to do something about all this happiness. He made a mental note to call his psychiatrist as soon as possible, only to remember he'd fired the woman last week after her first psych evaluation. He'd left in a bit of a huff. Entirely understandable, of course. It's pretty distressing to be pronounced insane repeatedly like that… But he wouldn't think about that right now. Not in his hour of triumph, not when victory was sweet on his tongue.

"It was, O'Toole. Very successful."

"Good to hear, doctor." O'Toole's voice was carefully devoid of emotion. You never knew when the boss-man was in a mood, and so you had to tread carefully if you wanted to survive even a week in this job.

"Very good to hear, O'Toole, although I don't recall asking for your opinion," Simon snapped, his mood swinging as rapidly and dangerously as a tropical storm.

"Of course not. My apologies, sir."

"Shut up. And what did I say about calling me sir?"

"Sorry, doctor."

"I told you to shut up!"

Adam wisely fell silent and returned his attention to the road in front of him. Simon reclined in his seat, relaxing for the first time since this operative had begun. Everything was going exactly as he'd planned…

Please review! I had promised myself I wasn't going to be one of those people who begs on their knees for reviews. I write for me, and I don't really care what anyone else thinks...or at least that was the plan. I found out it's really disheartening to post your story, have over 60 hits, and only one review. So, please, tell me what you think. I don't need in-depth analysis, and you can criticize me all you want, just give me some proof that people are actually reading this, m'kay? Thanks!