The Trials of Loyalty

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Chapter 2

Savannah stared at Coleman with wide eyes, her jaw-dropping in the process. Not only was she still in shock over the identity of ‘The Ghost’ but she couldn’t help but be ticked off. She now knew that her sole purpose for being on this task force was to catch Alexander. It had nothing to do with the fact that she was the top of her class at the academy and graduated from the University of Texas with a Masters in Psychology. She was simply here because she gave them an advantage over the guy.

After realizing how long she’d been staring at him, Savannah closed her mouth before clearing her throat. “How does me knowing him for one year in college put us at an advantage?”

Coleman clasped his hands together, taking a minute to compose his thoughts. “I’m going to be frank with you Carey, you’re here simply because you have the possibility of giving us an advantage against Jackson. We’ve been after this guy since he’s gone rogue, with no luck and no leads. Not only are our jobs at risk if we don’t apprehend him, but for reasons I can not mention, our national security depends on it.”

“We’re hoping that the fact you knew him, combined with the fact you’re a psychologist for the FBI, you can predict where this guy’s going to be next and where he’s going to strike.”

“So you want me to profile him? A man whose codename is literally ‘The Ghost’?” Savannah raised a skeptical eyebrow. Not that she didn’t believe in her skills as a psychologist and a profiler, but the odds were not in her favor. If a group of highly trained FBI agents couldn’t catch this man, what made them think that she could?

“Moving aside from that, how am I going to profile a man when we have little information on him? Do we even know of the crimes he’s committing when he’s trespassing in enemy territory?”

“Yes, we have all of this on file. You can’t let the other members of this team, under any circumstances, know his identity-“

“For fear of compromising the investigation, yes I got that” Savannah muttered under her breath, before clearing her throat. “I guess I have no choice. Alright, I’ll help you guys out.” She stood up from her chair, then began making her way towards the door. Just as she laid her hand on the doorknob, Coleman spoke up.

“I think I can speak for the rest of the American government when I say we appreciate you helping us catch Alexander. Who knows, maybe if this task force leads to a successful capture of the criminal, we’ll talk about possible advancements in the Bureau for you.” Now that piqued Savannah’s interest.

“I look forward to having that conversation sir.” Nodding her head, Savannah exited the office, softly shutting the door behind her. She may have not wanted to do this before, but now she was all in. If capturing Alexander Jackson meant rising in the ranks of the FBI, then she was going to do whatever it took to accomplish this mission.

Somewhere in the Middle East….

Hours after escaping the angry militia members in the forest, Alexander finally hobbled through the doorway of his safehouse. By the time the adrenaline wore off, the pain emanating from his abdomen was more present than ever.

The safehouse wasn’t much more than a bed, table and bathroom, but it was the only place he had to go.

Alexander collapsed into a chair by the old wooden table, his hand finally falling from his abdomen. With some struggle, he reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out pieces of folded paper. Parts of the paper were now stained red with his blood. He was just thankful that he made it out of that situation alive.

He set the pieces of paper down on the table, then reached for the makeshift first aid kit on the table. In less than 10 minutes, Alexander had his shirt off, the wound disinfected and sown up. He had gotten used to having to provide his own first aid. With him being an international criminal, it wasn’t like he could just walk into any hospital and seek treatment.

For the first time since arriving at the safe house, Alexander allowed himself to breathe, shutting his eyes in the process. His head began tilting back against the chair, his face drifting towards the ceiling. His eyes weren’t closed for long before the sound of gunshots began assaulting his memory. The distant sound of yelling also began to attack him as he could all but picture the moment in his head. The room began to smell like stagnant water and cigarette smoke, much like it had that night.

Alexander sat hunkered behind the metal desk, his body pressed against the cold metal. His mind was racing as bullets continuously raced passed him. The enemies had them cornered, there was no way of escaping the situation.

“I hope you’re thinking of a way to get us out of this situation Ghost.” Alexander turned his head to see his friend Johnathan crouched down beside him. With his service pistol in hand, Johnathan fired off a couple of shots without peeking around the table. By the sound of one man groaning before hitting the ground, Alexander assumed that Johnathan hit someone.

“I can only think so fast when someone’s trying to kill me!” He fired back, somehow crouching down behind the table even further.

“Well somehow I don’t think they’re going to stop trying to kill us just so you can come up with a plan to save our asses.” Alexander couldn’t help but chuckle. Leave it to Johnathan to make a sarcastic comment in a life or death situation.

Alexander briefly glanced around at their surroundings, taking in their options of escape. With them being cornered, their only option was to bolt from behind the table and run through a hole in the wall, hopefully running into a safer situation.

Just as he turned to inform Johnathan of the plan, he heard the splitting sound of metal being torn apart, then Johnathan groaning beside him. Looking over, he saw that there was now a growing red spot that slowly began to spread across his shirt.

Alexander was jolted out of his thoughts when he heard the sound of his doorknob turning. Reaching under the table, he grabbed a pistol that was taped underneath the table and pointed it at the door. Without saying a word, Alexander cocked the gun and watched as the knob had fully turned. The door leading into the room slowly began opening.

“Whoever is on the other side of the door better close it and walk away or I swear to god I’ll put a bullet between your fucking eyes.” Alexander watched as the door continued to slowly open. His eyes, nor his gun wavered as he continued waiting for the person behind the door to appear. The door was now cracked open a couple of inches and someone had yet to appear.

After a few more seconds of waiting, Alexander finally set his gun on the table. Someone probably left and just forgot to close the door when they were leaving.

Just as he began to stand up from the table, the door swung open, slamming against the wall with so much force that it bounced off the wall.

In an instant, Alexander had picked his gun back up and aimed it at the door. Before he was able to get a shot off, a blur came charging at him. Thinking on his feet, Alexander stepped towards the right, causing the blur to become unbalanced. Taking advantage of this, Alexander grabbed ahold of the blur’s forearm, slamming it into a nearby wall. The blur grunted as his back slammed up against the wall. Alexander raised his arm, pressing it into the blur’s throat before the blur had a chance to react.

“So this is how you’re treating your best friend now? I see.” A male voice spoke up, a hint of laughter creeping through his tone. Once the fog had cleared, Alexander allowed his eyes to focus on the man in front of him. His eyes registered that it was no longer a blur but it was, in fact, one of the only people he could trust in his situation. Daniel.

“You realized I could have fucking killed you right?” Alexander barked, tearing his arm away from Daniel’s throat.

“You know good and well you couldn’t kick my ass even if you tried.” Daniel didn’t allow the near brush with death to affect him as he launched himself away from the wall. “Man, you look like shit. I hope you at least got the papers.”

“Nice to know you’re concerned,” Alexander grumbled under his breath as he made his way towards the fridge. “They’re on the table. I haven’t gotten the chance to look at them yet. I was too busy making sure I didn’t bleed out.” He grabbed two beers before making his way back to the table.

“Considering you almost got yourself killed, these papers better be worth it.” Daniel unfolded the stack of papers before slowly scanning his eyes over the pieces of paper. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me-“ He exclaimed before angerly tossing the papers back onto the table.

“What?”

“I don’t know what language this is written in, but it sure as hell isn’t English.”

“Considering I stole those papers out of a middle eastern guard patrol building, that doesn’t surprise me. Don’t you know someone that can make sense of whatever is on that paper?” Alexander twisted the top off of the beer bottle before propping his foot on the table.

“Yeah, but I was hoping I wasn’t going to have to go through all these extra hoops just to see what a few pieces of paper say.” Daniel drew out a long breath, taking a minute to run a hand through his hair. “Oh, I almost forgot. I’ve got some updates when it comes to the FBI.”

Alexander smirked, his eyes drifting up to meet Daniel’s. “And what might this miraculous update be?”

“That they’ve started a special task force with the sole purpose of putting your ass behind bars.” Alexander couldn’t help but quirk an eyebrow at that statement. In all the years he’s been on the run, they’ve never been desperate enough to set up a task force for him. It was nice to know that he was still on their radar though.

“A task force?”

“Yep, a team of four agents. Most of them are rookies though so I wouldn’t be too concerned.”

“Considering the FBI’s been trying to catch me for the better part of five years now, I don’t think this special task force is going to change anything.” Alexander raised the bottle up to his lips, taking a swig of the lukewarm liquid.

Though this information didn’t concern him in the slightest, this did mean Alexander had to be more careful when it came to doing whatever it is that he did. Now was not the time to get caught because of some stupid mistake.

Back in Quantico.

A few days had passed since the debriefing with Coleman and the other members of the task force. It was just today that Savannah and the other members had received an email from Coleman, instructing all of us to meet him in the large conference room at noon to start tracking ‘The Ghost’.

The fact that she was the only one on the team to know the real identity of him was something that had yet to settle well in Savannah’s stomach. She wasn’t much of a liar. She always prided herself on telling the truth, no matter what situation she was in. Lying though, meant that there was the possibility of a promotion in her future.

It was only a quarter to noon and the rest of the team was already gathered in the conference room. Everyone in the room again kept to themselves, which bothered Savannah to no end. If she was going to be stuck in a room with these people for several hours every day and no one talked, she might just go insane.

After a few minutes, Coleman had entered the room, thumbing through yet another manila envelope. “You all showed up early, good. We’ve got a lot of work to do, we need to get to it. Agent Stevens,” Coleman set his eyes on the only other woman in the room besides Savannah. She sat towards the front of the room, her arms crossed over her chest. “I want you to get started on going through all of the digital evidence we have on Ghost, see if there’s anything we can get from that information.” By the look on Agent Stevens’ face, Savannah could tell that she was thinking the same thing she was. They weren’t going to find anything on this guy, they were just wasting their breath at this point.

“Agents Decker and Johnson, start making phone calls. I don’t care what you have to promise them or lie to them about, I want anyone that might even think they have some information on where Ghost is hiding out or who he is.” Both of them nodded their heads before heading off towards one of the computers in the room.

“Agent Carey-“ Savannah turned her eyes on Coleman, nodding her acknowledgment to him. “Just off the bat, what do you think about this Ghost?”

“Well-“ She cleared her throat, straightening herself in the chair she sat in. “Getting obvious out of the way, the nickname Ghost implies that he’s impossible to catch, he only is seen when he wants his presence known. Based on that information, it’s safe to say that this ‘Ghost’ is working by himself, or if he’s working with somebody, it’s someone that he has a past history with.”

“What makes you say that Carey?”

“Think about it, if he had anyone or anything tying him down, there would be some sort of trace left behind. It’s easier to keep track of yourself and one other person rather than a whole group of people.” Coleman slowly nodded his head, taking in the information that Savannah had given him.

“Ok, what else?”

Savannah stood up from her chair and walked over to a map of the world that hung on the wall. “We already know that this man is a former navy seal, so he’s fit and well equipped enough for all sorts of terrain. If you look at all the areas he’s been to; the middle east, Switzerland, Russia-“ Savannah pointed out these various places on the map. “They’re all places that have extreme conditions of one or another. He has to be exceptionally athletic to even survive in these wilderness areas, much less cause as much chaos as he did.”

“He’s never been detected in the same country twice, so we can cross any place off that he’s already been to as a possible target.” The further Savannah dove into the psychoanalysis of Alexander, the more of a rush she got. Granted, everything she was deducing was sort of a given with the information they had, but it still made her feel good none to less.

“I’ll need more information to narrow his age, but my best guess is he’s between the ages of 25 and 35. Young and athletic enough for the tough conditions, but old enough to know how to cover his own tracks.” Savannah let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding in. Once she was done speaking, she let her eyes drift to Coleman. The tension in the air was thick as she waited for Coleman’s approval on her basic profile of him.

There were a few moments of silence, but eventually, Coleman spoke up. “Your record proceeds you Agent Carey, nice work. In the meantime, until we get more information, help Stevens come through all of the technology evidence we have. With us living in a technology age, she’s bound to have her hands full.” Savannah nodded her head before making her way over towards the corner that Stevens had stashed herself in.

She knew she shouldn’t get ahead of herself, but Savannah had a feeling that this was going to be the start of something great for her.

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