Chapter 19


Chapter Nineteen

Once the police had come to escort their prisoner to prison for his attack on Mick and the doctor and nurse left the room, Sam asked Gina and Prophet to bring Mick to his own apartment where he can rest without anyone else knowing where he was. In the meantime, Sam and Beth took a helicopter back down to North Carolina to go and visit with Lance Bryant at the prison.

After Sam and Beth were escorted to the interrogation room inside the prison, two guards escorted Bryant into the room as well. They chained the murderer to the table and then stood in the corner of the room in case they should be needed.

Lance was the first one to speak as he asked, "So, how's your boy, Mickey doing? He didn't look too good the last time I saw him at the barn that night. Have there been any more attempts on his life yet?"

Beth and Sam glared at the man in front of them as Sam answered, "How did you post the hit onto your site? Did you pay a guard off to give you time on a computer?"

"I have my ways," Lance replied. "I have friends. Even if you shut my site down, which I am sure you have done by now, it's too late. The attacks won't stop until Mick is dead."

"Then, if some thug is successful in finishing Mick off, how do you plan to pay him or her the $500,000?" Beth asked. "When they realize you can't, they will find a way to kill you while you're rotting in here, waiting to be executed. Either way, you are dead."

Bryant smiled as he responded, "I should have died that night in the barn. Mick was too gutless to finish me off as I should have done him when I had the chance, but he will die because of me. You can't protect him forever."

Sam asked, "How does someone so young become so full of hate? You could have had your whole life ahead of you, but instead you chose to dedicate it to destroying another's life. Mick will not die because of you. You think you have friends, but in the end, they'll betray you because of money and greed. We won't do that to Mick."

"Post dramatic stress isn't just a disease people get after they spend time in a war, as you know," Bryant replied. "It's how my dad got it, but I got it when I learned his friend killed him in cold blood. My dad was everything to me and my family."

"Your web site is shut down for good," Beth continued. "We'll take care of the men and women who are stupid enough to try to do your dirty work. Maybe we'll even have them put in the same cell as you so that they will know exactly who they are going down for. Who will be the coward then?"

Sam and Beth both stood and left the room as the guards escorted Lance back to his cell. Before they left the prison, Sam and Beth went to speak with the prison's warden to find out who helped Lance gain access to post the hit. After a small investigation, they discovered that one of the guards who had escorted Bryant to and from his cell earlier was the one who helped him. The guard was arrested and placed in another cell at the opposite end of the prison. Sam and Beth finally left the prison and headed back home.


Gina and Jon sat inside Cooper's apartment eating a pizza they had ordered, while Mick tried to sleep in one of the free rooms. Both of them worried about their friend, as they could hear him as he struggled with nightmares from his ordeal. They knew what he had been through because of the videos, but Mick has so far refused to talk about any of it. He had always kept quiet about his own problems.

After an hour, Mick came out from the room and slowly sat down on the couch in the living room to join his friends. Gina quickly stood to help him put his feet up on the stool in front of him, while Jon handed him some water and some aspirin to help him with the pain they could see that he was obviously in.

"The two of you don't need to wait on me hand and foot," Mick said. "I can do some things for myself."

"We know you can," Prophet replied. "We just want to help."

Mick smiled as he responded. "I know you do and thank you. I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I am just not used to having help. I grew up taking care of my little sister alone. Then, I joined the Special Forces. I've been alone for a long time. I am still getting used to being a part of a team."

Gina answered, "We know. Believe me, it isn't easy for any of us to depend on others, but we do it anyway. It's how we survive in this line of work. You're going to be all right. We'll make sure of it."

"I know." Mick said confidently. "Does my sister know anything about what's happened?"

"We called her to let her know that you were hurt, but we assured her that you were going to be all right." Prophet replied. "She wanted to come out here, but she said that you didn't want her to leave school no matter what. We told her you'd call when you were up to it."

"Do you mind if I borrow your phone?" he asked. "I haven't gotten a new one since Lance ditched mine."

Prophet pulled out his and handed it to Mick. Then, he and Gina went into the kitchen in order to give him some privacy as he talked. While Mick was on the phone, Sam and Beth returned and took a seat in the kitchen beside Gina and Jon. As they both began to eat a slice of pizza, Sam's phone rang and he saw that it was Strauss calling.

Sam answered saying, "Hello, Ma'am."

Erin Strauss responded, "I received your message saying that you and your team were taking some time off in order to protect your teammate. While I respect that you care for his well-being above all else, I can't have an entire RED CELL tem out of commission. I have jobs for you to do."

"With all due respect, Ma'am," Sam replied. "I don't care about the politics of this job. In this job, we fight to protect those that need our help and right now, Mick is the one who is real trouble. If it were anyone else besides one of my team, you wouldn't care whether or not we take the time to protect them. Or is this about the fact that you fought against me bringing Mick onto this team?"

"I am getting tired of you disrespecting me, Agent Cooper," she answered. "Your director may be all right with this, but I am not. You are lucky that you are one of the top agents among my teams, but do not think that you are irreplaceable. Do what you have to do, but do not take too long, or you are through. Do I make myself clear?"

Sam responded, "Yes, Ma'am."

He hung up the phone and turned to his team as Beth said, "I take it that Strauss isn't too happy with us taking time off, is she?"

"No, not really, but it doesn't matter," Sam replied. "How's he doing?

"He tried to sleep for over an hour, but as you can tell, he wasn't able to," Gina answered. "He was having nightmares and he'll probably deny it, but I think that his fever is beginning to rise again. If this hiding keeps up, he's going to get worse."

Prophet added, "Gina and I changed his bandages earlier as well. The stab wound looks like it could be getting infected again."

"He belongs in the hospital like the doctor said, but I understand why he needs to stay where we can protect him," Beth added. "What can we do for him?"

Mick stiffly walked into the kitchen and responded, "I could use a slice of pizza and a beer."

Sam laughed as he stood to help guide Mick over to a chair around his kitchen table and replied, "Sorry, Kid. You know that you can't have anything solid until you are fully recovered. I could put it into a blender for you though?"

Everyone laughed, including Mick, as he handed the phone back to Jon and answered, "No, thanks. I just spoke to Jenna to assure her that I was fine. What's the plan to end this once and for all? I can't lose everything I've worked for. I can't…"

"Don't worry, Mick," Sam said as he put his hand on the side of his face. "We're a team and we'll be together for as long as it takes for us all to retire due to old age. Right now, Penelope and Kevin are doing some digging for us. You're going to be all right. Jenna will not lose her big brother, I promise."

"Who's Kevin?" Mick asked.

Beth responded, "Oh yeah. Kevin is Penelope's fiancé. He seems to match her perfectly."

Mick replied, "I suppose he'd have to. That is wonderful! Good for her."

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