Twenty-four hours.

The human being, by nature, is a social creature that feeds off the attention and affections of others. What happens to the mind when that creature is pulled from everything it knows and tossed into the depths of the trees? Simple. The human reverts to pure animatistic instinct. Though if the instinct has been trained, what you have is one hell of a deadly force on your hands. That’s what the marines did to you. Stretched out on his stomach with emerald eyes in wedlock with the scope, it came back to him again. The drops falling on his back, dripping carelessly off the leaves. He didn’t flinch. Four soldiers down and no way to tell where it was coming from, but still the jarhead remained still. The flash of moonlight glinting off a scope in the distance gave him a target. For a split second he could see the other man there. Same position, same thoughts, same fear, but it didn’t last. The position was given away and he couldn’t stand to see any more of his brothers die. Squeezing the trigger, he ended the blood shed. Kyle Atkins came back to himself when he pulled from the rifle and the rough tar on the roof sliced open his stomach. That place had taken him and twisted what he was. Active duty was easy, they sent you to bases and you stayed there until needed. Generally you weren’t needed. But a group such as theirs? Hardened marines of the black operations unit at their full disposal? That was another story. What better way was there for a government to wash their hands of their problems than to call in The Virus. A group that started at one end and erased everything in their path to the other side. It was perfect. Except, he wanted out and they didn’t want to let him. Leader of the alpha team, he couldn’t just walk away without being thrown in jail, but he did just that. Told them to piss off in three different languages and hit the door. You can’t let a man like that walk free and now they were gunning for him. He knew it the instant he squeezed the trigger and felt the bullet burn through his shoulder. He’d done his job, the one the government looked away from in order to keep their dog on the short leash. Rolling to his back he froze. you can’t just walk away. The people who were after him were the very people he held arms with night after night beneath the shadows of the trees. For a second he wondered just how hard it had been for the soldier on the other end of the scope to pull the trigger. It must have been harder than Kyle could imagine because the bullet ripped a hole through muscle, but he could still breathe. Within and instant he was back behind the gun and searching the darkness for the would-be murderer. Nothing, they were long gone by now. If this was a recon mission, how long had they been watching and how much did they know? Could he risk going home and them following or were they already lying in wait there? Was he risking her life by not moving from the roof? With a shake of his head the rifle broke down and disappeared into the midnight black bag, he came down the ladder and dropped to the rough asphalt below. “Did you really think that you could walk away from the cause without paying for it wolf?” The slow southern draw from behind him made the shock of his mistake rush through his veins like ice water. The nickname cut him and he wondered if he’d make it out of this alley alive tonight. Wolf. Alpha team, United States Marine Corps. Known only as that and a number, all other records officially signed and sealed.“They’re going to make it hell for you..” As if there was anything they could do to him that was beyond the damage they’d already done. He’d already almost lost her because of their bullshit, he wasn’t willing to risk that kind of pain again. “What do you mean?” Then it hit him, as the words slipped from the soldiers mouth. “They’ll have us kill her…” The street assassin turned to face his brother in arms and the storm brewing in those deep green pools was clear. “Just run the mission, Wolf..I don’t wanna pull the trigger.” It was when he noted the red dot gracing his chest and the shadow from the depths of the alley melted around a very nasty looking assault rifle. “You have twenty-four hours to decide.”

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