Alex raised his arms up and stepped back, allowing Leathers to reclaim his footing. The man with the rifle nodded to his partner who picked up the colt and walked over to the window.

   The rifle was still aimed at Derek as the man pulled out his phone and punched in three digits, “Yes, hello,” he politely responded, “Yea- I’m holding a gun at over one hundred hostages here at the Barkley Country Club. Patch me in to the negotiator.”

   There was a pause.

   “No, Officer.  I have a better idea,” His eyes fastened upon Derek’s, “Everyone here gets to leave, as long as one of them come with us. I will call you five minutes after my colleague and I have left, giving you the location of the last hostage.”

   The sudden demand was a slap in the face. Derek was listening intently now. Not just him. The entire room was drowning in silence. Everyone hinged to those words.

   He hung up, turned to Leathers and nodded. Derek felt a sinking feeling in his chest as the two men made their way to where he was sitting.

   The gun was aimed at him again.

   “You were ready to kill tonight,” The man's eyes clamped Derek in an icy grip, “You earned the right to pick who goes with us.”

   Derek's eyes widened.  He had not expected this.  After the initial shock, he regained his composure and began to analyze the situation.

   I need to make sure that no matter what, these guys don't take Alex.  I could easily guarantee his safety by choosing one of the others.

   He glanced around the room, the option weighing heavy in the back of his mind.

   Should I put an innocent bystander's life in jeopardy for the sake of the job?  What would people say if I put one of my classmates in direct danger?  Would I be able to live that down.

   He laughed to himself.

   Alex wouldn't even hesitate to volunteer.  Idiot.

   “You’ve wasted enough damn time, go yourself!” the micro-earpiece screeched.

   Derek winced, now he decides to step in, where was Tansen all this time?!

   His mentor was still right. Derek wouldn’t have to worry about putting someone else in danger, and Alex would be out of the picture. Derek would be the most qualified to survive what comes next.

   He could feel everyone’s eyes on him,

   Alex’s especially. 

The End

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