Special Agent Marlee Madison paused, checking her position and then glancing uneasily at the glint of sunlight pouring through the lower branches of the thick forest that surrounded her. It was nearly sunset. Before much more time passed, she would be stumbling along through cave-like darkness, blind, through unfamiliar territory, and potential prey to things a good bit more dangerous than the men she'd been tracking.
They had been tracking ... although from where she stood, it looked to her as if she'd become separated from the other agents taking part in the exercise.
After carefully surveying her surroundings for any sign that the suspects they'd been tracking might be hidden close enough that they could overhear her, she decided it was safe enough to try the radio. Transferring her service revolver to one hand, she scrubbed the dampness from her other palm along the leg of her trousers and unclipped the walkie-talkie from her belt. "Team alpha, come back," she said in a voice barely above a whisper.
With the volume nearly at its lowest setting, she lifted the radio to her ear to listen for a response. There was no answer to her hail. Nothing but static echoed back to her. Frowning, she lowered the radio and studied it. The casing was banged up from her fall a little earlier but the damned things were supposed to be practically indestructible!
Maybe she'd knocked it off the frequency in the fall? It looked like the right setting, though. After glancing around again, Marlee shoved her pistol back into her holster and tried adjusting the dial. "Anyone? Team alpha? Team beta? This is Special Agent Madison, come back!"
Again, she picked up nothing but static, although she tried several different frequencies.
Anger flickered through her. Granted, she'd been focused on following the signs left by their target group, but if everyone else had been, how the hell could she have gotten so far from them that she was out of range?
Maybe it was just interference? She tipped her head back and studied the rise above her.
She'd allowed herself to become too focused on her prey and not nearly cognizant enough of her surroundings or the rest of the team, she realized in dismay. She'd caught hell over that more than once during training and it had begun to look like that particular failing was going to cost her the prize.