In the inhospitable heart of Iraq, nestled within the fortified belly of Baghdad’s Green Zone, a horror, alien to the war-bred men and women stationed there, had begun to unfurl.

As the desert summer of 2014 raged on, mirroring the unrest outside the Zone’s walls, an internal storm was brewing. A presence, sinister and stealthy, stalked the soldiers and civilians alike. This was no ordinary insurgent – it was an executioner lurking in their midst.

The discovery of the first body, a fresh-faced MP from Nebraska, his throat savagely shredded, an ankle-deep blood pool in a metal box, and a chill wind blowing through the sun-scorched barracks. The second, a Ranger seasoned in the relentless grind of war, was found similarly mutilated in his bunk like a human Rubik’s cube. The realization was as glaring as the noonday sun – they were dealing with a predator of their own. The Green Zone had a bloodthirsty wolf in its fold.

Nights turned into tense vigils, the stillness of the desert night punctuated by the soft clinks of weapons being checked and rechecked, muffled whispers of soldiers whose eyes mirrored the cold fear gripping their hearts.

Amid this terror, Chief Petty Officer Jack Thompson, a Navy SEAL with the instincts of a predator and the wisdom of a battle-hardened veteran, felt an itch at the base of his skull. Even amidst the searing heat, his hunter’s instinct was far from dormant. As the sandstorm howled outside, blurring the line between friend and foe, Thompson knew that they were not alone. The shadows were alive, and they were hungry.

In the restless darkness, Thompson assembled his team. Despite the biting sand and howling wind, their eyes held the determination born of countless life-or-death situations. Still, there was a note of unease, a sense of an enemy they couldn’t quite understand, an enemy that wore the same uniform, spoke the same lingo.

“This is no ordinary combat situation, gentlemen. We’re not after insurgents. We are hunting a phantom, a specter wearing our own colors. But remember, the predator we are tracking is still flesh and blood, like you and me. We find it, we stomp it out,” Thompson’s voice cut through the gale, instilling steel into the hearts of his men.

soldiers in the green zone