As he walked down the sidewalk Hakim began to refine the next part of his plan, mainly, how he would island-hop his way to his destination. The boat was in Farmer’s Hill, a little over a hundred miles to the south. There was no direct ferry and he desperately wanted to avoid airports for a while and maybe forever. He was so fixated on solving this problem and leaving tonight if possible that he didn’t notice the car slowing next to him. Suddenly the side door of the minivan opened and then he felt a jabbing pain in the back of his neck and a strong pair of hands grabbing him from behind. He was both lifted and shoved at the same time. He felt completely out of control and overpowered as he was folded and stuffed into the bench seat and the waiting arms of a man he did not recognize. He noted the pain from his ribs, but it was somehow muted. He thought of screaming but couldn’t. Nothing was responding. Not his mouth, not his arms, not his legs. Even his eyes were closing against his will, and then everything went black.
RAPP and Butler saw the two men enter the bank and even then they weren’t sure it was them. A few minutes later, though, Dumond sounded the alarm. He was inside the bank’s network and saw whose safety deposit box it was that Nelson was accessing. Butler let Rapp make the call. Did he want to grab both of them right now and see what was in that safety deposit box, or did he want to wait and follow them when they were done? Rapp knew what Butler would prefer. As far as they knew, Nelson hadn’t done anything illegal at this point. Storming into the bank would eventually involve the police and Nelson’s superiors. As long as he wasn’t a flight risk, it was better to leave him out of it for the moment. Butler’s people could keep close tabs on him, and if they found something out in a day or two they could deal with him then.
Rapp decided on a snatch and grab. Coleman had the kit with tranquilizer, flex cuffs, and hood. The minivan with Coleman, Wicker, and Reavers did a dry run while they were in the bank and looked for likely spots on two streets. Rapp wandered into a gift shop across and just down the street from the bank. He greeted the woman behind the counter and asked her if she had any laminated tourist maps. He purchased one and then stood near the front of the store pretending to look at it. They were in the bank for just under fifteen minutes. Rapp was looking in the opposite direction when the target exited the bank. Five of Butler’s men were doing the same thing. They had no idea if the target was alone and they didn’t want to get caught with tunnel vision.
Rapp heard Butler call it over his tiny flesh-colored earpiece. Rapp slowly turned his head back in the direction of the bank. Al Harbi and Nelson were standing on the sidewalk talking. After half a minute or so, they shook hands and parted ways. Rapp raised the map an inch and lowered his eyes as the target crossed the street and came almost directly at hi
m. When they’d seen him approach the bank he’d come from the same direction. Rapp wasn’t sure if he was being lazy or bold. It might have had something to do with the condition he was in. The guy looked as if he’d been in one hell of a fight.
He crossed in front of Rapp’s position and continued down the street. Rapp counted to ten and then left the store. He spotted him almost immediately half a block ahead of him. He was wearing a red Budweiser hat that made him easy to find. Rapp held the map in both hands and tilted his head so it looked as if he was trying to read it. Behind his sunglasses, though, his eyes were following the red hat. One of Butler’s guys was supposed to be checking his six right now, but Rapp wasn’t going to leave that kind of thing to someone he didn’t know. Getting too focused on the target was a great way to get a bullet in the back of the head. Rapp spun and walked backward for a few steps, pretending to consult the map to figure out where he was. The pedestrian traffic was moderate, which helped. Rapp noted who had been behind him and then spun back around. He noticed a few security cameras that would have to be dealt with later and noted their position just in case the others missed them.
The bus stop was up ahead. Forty feet of empty curb space. Perfect for what they had planned. Rapp lengthened his stride and picked up the pace a bit. Still acting as if he was consulting the map he said, “It looks good.”
When he closed to within thirty feet he gave the signal by putting the map in his back pocket. There was no gunning of an engine. No squealing tires. Nothing that would alert the target. The minivan slowly pulled into the open space fifteen feet ahead of the target. Rapp smiled and moved over for a young couple who looked as if they were on their honeymoon. Rapp closed fast and quietly. His left hand slid into his front pocket and pulled out the short epipen. It was filled with enough tranquilizers to take down a 190-pound man in less than five seconds. Rapp guessed the target was no more than 175 pounds. He pulled the cap off and stuffed it in his right pocket.
The big side door of the van slid open. Rapp focused on the target’s head and watched it begin to turn in the direction of the van. He moved as if he was going to pass the target on the left, brought up the epipen, and punched it down on the back left side of the man’s neck. His right hand clamped down firmly on the target’s shoulder and he half-pushed, half-spun him toward the open door. The guy moved like a rag doll. Rapp tossed him into Reavers’s waiting arms and followed right behind him. Coleman was already pulling back into traffic as Rapp was yanking the door closed.
Rapp patted down the target’s pockets. He found two sets of identification, one of which was for Adam Farhat. The photo matched the sketch. “We got the right guy. Nice work, guys.”
Rapp continued rifling through the man’s pockets. He found a phone, a battery for the phone, a room key for a hotel, a money belt stuffed with cash, and a manila envelope stuffed in the back waistband of the guy’s shorts. He put it all in a small duffel bag and then began to go through the contents more closely. He was in the middle of opening the big envelope when Butler came over his earpiece.
“We might have a problem. One of the shop owners is on the street. We think he wrote down your tag and he’s now on his phone. We think he might be talking to the police.”
“Shit.” Rapp looked at Coleman’s reflection in the rearview mirror and said, “Start making your way out to Paradise Island. Just in case.”
Coleman did so without having to ask why.
Rapp pulled out his mobile phone and called the pilots. He told them they might have to make a hasty departure. It was standard procedure to have the plane fueled and ready for this very reason. Rapp tore open the envelope and pulled out a stack of papers. He fanned his way through the heavy stock and fancy seals. “Bearer bonds. Holy shit. A lot of them.”
He stuffed them back in the bag, grabbed the phone, and placed the battery back in its place. It took a while for the phone to power up. Rapp wanted to see if he’d made any calls recently. The message light was on, so he decided to start there. He hit the button and held the phone to his ear. “You dare call me a coward.” The voice had an Arab accent and Rapp thought the man sounded very angry. “What are you? You sneak out of here like some frightened woman while I am in the shower and leave me to fight for myself. Stuck in the middle of America. You will pay! Allah will make you pay. I will tell everyone that you are a traitor. Nothing more than a woman with a man’s genitalia. And that I’m not even sure about. When I am done with my mission I will find you. I will hunt you like a dog and I will make you endure unimaginable suffering and humiliation. And trust me, I will not fail. I will find you.”
“Stuck in the middle of America,” Rapp mumbled to himself. He looked over at the body of al Harbi. His sunglasses had fallen off and his face looked as if someone had beaten the piss out of him. Rapp was trying to make sense of it all when Butler came back over the radio, his voice more urgent than before.
“The police are now on the scene.”
Rapp thought about the message he’d just listened to and made a decision, “Got it. We’re out of here.”
“What about your computer friend here?” Butler asked.
Rapp had almost forgot about Dumond. “I’ll send another plane. And another thing . . . I have a room key here for the Towne Hotel. Number twelve.”
“I’ll have it gone over.”
Coleman hit the gas and Rapp ordered Reavers and Wicker to stuff al Harbi into the canvas bag they’d brought along. While they wrestled with the limp body, Rapp called the pilots back and told them they were inbound and he wanted to be wheels up as soon as they arrived. The customs stamps and paperwork had already been taken care of. Rapp cringed at the thought of the police catching a CIA black ops team with a heavily medicated terrorist, one they’d abducted in broad daylight in the middle of one of the world’s most well-known tourist destinations. Whether al Harbi was guilty or not, this was the type of thing that could set off an international incident. Coleman went straight to the private aviation section of the airport.
By the time they pulled onto the tarmac the duffel bag was zipped up and the engines on the G550 were spooling up. Coleman wheeled the van around to the rear cargo door. Rapp jumped out with the small duffel bag and headed straight for the ground-crew guy who worked for the local aviation company. Rapp slid him a hundred-dollar bill and made small talk while Wicker and Reavers wrestled the big duffel bag into the rear cargo compartment. Coleman dumped the van in the lot and trotted back to the jet while the cargo door was secured. Rapp followed him up the steps and hit the button to raise the stairs. There was a moment of hesitation while he wondered if they should retrieve Dumond, and then he decided he could do without him for a few hours. What they didn’t want right now was for the tower to lay down a ground stop.
All four men took their seats and buckled in as the plane taxied. Rapp tapped his earpiece and said, “George?”
“Don’t forget the tags on the van.”