“They why did you wait for them to leave?”
“Why did you wait for them to leave?”
Jack thought about it for a second. As much as he hated to admit it, she was right, although playing whiffle ball after dark was not a crime. “You’re not a good driver. What if you hit something?”
“Come on, Jack, she’s just going around the block. Stop arguing and let’s get out there or we really will be out of light.”
“What if he calls?”
Shannon held up her cell phone. “He always calls my cell.”
“Fine, let’s go.”
The four boys headed out the front door with the baby monitor and the bat and balls and Shannon went out the back door with the keys for the minivan. It took her three attempts to get it out of the garage, and she only backed over one small shrub on her way down the driveway. The boys stopped play to watch her as she inched her way into the street and then put it in drive and moved off at a snail’s pace. At the end of the block she hit her blinker and took a right turn. The boys resumed play. Six pitches and two hits later she appeared at the other end of the block. The boys all moved to the side and shook their heads at her as she did another slow pass-by. Then they started to play again and forgot all about her.
FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA
RAPP sat across the table from Hakim al Harbi and tried to make sense of it all. He’d seen a lot of strange stuff in the nearly two decades that he had been doing this, but this was a first. They’d flipped guys before, but always after exercising either pressure or incentive. They all broke eventually, but most of these militant types had to be threatened to within an inch of their lives before they would give any good information. There were others, not the front-line troops, but the support people, who helped purchase weapons and other supplies. The moneymen and the deal makers who traveled around the Middle East raising capital and recruiting new bodies for the cause, they could be turned with nothing more than the hint of violence on one hand and the possibility of hard cash on the other if they cooperated. That in itself told him that maybe this Hakim fellow was nothing more than a logistics guy, but then again he had freely admitted to killing American and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.
On the flight up they’d pulled him out of the bag and given him a drug to counteract the tranquilizer. He woke up groggy, but in obvious pain and discomfort. After a brief inspection they found out that in addition to a bruised and battered face, he had at least two broken ribs and one lung on the verge of collapsing. Wicker was a trained medic. He pulled Rapp aside and told him to be careful. If the other lung collapsed the man could die. Rapp didn’t care so much if the man died, he just wanted to get the information out of him first. Until he was in better condition they would have to hold off on the rough stuff.
To Rapp’s surprise, though, al Harbi spoke openly and without any preconditions. Rapp handled the questions while Coleman observed and recorded everything that was said. By the time they landed back at Dulles, Rapp was convinced that al Harbi was either telling the truth or the greatest liar he had ever met in his life. On the advice of Wicker they pulled the jet into the hangar and closed the doors. Stuffing him back into the bag was not a good idea. When they arrived at the Quarry, Dr. Lewis was waiting for them. He gave al Harbi a sedative to help with the pain and started him on some heavy-duty antibiotics. After that was out of the way, Lewis hooked him up to a lie detector and led him through a series of questions to establish a baseline. Rapp stayed in the room and looked for any signs that al Harbi was trying to fool the machines. He didn’t notice any, but that didn’t mean that he hadn’t.
Unbeknownst to Rapp, Coleman had gone into Max Johnson’s cell and asked him about his contacts in the telecommunications industry. Johnson began babbling through a list of companies and his contacts at each place. Coleman asked him, if he gave him a phone number, would he be able to tell him where the phone was located when it made a call. Johnson explained that he could tell him what tower it used to connect to the network, but that was it. Then he babbled on about some surveillance equipment he’d developed that could pinpoint the whereabouts of a phone down to the nearest foot. Coleman explained that for now he only wanted to verify the location of the one phone call. He went on to tell Johnson that his cooperation would go a long way toward convincing Rapp that he could be trusted. Johnson eagerly leaped at the chance. He told Coleman all he needed was a computer with internet access, and he’d have the info for him in less than five minutes.
True to his word, he had everything verified in only three minutes. Coleman asked him if he had a back door into customs and Johnson said yes. He had him check if al Harbi had in fact traveled under the alias of Michael Andros through New Orleans and Miami on his way to Nassau earlier in the day. He verified that information as well. Coleman told Reavers to keep an eye on Johnson while he went and talked to Mitch.
Rapp was in the middle of interrogating al Harbi with Dr. Lewis when Coleman knocked on the door and asked Rapp to step outside.
Rapp closed the door behind him and asked, “What’s up?”
“I thought you’d want to see this. That phone number . . . the one that he says belongs to Karim. I had it checked out.”
“Is Marcus back?” Rapp asked hopefully.
“No, I had Johnson do it.”
Rapp showed his surprise. “You gave him access to a computer?”
“Relax . . . I watched him.”
“Can I trust the prick?”
“He wants to live, so I think we can.” Coleman handed over the map he’d printed. “Two things. The first . . . that phone pinged this tower right here south of Branson, Missouri, and it matches the time stamp on the voicemail that was left on Hakim’s phone.”
“So at a bare minimum he wasn’t lying about where they were.”
“Correct. I also had Johnson check the ICE database. Michael Andros left New Orleans at six this morning and connected through Miami on his way to Nassau. He was traveling alone and his ticket was purchased online.”
“What about the other message?”
“What other message?” Coleman asked.
“Karim left two messages.”