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“The other vehicle sped around the van and stopped in front of it. Blocking the road.”

Nash froze. He looked past the van. There was no other vehicle. He turned to look in the back of the police car, expecting to see his daughter. It was empty. Nash’s heart began to race.

“Two men,” he heard the woman say. “They were in a big black Suburban. Both of them dressed like those FBI guys in all black. They cut her off and then pulled her from the van. They threw her in the backseat of the Suburban and took off that way, toward Glebe Road.”

Nash joined them on the boulevard. He

checked his emotions and looked at the police officer. “My name is Mike Nash. I work counter-terrorism for the CIA. That is my van and that was my daughter who was taken. I need you to get on your radio and put out an Amber alert on that truck and those men and my fifteen-year-old daughter. Her name is Shannon Nash.” Nash stared at the dumbfounded officer for a few seconds and then said, “I’d appreciate it if you’d step on it, officer. Before I lose my cool and start screaming.”

The officer nodded. “I recognize you from your photo.”

“Yes,” said Nash, “I’m going to call the FBI right now. Please,” Nash said urgently, “get that Amber alert out right now.”

The officer grabbed his shoulder-mounted radio and called in to his dispatcher. Nash called Art Harris from the FBI and filled him in as best he could. Harris said he would dispatch agents to the scene immediately, as well as to the house, and that he would make sure that the Amber alert was in place. He was about to call Rapp when his phone rang. He looked down and saw Shannon’s face smiling back at him. The call was from her.

Nash swallowed hard and answered his phone. “Hello.”

No one spoke for a second, and then a man with a slight accent said, “I have your daughter.”

“Prove it.”

“Daddy!” The voice was cut short.

“Is that proof enough?”

Nash closed his eyes and told himself to keep it together. “What do you want?”

“I want you.”

“All right.”

“I will trade your life for hers.”

Nash was nodding without knowing it. “All right. Where do you want to meet?”

“You will know soon enough.”

“I’m right here. I’m standing in the exact spot where you pulled her from the van. Come back. I’ll put my gun in the middle of the street and we’ll make the exchange.”

There was laughter. “We will see who is the real coward. The world will see who is the real coward. In one hour you will know where we will make the exchange.”


“Turn on your TV.”

The line went dead. Nash stared at his phone, his hand beginning to shake. He was about to call Maggie, but stopped. He had no idea what he would say to her. He decided to call Rapp instead. If anyone could figure a way out of this it would be him.



AHMED drove down Constitution Avenue and took a right onto Twenty-second Street. The service entrance for the building was up ahead on the left halfway down the block. It was Saturday evening, so the only person they expected to deal with was a night watchman. Karim had the young girl gagged and tied in the backseat. Ahmed pulled over and got out. He walked around the back of the truck and opened the big double doors. He grabbed his long black rifle bag and closed the doors. Karim met him on the sidewalk and held up the phone.

“Remember . . . we’ll use the radio feature to communicate.”

Ahmed nodded. “Yes.”

“And when you see me parked in front and you are ready you will begin calling the TV stations. And then you will radio me.”