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Hakim turned his head slowly to see Karim standing beside and just behind him. His gun was clearly visible in his right

hand. Casually he raised the weapon and pointed it at the two men. “Why are you really here?”

Hakim whispered in an angry voice, “I had this under control.”

Without taking his eyes off the two visitors, Karim said, “You are a fool.”



RAPP walked over to the closest metal desk and picked up a plain manila file. Being asked to come into the room at this juncture was either a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective. Rapp’s guess was that it was a bad sign for Adams. He punched in the code and opened the door. Maslick was right behind him. Adams was seated where Rapp had left him and despite looking tired, he still managed a smug look of defiance.

“Glen here thinks you’re the problem,” Hurley announced.


“That’s right. He doesn’t want to talk about what he was doing last night.” Hurley rolled his eyes. Turning to Maslick he said, “Grab the cart.”

Maslick wheeled a three-level cart into the room and left it in the corner. Then, dragging the table away from Adams, he pointed at the nearest chair and said, “Sit.”

“Listen,” Adams said while holding his hands up in an affable manner, “I don’t know who you are, and I don’t have to know who you are, but trust me when I say you don’t want to be involved in this.”

Rapp stood in the doorway, his hands on his hips, a determined expression on his face. “You’re wasting your breath, Glen. He’d just as soon kill you, but he’s a good soldier, so he’ll wait until I tell him. In the meantime, sit down and do what you’re told.”

Adams hesitated so Maslick helped him back into his chair. Then the big man grabbed some flex cuffs from one of the cargo pockets on his khaki pants. Adams complained while his wrists were pulled behind the back of the chair and bound. Next came his ankles to each of the chair’s front legs. Rapp wheeled the cart over. On the top sat a polygraph machine.

Hurley stood in front of Adams and asked, “Glen, since you’re so smart, I’m wondering if you could tell me what makes a guy like Mitch here get out of bed and bust his ass for people like you?”

“I don’t pretend to know the criminal mind, but if I had to guess, I would say it’s a perverse thrill that he derives out of inflicting pain on others.”

“That’s the best you can do?” Hurley asked. “No other reasons?”


“Well, I trained him, you dumb ass. If I thought for a moment that he was some sadistic brute who was two ticks away from being a career criminal, I’d a bounced his ass right out of the program, and trust me I know the difference, because I got rid of plenty of them over the years. The only thing that a guy like Mitch gets out of climbing down in the gutter with these religious nut jobs is the knowledge that he is fighting the good fight. That he’s doing the honorable thing, while all the overeducated assholes like you sit in your nice leather chairs and criticize his every move.”

“And you would have me . . . what? Let him defy the rule of law? Let him kill whoever his pea-sized brain thinks deserves killing?”

“No, but at a bare minimum I expect you to resist the urge to delude yourself into thinking our enemies would like us if only we were nicer to them.”

Adams exhaled a tired sigh as if to say they were wasting his time. “Do you want to wait until the poly is hooked up so you’re sure I’m giving you the right answer?”

“We’re not going to bother with the poly,” Hurley said half laughing. “Any clandestine officer with half a brain knows how to fool that thing.”

Rapp stepped forward, grabbed Adams’s shirt, and tore it open. “Normally, I’d try to stay detached while interrogating someone, but this is going to be tough.”

“You are making a huge mistake,” Adams warned.

“The only mistake I’ve made in the last twenty-four hours was not killing you sooner.”

Adams laughed nervously. “I know all about your methods.”

“As usual, I think you’re talking out of your ass.”

“You’re going to scream at me, you’ll keep me up for seventy-two hours . . . you’ll raise and lower the temperature in this room, you’ll probably give me more vodka.” He shook his head and added, “In the end you’ll learn nothing and you’ll have to let me go. After that I will march straight into the attorney general’s office and demand that you be brought up on kidnapping charges, and that’s just for starters. So . . . if the three of you can scrape together enough brain cells to see that the only rational course is to let me go while I’m still in the mood to forgive this lack of judgment, you might be able to avoid some serious jail time.”

“There’s one big problem with your plan,” Hurley said as he leaned against the wall and lit a cigarette. “When we’re done wringing the truth out of you, I’m going shoot you in the head with this.” Hurley pulled back his jacket and drew a pistol from a shoulder harness.