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After glancing at him Rapp returned his attention to the road. They were 99 percent sure the car was clean, but they had their work phones on them, and although they were encrypted, the technology existed for an outfit like the National Security Agency to turn the phones into listening devices. Rapp chose his words carefully. “Maybe we can carve out a little time this afternoon to talk about it.”

Nash wasn’t so easily deterred. “I didn’t sign up for this.” Under his breath he mumbled, “I’m not a cold-blooded killer.”

Rapp thought he’d heard him, but wasn’t sure. “What was that?”

“You heard me,” Nash said.

“It’s hard to understand someone when he’s slouched over like a teenager and mumbling to himself.”

“I said,” Nash spoke with exaggerated clarity, “that I’m not a cold-blooded killer.”

“That’s interesting . . . because I’d swear I saw you pop a few guys when we were over in the Kush.” Rapp was referring to the operations they’d run in Afghanistan.

“That’s different.”

“How so?”

“They were the enemy.”

“And what would you call this guy . . . our ally?”

“How about a fellow American?”

Rapp sighed. He did not want to talk about this right now, but he needed to figure out what in the hell was wrong with Nash and he had to do it before he put him in the same room as the president and God only knew who else. “Threats both foreign and domestic,” Rapp said, quoting the oath they’d both taken. “Everyone likes to forget about the domestic part. Just because you’re an American doesn’t automatically make you one of the good guys.”

“Well . . . just because he disagrees with us doesn’t make him an enemy.”

“So he can break whatever law he wants?”

“We’re not exactly angels.”

Rapp’s patience was fading. “I think you’re tired. This conversation is over.”

Nash chuckled and said, “This has nothing to do with me being tired, and everything to do with the fact that you don’t want to face the truth.”

“Mike, I’ve been doing this shit since I was twenty-two. I’ve been accused of a lot of things but sticking my head in the sand is not one of them.”

“Well . . . there’s a first time for everything.”

“Is this how you ran your command in Corps? Was it a debate club?”

“Don’t compare this to the Corps. I would have never considered kidnapping a fellow Marine.”

Rapp had heard about enough. He didn’t like the fact that they were veering into specifics. He glanced over at Nash’s bloodshot eyes, shook his head, and said, “I don’t think you’re going to attend this meeting.”

“I don’t think that’s your decision to make.”

“The hell it isn’t.”

Nash scoffed. “Oh . . . you’re never the problem . . . not Mitch Rapp. It’s always someone else’s fault. You wanna write my attitude off to a lack of sleep, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. I can tell you right now being tired has nothing to do with it. What we’re doing back there . . . to one of our own . . . it’s just wrong.”

Rapp checked his rearview mirror and then yanked the steering wheel to the right. The car moved onto the shoulder.

“What are you doing?”

“Pulling over.”

“We don’t have time,” Nash said with alarm. “We’re late.”

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