Memorial Day, p.12Part #7 of Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn
"Can you be sure of that? Do you pretend to know what Allah wishes? Can you be absolutely certain that those men who gave you your religious instruction know the full intent of the prophet?" Rapp lifted Khalili's chin again. "Ahmed, I'm guessing you're smart smarter than the others. Have you never read the Koran and wondered how the imams derive such hate from a book that is so filled with peace and beauty?"
The boy did not try to pull away this time. Rapp released his chin and placed his hand on his shoulder. "I can help you if you let me, Ahmed. I will take you away from this place and make sure no harm comes to you. You will meet other Muslims who are enlightened. Muslims who will tell you that the people who have taught you are false prophets, sick men who are blinded by bigotry and hate for their fellow man. There is a plane waiting only miles from here. A hot shower, a change of clothes, and a prayer rug for you to begin making things right. That is one path. The other one is several days, perhaps weeks, even months filled with pain and humiliation you can't even begin to comprehend.
Rapp withdrew his hand. "The choice is yours, but you must show me you are willing to cooperate, or I will turn you over to the Afghanis." He studied the boy, and watched as his breathing seemed to settle. Rapp did not want to give him too much time to think of his answer. He was sure the voices of his religious instructors were ringing in his head telling him that their version of Islam was the only true one. The Muslims, who disagreed with him had gone astray and been perverted over the centuries.
Rapp stood and took a step toward the door. Over his shoulder he said, "I will take your silence as an unwillingness to cooperate."
He had barely taken three steps when he heard the beaten voice of his prisoner say something that he could barely make out. He forced himself to turn around more slowly than he would have liked. "What did you say?"
"They are planning to kill your president."
He shook his head. "I do not know."
Rapp studied the slumped figure for a few seconds. "Ahmed, if this is going to work, you have to tell me everything."
"I do not know how," he said more adamantly this time.
"There has been mention of a bomb."
Rapp felt his heart quicken. "A nuclear bomb?"
The boy looked up at the question. "I have not heard them talk of a nuclear bomb."
"Ahmed, you cannot lie to me."
"I only arrived the day before yesterday. I have not been involved in this part of the operation."
Rapp returned to the bucket and sat. "What else did they say about the bomb? Repeat everything."
"I overheard them saying it was very big." Ahmed looked down as if he was ashamed. "They said it would kill thousands. All of your politicians and generals."
Rapp's jaw hung slack with disbelief at the revelation. There was only one bomb that he could think of that killed thousands. "Ahmed, do you know how many Muslims live in Washington, D.C.?"
"Thousands. These bombs don't simply kill politicians and generals. Do you think Allah will show forgiveness to anyone who kills that many of his flock?"
"I don't know."
"Yes, you do, Ahmed," snapped Rapp, "yes, you do." The sheer lunacy of the entire mess left Rapp at a momentary loss. These bastards were finally going to do it.
"When is the attack to take place?"
"I don't know."
"Come on you must have some idea."
"Soon, is all I know."
"How soon?" demanded Rapp.
"I do not know."
Rapp gave his prisoner an ominous look.
"I swear to you I do not know! I only follow orders. This Friday past, Waheed Abdullah told us we were to leave Karachi and make our way to the mountains."
"Because of the crackdown that will take place after the bomb goes off."
Rapp buried his face in his hands. These idiots had no idea of the Pandora's box they were about to open.
After a moment he regained his composure. So far he believed Ahmed, but he needed to talk to the others and see if he could confirm this story. More importantly, he needed to find out if the others knew more. He was willing to bet that two of them did for sure.
Rapp grabbed Ahmed under the arm and pulled him to his feet. "Let's go, and I don't want you talking to the others. Don't even look at them!" They walked toward the door, Rapp pulling the shackled prisoner along. When they reached the rickety door, Rapp shoved it open, and they were momentarily blinded by the bright morning sun. Rapp brought a hand up to shield his eyes and pushed Ahmed toward Urda.
"Gag him and sit him down over there by the trucks."
Urda was on his mobile phone. He held up a finger signaling to Rapp that he needed a second. He walked a few steps away and continued to listen. "All right. Thanks for the update. Call me as soon as you learn anything else."
Urda flipped the phone closed and approached Rapp. The other three prisoners were kneeling on the ground bound and gagged about fifty feet away. Urda hooked Ahmed by the arm and said to Rapp, "Follow me."
The three of them walked over by the trucks where Urda deposited Ahmed. He fastened the gag over his mouth and grabbed a smelly burlap hood to throw over his head.
Rapp stopped him. "He doesn't need the hood."
Urda threw the hood on the ground and gestured for Rapp to follow him. He led him around the corner of the building and in a voice barely loud enough for Rapp to hear said, "That was one of my guys calling from the base. They found a couple of interesting dossiers on some guys who we've been looking for. Care to take a guess who?"
Rapp was not in the guessing mood. He'd allowed his thoughts to wander briefly and was thinking of the city of his youth. The place he called home. The faces of innocent people going about their honest lives. They were all in jeopardy. "I have no idea."
"You know those missing Pakistani nuclear scientists we've been trying to track down?"
All Rapp could do was shake his head. "This just keeps getting worse."
"The dossiers are detailed. Filled with surveillance of their activities going back five years in one case. They were recruited by agents at the local mosques where the scientists were posted just like we thought."
"Any more good news?" he asked sarcastically.
Rapp leaned back around the corner and checked on Ahmed. "Khalili says he left Karachi last Friday when Abdullah ordered them to pack up and head for the mountains."
"Reprisals. They think those damn mountains will actually protect them."
Urda looked off to the south. From this distance the mountains looked like a distant wall of clouds. "Those mountains have protected them for centuries."
"Not this time, Jamal. If they've got a nuke, and they set it off in D.C., the mountains will become their tomb." Rapp stepped around the corner and looked at the three prisoners he had yet to interrogate. He could feel the rage building, which wasn't always a good thing, but considering the time constraints they were up against there was no delicate way to handle the situation.
"Follow me," he said to Urda, "And let's get this over with."
* * *
Rapp dragged Hassan Izz-al-Din into the room by his long black hair. The man's personal hygiene left a lot to be desired, and that was before he'd been rolled around in pigshit. Al-Din's gag was still in place, so the curses he was trying to fling at Rapp weren't getting very far. Rapp deposited the Yemeni-born extremist like a bag of garbage on top of his dead comrade. Al-Din struggled wildly against his bonds while simultaneously trying to writhe his way off his dead friend.
He squirmed his way clear of the corpse just in time for Urda to deposit Waheed Ahmed Abdullah in the space he had just vacated. Abdullah's reaction to being placed on top of his lifeless friend was much the same as al-Din's.
Rapp pulled al-Din to his knees, and as soon as Abdullah had rolled clear he yanked h
Rapp just stood there, arms folded, watching the bearded mongrels spew their hatred. He wanted them to get all of this off their chests and then he would react. Finally, Rapp asked in Arabic, "Are you done?"
The men spat in his direction and launched into a second tirade every bit as vituperative as the first. Many of the same insults were used, only uttered with redoubled vigor, but as before, they ran out of steam and grew a bit bewildered at Rapp's refusal to engage.
Rapp knew a fair amount about each man. He knew from where they hailed, and where they'd received their religious indoctrination. Although he couldn't recall all the names, he also knew the CIA had a list of their family members.
"Are you done?" he asked again.
This time they only muttered a few curses before stopping.
"Good," replied Rapp in a satisfied tone. He drew his 9mm FNP-9 from his thigh holster, pulled the hammer back into the cocked position, and leveled it at al-Din. Without a question, or word of warning, he squeezed the trigger once, a loud pop and muzzle flash erupting from the weapon. Before Abdullah could react, Rapp brought the weapon to bear on him and fired again.
The entire thing happened in less than a second, with both men toppled over screaming in pain but unable to clutch their shattered kneecaps.
Rapp stepped over the dead body of al-Houri and looked down at the two agonized faces. "You didn't really think it was going to be that easy, did you?"
Through a jaw clenched in pain al-Din tried to assail him with more insults, although they'd lost the intensity they'd had only a moment earlier. Abdullah reacted just as Rapp thought he would. He just lay there on the dirty floor and whimpered to himself.
Rapp had decided to take a calculated risk and make an assumption based on what he already knew. He lowered his weapon and said, "So tell me about the bomb."
Abdullah started to speak, but was stopped by al-Din. "Silence! Don't say another word to him."
Looming over the two men, Rapp reacted instantly and without malice. He grabbed Abdullah by the hair and shoved his face next to al-Din's. He extended his pistol and pointed it at the head of al-Din, the man who he had already guessed would be more difficult to break. The men had their faces pressed tightly together. Rapp squeezed the trigger and sent a hollow-tipped bullet into the Yemeni's face. Al-Din's entire body convulsed at impact and then settled, with only his fingers twitching. Abdullah was left gasping for air, his eyes stinging from the muzzle blast and his face covered with blood and flesh.
Rapp knew that al-Din had been born into an impoverished Yemeni household and at the young age of fifteen had joined the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He was battle hardened and the less likely of the two to break. He had also been in charge of the terrorist training camp that produced seven of the 9/11 hijackers, and for that reason alone Rapp felt no remorse for putting a bullet in his head.
Abdullah, on the other hand, had come from a wealthy Saudi family, and having shown no real skill or interest in business, he was shipped off at the age of twelve to receive religious instruction at one of the grand Wahhabi madrasas in Mecca. Abdullah was a firebrand Muslim, but a pampered one.
"So," Rapp straddled the Saudi and pointed the barrel of the FNP-9 at his head. "You and I were talking. Tell me about the bomb."
Abdullah's face was contorted in pain from the gunshot to his knee. He looked over at the twitching hand of his dead comrade. A second later he shut his eyes and said, "I do not know about any bomb."
"Wrong answer." Rapp brought his gun up. He would not kill Abdullah, at least not yet, but the man did not need to know that.
"No no I am telling you the truth!" Abdullah closed his eyes tightly as if that would somehow slow the impact of the bullet. "It wasn't my part of the operation."
"Abdullah, listen very carefully to me. If you don't tell me everything I want to know I am going to kill you, and then I am going to track down your entire family and kill each one of them. Now, for the last time " Rapp leaned over, placing the hard steel of the FNP-9 against Abdullah's temple and forcing his head onto the dirty floor. "Is the bomb nuclear?"
Abdullah's face was twisted in fright. "Yes."
"I do not know," he pleaded. "Honestly."
"I swear I don't know. All I've been told is that it will destroy the entire city."
Rapp squeezed the grip of his FNP-9. "When are you planning on setting it off?"
"This week some time I think."
Rapp leaned on the gun and yelled, "What do you mean some time?"
"I do not know. I was only told it would happen this week."
"Where is the bomb right now?"
"I don't know."
Rapp removed the pistol from the Saudi's temple and shoved it into his groin. "I'm going to blow your balls off, Abdullah! Where the hell is the bomb?"
"Don't shoot!" the man pleaded. "It was supposed to arrive yesterday."
A bewildered expression spread across Abdullah's face. "I truly don't know. I only know that it was coming in by plane."
"What kind of plane?"
Abdullah closed his eyes. "A cargo plane."
"What carrier, and from where?"
"I do not know."
Rapp kept the pistol firmly in place. It was unclear how much, if any, of what he'd just been told was true, but either way he had to report it to Kennedy immediately. An idea popped into his head and he decided to go with it. He stood, reached down to grab a handful of his prisoner's hair, and started dragging him across the floor.
He looked at Urda and said, "Load the other two up. We're going back to the base." When he reached the door he held it open with one hand while he pulled his prisoner across the threshold. Then, in a moment of inspiration, he decided to stop and slam the door into the terrorist's shattered knee.
Abdullah shrieked in pain. Rapp waited a few seconds and slammed the door into his knee again. Abdullah's eyes rolled back into his head, and he began to hyperventilate.
Rapp bent down and growled into his ear, "Guess where we're going?"
Abdullah either didn't hear the question or was in too much pain to answer so Rapp yanked his hair and screamed the question a second time.
"I don't know," Abdullah answered, with tears streaming from his dark brown eyes.
"Ground zero, you stupid prick." Rapp pulled him out into the bright sunlight. "I'm going to strap your ass to the Washington Monument so you can have a front-row seat."
Rapp began pulling Abdullah toward the waiting vehicles. He couldn't even attempt to remember the last time he'd been so enraged. It had finally come to this. These nutbags were actually going to plunge the world into chaos.
"Hey, Abdullah," Rapp said in a sarcastic voice, "maybe I'll have your mom and dad picked up along with all of your brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews." Rapp pulled him roughly over a crumbled wall. "The whole Abdullah clan. That's what I'm going to do. I'll call my buddy the crown prince and have them sent over."
"The crown prince," hissed Abdullah, "is no friend of yours."
"Sure he is," replied Rapp in a jovial voice. "He owes me a big favor, actually." Rapp reached the back of one of the vehicles and let go of his prisoner's hair.
Abdullah's head hit the ground hard. With an angry face he said, "This proves you are a liar. I know the crown prince." Abdullah wheezed in pain and added, "He is a true believer, and he would never ever speak to someone like you."
Rapp laughed. "The crown prince believes in Allah, but he does not buy into all that Wahhabi crap."
"Remember fat Omar his h
The look on his captive's face was beyond priceless.
Rapp popped the tailgate. "Yeah, I'll have to make that call. That way your family can thank you in person for getting them all killed. Every last member."
* * *
Irene Kennedy stood at the back of the Global Ops Center on the seventh floor of the Old Headquarters Building at Langley. She slowly placed the handset of the secure phone back in its cradle. She didn't move or speak for close to a minute. Around her the room buzzed with every manner of modern communication available. All of it-every voice, beep, whir, churn, and tap of a keyboard-blended into a seamless thrum of background noise, and she blocked it out.
The national security of America was serious business, and Dr. Irene Kennedy had never thought otherwise. The specter of a nuclear attack, however, did strange things to people. She was not incapacitated by fear. On the contrary. She was merely trying to comprehend the full importance of what Rapp had just told her, for she knew there was no turning back once she took the next step. There would be no standing down, at least not for the next few hours. This would likely be her last chance to make a calm assessment of the situation before a myriad of people and agencies got involved: secretaries, undersecretaries, directors, deputy directors, generals, admirals, and of course the president himself and the grab bag of political advisors who came with him. Some of these people were good at keeping secrets, but most of them were not.
Kennedy looked up at the three massive TV screens that dominated the front wall of the room. They were all tuned to twenty-four-hour cable news networks. There was no big news at present, and she hoped that would remain the case for the next twenty-four hours until they could get a handle on this thing.
Somewhat reluctantly, Kennedy picked up the handset of the secure phone. She scanned the numerous buttons for the proper speed-dial label and found it. Several seconds later the duty officer for the Secret Service's Joint Operations Command answered.
Memorial Day by Vince Flynn / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes