Finally, the two men took their boots off and went to sleep. The rifles were kept close. Leaning against one of the boulders, Jack felt it shift slightly. He put his weight against the boulder and it moved a little more. Quietly, he went to work stacking boulders he could carry around the much larger loose boulder. When the pile looked big enough, Jack put his back against the key boulder and pushed. At first it budged and, pushing harder, he felt it begin to topple. Then it went with a crash, picking up speed as it bounced down the steep slope, gathering smaller rocks in its wake. The mass of the rockslide went right through the camp, smothering the fire and continuing down the mountain. As the dust settled Jack could see the men still on the ground begin to stir. Both rifles were gone. Charging down the hill with his handgun ready, Jack released Shadow who bounded past him and, with a growling roar, pounced on the nearest man. Jack had his handgun pressed against the head of the other sniper. Calling off Shadow’s attack, Jack told him to watch. Shadow stood over the downed terrorist, growling softly.
In the darkness compounded by lingering smoke and dust, Jack knew the two killers couldn’t see what was happening. He had his man securely tied with the nylon line from his pack and moved over to tie Shadow’s victim. Neither man seemed to be badly injured. Jack, with his SOCOM pressed into the man’s forehead, told him to be still and he might live. Shadow leaned in close to his victim’s face. The man said, “Okay! Please get that bear out of my face. He was biting me.”
“Yeah. Too bad about that. He was just getting started. Are you carrying any other weapons besides your rifles? Don’t lie. You’ll be very sorry. Now speak up!”
“We each have a knife and a 9mm Browning. But I don’t know where they are.”
“Never mind. Keep quiet and no talking.” Jack dragged him 20 feet from his partner. Jack turned to Shadow and said, “Gun.”
Shadow immediately began searching the area. Jack found two K-Bar military sheath knives inside the scattered boots. With both men securely tied, Jack helped Shadow search for the other weapons. Shadow barked softly indicating he found something. In a short time, he found both rifles. Jack found one of the Brownings partially covered by debris. After ten minutes of searching, he called Shadow off. With the rockslide, the second Browning could be dozens of yards down the slope. A nearly impossible search at night, even for Shadow.
Back at the campsite, Jack searched for identification documents. Neither man carried any documentation. He found two loaded magazines for each rifle, matches, cigarettes and a half dozen Snicker bars. Neither had a cell phone.
Kneeling beside the man Shadow had attacked, Jack said, “I’m going to ask you some questions. I don’t want any questions from you, no pauses, no thinking and no, I don’t knows. I’ll know if you’re lying and punishment will be immediate and severe. My dog is waiting patiently for his reward. One word from me, and he will make you very sorry. I may not be able to pull him off in time. Okay, let’s start. Understand?”
“Who the fuck are you?”
Jack softly called Shadow and pointed to the downed terrorist. Shadow leaned in close, baring his teeth and growling. Even in the dark, Shadow’s intentions were clear.
“Okay!! Call the dog off.”
“I told you no questions. What didn’t you understand? This is your last chance before we make an example out of you for your friend. What is your name?”
In the darkness Jack turned on the recording function of his iPhone.
“My name is Lawrence Parry.”
“Place and date of birth?”
“Jacksonville, Florida, June 22, 1980.”
“Who are you working for?”
“A Jihadist named Hasani.”
“Hasani is the only person who gives us orders.”
“How were you hired?”
“I volunteered in a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, and was trained in a camp in Pakistan.”
“Where are you going on this trail?”
“We’re going to a pickup place on Route 70 west at the intersection of State Route 295 just east of Hagerstown, Maryland.”
Jack continued with the interrogation for another 10 minutes, then shifted to the second killer who was suffering from a broken or dislocated shoulder and numerous cuts and bruises. One of the larger boulders must have hit him. Beyond his personal identification, his answers contained nothing new.
Moving out of earshot, Jack left Shadow on guard and called Frank. When Frank picked up, Jack told him he was sending the results of a preliminary interrogation of the two bridge snipers. Taking a few minutes to listen to the forwarded information, Frank said, “You never fail to astound me. How you trailed and captured two killers without firing a shot is incredible. Too bad I must shield you from the media. Every once in a while, we need some good results in the public media. Actually, the two live jihadists makes it easy for me to keep you under cover. I’ve got the GPS data and will send one of my teams to take them into custody. I’ll send them to Gitmo, if my management can stand the heat from the Attorney General. We’ll also ambush the pickup on Route 70. Send me pictures of the two captives and I’ll arrange for two ‘lookalikes’ to approach their ride.”
“Question, how are you going to prevent your internal leak from finding out about these arrangements?”
“I’m going to use a team from outside my office. No one, except Kathy, will be informed until we nail this damn spy.”
“One more question. Can you make arrangements to have me and Shadow picked up somewhere? If Kathy is wrapped up in an investigation, send Kelly. She’s resourceful and the only member of my team that’s not hurt or unavailable. Also, I won’t be here when your team arrives. I’m leaving these men firmly tied. They’ll be okay for a few hours but will suffer some damage, if they aren’t untied before nine or ten o’clock. Also, it’s cold here and getting colder. My weather data states a storm is possible before afternoon. Not that I care, but these shooters will die if a storm prevents a team from getting here. I’m leaving their empty weapons several yards below their position. I’ll mark the weapons site with a white handkerchief on a four-foot stake. Incidentally, there’s a missing 9mm Browning, Shadow and I have not been able to find. It may be buried under the rockslide that swept through the campsite. A metal detector may be useful. I’ll hang out until you tell me about my pickup place. Phone reception here, on this high point, is good. See you.”
Jack and Shadow ate the last of their food while waiting for instructions. Kathy called as Jack was getting ready to move out. He asked how she was.
Kathy said, “Other than worrying about you and Shadow, nursing a splitting headache, numerous bumps and bruises, and figuring out how to help Frank, I’m fine. Oh, I forgot. Lou is still in the ICU and Storm is worried sick. Jack, please be careful. We can’t save the free world by ourselves. Tell me someday we can have a normal life.”
“Kathy, yes, you are the love of my life and I will be careful. I never even fired a shot or struck anyone in capturing these guys. Please tell me how I get out of here. My battery is running very low and I need to save some for any emergencies.”
Kathy relayed Frank’s instructions identifying the meeting place along Route 70 and a direct azimuth to the site from his current position. She told him Kelly would be driving. She felt lousy and her headache was getting worse, reading the personnel files she had ask Frank to provide.
Jack knew Kathy was rattled but didn’t know how to fix the problem. He was following the road he promised his father he would take. The risks were higher than he had counted on. Much worse than the Marine Corps or police had provided in his past. Mulling the problem over, he checked the tied up terrorists, gave them each a long drink, motioned to Shadow and set off toward his meeting site.