Richfield got out of his car, moved to the general meeting location and sat down behind a large oak tree. Kelly saw both of her targets adjust their positions to cover Richfield. The adjustments made them better targets. She heard Jack say, “Focus, focus. When this happens, it will be incredibly fast. No time for thinking.”
Five minutes later, another car moved into the parking lot and stopped within several feet of the meeting site. Jack thought Frank is going to use the car as a shield. He figures we might be here and would be shooting from the high ground. Smart guy, but it won’t work. We still have the angle we need. When Frank got out of the car, Richfield stood up and start moving toward the nearest picnic table.
Jack waited five seconds, then said, “Shoot.”
Kelly fired and fired again. Just as she rolled over the log, a rifle slug knocked bark off the log. If I hadn’t moved fast, he would have hit me. An instant later, Jack fired and said, “Stay still, I think I hit him but don’t know how hard.”
Hasani recoiled from the hit on his right hip and rolled into a protected area behind a huge white pine tree. The hip joint felt broken and an artery was spurting. He still had time. Gathering his concentration, he sighted on his primary target and snapped off two shots. His target went down. Frank wondered who shot him. His left ear was gone and his left arm was useless. Instinct took over. He crawled to his car and staying low, drove out of the lot.
Richfield started to get up. Jack yelled, “Sam, stay down.”
“Kelly, what about your targets?”
“One is moving. The other one is on his back and not moving.”
“Can you see their weapons?”
“Yes. The sniper that’s still moving is holding his rifle. The other one’s weapon is several feet away from him. He’s still not moving.”
“Okay, stay put. Hit the sniper who’s still alive again. I’m going after Hasani. We need to get out of here fast. Switch frequencies and tell Richfield to run to the car and drive it down to where you can run down the hill and get in. Pick me up at the entrance. Wait five minutes, then go. I’ll call for a pick-up later. All the weapons were sound suppressed and the wind helped mute the sound, but someone may have still heard the shooting. Most important, call Kathy on her throw-away cell and tell her Frank has been hit but may be trying to get to his house.”
When Jack finished passing instructions to Kelly, he heard the muted sound of her rifle. Jack mused, she is her mother’s daughter. Jack knew where Hasani went down. Keeping to cover, he raced up the slope and stopped behind a stack of deadfall. Looking through a gap in the deadfall, he saw Hasani pointing his rifle downhill. Jack, keeping the weapon in sight, circled behind Hasani and crept up close.
Without looking around Hasani said, “Good shooting, Lieutenant. You missed me in Ramadi. You are a warrior. You are too many for us now, but we will win, even if it takes a thousand years. I am finished. I’ve only minutes left. Can you see yourself granting me a few minutes of prayer before I die?”
Jack said, “Where is the Professor?”
“Give me your word you will kill him yourself, and I will tell you. Do not allow him to be captured.”
“Okay. Now tell me.”
“He is in a log cabin house on the west ridge of Mount Gilead just south of Leesburg. Near a shooting lodge called, Isaac something. I remember because Isaac is a name from the Book.”
“You are a warrior. Die in peace but, first, throw the Dragunov down the slope.”
Jack saw the rifle being tossed and left Hasani to his final prayers.
Running hard, he just made the pickup. Jumping in the back seat, he said, “Fast to Frank’s house but no speeding tickets.”
They saw no police cars racing to the Park and ten minutes later were approaching Frank’s house in Langley Forest in McLean. Jack spotted Storm getting out of her car. Frank’s car must have slid sidewise when he braked hard coming up the circular driveway. There was blood on the small front porch. The door was ajar. Jack, followed by Kelly, never broke stride crashing through the door. Both had their handguns out.
Frank was sitting on the floor with his back braced against the living room couch. He was holding a handgun pointed at Kathy. Jack’s hand flew up. His SOCOM fired. The left side of Frank’s head vanished in a red mist. Jack had Kathy in his arms, checking to see if she was hurt. Kathy put her head on Jack’s shoulder and said, “I’m okay. The bastard was going to kill me. He wanted you to see it happen. You came so fast and shot him, I don’t think he even knew you were here. I didn’t see you or hear anything until the boom of the SOCOM.”
“We have to get out of here. Do we need a wipe-down?”
“No. I wore gloves the whole time.”
“Did you find anything?”
“Yes, I found his secret stuff on these three DVDs.”
Kelly said, “I’ve picked up the brass.”
Jack said, “Good, lock the back door from the inside. Don’t touch anything.”
Kathy said, “Everyone out the front door. It has a snap lock. This house is so isolated, I doubt anyone heard anything. We need to drive out of here slowly, just like we’re admiring the neighborhood.”
Jack said, “Kathy, come with us, we have one more job to do. Storm is back in her car, call her and tell her to go back to the house and monitor the news.”
Getting in the car, Jack said, “Sam, let Kathy drive.”
Kathy said, “Just tell the driver where we are going.”
“We’re going to Leesburg to kill a terrorist. I promised a proud warrior that I would personally kill him and not let him be captured.”
Sam said, “Why did you make that promise?”
“Two reasons. He refused to tell me where the Professor is hiding until I promised to personally kill his friend, and Hasani was a proud warrior who was dying and wanted to spend his last minutes in prayer. I thought it was a good exchange.”
Jack told them what Hasani had said about the Professor’s hideout.
Kelly said, “Okay, what’s the plan?”
“Get Storm on the phone and tell her what I told you. We need precise directions and images of the cabin and this Isaac-something shooting lodge.”
Sam Richfield said, “That’s easy. It’s the Izaac Walton League, a lodge for outdoors people. It’s got a shooting range but most people go there to trap shoot. I was there once with a friend. I’m not sure I could take us directly there.”
“Storm can work her magic. No one has an iPhone or Droid, only prepaid cells, so she can’t send any images but word-of-mouth instructions will work. Now the plan. A very subtle one. We’re going to surround the cabin, and fire everything we have into the doors and windows. Then I’m going to charge one of the doors and toss in a couple of fire bombs. In the back of the SUV, we have a quart of oil, a siphon hose and some water bottles. If he comes out, we shoot him. Sam Richfield gets back into his counter-terrorism official role and does whatever he should do.”
Richfield said, “It just might work. I have my house and job back, and all the bad guys are dead. Nobody knows just how Frank did what he did. He kept everything close, and I mean close, to his vest.”
Jack added, “And we are totally out of it. Lou is out of the hospital today and will disappear with Storm.”
“Kathy, pull into the empty soccer field. I have to get our cocktails mixed.”
Following directions from Storm, Kathy found the Izaac Walton Lodge and located the hidden driveway leading up to the log cabin. Jack said, “Okay! Let’s go!”
Kathy roared up the steep driveway, bounced over a cattle guard and slid to a stop beside a white Ford 150 truck parked at the top of a short flight of stairs leading to the cabin door. Kelly and Sam ran around to the back of the cabin and started shooting. Jack and Kathy opened up on the front door and windows. After a mad minute of firing, Jack gave Kathy a few seconds to reload and start firing. Jack raced to the front of the cabin and hurled gasoline and oil-filled bottles with lighted wicks through the broken windows. In the light of the growing fire, he saw the Professor scrambling from room to room and emptied his SOCOM. He was sure he hit him at least once. The fire raced through the old cabin. The Professor managed to get the front door open and was met with a hail of fire. He fell back into the burning house.
Jack called out, “Load up now. Let’s go!”
Kathy had them on Route 15 south to avoid going back through Leesburg.
Jack said, “Good work, people, four minutes on site. Still haven’t heard a siren. Hey, Richfield, it seems you’ve got to alter your cover story. On second thought, I don’t think you want to tell anyone you were on site at any of the three killing areas. How you play the rest is up to you, just don’t leave trails back to us.
“The rest of us are going back to our house. I think Kelly should take you to your house. You should get back in the game as quickly as you can. With everything that’s gone down, your office has probably been looking for you.”
Richfield said, “The reality is, Frank Batcher will never be charged with being a mole. No one even suspects it. Kathy’s young assistant will never figure it out. She got a promotion and a transfer. Frank’s dead, he can’t harm her. He will end up being a hero. Killed by al Qaeda for his role in saving the city from the snipers. We just don’t have enough evidence to bring any charges or suspicions. It doesn’t seem right, but Frank did a lot of good work and, in a convoluted way, he did help save the city from more destruction and death by involving your team. Maybe American history has other cases of villains we honor today as heroes.”