“Can we stop with the ‘dueling heroes’ routine and get back to the incriminating details?”; Gleason barked. “Both of you are in this to the hilt. There’s no sense in trying to sacrifice yourselves for each other.”
Durant shrugged and continued. “Once we located the classified formula for the CIA mind control drug, Tariq made some impressive improvements and we discussed how we could best use it to break al Salaam. He had already endured every form of advanced coercion and interrogation technique that we could throw at him. All with no results. The man has a strong constitution, I’ll give him that. Anyway, my original plan was to use the drug to force him into giving us critical GPS locations for his training camps, headquarters and all of their financial records. We soon realized that there wasn’t enough time to extract all that information in the short period Tariq would be locked in his cell with him. While incredibly risky, the only solution we could come up with was to set him free and use him as a assassin against his own terror network.”
“That was one hell of a gamble, Durant.”; Gleason remarked. “What if he snapped out of it? You already said he has an iron will. Maybe he could overcome it’s powerful hold on him. Then we’ll have the world’s most wanted terrorist as a free man again. Who are you to gamble with the lives and happiness of millions of people?”
Durant looked furtively at Albani. He nodded back at Captain Durant as if to convey a reluctant level of agreement. “We have designed a failsafe plan in the unlikely event that happened. We installed an explosive, tamper-proof GPS tracker in his nasal passage. If he managed to snap out of it, we could detonate the chip, anywhere in the world. He would die instantly.”
“Holy shit!”; Gleason snarled incredulously. “You know his exact location at this very moment? Damn! General Koenig’s crew could go and pick him up right now to put him on trial for war crimes. Why are you waiting on? Stop sitting on this covert information. If you help us recapture him, it would go a long way with a judge. At the very least, you should detonate the nasal chip to undo the damage of letting him go free.”
“We’ve been tracking his movements very closely. Tariq and I are in this for the long haul. We are patient and have planned for numerous contingencies. If there was any sign of hypnotic regression, we would have immediately pulled the plug on the whole operation and detonated his ‘insurance’ chip. So far our covert operation has netted us immense results with ZERO casualties or loss of soldier lives. That was always our goal.”
Agent Gleason nodded. “I’m sure the two of you have put a lot of thought into this and the idea behind it is fascinating but we have trained professionals to handle these things. They have the training and military might to bring down al Salaam’s organization.”
“That’s just it. There’s no amount of caution from General Koenig’s men that wouldn’t still result in a high loss of lives during all the fierce assaults on his hidden compounds.”; Captain Durant argued. No one else knows his secret operations like Bashir al Salaam, himself. He’s the perfect weapon to dismantle it all. Please, just give us a little more time to complete our mission. We’ll both make a full confession for your investigation after that, if necessary.”
Special agent Gleason threw up his hands in nervous frustration. If he agreed to sit on the explosive facts of the case and not report them, he would be just as guilty as they were. “Please continue.”; He requested somberly.
“Once Tariq arrived, I had to put on a huge performance for my staff. They had to believe I was completely opposed to him being here. Later when the prearranged lockdown occurred, I also had to pretend to be furious over our manufactured ‘breach’. I’m not much of an actor. It was a real challenge.”
In a rare moment of levity during the stressful proceedings, all three men laughed. It was a much needed reprieve from the tense situation.
“Now you know the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”; Durant continued. “It’s up to you about what you choose to do with it. I realize that if you cover for Tariq and myself on our controversial plan, it would make you an accessory to our unauthorized actions. I get that. I’ve followed orders implicitly and without question for the duration of military career. One day I came to realize that there are more important truths at times than just doing as We are told. I hope you can see that too. Regardless, we intend on seeing this through to the end. I can’t say that we have the will power to endure a lengthy ‘powwow’ from ‘Knuckles and Chuckles’ but we intend to resist giving up his position. I hope you can see that ours is a just and effective cause.”
Sean marveled at their ingenuity and the boldness of their brave plan to use al Salaam as a tool against himself. In less than three weeks, eleven related terrorist compounds and strongholds had been destroyed internally by the triggered madman. Several multi-billion dollar donations had been anonymously paid to anti terrorist organizations. Support for al Salaam’s cause had also dropped off steeply. As if that news wasn’t gratifying enough, a startling video recording was received at three dozen news organizations later in the week.
On the tape was a full confession of his horrible crimes against humanity by the fugitive mastermind. In it, he admitted to killing thousands of innocent people through sectarian violence and initiated radical jihad. Shortly before the camera shut off, Bashir al Salaam pointed a pistol at his forehead and pulled the trigger. Tariq Albani’s final directive and justice for his mother had been successfully achieved. It had been a very effective five minutes alone with ‘the pious one’.
In light of their secret service to ‘the greater good’ of the world’s population, special agent Gleason closed and buried the investigation into the dead fugitive’s earlier escape. With Bashir al Salaam dead by his own hand, It was a moot point. Naturally, both heroes preferred to remain anonymous and the truth to remain undisclosed.