7 Days - Chapter 31

Rising in the East


by James Rollins

To read previously published chapters, click here.

James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of international adventure thrillers sold in over thirty countries. His latest novel, The Doomsday Key, is now available nationwide. For more information, visit www.jamesrollins.com.

"Just the one night?"

"That's right," Nick answered and slid the cash through the slot in the wall of bulletproof glass. At least he assumed it was bulletproof.

It was that sort of place. You could pay by the hour or the night. The motel's vestibule stunk of cigarettes and mildew. The glass had a prominent gang sign carved into its thick surface, either as a threat or as proof that this fine establishment had paid-in-full for the crew's protection.

It was that sort of D.C. neighborhood.

This section of the city lay within the shadow of FedEx Field, where the Redskins play. The Come-On-Inn sat between a liquor store and an adult bookshop. The U-shaped motel surrounded a small parking lot. Red doors faced the asphalt; the flicker of television lights glowed through a few of the curtains. A couple of guests lounged by open doors, music blaring, clearly drug dealers or pimps open for business as the sun set on the neighborhood.

"Room 222," the night clerk said and passed a key attached to a red plastic fob. "Second floor. Should be quiet enough." Nick took the key. He had arrived by taxi from the Baltimore airport, changing vehicles twice en route. He had stopped first at a pawnshop in Landover, Maryland, then at an electronics store in Capital Heights before circling to the motel for the night. He had used two of the stolen credit cards for the purchases. Everything was crammed into a Nike gym bag.

With key in hand, he headed back outside and climbed the cement stairs to the second story of the motel. Rusted iron railings looked out over the parking lot. Nick had asked for an isolated room, as far from the other guests as possible. He found Room 222 at the end of one wing of the motel.

Good enough.

He struggled with the key and had to shove the door hard to get it to open. He flicked on the light. The room was typical motel chic: a queen bed, a nightstand, a small chest of drawers, and a bathroom at the back. Everything in the room looked bolted down. The place had certainly seen better days. Wallpaper peeled and bubbled from the walls. The rug bore signs of cigarette burns, as if patrons considered this place little better than an ashtray.

Nick had to agree with that sorry assessment.

He tossed his Nike bag on what passed for the bed and checked his watch. It was past nine o'clock. He felt wired, tense—especially for a dead man. He'd taken a short nap on the plane, knowing it would be a long night. Afterward, he had used the remaining hours of the flight to plan his return to D.C.

He unzipped his bag, pulled out three items, and placed them on the bedspread: a pay-as-you-go cell phone, a new laptop, and a carbon-black Sig Sauer P226 pistol that he had bought from the pawnshop.

He set the laptop up on the chest of drawers, plugged in a wireless adaptor, and pulled up its tiny antenna. As he waited for the computer to boot up, he crossed to the bathroom. He wrapped a fist in a towel and smashed the mirror. He watched his reflection shatter and fall away into shards. It was a grim reminder of the line he was about to cross. After this, there would be no turning back.

He didn't care.

His wife was dead. Nick held out no hope that Ashleigh could still be alive. False reports had their bodies discovered amid the rubble of the Palace Station. Someone had attempted to assassinate him afterward and almost succeeded. He had barely escaped with his life—and that was while he was free and on the run. What hope was there for Ashleigh? She was already their prisoner.

They would show no mercy.

Of that he was certain.

While flying across the country, he had grown colder and more determined, drawing an icy strength from that certainty. If Ashleigh was dead, that left only one goal: to find out who was behind all of this and put a bullet through their skull.

Nothing else mattered, not even his own life.

But to achieve that goal required a risky first step.

He returned to the bed and picked up the cell phone.

It was time for Nick Roberts to rise from the grave.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Koleson Fletcher sat in his West Wing office, resting his head in his hands. It was late. He should be heading home, but as Press Secretary, he had spent many nights on the couch in his office. And after the bombing in Vegas, it was going to be one of those nights. He was still waiting for the rewrite on a speech he was slated to give to the press corps in the morning.

When his cell phone rang, he considered ignoring it, especially after checking the Caller I.D. He didn't recognize the number. Still, it was a welcome distraction, so he flicked open the phone and brought it to his ear.

"Fletcher."

The caller immediately cut in, speaking rapidly, plainly not wanting to be interrupted. "I am going to give you an address. I need you to meet me there. Alone. I'll be there for twenty minutes. After that, I'm gone."

An address followed, and the line went dead.

Kole sat stunned at the impossibility of it. He had recognized the caller's voice.

Nick.

He couldn't believe his good fortune.

He reached for his desk phone, knowing that he didn't have much time, and tapped in a number he had memorized. Once the line was picked up, he spoke just as rapidly as Nick had.

"He's alive. And I have his address."

 


<< Return to the March 2010 Index of Fusion

As the Senate prepares for former President Trump's second impeachment trial, many are asking whether it's constitutional to try a president after leaving office. Alan Dershowitz, lawyer and host of the of "The Dershow," joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to talk about the legal battles Trump still faces.

Dershowitz said he believes the Senate doesn't have the authority to convict Trump, now that he's a private citizen again, and thus can't use impeachment to bar him from running for office again.

"The Constitution says the purpose of impeachment is to remove somebody. He [Trump] is out of office. There's nothing left to do.
It doesn't say you can impeach him to disqualify him for the future. It says, if you remove him you can then add disqualification, but you can't just impeach somebody to disqualify them," Dershowitz said.

"The Senate can't try ordinary citizens. So once you're an ordinary citizen, you get tried only in the courts, not in the Senate. So it's clearly unconstitutional," he added.

Dershowitz, who served on Trump's legal team during the first impeachment trial, also discussed whether he thinks Trump is legally (or even just ethically) responsible for the Capitol riot earlier this month, and whether those engaging in violence could be considered "domestic terrorists."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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A new, shocking CBS News poll shows that the majority of Americans believe they're facing a new enemy: other Americans.

More than two-thirds of poll respondents said they believe democracy in the U.S. is "threatened," and 54% said "other people in America" are the "biggest threat to the American way of life," rather than economic factors, viruses, natural disasters, or foreign actors.

Will it be possible to unite our nation with statistics like that? On "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn and Stu discussed the poll numbers and what they mean for our future.

Watch the video clip below:

.

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Countless leaders on the left are now arguing that removing President Donald Trump from office won't be enough — they're now calling for the president's "cult-like" supporters to be "deprogrammed." And it's not just fringe politicians.

During an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week, former NBC anchor Katie Couric said, "The question is, how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump."

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi questioned whether the nation needs "a 9/11-type commission" to determine whether President Trump was colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin "the day that the insurgents invaded our Capitol." Clinton also made sure to include her favorite "deplorables" in her unsubstantiated conspiracy theory:

"But we now know that not just [Trump] but his enablers, his accomplices, his cult members, have the same disregard for democracy," Clinton said to Pelosi.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and New York Times Magazine's Nikole Hannah-Jones agreed that there is a need for "millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans" to be deprogrammed and punished, during an MSNBC interview last week.

Now, a story from the Washington Post is also preaching that narrative and even added that we need more restrictions for conservatives on social media and in the broadcast industry.

"So now we have to be deprogrammed? We've heard this over and over and over and over again, for months," said Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday. He read through the shocking details of the Washington Post op-ed and discussed the extraordinary dangers of the latest anti-conservative movement in America.

Watch the video below:

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As calls for censorship and restrictions against conservative voices get louder, Glenn Beck said he feels an "awesome responsibility" to speak, not the words he'd personally like to say, but those he believes the Lord would want him to share.

"It's an awesome responsibility, and one that I am not worthy of," Glenn said. "I want to say ... what He wants me to say. And I have to listen very carefully, because I feel the same way you do. But that will get us nowhere."

Glenn said it's time for Americans who are awake — not woke — to come together, no matter which side of the political aisle you're on, and stand with the truth.

"We are the Alamo, we will stand. But we desperately, desperately need you," Glenn said. "We need the people who are awake — not woke — awake. You may disagree with us. We are your allies, not your enemies. And if you will not stand with us in our hour of need, there will be no one left to stand with you in your hour of need. We must all come together, anyone who is awake."

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.