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 But surely the old military base"

 The same, Abdullah said.
 Carpathia's reconstruction program has not reached Botswana?
 No, but with the . . . the, pardon me, regional potentate of the United
States of
Africa residing in Johannesburg in a palace not much smaller than this one,
the new airport there is spectacular.
Mac thanked the helpers and unlocked Abdullah's apartment. The Jordanian's
eyes widened as he surveyed the rooms.  All of this for me? he said.
 You'll grow to hate it, Mac said.
With the door shut, Abdullah looked at the bare walls and whispered,  Can we
talk here?
 David assures me we can.
 I look forward to meeting him. Oh, Captain, I nearly referred to the African
potentate as the king! I must be so careful.
 Well, we know he's one of the kings, but those two wouldn't have had a clue.
I
thought Potentate Rehoboth" ?
what's his first name"
 Bindura.
 Right" going to move his capital more central, like back up to his
was
homeland.
Chad, was it?
 Sudan. That was what he had said, but apparently he found Johannesburg
preferable. He lives in such opulence, you could not believe it.
 All the kings do.
 What do you make of that, Captain? Abdullah was whispering.  Has Carpathia
bought their cooperation?
Mac shrugged and shook his head.  Wasn't there some sort of controversy
between
Rehoboth and Ngumo?
 Oh, yes! When Ngumo was secretary-general of the U.N., Rehoboth put
tremendous pressure on him to get favors for Africa, particularly Sudan. And
when
Ngumo was replaced by Carpathia, Rehoboth publicly praised the change.
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 And now he's his neighbor.
 And Rehoboth is his king, Abdullah said.
Late Thursday night in Illinois, Rayford finally found himself alone in the
kitchen with Leah Rose. She sat at the table with a cup of coffee. He poured
himself one.
 Settling in? he said.
She cocked her head.  I never know what you're implying.
He pointed to a chair.  May I?
 Sure.
He sat.  What would I be implying?
 That I shouldn't get too comfortable.
 We voted you in! It was unanimous. Even the chair voted, and I didn't have
to.
 Had it been a tie otherwise, how would the chair have voted?
Rayford sat back, his cup in both hands.  We got off on the wrong foot, he
said.
 I'm sure it was my fault.
 You ignored my question, she said.
 Stop it. Voting in a new sister would never result in a tie. Hattie was here
for months, and she's not even a believer.
 So is this our truce chat, or are you just being polite?
 You want a truce? he said.
 Do you?
 I asked you first, he said.
She smiled.  Truth is, I want more than a truce. We can't live in the same
house just being cordial. We've got to be friends.
Rayford wasn't so sure, but he said,  I'm game.
 So all that stuff you said ...
He raised his chin.  ... that exposed me for the crank I am?
She nodded.  Consider this an all-inclusive pardon.
He hadn't asked forgiveness.
 And for me? she pressed.
 What?
 I need a pardon too.
 No you don't, he said, sounding more magnanimous than he felt.  Anything you
said was because of what I"

Leah put a hand on his arm.  I didn't even recognize myself, she said.  I
can't put that all on you. Now, come on. If we're going to start over, we have
to be even.
Clean slates.
 Granted, he said.
 I've got money, she said.
 You always switch subjects so fast?
 Cash. We'd have to go get it. It's in a safe in my garage. I am not going to
be a freeloader. I want things to do, and I want to pay my way.
 How about we give you room and board in exchange for medical care and
expertise?
 I'm more about care than expertise. I'm no replacement for Floyd.
 We're grateful to have you.
 But you need money, too. When can we get it?
Rayford pointed to her cup. She shook her head.  How much are we talking
about?
he said.
When she told him, he gasped.
 In what denominations?
 Twenties.
 All in one safe?
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 I couldn't fit another bill in there, she said.
 You think it's still there? The GC must have torn the place apart looking for
you.
 The safe is so well hidden we had to remind ourselves where it was.
Rayford rinsed out the cups.  Sleepy? he said.
 No.
 Want to go now?
Mac and Abdullah met with David Friday morning. Once introductions were out of
the way, David asked if either had an idea where the 144 computers in the
Condor cargo hold could be put to use for the cause.
 I can think of lots of places, Mac said.  But not one on the way to Africa.
 I can, Abdullah said.  There is a huge body of underground believers in
Hawalli.
Many professionals, and they could"

 Hawalli? David said.  In Kuwait?
 Yes. I have a contact in cargo"

 That's east. You're flying southwest.
 Only slightly east, Abdullah said.  We just need a reason to stop there.
 Virtually right after takeoff, Mac said.  That'll arouse suspicion. They
sat in silence a moment.  Unless . . . , he said.
David and Abdullah looked at him.
 How far is our flight?
 Here to Kuwait? Abdullah asked, pulling out his charts.
 No, to Africa.
 More than four thousand miles.
 Then we need a full fuel load to go nonstop. We want to save the GC money, so [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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