RATED: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
NOTES: See Part 1
SUMMARY: Rade finds herself in another bad situation and the West Wing is
left feeling helpless as they have to deal.

"Goddamn you!" Rade cried and struggled against the bonds that held her.
Cougar looked at her in surprise. "Goddamn you, you f**king bastard!!"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He snapped.
"What's wrong with me? What's *wrong* with me??? What's wrong with you??
You come out of nowhere, like a regular Darth Vader, say you're my father and
then this?? You kidnap me, hit me, threaten me, use me for what? Your stupid
criminal friends? Ten million dollars?" Rade retorted angrily.
"Shut up!" Cougar snapped. "Shut up or I'll make you!"
"My life has been hell, jackass! You really think you scare me??" Rade
exclaimed. Cougar paused and then looked away. "It's your fault. It's your
fault that I haven't been able to live a normal life, you know that? And now
this? This is what you're adding to the top of the pile? God, I'm going to be
stuck in therapy for the rest of my life!"
"SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!" Cougar screamed and threw Rade into the wall. She
hit her head against the paved surface and fell to the ground unconscious.
Cougar stared at her on the floor, at the blood that moved out of her head on
to the dirty ground. He looked away and then went to get his first aid kit.
He brought it back, tending to the wound as best he could and then just
leaving her on the floor, taking the kit upstairs and not returning.

"Sir?" Josh asked softly.
"Do it. Get those guys out of the damn jails and find me a way to pay
this guy off." Jed ordered. "Rade is going to get to her seventeenth birthday
whether I'm President or not."
"Sir, if we could just wait and see if the Secret serv-" Sam started.
"Wait? You want to wait, Sam? I don't know who this guy is. I don't know
what he's capable of. All I know is that Rade is out there somewhere, and the
only way I'm going to get her back alive is if I listen to this guy." Jed
snapped.
"Sir, we have a certain protocol. We have to --" Josh started.
"Josh, you care about Rade, don't you?" Jed asked.
"Sir, that's not a fair question." Josh replied. "Of course I do."
"Then why can't I do this?" The President asked.
"Because you can't, sir! Because this goes against everything this
country stands for. This country is something greater than one person or one
guy with a gun. He's already killed a United States Secret Service agent,
attempted the murder of another and kidnapped your granddaughter. These guys
that he wants released are imprisoned for violent crimes, except one! Sir, we
can't just let them back out on the street." Josh exclaimed. "I love Rade, I
do. She's a great kid. But she wouldn't want us to put the safety of this
country, or its people, in danger just so she can come home alive. If I were
her, and you did that, I wouldn't be able to live with myself every time I
saw the news saying that one more person had to die before this goon or that
one was arrested again. That's one person too many, sir."
"Josh, that's enough." Leo said softly.
"Why is it enough?" Josh asked. "You think you're the only one torn up
about this, sir? We all are. But you can't ask us to do this. Sir--"
"Josh, shut up." Jed said sharply. "You've made your point."
"I'm sorry, sir." Josh said apologetically.
"It's okay. I think we're all on edge here." Jed said softly. "But you're
right. She would be angry and hurt. Rade's too proud not to put her own life
on the line for countless others. So the question becomes, what do we do
now?" Silence filled the room as the question was pondered.
"Sir." Toby's soft voice exclaimed suddenly. Everyone looked at him and
saw the pensive, somewhat confused looked on his face. "Cougar said that he
had satelittle hookups and computers working against the tracing of his cell
phone signal. Even with that done, we can still trace him down. It just takes
time."
"What are you saying, Toby?" Jed asked
"I'm saying that once the secret service knows how long it will take,
that should give us the time we need. We can make the appearance to Cougar
that we're doing what he wants us to, but only the appearance. By the time he
catches on, it could be too late and we'd have him." Toby explained. "You
just have to buy the time and tell him what he wants to hear."
"You think that'll work?" Jed asked.
"I don't know." Toby admitted. "The only other thing I can think of is
pressing *69." He said softly. Jed paused and then looked at the phone. He
grabbed the handle and pressed *69.
"Hello?" A very familiar voice asked. Jed hung up the phone. Toby looked
like he was in shock.
"That was him." Jed said in amazement.
"Could he really be that stupid?" Josh asked.
"It's not a matter of stupidity. It's a matter of which phone service you
have." Sam pointed out.
"Okay, so we can call him. What does that mean?" CJ asked. Toby paused.
"He's expecting his friends to contact him once they're released." He
said softly. "Now they can."
"Through us." Josh pointed out.
"We can be their voices." Sam exclaimed.
"Could it work?" CJ asked.
"It might have to." Leo admitted.
"What about Knox?" Josh asked. "And the plane and the money?"
"That..." Jed paused. "That we can give him."

TBC... .

 

Everything That Changes - 8

 

 

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