Dahlia stewed in Lander's house. She wasn't particularly angry that Fasil insisted there not be a second attempt on Kabakov; she was angry because she agreed with him. After the first attempt, another would be expected. She had been spotted both with and without a wig. Perhaps Fasil could have handled it, as he had handled Muzi, but then they had more advantage of surprise. Plus, his mind was on Beirut these days. He was too anxious to fill Najeer's place while Black September's power-vacuum was still a vacuum, and was much less willing to risk himself. He had been trying to bring in more muscle to fob work onto. Dahlia told him she and the American could handle everything themselves, but Fasil wasn't receptive. At one point Lander even said "Hell, I could do it myself if it will get you to shut up", but unlike Fasil he was vital to the operation, and Dahlia didn't think he was up to it.
The clouds broke when a newspaper arrived announcing Kabakov was leaving the country, having stirred up an outcry from Arab ambassadors after torturing the Leticia's first mate. It was good enough for P.R purposes, but Dahlia didn't believe it for a second. The Israelis and Americans had some hint of the stakes and weren't going to be deterred by such trifles. They'd torture a thousand Arabs without giving a second thought to it. But it meant that now would be the safest time to attack. Denial that the Mossad hitman was still on American soil meant no security cordon, and they were arrogant enough to think she'd be fooled. Kabakov would be hers. Fasil had his chance, and she was not inclined to ask for permission.
Rachel Bauman's apartment was unmonitored and easy enough to break into. The lack of security measures confirmed Dahlia's hopes that she was not expected, and the presence of aftershave in her bathroom confirmed that a man was living there. She proceeded to examine what she presumed to be Kabakov's possessions while waiting for one of them to arrive. Unfortunately, when Dahlia heard a car pull up and looked out the window, only a woman got out and approached. No Kabakov.
After Rachel entered and closed the door, she was confronted with a Schmeiser machine pistol held by an Arab woman. Rachel was mildly surprised to hear her speak with a clipped British accent.
"Where is Major Kabakov?"
She was too taken aback to respond satisfactorily, and was grabbed by the throat while the barrel of the gun pressed against her temple and the question was repeated.
"Sorry, he's not here right now", she said in a partly apologetic and partly fearful tone. This produced a laugh. Dahlia pulled Rachel away from the door, set her down in an adjacent chair, and positioned herself to block the sole exit without wasting any time in silence.
"Of course, I'm not blind! You are a Jew, but not an Israeli, correct? What is the Major doing in your home?" Rachel regarded her tone as affable, but precise. In some ways she even reminded her of Kabakov. Her first instinct was to make something up to mislead this obviously dangerous person, but the longer she took to deliberate the less convincing she'd sound, and she was hardly confident in her ability to bamboozle this person.
"He was transferred to a safer location. You of all people must admit caution was warranted." Rachel gave a slight smile at her understated joke, which was odd to be making under these circumstances, but simply came to her at the moment. Dahlia was not amused.
"What do you know of me? Are you FBI, CIA? I will know if you are lying and will hurt you for wasting my time." Rachel believed her. She had worked with numerous addicts, who were certainly no picnic, but had not previously been confronted with a cold-blooded murderer threatening her. It occurred to Rachel that this woman could well be a sociopath, and she thought back to her days as a med student at Harvard and how Dr. Heimlich had given a lecture on how to deal with such an aberrant psychology. This naturally led her to wonder what David Kabakov should be considered, which was not a train of thought she wanted to pursue any further.
"I'm just a doctor, what I know is that you went to the hospital disguised as a member of the staff to kill him and instead nearly killed a police officer. I believe you are willing to hurt me, so you don't need to prove it." Now it was Dahlia's turn to smile. She was not as naturally frightening as some of her more brutish comrades and it was rather tedious when she needed to convince someone. She could tell Rachel was frightened, but able to maintain her composure rather than begin blubbering, which could be just as tedious. The instinct of doctors was to help people, but she could detect some hostility which she hoped would not give rise to obstinacy.
"I'm glad you understand what I will do, but I don't believe you have told me everything you know. Do you understand that we are in a war, one that does not spare "civilians"? The major is willing to kill and die for Israel, as am I for my people. Are you? You are effectively a captured combatant, without any Geneva convention to protect you. Your only recourse is to appease me." Rachel appeared slightly more frightened, but no less obstinate.
"What I am is a doctor, and I swore an oath not to harm my patients, which is precisely what you intend to do. I'm not like you, I'm not a soldier, and I'm not eager to die for a flag. But if you're going to kill me for not helping you kill anyone more, that's that." Now Dahlia was irritated. Such bravado was unearned by one believing herself above the fray, and the high-minded attitude perceptibly raised the temperature in her brow. Dahlia did not like appearing perturbed, and the necessity of controlling her response only further angered her.
"I will not merely kill you. I will make you suffer. And when I do, you will talk. Even "The Final Solution" would have his breaking point. Everyone does." Dahlia could tell from Rachel's puzzled reaction that she did not recognize the nickname. "Do you know why the man you are protecting is called that by his commanders? He has personally killed far more people than anyone I know of. By helping him you ensure he will kill more. This is why you are an enemy of the Palestinian people, and I will feel no more guilt about what I do to you than to him." Dahlia had closed in and was now standing directly over Rachel, barrel in her face.
Although she was bothered by what Dahlia said, it was now Rachel's turn to be angry. "I'm not in the business of deciding who lives and who dies, or what kinds of people deserve care. In Israel, I do what I can for Jews and Arabs, soldiers and civilians, because in the walls of a hospital we are all just human beings. As far as I'm concerned, that's the closest thing there is to a sacred place. You violate the sanctity of such a place and think you can make me feel guilty for what I do? Fuck you! You've undoubtedly got some sick ways of making people talk, but for right now that's all I've got to say to you."
Dahlia was fed up with this woman who insisted on going down the least desirable route for both of them. She struck Rachel across the face with the butt of her gun, and grabbed her hand preparing to dislocate her fingers. Neither had been paying attention to the footsteps up the stairs outside the door, but Rachel recognized the voice singing Aris San's "Sigal" to himself. She shouted out in Hebrew "Moshevsky, it's her!" and lunged for Dahlia's gun.
Dahlia's first reaction would have been to kill Rachel, but by then gunshots from outside blew the lock on the door and it was kicked in. Dahlia dove toward cover under the table while trying to turn and shoot the intruder, but Rachel's hands were still wrapped around her own even as Dahlia fired blindly right behind her own head and into Rachel's, while bullets slammed into the wall where they had previously stood. Impact with the floor dislodged Rachel's grip, and Dahlia swung her hand toward the source of the gunfire that now descended and raked her legs, emptying her clip at what she hoped was Kabakov.
When the body fell forward she could see that it was not. She cursed the corpse in front of her for not being him, the dead Jewess behind her for her foolish obstruction, her own wounded legs for refusing to move, the sirens wailing ever closer outside, Fasil for being too incompetent to carry out their plan now, the entire nations of Israel & America, and herself for failing. She didn't feel pity for herself as she faced the prospect of the imperialist facade of a justice system she'd spend the rest of her life in (if they didn't hand her over to the Israelis), but she did feel pity for Lander. All Michael had to live for was the purpose she had given him, that would now be gone and she couldn't even warn him. How soft I am being, she thought amidst the sounds of people entering, as her consciousness began to drift.