Blindside - By Gj Moffat

FBI Field Office, Denver, Colorado

Midnight, Sunday

The top floor of the Federal Building at 1961 Stout Street at the edge of Downtown Denver was dark except for two rooms at the end of a long corridor. Peter Ames, a twenty-five-year-old Special Agent not long out of the Academy at Quantico, Virginia, moved along the corridor quickly. He was carrying a rolled sheet of paper which he twisted in his hands as he walked.

Ames passed by the first of the lighted rooms, seeing the faint silhouettes of three men sitting around the conference table inside. He stopped at the next door, glancing at the name plate on the wall beside it that told him it was occupied by the Special Agent in Charge of the Denver field office – SAC Randall Webb. Ames cleared his throat, flattened out the sheet of paper and opened the door.

Webb did not look up at Ames as he entered the room. His chair was facing the window and Ames could see from his reflection in the glass that Webb had the phone to his ear. Ames stared out the window but could see nothing in the dark. He wondered what Webb saw out there.

‘I’m still waiting to hear,’ Webb said into the phone. ‘I don’t have that information yet.’

Ames stepped around Webb’s desk until he was in his boss’s line of sight and held out the sheet of paper. Webb looked up at Ames and nodded, reaching out to take the paper from him.

‘Wait,’ Webb said into the phone. ‘I’m getting it now. I’ll call you back.’

He swivelled his chair round and hung up the phone, placing the paper on the desk in front of him.

‘It’s there, sir,’ Ames said, putting his finger on the paper next to a name on the flight passenger list: John Reece. Webb stared at the sheet for a long moment then leaned back in his chair. He was a trim black man in his early fifties. A native of Baltimore, his reputation in the Bureau was impeccable. He looked at Ames.

‘Do we have any confirmation from the scene yet? I mean about survivors.’

‘No, sir. It’s still too early for them to make a formal assessment on that.’

Webb sighed. ‘I know the official line, son. What I’m asking for is their best guess right now.’

Ames swallowed, his throat feeling dry in the air-conditioned environment.

‘No survivors is what they’re saying, sir.’

Webb glanced at the flat-screen television mounted on the wall to the side of his desk. The sound was on mute and the picture showed the crash scene from above as a news helicopter circled the flaming wreckage of the jet.

‘Where’s Coop?’ Webb asked, turning back to Ames.

‘He’s next door with the others.’

‘Go get him for me.’

Ames left and Webb picked up the phone to call the man he had been talking to before: an assistant director at Bureau headquarters in Washington. The AD answered on the first ring.

‘What’s the news?’

‘I got the list.’


‘The name John Reece is on it.’

The AD was quiet.

‘They’re saying no survivors,’ Webb added.

‘I need to wake the Director and give him the bad news. We’ll talk later.’

The door to Webb’s office opened again and Special Agent Cooper Grange walked in, followed by Ames. Grange was taller than the six-foot Ames by a good couple of inches and had twenty years on him. His trademark black suit looked tailored to fit his athletic frame and was offset by a greying crew cut.

‘Did he tell you?’ Webb asked Grange.


Grange was never one to waste words.

‘This thing just moved to a whole new level.’

‘I know. You want me to get the rest of the task force in here now?’

Webb put his hand on the passenger list still sitting on his desk. There was a ‘Joint Terrorism Task Force’ stamp in the top right-hand corner in red ink.


‘We need to take this guy down. Hard.’

‘I know, Coop. I know.’

Grange and Ames left. Webb went back to staring out into the night.

Part One:




Alex Cahill fumbled on the table by his bed for the phone that was vibrating, the light from it seeming incredibly bright in the dark of his room. His wife Sam stirred and huffed out a sigh.

Cahill grabbed the phone, looked at the screen and saw two things: that it was five a.m. on a Monday morning in April and that he did not recognise the number displayed on the screen – except that it had a US dialling prefix.

He pressed the button to answer and swung his legs out of