"What's going to happen to me?" Marianne Gorman asked.

"Don't worry," Dana told her. "You'll be protected." She made a quick decision. "Marianne, we're going to do a live interview, and I'll turn the tape of it over to the FBI. As soon as we finish the interview, I'll get you away from here."

Outside, there was the sound of a car screaming to a stop.

Marianne hurried over to the window. "Oh, my God!"

Dana moved to her side. "What is it?"

Sime Lombardo was getting out of the car. He looked at the house, then headed toward the door.

Marianne stammered, "That's the - the - other man who was here asking about Carl, the day Carl was killed. I'm sure he had something to do with his murder."

Dana picked up the phone and hastily dialed a number.

"Mr. Hawkins's office."

"Nadine, I have to talk to him right away."

"He's not in. He should be back in about - "

"Let me talk to Nate Erickson."

Nate Erickson, Hawkins's assistant, came on the phone. "Dana?"

"Nate - I need help fast. I have a breaking news story. I want you to put me on live, immediately."

"I can't do that," Erickson protested. "Tom would have to authorize it."

"There's no time for that," Dana exploded.

Outside the window, Dana saw Sime Lombardo moving toward the front door.

In the news van, Vernon Mills looked at his watch. "Are we going to do this interview or not? I have a date."

Inside the house, Dana was saying, "It's a matter of life and death, Nate. You've got to put me on live. For God's sake, do it now!" She slammed the receiver down, stepped over to the television set, and turned it on Channel Six.

A soap opera was in progress. An older man was talking to a young woman.

"You never really understood me, did you, Kristen?"

"The truth is that I understand you too well. That's why I want a divorce, George."

"Is there someone else?"

Dana hurried into the bedroom and turned on the set there.

Sime Lombardo was at the front door. He knocked.

"Don't open it," Dana warned Marianne. Dana checked to make sure that her microphone was live. The knocking at the door became louder.

"Let's get out of here," Marianne whispered. "The back - "

At that moment, the front door splintered open and Sime charged into the room. He closed the door behind him and looked at the two women. "Ladies. I see that I have both of you."

Desperately, Dana glanced toward the television set.

"If there is someone else, it's your fault, George."

"Perhaps I am at fault, Kristen."

Sime Lombardo took a .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol out of his pocket and started screwing a silencer onto the barrel.

"No!" Dana said. "You can't - "

Sime raised the gun. "Shut up. Into the bedroom - go on."

Marianne mumbled, "Oh, my God!"

"Listen..." Dana said. "We can - "

"I told you to shut up. Now move."

Dana looked at the television set.

"I've always believed in second chances, Kristen. I don't want to lose what we had - what we could have again."

The same voices echoed from the television set in the bedroom.

Sime commanded, "I told you two to move! Let's get this over with."

As the two panicky women took a tentative step toward the bedroom, the red light on the camera in the corner suddenly turned on. The images of Kristen and George faded from the screen and an announcer's voice said, "We interrupt this program to take you now live to a breaking story in the Wheaton area."

As the soap opera faded, the Gorman living room suddenly appeared on the screen. Dana and Marianne were in the foreground, Sime in the background. Sime stopped, confused, as he saw himself on the television set.

"What - what the hell is this?"

In the van, the technicians watched the new image flash on the screen. "My God," Vernon Mills said. "We're live!"

Dana glanced at the screen and breathed a silent prayer. She turned to face the camera. "This is Dana Evans coming to you live from the home of Carl Gorman, who was murdered a few days ago. We're interviewing a man who has some information about his murder." She turned to face him. "So - would you like to tell us exactly what happened?"

Lombardo stood there, paralyzed, watching himself on the screen, licking his lips. "Hey!"

From the television set, he heard himself say, "Hey!" and he saw his image move, as he swung toward Dana. "What - what the hell are you doing? What kind of trick is this?"

"It's not a trick. We're on the air, live. There are two million people watching us."

Lombardo saw his image on the screen and hastily put the gun back into his pocket.

Dana glanced at Marianne Gorman, then looked Sime Lombardo square in the eye. "Peter Tager is behind the murder of Carl Gorman, isn't he?"

In the Daly Building, Nick Reese was in his office when an assistant rushed in. "Quick! Take a look at this! They're at Gorman's house." He turned the television set to Channel Six, and the picture flashed on the screen.

"Did Peter Tager tell you to kill Carl Gorman?"

"I don't know what you're talking about. Turn that damned television set off before I - "

"Before you what? Are you going to kill us in front of two million people?"

"Jesus!" Nick Reese shouted. "Get some patrol cars out there, fast!"

In the Blue Room in the White House, Oliver and Jan were watching station WTE, stunned.

"Peter?" Oliver said slowly. "I can't believe it!"

Peter Tager's secretary hurried into his office. "Mr. Tager, I think you had better turn on Channel Six." She gave him a nervous look and hurried out again. Peter Tager looked after her, puzzled. He picked up the remote and pressed a button, and the television set came to life.

Dana was saying, "...and was Peter Tager also responsible for the death of Chloe Houston?"

"I don't know anything about that. You'll have to ask Tager."

Peter Tager looked at the television set unbelievingly. This can't be happening! God wouldn't do this to me! He sprang to his feet and hurried toward the door. I'm not going to let them get me. I'll hide! And then he stopped. Where? Where can I hide? He walked slowly back to his desk and sank into a chair. Waiting.

In her office, Leslie Stewart was watching the interview, in shock.

Peter Tager? No! No! No! No! Leslie snatched up the phone and pressed a number. "Lyle, stop that story! It must not go out! Do you hear me? It - "

Over the phone she heard him say, "Miss Stewart, the papers hit the streets half an hour ago. You said..."

Slowly, Leslie replaced the receiver. She looked at the headline of the Washington Tribune: MURDER WARRANT SERVED ON PRESIDENT RUSSELL.

Then she looked up at the framed front page on the wall: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.

"You're going to be even more famous than you are now, Miss Stewart. The whole world is going to know your name."

Tomorrow she would be the laughingstock of the world.

At the Gorman home, Sime Lombardo took one last, frantic look at himself on the television screen and said, "I'm getting out of here."

He hurried to the front door and opened it. Half a dozen squad cars were screaming to a stop outside.

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