The back doors of the van swung open.
"How touching! Such a sweet, loving couple. I've got to hand it to you, Blake," said the man who seemed to be in charge of the other three, all standing there with weapons drawn.
“Get out of the van,” he ordered. “Move slowly. Molly Kasjak, put your shoes on.” Samantha looked up.
“I’m Samantha Blake, not Molly Kasjak,” she said calmly and confidently. “You’ve kidnapped the wrong person, Bozo.”
“Put your shoes on, whatever the hell your name is.” She crawled around the floor of the van looking for her shoes while two men pulled Jakson roughly out of the van and pushed him around the van toward the back of the warehouse.
“No! I’m staying with my wife. No! I’m not leaving her alone with you. Sam, run! Let me go! Don’t you even touch her,” she heard him shouting as they dragged him away. She crawled out of the van and walked in front of the man in charge. He motioned her to the side door. They went in and up a flight of rusty, old, rickety metal steps to a clean, well-maintained office.
“Sit, Molly.” Samantha sat in the office chair near a desk, leaned back, crossed her legs, and got comfortable. She looked around. One exit. Barred windows. She took a deep breath, eyeing her captor. Light complexion, blue eyes, balding. Medium build, muscular, about middle forties.
“Sam. My name is Sam, not Molly. And what exactly do you want with me, Mr…?”
“Your cooperation, Sam. You may call me Werner.”
“And if I don’t cooperate?”
“We will kill Jakson Blake.”
“Where is he, Werner?”
“Being subdued. He tried to get away from us, to be with you, I’m guessing from his rants.”
“May I see him?”
“In due time. After you complete a project for us. We need you to decode a message. And then encode our answer. As soon as you are done, and the message is sent, received, and acknowledged, you may see Jakson Blake.
Some papers were laid out on the desk. Samantha looked them over and began to concentrate.
“What is this? Nothing makes sense to me here. I need...” she started.
“Don’t try it! If you irritate me, Blake will pay dearly. I am not a patient man.”
“I need paper and some pencils, and a pen. I’m not stalling, Werner. Don’t hurt him.”
Supplies were brought in and set on the desk. She got to work. She drew out a table and put values in the chart.
“A calculator would really speed up this process.”
He handed her one from his shirt pocket. She got back to work. She worked as quickly as she could without forsaking accuracy in solving the equations. Hours passed.
“Okay. This is it. It makes absolutely no sense to me, but there are no errors.”
Werner took the paper, read it, wrote an answer and handed it back to her. She quickly encoded it and handed it back. He typed it into his laptop and waited. It beeped a notification.
“Message received and acknowledged,” he smiled. “Good work, Samantha Blake.”
“Now may I see my husband? Please.” Werner motioned to the hallway with his gun. They walked down the hall.