The friendships formed in the house church, through the intimacy of the small group and the openness and sincerity of its members, allowed the group to learn about the history of Unity. They learned of all the people who have abandoned Unity in favor of their own convenience, including her natural parents, and they saw the effect this had on her. More importantly, perhaps, they saw the effect the present situation with the Washingtons was having on her. Neither she nor her friends wanted this pattern of her life to be repeated again.
Meanwhile, though, Rosy was coming out of her post-mortem depression, and returning to life. Reagan and she were resolving their issues and making sure Liberty was happy and that she made it to all her dance events. Unity seemed to be, and certainly felt that she was, being neglected in favor of Liberty, maybe because of her closeness with the church or maybe the closeness with the church was because of the neglect.
In an effort to have some quality family time, Reagan and Rosy took the kids to Target to find the supplies for some pumpkin carving. As they were picking up some cashews for snacks, Reagan noticed someone in a burqa at the end of the aisle and moved them along to the carving tools. In the halloween section though, there was the burqa again, and based on the fact that he couldn’t tell anything about the identity of the person except that they were likely Muslim, his suspicion and honestly, bias, was aroused. Unity thought she recognized the eyes but wasn’t sure.
Samah just happened to be in the store, wearing her mother’s burqa to see how many suspicious looks she would get by wearing it in a public place. When she spotted the Washingtons, she followed them to see how they were treating Unity, as she had never seen them interact although she had heard so much from Unity.
Reagan finally let his suspicion get the best of him and took his family out of the store, having had his fill of drama lately and wanting to avoid any confrontations with strangers.
For Unity though, the family night was a little too little, a little too late. The next day when she saw Samah, Samah commented on how Reagan, Rosy and Liberty seemed to walk together, often leaving Unity behind, as though they were the family and Unity was just an addition. Unity explained that was the story of her life, but that when the parents weren’t around Liberty and she were very close. They agreed that Unity deserved better, and certainly that Unity deserved as much attention as Liberty.
So they called Douglass over and devised a plan. There are few things that bond people together more than being victimized, misunderstood, ignored, and neglected, and this foster child, middle eastern girl, and black boy from a mixed family certainly had just that bond. They decided to “save” Unity from what was sure to come. They called the plan “Operation Extraction.”
In order to acknowledge their unique bond, they decided that Samah would wear the burqa again, which would keep most people away from her, giving her room to play her role, and that Douglass would wear a hoodie, knowing that many white people would keep their distance from a black guy in a hoodie as well. They decided that the next time the Washingtons were on their way to Target, Unity would send a text and Samah and Douglass would get there first to be in place. Douglass was in charge of procuring just enough sedative from his mom’s office to put Unity to sleep, and Samah would be in charge of administering it, as she would be less recognizable but no one would blame Unity or call her a runaway. She could stay in the Harhashes motorhome in the shop behind their house. No one would know anything other than that she was kidnapped, and the three of them figured the Washingtons would hardly miss her, being more interested in their Liberty than Unity anyway.
It all came together on the 11th day of September. A day that changed the lives of the Washingtons forever, at least for a little while.