Leena gently shook Jen awake. After they had passed over Jamaica, Tom had taken the controls, while Jen had gone to the cargo section to get some shuteye. She had asked Leena to wake her up when they were two-and-half hours away from their destination.
“It’s time, Jen.”
“Right, thank you.” She walked into the cockpit. “”Your turn to sleep, Tom.”
“See you later, Nikita.”
“See you later, Thomas.”
Beckett took her seat and took went to them back. Blinov was sitting in the co-pilot’s seat. Tom had been teaching him some of the basics, just in case something went wrong. (He had also tried to teach Rick, but he had fallen asleep an hour ago.) And Jen had a feeling that it was only a matter of time before something went really wrong, really bad. So she turned to Nikita and began explaining.
Somewhere between Cuba and Colombia
Colonel Raul Hernandez looked at the water and pondered the task he had been given. It would not be an easy one. But he had doubt that his troops – both Cuban and Russian – would give him their best. For now, however, they were still in transit. The truck had delivered to a small harbor on the south coast, where an Ozar-class ship had been waiting for them as planned. And now they were steaming ahead at forty-two knots. Which still left him with plenty of time to ponder.
A Dirty Motel
Adam and Rina had gotten three hours sleep each. Which left them with one hour to get ready to catch their bus. Adam had shaved his beard and taken out a pair of colored lenses. He had also washed out paint that made his black. In truth, Adam had blue eyes and short, red eyes. He was thirty-two years old. His female companion was three years older. She had arrived with long black hair and green eyes. Rina had cut her hair and removed a pair of lenses (just as Adam had). She now had brown eyes.
“We still have an hour.” Adam said. “We should study our options after the bus ride.”
“Right.” Rina took out a map and folded it up. “We are at marker Alpha, once we reach marker Beta…” She pointed at a blue dot on the map. “…right there, we have a problem. There is no public transportation there until tomorrow. We cannot wait that long. I’ve located three houses where we might be able to acquire a vehicle.” She took out a small pile of photos. “You should study these.”
Adam took the photos and got to work.
They were half an hour out when Leena woke Tom. He returned to the cockpit, where he took his seat. While Nikita sat behind Jen (and woke up Rick).
“Okay, we’re on approach to Cravo Norte.” Beckett said. “Tell me you have a plan, Nikita. We can make the delivery and drop off the film crew. But we’ll need a cover story for sticking around.”
“I’ve thought about that. Have you ever heard of Maximillian Melikov ?”
“The Russian drugs dealer ?”
“That’s the one. There are rumors that he has meth labs in Venezuela We’ll simply claim that we’ve found one.”
“Right, and that we are waiting for special forces.” Tom began. “And once those arrive, we’ll leave to attack the target. So to speak.”
“Exactly. Keep it simple and as close to the truth as possible.”
“And just how long are we supposed to wait ?” Jen said.
“I have no idea. But if we have to mark day six, something will have gone wrong.”
“How do you figure that ?” Tom said.
“Well, I’m counting three days to get to the target, one to execute the operation and one day to reach us. So five days.” Nikita said. “Of course, that is just my educated guess.”
“That’s good enough for me.” Jen said.
They flew on in silence. When they were five minutes out, Tom grabbed the radio and opened a channel.
“Cravo Norte, this is Beckett zero-one. We are on final approach.”
“This is Cravo Norte Tower. You are cleared for landing, Beckett zero-one.”
“Thank you, Tower. Coming in now.”
They began their approach. Tom spotted the airfield. It consisted of a single strip with a single building that was connected to by means of a small asphalt road.
“That’s it.” Jen said. “Cravo Norte Airfield.”
“Well, there’s plenty of room. We could land on half that strip.”
“Okay, everybody, strap in. We’re here.”
Jen took the Phoenix down and reduced their air speed.
“Extend the landing gear, Tom.”
“Extending the landing gear now.” Tom said as he pulled the proper lever. “Done.”
The Phoenix landed with a thud. They applied the brakes and throttled back the engines. Then they taxied towards the hangar. The doors were open when they arrived.
“Tom, would you do the honors ?”
Jen let go of the controls and Tom taxied the Phoenix into the hangar. Then he parked it and cut the engines.
“We’re here. So how are we going to get this stuff to the hospital ?”
“It’s only a matter of time before…” A truck pulled into the hangar. “…somebody shows up to pick up the cargo.”
“Okay, Nikita, can your men help with unloading the cargo ?”
“Shouldn’t you try to stay out of sight ?” Rick said. “Since this is a Black Ops and all that ?”
“Only if this was the target. Remember, this is just a pick-up.”
“Right. What about us ? I mean, we have a story to film…”
“You’re free to go. And you can claim all you want about this mission, my government will deny it all anyway.”
Rick sighed and shook his head. Then he headed into the cargo section to recover his camera. Tom followed him. He opened the cargo door, while the news team gathered its equipment.
“Ready to go ?” Leena said.
“I’m all set here.” Rick replied.
The news team disembarked. Tom began removing the straps that held the pallets in place. That was when he heard a series of clicks. He looked at Blinov.
“I’m no soldier, but that sounded like…”
“Yes, it did.” He shouted something in Russian. “Stay here, Tom.”
Nikita grabbed his weapon. As did his troops. Then all four to them charged out. There were two shots, then silence. Suddenly, there was a shout in German. It wasn’t a voice he knew, so he went back into the cockpit.
“Jen, something is very wrong out there. Tell me you have a gun.”
“Alas, I don’t do lies unless I absolutely have to.”
“It wouldn’t do us any good anyway. I’m a terrible shot.”
“I’m good with a gun, but I don’t like them.”
“Well, unarmed it is then.”
“I’m afraid so.”
They walked out to the plane. And straight into the hornet’s nest. The news crew was surrounded by men with machine guns. And they were not FARC. Instead, they wore completely black flight suits. Blinov and his troops had been disarmed and were being held by a second group. And a third group quickly surrounded Tom and Jen. One of the men shouted something in German. A man in a business suit walked into the hangar. Tom used the distraction to study the hangar. There was nowhere for the men to have hidden, so they had probably come from the truck. Tom looked back to the man. He was muscular, with cold blue eyes and short black hair.
“Well done, Major.” A sinister smile grew on his face. “Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Fourth Reich.”
Somewhere between Cuba and Columbia
Colonel Hernandez was headed for the mess hall. He had perfected the plan in his head. Now all he needed was to brief his troops. So he had gathered them in the officer’s mess. He walked into the room. The men snapped to attention, but he told them to relax. Hernandez gathered his men at the biggest table in the room. Then he began the briefing. Twelve seconds later, the ship was wrecked by a series of explosions. Two minutes later, she was just a footnote in the history books. Colonel Hernandez and his troops would never see battle again.
“Neo-Nazis ?” Jen said. “Really ?”
“I’m with the lady. Do you really think you can build an Empire here ?” Tom said. “If the government doesn’t deal with you, the FARC will. Hell, they might even forget they hate each other guts for a moment and attack you together.”
The man smiled his sinister smile again.
“I don’t think so, the FARC have no idea we are here. And as far as Bogota knows, we ARE the government troops. And you are all spies.” He signaled to the Major. “Take them to the clinic.”
“Jawohl, Herr Oberst.”
The troops dove them towards the truck. They were searched and then loaded into the back. Four of the Nazi-troops also sat in the rear.
“We need a plan.” Jen said.
“Silence !” One of the soldiers roared. “Speak and you will be shot !”
Tom and Jen exchanged looks. This was not what they had expected on their first trip together at all.
Adam and Rina barreled down a dirt road in a rusty old pick-up. After an hours long bus ride, they had found themselves near a small town with no name. (Adam doubted the place was even an official town. It was just a collection of a couple of miserable building in the middle of nowhere.) There, they had found the truck. It hadn’t even been locked and the keys had been in the ignition. Alas, they had found out why the truck was left like that as soon as they had left town. The town was at the top of an incline. And the truck’s brakes weren’t working. Furthermore, its steering was not solid either. So taken the truck was not only insane, it was suicide.
“This is crazy !” Adam yelled. “We’re going to die !”
“Just drive, Adam !”
As if to confirm his fears, a giant bolder appeared ahead. He yanked the steering wheel hard. They barely missed the rock. Another bolder appeared and he threw the steering wheel to the other side. This time, they hit it with their flank. It put a major dent in the left side of the truck. The vehicle skidded a couple more feet, then came to a stop.
“Rina, are you okay ?” He looked over at her. “Rina ?”
Rina was in bad shape. There was a huge gash running down one side of her face. Adam took a deep breath and checked her pulse. She was dead.
“Blast !” He took another deep breath. “Blast, blast, blast !”
Adam searched her pockets. He collected her sidearm, ammo and papers. Then he left the truck. He ran away from it in a random direction, as fast as his legs could carry him. As he did so, he realized that the mission was coming apart at the seams. He cursed and kept running.
The clinic was a small, single story building. It was painted white, with a red roof. They were marched inside. An elderly man was waiting for them. Tom noticed that under the lab-coat he was wearing, he wore a worn Nazi-officer jacket and a stethoscope.
“We have new test subjects for you, Herr Doktor.” The Major said.
“Excellent.” The elderly man said. “How many ?”
“Nine, Herr Doktor.”
They were lead to a red door. One of the soldiers opened it and led the way down. Tom studied the stairwell as they went down.
“This was not always there.” He whispered.
“No, that door used to lead to a broom closet. They dug this out recently.” Jen said. “And it was done so in a hurry.”
Tom nodded. The walls had stripes that indicated that the digging had been fast and sloppy. He also spotted large wooden beams that looked like they had been taken from a mine. The tunnel ended in a large chamber. There were three large cells. (Two to the left and one to the right.) They were signaled to stand in the middle of the room. The soldiers searched them. Then they were separated. The news crew was locked in one cell, Nikita and his men in the second and Tom and Jen in the last one. The soldiers locked the cells, then walked away. They closed a heavy metal door behind them, separating the door from the tunnel.
“No guards ?” Tom said.
“There’s no need.” Jen began. “Even if bust of these cells, there’s that metal door. And that corridor is a death trap.”
“Well, I have no intention of sitting still.” Tom said.
He began examining their cell. There were six cots, a toilet and two rolls of toilet paper. It was not much to work with.
“What do you guys have ?” Jen said.
“There’s nothing useful in here.” Leena said. “Just cots, a toilet and two rolls of toilet paper.”
“It’s the same here.” Nikita said. “What about the main chamber ?”
“It looks empty from here.”
Tom looked into the main chamber and spotted something in the nearest corner. He walked a close as possible. Then he tested the bars. And got lucky. One of them was loose. He turned to Beckett.
“Can you give me a hand with this ?”
They pulled on the bar and it bend towards them. (Tom looked up and saw the reason why. Instead of securing the bars in concrete, they had been put in wooden beams like he had seen in the stairwell.) Alas, the bar was solid and they couldn’t pull it more than thirty centimeters. Tom nodded with approval.
“Good enough for me.” He climbed half-way up the bend bar. “Let’s have a look.” Tom squeezed himself out of the cell as best as he could. He couldn’t get out completely, but he could see the item he had stopped before. “It’s a broom, other than that, the room is empty.”
“Can you reach it ?” Nikita said.
“We’re going to bust out of here with a broom ?” Rick said.
“Use whatever you can get your hands on.” Jen said.
“And get as much as you can.” Tom said.
He dove for the broom and managed to grab it. Then he climbed back into the cell. Tom pondered for two seconds, then began sweeping the cell. Jen frowned at it, but it yielded three papers clips.
“Not much, but it’s a start.” She said. “Nikita, Leena, lets sweep the other two cells as well.”
They managed to pass the broom to Nikita’s cell. (Which was next to Tom and Jen’s.) That cell yielded a button from a men’s shirt. Finally, Leena’s cell gave them another two paper clips and a strap of red cloth. Now all they needed was an idea what to do with their little collection of items.
Adam took a deep breath and looked around. He had managed to escape the towns people, who had been alerted by the crash. But it was only a matter of time before the local authorities showed up and began a search. At the moment, he was sitting in car wreck. It had been a truck, until it had gone over a cliff and landed in a river. In the end, that river had dropped it in shallow gulley. He sat in the cabin and considered his options.
“Think, Adam, think.”
He took out the papers he had taken from Rina. It didn’t take him long to find the general map of their route.
“Okay, we made it to marker C.” He paused. “I so need to get my bearings and find my way to marker D.”
The truth was that he had no idea how to get his bearings and get back on track. Because this was his first mission ever. Rina had been the experienced officer and Adam…well, Adam was not really Adam. His real name was Marcus and he had spend his years at Mossad as a file clerk. Then the real Adam had come down with an ordinary flu. (It was an irony that had not been lost on him.) Marcus had managed to fake the proper papers and take Adam’s place. He had seen it as his chance to prove that he could field work. And now he was paying for this arrogance. He looked around the truck for anything useful. He found a piece of tarp in a plastic bag. It was still dry. Marcus thanked Heaven and took it. Then he took a deep breath and left his temporary shelter. He had to keep moving.
But Mossad had not survived all the threats against it by being easily fooled. They had discovered Marcus’ fraud an hour after he and Rina had departed for Columbia. (Marcus had only been able to get as far as he did, because Rina had never met Adam before. And because Marcus resembled Adam a great deal.) And they had immediately taken action. They had put together a four man team, led by the real Adam. (Who had recovered from his flu.) Two of the officers would take Adam into custody and bring him back to Israel for his trail. (Of course, everybody knew that he would be found guilty and executed as a traitor.) Adam and another agent would join Rina and complete the mission as planned. At the moment, the team was in a bomber above Columbia.
“We’re approaching the drop zone, sir.” The pilot said.
“Understood.” Adam said. “Okay, people…prepare to jump.”
His team-mates nodded in reply. Adam opened the bomber bay hatch.
“Get ready.” The team took their positions. “In five, four, three, two, one....go, go, go !”
The others jumped and then Adam left the plane. It was time to sort out this mess and get this mission back on track.