Home of Prime Minister Oleg Shorets
22:15 (19:15 GMT)
Oleg sat in his home office with Aleksandr. They had just finished discussing President Solonovich’s proposal of additional sanctions their government had planned to place on private run companies. The frustration level on both men’s minds was evident.
It had been over two month’s since Oleg introduced his plan to Aleksandr to overthrow the government and eliminate Solonovich. Since then, they had both remained quiet. A lull in their conversation gave Oleg the opportunity to bring it back up. Now I will find out if you are truly with me.
Oleg stood up from his chair in front of the fireplace and walked over to his bar. He picked out a bottle of Platinka vodka, shook his head and chuckled.
“What is it?” Aleksandr asked.
Oleg turned and showed the bottle to Aleksandr. “I am now having to drink this.”
“Yes. So? That is very good vodka. It is made in Brest, is it not?”
“Yes, but it is owned by a company out of Atlanta, Georgia.” He sighed. “The time cannot get here soon enough.”
He turned back around and poured some in a glass filled with ice.
“Have you heard anything from your contact?” Aleksandr asked.
“Not yet, but I am expecting him to check in soon. He should already be on the way.”
“Can you call him?”
Oleg took a sip of his vodka and rolled it around in his mouth to savor it before swallowing. Actually, that’s not bad. “I can, but I won’t. You will.”
“Me?” Aleksandr asked.
“Yes. I told him that you would be his contact, the last time I spoke to him. He is expecting to talk to you the next time there is communication between us.”
“But how will I get in touch with him?”
From his desk, Oleg retrieved an encrypted satellite phone. He tossed it to Aleksandr. “Use this and call him now.”
“And how do I identify myself?”
“Just tell him, Spear Garden.”
Zahmir had just finished his afternoon prayers and put his prayer rug and Koran back in his stateroom. Prior to departing, he demanded that the ships galley be stocked with plenty of the foods that he and his men were accustomed to eating and enjoying.
He ordered them to prepare a shawarma for him. It consisted of grilled lamb or chicken, mixed with salad and spices and rolled inside a pocket of traditional Arabic bread. It was later in the day than he was accustomed to eating, so he was starving and looked forward to his meal and coffee. As he turned to leave his room, the satellite phone, sent to him by Oleg, rang. He picked it up. “Yes.”
The voice on the line sounded demanding. “You were supposed to call us when you were on your way. Where are you? Have you left? We have a very tight schedule,” Aleksandr said.
Who is this infidel that speaks to me in such a manner? “Who is this? I do not recognize your voice.”
“I am with operation Spear Garden,” the voice said.
“So, you are my contact then.”
“Everything is on schedule. Wait… there is some interference in my room from the steel and wires. Let me go down to the main deck so that I can get a better signal.”
“Fine, but hurry.”
Zahmir went down two flights of stairs to a small hallway and out to the main deck of the ship. He did not like being talked to in such a manner, but he decided to take it. After all, these were the people that hired him and would provide the funding their organization needed so desperately. He put the phone back to his ear. “I am here.”
“Yes,” Aleksandr replied. “Can you hear me better? Now tell me where you are.”
“Yes. Much more clear. We are about one hundred and seventy nautical miles south of the Turks and Caicos traveling at twenty-three knots. We will be at our destination in ten days. Everything is on schedule.”
“What is your schedule?”
“We will dock in Rijeka. From there, we have secured air transport into Lithuania. We will then bring the shipment across the border near Hieraniony. Have you secured that area?”
There was a brief pause on the line. “You let me worry about that. It will be ready. Check in and give me an update in five days. Do not make me call you.”
Aleksandr disconnected the call.
“Well?” Oleg asked.
“They are just passing the Turks and Caicos. They are on schedule to dock in Rijeka in ten days.”
“Excellent.” Oleg swirled the cubes in his glass. Everything is aligning perfectly.
Aleksandr reached in his pocket and retrieved a cigarette. As he tapped it on the back of his hand he said, “He mentioned Hieraniony and asked if we had secured that area. Is that something that you were going to do?”
“Yes. That’s part of the Parks and Preservation Board. I have someone that owed me a favor and he has assured me that it will be made secure at that time. I’ve made arrangements so that we can gain access.”
Aleksandr smiled as he stood up. “Very good.” He placed the cigarette behind his ear as he walked over to the bar and fixed himself a drink. Oleg watched his friend carefully. He was pleased at how he handled the call with al Hamwi. Now you are truly with me, Comrade. Together, we will take back this country.
Aleksandr turned and raised his glass. “Now we wait.”