Sancti Spiritus, Cuba
08:12 (13:12 GMT)
At Javier’s, all three had just finished breakfast when Blake’s secure phone rang. He pulled it out and looked at the screen.
Outside, he hurried down the alley. “What’s up?”
“I just got a call from NRO and they have tracked your ship to its current location,” Mike said.
“Where’s it at?”
“It’s in the Ionian Sea headed north into the Adriatic. We don’t have a final destination yet. Get in the air and head towards Croatia. I’ll call you just as soon as I find out.”
“I’m on my way.”
NRO or The National Reconnaissance Office is located in Chantilly, Virginia. They are responsible for designing, building and operating the spy satellites of the U.S. Government. They coordinate and analyze all of the surveillance and satellite imagery for several intelligence and military agencies. Mike had the authority to call in special requests to reposition the satellites when it was a matter of national security.
Back inside, Javier and Adriana had just cleaned up from breakfast. Adriana turned inquisitive eyes on him that made his stomach tighten. He couldn’t hold her stare and busied himself gathering his things. “I’ve got to go. Thanks for your help.”
Blake turned when he heard the voice behind him. “That’s it? I’ve got to go and then you just leave? Hold on a minute.”
Blake felt her lurking behind him. Oh, Shit. Here we go. He turned back to her. “I can’t talk about it Adriana, it’s part of the job.”
“But you’ve told me a lot of things already; the weapon, al Hamwi, my father.”
He could hear the desperation in her voice. He liked it. It gave him control. Blake stuffed the last of his things in his backpack and said, “Sorry.” He brushed past her and out the door.
He sat down in the Mustang. The deep throaty note of the exhaust masked the sound of the passenger door opening. Adriana plopped into the passenger seat. “I’m going with you.”
“No you’re not. You don’t even know where I’m going.”
“So?” She said as she smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m not coming back.”
“I don’t care,” Adriana replied. “You never know, I could be helpful to you.”
So much for that control. Blake curled up his eye brows and shook his head. “What in the hell could you possibly do to help me?”
“Uh—the bank for starters. You wouldn’t have been able to get into my safe deposit box. You wouldn’t have gotten the name of that ship—or those bank account numbers.”
Shit. She’s got a good point. “Okay, I admit it. You did help me then. But that’s because we’re here.” Blake pointed down with both hands. “I’m going halfway around the world. There isn’t anything you can do for me over there. Now, stop being stubborn and get out. I mean it.”
“No,” she said defiantly.
He threw his arms up. “I don’t have time for this.”
The car lurched forward as it went into gear.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“We are going to the airport. I had my plane moved over there yesterday from GITMO and then I am going to get on it while you stay here.”
“We’ll see about that.”
Blake saw her smirk out of the corner of his eye.
The thought of having her eyes light up when her gaze rested on him, or her long dark hair cascading over him while they... he shook his head to clear his thoughts. How would he explain her presence to Mike? He wouldn’t be able to babysit her at his destination. What if something happened to her because he was too weak to say no?
He didn’t know if he was falling in love or not yet, but one thing was for sure; he didn’t want to separate himself from her.
The image of Farishta lying dead on the floor flashed into his mind. He shook the thought away. She won this battle.
“Screw it.” He glanced over and watched as her long hair danced in the wind.
“What did you say?” She leaned in toward Blake and stopped her hair from blowing back with her hand.
“I said, screw it. You want to come along, then come along. But you’re going like that.”
He savored the transformation from a defiant woman to that of a giddy little girl who just talked her father into buying her an ice cream.
He called ahead so that the pilots could prep the plane and told them they would need to take off immediately. When they rolled up to the plane and approached it, both pilots quirked their eyebrows at Adriana’s pajamas and bare feet.
“Don’t ask,” he said.
Once everyone was on board, Blake went to the cockpit. “All right, before you say anything, she is General Vasquez’s daughter and helped me gather some valuable intel. She has contacts in Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia. If once we get over there it doesn’t look like she can help, we’ll fly her back home. Any questions?”
Randy and Chuck looked at each other and simultaneously said, “Nope!”
In the cabin, Blake dug out a duffel bag and tossed it to Adriana. “Here you go. See if there is anything in there you can wear?”
“What is this?”
“It’s a go bag. All the agents that use the plane have one on board. There should be a change of clothes in there and the female agent who’s bag that belongs to is about the same size as you.” Blake sat down and fastened his seat belt.
“Oh, if one of those two guys up there ask you about contacts in Europe, just say that you have an extensive network of people that you know. That’s the excuse I gave them for bringing you along.”
The giddy school girl was back. “Okay, I can do that.”
“Alright. Now buckle up, we’re about to take off.”
Seven hours into the flight the in-cabin phone rang. Blake glanced over at a sleeping Adriana before he answered.
“Blake. Mike. We’ve got a bead on your ship. It looks like it is going to be docking in Rijeka, Slovenia.”
Blake pulled out a pen and wrote down the information. “Right. We’re about three hours out.” He opened up the CIA’s version of Google Earth on his laptop and said, “There is an airport just a few klicks from the main port. Send me their exact coordinates to my phone once they dock and I’ll head that way and see what I can find out.”