Spear Garden

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Chapter 49

Minsk, Belarus

Home of Prime Minister Shorets

08:30 (05:30 GMT)

July 3rd

Aleksandr dashed up the stairs, into the mansion and descended to the basement where the American spy was held. A lone guard sat on a stool and smoked a cigarette.

“You.”

The guard snapped to attention.

“Have you killed him yet?” Aleksandr asked.

“No. We’re waiting for him to wake up to see if we can extract any information from him.”

“Did you get anything off of him, previously?”

“No. He didn’t say a word. Took quite a beating too.”

“The prime minister asked me to see if I could get anything more out of him. Give me five minutes alone with him. We’ll do the good guy, bad guy thing like they do on American TV.”

“I take it you’re the good guy?” the former Spetsnaz asked.

Aleksandr grabbed the guards hand and inspected his bloodied and bruised knuckles. The guard smirked, took a final toke off his cigarette and threw it to the floor.

“Just open the damn door,” Aleksandr demanded.

The guard complied.

“Stay here. I’ll call for you when I need you.”

When Aleksandr saw Blake, he was hunched over in his chair. He didn’t know if he was asleep, passed out or possibly dead. Aleksandr raised the spy’s head. His eyes were swollen and blood trailed from his nose. His nerves started to get to him and he wondered how this American agent would react to him.

“Mr. Mackay.”

Aleksandr lightly slapped Blake’s bruised cheeks.

“Mr. MacKay!”

Aleksandr reached into his pocket and pulled out some smelling salts. He broke them and waived them under Blake’s nose.

***

The strong scent of ammonia jerked Blake back to consciousness. His head pounded and his jaw ached. The swelling on his cheek throbbed and he spit out the blood that gave him the metallic taste in his mouth. He wriggled in his chair, but the cuffs kept him seated. The room was one he didn’t recognize.

“Where am I?”

“You’re in the basement of the prime minister’s house.”

Through narrowed eyes and a clinched jaw, Blake lifted his head. “You do know that when I get out of this, I am going to kill you.”

“Mr. MacKay, please! I’m trying to help you. Listen to me. I am your only hope.”

Blake squinted. He tried to focus his vision. “I know you. You’re the first deputy prime minister. What are you doing here?”

“Mr. Mackay, if you want any hope of escaping here and rescuing the girl, you’ll listen to me very closely.”

Blake’s thoughts rushed to Adriana. Was she okay? Did they torture her? “What did you do to her?”

“The prime minister isn’t just planning on assassinating the president; he is planning on killing thousands of our citizens to make it look like a terrorist attack.”

“I figured that out. He was going to blame it on al Hamwi right?”

“Yes. That’s right! As much as I despise our dictator president, I just couldn’t live with myself if all of those other people died. There will be families there, women and children. It would be terrible. You have to stop them!”

Blake studied the look on the man’s face before him; the worry in his eyes, the desperation in his voice. He’s telling the truth. Blake nodded. “I’m a little tied up at the moment.”

Aleksandr withdrew a handcuff key out of his pocket and said, “I can fix that.” He unlocked one of the cuffs on Blake’s feet and hands. He pulled out a silenced Beretta 9mm.

“I’ll put this in the small of your back. It’s loaded and one is in the chamber. I told the guard I needed to get some information and I would play the good cop, and when I needed him, he could come and play the bad cop.”

Blake chuckled. “You watch too much American television. How many are there?”

“Fortunately, not many. Three, maybe five at the most. When you get out of here, you can take my car, just please don’t kill my driver. He’s a family man and doesn’t know anything about this. Just throw him out of the car. Are you ready?”

“What is he doing with the weapons?”

“All that I know is that the prime minister has placed them in a circular pattern, all facing the center of Victory Square.”

I knew it! “That’s where the president gives his speech?” Blake asked.

“Yes.”

“How can I disarm them? Do you have the codes?”

Aleksandr shook his head. “I do not. The weapons are being controlled by some of the men Oleg recruited. I do not know who, though. They will be far from Victory Square and far from the power plant. I am sorry that I cannot tell you more. He was very limited in what he told me.”

“What time does he give his speech?”

“Fourteen hundred.”

“What time is it now?”

“Eight forty-five.”

“Well, we’re running out of time. Let’s do this.”

As Blake watched Aleksandr leave to retrieve the man outside, a smile creased his face. He was looking forward to returning the favor to the man that beat him.

The dumb Russian , as Blake thought of him, came in and rolled up his sleeves as he stepped toward Blake, his lips curled, as he anticipated his enjoyment.

“You want more, huh? Stupid American.”

As he pulled his fist back, Blake drew the Beretta and placed a bullet in the middle of his assailant’s forehead. Brains splattered on the wall. The man fell backward onto the marble floor with a thump.

Blake stretched out his hands. “Take these cuffs the rest of the way off.”

After Blake’s restraints were removed, he knelt down and searched the guard. He pulled his pistol from his holster and handed it to Aleksandr.

“Do you know how to use this?”

Aleksandr cocked the pistol. “Of course.”

Blake grabbed his wallet and cell phone off a table and paused. He turned to Aleksandr.

“I’ve got a question for you and I’m giving you one chance to tell me the truth. I’ll know if you’re lying to me and I have no problem beating the truth out of you. Understand?”

Aleksandr nodded. “Yes, what is it?”

“How did the prime minister know who I was?”

“He said that he had an American contact; someone deep in your intelligence. Prime Minister Shorets made a deal with him for licensing rights for western businesses once we took over the government.”

“You said him. Are you sure it was a he and not a she?”

“I’m sorry. I do not. I suppose it could be a woman, but I do not know.”

Blake studied Aleksandr and looked for a bead of sweat, a small twitch under his eye, the direction of his stare, any sudden movement. There were none. Well, shit! That doesn’t help me out too much.

“I believe you.” Blake started toward the basement door.

“Wait,” Aleksandr said. “There is more.”

Shit! “Okay, let me have it.”

“I believe that it is this contact that also arranged for the sale of the weapon we now possess. I don’t know anything else beyond that.”

“Well, this just keeps getting better. Alright, are you ready to do this?”

“Yes.”

They both silently moved out the basement door and crept up the steps. With their backs to the wall, they quietly climbed to the top. They reached the main level and came up to the foyer, behind the two massive curved staircases. He slowly peeked around the corner. There were two guards standing in the middle of the foyer. Blake held up two fingers. Aleksandr nodded. After a deep breath, he sprung around the corner.

Before either of them knew what hit them, both guards dropped to the floor dead. Aleksandr followed Blake.

Outside the front of the home, a guard looked through the window. Blake saw him reach for his weapon and step for the door. Blake sprinted from the foyer toward the door and dropped to his knees. When the door opened, Blake fired three rounds as he slid across the marble floor on his knees. Two of his rounds pummeled the guard in the chest, while the third ripped through his neck.

Suppressed gunfire came from behind Blake. He spun around and aimed. Lying dead on the floor was the guard that came from the ball room. Blake turned back at Aleksandr.

“I got him. He should be the last,” Aleksandr said.

“Thanks.” Okay. Now you’ve earned my trust.

They hurried down to the Mercedes. Aleksandr told his driver to get out and give up the car.

Blake stepped in, started it and rolled down the window. “Where did they take the girl?”

“To the power plant. You know where it is?”

“Yes. Do you know if she’s okay?”

“She’s alive, but she’s been drugged. Oleg knows she is the daughter of General Vasquez. He plans on using that as part of his cover-up. Oleg and I will be there giving a speech when they are activating the reactors. It will be about the same time as the president’s speech.”

“Fuck!” Blake said as he rubbed his hands through his hair. “And you are sure you don’t know any way to disarm the weapons?”

“I do not. Prime Minister Shorets is your best bet.”

“Okay. We’ll, maybe I’ll think of something else on my way up there. Thank you for your help.”

Blake put the car in drive and tore off toward the plant.

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