08:00 (05:00 GMT)
Blake and Adriana sat in the car sipping coffee while parked across the street from the print shop. It was on a main thoroughfare in between a florist and store that looked as if it sold radios and other small electronics. A flicker of lights inside the print shop got Blake’s attention.
“Someone is finally there. Let’s see if this guy is as good as Matt says he is.” They stepped out of the car and closed the doors. While they walked, Blake checked the surroundings to make sure they weren’t being watched. He breathed a quiet sigh of relief as they crossed the street.
The door was still locked when they reached it, but a clerk ambled over and twisted a lock. “Good morning. What can I help you with,” he asked in Ukrainian.
Blake said, “Hi, we’re looking for Vadim. Is he here,” Blake asked in Russian. “Do you speak English?
“I understand English. He is busy. Perhaps I—”
“Could you please tell Vadim that friends of Casper’s evil brother are here to see him? He’ll understand and will want to come right out.” Blake smiled at the clerk while the young man stared back with a furrowed brow before walking to the back of the store.
“Casper?” she asked.
“Yeah. Matt got the nickname of Ghost for being able to sneak in and out of places without being seen. He hated nicknames. Someone suggested Casper. It’s a cartoon character back in the States. His full name is Casper the friendly ghost. Another buddy of mine said that ‘friendly’ just wasn’t in Matt’s DNA, so he suggested Casper’s evil brother and it just kind of stuck, whether he liked it or not.”
Adriana smiled. “You have some strange friends.”
Blake shrugged. You don’t know the half of it.
A man of about average height and boney features came from the rear of the store. He had dark hair cropped short, narrow eyes and high cheekbones, typical of someone from this part of the world. He walked slowly. No doubt he was sizing Blake up. “May I help you?”
“I’m friends with Casper’s evil brother and he said that you could help us with some passports.”
Blake could tell by Vadim’s mannerisms and the look of “fake confusion” this man was unsure of their intentions. He finally asked, “And who exactly is Casper’s evil brother?”
Blake understood his apprehension and got right to the point. “Matt Sharp. He said that—“
Vadim held up a hand.
“That isn’t necessary. He called me last night. Follow me.”
Blake and Adriana followed Vadim to the back of the store. He had them both sit for individual photos and then went to work.
“Mr. and Mrs. John Morgan, from Indianapolis, Indiana.” Vadim handed them their first set of fakes. Blake looked intently at the passports. He had seen plenty of fake passports in his years and these were exceptional. As Blake thumbed through the passport, Vadim said, “I’ve put stamps in there from the past and for this week. You entered Ukraine one week ago. Perhaps you are on your honeymoon or an anniversary trip. I’ll be finished with the others in a moment. Mr. MacKay, what other languages do you speak?”
Blake rattled them off to Vadim. “German, Russian, Spanish, Pashtu and Farsi.”
Ten minutes later, Vadim returned with the other two passports. He handed the first to Blake and said, “Detlev Vogt from Düsseldorf, Germany.” He then handed the other to Adriana and said, “Maria Sanchez from Bogota, Columbia.”
Blake was again amazed at the quality and accuracy of the fake passports. “What will happen now when they are scanned?” Blake asked.
“Give me an hour and all four will be in the system. Those will be as real as any other passport. Now hold on for just a minute, I have something else for you.”
Vadim returned and handed Blake a set of credit cards, all with matching names to the ID’s he just created for them. It was a combination of Visa’s, MasterCard’s and American Express’. “These all work, but go easy on them, they’re all backed by an account that Matt has set up. Whatever you spend, you’ll have to settle up with him.”
Blake thanked Vadim. “How much do we owe you?”
Vadim held up his hand. “Nothing. I still owe Matt for some things he’s done for me.”
Blake thanked him again and put the details of Vadim and his store in the back of his mind in case he needed his services anytime in the future.
They left the print shop and drove to Boryspil International Airport, the largest in Ukraine and twenty-nine kilometers east of Kiev.
They parked in long-term parking, Blake took an exceptional amount of time to wipe down the car and eliminate any fingerprints. As of now, there was no reason to do this, but Blake had a habit of erasing his tracks.
Inside, they approached the Ukraine International ticket counter and Blake whispered, “Well, now we’ll see exactly how well these passports work”.
He told Adriana to use the passport for Mrs. Morgan and they rehearsed the answers to the typical questions that are asked. They’d been here for pleasure on their five year anniversary, they hadn’t been on any farms and they weren’t transporting any produce. Blake used the American Express to purchase two first-class tickets to Zurich on Ukraine International Airlines.
A few stomach twisting minutes later, they were issued boarding passes and passed through security. Before boarding, Blake purchased an Android tablet from an electronics vending machine in the terminal. After they were seated on the plane, Blake removed his tablet and started to do research on the Bank of Zurich.
He found out that the Bank was not the typical Swiss Bank. All Swiss banks were known for their strict policies for keeping their customers information private, however Blake discovered that with the Bank of Zurich, the typical person couldn’t just walk in and open up an account. The Bank of Zurich was an “Invitation only” bank and its entire clientele were people that were extended an invitation to open an account there. The bank was also known simply as “The B.”
Blake sighed and massaged his face with his eyes closed until a gentle hand rested on his knee. The woman he’d fallen in love with smiled at him.
“Are you okay? What is the next step?”
“Oh, it’s everything. Someone who I am very close to might not be the person I thought he was. I need to find out the name of this person in Shoret’s notebook and tie them to your father. That’s why we’re going to Zurich. I have to find a way to hack into one of the most secure banks in the world.”