THE HEIST OF IRON MOUNTAIN (Amara Quest Series)

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CHAPTER 16

Derek looked out from a slit on the side of the delivery van; he was snuggled uncomfortably between two big cartons of quad-copter drones which the delivery van is filled with. The inside was so dark save for the thin strip of light that penetrated through the slit on the side of the van; he had made the hole with the Montblac pen, a gift he was given by Imogen after he had rescued her from The Malibu.

From the hole, he could see well-trimmed Dubai policemen and women standing beside a crop of supercars numbering about ten that they had showed up in. He could see a Chevrolet Camaro SS, an Audi R8, a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 and other supercars painted with the Dubai Police color of white and dark green with blaring sirens.

He could also see some special agents armed to the teeth with sophisticated weapons taking positions around the perimeter of the company.

The van had been stopped along the driveway by the policemen; Derek could feel light flood into the van and he shut his eyes tightly and prayed silently; his discovery would spell his end and he wouldn’t even be given the time to figure all this out and possibly defend himself because as far as he knew, he was innocent. He heard them talking outside;

“?Ayn wijhatik ?Ma hu fi aljuz’ alkhalfi min alssayaarat,” Derek heard the policeman ask in Arabic, he must have observed satisfactorily that the driver was an Arab and he felt a bit relieved, the Dubai police force did not have a famous history of dealing kindly with foreigners after all.

“Faqat bed shahanat,” the driver replied casually; a few Arabic exchanges later, he heard the door of the van slammed shut and the vehicle kept on moving.

Derek heaved a sigh and thanked his lucky stars which seemed to be shining brightly so far; his ribs were seriously aching him and he tried to adjust his position to ease the pain.

He was trying to figure out a plan; he thought about getting into a lounge in a hotel and put a secure call through to Amara but that would be dangerous, there was particularly no one he could trust in Dubai especially with what was going on.

The van stopped abruptly at a traffic light; just then he remembered something – Chidimma! The female reporter of Wired magazine that he just met recently, she must still be in Dubai.

He had to get out now that he had the chance. Luckily, the van was not filled to capacity and he moved the cartons to another side and scampered blindly to the door of the van. He soon located the two big bolts and pulled; he made sure to conceal his face as he jumped down from the vehicle and headed for a phone booth he sighted across the road.

He could catch some people glancing at him suspiciously but he cared less, after all he was just some misplaced person walking around.

When he was safe in the phone booth, he pulled out his Blackberry and searched for Chidimma’s contact which he soon found with ease. Since he couldn’t make any more calls with the phone, he had to locate her address which was still on the phone screen and he quickly wrote it down on a sheet of paper.

He flagged down a car that seemed like a taxi and handed him the piece of paper; the fat lady janitor’s face cap helped him hide his facial features a bit.

“It is one hour journey sir,” the black driver looked up at Derek who was standing beside the front door of what he now discovered to be a private shuttle service vehicle; it was a Toyota Sienna 6-seater vehicle. It was far better than a taxi.

“One hour?” Derek asked puzzled.

The driver was a Kenyan that looked like he was sixty-something, he had a warm expression on his face and seemed kind enough with the way he cocked his head imploringly to one side while he talked, but Derek knew not to trust anyone at that critical moment.

“Yes, one hour. But not with public transport, private transport is faster sir. Look here at the GPS map; it is forty-five minutes if we take the major road through Al Ma…” he tried to explain,

“It’s fine. There should be no other passenger and try to avoid checkpoints okay? I have somewhere very important to be right away,” Derek entered the vehicle, got to the last seat at the back and lay down, the furry seat couldn’t accommodate his tall length but he had to manage.

The driver appeared to be the chatty type and seemed desperate to start a conversation; all the while talking about how the government should improve their condition;

“Which government in particular are you talking about? Is it the Dubai or Kenyan government?” Derek decided to ask,

“All of them. Every one of them, if the Kenyan government assisted poor folks like me, why would I come hustle in Dubai? I do not eat only at night not because I want to but because the money is not there,” he paused as he got to a round-about with a bronze edifice in the middle of the well-manicured flowers,

“You can imagine that I am even better than a lot of people that came here, then how do those people eat? How?” he asked again emphatically, “As for Me, it’s fifteen years that I have been in Dubai and all those years, I send all my money to my family every month, if they get it I don’t know. You see, life is not easy son,” his story was very touching, especially the way he spoke with emotion.

Despite himself, Derek felt a lump in his chest out of pity for the poor man and he decided to help the less privileged more than he already did.

“I’m sorry about that. What do you know about politics?” he asked

“Politics? Hapana asante sana,” he said in his local language, “Years back, Obama from my hometown was President of America and we were very happy; I was driving big trucks and lorries before he was President, now he is no longer president, I am demoted to drive taxi. Why would I disturb myself since they are all the same? The reason why they are up there is to help us that are down below, but what have they done? Condition keeps on worsening but what I believe is that no condition is permanent and with God all things are possible, I say it to myself every morning before I wake up,”

Derek smiled, “Really? Before you wake up, that sounds great,”

“Yes, you see all these things, one day it will just end like it was nothing,”

“Yes, of course. Please can I have your phone? Mine is having a little problem,” Derek said and half stood up to collect the phone. The screen had cracked in certain places but he could manage to see the dial pad and typed in Chidimma’s number.

“Hello eh, Chidimma. It’s Derek on the line,” he paused. There was some noise on the other end and she said that she was at the auditorium where the conference is going on and would be at her apartment in the next thirty minutes, she was so happy that he was coming to visit.

He texted Amara telling her that he was safe and asked for her to help him sort this whole thing out, he promised her that he didn’t do anything and that someone was trying to set him up before ending it with a ’Thank you, with love from Derek”.

“Thank you,” he handed back the phone after deleting the call history and text message, “please what is your name?”

“The name is Dhamiria,“ he responded,

“Sounds girlish,” Derek said, attempting to pronounce the name,

The small handset buzzed in his pocket and he reached for it,

“UR CALL HAD BEEN TRACKED. TURN OFF D FONE & CHANGE UR DIRECTION. USE THIS 4 ANY COMMUNICATION”

“Jesus. How on earth do they know…Please can I have your phone and can you please take another route?” Derek implored. The driver looked at him suspiciously through the front mirror,

“I’ll pay you double including the money for the phone,” at this the man’s face brightened.

“Of course sir, there is another route but it will take us another ten minutes to get to the destination,” he gave the phone to Derek.

“Just keep going,” Derek knew programming to an extent and was once an ethical hacker; making the Internet Protocol address of the man’s phone bounce off several location was not much of a problem for him. He downloaded the necessary data packets and reprogrammed the GPS protocol of the phone, when he was done; he waited for exactly thirty seconds and removed the battery of the phone.

They’ll have a hard time knowing exactly where the call was made; thankfully the call wasn’t up to a minute

So far, so good, his head was still intact and not in some top security prison awaiting

prosecution, he might survive this storm after all.

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