Chapter 54 – Jamaica
Near the eastern coast of Jamaica is a remote place where the tourists hardly ever visit called Williams Field.
In the late 1990’s an Internet Billionaire built a mansion up in the hills. Shortly after it was finished the market crashed, and it became an asset that he had to liquidate as quickly as possible. Apparently he never went there.
Through an obscure Cayman Islands corporation, the CIA bought the mansion for a knocked down price and used it as one of their safe houses in the region. What had brought the property to the CIA’s attention, was that the Internet Billionaire had installed a state-of-the art high speed communications system with a self-contained power supply.
The safe-house was staffed by a husband and wife team, Jed and Lisa, who lived in one of the tied cottages. Jed tended the gardens and took care of any routine maintenance, while his wife cleaned and kept everything ready for their occasional visitors. If they needed extra staff when guests stayed, they were brought in from the local village.
As far as Jed and Lisa were concerned the mansion was a vacation home for some of the executives from the Cayman Islands Bank that owned it. Most of the time the big house was empty, they got paid on time, they had a good life, and … as they often said to each other in private, ‘ain’t nobody was going to spoil it.’
Of course Lisa would have given everything for the thing she wanted most in the world, a baby. But the doctors told her that was not possible, so she was content with her life with Jed.
The mansion was called Jacobs Creek. It had a modest 8 bedrooms each their own with en-suite bathrooms, a large outdoor pool, a fully equipped gym and a suite of offices that the Internet Billionaire once planned to use. On top of the office building, which had been built slightly away from the main house, was a full size helicopter landing pad. Apparently it had cost more to construct the heli-pad using special reinforced concrete, than the rest of the house put together.
Jed had an email from the Office Manager in the Cayman Islands saying that they should expect visitors at the weekend. He told Lisa over breakfast, ‘that the Bank has said that some executives were flying down there with their families and they should make everything ready.’ It was not their place to ask who the people were, or how long they were planning to stay. Lisa was delighted at the word ‘families’, she hoped some children would be coming.
Rather than a chore, they preferred to have visitors. It gave them a purpose, and it was interesting to meet different people. Previous visitors had always been polite and courteous, and rarely any trouble.
Jed and Lisa went into a practiced routine. They had a contingent of regular staff they called in when they had visitors, who were all glad of the work. Jed went to collect the small group of cooks, housekeepers and serving staff.
When they arrived back at Jacobs Creek, there was small fleet of delivery trucks in the drive delivering the supplies of food, drink and fresh flowers that Lisa had ordered. Nobody ever questioned the bills.
Everyone fell into a familiar routine, the bedrooms were made ready with fresh linen and towels, the bars, fridges and freezers were freshly stocked, the pool cleaned, and the garden tidied.
In his email reply to the Bank, Jed had asked if the guests required collecting – he had assumed they would be flying in as most did. He was told that some guest would arrive on Saturday by rental car, and then more would arrive the following day by helicopter. Then somewhat unusually attached to the email was a list of additional items that the guests required. Lisa was very excited when she looked at the print-out of the list, because on it were some baby things.
Oh joy! She loved it when children were there, but especially babies.
She gathered together the other female staff, and they clucked and cooed with enthusiasm over the list.
She called her Sister who worked in Kingston. After a long conversation, she asked her Sister to pick up the things for her and drive up to Jacobs Creek. There was an unwritten rule, that a few more items that her Sister needed for herself would get added to the bill. It was fair, for her trouble. The bills were never questioned.
Knowing Lisa’s calls to her Sister where never short, Jed had taken his yard brush and gone to sweep the helipad. It hadn’t been used for a few months. Sure enough when he finished his sweeping, Lisa was still on the phone.
The following day a young black couple arrived in a rental car. The household all turned out to meet new visitors, and Lisa found it hard to hide her disappointment that the car had no child seat. The couple shook hands with everyone and introduced themselves as Mat and Jessica.
They showed Jed their ‘Cayman Island Bank’ credentials and he showed them to one of the bedrooms. He told them they could take their pick as they were the first to arrive. Jessica made a show of viewing each of the 8 bedrooms, but they had already selected which one they would use from the CIA plans of the building. With apparent indifference, they chose the corner suite, which had the best view of the entrance gate. Their bags were brought up, and Mat glimpsed the rental car as it was driven into a shaded parking lot under the helipad.
Claiming tiredness after an exhausting journey, they said they would get a few hours’ sleep before dinner. Mat a tall good looking man with a New Jersey accent, gave Jed a discreet wink when Jessica’s back was turned. Jed got the message about a few hours’ sleep, and tapped the side of his nose twice and gave Mat a man-to-man secret grin.
Mat said the other guests would be arriving tomorrow sometime, by helicopter. He said that he and Jessica would be down for dinner about 7.
Jed said sarcastically, ‘Enjoy your rest,’ and went to find Lisa.
As soon as they saw Jed saunter over to the cottage where they lived, Mat and Jessica began a well-practiced operation to sweep the house. From a hidden compartment below the bottom lining of their suitcases, they took out the tools of their trade. They made a thorough electronic search of the entire complex using the latest electronic bugging sensors.
As expected nothing was found, and Mat sent a text message to a Cayman Islands number:
‘Arrived safely, all quiet’.
A few minutes later, his Cell phone beeped and the reply read:
‘4 + 1 @ 4 Bluebird’.
It was a text sent from an Unknown number. But it meant that 4 people plus the baby would arrive at 4 AM. Mat showed the screen of his phone to Jessica so she could read the message. She nodded her understanding and said nothing aloud. Jed deleted all the messages from his phone. He then took out the SIM card and replaced it with a new one. He cut the old SIM card into small fragments, put half the fragments in a tissue and flushed them down the lavatory, the other half he put in an empty soda can and tossed it in the trash.
Just before 6, Mat and Jessica used the gym and swam in the pool, drinks were drunk, dinner eaten, all without fuss. They went to bed early. All the staff had an early night.
Mat and Jessica were awake by 3.30 AM. In the dark they checked all around to ensure that all was quiet. Just before 4 AM their heard the helicopter rotas and watched as a powerful search light from the aircraft swept over the mansion. The agents knew that the helicopter was chartered from a local company and was being flown by a senior Navy pilot who was dressed in the uniform of the Jamaica Helicopter Company. It had been flown in from the USS Ross a US Navy warship that was over the horizon and in international waters. The warship had carried the four passengers and the baby at full speed since they had embarked off the Eastern seaboard near Virginia. The operation was classified black, and carried out in the utmost secrecy and with the superb efficiency of the US Navy. The USS Ross’s Captain, had been a room-mate of the Admiral’s when they attended the Navy Officer training academy almost 30 years ago, and they had been close friends ever since.
The pilot landed the helicopter gently, illuminating the helipad on the descent with a powerful landing light. As soon as the aircraft touched the helipad, the rear doors opened and four people, emerged from the helicopter. The rotas continued to turn on full power.
As Mat and Jessica watched through the darkened windows of their bedroom suite, they knew that there were two men and two women in the group with the baby but it was too dark to see who was who. However, somebody must have turned on some lights, or a movement sensor turned them on, because the helipad was now illuminated and they could now see the faces of the group. They watched the women, descend from the helipad by the rear steps, keeping their heads low. One of the women was carrying a small holdall, the other woman who carried the baby was very large. Mat and Jessica immediately recognised her from the intelligence they had been given as the NASA scientist, Dr Mary Morrell. The woman with the holdall led, walking almost backwards to assist the second woman carrying the baby as best she could. The agents knew the second woman was Dr Anne Davis a doctor who specialised in child medicine who had been close to Mary since they had been in the bunker together in Colorado. They assumed the holdall contained her medical kit and essentials for the baby.
The other two male passengers, unloaded bags from the helicopter luggage hold, slammed the rear doors, and in practised pose dropped to one knee as the helicopter took off. They waved to the pilot, who saluted. The helicopter roared away in the direction it had come. Leaving a silence behind. Shortly the sounds of the night, the sounds of the insects and the birds of Jamaica returned.
Lights now illuminated the mansion complex. As Mat and Jessica watched, the saw a flustered Jed and Lisa still in their night clothes, and an entourage of the other servants of the household, also in their night attire, rush out to greet their new quests. This was the signal for Mat and Jessica to go down, they had to appear as if they were also unaware of the helicopters arrival, so they also appeared in their night clothes to feign the surprise. They needn’t have worried because the two CIA agents went almost unnoticed, because everyone was fussing over the baby who was the immediate centre of attention.
‘My, my look at you, aren’t you the most fabulous’, Lisa cooed over the baby, especially when she learnt that his name was Jesus.
Lisa was beside herself with pleasure as Mary allowed her to carry the baby to the suite that had been prepared with the new crib and baby things her Sister had brought in. The male servants carried the bags of the new arrivals up to the bedroom suits, and the cooks trailed off to prepare an early breakfast for everyone. Mat could hear Jed saying, ’if you had let us know what time you were arriving we would have been dressed and ready for you.’
The fuss over the baby gave Mat and Jessica a few minutes alone with the two male arrivals. Matt shook hands first with the bearded one, ‘Hi I’m Mat’.
‘Hi Mat, I’m Carl Lancaster, I must say you aren’t dressed as I expected’. Carl looked down at Mat’s night attire. Clearly not what most people think a CIA operative would wear.
As he was shaking hands with Brian Fellows, the second passenger, Mat said quietly, ’please Gentlemen remember that you are Bank executives on vacation’.
Jessica added, ‘I should say a family vacation, because we have to remember our priority here is to the baby.’
With the greetings done, they sauntered up to the house so the two new male arrivals could unpack in their assigned suites.
Before the mission started the Admiral had briefed the agents personally on the team he had selected to travel to Jamaica. The other care staff assigned to look after the baby by the President’s office had stayed behind. This was because they were not cleared for the level of security of this operation.
The Operation was given a code name, Silver Testament. Silver Testament had the highest security classification used by the NSA and CIA. Silver Testament carried the same security classification given to assassination attempts on world leaders, or threats to the President. The operation was only known to a handful of people, and three of those were the President, NSA Director and the Admiral. The last time this level of security was used was for the operation to assassinate Osama bin Laden.
Mat remembered the briefing with the Admiral. When Mat asked the Admiral where the name of the operation had come from, the Admiral had said that it was inspired by an article he had read about the construction of the troubled Silver line on the Washington Metro, in combination with something biblical. It also seemed appropriate to the Admiral, as the baby had been referred to as the Silver man.
Mat also remembered from the briefing that Mary and her husband were estranged, although not actually divorced. They lived separate lives and rarely saw each other. Mary’s kids were both in college, and knew ‘Mom was married to her work at NASA’ and saw nothing strange by long absences from home. They kept in touch by Skype and by email.
The two men who had both had been in the team led by Bob Cabana in the bunker in Colorado, the bearded one was the educational psychologist Carl Lancaster, and the other, the distinguished anthropologist Dr Brian Fellows. Both were life-long respected academics, and according to the intelligence reports both saw this assignment as a route to a Nobel Prize. Mat didn’t know how the intel people would know that, but kept the thought to himself.
Mat also remembered the other reason that Dr Anne Davis had been selected for the mission. Not only was she a world respected specialist in children’s medicine, she was also Jewish, and the President thought this may be a useful ‘political’ factor in the future.
Jessica held back from the three men as they walked up to the bedroom suites, a chance to be alone with her thoughts. She was excited, it was if her whole life had led to this one moment. She didn’t know if the intelligence reports about the baby Jesus were right or not, but it seemed to her that either he was the new Messiah, the second coming, or he was the first alien life form known on Earth. Either way this was pretty significant moment, and the sort of moment, she had joined the CIA to experience. Mat was the ardent professional, here to do the job he was assigned to do. She had no sense he felt any more significance to this assignment than a drugs bust or resolving a kidnapping, but she felt differently. This was special.
By sun-up everyone was showered, dressed and eating a good breakfast. Now a new sound could be heard over the insects and the birds of Jamaica, a wonderful sound that gave all the adults an extra spring in their step and a broader smile on all of their faces, it was the cry and laughter of a new born baby boy.