Title: Who, how, when, where, why?
Author's Note: These sorts of things probably wouldn't happen in the real world. This is what fiction is about, fantasy…maybe…who knows. Pay attention to the dates, there are just a few flashbacks but the story changes in time and places… and it's bilingual, even though you won't notice it, at all. If you want to read more of the main character, Danny Taylor, be patient, it's all there, even though you don't see it yet. I hope you enjoy the story.
April 23, 2005
The call came from his boss; from a phone number that he only used under special circumstances. It was his personal cell phone. When that happened, he stopped everything that he was doing and devoted all his time to the orders his boss gave him, even though nobody noticed.
Following his boss' instructions, the meeting, if they could call it that, with the Area Director of the CIA took place with the utmost secrecy.
He left work at nine o'clock as he said goodbye to several coworkers and pulled out his card as he entered the elevator. He registered his departure but ignoring the main exit, he headed toward the stairs and quickly walked down toward the parking lot. Ignoring the front exit, he left the building through a back door exit. Walking several feet, to a neighboring building, he once again forewent the front entrance and instead entered the supermarket through a back entrance. It wasn't a regular supermarket, although it would appear that way to regular citizens coming into the store. What made the supermarket unique was that all of the employees at the market were, in reality, all working for the CIA. The store was just a front to hide to the fact this was just one of the multiple hidden offices the Central Intelligence Agency had around the country.
Taking a shopping cart, he put down some groceries. Since it was late, there weren't many people in there, so it wasn't difficult to recognize the man that came into the supermarket several minutes later, looking distractedly. Asking something to an employee, he headed to the place that the employee pointed at, as well as he did with the shopping cart. The man asked the store employee a question and the employee pointed toward a nearby corner, both heading in the same direction, one man with his shopping cart and the other man cleverly disguised as an employee.
He was only recognizable because of the description he had given to him when they spoke on the cell phone; that cell phone. Taking a package of cookies from the shelf, the man put it in his shopping cart and after taking several loaves of bread he left the supermarket.
He stayed behind a bit longer to buy some groceries that he actually needed. After paying for the groceries, he left the supermarket and took a cab back home.
He would have to take a flight or two, he deduced, after looking over the documents that his boss had hidden inside the bag of cookies and then placed in his shopping cart. Why was there so much precaution? he wondered. The news he'd received was that they'd lost control over the group that had been working undercover on the island for several years. Now, they didn't know what was happening over there, who was trustworthy and who wasn't. Taking the picture of Andrés Miranda, a member of that group now imprisoned in 'Santiago de Cuba', a city located sixty-two miles from the naval base of Guantánamo Bay, the safest place for any American on the island. From what he read in the documents, the CIA, FBI, NSA and the military were all interested in Andrés Miranda or the information that he could give them to clear up any doubts about what was really happening over there. They wanted him in the United States as soon as possible for reasons that were not disclosed in the documents that he was reading. Surely, all of them wanted to take the credit for getting Miranda out of the island. He had a name for it, a big black hole. Clicking his tongue as he read, he learned that several informants were talking about the beatings that he was receiving in prison, and even though they couldn't confirm the information, the possibility was actually very real. He noticed that no more than twenty people would know about the secret operation, a secret even to those in the CIA. Miranda was one of their owns and they had to get him out of there as soon as possible. Realizing the characteristics of the person he had to look for, he understood the meaning of it. 'Sons of a bitches', he thought, knowing he was included in the insult.
Searching for someone completely new to lead that mission was a big risk. He was experienced in searching profiles, but the problem was the time he needed but didn't have. Not even the person he'd choose had enough time to prepare the mission. He clicked his tongue again. The situation didn't look good. He would have to work fast but he knew where to look. Opening the laptop, he gained access to the restricted database and began the search immediately. The surveillance equipment wouldn't be a problem; he was used to installing cameras, tapping phones and retrieving data from a computer easily, but he had to determine his objective fast.
Forty-eight hours later, he had found eight people he considered enough to investigate. Once he rejected two of them, the third one would get a beating in a boxing ring four days later.
Santiago de Cuba
March 20, 2005
It had been a year since the American government had begun to combat the entry of drugs into the country that were being smuggled in from the Dominican Republic, a percentage that was eight percent of all the cocaine that was distributed throughout the entire territory, according to the latest DEA reports. However, sometimes the problem came from within themselves.
Guantánamo Bay had become, for some people, a perfect place to transport goods that gave them lucrative benefits. Every day, a patrol vehicle from the naval base, made its usual round of surveillance. But on the nights of the new moon, the patrol shift was reserved for a specific group that would do something else besides their usual surveillance.
The transfer of the goods was done in a previously agreed point out in the open sea. Carefully hidden inside the boat, the three soldiers came back to the base, where a vehicle was waiting for them. There, the goods were examined and divided. Most of them were sent to the airport that usually took off for the United States. As soon as they arrived, other agents examined and distributed all the merchandise, taking apart the cocaine bags and putting them into delivery vans. Nobody would guess that a transport under Government custody contained so much drugs. That business had worked for years and the people involved including CIA agents, militaries, in the island and the United States was now at risk of disappearing, since one of those men, learned who was actually the big boss from the United States and decided to take advantage; something that never should have happened.
Andrés Miranda carefully examined the packages he had placed in his van some time before. He didn't hear Clara's footsteps approaching him, but he felt her arms around his waist and her playful fingers further down his body to his center. The heat was suffocating and his body was still sweaty from the work he had been doing. This time, the packages of cocaine that had been left behind on the island, would last for several months. But Andrés Miranda didn't want to keep playing the drug business anymore. One of the reasons for him wanting to quit the drug business was the woman standing beside him, whispering in his ear, toying with his emotions, turning him on the way only she knew how. She smiled as she noticed his body's response and continued soothing his entire body, touching the more sensitive parts of his body, where he liked the most, as she enjoyed his well-defined torso and the way his breath came out in pants. When Andrés turned to her and grabbed her t-shirt, all Clara could do was raise her arms in anticipation, as the clothes were strewn about. The passionate kisses, the way his fingers touched every crevice of her body, making her shiver violently when he held her in his arms and lay her down on the floor on top of the blanket that just minutes before had held the packages of cocaine. They removed their clothes before focusing on each millimeter of their bodies, finding the harmonious pace that would lead them to reach the ecstasy they so desired.
Clara curled up beside him and laid her face on his chest. Her face moved as it followed the rhythm of his breath as his breathing returned to normal. All the while, she slid her fingers over his torso and down his belly button, once again gliding her hand further down.
After a while, he began stirring again and Clara sighed. "Have you talked to him?" She asked as Andrés stood up and began staring at the packages of cocaine that they would have to distribute in the next several days. He didn't like to keep so much drugs in that small warehouse; someone could find out and get him into serious trouble.
"Yes," He replied.
"What did he say?" She asked anxiously.
"He'll make it work," He replied.
The conversation hadn't exactly turned out that way. Andrés knew enough to make his departure possible. However, Clara's exit wouldn't be possible at the same time, to avoid any suspicions, he had been told. He understood that, even though it was a risk they should have taken. But he wasn't willing to risk too much when it came to Clara leaving. If his request for her to depart the island wasn't met, he was going to sing like a canary. That was the game he had agreed to, only to inform about his recent investigation. He was forty-one years old, and had lived the last fifteen years of his life on the island, even though this job he was doing, had only began two years earlier.
"What about me? You're going to take me with you, aren't you? Carlos will be so happy to see me."
Carlos Torres, Clara's brother, was one of the contacts in Florida, responsible for the shipments that arrived there. He had left the island six years earlier and Clara hadn't seen him since.
"Yes, of course. But we won't leave together, Clara; it's too dangerous. But you will leave this island because I won't leave you here," He said, trying to keep his eyes on her. It was difficult for him to lie to her; in actuality, he didn't know what was going to happen with Clara. At that moment, it was difficult to trust someone that had been forced to do something under the threat of being exposed as a member of the group. Falling in love with her had been a mistake and his heart became troubled in a sea of doubt.
"How are you going to do it without arousing suspicion from the other? You know they'll ask. And, when are you doing it? That guy telling you that he'll make it work and take care of everything, I think he's just telling you what you want to hear."
"No, he won't, it concerns him." Miranda remained thoughtful. "Hey, is your cousin Luis still in prison?"
"Yes…that son of a bitch…" she began but suddenly stopped as she realized what Andrés was implying. "Why do you ask?" She said fearfully.
Santiago de Cuba
July 9, 2005
Miguel nervously read the documents he was handed, making sure that everything was correct. No mistake or doubt was detected. The military soldiers and CIA agents helping them in the evacuation of the American spy had done a perfect job. He kept his documents and handed Tony his own papers who then put them into his bag. On the other side, the two soldiers dressed in Cuban police uniforms, looked over with Diego and Javier the file with their arrest and imprisonment in Santiago de Cuba, where Andrés Miranda was imprisoned. The van drove fast, leaving behind the Guantánamo base and nobody took into consideration the exhaustion or the terrible potholes on the highway. It had been less than twenty-four hours since they had left New York and headed toward Miami where they then took a military plane to Guantánamo Bay. Now, they were crossing the National Highway that led them toward the city of Santiago.
After stopping two blocks from the residence for Tony and Miguel, the group split up and the only ones left were the two soldiers, Javier and Diego and they continued their journey. Even though he knew that they had back up, Javier was gripped by fear and was fighting hard against it, as he noticed Diego's calm demeanor. Of course, Diego was a CIA agent and he wasn't used to those covert operations anymore. The memory of a smiling Laura was quickly replaced by Eleanor's and his eyes moistened. Noticing a hand on his shoulder, he tried to calm down. "Calm down, Javier, nothing is going to happen to you." Diego whispered in such a convincing tone that Javier couldn't help but believe him.
Making certain one last time that the small transmitter hidden inside his shoe was functioning correctly, Diego and Javier got ready to represent their paperwork to the prison workers.
Ignoring Diego's advice, Javier didn't stop shivering the entire morning. None of the exercises they had practiced for, while they prepared for their mission, seemed to work out and he felt ashamed. After the usual ritual of showering and being dressed in prison clothing, the only thing Javier still had were his shoes, although he'd lost his shoelaces when he'd changed. Now, in the small cell, four pairs of eyes scrutinized him from head to toe. Observing his bunk, which he fortunately shared with Diego, he was doubtful that it was at all comfortable. Just like he thought, it wasn't comfortable at all. The springs on the old mattress were worn out from years of use and the thin mattress that sat on it was enough to make him realize that his back would suffer because of it.
Nobody said much but Diego seemed to know something about the rules and how to act in prison, which made him wonder if Diego had spent time in prison before. The first day was the worst, he tried to remember, as he attempted and failed to get any sleep that night. That was strange to him, especially considering the fact that they had spent so many hours awake.
The following morning, Diego and Javier devoted their time to locating their target, which wasn't an easy task with a prison yard full of inmates. They weren't allowed to ask any questions. They, instead, had to remember the photograph that they'd been shown, in order to look for him that way.
Javier feared that his face would be disfigured by the beatings, which according to recent reports, had occurred and would cause the man to be unrecognizable. However, after searching for a while, he finally saw Diego talking to someone. Although he didn't get too close to them, he kept his eyes on both men as they talked. Without a doubt, it was definitely their target. At first sight, their target didn't seem badly injured, which caused him to raise an eyebrow in surprise.
Diego approached Javier a while later and in a concerned voice asked, "How is he?"
"He's better than I thought. We'll get him out soon and that'll be good news for us," He said. "He's going to talk to the two guys he shares the cell with so they can switch with us. That way, you'll be able to examine him and evaluate his condition."
"What if he's not well?" Javier asked. "I don't see how I could gain access to the infirmary."
"You won't do it, so don't worry about it. Everyone here has their contacts. We don't need those contacts because we have Miranda and he'll be our backup."
"Did you decide that beforehand or are you improvising?" Javier asked incredulously.
"For better or worse, prisons work more or less following the same rules," Diego replied.
"Have you been in prison before?"
"No, but I do know someone who's been in one before." Diego replied.
The bandages and disinfectants appeared under his bed, as if by magic, in the cell they shared with Andrés Miranda. That made it easier to treat Miranda's condition; the hidden bruises, the cuts and he also tightly wrapped a bandage around his torso after realizing that there was a possibility of a broken rib. The injuries weren't life-threatening, he thought, not letting his mind wander further, though.
Miranda looked skeptically at Diego, but he answered the question. "The van comes in once a week, they unload and load the clothes and then leave. This place is always under surveillance and there isn't a crack in the process."
"Are the prisoners involved in that process?" Diego asked with interest.
"Yes, of course. During different shifts, the prisoners have to do the laundry," Miranda grimaced.
"I get it. Is that where they caused that?" Diego asked pointing at his bandaged torso.
"Tell me the entire process. I want to know how the van looks, what time they arrive and how long it takes them here,"
"I thought you'd just take me out," Miranda was confused, but happy about having had that idea. Surely, Clara had talked aloud about his conditions and the information had reached the man.
"We can't, we've got specific orders on how to do this. You have to trust me, Andrés. As soon as my partner gives the okay, you'll leave. When is the next change of clothes?"
"Eh… on the fifteenth,"
"Great, make sure to make arrangements so that you'll have laundry duties that day. But for now, introduce me to the guys who broke your ribs."
"Do you know what you're asking for?" Miranda asked alarmed.
"I know what it means. I told you trust me," Diego replied.
Miranda swallowed hard. He knew Luis García, Clara's cousin well and he knew they had an agreement about the beatings, in order to alert those who would be responsible for getting off of the island. But he couldn't tell García that the guy was a CIA agent. He would simply kill him. He'd never betrayed a coworker that way, if he didn't deserve it. However, Diego seemed to know exactly what he was talking about.
That night, Diego carefully removed the highly sensitive transmitter from his shoe and approaching the farthest corner of the wall, he began whispering all of the information that Miranda had given him. When he finished, a barely noticeable beep confirmed that his message had been received.
Santiago de Cuba
July 15, 2005
Miguel climbed out of the van with a form to give the guard, as he was used to do it regularly. "Are you new?" The guy asked.
"Yes, Sir," Miguel replied, showing the man his id.
"Leave the clothes over there," The guard pointed toward a corner. "And load those."
"All right," Miguel replied, and with Tony's help they began to unload the clothes.
"Hey, can you help me?" Miguel asked one of the prisoners in the laundry room, it was none other than Andrés Miranda.
"Sure," He replied somewhat nervously. He wondered if he wouldn't suffocate to death while hidden under so many clothes.
Forty minutes later, the van stopped on the side of the road. Quickly, Tony and Miguel got out and opening the back door, helped Miranda to get out. The man was breathless but well. A support car was waiting for them few miles ahead. Without saying a word, they got Miranda into the car and drove away quickly, after getting rid of the laundry clothes and truck they'd used to get him out of the prison.
They didn't have a lot of time before someone noticed Miranda's disappearance, which meant that other people would notice his disappearance as well. Hopefully, by that time, Andrés Miranda would be safe in Guantánamo base.
Three hours later, Tony and Miguel were back at home, realizing nobody had noticed anything yet. The plan was working out well and they had a week before they had to work on the second phase of the plan. It was at that time that Tony met Clara…or was Clara meeting Tony?
Meanwhile, two short calls with the same words but very different meaning, talked about Miranda's escape from prison. "It's done, boss."