The helicopter dropped me just outside the ten mile radius of the target. From the drop off point I was given a horse bought from a remote farm a few miles behind me. It was the horse that would enable me to get near my destination without being detected. Once the helicopter was far away I straddled my horse and began a quick gallop towards the rocky ridge that lined the southern horizon.
I had received the call three days ago. A member of the team had not reported back in nearly a week and I was given the task of finding out why. Once given the details of the destination and target the preparations and plans were made.
It was near midday when I reached the bottom of the northern slope and discover the hidden valley within a large cut upon the ridge that didn’t actually go all the way through but made its own mini version of itself. The horse shied nervously and refused to go further so I walked it back behind the smaller ridge slope so it was on the northern side and tied it to a small stand of trees. My destination was behind the larger ridge so I went back round and began to climb the sandy and rocky slope to my left.
The hot desert sun pierced the weak woodland canopy with its dazzling and hot beams. For a few minutes a small breeze began dancing with the scattered dead leaves before it got shot down by the sun’s rays and died to a whisper amongst the rubble. A place so barren even the wind doesn’t survive here I thought gloomily to myself.
I heard a bark below me and hid behind the nearest tree. Looking through my binoculars I noted two men with two mongrel dogs walking down the way I had come from. I smirked realising it had token a horse scared of dogs to remind me about area patrols.
Once I had reached the top of the ridge I took out the uniform I was supplied with and put it on over my thin hiking gear. From there I walked down to the bottom end of the ridge where I knew a road was located that was the only one taking traffic in and out of the smoke puffing buildings I could see three miles away in the barren desert.
Getting into the plant was comfortably easy as the man I had managed to hitch a lift with was middle aged and not that attractive and was perfectly willing to give me a lift whether he believed my story or not. Even if it was just to impress his mates back at the plant to have a beautiful woman sit in his car for the short journey.
The swipe machine and guards both accepted my entrance card without problem and so I was admitted into the main building. I smiled happily with myself as I darted into the throng of people passing the main desk from one sector of the plant to another and escaped my unwelcome admirer. I quickly found the digital roster board and began looking for my targets cover name. I never got the chance to reach the top of the position list as someone addressed me from behind.
“Excuse me Miss you are requested in the Manager’s office immediately.”
I turned to face two tall and black suited men eyeing me cautiously. I looked at each from head to toe weighing up my options.
I finally said. “Yes of course.”
So without a pause I was briskly escorted up to the top floor, getting many curious glances as I went past. We stopped before two big black metal doors.
I paused unsure of whether to knock or not until a stern voice suddenly boomed out of a speaker beside the door.
One of the men in suits pushed one door open beckoning me quickly in. I took one step in and the door shut again with a bang.
“Welcome Tara, so nice of you to come for a visit.”
I looked at the well dressed woman who sat behind a big oak desk which was half covered by a broad screen computer on which I could glimpse several images of the main building and the entry and exit gates. She got up and walked round to sit upon the front of her desk. She looked slightly different from her file photo, before me she was wearing glasses and her hair was black instead of brown.
“You know why I am here if you know who I am.” I replied simply keeping my expression plain yet serious.
“Yes I am surprised they sent you after me so quickly but as you can see I am in no distress so you may have wasted your time.”
“Why didn’t you report back to base?” I asked getting bored with her tedious and cocky nature.
She began to laugh. “It is a shame they didn’t tell you the truth but then again I am not surprised. I guess cases like mine are often hidden or kept unknown, gives them a bad name if higher powers found out.” A cruel chilling glint appeared in her snake green eyes.
That was when it all made sense. “You’ve turned. They want me to kill you not rescue you.”
She cackled loudly with a shriek of delight clapping her hands patronizingly. “Bravo! Bravo! Well at least they sent someone with brains.”
I glanced at the only window in the room which looked out over the main gates through which passed a slow stream of white barrel Lorries. I approached the window hesitantly and stared out with a look of curiosity and confusion.
“Why Rachel? At least tell me that before you get rid of me.”
“Why not Tara? Here I am my own boss, and a wealthy one at that. Six months ago I was posted here to try and work out what was happening and to stop it but I actually enjoy working here. I enjoy crunching the numbers in finances and as I became better I worked my way up the ranks and here I am. Manager of a high class chemical plant – unknown to the western world supplying the eastern terrorists with whatever chemical they desire. I am still amazed at how much they are willing to pay for even the weakest chemical cocktail.”
I glanced over at her, smirking at her golden necklace and earrings, her tailored suit and designer shoes. “You have made something of yourself haven’t you.”
“Yes Tara I have and I’m proud of it. I wouldn’t become this rich working in the team. The Lorries you noticed are on their way to Iran, all forty of them! Laden with enough chemicals to make over a hundred chemical bombs.” She paused and stared at me then. A strange expression coming over her face. “Listen Tara, I like you and I admire your strength and persistence. I always looked up to you in the team. If we can come to some kind of agreement I will let you walk away from here.”
I looked outside to think, watching the gate guard get the lorry driver to sign in the correct forms before opening the gates and allowing him out. “What kind of a deal do you have in mind?” I enquired.
“All I need is for you report back to base that I’m dead and the plant is deserted. Say my cover was blown so they took all their equipment somewhere else unknown to you. If you do that I will let you go. What do you think?”
I watched another lorry go out before I answered. “Ok you have a deal.” I held out my left hand. “Shake on it?”
Just as she was leaning in to do so I swung my right hand round and pierced her neck with the knife I had up my sleeve which was encased in a pocket that metal detectors couldn’t scan. Her arms grasped my shoulders in vain as I took a step back leaving the dagger in her neck. I watched with a smug satisfaction as she collapsed to the floor, her eyes wide and shocked.
“You really have lost your touch Rachel if you thought I didn’t come armed with something. Just proves why you never reached my standards in the team.”
She attempted to turn around and crawl back to the desk but I walked straight past her and unhooked the phone. She stopped in her struggle and glared up at me with her few remaining breathes.
“Don’t look so disappointed.” I said down to her, sitting in her big black swivel chair. “You’re getting what you wanted after all. At least now when I say you’re dead it’s the truth.”
With those final words ringing in her ears she stopped moving and her head collapsed to the floor. I retrieved my knife back, wiped it on her suit and slid it back up my arm into its pouch. Sitting back in her chair I took out my mobile, switched it to secure line and called base.
“Mission complete Commander. Request pick up.”
“Permission given Sergeant, Helicopter will pick you up at drop off point in thirty minutes.”
“One more thing Commander.”
“White lorries leaving plant contain dangerous chemicals destined for Iran. Suggest you send squad to stop and contain loads before they cross the border.”
“Threat noted and will be neutralised before the day is out. Job well done Sergeant.”
I cancelled the call. Before I left the office I pushed a chair by the window and put the body in it facing the window. I also unpinned her red hair and let it fall to cover the wound which still bled down upon her white shirt.
With clear up done as best manageable I walked out of the office receiving a curious glance from the two suited men and made my way back downstairs and towards the car park. I picked a vehicle at the back away from the gates and picked the lock open using a new digital device. Once I was in the drivers seat getting the engine started was easy and without further a do I drove happily out the gates giving the lazy guard a cheerful wave goodbye.
Whilst watching TV a few days later, as I lay in my hotel bedroom receiving a massage, I flicked onto a channel to find the news informing the world about the capture and destruction of a toxic chemical plant through a combination of American and British intelligence. I turned it off with a pleasant smile. Women really do make the world go round I thought personally picking up my cocktail off the floor and taking a well deserved drink.