Read SEAL Team Bravo: Black Ops VI - Guantanamo Online

Authors: Eric Meyer

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #War, #Men's Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Thriller, #War & Military

SEAL Team Bravo: Black Ops VI - Guantanamo (10 page)

BOOK: SEAL Team Bravo: Black Ops VI - Guantanamo
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* * *

They reached the repair shop, by which time the front wheel was wobbling so badly he doubted they'd make it much further. She stopped outside a ramshackle shed at the end of a narrow track. She explained the local farmers used it to repair their tractors and implements.

Will shouldered the door, and as she'd said, the lock was flimsy and gave way immediately. She drove inside and stopped over the pit. Vega offered to keep watch outside, and Nolan found a flashlight to hunt around the jumble of tools and spare parts for what they needed. The anvil was sitting on a block of wood at one side of the workshop, and he nodded to Rose and Ryder to jack up the vehicle and place it underneath. Will had found a sledgehammer, and he jumped down into the pit. Nolan went with him to hold the flashlight for him to work by, and he started beating out the damaged axle.

The noise was shattering, almost loud enough to hear in Havana. She looked down into the pit and smiled when he mentioned it to her.

"Don't worry. The owner lives several kilometers away, and if anyone hears it, they'll assume he's doing an emergency repair."

"But we're working by flashlight, we can't switch on any electric lights. Won't that be suspicious?"

"What electric lights?"


Will was making progress, but it was slow. Every swing of the hammer straightened the bend by a tiny fraction of a millimeter, but it was taking too much time.

"I'll help you with the hammer," he said, taking it from him, "Then the others can take a spell. We'll do five minutes each. That way, there'll always be someone fresh hitting that axle."

He pounded away until Brad came into the pit and relieved him. He estimated they were about halfway to straightening the stub, but when he checked his watch, it was 0330. Dawn was approaching fast. He looked at Eva.

"How long to get to this place, Parque Gunanahacabibes?"

She shrugged. "A day, more or less. We should reach it by early evening. Remember, we must travel off-road; the cops will be looking for us. And if there is any sign the FAR has been alerted, we'll have to wait until night to continue."

It was taking too long. The fugitives could be long gone when they reached the coast.

"What about this boat they'd have used to cross over to Cancun? Do you know the name of the skipper?"

"Of course. José Garcia, he is a distant cousin of mine."

"If they've left the island, we may need to hire his vessel when he gets back. We won't know until we get there."

"It won't be a problem. José will tell us what we need to know, and he is always ready to carry more people across, for a price, of course. But we haven't got there yet. Let's wait until we arrive and talk to José."

They finished the work just before 0400. It was still dark, but dawn would come soon after they restarted the journey. They piled into the Gaz, and she drove away, after Nolan left a few bucks for the damage and the use of his shop.

Two hours later, they were bumping along yet another narrow path along a low series of foothills. The track started to peter out, and Eva turned to him.

"We have to cross the main road. It's the only way to get past this place. There's a deep ravine ahead of us; the road is the only way."

"Are you expecting trouble?"

"Maybe. The police like to use this stretch of road for their checkpoints, especially when they're hunting for someone." She stared at him, "Like us. But it's still early, and they may not have arrived yet. We could be lucky."

She bumped downhill, heading for the road. Soon, he could see the black ribbon of the tarmac ahead of them. As they drew nearer, a light started to flash orange and blue. The lights of a law enforcement vehicle up ahead, blocking the road. She braked to a halt and stared at the roadblock for a few moments.

"They got here before us, so I guess we're screwed."


"No, they're Cuban military, as I feared. FAR."

"No shit. We'll have to go around them."

She shook her head. "Impossible. The road is the only way forward."

He looked back at her. "There has to be another way. Otherwise we may as well pack up and go home."

She looked thoughtful. "Maybe not yet. We need to talk to Rafael de la Vega."

"Him? He's just a washed-up alcoholic. I don't even understand why you wanted him along. He can't even help himself."

She glared at him, her expression even more frosty. "He wasn't always like this. Many years ago, he was a member of the Cuban Special Forces. They pushed him out of the military because he objected to the dictatorship in Cuba. Since then, he's been forced to make a living any way he can. It was the bitterness that caused him to take to the bottle, but I still wouldn't underestimate him. Rafael is more capable than you'd believe."

She looked behind her and called out, "Rafael, I need you up front."

Nolan watched him limp forward. He looked like a man who'd been in a concentration camp and fed starvation rations for the past two years.

Jesus Christ!

She showed him the problem. De la Vega looked down at the checkpoint, took out a compact pair of binoculars, and scrutinized each man in turn. Finally, he nodded to Nolan.

"I'll do my best. Give me ten minutes."

* * *

Omar Nasriri had raged at the obstinate Cuban standing in front of him.

It should have been arranged, the boat, the payment, everything! Yet this cretin is refusing to take us.

He tried again. "I tell you, it's vital we cross now. We've already wasted too much time. They'll be hunting for us."

Garcia spread his hands. "It makes no difference. If I leave harbor now, a police boat will intercept us within minutes. Normally, there's no problem, but right now, there's some kind of an alert. Perhaps it has to do with your escape. Listen."

He turned up the old-fashioned radio, and Nasriri heard a torrent of Spanish.

"I don't understand, what are they saying?"

"That the police are searching for escaped criminals, and they have set up checkpoints all over the island. They will stop and search all vessels leaving port. The only way to cross to Cancun is during the night."

"Don't they have radar? What difference does night make?"

He smiled. "It makes all the difference. By the end of the day, they'll be tired. All they'll want is to spend the evening in a local bar with their favorite whore. No, you must be patient. Stay inside, and we will leave tonight."

Nasriri gave him a hard stare and then stomped out of the room. He went into the bar where the other men waited. It was a small guesthouse close to the port. The Colombians had found it for them and took over the entire building for a week. But somehow, they'd failed to pay Garcia in advance for the boat rental, which amounted to fifty thousand dollars. More money than they could scrape together in a hurry. After several frantic phone calls, the money had been wired to Garcia's account. But now the police emergency had arisen, and they couldn't leave. He wrinkled his nose at the unpleasant odor of liquor.

Infidels, they will all burn in hell!

Abu Bakr glanced at Nasriri, and he shook his head in reply.

"He won't cooperate. We're stuck here until tonight."

"It'll make things more difficult for us. We have a schedule to keep to, and now we'll be running a day behind. I'm not sure we can do it."

"We have to do it!" His eyes burned into his number two, "If we don't pull this off, our sacrifices will have been for nothing. My friend, the Americans have to learn a hard lesson. The Sheikh hit them badly last time, yet still they don't learn. They continue with their occupation of Islamic countries and imprison our fighters in the hell of Guantanamo Bay. The infidels must be punished! When we give our lives, we must send a message to the whole world. The word of Allah must prevail. We'll make it, we must!"

"We have a long way to go, Omar," he cautioned, "We must travel across Mexico, over the border into the United States, and then to New York City."

"I know where we're going. We'll make it, I promise you. There is one more promise I will make. This infidel boat skipper, José Garcia, if he had done as he should have, we would be in Mexico already. He has betrayed our operation because of a small delay in the payment of a few dollars."

Abu raised his eyebrows. He understood the going rate for the trip from Cuba to Cancun was something in the region of fifty thousand.

A few dollars?

"The dog," he agreed.

"Yes. When we step off the boat, he's a dead man."

"Allah be praised."

Chapter Five

"Hombres, how are things?"

The soldiers looked up at the cheerful greeting from the elderly sick-looking man.

"Señor, how can I help you?" their sergeant replied. He looked curious.

"You are in charge here?"

"That is correct." He squinted at Vega, unsure, "Is there something I can do for you? Do I know you?"

Vega smiled. "You don't recognize me, do you, Sergeant Reyes?"

"Recognize you?" The soldier squinted hard at Vega, "I don't think so, no."

He hesitated a second and looked again. "Colonel? Colonel de la Vega?"

"So you haven't forgotten."

"How could I? We were the kings, the Cuban Special Forces. Even Castro's bullyboys feared us, and we put paid to almost all the corruption and drug rackets that were ruining this island, at least for a time."

"That is true," Vega smiled, "Although they have come back."

"That's true."

"It is good to see you, Ernesto. How are things?"

The other man shrugged. "Terrible. We should be hunting down real criminals, the drug barons and scum who are destroying our way of life, along with the politicians who help them. Some of these scum are even in the army." He gestured, "Like some of these men." He nodded to the soldiers standing a few feet away. "Two of them are helping to transport drugs around the island, using army vehicles. Would you believe it? And there is nothing I can do to stop them, for they have friends in high places. Now they've put us on this shit detail, manning a checkpoint."

"You're looking for the men who shot up those cops in Tortuguilla."

"How do you know that?" Reyes asked; his face screwed up in suspicion.

"Because I was there. And those cops were part of a local drug gang. Listen to me, Ernesto; I need to ask you a favor. I'm traveling with some people, on a mission that is vitally important. We have to go past your checkpoint."

"Which people?"

"Some of them were involved in that business in Tortuguilla. But they are not part of the drugs business."

"What business are they in?"

"I cannot tell you, my friend. I will be honest with you, and say that it involves the security of the United States of America more than it does Cuba. But there are people using our island, Islamic terrorists working with the Colombian drug barons. The people with me are trying to stop them. It is an honorable endeavor, and I promise you if I was at liberty to explain it, you would agree."

Reyes thought for a few moments. "Colonel de la Vega, I trust you implicitly. I remember the time you saved me when one of Castro's cousins wanted to hang me out to dry for arresting a relative. Perhaps I can help you. And in return, you can do me a favor."

"Anything, my friend."

"I have four soldiers under my command, and two of them are the men dealing drugs I mentioned. The other two are honest men, good soldiers. If I led them away on a patrol, could you and your friends take care of the two I leave behind to guard the checkpoint?"

Vega smiled. "You jest, Ernesto. I may look old, but believe me; I still have a few tricks in my armory. Besides, the men with me are more than capable. I don't know for sure, but I suspect their job is similar to the one we used to do. Before Castro disbanded our unit because we were getting too close to their corrupt schemes."

Reyes nodded. "In that case, we are agreed. I will lead my two men away. Perhaps you will look me up when you are able. You know the barracks at Santiago de Cuba?"

"I know it. I will not forget this, my friend."

"You're more than welcome. I won't shake hands, Colonel. It would look suspicious. But I wish you luck, whatever it is you are doing."

"You, too."

Vega trudged back up the hill, while Reyes collected his two men and went the other way, ostensibly on a patrol. The Cuban informed them of the arrangement.

"You mean he'll accept us killing two of his men?" Nolan asked, astonished.

Vega nodded sadly. "It is the reality of life in Cuba. They are protected by their powerful contacts in Havana. It could be they are distant relatives of Fidel himself. What choice does he have? How else does he stop the destruction of our youth and our culture by the drug trade?"

"It's a hard decision." He shrugged and looked at Will. "Time to go to work. I'll go down to the checkpoint in the Gaz. You bring the rest of the men and circle behind those two men. I'll get their attention, and while they're looking the other way, you know what to do."

"Roger that. He turned to Rose and Ryder. "Let's go. We need to cover some ground and get into position."

They jogged away, and Nolan walked to the jeep and climbed in. Vega got in back, and Eva started the engine and drove away. He noticed she had her Tokarev on her lap, and he hoped to hell the safety was on. He didn't like gun barrels pointed at him, especially in a crude Soviet-built jeep bouncing down a Cuban hillside. He turned to look at Vega and saw that he held his Stechkin, minus the wooden extension stock, ready to use.

As they closed on the checkpoint, he unslung his PM-63 9mm, checked the safety and kept it out of sight. Eva swung onto the road and drove at a steady pace. The two soldiers had been lounging against the hood of their jeep smoking, and one of them stood up, his hand held palm up to order them to stop.

They had their assault rifles ready, aimed at them. A soldier looked through the driver's window at Eva, and even from two meters, Nolan could smell the rum on his breath.

"Where are you going, Señorita?"

"Las Tunas," she replied, the name of a town further along the road.

"Your business?"

"To collect a consignment for delivery to Santiago."

"And him?" he asked, waving his gun barrel at Nolan.

"Protection. There are many bandits along the way, people who would steal my load."

He nodded his head, as if lost in thought. Nolan noticed the gun barrels were aimed right at them, and the guy next to him had his finger on the trigger.

Hurry up, Will. These guys are suspicious; they're itching to pull the trigger.

The soldier questioning Eva was huge, a muscle-bound gorilla, well over six feet tall and mean. He glowered at them. "We've been ordered to look out for a vehicle like this one. A Gaz." He looked at her again, in surprise, "Wait, don't I know you? Where have I seen you before? A whorehouse?"

She shook her head. "I don't think so."

"Perhaps, perhaps not. Show me your papers! I want to see the documents for this consignment you are to collect from Santiago."

At that moment, Will's team opened fire. The three men fired in unison, and the combined fire of the assault rifles lashed the two soldiers. The man next to Nolan went down immediately, riddled with lead. But the Seals had to be careful not to hit the friendlies sitting inside the jeep. It meant Brad's burst only winged the soldier next to Eva, hitting him to the right of his massive chest. He knelt down in stunned surprise, missing the second short burst intended to finish him.

Even wounded, he thought quickly. He dragged open the door and lunged into the cab to escape the withering gunfire. Eva raised her pistol, but he'd seen it already and knocked it out of her hands with a heavy blow from his meaty fist. Nolan brought up his Polish submachine gun, but the girl was struggling with him, and in the confined space it was impossible to get a clear shot.

Vega fired twice from the back, but again he was constrained by the need to avoid hitting the girl. There was only one thing for it. Nolan put the submachine gun on the floor, grabbed the jacket of the soldier, and pulled him toward him.

The man took his hands away from her and aimed a hard punch. He had to take it, but moved his body so that it landed on his shoulder. The Cuban soldier was big, perhaps a weightlifter or a boxer for the regimental team. Either way, it was going to be a hard fight. He pulled him further, lost his balance, and the two men forced open the door and rolled out onto the ground.

Nolan landed underneath him, and the man's blood from his chest wound dripped down into his eyes, half blinding him. A fist slammed into the side of his head, and he saw stars, but he wrenched the man over and heaved him off him. They rolled away, over and over, impossible for anyone to get in a clear shot. He hit the big Cuban with two short left jabs to the kidneys, and he heard the man grunt in pain. A haymaker hammered toward him, and at the last split second swiveled his head a way from the punch that would have knocked him unconscious.

The man howled in pain, as his fist hit a rock instead of its intended target. It was the chance he'd been waiting for. He brought up a knee and rammed it into his groin. As the man brought his hands down to protect himself, Nolan tensed his right hand and hit the Cuban with a stunning knife strike to the throat. It was almost over. The man rolled away, leaking blood and trying to suck in air through his ruined throat. Everything had gone quiet. No shouts, no screams, no gunfire. In the hiatus, Eva climbed out of the cab with her Tokarev. She walked over to the fallen man, put the barrel close to his forehead, and pulled the trigger.

The man jerked and then dropped to the ground. She spat on his body and walked away.

"Why did you do that? He did nothing to you?"

She swung around, and her eyes were even more icy, her expression like stone.

"No? This man came into El Baul a couple of weeks ago. I told him to fuck off when he offered me money. He got real angry, found another girl and beat her almost to a pulp. She's still in hospital in Havana. She'll need plastic surgery to rebuild her face. Even then, she'll never regain her looks. And she's not the first one he's done it to."

He didn't offer a comment. What could you say? The guy had it coming, no question. He was a walking nightmare, but not anymore. He looked up as his three men arrived.

"That went well, for us," Will commented.

"Yeah. We'd better mount up. We have a long way to go."

* * *

They traveled all through the day, keeping to dusty tracks and occasionally bumping along footpaths that were less than a meter wide. On several occasions, they had to use the roads when there was no alternative, but they were lucky; there were no more checkpoints, and no one tried to stop them. It was monotonous, driving continuously. The Gaz was not built for comfort, and it felt like being tossed around in a washing machine. To take his mind of the journey, he tried to engage her in conversation. He was curious as to what had made such a beautiful girl turn out the way she had.

A killer, she's shown her readiness to pull the trigger. A whore, probably, why else was she in a bar which
was a whorehouse? A lesbian, her body language with the other girl when they entered the bar spoke volumes; and a smuggler, no question. What turned such a gorgeous creature into what she's become?

He was still trying to frame his opening when she spoke first.

"Something on your mind? You've been casting glances at me for the past hour. What's on your mind?"

"I was wondering about you, is all. I mean, a pretty girl like you, mixed up with, you know."

"You're not a woman."

He smiled. "Evidently."

"I mean, if you were a girl and lived on Cuba, you'd understand. Our classless society has two distinct factions, communists who call the shots, and everyone else. That's me. When you're a woman, they want you to give them everything for free. You know what I mean."

"I can imagine."

"Of course, you're a man."


"I refused to play along with them, and I had a hard time. Like Rafael, I couldn't find work. How could I, in a country where these people own and run everything? So I work in El Baul. It was all I could find. That and my sideline, of course." He was about to make a comment when she went on, "Even then, I was asked to whore, many times. I refused. I would never debase myself in that way."

He must have registered surprise, for she scowled. "That's what you thought, I was a whore? Bastard!"

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..."

"Yes, you did, motherfucker."

This time, he kept a poker face. "No."

She detected the lie, and her face was bitter. "You have a lot to learn about women, Mr. Nolan. I'm surprised."


"A good looking man like you, I would have assumed you'd be better informed, not so stupid."

If that isn't a two edged compliment, I don't know what is.

He decided the sensible course was to keep his mouth shut.

It was dark when they reached the port outside Gunanahacabibes. Eva drove straight to the quay where a number of vessels were tied up to pontoons in a small basin.

"It's not there. José's boat, it is gone. Wait, I will check with the harbormaster. I know him well."

She ran away toward a brick-built structure two hundred meters away and returned a few minutes later, her face grave.

"We're too late. He left last night with a party of men. Julio said they looked like Arabs, but he wasn't sure. Around here, people don't ask questions."

BOOK: SEAL Team Bravo: Black Ops VI - Guantanamo
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