“Linda, is that you?” Asked Mark.
“Yes, it’s me, I was about to call you, you should have checked in twenty minutes ago.”
“Sorry, I was a bit wrapped up in something.”
Mark heard Linda snort. “You always are.”
“Linda, I’ve found something, or at least, I think I’ve found something. I mean, it might be the biggest find…”
“Mark, cut to the chase will you?” Linda was, as always, direct. It seemed so strange for such a soft voice to carry such a hard edge.
“I can’t talk too much over this line, I need you to get a truck and get it here asap.”
“Just like that?”
“Yes, just like that. Use my account if you have to pay the locals. Pay them whatever is needed.”
There was a brief pause. “This is big isn’t it?”
“If it’s what I think it is, yes. Linda, don’t tell anyone else about this.”
“I won’t. Switch on your GPS when I call you next, and I’ll find you.”
“Got it. See you soon.” Mark cut off the call, wishing the satellite phone had a more secure connection, but he’d been as discrete as he could.
“Jeremy, start loading the gear in the jeep please.”
Linda switched off the phone and looked up at the stuttering ceiling fan. Then she looked at the man seated behind the plain grey plastic desk, who looked very bored. He scratched at his beard and occasionally adjust his khaki shirt, and every now and then looked at her with a certain… resentment? Linda wasn’t too sure. He’d spoken barely two words to her since she, Mark and Jeremy had arrived in Marzuq, and not for the first time, Linda was grateful to the hired help – an Englishwoman, alone in a small Libyan town, was potentially inviting trouble.
‘Dave’ stood nearby, a tall, muscular guy who wore clothes that were always a size too small, thus showing off how defined he was. At first Linda had thought him a preening Alpha Male type, but he’d shown no interest in returning the affections of women who’d flirted with him when they’d flown out from Heathrow, and instead had diligently served his purpose – security. The Glock 17 pistol holstered at his left hip served as a reminder of this. Deep blue eyes scanned the room – and anyone who entered the little ‘office’ that doubled as the base of operations – carefully.
“Dave, we need to head out, I need to get a truck and get to Mark and Jeremy.”
“Got it.” He replied with a clipped New York accent. He shot a glance to the man at the desk, who idly picked up the desk phone.
“You need a truck? When?” He looked at Dave when asking, no doubt a deliberate move to irk Linda, so Linda stood between them, forcing the man to look at her.
The man sighed lazily. “That won’t be cheap. $20,000.”
“Not a problem. If it’s fully fuelled and ready to go when it arrives, I’ll give you $30,000.”
The promise of extra money for little work made the man sit up. All of a sudden, he had more respect for the Western woman.
“I will make some calls and get it done.”