DIRE STRAITS, Chapter 6A
Derek parked the motorcycle in the shadows four blocks from CBC and headed toward the compound. It was essentially an industrial area and was primarily empty in the middle of the night. He stayed to the shadows and saw very few vehicles.
Across the street from the CBC facility, he crouched in the dark, settling in to wait. This was something he was very good at. Special Forces soldiers might be action guys, but they knew all about waiting and surveillance. He melted into the shadows and remained motionless. There was no need for night vision goggles – halogen lights created a no-man’s land in and outside the fence line.
At first he saw nothing. Then armed guard walked along the fence with a German Shepherd. The guard wore a military uniform, which merely confirmed something that Derek already knew – the CBC had a significant military component. Besides, the military controlled about sixty percent of the Cuban economy. Their tentacles were everywhere.
Twenty minutes later another uniformed guard and dog passed in the other direction.
And five minutes after that a peculiar pickup-like truck painted military green drove by the perimeter road. Derek recognized it as a GAZ-66, a sort of all-purpose military truck manufactured by the Russians.
He didn’t know if that was a coincidence or not.
An hour later he had determined that it wasn’t. There were two separate GAZ-66s that were driving around the perimeter on a semi-regular basis.
Each of the guards did a fairly regular circuit with their dogs, approximately every thirty minutes. He estimated each circuit took fifteen minutes. In between their circuits he didn’t know what they did or where. Maybe they sat in a room and watched TV. Maybe they played cards. Maybe they took naps. Maybe they patrolled individual buildings.
The trucks had two men, a driver and somebody in the passenger seat.
It wasn’t the tightest security in the world, but it presented a problem. There were at least six guards on the perimeter of the compound with two dogs.
By four in the morning he had determined that the guards were consistent in their schedule. He wanted to stick around and see when the shift ended, but the sun would rise soon and he needed to get a few hours sleep before enduring another set of conferences and further facilities tours. Derek had spent part of the time using the night vision goggles and a small but powerful pair of binoculars to study the fence line for motion sensors and alarms.
As far as he could tell it was a just a fence with no motion sensors or alarms. There was a coil of razor wire along the top, more of a threat than a real hindrance.
That didn’t mean the grounds wouldn’t have motion sensors, although the dogs suggested there weren’t any. And he had already determined during his limited tour that the buildings did have alarms and closed circuit TV monitors.
This was going to be harder than he’d hoped, but not impossible.
He put away his gear and headed back to his hidden motorcycle. Two blocks away, he dodged into an alleyway as two old men smoking pipes sauntered down the street toward him. They were murmuring to each other in Spanish, two old men on the way to work, perhaps.
They walked past the mouth of the alley without even peering in, the scent of Cuban tobacco wafting toward where Derek hid. When they were gone, he slipped out, encountering no one else.
Firing up the bike, he returned to the safe house, stowed the gear, then snuck out and found a taxi that took him within a few blocks of his hotel. The city was starting to awaken. The sun was rising. It was going to be another beautiful day in the tropics. He used a rear entrance, avoiding people, then took the stairs up to his room on the twelfth floor, sincerely wishing he was on a lower floor.
He peered out of the stairwell door into the hallway, saw nothing, and stepped into the hallway. Turning the corner, he came to a halt and quickly backpedalled.
Juan Osorio was standing outside his hotel room door.