Размер шрифта:     
Гарнитура:GeorgiaVerdanaArial
Цвет фона:      
Режим чтения: F11  |  Добавить закладку: Ctrl+D
Следующая страница: Ctrl+→  |  Предыдущая страница: Ctrl+←
Показать все книги автора/авторов: McNab Andy
 

«Brute force», Andy McNab

Andy McNab

 

PART ONE

 

1

Tripoli docks October 1987

I sat well back in my seat and listened as Colonel Gaddafi's latest day-long rant burst from the radio like an Arab Fidel Castro on speed. I pictured a big mike blocking his craggy features as he denounced Reagan, Thatcher and all things Western, so all you could see was a mad mop of black curly hair and angry flecks of spit flying in every direction.

I was in the passenger seat of an old box-like Russian jeep. Africa was littered with the things, bare metal showing through the green paint where thousands of boots and hands had worn it away.

I was sweating big-time, and it had nothing to do with the weather. This might be North Africa, but it was October. It was cold. The leaking was to do with the wetsuit I had on over my clothes. Apart from my sweatshirt, tracksuit bottoms and trainers, I was totally sterile: no money, no weapon. I wasn't going to need any, not even a watch. Time wasn't going to matter on this job. I had to react to events as they happened, not when the little hand hit five. I would give my cover documents to Lynn at the very last minute.

Sitting back in the seat and completely still – that's the secret of not being seen. The jeep looked just like any one of the ten-year-old American pimp-mobiles we were parked alongside: empty. I had my binos up, eyes on target. My main area of focus was the pair of big holes at the arse end of the ship from which six-inch-thick ropes snaked towards the quayside.

The life of the docks continued around us. The quay was jammed with boats unloading TVs and white goods to feed Libya's consumer boom. This was an oil country and then some. Arabs from all over, brown and black, made up the labour force. The overseers were all ex-pats. The air was filled with German, French, British and American accents. So much for the sanctions against what the White House called the mad dog of the Middle East. All the old imperialists had their noses in the trough. Everyone was helping themselves to the huge salaries offered by this former Italian colony.

The driver was listening intently, hands resting on the enormous black steel steering wheel. 'What's he on about?' I didn't even bother looking over at him.

He powered down the small transistor. 'The whole world is going down the gurgler, as per usual.' The voice was softly spoken, the accent cut-glass.

Although the British embassy had long since closed – along with everybody else's – as part of their sanctions against the Colonel for his habit of sponsoring global terrorism, everybody, Brits included, had left a couple of spooks behind. Colonel Lynn was one of them. Gaddafi remained one of the biggest threats to world peace, and his black-leather-jacketed heavies tended to come to the UK and murder anyone speaking out against the regime, so we needed people with their ear to the ground.

Lynn wasn't a field operator. He was our man in Havana – only in Tripoli. In his late thirties, of average build, he looked and spoke like a history teacher – but his fresh-from-the-shower smell screamed officer, and his aura marked him out as a high flier. He spoke the language and knew the players. He'd probably been born here; for all I knew, his dad had been ambassador or something. Colonel Lynn – I never had found out what his first name was – ate, drank and breathed the place. He was what the Firm called an Arabist.

He was all right, I supposed – just not the sort of guy I'd phone up and ask out for a brew and a sticky bun. A bit too keen for me; a bit too full of devotion to the cause. He probably kept a picture of the Queen under his pillow. And he was also just a bit too keen to tell me how to do my job. He didn't like people like me. There was just a hint now and again of disgust at what people like me got up to. Even though he was part of it, he was from the hands-clean side of the fence and everyone on my side was not much more than a necessary evil.

'Don't forget to confirm the cargo before anything else.'

'OK. What if it isn't there?'

'It is.'

'So why check it?'

'Because I need you to tell me when you get back that you physically saw it.'

The target ship was parked up between two Libyan navy patrol boats in the military section the other side of the harbour. I deliberately didn't say 'moored' because it got a rise out of Lynn. He knew about boaty stuff. I didn't know many of the technical terms and I didn't need to learn them. That was the navy's job. As far as I was concerned it was parked up, and that was fine.

Lynn had a small sailing boat of his own in a marina about fifteen Ks away. I'd spent the last four days living in it while he briefed me. The sitting and eating area downstairs was full of pictures of him and his wife in the creeks of north Norfolk. Nelson country, he called it.

I'd fucked up; by showing a spark of polite interest in a shot of the two of them standing outside their local, the Hero, I had opened the door to a serious history lesson, beginning with how the great man had been born a few miles up the road from their home.

The Egyptian-registered Bahiti could carry up to 150 tonnes of cargo. When the chairman's wife smashed a bottle of Cairo's fizziest against its side, all the bodywork was probably a gleaming white. Twenty or so years of saltwater and neglect had streaked it with rust. A crane was mounted at the bow for loading and unloading. The rest of the topside was flat, apart from the bridge tower at the back end. It looked like a miniature oil-tanker.


Еще несколько книг в жанре «Триллер»

First Family, David Baldacci Читать →

Гидра, Джереми Робинсон Читать →