David was now driving as they approached the town of Nardvik. Sukhova had passed the time of day with him, but thankfully he had not asked any probing questions.
“Pull over here!” Sukhova said urgently, as he began to wind down his window.
David pulled over, adjacent to two youths walking along aimlessly.
“Can you tell me where we can get some accommodation for the night,” Sukhova asked one of the youths, as he stuck his head out of the window.
“Two blocks down, turn right, second left and it’s fifty yards on your right - the Guryev Hotel, you can’t miss it; it’s got a war memorial just across the road from it,” the smaller of the two youths replied, turning, with no intention of waiting for a reply.
Sukhova began to wind up his window and turned to David.
“Well, it’s a bit late to go to the dockyard now, I could do with some sleep, I don’t know about you?” Sukhova asked.
“I agree,” David replied, looking at his watch. “It’s seven fifty-five p.m., we’ll not have much chance this time of night.”
David cursed inwardly to himself. ‘I’m running out of time,’ he thought.
Two minutes later, they had found the hotel and had both booked in.
Sukhova turned to David.
“I’m coming down for a late dinner as soon as I’ve freshened up, so I might see you then? If I don’t, then good luck tomorrow with your job search.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it. Oh and thanks for the lift,” David replied.
After a much needed wash and shave, David felt much refreshed, as he made his way downstairs to the dining room.
Consisting of about twenty tables, the dining room was clean and neatly set out. Over half of the tables were still occupied. A young waitress approached and showed David to a small table in a corner, set for two, placing a napkin and cutlery in front of him. As the waitress moved away David noticed the back of a man some half a dozen tables away, talking to a man seated at the same table. He was sure the man with his back to him was Sukhova. Although David pretended not to notice, he observed the man seated with Sukhova, glance in his direction on a few occasions.
‘Suspect everyone and everything’ was David’s motto.
The next morning David awoke early feeling very refreshed. He always slept well, even on assignments. It was six thirty a.m.
After a hearty breakfast, he paid his bill, returned to his room, picked up his belongings and left the hotel to summon a taxi.
Sukhova watched as David got into the back seat of a taxi. His colleague across the road sat in a car, its engine running.
As soon as the taxi left, Sukhova ran from the hotel and jumped quickly into the passenger seat of the waiting car, the driver setting off with a lurch.
Twenty minutes later David had alighted from his taxi at the dockyard gates and had been directed to the harbour master’s office.
Allowing David time to get out of sight, Sukhova and his colleague approached the gates and got out of their car. Pulling out his FIS pass, Sukhova spoke to the man on duty.
“Who was the man you just allowed in?” he said sternly.
“He said his name was Kanin Berezova - he’s, he’s looking for work,” the man replied nervously.
“So where is he heading for?”
“He asked for the harbour master’s office.”
“And where would that be?”
“It’s down the northern end of the yard,” he replied, pointing in the general direction.
The two men moved off, the gate man glad to see the back of them.
The road leading into the dockyard was very wide. Sukhova stayed to the nearside, while his colleague, Ivan Troitska, crossed to the other side, walking parallel with him.
“Can you see him?” Sukhova whispered, speaking into his lapel microphone.
“No sign yet,” came the reply in his wireless earpiece.
David had only been walking for about four or five minutes, when he found what he was looking for; the engineering sheds.
Looking about, without trying to make it too obvious, he entered a side door to an engineering storage area. He walked on, passing a steel storage area and soon found himself in an area full of steel lockers, adjacent to a machine engineering room. Glancing round he spotted what he was looking for; a large blue metal cantilever tool box. Although workers were all around, he approached the tool box, nonchalantly bent down, picked it up, and carried on walking without hesitating.
Retracing his steps he left the engineering shed.
“I’ve got him!” Sukhova hissed into his radio.
“Where is he?” Sukhova replied excitedly, his blood beginning to pump faster.
“He’s about three hundred yards ahead of us. He’s just come out of some storage area carrying a blue tool box.”
“Keep out of sight!” Sukhova warned. “We don’t want to spook him.”
‘What does he want with the tool box?’ Sukhova thought to himself, placing his hand under his jacket to reassure himself that his gun was in its shoulder holster.
‘Bloody hell, this toolbox is heavy!’ David muttered to himself as he continued towards the northern tip of the dockyard, stopping occasionaly to rest for a few seconds, swapping over hands, to rest each arm in turn.
Nicolai finished inputting details from the date sheet in front of him and rose to stretch his legs. His right leg was going to sleep. Walking towards the front desk of the office, he looked through the window, out on to the adjacent roadway. A stocky man with short cropped hair, was walking up the road towards the office, carrying a large blue toolbox.
Nicolai began to feel as though his heart was having palpitations. It wasn’t the sight of the man with the toolbox that did it; it was the sight of two men stalking him some three hundred yards back that brought it on. Referring to his watch, Nicolai noticed that it was only seven fifty a.m. But surely, this must be his contact? The other two men stood out like sore thumbs; they must be FIS.
David sat down on some old railway sleepers opposite the harbour master’s office, and opened one of the top two flaps of his toolbox, his signal to his contact.
Nicolai stood back from the office window and watched. He saw David open his toolbox and could still see one of the FIS men, but the other one had disappeared. Returning to his desk Nicolai logged off on his computer.
“I’m just going for a breath of fresh air; I’m not feeling too good,” he said to his supervisor.
“Okay, it is a bit stuffy in here,” he replied. “Try not to be too long.”
Nicolai picked up a paperweight from his desk, stuffed it into his pocket and walked out the front door of the office, without even glancing at David.
Making his way down the road, Nicolai could still see one of the FIS men casually sitting on a pile of coiled ships rope. The other man was still nowhere to be seen.
As he began to pass the man on the rope, the man gave Nicolai a cursory glance, then turned to look back up the road.
Nicolai acted like lighting, turning his body he swung the paperweight towards the man with all the force his arm and shoulder could muster. A sixth sense must have partly alerted him, because his head began to turn back towards Nicolai as the paperweight smashed into the side of his face. The force of the blow knocked the man completely off the rope, knocking him out instantly. Nicolai grabbed the man’s feet and quickly pulled him out of view behind a nearby building. He heard a crackle and looked down at his unconscious companion. By now Nicolai was breathing heavily as he looked around cautiously. Still no sign of the second FIS man. Carefully he lifted the man’s collar and found the microphone to his radio. Glancing up he looked further down the road and saw a sign pointing off to the right to the food depot. Placing his mouth just a couple of inches away from the microphone he pressed a transmit button on Troitska’s sleeve and said in a gruff voice, “Food depot, food depot - now!”
Gathering his composure he walked up to where David was sat, and sat down next to him, closing his toolbox lid as he did so.
David turned to Nicolai and fixing his gaze on him said, “Tanya.”
Nicolai nodded, “We haven’t got much time, the FIS are on to you. I’ve managed to temporarily get rid of one, but the other’s about somewhere here.”
David didn’t hesitate, “Right let’s go,” he said, standing up.
“I shouldn’t need that now,” he looked back at the toolbox on the railway sleepers.
“Have you got the package?” David enquired.
“Yes, I’ve got it safe,” Nicolai replied.
Both men were now half-walking, half-running along the road towards the northern-most point of the harbour headland.
“How far off are we?” Nicolai asked.
“Don’t ask me,” David replied sarcastically. “I don’t live here.”
“Where’s that other bloody FIS man!” David said out loud.
“Hopefully, trying to find us in the food depot.”
Nicolai could see the look of puzzlement on David’s face.
“I used his comrade’s radio to send him off in the wrong direction,” Nicolai said, feeling rather pleased with himself.
The penny dropped with David.
“Let’s pull in here for a second,” David said, urging Nicolai to follow him behind a large metal container. Both men leaned against its cold metal side.
“Here, you had better have one of these,” Nicolai said, pushing a 9mm pistol into David’s hand.
“You never cease to amaze.” David smiled.
Looking cautiously round the corner of the container, David turned back to Nicolai. “Come on, let’s go.”
After another ten minutes, they could see the sea and the headland in the distance. As they got closer both of their faces dropped. A solitary guard stood facing them, his rifle slung over his shoulder.
David could feel Nicolai trying to press something into his hand. He curled his fingers around the piece of plastic, without looking up.
“Trust me,” Nicolai whispered, from the side of his mouth.
On seeing them approach the guard had unsung his rifle and now held it across his chest.
Nicolai didn’t give him a chance to speak, he acted quickly, holding up his own piece of plastic. “FIS. Have you seen anybody at all come this way in the last hour?”
David had caught on quickly, and held up his own plastic ID card.
“No Sir!” The guard sprung to attention.
“I will make my own judgements!” Nicolai said sternly, as he walked forward, pushing the guard to one side.
“And don’t let anyone pass!” he shouted back.
“You could come in useful on our side,” David chuckled, once he was out of earshot of the guard.
“Just to get to your side, as you call it, would be very nice thank you,” Nicolai grinned.