It was a wet balmy evening at the Jorge Chávez international airport. Dr Tom Nagoma was scheduled to arrive aboard a KLM Boeing 747 from Amsterdam, flight 0351 and Sam was edgy. He had spent the last 14 hours mostly on the phone making plans and procuring forged I.Ds.
This could be his one window inside the CCL. Earlier he had bribed a worker at the airport to gain access into the arrival terminal to enable him blend in with the passengers coming through. The fact that he didn’t have a full team was a gnarl in his plans so he had to be creative. He made his contact from the Nigerian embassy in Peru, Ramon Vatez his assistant and wingman.
Mr. Vatez was a gregarious, smart looking 28 year old, obviously streetwise but beyond that Sam wasn’t sure of his capabilities. He simply had to trust him to mislead Nagoma and divert him to a different location while he took it from there. It was a steep gamble but with the time he had, there wasn’t any other option.
Already he had spotted four stern looking security operatives from the facility at the airport, Sam figured that they were gung-ho ex-military mercenary types that could and would mean serious trouble if they perceived foul play. He had envisioned their presence at the airport, so he had called General Zagi to let him know of his plans just as he got out of the Andes.
The only way in was to get the real Tom Nagoma out of the picture, a Nigerian Secret Service agent in Nairobi had breached the doctors office and a message had been sent to the CCL just as his flight took off informing them that due to ill-health his research assistant Professor Nicholas Kubati would be representing him.
That would be Sam and his game plan was to get in ahead of the Doctor and introduce himself as Professor Kubati and hopefully his charms would see him through. Ramon accosted Dr Nagoma with a name plate as soon as he entered the airport lobby and offered to take the lone suit case he was carrying, luckily the tired looking doctor obliged and Sam switched suitcases as he walked briskly towards the agents from CCL.
Their faces where expressionless when Sam strolled up to them feigning the tired expressions of a mirthless Professor obviously suffering jet-lag.
“I’m Professor Kubati.” He said offering his I.D card and passport. “I was sent over to represent Nagoma who unfortunately cannot be here.”
The men nodded curtly as they exchanged suspicious glances. A call was made by one of the agents and Sam prayed in his heart that Ramon was doing his job, he had to hold himself from looking over his shoulders. After the call ended He was escorted to the waiting car outside.
After 4 hours of driving and a helicopter pick up, Sam walked into the office of the Director Of Research at the Ricardo Batistuta Science Research Centre. The man’s handshake didn’t last a moment. His beady eyes revealed little and he went straight to the point when he spoke.
“We’ve heard of the work you and Dr. Nagoma are perfecting in stem cell research especially in further analysis on the partial cloning method, I expected the dear Doctor to be here himself he was very enthusiastic during our correspondence?” He had a quizzy look on his oval face.
“Mr Nagoma as you well know has a very sick daughter, his work started basically to keep her alive and there was an emergency just when he got to the airport and he called me in on a very short notice.” Sam replied confidently.
“I’m saddened by that, but how could you make it here on schedule within so little time?” He asked again, his cadence still the same as when he first spoke, which sounded really spooky to Sam.
“I was on vacation in Rotterdam at the time, luckily too I must say. I was a bit pissed when he called but I’ve always heard about your facility and wouldn’t miss the chance” Sam replied with a flourish of enthusiasm he wasn’t feeling inside.
“Well that’s convenient.” He said matter of factly as he got up. “Let’s get straight to business, of course you’re here with samples of the somatic cells you’ve been working on?
“Of course, I wouldn’t be here without those.” Sam proceeded to open the case.
Krakowitz’s eyes gleamed when he saw the canisters, “what were they tested on?”
“We conducted several tests on mice and primates. On every test subject there was significant improvement in the rate of organ regrowth.” Sam replied.
“Good,” he said grimly. “But that’s not our interest, did the test subjects show signs of extended cell lifespan and did the telomerese remain elongated even after cell division?”
“Yes.” Sam replied. “Although we haven’t had the opportunity to conduct tests on any homo-sapiens yet.”
“Which of course is the reason Dr. Nagoma was invited here,come with me please.”
They walked down a long corridor, apparently a huge chunk of the facility was built into the mountains. They turned right and entered a dimly lit room after Krakowitz used an eye scanner.
“We call this the hatchery, it is here that the research of scientists affiliated to us come to life.”
Sam nodded, the room was lined with rows and rows of beds as far as his eyes could see, with hundreds of people on them. The place smelt of humanity, blood and drugs, He looked around keeping his eyes peeled for signs of his quarry. From the look of the faces he saw, most of the subjects where young women and a few men, mostly locals.
Krakowitz was still talking. “This room houses all our human test subjects, undergoing different experimental procedures in our noble quest to defeat death. As of yet there’s no definitive work to demonstrate that the telomere can be used in human somatic cells to prevent healthy tissues from aging.”
Sam gulped and hoped to heaven that this creepy fellow didn’t ask him anymore questions, he was running out of ideas. Just a few feet ahead of them some men where bent over a bed working quietly on the occupant.
“This is a client, he’s here for fingerprint distortion procedures.” Sam over heard Krakowitz saying, his eyes caught the colour of the patients exposed foot. He knew it was Tomode Pepple without paying too much attention.
“Interesting.” Sam grunted as they walked by. He scanned the room as he made plans on his exit, there were no guards anywhere inside the room, apart from the 6 doctors working on Tomode Pepple the place was empty. Then Krakowitz’s phone rang, the quick look he shot Sam a few seconds into the call said it all. Adrenaline, experience and instincts kicked into gear as Sam hit him hard across the face with the suitcase he was carrying.
With surprising speed the burly agent went straight for Tomode Pepple, whipping out a SIG SAUER P232. He glared at the startled doctors and they cowered, he was sure the room had cameras even though he hadn’t seen any, time was running out. He waved the wide eyed men to one side, picked up a needleless syringe from a pan and drew blood from the thighs of the unconscious body.
He turned on the fire alarm as he ran out of the room, joining the confused crowd as he made his way quickly to the main exit. A bullet buzzed angrily past his right ear as he got to door, he dove to the left and crawled outside. “Fucking cameras” he muttered as he mingled with the crowd. He looked over his shoulder and saw the men who had picked him up from the airport earlier with a couple more others searching frantically for him.
He held his gun steady but knew he didn’t have enough ammo to hold his pursuers off, they had M.16s and running out of the crowd would be suicidal. He doubled back into the mass of people getting between them, he flanked one of the men looking for him. Two quick shots to the left of his chest brought him down, he ducked low and picked the fallen man’s weapon as the others shot in his direction, blood spluttered on the left of his face as a middle aged woman fell down.
The crowd erupted in a frenzy, with people scampering out of control, Sam ran wildly towards the gates, bullets trailing him. He returned fire wildly to buy more time, just as he got to about 50 meters of the gates a battered Land Rover Defender broke through, Sam jumped out of its way as the car swerved in a wide arch cutting the line of fire off with the passenger door hanging open on his side.
He held the M.16 steady at the vehicles driver then broke out in a smile as he recognised Ramon. He was keeping his head low against the relentless fire of the security operatives on the other side, as Sam jumped in eagerly.