STRATAGEM Chapter 29
“HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM,” one of the two armed men in security uniforms said.
Blake complied without resistance.
“If this is your idea of cashing in on a favor,” Sabine said to Blake, putting her hands up and behind her head, “Don’t do me any.”
“Don’t worry,” he said, his voice strangely calm. “Everything will be okay.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Quiet!” the second guard said. He pointed his shotgun toward the path ahead. “Now walk. Not another word.”
They followed a trail through the woods for about seven or eight minutes and came to a wide-open space. From the paved runway and the small tower with a 360-degree panoramic view at the top, Sabine could instantly tell.
“Exactly where we’re supposed to be,” Blake whispered. “I’ll do the talking, okay?”
A rude nudge between her shoulder blades alerted her.
“Keep moving,” the guard said, urging her and Blake toward the control tower and adjoining building in the distance.
She remained silent for the rest of the way. Not so bad compared to the stiffness in her shoulders from keeping her hands on her head. Blake seemed to know what he was doing, but it took more to trust him now than when he was guiding a shuttle through atmospheric re-entry and nailing the landing.
After about five minutes, they arrived at the edge of the tarmac, then walked about fifty meters to the control tower entrance. One of the guards opened the door, held it open with his foot, and kept his weapon trained.
“Go,” the other guard said.
Inside, the dark corridor concealed the figure of the person who stepped out of the shadows and into the dimly lit foyer. His grizzled mug and oily hair testified to his hygiene—or lack thereof. Sabine had sensed presence well before he’d come in view.
The man lowered his glasses and peered over its rim at Blake.