After working through the night and most of the day for the last five, Zach was worn out. The resting area was located two floors down from Praesidium’s general offices, and Zach made himself as comfortable as possible in the tiny one-room apartment. He’d bought himself one in Manchester some years before, an impulse buy after receiving a hefty cheque from the organisation, but he’d sold it less than three months later, when he realised he was never going to use it as he would have liked. Instead the little bunkers, apartments and shared boarding that he inhabited across the world, had become home, as they had for many others like him.
Growing up in the system hadn’t been as tough for Zach as some of the other stories he’d heard when he came to Praesidium. He’d shared a room with three other boys and they had been like brothers to him growing up. They looked out for each other and even when the adults in their lives got a little out of hand, they’d been able to deal with it together. He thought about them sometimes, times like this when he felt there was no one else to talk to.
Zach shook his head from his thoughts, wanting only to sleep his troubles away. He kept the room dark and was glad for the soundproofing that repelledsome of the other raucous noises that sometimes came from those next to his. He tossed and turned for what seemed like a long time, having to eventually strip to nothing but boxers, as even the air-conditioning seemed determined to ditch him.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
The insistent sound woke him from what must have been less than ten minutes sleep and Zach reached for the place on the bedside table where he’d left his phone. He answered groggily, “This is Zach.” As he listened he was forced awake and soon he was sitting up. He switched on the lamp that was beside him and grabbed for anything he could find to make notes. His tablet was still stashed away in his bag and in the end he scribbled on the table with a blue ballpoint pen. “What time was this?” he asked writing in shorthand that only he would understand. “Okay, thanks mate, tell me if you get anything else.”
He looked at the notes he’d written then made a call. “Damian, who’s in charge of Containment Unit 23?”
“Commander Kriskov, ‘e’s got twenty through twenty-four, why?” his handler wanted to know.
Zach toned down his excitement. “Remember Ashleigh, worked over here before she relocated to France?”
Damian laughed heartily, “I remember her all right, your first crush eh lad?”
Zach ignored the jibe, “She’s been looking into recent travel logs for me and something sparked her interest, it might be nothing but—”
“Out with it for fuck’s sake,” Damian ordered.
“A large number of tickets were recently purchased using the same credit card, for multiple flights to Bulgaria. Since I’d asked Ashleigh to keep an eye out, she followed the purchases and the passengers who took the trips over the last few days. Turns out each time it was a couple travelling together and when they arrived in Bulgaria, they were met by a woman, blonde, thirtyish, Russian maybe.”
“Can’t take coincidences to Anders. Could be businessmen in for some conference or other, I’ll not have you make me look foolish lad.”
Zach smiled, he’d figured Damian would say as much. “Ashleighsaid that one of them matched the description of Kaleb I faxed over. Said it had to be him. We’ve got him Damian.”
Damian’s exuberance came through over the line, “Then bloody hell, let’s go get ‘im!”