Chapter 45: The Iraq Trip
Translator: _Min_ Editor: Lis_, Rundi
His English was more broken than the Eastern Man.
A terrorist with a masked face and an AK47 placed a bowl of muddy looking soup and black bread on the table. He mocked the white man who crawled into the corner before he turned around and slammed the door.
Robert weakly moved when he saw that the man left. He quickly walked to the table and grabbed the rock hard bread.
His blond hair was already greasy, and his face looked pale, but his eyes remained bright. Even if he didn’t know what’s the soup or the hardly chewable bread in his hands was made out of, he didn’t look the slightest bit remorseful.
He chewed carefully, despite the fact that the food was barely edible.
But he knew that this would maximize the amount of energy he had and would preserve it. Then, he could seek the opportunity to escape.
Robert’s face did not look distressed at all. Even if the poor reporter that stayed beside him yesterday was screaming in pain, he remained calm.
Without a doubt, that guy must have his throat slit and recorded. The majority of the government would not compromise with the terrorist groups and pay ransom for the hostages. Maybe in a couple of days when he heads back, he could see that poor sucker on Facebook, in the form of video, if he could go back.
This was not the first time Robert faced situations like this. Militants in Kuwait kidnaped him and almost slit his throat. But the good thing was that Blackwater International took the money and did some good deeds with the UA army. They managed to save him at the absolute last moment.
However, this time it was far more questionable. Although he was a UA citizen and acted in the interest of the country, recently his act of smuggling oil from Iran has caught the attention of the FBA. Rumor has that special agents were collecting evidence in this area. Maybe due to this insider’s betrayal, this was the FBA’s act of taking him out, then why would the UA army save him?
The bald Biden had no guts. If the FBA just threatened him a little, he would join the witness protection program and sell out his old friend.
Robert was not too angry at this. He had seen his fair share of betrayal. If he died here this time, then Biden was lucky, but if he managed to return to Los Santos, hehe.
A ferocious smile flashed across Robert’s face.
Of course, all this talk would be nonsense because his probability of survival was so slim. Although Nick was reliable and a fitted warrior, he was alone after all. Facing a group of fully equipped terrorists would be unrealistic.
Especially in hostage rescue, that must be done with one swift action.
He mocked at himself for the thought as he finished the last bit of bread before lying on the bed again.
His instinct told him that he would be okay this time. His instinct had saved him on more than one occasion, so he trusted his instinct and didn’t give up the hope for survival.
Jiang Chen got off the plane and stepped into the Baghdad International Airport.
The religious city was not exactly as they described it in the news, in constant chaos. At least, not near the airport.
The marks left by the war has been slowly healed through the passage of time. It was also evident by the constant flow of foreign tourists. However, he knew this prosperity was limited.
IS already occupied half of the area in Northern Iraq. Even if the sky above Baghdad were still clear, it wouldn’t take long before a gloom of war cast its shadow.
Jiang Chen in shades stood in front of the airport for a while before he took out his phone to check Google maps. He quickly found the arranged meeting spot with Nick.
Just as he was about to call a taxi, an unlicensed car stopped in front of him.
“Sir, do you need a taxi?”
It was in Han, although not fluent.
“Yes, do you know Han?” Jiang Chen was surprised. He had paused for a moment before he opened the car door.
“It’s because I often find jobs near your wells, for example servicing PetroChina workers. So I learned Han in the process.” The young man smiled with his white teeth exposed as he skillfully started the car. “My name is Ehsa, what about you sir?”
“Jiang Chen. Head to this place on the map.” Jiang Chen showed the location on the map to Ehsa.
With the changing scenery passing by him, Jiang Chen chatted with the taxi driver, who was around the same age as him and he heard some interesting stories.
“Sir if you are here to travel, I recommend a few cities in the South. However, don’t head north as Haditha is almost conquered, it might not be long until Baghdad is unsafe too.”
“Hmmm? Looks like you know these things pretty well. How long have you been doing this?” Jiang Chen smiled.
“For about six years, I have been driving taxis ever since I left the army. I also spent some time being a tourist guide,” Ehsa replied.
“You have been in the army before? I feel like you are no older than me,” Jiang Chen asked with confusion in his voice.
“I enlisted when I was 12, in what you guys call the Iraq war.” Ehsa shrugged as the topic did not seem to bother him. “A hectic show without even seeing the enemy. It was over before it started. I just felt like Saddam gave me a gun and sent me to surrender in the front line.”
He was amazed by the young man’s experience but didn’t continue on the topic further.
The car soon arrived at the destination, and Jiang Chen generously handed a 10 USD bill to him. He watched the car leave as he stretched and looked for Nick.
“Here.” Just at that moment, the foreigner sitting under the shade, drinking coffee, waved at Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen sat directly across from Nick. But before he sat down, Nick hastily began speaking.
“Yes.” Jiang Chen grabbed an empty cup and poured himself a cup.
It was bitter, seems to be authentic Turkish coffee.
Jiang Chen took a sip before putting it down and noticed Nick’s slightly disappointed look.
“Hmm? You seem disappointed?” Jiang Chen raised his eyebrows.
“You are an adamant warrior, but with just the two of us, it is going to be difficult,” Nick replied with his voice lowered.
“I am not just strong, you’ll see.” Jiang Chen shrugged. “Where is your weapon?”
“It’s in the car. Do you need me to prepare one for you as well?” Nick saw that Jiang Chen came empty handed and asked.
“Not necessary, I have prepared my weapon already. I believe that you already have clues about the whereabouts of your boss, let’s find him then. Hehe, he still owes me a deal,” Jiang Chen smiled and spoke with a relaxed voice as if he never viewed these terrorists as real threats.
Jiang Chen’s relaxed mood made Nick frown slightly, but since there were no other options at the time, it would be dangerous to be delayed by even a day.
Soldier’s instinct told him that this guy was not to be underestimated, but he was not certain of his exact level.
“Let’s talk about the exact details on the car. Robert is in great danger. If you saw the news yesterday, you’d know that IS already executed a UA reporter. If they don’t receive the ransom by tomorrow, they might kill the hostage.”
Nick lit up a cigarette and handed Jiang Chen one as he took Jiang Chen to his car.
“Your boss can’t afford the ransom?” Jiang Chen lit up the cigarette.
“IS wanted the UA government to pay,” Nick said emotionlessly.
The meaning behind that was evident.
The car started as Nick took the wheel and headed out of the town. They passed by two inspection stations, but it was rather procedural as the stations let them go when there were no bombs found. The assault rifle hidden under Nick’s seat was not detected during both inspections.
On the way, Nick explained what kind of trouble they encountered this time.
It was about five days ago, Robert accepted an old friend’s invitation, Biden, to come to Iraq. It was a military arms deal worth twenty million USD. The buyer was supposed to be a militant fighting on the front line against IS. Order from the UA middlemen and acquiring additional firearm was the unspoken rule on this desert. Although Robert sensed something was off, he was not too suspicious.
It was a deal over twenty million USD. He would earn one million just by working with him.
Biden was such a great guy.
After he arranged the transportation of military arms on the battlefront between the government militants and IS, he met a bunch of extreme terrorists screaming “Allah Akbar.”
Nick was indeed a great warrior as he used an M27 to kill at least 10 fearless terrorists, but that was useless.
To acquire those arms, the IS with “secret information” sent out at least a battalion of forces and was equipped with heavy machine guns and RPG. He almost didn’t get out of there alive.
The firearm fell into the hands of the IS, and Robert was captured. Nick fought fearlessly to find an escape path to the safe zone.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he would leave his boss there, Robert saved his life before. He knew that the only way to save his boss was to escape himself first.
He stayed in Haditha as he had a feeling that IS didn’t bring IS into their territory. The next day, he received a phone call from someone who picked up a ten dollar UA bill. On the bill, it said, “If you call this number, and tell him where you found the bill, you’ll receive one hundred dollars in compensation.” Nick first thought it was a trap, but it was his only hope. After meeting the man, Nick paid him the compensation and followed him to where he picked up the bill.
It was fortunate that it was not a trap, Robert was cunning. He always hid a ten dollar bill in his shoe as he believed the first finance minister of the United States would bring him luck and riches. At the same time, it saved him in critical moments. It was clear that “Hamilton” saved him.
“Why don’t you contact the embassy? The UA soldiers are all experts in hostage rescue,” Jiang Chen said in a relaxed voice.
“It’s the FBA who’s behind this all. Those fools can’t find evidence, so they wanted to get rid of Robert.” With the cigarette in his mouth, he already put his shades on. Jiang Chen couldn’t see his facial expression.
“Oh? I thought Robert represented the UA government.” Jiang Chen shrugged.
“He did in Iraq, but it happened in Kane which is not related to the Iran problem,” Nick briefly answered the question as he turned the wheel and drove off the road.
It was clear that Robert trusted his bodyguard as he even explained these things to him.
Jiang Chen remembered that Robert told him about smuggling oil before. It must be that he left some evidence and the FBA is after him.
“We are not going on the road?”
“There is an IS station in the front, we can’t pass. Also, we are almost there.” Robert calmly drove the car into an alley and shut the engine.
Jiang Chen opened the door and got out. He looked around and figured it was a ghetto. Occasionally a child’s malnourished head popped out of the window and curiously looked at the two foreigners. But a hand would come and drag the children back into the room and tightly shut the window.
“These civilians are quite sensitive about the war.” Jiang Chen smiled as he threw the cigarette bud onto the ground.
“The moment they were born they started to experience the war.” Nick grabbed a backpack under the car seat. He saw Jiang Chen’s relaxed look and raised his eyebrows. “Are you sure this is okay?”
“No problem, trust me.” Jiang Chen sighed.
“In Iraq, Han Kungfu is not that particularly helpful.”
“In your foreigners’ eyes, do all the Han know Kungfu?” Jiang Chen laughed at the remark.
I should show him something.
Jiang Chen’s right hand reached behind his back and opened the storage dimension. In Nick’s eyes, he just reached, and a pistol appeared in his hand.
Nick was shocked as he didn’t even sense Jiang Chen hid the gun. He also did not recognize the gun.
“This gun is?”
“11 Tactical Pistol, custom made, don’t worry about it.” Jiang Chen put the gun into his bag and shrugged.
Nick nodded as he no longer questioned.
Just like that, Jiang Chen followed Nick and walked to the building where Robert was held.