Borders and Hill carried their luggage onto the airport bus that would take them to the train station. The train would then take them to the subway that swung by the port where the ship awaited them. As the bus pulled away from the station, one passenger remained on the platform. It seemed intentional. She was an Oriental lady with the top of her hair tied in a knot. As the bus pulled out into the sunlight, she pulled out her cell phone and made a call. She then turned and went back into the airport.
Borders had never been to Barcelona and wanted to see some of the sights. The subway was the easiest way from one point to the next, and with a few hours before boarding, sightseeing was on the menu. The search for Panama would have to wait, at least until they arrived on board.
The train raced through the city of Barcelona, past walls and buildings that appeared to be held together by graffiti. The graphics, some of it fine art, made Borders wonder if it was all graffiti or was some actual advertisements. He was astonished that there were so many out of work artists in Spain. These men and women without means, could, with limited training, become house painters, a Guild that seemed to need members sorely, if the buildings within eyesight were any indication. Without obvious vistas to enjoy, his mind wandered to his current situation. How would he be able to find a man in a Panama hat, the description was so vague. What was the ultimate aim? Not even mentioned were possible targets.
From the train, they made their way to the connecting subway station and stored their luggage in a locker. After a quick lunch, they hopped on the subway and started their mini-tour. Their first stop was at The Basillica de la Sagrada Familia, a Catholic church started in 1882 and still under construction, where tomorrow's financing seemed to depend on the fees collected at the door today. In the middle of the city, bordering on busy thoroughfares, a make-work project over 130 years old, it was surrounded by a temporary fence, a way to separate the paying from the non-paying.
Single tourists and tour groups pressed against both sides of the fence. Time, tourists and twelve Euros kept Borders and Hill from the inside. They walked around the building, being careful, not to step on Gypsies, who sat sprawled on the sidewalk, or kneeled with their back bent. Some had their head resting on the cement, with a paper cup in their hand. Begging was the job for their women - men didn't beg. It may have been the architectural style or his lack of structural knowledge that formed Borders's initial opinion of this building, he immediately disliked it. It reminded him of the giant termite mounds in Africa, the Inquisition, and the painting of The Scream.
Spycraft had taught Borders to watch his back, to know when someone followed his footprints. It was something one could expect at any time, no matter the location. It may have been a straitening of the hairs on the back his neck or a glimpse from the corner of his eye – he just knew someone was following him. He looked around, pretending to stare with tourist's eyes, cataloging everyone in sight. He found no shame in worry. The 'Enigma' was expert at keeping someone in sight. He told Hill about his misgivings. Hill immediately looked around. Borders just shook his head.
Soon, they were back at the subway station, on a train going in the wrong direction. Even though there were seats available, they chose to stand, one on each side of the exit door. At the next stop, Borders stuck his arm between the closing doors, forcing the doors to open for a few seconds before trying to close again. These few seconds was enough time for them to jump from the car, but not enough time for anyone else to follow. They ran down a set of stairs, squeezing in between slow passengers, and then through a passageway that took them up to the other side of the tracks and the train going in the other direction. The hairs on his neck quieted down.
The subway took them to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia, a church more to their liking. No fence and no fee, although Gypsies cluttered the front steps. Some sat with their paper cups in one hand, and in the other hand, with fingers like claws, they clutched battered pictures of the Virgin Mary. Some blocked passage while others walked around, giving them access to more tourists. Begging, begging, and more begging.
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Mediterranean MissionMystery / Thriller
Mason Borders, operative for CSIS, has been given a new mission. He has to track a terrorist on a Mediterranean cruise. The ship will stop at a number of ports along the way. Any of the ports from Barcelona to Istanbul could be the target. While Bor...