The Last Man
Author:Vince Flynn



Chapter 53

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

RAPP'S anxiety increased as the heavy sedan climbed its way up the mountain road. Europe had become a major pain in the ass. Gone were the days when you could slip in and out of a country or a town without being noticed. Now there were cameras everywhere, even in the little hamlets that dotted the Swiss countryside. Customs and law enforcement databases were linked, and everybody was either online or texting or talking on an always available cell phone. Getting into a country like Switzerland wasn't necessarily the problem. Even killing someone like Obrecht was manageable. The problem was what happened in the aftermath. You left a digital footprint as you traveled, and investigators had gotten really good at assembling the puzzle and coming up with a suspect.

The fear of getting caught after the fact was very real, as the Israelis had learned firsthand when they'd sent a team of agents into Dubai to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas official. Customs computers and cameras, as well as hotel security cameras, had captured the entire team assembling for the operation and then leaving. The lesson was simple: Sneaking into a country to snoop and steal was still fairly easy, but once you started killing people you had better find a way to erase your digital footprint or you were going to have your photo plastered all over the BBC and every other twenty-four-hour news channel.

As a result, operations were increasingly complex. Instead of flying directly into Zurich and having to clear customs, the group landed at Ramstein Air Base, where the appropriate stamps were placed on their passports to make it look as if they had arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, two days earlier. Local assets then moved the group to a nearby private airstrip where they boarded a second jet for the short flight to Zurich. With EU customs already cleared, the group of eight deplaned at the private jet terminal and loaded their gear into two waiting BMW 7 Series sedans. Among them they had six assault rifles, twelve pistols, a pound of plastic explosives, and a wide variety of technical gear. None of it would have made it through normal customs.

The only security camera they spotted was at the gate, and the heavily tinted windows of their BMWs rendered it useless. It was Saturday afternoon, and the advance team had informed them after landing at Ramstein that Obrecht had left his townhouse in Zurich and had traveled to his estate near Lake Constance. They emailed aerial video of the place that had been taken by a small drone. Rapp, Hurley, and Coleman took a moment to review the footage, and none of them liked what they saw. Hurley was surprised by the size of the estate, while Coleman was worried about the number of men who appeared to be guarding the place.

For close to seventy years elements within the CIA had maintained a very good relationship with a Swiss bank owned by the Ohlmeyer family. After watching the surveillance video, Rapp said to Hurley, "I think you need to reach out to the Ohlmeyers and find out what they know about this guy. There's no way he's a simple private banker. If he owns a place like this he must own the whole bank, and if he owns the whole bank, what in the hell is he doing managing someone like Gould?"

The interrogation with Gould had been brief, due to the fact that they had to catch a plane, but they got what they needed in terms of Obrecht. Or at least that's what Rapp had thought at the time.

"I told you we should have brought him along," Hurley said, referring to Gould. "The little shit lied to us."

Gould had told them that Obrecht had been more than his private banker. He was also his handler, setting up contracts and negotiating prices with his prospective employers. "So he knows who hired you to kill me?" Rapp had asked back in the interrogation cell. Gould would not commit to that point, as Obrecht rarely met face-to-face with prospective employers, but he did handle the transfer of funds, which could likely lead to the person who had put the price on Rapp's head.

Rapp looked at the video of the massive estate. It had to be worth at least $25 million. He got the pissed-off feeling that Gould had played them. "There's no way this guy is just your average banker."

"Could be family money," Coleman suggested.

That was when Rapp put Marcus Dumond on the problem of finding out who owned the estate. Dumond, their resident computer expert, was not having a good day. He'd spent the majority of the flight trying and failing to hack into Obrecht's bank's computer system. Rapp had rarely seen Dumond so frustrated.

Rapp had come to the conclusion that Gould had likely lied to them. As to Hurley's point, that they should have brought Gould along, Rapp couldn't bear to spend another second with the man. He made him sick, and if Kennedy was serious about keeping him alive, she needed to keep them apart, because Rapp wanted to kill him.

Even though the prospects didn't look good, they continued on the second leg of the journey. They might not be able to get their hands on Obrecht while he sat behind the walls of his estate, but he couldn't stay there forever. On Sunday night, more than likely, he would have to make the return trip to Zurich. The winding mountain roads would provide the perfect opportunity for an ambush.

Rapp sat behind the wheel and Hurley was in the front passenger seat. Dumond and Hayek were in back, Dumond still trying to hack into the bank while Hayek tried to get a lead on Obrecht's mobile phone with a digitized scanner. Gould had given them a number, but so far they weren't getting a thing, which meant that either the phone was turned off or Gould had lied again.

They met the advance team on the outskirts of a small town called Engwilen. It was a male-female team, which Rapp was happy to see, as it was easier for them to blend in and look like a couple. They had made one pass by the main gate to confirm what the drone had already shown. Four men in dark blue SWAT uniforms were at the main gate, and at least one dog and his handler could be seen halfway up the driveway. Rapp watched the video they had taken and said, "It looks like a frickin' G Eight summit."

Rapp and Hurley stood around the trunk of the first BMW with Coleman and the couple and asked questions for another ten minutes. The entire thing looked hopeless. The couple said they were fairly certain the place had an advanced security system around the perimeter of the property and that they assumed the house would have one as well. Beyond that, they'd used the drone to count a total of eight bodyguards. How many more were in the house was anybody's guess.

They all agreed that the smartest course was to wait for Obrecht to leave the estate and take him on the way back to Zurich. In the meantime Hayek would coordinate with Langley to see if they could get signal interception on the house, and Dumond would continue to try to hack into the bank's secure server.

Coleman took his men into the town to scout things out and see if there was an inn without security cameras where they might be able to spend the night. Rapp and Hurley stood at the rear of the car, neither speaking for a long while. They were both in dark suits with lightweight overcoats. The temperature was in the midfifties, but the afternoon sun was making things warm.

Hurley lit a cigarette and exhaled. He tilted his face skyward and took in the warmth of the sun. "Do you know what's strange?"

"There's a lot of strange shit, Stan. You're going to have to be more specific."

Hurley opened one eye and squinted at Rapp. "I feel good."

"That's nice."

"I mean I'm at peace with the whole thing."

They didn't talk for over a minute and then Hurley asked, "You thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Yeah," Rapp replied. "But they'll have cameras at the gate."

Hurley shrugged. "Who gives a shit . . . I'll be dead in six months."

"Why do you keep talking like that?"

"Because it's true," Hurley said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Rapp thought about it for a moment and then said, "It might be, but - "

"Don't waste your breath," Hurley said, cutting him off. "You and I don't bullshit each other . . . let's not start now."

Hurley was right. They'd always been honest with each other, at least after the first year or two. Now wasn't the time to start denying the truth. Besides, it was his death. He could choose to deal with it in whatever way worked for him.

"All right, let's go." Rapp pushed off the car. "You have your Interpol creds?"

"Never leave home without them."

"Good. I'll text Scott and let him know."

They climbed into the car and Rapp fired up the engine. He slipped the car into gear and pulled out on the smooth country road.

"Where are we going?" Hayek asked from the backseat.

"Stan wants to knock on Obrecht's door."

"You're joking, right?"

Hurley shook his head. "I don't joke about stuff like this, princess."

"But . . . I thought we were going to wait for him to drive back to Zurich tomorrow."

"We could," Rapp said.

"But it might get messy," Hurley added. "I'm going to knock on the front door instead. You might be surprised how often it works."

"And if it doesn't," Rapp said, "it still might."

"How?" Hayek didn't understand anything they were saying.

"Spook him," Hurley said. "Right now he's comfortable, thinking everything is fine. We rattle his cage and he might turn that phone on that you're trying to get a line on. He might fly the coop; he might do anything that would be better for us than spending the night in some boring town and then finding out tomorrow that he doesn't travel by motorcade back to the city but takes a helicopter instead."

Hayek didn't have a lot of time to consider the new plan, as only a few minutes later they pulled off the road across the street from the main gate to Obrecht's estate. Hurley handed Rapp a set of credentials and checked to make sure his fake Interpol identification was in order.

Rapp looked out the windshield at the four bodyguards. "What do you think . . . rent-a-cops or the real deal?"

Hurley watched the men for a moment and said, "They look like the real deal to me."

"Me too."

"No sense in trying to bully my way, then. I'll make some easy conversation and then leave them a calling card." And with that, Hurley was out the door. "Wish me luck."

Rapp watched him cross the street. No one knew Hurley's exact age, but Rapp guessed he was in his early to mid seventies, although he knew he could easily be off. The man moved like someone twenty years younger but his face showed the wear of someone who had been through a lot of rough stuff.

"Dammit," Dumond barked from the backseat.

Rapp looked in the rearview mirror to see what was wrong. Dumond had attended MIT with Rapp's little brother Steven. The computer genius had run afoul of the Feds for hacking into some of New York's biggest banks. Rapp had Kennedy intervene on Dumond's behalf. Rather than go to jail, the whiz kid decided to come to work for Langley. Rapp had rarely if ever seen him so frustrated. "What's wrong, Marcus?"

"This is bullshit, Mitch."

"You still can't get in?"

"I can't even get close."

"Why?"

"These guys are using heavy-duty shit. Like the stuff the Chinese use, and our buddies out at Fort Meade - I'm talking cutting-edge stuff."

Rapp didn't know a lot about what Dumond did, but he tried to help. "Would it be better if you were back at Langley on a bigger computer . . . faster hookup speed?"

Dumond looked at Rapp's reflection in the mirror with a "don't even try to act like you know what you're talking about" look.

Rapp threw up his hands. "Just trying to help."

Dumond went back to hammering away on his keyboard. "The point I'm trying to make is that this isn't normal. The only people that pay for protection like this are people who are really paranoid, and I'm not talking paranoid for the sake of being paranoid. I'm talking paranoid because they need to hide some serious shit."

Rapp watched Hurley talk to the bodyguards, but was still thinking about Dumond's frustration. Herr Obrecht was turning out to be a far more interesting person than he had first thought. Rapp watched Hurley hand one of the men a card and jog back to the car.

"How'd it go?"

"Nice chap." Hurley pushed back in his seat and straightened his jacket.

"British?"

"No . . . he's one of ours . . . Green Beret. The other two are British, and I think the third one is Polish Special Forces."

"Who do they work for?"

"Obrecht."

"Directly . . . not Triple Canopy or someone?"

"Nope . . . Obrecht brought them on board a month ago."

Rapp thought about the timing. "Anything else?"

"Yeah . . . I wrote down my number on a card and told him to give it to his boss." Hurley pointed across the street. "Look, he's calling him right now." The guard had a handset in one hand and Hurley's business card in the other. "I told him to tell his boss that I needed to talk to him about Louie Gould."

Rapp was surprised. "I like that. If Gould was telling us the truth, that should freak him out."

"You think he'll call?"

"No." Rapp shook his head. "A guy like this will have his lawyers call Interpol and ask about you, and if you check out then he might call, but it's a Saturday, so the earliest we'd hear from him would be Monday."

"Yeah . . . I bet you're right."

They watched the bodyguards for another minute and then Rapp said, "I've been thinking. Marcus is having a hell of a time trying to get into the bank's server. He said they are using high-end stuff."

"Doesn't surprise me. These banks are security conscious now."

"This is different," Dumond declared from the backseat. "Not your normal stuff."

"My point is this," Rapp continued. "Obrecht seems awfully security conscious. Does he seem like the kind of guy who would sit down with someone from the FBI and willingly turn over private information pertaining to his clients' financial transactions?"

Hurley frowned. "No, he doesn't."

"This doesn't smell right. I think someone is jerking our chain." Rapp drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and was about to suggest they head back to hook up with Coleman when he noticed a dark gray Peugeot round the corner in front of them. As the vehicle neared the gate it slowed to a crawl. Nothing too unusual when you thought of the big ornate gate and the armed men standing in front of it. Rapp's window was down and he leaned over the steering wheel to get a good look at the driver and passengers. There were four of them, all with jet-black hair and dark skin. The driver had a thick mustache, but it was the man in the rear passenger seat who caught Rapp's eye. When the cars were almost level with each other, Rapp and the man in the backseat locked on to each other, and the expression on the man's face was one of both recognition and fear.

The other car was gone in an instant, and before Rapp could articulate what was on his mind, Hurley said, "What in the fuck are four rag heads doing sightseeing in the middle of Switzerland on a Saturday afternoon?"

Rapp wasn't sure the men were Afghanis, but he was sure the man in the backseat recognized him. Rapp pulled the gearshift into drive and checked his mirror. "Did you see the guy in the backseat?"

"Yeah . . . He looked like he saw a ghost." Hurley snapped his head around. "And they're not waiting around to talk. You'd better whip a U-turn, and step on it."