It was about to be dawn, the men were almost at their destination-based on Hannah’s information, the asset -Patrick- was at a local bar. It took them almost an hour to reach the spot. Patrick Hoffman was drunk on the bar counter trying to pick up some broad and was drinking like there’s no tomorrow. Apparently he had hit the jackpot the other day when he successfully recovered an ancient statue from Peru for some eccentric billionaire for which he received a handsome cut.
“You know babe… I’m a rich man now… I could buy you a house or a car….”, said Patrick to the girl barely able to open his eyes. The girl giggled and planted a kiss on his cheek.
“Umm.. we should get married you know…heh..”, said Patrick taking another gulp of his whiskey.
“Tell me the truth Patrick , did you con someone again?”, asked Diego-the bartender who was well aware of his antics.
“Me?... rob someone?...get outta here…I got talents bro….I’m smart..”, Patrick replied proudly.
“Yeah, yeah.. thanks to your father- any good you have in you is because of him…now put the glass down, you had enough!”, said the Diego who was like a brother to him. Patrick scoffed at him and finished his drink.
The door opened and three men in leather jackets approached him from behind.
“Mr. Patrick Hoffman?”, asked one of them.
Patrick turned towards them slowly and asked- “Who wants to know?”
“Mr. Geissler sent us. We would like you to come with us.”, replied the man.
“What does that old fox want with me again?”, said Patrick barely able to stand up.
“He says he has a job for you ..” replied another one of them.
“A job?”, asked Patrick,” you can tell that old son of a gun to shove his job up his…”
“Sir, I’m afraid we have to insist..” said the third man interrupting him.
“Oh you insist nothing Sirrr..”, mocked Patrick walking up to the men.
“You see, Hans and I are done.. so you can get the hell outta here or me and my bro here are gonna take care of you…”, said Patrick putting his arm on the man’s shoulder.
“Man… don’t involve me in your business ese! “, said the bartender who was busy cleaning the glasses. The girl walked away sensing something serious was about to happen.
“Sir, please take your arm off of me and come with us quietly…” said the man in a warning tone.
“Or what?... huh?”, in a shocking move Patrick swung his hand towards the man trying to punch him in the face, but the man got out of the way and Patrick lost control, slipped and fell on the floor hard and lost consciousness. The three men then picked him up and carried him out of the bar after which they threw him in their car and drove away with him.
“Tch! I knew he would land himself in some serious trouble one of these days...”, sighed Diego and quietly resumed his work like nothing had happened.
“We got him and we are now enroute towards the airfield, get the plane ready” said one of the men who was calling Hanna asking about the drop.
“Good…”, replied Hanna, “ the jet’s ready and will take off within an hour, get him on the plane, Beeman will take care of the rest - report back when you’re done ”
The car rushed towards a secret airbase where a private jet was getting ready to take off to Turkey. Patrick was still unconscious on the back of the car. He had no idea he was going to meet Hans again and that too miles away from his home. His previous encounter with Hans had gone sour when both of them tried to double-cross each other on a deal. Three years ago Patrick was supposed to deliver an ancient scroll to Hans but he delivered a fake one. Hans also didn’t trust Patrick and paid him counterfeit money. Soon both of them realised that they had been duped by the other and Hans hunted down Patrick like a mad dog until he finally gave up the real scroll. Patrick then received half of what he was supposed to get as payment and some beating as well as a bonus. He swore never to work with Hans again and the latter had similar feelings- after all he would be a fool to trust him again.
But this time Hans had no choice, con man or not Patrick had a unique talent- an affinity towards all things historical and mythological. His father had taught him very well about ancient languages, cultures and symbols until one day he passed away in an accident when Patrick was 16 years old. As he grew older he spent the family fortune on luxuries and women until he was broke and had to mortgage his family house. That’s when he started working as a bounty hunter and earned quite a name for himself digging and recovering historical artefacts for wealthy clients but every now and then he would get caught up in some lousy deal and had to run and hide.
A few hours later Patrick woke up with a terrible headache on a plane flying towards Ankara, Turkey.
“Ugh…what the hell happened…where am I?”, groaned Patrick.
“Ah! You’re awake Mr. Hoffman, I thought you’d open your eyes in Turkey .. haha ! “ said a man in a German accent approaching Patrick towards his seat. He had a laptop in his hands. Patrick looked at the man, he was slim and short, middle aged and well dressed- he looked like a geek with his large spectacles and bony face.
“Who are you?”, asked Patrick who was now totally confused, “and what am I doing on a plane?”
“Relax Mr. Hoffman.. relax.. you can call me Beeman…”, said the man sitting on the opposite seat, “we’re travelling to Turkey for the job which Herr Geissler offered you…here’s a lemon drink to refresh your memory…”
Patrick took the drink and took a sip-
“I don’t remember agreeing to any job offers, Bowman… “
“Em ...it’s Beeman - I work as Mr. Hans’s assistant…”, said the man who was typing on his laptop.
“Eh whatever…so what’s so important that Hans had to kidnap me? He must be really desperate…”, said Patrick finishing his drink. His throat was parched, he really needed it.
“Um..I’m afraid you’re right … Herr Geissler is desperate und you were not in ze condition to talk so we thought it would be better zat we talk on ze way…” said Beeman.
“Ugh..”, groaned Patrick, he couldn’t believe his luck. Had he not been drunk, he could have easily escaped from the bar.
“We took ze liberty of arranging your passport and some new clothes for you and once your job is done you will receive a good commission…ja? ..” continued Beeman.
“Oh.. here.. boss wants to talk to you…” , said Beeman as he connected a video call with Hans in Turkey. Patrick took the laptop in his hands and saw Hans’s face on the screen.
“Hello…my dear boy…how are you, it’s been a long time…” said Hans from the other end.
“Yeah.. I don’t think it has been that long, I still remember how your hounds chased me for months… huh…” , replied Patrick nonchalantly.
“Ay, ay , ay … let’s forget the past, we are professionals, you and me …no hard feelings eh? Listen… I chose you because you’re the best … do this job for me and you will be rich beyond your imagination…I tell you if there’s any treasure worth finding, this is it!!” , said Hans.
“Yeah well… I can’t turn back now, not in the middle of a flight anyways ... so what’s the plan?” asked Patrick easing back on his seat.
“You’ve heard of Gobekkelitepe?” asked Hans in a serious tone.
“ Yeah, some rumours about being the world’s oldest temple, built long before civilization started, dug up in 1995 by some Klaus Schmidt... blah…blah… What the hell you doing in an already excavated site? ”, replied Patrick.
“Oh they’re not rumours, we have ample evidence that it has more in store than some pillars and tools … something that is more valuable than gold and diamonds… in fact I have been digging for three days and nights here on this site and it looks quite promising…. the rest you will see when you arrive here my boy…”, said Hans ending the conversation.
Patrick didn’t pay much heed to Hans’s words owing to his headache. He handed the laptop to Beeman and relaxed in his seat. According to Beeman, they had ten hours before they landed in Turkey and Patrick thought it would be best if nursed his hangover before he met Hans. Beeman walked away to his seat in the front and an air hostess offered a blanket to Patrick. He wrapped it around himself and curled up in his seat. The lights went dim and through the plane window he could see the dark ocean water below him stretching for miles. Somewhere deep in the middle east a mysterious adventure awaited him- he had no idea where the next few days would take him.