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Welcome to Dubai (The Traveler), Page 1

Omar Tyree

  Praise for Omar Tyree and Welcome to Dubai

  “With this second installment of The Traveler series, Omar Tyree’s transition from urban to mainstream fiction is complete. In The Traveler: Welcome to Dubai, Tyree moves the setting from the back streets of big-city America to Dubai, where, like the ancient Egyptians, poor laborers work on massive construction projects for men of unimaginable wealth. It is there his protagonist, Gary Stevens—the Traveler—is caught in the middle of an immigrant insurgency that places the lives of hundreds of hostages at risk. Welcome to Dubai is a well-plotted, riveting tale of Stevens reaching his potential as a highly trained operative. Tyree uses his unique voice to bring his characters to life, from the incomparable beauty and innocence of Ramia to the effervescent personality of the taxi driver Johnny, the characters are real and captivating. The next installment of The Traveler series can’t come soon enough. Wherever Tyree decides to take his readers, I want to be along for the ride.”

  —RON MCMANUS, award-winning author of Libido’s Twist and The Drone Enigma

  “Omar Tyree’s characters pull you in and the action-packed plot does the rest. It’s a nonstop thriller. Tyree keeps us up reading way too late.”

  —WILLIAM ELLIOTT HAZELGROVE, best-selling author of The Pitcher and Tobacco Sticks

  Welcome to Dubai

  by Omar Tyree

  © Copyright 2013 by Omar Tyree

  ISBN 978-9-38467-49-3

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other – except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior written permission of the author.

  This is a work of fiction. All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The names, incidents, dialogue, and opinions expressed are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.

  Published by

  210 60th Street

  Virginia Beach, VA 23451



  John Köehler

  Executive Editor

  Joe Coccaro



  Omar Tyree


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  October 2012

  Chapter 1

  A delta jumbo jet from the United States passed over Saudi Arabia, heading east for the United Arab Emirates. The descending flight, full of passengers, made its way into the airspace of the city of Dubai in the early afternoon, passing over an inspiring landscape of new and still developing properties. The opulent construction of Dubai included five-, six- and seven-star hotels and resorts, the largest shopping malls on the planet, and the tallest building in the world, along with an advanced transportation system of high-speed rails. There were state-of-the-art sporting complexes, international gold, diamond and clothing markets, an inside ski resort and hundreds of tourist attractions. Scores of new apartment buildings and villas housed the hundreds of thousands of immigrant citizens of the world who had traveled there to help design and build this paradise in the sand and live in its splendor.

  Abdul Khalif Hassan breathed heavily with anxiety as he stared out of his large office window at the steady stream of flights arriving and departing from Dubai’s international airport. He stood at the corner window in his office on the twenty-seventh floor of an elaborate downtown building near the waterfront of the Persian Gulf and Dubai’s famous man-made Palm Islands. An Arabian businessman of royal lineage in his late thirties, Abdul wore a fine designer suit with a striking white shirt and a colorful silk tie. He was a wealthy and confident member of the Emirati, the ruling class of local families of the Middle East, who had benefited from their ownership of abundant oil property. The Hassan family and many other Arabian businessmen had now moved into the tourism, hotel and retail industries, where Abdul’s recent plans were not proceeding as scheduled. Construction of his new hotel had fallen nearly a year behind completion.

  Abdul’s smooth, light-brown forehead tightened with concern as he ran his hand through his dark mane of thick, wavy hair. He sighed in frustration.

  “When will we have the next genius design robots to do the work of construction on time?” he asked rhetorically.

  In the advertisements, brochures and worldwide promotions of Dubai, every building was complete, where in reality, many of their grand-scale projects remained in feverish construction, with cranes atop buildings and unfinished streets below.

  Hamda Sharifa Hassan, Abdul’s regal wife, stood in his office not far from him. Hearing her husband’s impatience, she walked over to comfort him, placing her hand in the small of his back.

  “You cannot rush time, Abdul. Everything will happen when it is supposed to, Allah willing,” she told him calmly. In her mid-twenties, Hamda wore a knee-length white dress with tiny, vertical red stripes. Around her neck was a thick gold necklace and seashell amulet that held a large ruby. With it, she wore matching gold-and-seashell earrings. She was a stunning young queen with dark, straight hair past her shoulders, and she was college educated and mature beyond her years.

  “We should go out to eat at the Promenade,” she suggested. “It will take your mind off your worries about construction.”

  Abdul nodded in response to her proposition, but he could not take his mind off of his projects.

  “Anything you want,” he grumbled. He leaned forward and kissed his wife on the cheek.

  Hamda frowned and eyed her husband, knowingly. “Your stress will not make anything better. Relax, and leave it all up to Allah. The Magnificent will see all of your plans through. Has Allah ever failed you before?” she challenged him.

  “Of course not,” Abdul objected fiercely. Such a charge was considered dishonorable and blasphemous.

  His wife reached forward to hold his hands in hers and to face him, taking his attention away from the landscape outside the window.

  She told her husband with conviction, “Abdul, you will be successful at everything you do, and so will our children. So stop wasting my visit with you, and let’s go do lunch.” She continued to stare into his dark-brown eyes to settle him.

  Finally, he grinned and loosened up. “Hamda, don’t you know we cannot rush time?” he mocked his wife.

  She tapped his arm gently and chuckled at his sarcasm.

  “Come on, let’s go,” she demanded. “Call for the car.”

  She moved to cover herself in a white abaya, the traditional Muslim garb for public viewing, and added a royal, red-trimmed khimar to cover her head and shoulders.

  Abdul stepped quickly away from his wife and toward his des

  “First, let me call my management.”

  Hamda eyed him again in irritation. Men will be men, she thought. My husband has the heart of a bull.

  Abdul picked up the phone from his desk and made a call to the management office of his various developing properties. His young wife watched him and took a seat with patience.


  At one of the hundreds of construction sites owned and financed by the Emirati of Dubai, a project manager, wearing a red turban over his traditional white throbe, nodded with a cell phone to his ear.

  “Yes, praise be to Allah.”

  He hung up his phone with urgent new orders to speed up his crew, moving immediately to inspect a group of workers who had taken their lunch break on the dusty ground floor of a rising skyscraper.

  “How many minutes have you been on break?”

  The sandy-brown men with thick, dark hair, dressed in identical light-blue uniforms, were startled. The imposing man in the long white garb seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

  “We, we just took our break,” a well-respected worker responded for all of them. He was a soft-spoken native of India.

  “Are you sure?” the manager questioned.

  The Indian man nodded respectfully. “Yes.”

  Some of his co-workers were not as cordial. They looked at the Emirates overseer with disdain, tired of the disrespect they received as immigrant workers. The large population of multicultural immigrants did the majority of the building in Dubai—immigrants from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Egypt and Ethiopia, with architects and engineers from Germany, France, America and Australia. They had come from all around the world to work and live there. These hardworking men with wives and families felt they should be allowed to eat at work in peace, especially on a job where many of them had been bused in to give their all from sunup to sundown.

  “What are you looking at?” the manager asked a particularly stern-faced worker. He was a tall and rugged Pakistani, who leaned against an iron pole with his bowl of rice and bread. The Pakistani could care less about respecting a man who did not respect him. Nevertheless, he needed the job, so he looked away to avoid a confrontation.

  The manager attempted to bully him anyway. “You heard me. What are you looking at?”

  The Indian co-worker spoke up to support his crewman. “He is okay. He is just tired and hungry. A man gets cranky when he cannot eat,” he joked with a chuckle.

  The manager continued to stare down the rugged Pakistani, unafraid of his superior size. He even walked in closer, crowding his space.

  “You tell him not to look at me like that again,” he informed the Indian to translate. The manager assumed the Pakistani worker could not speak English.

  When the Pakistani looked into his Indian co-worker’s eyes, the Indian man became hesitant to relay the message. Instead, he turned back to the Muslim overseer.

  “Yes, I, I will,” he stammered.

  “You tell him what I said now,” the manager demanded.

  Suddenly, the tension between them all became apparent. The Pakistani man met the overseer’s ire and refused to back down. He stepped forward against the restraints of his co-workers, who frantically jumped in between the two men to hold him back.

  “No, no, stop it!” the Indian peacekeeper pleaded.

  A serious altercation seemed inevitable.

  “You dare to hit me?” the Muslim man challenged the Pakistani. “Hit me then. You will be fired. You are already fired!”

  The Pakistani man cursed him in his native tongue and no longer cared about the job.

  As the scuffle continued on the ground, a crowd of workers watched the commotion from the floors above, which had not yet been enclosed with walls. One of the workers standing on a steel beam slipped and lost his balance.


  The worker fell headfirst from twenty stories up.

  The Indian peacekeeper rushed into action as if he were a superhero, attempting to catch the falling worker in his arms. But as he ran to predict the landing of his free falling co-worker, he tripped over a water bucket and fell to the ground himself. By the time he had climbed back to his feet, his co-worker had met a ghastly ending.

  The shocked Muslim manager fell to his knees in the dirt and immediately began to pray.

  “Oh, Merciful Allah …”

  The Pakistani man and his co-workers looked on and shook their heads in disbelief. Some of them covered their eyes from the horror. As the overseer continued to pray, the Pakistani had seen and heard enough. He cursed the spiteful overseer and spit to the ground in front of him before walking away from the job.

  “Saleem, what are you doing?” the Indian peacekeeper ran from behind to ask.

  Saleem stopped and stared at him incredulously. “What are you doing, Rasik?” he responded in English, and added, “I no longer work here.” He had chosen to fake ignorance to save himself from the daily defacement, but it was too obvious that he could no longer work with such disrespect from his bosses without killing the man in authority. And as he began to walk away from the scene of the tragedy, a number of his co-workers followed behind him. The men could no longer ignore the contempt of their imported services.

  Chapter 2

  In the woods of Northern Virginia, less than an hour away from Capitol Hill in Washington, Gary Stevens hustled down a dirt road trail toward an open grass field, wearing long gray sweats. Over six feet tall and well-built, the thirty-one-year-old reached the open field, where four shooting stations awaited him with loaded pistols. Paper targets stood fifty feet away in front of him, shaped like fugitives and carrying assault weapons.

  Gary grabbed the black nine-millimeter pistol at the station and aimed with sharp green eyes, firing two shots that zipped through the knees of his target. He then slammed the gun down and ran toward a finish line to his left.

  Special Command Officer Howard Cummings waited behind the line with his stopwatch in hand. A stout military veteran in his fifties, wearing camouflage hunting gear and a matching cap, the officer grinned.

  “You’re twenty-seven seconds behind your record,” he stated.

  Gary kneeled over to catch his breath in the frost of Octo ber. He chuckled and said, “Yeah, I got a little too comfortable.” Beads of sweat dripped from his four-day-old mustache and beard. Combined with his short-cropped, light-brown hair, the beard and mustache made him appear more rugged and mannish than he had looked in his younger college years.

  Cummings nodded and told him, “You would have made a great military man, Gary.”

  “Not while my mother was still alive,” Gary countered. “She wouldn’t have allowed it.”

  The officer continued to grin. “Well, you’ve come a long way since we first met.” He had expressed his confidence in the young man more than a dozen times in the three years that he had gotten to know him.

  “Thanks to you guys,” Gary admitted. “I have no idea what I’d be doing right now. I’d probably still be running a record store and chasing tail in Louisville.”

  “You mean, as opposed to chasing tail in Virginia?” Officer Cummings quipped. “You’re still unmarried, right?”

  Gary smiled sheepishly and didn’t bother to answer.

  “Yeah, I know, you’re gonna try to hold out for as long as you can.”

  Gary chuckled. He appeared sharp and determined, with the maturity of life experience behind him.

  “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings until I’m really sure,” he said.

  Before Cummings could respond, they both looked back at a second man and a woman, racing out of the woods toward the shooting station. The man was slightly in the lead, but only slightly, with less than two hundred yards to go to the finish line.

  “Fox is gonna catch him at the end,” Officer Cummings predicted.

  Gary grinned and watched as his mentor, Jonah Brown, a nearly forty-year-old African-American woman dressed in black, ran behind the slightly younger
guy in dark green. They reached the shooting station simultaneously and aimed their pistols to fire at their targets. With three rapid shots to the stomach, chest and forehead, Jonah was off and running again toward the finish line. However, the younger man struggled to control his gun with weary arms and shoulders. He needed more time to steady his aim. When he finally shot the pistol, connecting with a single shot to the chest of the target, Jonah had crossed the line.

  “Great comeback,” Gary told her.

  Jonah hunched over, her hands on her knees as her thick dark-brown ponytail fell over her right shoulder. She gasped for air as she rolled her eyes.

  “Are you kidding me? I was trying to catch you.”

  Officer Cummings laughed. “Yeah, well, get in line.”

  The third runner crossed the finish line and said, “You two need to try out for the Olympic pentathlon team for Brazil.”

  “Maybe he can, but I’ll be too old in twenty-sixteen,” Jonah huffed.

  “You can do anything you put your mind to, Fox,” Officer Cummings interjected.

  Jonah looked at Gary and nodded with an approving smile. She was proud of him.

  “So can he,” she responded in reference to Gary. “He’s come a long way now.”

  “I tell him that every day,” Officer Cummings said.

  “Yeah, but I see he still won’t shoot to kill,” their third runner commented. “He shot the target twice at the knees.”

  “And he hit ’em both,” Jonah argued.

  Gary smiled. “I think it’s much harder to target different parts of the body.”

  “Of course it is,” Officer Cummings agreed. “That’s why you’re the Eagle and he’s the Beaver; you’re sharper.”

  “Yeah, but a beaver still gets it done,” the man retorted.

  “It just takes you a little longer,” Jonah joked.

  The Beaver looked back into the woods at a fourth man, dressed in dark blue, who was just making it out into the open greenery.

  “Yeah, but I’m not as slow as him.”

  They all shared a laugh as Cummings shook his head, concerned about his latest recruit.