Time : 12am
Location: Maitama, Abuja.
The wristwatch on Rex’s hand vibrated and made a beep sound to signify 12 am. It was the time Rex had been waiting for.
After doing a proper check some hours ago, he had decided on the best way to break into the compound and the right tools to use without causing any alarm to the people inside and twelve am was just the right time for him to begin.
He stretched forth his hand to the backseat to take his backpack. He placed it on his laps and opened the main section, he took out a black cloth-like piece of material and wore it on his head, it stretched like a nylon as he pulled it gently to cover his face. He adjusted it till every feature on his face entered the place meant for it on the piece of cloth which happened to be a mask. Then he touched a part on his forehead to test the headlamp in the mask and the light came on, he turned it off immediately. He then took out a set of gloves for his hands and a small tool box which he had neatly arranged his carefully selected tools. He fixed the rope handle of the tool box onto his hand and relaxed back in the chair. He stared thinly through the front glass of the car and took in a breath as he made a quick mental review of all his plans and strategies.
‘Stay awake and alert, with your earpiece on always,’ he said to Stainless as he stepped out of the car.
The night was silent and calm as usual. Rex crossed the two carriageways and turned straight to the gate. He opened the toolbox and took out a tiny drilling tool, he inserted it into the keyhole of the gate and pressed a button on the handle which rolled the metal in. He held the handle of the gate as it gave way. He removed the tool and returned it into the box before opening the gate gently and stepping in. He stopped at the entrance as he closed back the gate, he looked around for a while, studying everything his eyes could see. Inside the compound was brightly lit as outside was, so he could see clearly every object and what they were.
He walked carefully to the left side of the wall and rested his back at the place the walls formed an angle, facing the way which led to the backyard. Then he opened the tool box again and took out a paper which had something wrapped inside it. He unwrapped it and picked out one of the small tiny balls in it. The balls were as small as the seeds of an orange. He squatted and threw one of the balls straight from where he was, he waited to see the response but got none. He took out another ball and flung it towards the main entrance of the building and also got no response immediately. He rose up slowly and surprised as he expected to get a reaction but as soon as he straightened himself, straight red and hot lights emanated from different points on the floor and the soil beside the fence. The lights were so sharp and hot that he could feel the heat and intensity where he stood. He had expected it but the timing was different. He was impressed by the expertise and intelligence of the person who installed it.
After a minute, the lights went off and the place became as normal as it was. Rex took out his gun and attached a silencer, he shot the two bulbs placed on the top at both ends of the gate first and then the light at the entrance of the building before the first one he could see by the side of the building.
The tiny sharp laser lights came on again but this time didn’t take Rex by surprise. He returned the gun to his side and squatted again. The place became darker after the laser lights went off. Rex remained still and listened carefully for minutes, waiting to hear sounds of movement or voices in the house or see anybody or thing come out.
Time : 12:11am
Location : The Underground Facility
‘What sign could that be?’ Henry asked as the lights in the underground control room fluctuated.
‘I don’t know,’ Cole replied, staring up at the bulbs.
‘Could it be that the system is unstable yet because we just installed it?’
‘No,’ Cole replied sharply. He pulled his swivel back to the table and tapped the keyboard to turn on the screen.
The underground control room was a small one, just about a quarter of the main building control room. The computer system in it were just four and were arranged two on each sides of the table.
‘So can it be that someone has already invaded our main facility?’
‘Most likely that what it means,’ Cole replied as he began to type something fast on the keyboard.
‘I and Omotara tried to locate the sources of all the cameras in the main building earlier, half of them were not responding.’ Henry said as he began to work on the system he sat behind. ‘I have to check now if they’ve all been located.’
‘If they’ve not been located, connect the ones we located already, we need to know what’s up there.’ Cole said.
‘Okay but who could possibly be up there at this time, the police or Rex?’
‘Rex or that man who helped us escape,’ Cole stated without thinking much for an answer.
They worked silently for the following two minutes.
‘I’ve got all,’ Henry suddenly announced. Cole left his system to see what Henry had. ‘Someone is truly in,’ Henry added in a low and sad tone. On the screen, the point where the gate bulbs were destroyed was being displayed.
‘And we can’t have a playback to see how it got destroyed right?’ Cole questioned.
‘Yes, we just connected. The only playback we can have is what happens from now.’ Henry replied.
‘Move that camera and let’s see,’ Cole said. Henry did as he was told and the view shifted from the gate to some parts of the wall but didn’t get to the angle. ‘Switch cameras,’ Cole said again and Henry obeyed. The view shifted to the entrance of the house and Henry continued to move the cursor without being told anymore. They saw the destroyed bulb at the entrance and saw the pieces shattered on the floor. ‘Wow!’ Cole exclaimed, releasing a cold breath from his mouth.
‘What do we do? Do we tell the boss?’ Henry asked. The fear in his heart could be easily heard in his voice.
Cole stared at him for a second, it was the first time he heard Henry refer to Tarasha as the boss. He could have smiled or laughed if it happened in a normal condition but he just kept a straight face. ‘She’s asleep already, why bother her? And even if we tell her, she doesn’t have the strength to do anything physical yet.’
‘But she can tell us what to do,’ Henry insisted.
‘No need to bother her, I know how to handle this for now.’
‘Okay, and how do we go about it?’
‘Switch into the cameras inside, let’s see if the intruder has gotten in.’
16 Years ago
A large open space in what looked like a thick forest, men armed with guns and machetes could be seen working and walking around. Most of them were entering into a smal hutl at one end of the space and coming out with plates of food while some others could be seen on one side sharpening their machetes and others cutting and arranging some sticks.
Every activity seemed to seize as a loud voice emanated from the only bush path which led to the place from behind the hut. The voice spoke in Hausa language and the men began to leave all they were doing to reply in the same language. All the men working and those eating left their foods to respond to the call, they all began to walk towards the hut and stop at the entrance. Soon, the owner of the voice they were responding to surfaced from behind the hut with four other men. The man was Abubakar Shekhau, the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Rikau watched from where he stood with the other men, he was one of the youngest amongst them and the most educated. He finished his Higher National program in his State’s Polytechnic and could not further his education due to lack of funds. For five years after his graduation, he roamed about the street without getting a job. He maintained himself by doing menial jobs and in the sixth year was able to get the police recruitment form. He was selected and he went for training. It was during his training he met with a young policeman, officer Elvis Richards. After he finished his training, he went on a visit to his hometown and that was when he was offered a huge some of money to implant a bomb at a certain location which he agreed to and after that he joined the terrorists group fully when they promised to pay him more when he becomes a full member. When he got to find out that he was deceived, it was too late to turn back. He had to accept their philosophy of killing unbelievers for their god to receive a reward of paradise and virgins though it never really made sense to him. He rose speedily in rank amongst the terrorists and soon was one of their top leaders, fifth in command to the leader Shekau and a director of most of their affairs because of his literacy.
‘Mallam Rikau,’ Shekau shouted the group’s leader’s name and Rikau replied with a loud voice with words in Hausa and Arabic languages. He came forward and they conversed with each other in Hausa briefly before Shekau turned to the whole group of men and addressed them. Rikau was to leave them for somewhere else and another man was introduced to them as their new leader.
That night when Rikau left the troop he led with Shekau was when he discovered that their Insurgent’s group as a whole was also being used to achieve selfish interests of some influential men in the society. It was during their meetings with some of the meetings with an influential man that Rikau got to meet with Elvis Richards again, this time he had risen so high in the force rank.
A year after, he was contacted by Elvis Richards to carry out few assassinations for him and it was done together with the usual Boko Haram attack, giving no room for suspicions. The most notable assassination he carried out was that of the Danjuma’s family.
Years later, Elvis Richards became the Inspector General and helped Rikau escape death and punishment which other Boko Haram members faced after their defeat. He also put Rikau into the force, making him start at a high rank. But all these Chief Elvis never did on his own, he had someone backing him, a notable person Rikau never got to know.
Location : University Of Abuja Teaching Hospital
Chief Rikau finally opened his eyes to meet himself on the hospital bed. He wasn’t surprised because he could remember clearly how he was taken from the scene and all that led to his hospitalization. All through his sleep, he kept having dreams reminding him of his younger years and of the Danjuma’s family. This made him believe more that Samantha had to be the Danjuma’s daughter. He tried to move on the bed but he stopped when the pain in his legs and back was unbearable. He had never in his service as a policeman been hospitalized for gunshots. A tear dropped from his eyes as he thought about his life, was nemesis finally catching up with him?
After taking out two other bulbs by the side of the house, Rex began to work on the first window at the side. He inserted his drilling tool into the points of connection of the burglary proofs to the wall and made a circle round the points which weakened the wall at the points. After a while, he was able to take off the bulglary proof metal.
He turned on the light on his mask and tried to see the different edges of the dark living room before he entered through the broken window. He stopped and looked around for a moment, he located the switch for the bulb and went for it.
‘Keep switching the cameras,’ Cole said to Henry who was already complaining about not seeing anyone for over thirty minutes he had been monitoring. Henry was still seating behind the main computer while Cole was at the other side of the table, trying to configure the other computers
‘I think the person has left already?’Henry said tiredly.
‘No, I’m sure someone is around.’ Cole insisted. ‘I just think the person is being wise and dodging the cameras.’
‘How possible it for you to dodge something you don’t know it’s location or direction, the cameras are hidden.’
‘Come on, stop talking like this man. Don’t you know about camera locators?’
Henry’s shoulders dropped as he realized he was arguing lamely, Cole was right that someone could detect and dodge hidden cameras with the right app. He decided to stay for more thirty minutes before admitting his tiredness and need for sleep. Silence took over the atmosphere for the next five minutes.
‘Damn!’ Henry exclaimed all of a sudden. ‘Someone is there.’ Cole quickly left the computers at the other side and turned to the other side to check what Henry saw.
On the screen was a masked man trying to find his way from the living room. He located the entrance into the inner parts of the house and began to walk towards the place but stopped suddenly. He stood still for some seconds before turning back and his eyes went straight to the camera.
‘Does he know we’re watching him?’ Henry asked, flashing a quick look at Cole.
‘I think…’ Cole began to talk but stopped in fear as the man took out his gun and pointed it to the camera. Henry dropped from the chair to the floor while Cole rushed up to his feet as the bullet hit the camera in two seconds. The screen went blank.
‘Damn it!’ this guy knows we’re watching him.’ Henry replied, trembling as he struggled to get to his feet.
‘Yes, he does.’ Cole answered back shakily. He sat on Henry’s seat and located the mouse immediately, he closed the source and began to switch cameras to locate the intruder. ‘Sit here and locate where he is now,’ Cole said to Henry, getting up from the seat to the next one. He tapped the keyboard and the screen came on at once, he typed in the password. ‘I have to put on the remaining laser scopes we have inside the apartment.’
10 minutes later
Rex came out again after hiding behind the curtain for sometime. The camera detector app in his phone had been able to help him detect that the cameras in the house were working and someone was monitoring and rotating them. He removed the drilling tool from the tool box and covered the metal before putting it inside his pocket. Then he brought out his two guns and began to move further inside. The exit of the passage led to another perpendicular one which was splited in the two opposite directions. Rex stopped at the exit, undecided as to where to go for a second, then he took the left turn and only took two steps when he heard a noise from the back. He froze and turned back immediately. It was just in time for him to see the laser lines building from behind and coming towards him. He quickly rushed back into the previous corridor and stopped at the middle to watch, but the laser lines didn’t give him enough time to watch as the lines after spreading to the end of the first began from the exit of the corridor he ran into.
He ran out of the place and back into the living room. The lasers stopped at the entrance of the corridor and he watched from the middle of the living room. The beams burnt hot and the hotness spread into the living room. Rex knew at that point that he couldn’t go further anymore, it was time to return and make a better plan.
‘Meet me at the gate now,’ he said, wiping off the sweat on his forehead as he proceeded towards the window he had destroyed.
Henry woke up earlier than he planned to the next morning. He was still deep asleep when he began to hear heavy and violent knocks at the gate. He knew at once that Rex was finally here for them. He flew out of the bed spontaneously, shouting Cole’s name with his fists tightened in readiness to fight, only for him to find himself in the room with Omotara on the bed, looking at him with a funny expression. The knock was from the door and not the gate like he thought and it wasn’t as violent like he heard from his sleep.
The knock on the door sounded louder this time.
‘Yes, who’s is?’ he shouted, feeling embarrassed as he could see Omotara laughing at him.
‘It’s me, please open quickly.’ He heard a lady’s voice as he got closer to the door. He wondered who it could be as he put his hand on the knob, Aisha was dead and there should be no other lady in the house apart from Omotara. It was until he opened the door and saw Tomi that he remembered that there was a new person amongst them.
‘Will you allow me in or keep looking at him like you’re seeing a ghost,’ Tomi barked at him and he quickly moved out of the way for her. He stood at the door, still surprised and wondering why his memory was playing games with him.
Tomi walked in with a tray containing a nylon of drugs, a tea jug and mug, she proceeded straight to the stool beside the bed and placed the tray on it. Then she moved them together to Tarasha’s side and sat on the bed close to where Tarasha lay. ‘Good morning,’ the nurse greeted.
‘Why in the world were you knocking like that?’ Henry spoke angrily at the nurse, giving Tarasha no opportunity to reply her greeting.
‘Do you know how long she has been at the door?’ Tarasha was the one who replied Henry.
Henry’s gaze moved from the nurse’s face to Tarasha’s face and back to the Nurse.
‘She has been knocking for over thirty minutes,’ Tarasha added and Henry’s eyes fell on hers again.
His shoulders dropped as he shook his head at himself and hissed. He looked and the nurse again but she wasn’t looking at him, he found his way back to the previous position he laid in the bed.
‘You’re supposed to use some of these drugs every eight hours and that’s why I’m here this early,’ the nurse explained to Tarasha. ‘I’ve made tea for you,’ she said pouring from the jug into the cup.
She stood to help Tarasha sit up and wanted to put the cup in Tarasha’s mouth but Tarasha stopped her and collected the cup to take it herself.
‘Wow! You’re recuperating faster than I expected,’ Tomi exclaimed.
Tarasha took a sip of the tea and let out a breath, ‘You were expecting something else?’
‘Yes, actually the symptoms I saw were of partial paralysis but maybe I was wrong, I can’t really trust the tools in your lab since it’s not an hospital.’
‘The tools there are working perfectly fine,’ Tarasha replied. ‘I think I was drugged with a substance to induce paralysis but it was partial, so you may not be totally wrong.’
Another knock sounded on the door at that moment. Tarasha and Tomi looked towards Henry expecting him to answer the knock but he turned away and covered himself with a blanket.
‘Cole?’ Tomi called to confirm as she approached the door, as if she was expecting someone else.
‘Yes,’ Cole’s voice sounded from behind the door. She opened and allowed him walk in. ‘I came to see her,’ he said to Tomi as if he was seeking permission to proceed but he didn’t wait to get a reply.
‘You have to wait till she finishes with her drugs,’ Tomi said, walking after Cole. ‘Where were you all through the night?’ she asked him as she sat back in her previous position. Cole stood right in front of Tarasha after greeting her with his words sounding as low as a whisper.
‘Can’t she listen while she takes her drugs?’ Cole asked Tomi, ignoring her own question to him. He knew she would be expecting him to come into the room the night before but he wasn’t ready to fuel her the feelings by sleeping on the same bed with her. He was sure having anything between themselves could cause a distraction or problem for them later especially now that they were to work closely. ‘I can wait for the answer after the drugs,’ Cole added, looking now at Tarasha.
‘What do you have to say?’ Tarasha asked, stretching her palm to Tomi who placed the tablets in it.
‘I don’t know if Henry has said anything about it already,’ Cole paused and looked towards Henry but Henry did not make any movement or act like he was listening. ‘A masked man I believe to be Rex was at the main facility around twelve a.m today,’ he paused for a second as he noticed the change in the look on Tarasha’s face. ‘ He was able to penetrate into the building and started searching everywhere, but we were able to turn him back after we turned on the laser scopes inside the building. I’m not sure this place is safe for us anymore.’
‘Damn it! Was all that true? I thought it was all a dream.’ Henry suddenly sprung up to his feet. He looked like a previously blind man who had just received his sight and was trying to identify his people. Nobody gave him a reply but he turned to the same place Cole was standing and stood beside Cole.
Tarasha didn’t say about word until she finished taking the drugs and gulped down the rest of the tea. ‘We’ll move out of this place but we have to protect it in such a way that no one will be able to use any of our facilities here.’
‘How do we plan the movement? I’m sure we’ve got people monitoring that gate.’
‘Get me the wheelchair please, I need to use the control room.’ she said to Henry. Henry quickly dragged the wheelchair to her. ‘This underground leads to another above ground facility, an entirely different one and that’s where we’re moving to.’
END OF CHAPTER EIGHT
Watch out for Chapter NINE. More hidden things and people are revealed to Tarasha and it gets tougher and more complicated. Will she recover fast enough and fully to be able to stand the coming challenges? Let’s see how it unfolds.