‘Boss,’ Cole called, looking around to see from which angle of the corridor the response would come from. ‘Boss,’ he called the second time and paused to listen. There was no audible voice anywhere. He began to walk to the exit of the corridor, the soles of his shoes now making noise as they hit the shining tiles. He glanced at the doors at each side of the corridor as he walked, taking time to observe their locks and see if any of them was opened. He got to the end of the corridor without finding any of the six doors leading off the corridor opened. He stared for some seconds at the door right before him which led to another living room in the house. Then he turned back again and looked around for some seconds, adjusting the heavy school bag he had strapped to his back. He wondered if coming to this part of the house wasn’t a waste of time, Tarasha was rarely seen using that area of the house but he just had to look all around because she had asked him to make sure he sees her when he returns from the errand. He took out his phone from his pocket and dialed it again, the call went unanswered just like the previous times he had tried. Just as he returned the phone into his pocket, he began to hear sounds of footsteps coming towards the corridor. He stopped to see who was coming, looking straight from where he was to the other end of the corridor and hoping it was Tarasha.
Soon, a shadow appeared and then Henry surfaced. He stopped and stared at Cole for a while, his eyebrows gathered together as he wondered what Cole was still doing there.
‘Still looking around for her?’ Henry asked, his voice echoed through the empty corridor.
‘Yes, you have any idea where she is?’ Cole replied.
‘Have you gone in there?’ Henry said, pointing to the door behind Cole. He began to walk down the corridor slowly.
‘No, what could she be doing in there?’
‘Go in and check, I think I saw her coming this way after you left.’ Henry said. He stopped and and closed his eyes as if he had just remembered something. ‘Check her inside there,’ he added before turning back and left without uttering any other word to Cole.
Cole turned back to the door reluctantly, wondering what Tarasha could be looking for at the other side. He turned the knob of the door and pushed it slightly. He poked his head in before the rest of his body followed.
It was his third time of getting into this place since they had moved in. The house was one of late Chief Onwuli’s facility which was been taken care of by Chief Nonso and now handed over to them for use by Chief Gab. Though the house was built several years ago, it was properly maintained and had been renovated few years before the present year.
Cole began to hear some familiar sounds as he closed the door and took just two steps in. He paused to listen and determine the direction from where it was coming from.
He traced the sound until he got out of the living room to a corridor which enclosed only four rooms, two at each sides. The door of the first room was opened slightly and as Cole moved closer, he discovered that was where the sound was coming from. He entered in and found only Tarasha in the room, her inhaling and exhaling of breaths louder as she went up and down. Her body flat, suspended above the ground, supported by her palms on the floor and the tip of her toes also touching the ground. She knew of his presence in the room but continued without taking a look at him.
Cole walked in slowly, looking around the room. It was empty except for a plastic chair on which Tarasha’s face towel and her phone laid. He moved closer to Tarasha and began to turn to her front as she was facing the wall behind. He knew she was aware he was around but wanted to announce himself, so that she could attend to him quickly. It worked and Tarasha soon stopped with the push-ups. She got up totally and reached for the towel immediately, she was totally drenched with sweat even though the fan hung to the ceiling was rotating so speedily and releasing much breeze. She began to use the towel to clean her body.
That had been her routine for the more than a week after she was confirmed to be perfectly okay, she had been exercising and brushing up her skills in martial arts and use of guns. It wasn’t a new found zeal though, it was normal for her to exercise everyday but she only felt the need to intensify it and brush up her other skills because of the few weeks of inactivity she had been forced to go through to ensure her full recovery.
Even the whole team was now fully recovered from the stress and trouble of fighting with Rex and rescuing the boss. Except for Tomi who had just joined them and resumed her job as the cook, it had been an holiday for the rest of the team.
‘Why didn’t you wait for me?’ Tarasha asked after she finished wiping her body.
‘You asked me to talk to you immediately I get back.’
‘Okay, so have you got all I asked you to get?’
‘Yes, I did. I got all the gadgets in my bag,’ Cole replied. He unstrapped the bag from his shoulders and dropped it on the ground.
‘What’s up with Base B?’
Base B was the name Tarasha had given to the facility they got into from the underground while Base A was the first one which the enemies knew of.
‘Base B is the same way we left it, everything is untouched.’
‘And Base A?’
‘I passed through about three times like you instructed, there was no physical change I could see from outside and they were no signs outside the place to show that it was being monitored.’
Tarasha moved closer to him and squatted before the bag, she zipped it open to check the contents and closed it back after thirty seconds of viewing. She closed the bag and rose up.
‘Boss, why don’t we move everything from Base B to this place at once, so that we won’t have to do it as something of emergency when the work begins?’ Cole asked, a question that had been troubling his mind.
‘Base B will be our main Base of operation, it is closer to town and is connected to good road networks. This Base would serve as a distraction when the time comes.’ Tarasha replied.
‘How will this place serve as a distraction and to whom?’ Cole asked with a confused look on his face.
‘A distraction to anyone after us. No one will expect that our new base of operation would be closer to the previous one that has been discovered, they are definitely not going to be looking towards that direction. Here will work for us; if it ever gets to be discovered- which will be difficult, the enemies or whosoever discovers it would focus on getting into this place and while that is happening, we can wreck havoc on them from Base B.’
‘Hmm… Sounds cool,’ a brief smile appeared on Cole’s face.
‘We’ll start some work on Monday although it isn’t time for the main jobs yet, I hope you’re ready.’ Tarasha asked jovially. She picked the towel from the chair again and proceeded out of the place without listening to Cole’s reply.
**NIS Underground Office**
Everything was quiet in the building and it’s environment as it usually is during weekends. The weekdays were always different. Not that any sort of noise was expected during weekdays but it never used to be this quiet, there would always be sounds of people watching footages of crime events and recapping crime scenes from the security cameras data and when there was none of that, there would always be sounds of different fingers on keyboards of different computer systems.
Lizzy was the only one in the open office meant for six people, she had the her ears covered with the ear tips of an headset and the other end of the headset plugged into the CPU of the system on which she was watching a video. She had a pen and a jotter on her table which she used in writing down notable details from the video whenever she saw one.
A side of the office was made of transparent glass walls, so those in the office could see people who passed through the corridor and even speak to them; the glass walls had large spaces between them and the slabs above and that allowed sounds in and out of the place. That was a characteristics of most offices in the NIS Underground except offices of very senior Agents and rooms where top secret operations were planned and monitored from.
Someone could finally be seen walking in the corridor outside the wall of the office, after almost two hours of Lizzy not seeing anyone. She didn’t look up until the she realized the person was coming into the office. She paused the video she was watching and looked towards the transparent door.
‘Hey!’ Dave walked in with a smile.
‘Hi,’ Lizzy replied in the same manner.
‘How are you doing?’ he asked, walking towards her.
‘Fine, as you can see. How about you?’
‘I’m doing fine too.’ Dave pecked her on the left cheek and drew a chair close to sit.
‘What did you come to do this early in the office?’ Lizzy asked, turning back to her system to minimise windows and pause other processes she was running.
‘Early?’ Dave paused to check the time on his wristwatch. He turned it to her, ‘It’s just ten thirty.’
‘I know,’ she replied without taking time to look at the watch he showed her. She continued with the mouse, clicking and dragging. ‘We resume work on Saturdays by three pm, so ten thirty is early.’
‘Well, I came to see you. I’ve been here several times during the week to look for you.’
‘No one told me.’
‘You also didn’t reply my messages.’
‘I’ve been working, my personal phone has not been with me until this morning.’
‘Well, it’s okay. It’s been past a week since we saw each other and I really needed to see you.’
Lizzy paused and turned to Dave, a smile forming on her face. ‘You really came to see me?’ She sounded surprised.
‘Hmm…’ She gave a broad smile and turned back to the system. ‘When did you start becoming so nice?’
Dave chuckled. ‘I’ve always been nice.’
‘You’ve never been to me.’
‘You would never agree. Well, what’s your schedule for today and tomorrow?’
‘Today and tomorrow? I plan on having enough rest. The person I’m working on is out of town and wouldn’t be back till Tuesday.’
‘Oh! Then, you definitely have enough time to rest.’
‘Yea, before the task continues. You want to take my out?’
‘No…I actually came to see you for something very important,’ Dave began with a serious tone.
‘Hmm…’ Lizzy interrupted. ‘I just knew you have a different mission, you’re not just nice enough to check on me.’
‘I’m sorry Lizzy but I tried to reach you during the week like I earlier explained.’
‘Don’t explain, just talk on what you’re here for.’
‘Okay,’ Dave cleared his throat. ‘See Lizzy, tomorrow would make it exactly three days since the last delivery of the Easy Shoppers to Samantha Osman and I think it’s another opportunity for us to step in…’
‘Us?’ Lizzy frowned.
‘Hmm… Sorry, I know that you’re busy and you’ve got your own work to do also but I just need you to help me. I started this with you already and I don’t know who else to run to,’ Dave pleaded.
‘Well, let’s just thank God that I’m free tomorrow and I’ll be able to help. So what would you have me do for you?’
‘I want us to intercept the delivery of goods like we did the other time,’ Dave said.
Lizzy let out a breath. ‘On a personal review of the last time, I found out that it wasn’t really a smooth operation. We didn’t plan well and we’re only lucky not to have been discovered. But how do we return to them now when they discovered our trackers the last time?’
‘I don’t really think the trackers were discovered. I’ve made a review of our activities the last time. Samantha Osman would have never allowed her man leave the tracker with the clothes at that boutique. And I’ve also visited the vehicle Inspection Office to fetch details about the car using the description and the plate number you gave me, they confirmed that the number was newly registered that day. My further investigation and review with the footages from the security cameras data proves that repainting the car, change of the plate and even the man’s change of the clothes were planned beforehand and wasn’t a result of your meeting with him.’
There was a brief silence.
‘Are you sure you’re not judging based on your instincts?’ Lizzy questioned, squinting at Dave’s face.
‘You know I’m better than that. I watched the guy’s body movements, he never checked his body or his car for the tracker before he drove straight to repaint it.’
‘So you mean Samantha Osman didn’t clear the footages from the database like she usually does?’
‘It wasn’t an operation, so she wasn’t expecting that anybody would be monitoring the guy with the security cameras.’
‘Hmm… That’s true.’
‘I also confirmed the identity of that guy, his name is Cole; he’s the same we saw with the lady at the front of that gate and the same one that came to rescue the lady from the Inspector General.’
‘Okay. But we need a smooth plan for tomorrow, I don’t think we should work like we did the other time.’
‘I have one already,’ Dave said with a smile. ‘I kept on monitoring the calls between the two numbers – the EasyShoppers and Alexander Kimberly – and I’ve been following their conversation. Tomorrow, we will make the EasyShoppers guys come two hours ahead and I will receive the goods on behalf of Cole…’
‘Sorry, but…’ Lizzy interrupted. ‘Do you know if he’s the one coming to get the supply tomorrow?’
‘Yes, I confirmed from the conversation of Alexander Kimberly with Easy Shoppers. And even if he isn’t, we will still do something.’
‘Okay, please go on.’
‘I will receive the supply on behalf of Cole and then you will deliver it to the real Cole.’
‘Sounds nice and with less troubles.’
‘Okay then, I think we’re ready for tomorrow.’ Lizzy said and turned back to her computer.
‘Yes, we are ready. Thank you so much. I’ll be back later to see you,’ Dave said, getting up to his feet.
‘You’re going already,’ Lizzy looked at him, disappointment written all over her face. ‘I thought I was going to have some company in here.’
‘I’ll be back to talk to you, we still have a lot of things to discuss about tomorrow. Right now, I have to meet with Inspector Dakolo, I’ve been avoiding him for sometime.’ Dave explained.
‘Alright, see you later.’
The loud roars of laughter announced the presence of visitors in the house to James. He hoped that they were not discussing an issue that’ll be of concern to him because he didn’t want to stay there for long. He began to hear voices as he got closer to the living room and the speed of his walking reduced, he didn’t wish to meet the person whose voice he heard last. He finally got to the living room and met the Inspector General seated with the Vice President , The Lagos State commissioner of Police, Agent Tim and the Chairman of the NIS and they were discussing about the new generation of Police and security officers. The men stopped and all turned to him as he approached.
‘Talk about the police officer himself,’ the Vice President hailed James.
‘Good morning your excellency, good morning sirs,’ James bowed in respect to the older men.
‘Good morning Agent James, please have your seat.’ Chief Rikau replied, pointing him to an empty sofa adjacent to his. ‘What drink would you like to take?’ the man offered
‘Ermm… Any soft drink would be okay,’ James replied. He would have loved to refuse but he thought it might be disrespectful for him to since all the other men in the room had drinks in front of them.
It was the Inspector General’s house and he had just been discharged from the hospital after twenty nine days. His colleagues and friends were coming to pay him complimentary visits and James had also come, not knowing that he would meet the set of people there at that time. He knew the Inspector General must have announced his coming because he had called earlier and must have also instructed the guards to allow him in because they wouldn’t allow just anyone in when the Vice President was present.
James had no choice than to join in the conversation and stay longer than he expected, his eyes occasionally meeting with that of Agent Tim who he had been avoiding. He had suspected that Agent Tim had been sidelining him ever since the Inspector General was shot, he knew that the purpose was to hide the truth, so he also decided to continue his own investigation without the Agent knowing about his activities.
The jovial discussion continued for several more minutes and the Inspector General was active involved in it. One thing James was able to get out of the whole thing, even though not expressly stated was that the Inspector General’s woes was self inflicted.
‘Yes, come in.’ Cole replied in response to the knock at the door of his room. The door opened and Tomi came in.
‘Cole, the boss asked me to remind you about the supply from the EasyShoppers we’re supposed to receive tomorrow.’ she said as she walked in.
Cole’s eyes scanned her body from her head to toe without giving an immediate reply. Tomi was on a short skirt and a singlet. He was sure she wasn’t dressed like that when she got the instruction to come and meet him from the boss because anytime she wanted to come into his room, she made sure she was dressed in a way she could arouse his interest in her. Cole couldn’t count how many times he had slept with her during the thirty days break but she never got tired and was always coming back even when he pushed her away. Cole was however happy about the house in which they now lived, it had enough rooms for everyone and he didn’t have to share one with her.
‘Do those guys deliver on Sundays?’ Cole asked, looking back to his laptop.
‘Yes, they make deliveries everyday.’
‘Okay, I’ll get it from them.’ Cole said without looking at her. There was no reply from her but Cole could see her coming closer to him. ‘I’m doing an assignment from the boss,’ Cole said to stop her from coming closer.
‘Huh…’ she grunted. ‘For the past one week, you’ve been having assignments from the boss and doing it in your room. I thought you were supposed to do them in the computer room.’
�No, she asked me to do this here. Please Tomi, don’t distract me, we can always see later.’ Cole said.
He didn’t look at her but could hear her hiss and mumble some words. Soon he heard the loud bang of the door. He heaved a sigh and relaxed back into his seat. He placed a look at the door and shook his head. Tomi had become a prostitute without knowing, he thought. She wanted s*x everyday and was never tired. Maybe she was used to it as it was her normal routine when she worked with Don and so she must be feeling very uncomfortable having gone one week without it. However, she never did it with anyone without protection, she always had hers on even if the man does not, maybe that was a proof of her difference as a nurse.
Cole’s mind drifted to the EasyShoppers delivery he was to receive the next day and Patricia’s picture flashed through his mind again. He still had the sheet of paper where she wrote her phone number hidden somewhere and he had fought every temptation to call her during the last thirty days, not for the fear of anything but for not wanting to have anything serious with any girl until after they had completed their mission with Tarasha.
Part of him wished that she would be the one to deliver the goods this time again and the other part of him that didn’t want distractions wished she wouldn’t. He was sure that he wouldn’t be able to resist asking her out if and when they ever met again. Memories of her had been tormenting to him during the last twenty nine days and he felt like he was about to lose someone so special and that he really needed to act quick. But anytime he tried to reach for her number he remembered what could happen to him if he ever got distracted or how her life could be in danger by her association with him. He was confused about the whole issue but one thing he was sure of was that he could never resist the effect she had on him.