Sark woke up startled. He was sweating profusely despite the intensity at which the air condition was blowing. He just had a nightmare. Was it? He saw himself chopping off a young man’s body limb by limb. Each time the sharp machete made contact with the dead flesh, little spurts of blood were deposited on his face. The dead man was screaming for help and begging for pity as he cut him mercilessly. Ignoring the man’s pleas, he took the huge pieces of meat with the bones dangling on one side and approached the den in the Fortress. The sight of the dogs alone brought fright to him.
The dogs were huge and menacingly wild. No one in his complete senses dared to enter the fortress when the dogs were not leashed or caged. There were three Rottweilers, two German Shepherds, one Husky, and one Wolf dog Hybrid. Ferocious dogs that were usually made to go very hungry before they were fed. The last time they ate was the evening before. And they were quite hungry, and ready to pounce.
As Sark approached they began to bark in their den, the Rottweilers spewing huge amounts of saliva from their mouths. he stood a few meters away from the Den. Even though the cage was locked tight, he still did not want to risk taking any chances. He began to throw the pieces of flesh into the cage. Some got in. Some did not. In the demented rush for the meat, the Wolf Dog Hybrid forced the cage open. It came after him and the remaining pieces of flesh he had with him. he ran for dear life. He ran as fast and as swift as his legs could carry him. But he was not fast enough. The Wolf Dog pursued him and caught up with him. It pounced on him, sinking its teeth in his right arm which he used as a shield to cover his face. He screamed.
Sark woke up.
He was sweating. He turned on the bedside lamp, partially illuminating the room and casting a small shadow on the walls. He looked up at the wall clock. 3:26am. He could not go back to sleep. He was haunted by the dogs. He got up from his bed and opened a door to his left. He entered the bathroom and saw a large brown bucket stained with a reddish liquid. He moved closer to inspect the bucket. He was shocked at what he saw inside. There was a human head soaked in a pool of blood. His heart raced. So it was not a dream after all. He suddenly wished it was all a dream.
He remembered all that happened the evening before. He recalled how Sophia had wasted the life of a promising young man just to prove a point. A ridiculous point. What in the world did they want with him anyway? He stopped starring at the bucket and face the small rectangular mirror on the wall by the sink. He washed his face and looked up at his reflection. He was looking very haggard. He hadn’t shaved in days and looked very unkempt. He made a mental note to ask for a clipper in the morning.
He got back to his room. He switched on the lights and looked around. He had previously scrubbed the tiled floors clean. The walls still had a little blood stain. That could be ignored, he told himself. He opened the drawer attached to his bedside table, pulling out a file. The first few pages contained a summary of his whole life and the past 4 months were summarized in more detail. He skipped that part and concentrated on the second module of the file. This contained a list of things he was supposed to do and a timeline for the completion of the tasks. He was expected of produce a 90% accuracy at the least.
There was a 3 months special online course on Cybersystems and Cyberspace. After that, 2 months of Router Hacking and Password Decryption. He had another four days of Wireless Systems, Radio Configuration and Cloud Redirection. His performance after all these would determine if they would continue with him to the advanced stage or discharge him. He did not like how that sounded. ‘Discharge’. He had a feeling that he would not be let go so easily. He feared the worst.
He closed the file and thought about his girlfriend in Canada. He had not spoken to her in over a week. He missed her. He missed his mother. He knew there were agents at her very doorstep and that really worried him.
He heaved a huge sigh. He was going to get to the bottom of this. No matter what it would take, he was not going to give up until he got to the end of the line, he closed his eyes and drifted into dreamland.
Tawo was furious. He was angry at himself and at the whole team. He was raging and venting his anger at anyone who as much as spoke a word to him. He sat on his swivel chair swaying left and right, both hands on his forehead. He was rubbing his temple and trying to find out where everything went wrong.
“Sir, there is…” Agent Max started but stopped when he saw the bloody look of anger in his superior’s eyes
“You have 15 seconds to say what you wanted to blurt. If I am not impressed, I will have you monitoring the CCTV at Park ‘N’ Shop by tomorrow.” Tawo threatened.
Max hesitated for a few seconds. He kept quiet. He knew that if he still did not speak, the same fate awaited him. He decided to say what he wanted to and hope that it impressed his Boss.
“Sir, upon gruesome scrutiny of the playback tapes of the bugging operation, I noticed a blind spot. We overlooked that little glitch but upon proper inspection, I noticed that it was actually not a glitch.” he said.
“You’ve got my attention. Go on.” Tawo said.
“There was a point that the target was stationary for about 90 seconds. That was our blind spot. I decided to check it out. I was able to override one of the surveillance cameras around the Redemption Camp. The nearest camera was a CAM70-Extreme. I zoomed in on it and adjusted the capture area.” he said, getting up and moving to the large touch screen monitor on the wall.
“This is where the target was blinking for 90 seconds,” He said touching a portion of the map. The touched portion grew large filling the whole screen. He continued.
“From here on wards for about 500 meters, there was no traffic and there are no fuel stations, restaurants, shops, fast foods or anything to make him stop. He was constantly on the move.” He touched a smaller portion of the now expanded map.
“This is the most acute angle that the camera could pick. I will rewind the footage of the camera at this point of the map sir.”
He pressed a button on the screen and a video footage appeared in very slow motion, at the exact point the mechanic came out from. It showed the Mechanic coming out of a small hut which served as his workshop, crossing the road and going left. There was nothing after that. Exactly 90 seconds later, the Black Honda zoomed past.
“Impressive ” Tawo asserted a smile on his lips.
“Thank you sir. The Colonel is very smart. He had the Mechanic come meet him at the exact spot where he knew that he would not be captured by the cameras. He deliberately put this Mechanic on the spot. We have no records against the young lad sir. I am sure he knew that. We can’t make him talk. It seems he is going to win with this one.” he concluded.
Tawo was thinking. His fingers were playing with his small beard. As the video replayed, something caught his eye.
“Stop that. Yes. Start the footage all over. And pause it on 03mins:14secs” Tawo ordered.
Max obeyed. They watched the video all over again. From the beginning, cars were passing. At 01mins: 16secs, the Mechanic crossed the road and started walking left. He was not visible anymore. At 02mins:55secs, they watched as the Black Honda zoomed past. Nothing happened for the next 17 seconds. Two seconds later, Tawo half screamed, “Pause Now!”.
There was a Danfo in the footage, pause as it was accelerating.
“That Danfo is just accelerating. Zoom in on the front passenger seat.” Tawo barked
and he did that. A blurred face with a white background.
“Now take that image and move it to the facial ID defragmenter. “ Tawo commanded.
Max pressed a button on the screen, used the tip his fingers to trace the edges of the image and pressed another button. With his two thumbs, he flipped the traced image in one very swift fast motion onto the next screen by his right.
“Image received. Scanning and Defragmentation in progress” came a computer voice from the screen.
They waited 12 seconds and then an image appeared before them. It was The Colonel in his white linen, Tawo smiled.
“Get me that bus registration plates.” He said to Max.
He zoomed in on the registration plates, defragmented it and printed it out.
“Done sir.” he said.
“Good.” Tawo replied getting the printed sheet from him.
He pressed a button on his table. His voice went into loud speaker mode in another office on the previous floor below them. There were eight trained search agents in that room. Give them a tiny detail (a name or a place or a phone number) and they would search out and deliver every single information regarding it. They had access to any electronic device that had access to the internet or used a database. They were the best.
“Gerrar. This is Super-Agent Tawo. I want all routes taken by commercial van with registration plates BZ739FST between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30. You have 15 minutes.”
He pushed back his chair, put his legs on his table one on top of the other. He put his two hands behind his head and closed his eyes.
“I am going to nail this bastard.” He said to himself.
To be continued…