‘I’m sorry Lizzy,’ Dave said, scratching his head as he thought of what else to say. He hadn’t thought she would answer the call and was only calling for him to be able to claim later on that he was trying to explain when he called.
‘Sorry for what?’Lizzy answered him coldly from the other end.
Dave heaved a sigh, he got up from the plastic chair and proceeded to his bed. ‘I know you must be very angry with me but I couldn’t…’
‘It’s okay Dave,’ Lizzy cut in. ‘It’s okay, you don’t have to explain. Let’s just keep our relationship formal, taking it informal wouldn’t work. I’ll help you as much as I can as a colleague and nothing more.’
‘Lizzy, you’re mad at me,’ Dave sighed again. ‘We’ve gone past ordinary colleagues to friends already and…’
‘No, we haven’t. I don’t know anything about you apart from the ones I know from the agency and you also do not know anything about me too, we aren’t friends yet.’
Dave heaved a sigh. ‘That’s exactly what I’m trying to make happen. We can get to know each other better if we spend more time out.’
‘But can’t you see it’s not working?’
‘But we can make it work, I promise to…’
‘Oh no, don’t make any promise Dave. I won’t accept any of your invitations anymore.’
Dave let out a deep breath and remained quiet for a while.
‘So, where did you go this afternoon?’ Lizzy broke the silence.
‘Ermm… Well, I got an important information about the Vice President and I had to go verify.’
‘Hmm… It’s okay. I’ve not tried Victor’s number again, I’ll wait till night to see if he’d answer me.’
‘Alright, thank you so much Liz.’
‘It’s okay, take care.’
Dave sank into the bed after ending the call. He laid back flat with his hands and legs spread widely. He shut his eyes for a while and pondered deeply on his recent activities. Maybe Lizzy was right when she suggested that they should keep their relationship as colleagues. He had thought he liked her and hoped that spending sometime with her will help reduce his stress and develop his feelings for her but Stephanie George’s appearance wasn’t making it work.
Was it because of the import of Stephanie’s case or was it because of the girl herself that he had to forgo his lunch with Lizzy? He asked himself. It happened a second time even after promising himself that he wasn’t going to let her down again.
The stress and struggles he went through to get the documents from the NDLEA office flashed back through his mind. He could have suspended his visit to the place to have the lunch with Lizzy. Night time would have even been the best time for him to get the documents without any stress or danger, but he still chose to go through the danger. He wondered why he made that choice. After some minutes of rigorous thinking, he discovered that he had changed his mind and decided to go for the documents that afternoon only because Stephanie had stated that she wished to have them immediately. He was beginning to like her unconsciously and was already making sacrifices for her. He now realized why her hug felt so important to himself.
Her beautiful face popped up in his mind again. He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her since he met her the day before at the creamery, only that he was just realizing that she occupied his thoughts so much.
His phone beeped and distracted his thoughts for a moment. He opened his eyes and reached out for the phone. A new email had just entered, it was a newsletter from the Ministry Of Housing info website which he had subscribed to. He ignored the message and returned the phone. He remembered Nonso Abel as he laid back in his bed. He needed to do something quick with his investigation of the man.
May 6, 2031
‘Boss,’ Cole called as he knocked the door of the room twice. He waited to hear a response and after some seconds he heard Henry’s voice. ‘Henry, I’d like to see the boss.’
The door opened and Henry stood at the entrance looking down with sleepy eyes.’Yes?’ he glanced at Cole’s face, he seemed not to have heard what Cole said.
‘Good morning, I want to speak with Tarasha,’ Cole replied.
‘Good morning,’ Henry yawned and then turned, he looked at the empty bed for some seconds as if he was looking for Tara. He turned back to Cole, ‘she came in very late last night and I guess she has left already,’ he paused and looked in again before concluding, ‘she’s not here.’
‘Okay, thanks.’ Cole nodded and stepped back. He heard the door slammed shut as he proceeded to the computer room which he had to pass through the living room to get to.
He found Tarasha at the center of the living room performing some exercises. She sat on the floor and turned to him immediately he halted.
‘You were looking for me,’ she said.
‘Yes, Good morning boss. Have you listened to or read the news this morning?’
‘No,’Tarasha took a glance at the wall clock. ‘It’s not eight o’clock yet, what happened?’
‘There was a robbery at a grocery store in Asokoro last night, about six million naira worth of goods were stolen.’ Cole said.
Tarasha stared at his face, wondering how the news he reported was her business.
‘Three people were killed and four others left injured. One of the female staffs was reportedly raped by the leader of the armed robbers who was a lady,’ Cole continued.
‘And what’s the significance of that to me?’
‘The armed robbers left a signature at two points, at the back of the rape victim and at the front wall of the store,’ Cole said. Tarasha raised her brow. ‘The signature was the same found on the ID cards credited to you in the car Senator Garuba’s dead body was found.’
Tarasha squinted as she took out some seconds to ponder on his words. She realized that she had just been framed for armed robbery by the same person who framed her up for the death of Senator Garuba.
‘Where did you read the news?’
‘It was reported by the Pobs online, desert reporters and several other notable blogs,’ Cole replied.
Tarasha sprang up from the floor immediately and proceeded towards the room area. Cole gave way for her to pass before following behind. She entered into her room (the same one Cole found Henry) and came out a minute later with her device, then she proceeded back to the living room.
‘We have to remain very careful,’ Tarasha said to Cole as they walked together back to the living room. ‘Have you made or received any call since I returned your phone last night?’
‘No, I only turned on my phones this morning, the text message carrying the news headlines was the first thing I saw.’
Tarasha settled on one of the sofas and turned on her tablet device. Five minutes later, she was surfing the Internet and had confirmed everything Cole reported to her.
‘Elvis Richards is playing an interesting game with us and we have to find a way to defeat him in his own game,’ Tarasha said aloud after some minutes of thinking. She rose up and went to turn on the television, she waited for it to finish loading before switching to a news station with the remote control. ‘It’s four minutes to eight, let’s see if the authorities have something different to say.’
Cole switched on his second phone while waiting for the news to begin. As he expected, he had received several messages from Patricia asking him if he was okay and expressing her worry about her inability to reach him.
The news began by eight and the expected item was read out as one of the major headlines. Giving the details of the news, the newscaster read how the grocery store was invaded by the culprits around eight pm the day before and how some staffs were killed and a lady molested by another lady who was part of the robbery gang. It was explained that the police didn’t catch wind of the robbery quick and arrived at the scene some few minutes to nine pm when the deed was already done and the robbers had fled. One of the Deputies of the Inspector General was interviewed by the press men and the interview was aired.
‘It is no longer news that Samantha Osman and her gang are now doing more than assassinations but are now involved in robbery, both petty and big ones. There are so many other cases of Samantha Osman’s robbery that has gone unreported. We can connect this robbery to the recent invasion of Samantha Osman’s base by the Police where we rescued the Inspector General. We believe she carried out this robbery to meet her need of a new apartment. We therefore advise the general public to report any suspicious thing they find immediately and remain careful and alert always,’ the DIG said before the newscaster continued with the news:
‘Vice President Elvis Richards has also reacted to the robbery this morning and the news in circulation about him. He connected both situations together and accused Samantha Osman of trying to divert the public’s attention by making false accusations against him. This statement was released by the spokesman for the presidency. The Vice President further urged the public to be careful of believing such news and accusations against him and other honest public officers as they hold no water and were mere fabrications.’ the newscaster completed that part of the news and moved to another.
Tarasha chuckled and rested her back. She understood what the Vice President was trying to do and needed to learn the rules of his game first before trying to defeat him.
Cole stepped out through the backdoor to the backyard. He took out his phone and unlocked it, there were new missed calls from Patricia. He had put his phone on silence while listening to the news with Tarasha not to cause any distraction. He dialed back Patricia’s number and raised the phone to his ear.
The call was answered after a beep. Cole’s let out a deep breath as he heard her cool and calm voice.
NIS UNDERGROUND FACILITY
‘Victor,’ Lizzy spoke softly into the phone. She glanced at her office partners to see if they were listening to her conversation. Where have you been for Gods sake, Ive been so worried about you.’
Im sorry dear, I had some emergencies and Ive been so busy. Victor replied from the other end.
But you should have called me or at least answered my calls, you knew I would be worried you.’ She said as she pulled out her tablet device from her bag.
Im sorry, I wanted to but I couldnt gain access to my phone until this morning.
Well, how are you doing? Are you sure theres no problem?
Yes, Im fine, Victor replied with a chuckle. We need to see.
Yes sure, we really need to see.’
Lizzy opened the tracking app on her device.
So, are you free this evening, can we meet at my apartment?
Ermm What time?
Six pm should be okay, Victor replied.
No, six pm is too late. She complained. You know I started my new job already and I close by four pm, so it will mean Id have to wait till six after closing.
Oh thats true, sorry it skipped my mind. Lets make it quarter past four then. Send me the address of your new place of work, Id be there to pick you.’
Okay, Lizzy said before ending the call. She dropped the phone and focused on the processing app on her tab. It processed for one more minute before giving the message: location not found.
Lizzy locked the device and returned it into her bag, she took out her second android phone and opened her whatsapp messenger. She scrolled down and clicked on a previous conversation and began to type. I just reached Victor now, I tried to locate him but I couldnt. They are in a new protected place. We arranged a meeting at his apartment this afternoon. She clicked send after she finished typing.
This way sir, one of the doctors said to the Vice President and his crew as they walked the passage between the hospital wards. They turned into another passage where two police officers were seen at both sides of a particular door. The doctor led them to the door the officers were standing and opened it, he allowed for the Vice President and his three escorts to go in before following.
The Inspector General was seen on the bed, the ward was a large and neat one. His head was well rested on a pillow, his whole body except his head was covered with a white cloth. The Vice Presidents assistant signaled for two of the other escorts to step out before proceeding to the bed with Chief Elvis and the doctor.
The Inspector General opened his eyes as the men came closer to him. He seemed surprise to see the Vice President; a faint smile appeared on his face and he managed to sit up.
Chief Rikau, the Vice President hailed as he got to the bed, his assistant pulled a chair closer for him to sit. How are you feeling now?
Im feeling much better, Chief Rikau answered. The doctors says that Ill be out of here sooner than I expect.’
Yea, I heard from reports too that youre doing fine, Chief Elvis said and took a quick glance at the Doctors face before turning back to the Inspector General. Im sorry Ive not been able to visit, I had several assignments to carry out.
Yea, I was told yesterday. President Emeka mentioned that you had so much to do yesterday.’
Oh! He visited yesterday?
Yes, he did.
So what has happened in my absence? Chief Rikau asked.
So much, all orchestrated by Samantha Osman as usual. Shes more desperate than ever. Chief Elvis answered.
That lady is crazy and has to be stopped. I received a call from the DIG of this zone, and hes coming here to brief me this afternoon.
Yea, he should. I also came with a briefing. The vice president said and rested his back in the chair. He took a glance at the Doctor and his assistants faces. Can you guys excuse us for a moment, we need to discuss some secret matters of the state.’
The two guys bowed and left quietly.
Samantha Osman is a b****, you cant believe that she has released those documents. Chief Elvis said after the men were gone.
How did she do that? What medium?
She released them online, she took shots of the documents and uploaded them online on several blogs telling the world a lot of details about the business with NOTD. I cant still imagine how she got to know those things she wrote about me.’
Thats serious, Im just hearing this too. So what are we supposed to do before things get out of hand?
Ive started a lot of things already, we did another yesterday. All we need to do is to keep distracting peoples attention and painting her bad until we are able to produce similar documents that can counter the original ones she has. Once we get those documents, we make sure the world sees it too.
But how possible is that? The court would definitely find out that our documents are fake and its not even easy to deceive the world.
Theres no way theyre going to find out that our documents are not the original ones since they are going to be presented by the concerned agencies themselves. The court would definitely accept what the agencies present and ask Samantha where she got theirs from. The idiots she got the sealed documents from are dead already and the world already believes that she killed them.
Hmm, it sounds like a nice plan. The inspector General said, staring thinly at the ground.
Its perfectly planned, Samantha cant win against us.’
But sir the inspector general suddenly realized something. What if theres an eyewitness to those cases who is still alive?
An eyewitness? Chief Elvis asked with a frown. I dont understand what you mean.
Yes, what if someone who took part in the signing of these documents is alive and what the judges that preceded over those cases in those years, they would be able to identify the original documents.
Well Chief Elvis sighed. He had never thought about the point the Inspector General was making. He pondered on the matter for a minute before coming up with a solution. I think we can draw up a list of all these people who may arise as eye witnesses and make Rex handle them for us.’
Handle them? Rikau frowned. The Vice president nodded a yes. If we start killing all those witnesses, havent we turned ourselves to assassins like her?’
The Vice President squinted at him for a moment, and then he chuckled and sat up. Are you the one talking about being an assassin like Samantha Osman? Is it because we are now in government offices? Have you forgotten what you do before? Have you forgotten who I was? Dont you remember how many people that had to die for us to get to these positions we are today? Chief Elvis bombarded him with questions and then paused for a little while. Why should we now have to bother about the little more that will die for us to retain our positions?’
Youve said the truth sir, Chief Rikau heaved a sigh. But the utmost thing on my mind now is getting better.
Thats important, Chief Elvis commented and rested his back again. I suggest that you leave the country for a while after being discharged from here.’
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NIS UNDERGROUND FACILITY
Dave, have you read the latest news? Dan said with excitement as he walked into the office.
Dave stopped his work and looked at him. Whats the latest?
Those blogs that accused the Vice President of drugs trafficking have just made updates to the news.
‘What update did they make?’ Dave asked anxiously, his eyes following Dan as the latter walked to his office seat.
‘They released more documents and challenged the Vice President to deny the proofs, ‘ Dan said and paused to take his seat. ‘Why don’t you check it yourself?’ Dan suggested on seeing Dave still staring inquisitively at him.
‘Oh true,’ Dave realized he could check online instead of relying on what Dan would tell him. He brought out his phone and in no time visited one of the news blogs. He saw the update and found it just as Dan had said, he also discovered that a new blog had been opened with the domain name ‘samanthaosman.com’. The blog claimed to be the official information site for the Samantha Osman blog and was the first to release the new news update. The Vice President was also given seventy two hours ultimatum to prove the claims as false after which he’d be served court papers.
‘Hehe,’ Dave laughed. ‘ This is really serious,’ he said, looking at Dan.
‘It’s serious bro,’ Dan joined in.
‘The hilarious part is that she threatened to take him to court,’ Dave said and laughed again.
‘Yea, it is hilarious when a criminal is threatening to take someone to court, how would she appear?’
‘I believe she has a sponsor,’ Dave said.
‘Sponsor? Who do you think is her sponsor?’ Dan suddenly looked more interested.
‘I don’t know,’ Dave replied with a shrug.
Dan sighed, disappointed at Dave’s reply.
They remained in silence for a while before Dan returned to his work. Dave remained in the same position with his jaw on his palm and the elbow on the armrest of his swivel. The new documents that had just been uploaded on the Samantha Osman’s blogs were consistent with some of the documents and pictures Stephanie George had.
Dave’s heart skipped a beat as the possibility of a connection between Samantha Osman and Stephanie George popped up in his mind. He began to wonder who Stephanie George really was and he hoped he hadn’t been working with the enemy. And what if Stephanie George was even the same person as Samantha Osman? Fear surged through his body as the question came to his mind. But he remembered immediately that Samantha Osman was the one who took Stephanie and other kidnap victims to the hospital when Stephanie was kidnapped.
The sound of his ringing phone distracted his thoughts and he picked it up to check the caller, it was Stephanie George.
To be continued