‘Is there any way you could also reach your siblings?’ Cole asked, staring at Aisha’s face after they had sent the personal message.
‘No, I don’t have their contacts anywhere.’ she replied.
‘I just think we need to confirm from them before we take any step,’ Cole said thoughtfully. ‘It may just be as one of the replies have suggested; it may be a ploy to bring you out of hiding.’
‘But whatever it is, I have to come in to ensure that my parents suffer.’ Aisha said defensively.
‘No Aisha, you may not have to come in,’ Cole said, trying as much as possible not to hurt her with his words. ‘You may not come in if it is something that can be handled by the police and your siblings.’
‘So are you saying I should leave it to the police and my siblings to handle?’ A notification beep sounded on Aisha’s phone, she ignored it and locked back the screen.
‘Yes, or…’ Cole paused and stared straight into her eyes. ‘What do you want to do?’
Aisha was weakened by the question, she hadn’t thought of it yet and really did not know what to do.
‘The mission we’re about to start is very crucial and important to Tarasha and I wonder what would happen if you make mistakes in the tasks she gives you,’ Cole added.
Aisha heaved a sigh, Cole was right, maybe she was getting unnecessarily worked up. Imagine that she had abandoned her family for years without caring enough to call or ask about anyone but now she wants to become the superhero who would rescue her parents from kidnappers.
‘Did I hear my name here?’ Tarasha’s voice sounded, startling the both of them.
‘Ermm… Boss,’ Cole feigned an unnecessary smile as he rose to his feet. Aisha also tried to put on a smile too. ‘Nothing really boss, we were just talking.’
Tarasha stared at both of them suspiciously, sensing their tensed mood. ‘Are you sure there’s no problem?’ she asked.
‘Yes, there’s none.’ Cole replied while Aisha remained quiet.
‘Okay then,’ she flashed a look at the duo’s faces before turning back.
‘Sir, I’ve been expecting your call since I resumed this morning,’ James began, barely settling into the visitor’s seat. ‘I didn’t understand everything that was said at the meeting with the Vice President, I believe you would explain better to me since you still spoke with the Inspector General after the meeting.’
Agent Tim pretended not to hear anything James said, he kept his eyes fixed to the file he was skimming through. It took him another minute before he finally looked up. ‘James, the only thing required of us is our cooperation. The Vice President and IG has a special investigation crew working for them. The NIS and CIB are also cooperating with them,’ he said.
‘Yes sir, I understand that but…’ he paused, trying to find suitable words to express himself. ‘I’m wondering why their efforts can’t be merge with the force’s effort. I mean even if they don’t want the team to work with the police, they should allow the team work with the NIS.’
‘That has been explained already, their investigation team is not one backed by the law, so their works can’t be merged with the force’s work.’
‘That is what I don’t really understand,’ James adjusted himself and took another seating position to show his seriousness. ‘Why should the Inspector General and the Vice President be using an illegal team?’
‘Shut up James! You ask too many questions. Can’t you consider the fact that your father is involved in this?’ Agent Tim blasted.
‘Sir, whether it’s my father or not, we have to do things the right way.’ James insisted.
‘Just keep quiet now,’ Agent Tim commanded. ‘It’s better you keep your ideas to yourself and work with us or you get into trouble if you don’t. Even your Dad has promised not to interfere in what would be the consequences you may face if you choose to be uncooperative.’
‘Sir, I don’t intend to oppose you or anybody…’
‘Get out of my office,’ Agent Tim said dismissively and turned to his computer.
James quietly rose up and walked out of the office, having so many unanswered questions in mind. He wondered what kind of team his father and the Inspector General had gathered, why it was secret and termed legal. Could it be that his father had something to hide?
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In a fairly lit room, the Vice President sat quietly in a leather chair with a long backrest, he had two heavy men standing at both sides of his chair. The Inspector General not too far from him, on a high stool with his feet far above the ground. Rex was standing at the window side, resting his back against the burglary proof and gripping one of the horizontal rods of the burglary with his palm. He had his left foot placed against the wall and the right on the ground. His face could not be clearly seen as he had his back to the room’s source of light, the slightly opened curtain.
‘Rex, I think it’s better to work with him.’ the Vice President said to Rex, ‘him’ referring to the Inspector General. ‘He knows this people well and can help you with a lot of knowledge that you may need.’
The Inspector General’s face could been seen brightened up with a look of confidence even in the dark; here was the Vice President vouching for him in the presence of arrogant Rex.
‘I don’t work alongside with anybody, I only get people to work for me. He can only work for me under the same conditions as Dan and Stain.’ Rex replied.
‘Oh no! That’s ridiculous, you mean I should become your boy?’ Chief Rikau blurted out, flashing a quick look at Rex and the Vice President.
‘See Rex, that won’t be possible. He’s the Inspector General of the nation,’ the Vice President said in a calm tone.
‘Then I don’t need him for anything, you’ve employed me to kill Samantha Osman and that I can do without anyone. All you need to do is to provide me with every information needed,’ Rex answered.
The Vice President paused to think for some minutes before giving his verdict, ‘Rikau,’ he called in a gruff tone. Chief Rikau flashed a look at him and stepped down slowly from the stool. ‘Just tell him all he needs to know. He’s a professional, I think that’s all he needs to give us a good job.’ the Vice President supported himself with the walking stick and rose up.
‘Cole, my personal message has been replied.’ Aisha said, after few minutes when the boss left. She just took out her phone and unlocked it after remembering the notification sound she heard earlier.
‘Huh? So soon?’ Cole asked in surprise. ‘How did you get it?’
‘In my mailb…’ Aisha’s word slowly faded away as her eyes met with something. She focused on the phone for twenty seconds, her hands suddenly turned weak and the phone dropped from her hands to the table.
Cole quickly picked the phone and stared into it, a video was playing, probably what she had downloaded from the message gotten. He rewound the clip. There was no sound but the visuals were clear enough, an elderly couple who Cole believed to Aisha’s parents were being tortured brutally in the video. The video ended with a banner displaying the logo of the Nanl Gang.
‘Shi*t!’ Cole cursed as he put down the phone. ‘But Don really thinks he can defeat Tarasha?’ he asked rhetorically. Aisha’s head was laid on the table and she was already sobbing.
Cole could do nothing but pity her, he couldn’t even find words to console her. He wondered how Aisha would be feeling; after several years of being away from her family and being the reason for the family’s bad name, her parents were being tortured because of her again.
He wished he could speak to Tarasha about the situation but she had already warned severally that nothing, no matter what it was should disturb the mission they were about to start. But was it going to be possible for Aisha to work well, knowing that her parents were being tortured because of her?
Cole was still deep in thoughts when Aisha’s phone beeped again, she raised up her head to take the phone but he reached it before her. He swiped it open and closed the video window, another mail from the same sender had been delivered. The body of the mail was just, ‘AND THIS IS FOR YOUR FRIEND’ but it had another video attached to it.
He clicked on the video icon and it downloaded within five seconds and played automatically. Aisha rose up anxiously to see what it was. There was another aged couple being tortured again, in the same manner as they did to the Bello’s. Aisha didn’t understand the video at first until she looked at Cole’s face. Cole did not need to say anything before she realized that the other couple were his parents.
‘Is anything the matter?’ Tarasha voice startled them again as she appeared back to the dining with a tray of food in her hand.
‘Nothing,’ Cole tried to pretend but she was unconvinced.
Tarasha dropped the tray on the table and turned to Cole’s side, ‘Can I take a look at the phone?’ she said, more in a commanding tone. Cole handed over the phone to her reluctantly.
She clicked the play button and watched in silence for fifteen minutes, ‘Who are these people? And why are they being tortured?’
‘Those are my parents,’ Cole replied sadly. ‘They also have Aisha’s parents there too.’ he said and rose up to play the first clip for her.’
Tarasha’s face remained expressionless, ‘So who is torturing them?’ she asked in a cold tone.
‘Don Dan, he heads the Nanl Gang,’ Cole replied with a sigh as he stared at her face hopelessly. He knew she had her mind on her mission and wasn’t going to let anything disturb her, even the cold manner she had answered with after revealing whose parents the couples were clearly showed that she wasn’t ready to waste time on the issue.
‘So Don Dan has gone for your parents?’ she said with a chuckle that sounded devilish. ‘What are you planning to do about it?’
‘Ermm…’ Cole stammered as he tried to put words together. He needed to be careful so as not to annoy her.
‘Are you planning to rescue them?’ Tarasha cut while he was still stammering.
‘Huh?’ Cole’s eyes widened at her. His answer should have been ‘Yes’ on a normal day but he had to keep in the think deeply on it now.
‘Are you planning to help them?’ Tarasha reiterated.
‘Ermm… Boss, we’re starting our mission on Monday, we can’t…’
‘Don’t be a fool!’ Tarasha scolded. ‘You’re going to abandon your family for the mission? Come on, we can do that later, you go deal with Don Dan first.’
Cole’s and Aisha’s faces brightened up, they almost didn’t believe what they were hearing. They exchanged glances amongst each other, wondering if the boss really meant what she said.
Tarasha dropped the phone and walked back slowly to her food, wondering if she had just said the right thing. She knew a lot had changed for her, few months to this, she wouldn’t have said the same thing but now she had a fresh feeling of what it meant to lose someone dear and wouldn’t like for them to experience the same.
To be continued