‘The b*tch has agreed to come,’ Don said in soft tones to Stainless. They had finished eating but still sat at the table with their empty food packs on the table.
‘She’s agreed to come alone?’ Stainless asked.
‘Yes, I warned her strictly not to inform her boss or tell anybody else about her movements.’ Don said.
‘And is she adhering to that?’
‘Yes, read the message here,’ Don said and turned the laptop to Stainless.
…Send me the location, I’ll meet you in Lagos tomorrow but we have to be brief about it. My Boss must not know I’m leaving Abuja,’ the reply read. Stainless heaved a sigh and returned to the inbox, another message from the same email address entered at that moment.
‘She just sent another,’ Stainless said to Don as he clicked on it.
‘What’s she saying?’ Don asked in reply.
There was a one minute delay of the reply as Stainless tried to read the message to his understanding. ‘She says we should start discussing the terms here and now,’ Stainless said as he looked up.
‘She wants to start discussing?’ Don asked, widening his eyes in surprise. He turned the laptop to himself.
‘Yes, see for yourself.’ Stainless said as he relaxed his back.
‘Hmm… This is the sign Rex asked us to take note of, I think Aisha’s informed Tarasha and she’s coming with her.’
***Rael University, Lagos***
‘It’s time for us to stand against every act of violence, students bullying, rape and lecturers assassination in this school,’ a young girl on the podium was speaking. She paused for a moment to allow the chants of ‘Yes’ that accompanied her speech fade away. ‘We can’t sit and keep watching and complaining. We complain too much!’ she shouted and a loud noise of agreement followed her speech. ‘It’s time to lead the fight ourselves,’ she continued. ‘We must protect the freshers, we must protect the helpless alumni. Let’s continue to evangelise our good values to the freshers and stop allowing the bad group get them first before us. And most importantly, we must protect ourselves from them. We must stay away from every bad activity and social vices. Remember, you must first change yourself if you want to change your surroundings. The good life we want begins with us. Thank you and God bless you.’ she rounded off her speech with a thunderous applause following and left the podium, two guys who had been standing behind her followed immediately .
While the other students were still clapping their hands, another speaker climbed the podium and shouted, ‘Great Nigerian Student!’
‘Great!!!’ the students shouted back in a loud prolonged tone.
‘Great Nigerian Student!’ the speaker shouted again and got this same reply, this time louder than the first.
Faint noises from the auditorium could still be heard as Stephanie and the two guys who accompanied her proceeded to the car, other guys from their group had joined them, The student journalists were all around, trying to move closer to Stephanie and interview her but the guys accompanying her stopped them and dismissed them with the excuse that she was very tired and couldn’t stop to address them.
Stephanie George was a three hundred level Computer Engineering Student of Rael University, leader of the group named ‘Students With A Difference’ popularly known as SWAD. Though only twenty one years old, she commanded so much respect in and outside the university, it’s campuses and environment.
The SWAD group was an initiative started by a group of eight students who were now graduates of the school. The group’s major focus was to produce students who were coming out not just to join the workforce but to take charge of the affairs of the nation. Simply put, the aim was to produce Future Nigerian Leaders. Another aim of the group was to promote a culture of creative students who thinks out of the box and were never limited by their courses of study. The group promoted selflessness amongst their members and dedication to make the world a better place.
Stephanie George who previously nurtured some of the ideas which were the group objectives, joined the group in the first semester of her first year. Her dedication and selfless commitment to the work of the group had made the leaders take quick notice of her and begin to hand over little responsibilities to her.
She proved faithful in the responsibilities assigned to her and grew in rank at a fast pace. Before the end of her second year, she was already the assisting Leader of the group. The then Leader and his executives had before the end of the tenure decided to hand over the baton of leadership to her even though she wasn’t yet in 400 level as she proved to be the best option.
The other group members who had been taught to be selfless welcomed her appointment with glad hearts and rejoicing since they knew she was really capable of leading them. Since Stephanie George began to lead, she began a massive crusade for reaching out to more students and getting them to catch the vision of the SWAD.
She also began a campaign tagged ‘Catch them young’ for freshers in the school especially those who showed signs of becoming troublesome and problems for the school later on. They made sure that these freshers were quickly reached out to before being reached by the bad gangs of the school and put through a mind renewing process. This way, fifty percent of those they reached out to caught the vision while some others never did and some fell off the way.
In less than one year of Stephanie George’s leadership, the group membership strength grew from below two hundred to over five hundred students. Their influence became stronger within and outside the school.
This particular meeting they just concluded in the auditorium was one to inspire the students to shun violence and cultic activities. This was an offspring of the recent cult clashes and bullying of non cult members that became rampant in the school.
Stephanie entered into the backseat with one of the two guys who followed her from the podium while the second guy joined the driver at the front.
‘To the SWAD quarters ma?’ the driver of the car asked after they had settled in, staring at Stephanie through the rearview mirror as he buckled his seatbelt.
‘Yeah, I’ll be leaving there to my place tomorrow morning,’ she replied with a smile.
‘You did a nice job today ma,’ the driver said before driving off.
‘Thanks,’ she said, staring back at him through the rearview mirror with a smile.
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About six young men were sitting quietly in a room, three on the short plastic chairs, one on a very comfortable sofa and the two others on rugs. They had gun barrels in front of them which some of them were fondling playfully. The room was stuffy and thick with the smell of Indian hemp.
The door flung open suddenly and in came another young man, he had a green shoe to compliment his green trouser and green shirt, the face cap he had on was also green. His face, though young, had scars which seemed to have been there for over thirty years even though he wasn’t up to thirty himself. The rest of the guys in the room rose up immediately to recognize his presence. An evil smirk lurked around his lips as he scanned the other guy’s faces one after the other with his eyes.
‘I hope we all know that Don Dan is paying us handsomely for this job and that he does not condole nonsense in any form,’ he said in a loud serious tone.
‘Yes boss,’ all the guys replied in unison.
‘Good, we’re going to organize all the other boys for this and brief them on the importance of following instructions accurately.’ he concluded and walked away from the room into another room inside the same building.
In the workroom, Cole was seated on the table busy with his laptop while Aisha was at the left corner of the room. The seat part of the sofa she was squatting before was opened, just like a toolbox with neatly arranged tools inside; Aisha was carefully selecting pistols of different sizes and arranging them on the floor. She had a small opened black box bag on the floor.
After taking out up to ten pistols and arranging them on the floor, she began to scrutinize each one with her eyes. The first one she picked was Berretta M9, Tarasha’s favorite pistol. Then she selected two others which she put in the open box beside her and arranged back the remaining under the seat.
‘How far have you gone with your preparations?’ Tarasha said as she came walking into the workroom.
Aisha and Cole were distracted from their work and they turned to face her, she proceeded towards Cole and stood behind the chair he was sitting, staring into his laptop.
‘Boss, I’ve not been able to track their location yet, it keeps submitting back errors.’ Cole said with a sad tone and sad look on his face.
Tarasha quietly pulled a chair closer and sat on it, she turned the laptop to herself and began to work on it. Aisha also rose from where she was gathering the arms and joined them at the table.
‘What’s up Aisha? What’s the game plan?’ Tarasha asked without looking at Aisha, her eyes were still fixed to the laptop screen and her fingers working on the keyboard.
‘I’m going there tomorrow, they’ve refused to brief me on what they want to discuss.’ she replied.
‘So…’ Tarasha said in a questioning manner, flashing a quick glance at her.
‘So Cole is coming with me, the chip would be on my body everytime so he can always track me.’ Aisha said.
There was a one minute silence, Tarasha seemed to be considering some options before speaking. ‘And where are they planning to meet with you? Is it in a secluded place or an open one?’
‘I don’t know yet,’ Aisha answered.
‘Don’t meet with them in a secret place,’ Tarasha said and suddenly stopped her finger work on the laptop. ‘Ermm… That may not be optional though.’ she added after thinking for few seconds. ‘I think you should just do what they say first, meet with them wherever they want. But make sure you add recording devices to the chip on your body so that Cole can listen to whatever will be said.’
‘Okay boss,’ Aisha replied with a light smile, happy that the boss was finally giving them tips.
‘So have you selected the best weapons for yourself?’ Tarasha asked.
‘Ermm… I’m still trying to,’ Aisha replied.
‘I think Cole can help you with that, he seems to have learned more about guns recently.’ Tarasha said.
Cole and Aisha exchanged quick glances and Cole gave her a naughty wink. They kept making funny faces to themselves until their boss spoke again.
‘I think they’re working on an encrypted network,’ Tarasha said with a serious look on. She paused and stared into the air thoughtfully. The playful look on Cole’s face also disappeared, he turned the laptop slightly to himself to see what Tarasha came to her conclusion with.
‘But Don doesn’t encrypt,’ Cole said, looking surprised. ‘How could he have done that?’
‘People learn new things,’ Tarasha said, mentioning the words one after the other. She flashed a quick look at Cole’s face as she remembered something, ‘Did Benny learn how to encrypt from you?’ she asked him.
‘No,’ Cole answered, shaking his head to emphasize.
‘Then someone new must be teaching Don these things.’
‘Could it be the third unknown guy? Maybe it’s not Benny afterall,’ Cole suggested.
‘Maybe,’ Tarasha said thoughtfully in a low voice, closing her eyes partly as she stared at Cole with a serious look.
To be continued