‘Yes, I think so too,’ Dave said as he tried to sit up but he struggled and couldn’t get himself up.
‘Don’t waste your strength, you can’t get up,’ the doctor said to him in a calm voice.
There was silence for a moment, the doctor kept staring down at his face and Dave stared back also.
‘Doctor Ekwueme, why are you working with Samantha Osman?’ Dave finally spoke.
The doctor was speechless for a while. He had never thought of making ready an answer if he was ever asked the question, but the answer was still not farfetched, he was able to put words together and give him a reply quickly.
‘I’m working with her because I want to join forces to bring down the bad eggs of our nation,’ Dr Ekwueme replied.
Dave squinted, he felt an itch on his forehead and tried to lift his hand to scratch the place but couldn’t. He closed his eyes and waited for the feeling to stop.
‘Dr Ekwueme, I can help you out of this mess if you would allow me. I know Samantha Osman is using you against your will but I can help free you if you’d do what I ask you to do.’
Doctor Ekwueme kept staring at the young man’s face for a moment, he seemed to be considering Dave’s offer. Then he moved closer to the window and tried to lean against the wall for support.
‘I don’t want to be freed, this is the only opportunity I have to right my wrongs,’ the doctor replied.
‘Right your wrongs?’ Dave muttered. He tilted his head back a little and strained his eyeballs to see the doctor where the man was now standing behind his bed.
‘Yes, there are so many things I did in the past and this is my only opportunity to make a difference.’
There was silence for a moment.
‘So, you’re trying to correct your wrongs?’
‘Not necessarily correct but also make a difference with this opportunity, ‘The doctor replied thoughtfully.
‘And how do you think you can make a difference by joining forces with a criminal?’ Dave said.
‘Whether you call her a criminal or not, I’m not bothered or moved, but if she really is, I’m proud to join forces with a criminal to do the right thing.’ Dr Ekwueme defended. ‘And I don’t think I have the moral justification to call her a criminal, I think I’m worse, I was a doctor who was trusted by the society but I still betrayed the trust and worked against them.’
‘What are you trying to say Doc? Are you talking about your work with the Vice President?’ Dave asked.
The doctor remained silent.
Dave continued to speak. ‘If that’s what you’re talking about, I have better ways of you helping the society right your wrongs than this path you’re toeing.’
He paused to get a response from the doctor but the older man remained silent.
‘I can help you if you allow me sir, Samantha Osman is dangerous and heartless, she does not care about anyone, I am sure she only wants to use you in fulfilling her mission and would do something bad to you after she does.’
The Doctor’s voice was low and gentle, ‘I don’t care if she’s only using me to fulfill her mission and I don’t want to know what she’d do to me after it ends, I only want to ensure that I play my part in making our mission a success.’
Dave heaved a sigh. He knew he needed to do more than just talking if he wanted to get the doctor on his side. He wondered what Samantha Osman had done to the doctor to make the man so convinced and ready to die with her, so much that the doctor now took Samantha Osman’s mission as his too.
He decided to stop in his trial to persuade the doctor and ask questions about his safety. ‘What’s she going to do to me when she finds out I’m awake?’
The doctor took some time to think of an answer to his question. He stepped forward slowly and stopped beside the bed where Dave could see his face. ‘I think she’s definitely going to kill or incapacitate you later on when she finds out that you are one of those trying to pull her down.’
Dave swallowed a breath. The Doctor’s words ignited more fear in him than he had expected.
‘And you are going to let her kill me?’ Dave said, deciding to go emotional.
‘I don’t want her to do anything bad to you, I know your parents.’ The doctor said. ‘That’s why I’m taking the risk to stand here and talk to you.’
‘So she’s going to kill you if she finds out you are talking to me?’ Dave asked, trying to make the man see another fault in Samantha Osman ways.
‘She probably would not, because I would not hide anything we have discussed here from her.’ The doctor replied.
Dave was shocked at the man’s response. ‘You would tell her all we have said here?’
Dave was too shocked to close his mouth. He stared at the doctor in bewilderment, wondering if Samantha Osman had bewitched the doctor in anyway. He didn’t believe in the power of witches in cases like this but he didn’t know what else to attribute the doctor’s loyalty to Samantha Osman to.
‘I have to go now, staying any longer here would cause suspicion.’ The doctor said and squeezed Dave’s palm in his before trying to turn.
‘Please, Doctor Ekwueme, help me.’ Dave pleaded. He tried to hold back the man but there wasn’t enough strength in his hands to keep the man’s fingers in his grip.
‘I don’t know if I can help you,’ Doctor Ekwueme said, with his back now turned to Dave. He closed his eyes and bowed his head as he thought of how guilty he would feel if it turned out that Samantha Osman ended up killing Dave.
‘Please help me,’ Dave pleaded again.
The doctor decided to turn a deaf here and leave the room.
‘Dr Martin Ekwueme,’ Dave called as the doctor took a step. ‘You went through so much to keep me alive when I was a boy, how come you are willing to let me die now, is it part of righting your wrongs?’
Dave’s last words hit the doctor hard. He stopped after taking two steps and couldn’t move again. He felt tears form in his eyes and his chest beginning to beat faster. He remembered truly what he went through trying to save the young man when he was a little boy from the hands of death. It almost cost him his own career and even threatened his life. That was one of the only actions he took in his life that he could remember and be proud of. If he allowed the young boy turned man die now, it would mean that all his efforts in the past were wasted.
He finally turned back and moved closer to Dave again. He stared into the young man’s eyes and could see the man he knew years back right in the eyes.
‘What’s your name?’ the doctor asked.
‘David,’ Dave replied.
‘Dave James?’ the doctor asked for clarification, now remembering when Samantha mentioned the name.
‘Yes, that’s what I’m called.’
Doctor Ekwueme remembered James perfectly well and he remembered the happiness and grateful look on James’ and his wife’s faces after he succeeded in treating little Dave, the boy who was the first they could call a son and saved the boy from death. He also remembered the bad things he had done to the family of the boy in the past, saving the now grown up boy seemed to be the only way he could correct that wrong he did.
The doctor turned suddenly and without saying any more word, proceeded out of the medical room. He walked straight into his room and locked himself in.
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5 minutes later
‘Boss, I just discovered that those men once worked with the Central Intelligence Department of the Police,’ Cole said to Tarasha as she walked into the computer room.
‘How long have they left service?’ she asked as she proceeded towards him.
‘Both of them were dismissed,’ Cole replied.
‘Oh! What was their crime?’
‘It’s classified information, I couldn’t find what their crime was.’
The door opened and distracted them. Henry walked in.
‘Tara, the Vice President’s kids are all in Lagos now.’
Tarasha turned to him. ‘All of them? I think he has three kids right?’
‘Yes, three kids.’ Henry replied. He stopped at some distance from them and settled in a seat behind one of the computers.
‘Inspector James has been in Lagos for some days already, what part of the country did the other two come from?’
‘One from Abuja and the other from Cross River.’
‘And what do you think they are here for?’
‘I can’t say for sure, but I do believe that he may be trying to smuggle them out of the country through other means apart from flights.’
Tarasha chuckled. ‘I believe you’d update us with that.’
‘Yes, I would as I find out more.’ Henry replied.
Tarasha got up from her seat and turned round the table to the other side. She pulled out a drawer and took a tablet device from it.
‘Henry,’ she called as she walked towards him. ‘This device is secured tightly and could not be opened by the android unlocker, I’ve not had time to try other means. Can you get it opened for us?’
Henry collected the device from her and observed the body and label for a while. ‘Whose device is it?’
‘It’s for Rex,’ she replied.
‘Oh! That guy is still with us?’ Henry asked rhetorically.
‘I need to go there now, he vomited after we injected him this morning.’ Tarasha said. ‘The old doctor says he probably has some kind of immunity against the liquid and it may be difficult to make him confess even after injecting the liquid.’
‘Immunity?’ Cole and Henry said simultaneously. They glanced quickly at each other after.
‘Yes, he does a lot of hard drugs. The old doctor explained that some of the substances in those drugs could form antigens against the liquid in his blood cells and it could take us more than injecting him once before he speaks.’
‘How many times can the injection be given in a day?’ Cole asked.
‘It can’t be given to a person more than once in two days, it could kill the person.’ Tarasha replied.
‘Sh*t, we shouldn’t wait that long to get Chief Nonso out of Rex’s prison.’ Cole cursed.
‘That’s exactly why we need to unlock that device as soon as possible,’ Tarasha said, facing Henry. ‘If it happens that he has immunity against the injection, we could be able track all his recently visited locations from the location history or call history in the device.’
‘I’ll start work on the device immediately,’ Henry said.
Tarasha nodded gently. She stared at their faces silently for a while before she turned and proceeded to the door. She opened the door and suddenly stopped without stepping out. She turned back. Cole and Henry had their eyes fixed on her.
‘Agent Dave James is awake,’ she said. ‘I heard him speaking with the doctor, Cole, I need you to place an eye on them through the cameras.’
Cole nodded in response. He turned back to the system and opened the in-house camera software. He heard the sound of the door being shut as the app processed.
There was no way Agent Dave could escape, Cole was sure. The only persons who knew how to get out of that building without being led was he, Henry and Tarasha but he still had to place an eye on the Agent as Tarasha had instructed.
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‘Now, after this what?’ Vivian asked James impatiently.
The three siblings were seated in a room in the hospital after the samples of their blood had been taken by the hospital laboratory staffs.
‘Let’s wait for the doctor to talk to us,’ James replied his impatient sister.
The doctor walked in at the same minute and the siblings placed their gazes on him.
‘Inspector James, the result of the tests would be out in three days.’ the doctor said, looking directly at James.
‘Why in three days time, I thought it would be out in few hours time.’ James argued, getting up to his feet.
‘No, this is a DNA test, it doesn’t work like that,’ the doctor said as he proceeded towards the exit door at the other side. ‘I’ll call your father as soon as the results are ready.’
‘Why do you have to call my father? Can’t you inform me when it’s out?’ James questioned.
‘Your Dad requested for the test and with the eagerness with which he requested, I’m sure he would like to be the first person to know when the results are out. We’re done with the test, you guys can leave now,’ the doctor replied as he stepped out of the room through the door.
James sat back on the chair and let out a deep breath, staring at the ground. He raised his head up after some seconds and glanced at his younger ones, ‘I think we have to leave now.’
‘No, we can’t leave. Not until you tell us why we needed a DNA test,’ Vivian objected strongly.
James stared at her face speechlessly. The other brother also stared at James’ face, expecting him to give a reply to Vivian’s objection.
‘Dad wants the DNA test, you heard the doctor say it was Dad’s personal request, didn’t you?’ James replied.
‘Why in the world does Dad want a DNA test?’ Vivian fired.
‘I think you should direct your anger to Dad when you see him and not me,’ James said, already getting impatient with Vivian.
‘Brother, why are you talking like this?’ the other brother joined them. ‘You mean you called us to come meet you here and carry out a DNA test without knowing why we had to undergo the test?’
James sighed, he was now short of words to defend himself.
‘Brother, you got to give some explanation to us. You can’t tell us, you called Vivian to fly down from Abuja and me from Cross River without knowing the reason for the DNA test.’
‘Is he awake now?’ Tarasha asked as she climbed up the balcony of the building.
‘Yes, he’s been awake for about three hours now.’ Nicholas replied, walking by her side.
‘Has he spoken any word yet?’
‘No, he hasn’t.’
There was silence for a while as they got into the house and walked through the living room.
‘Are the other men all present?’ Tarasha asked.
‘Yes, they are. Waiting for you in the main room,’ Nicholas answered.
‘How many of them know that we have a new hostage here?’
‘Just I and Basit, the others have only gathered in response to your invitation.’
There was silence for the rest of the time Tarasha and Nicholas used to walk to the board room. They got in and met all the six men seated around the table. All stood up to honour Tarasha as she got in. She signaled for them to sit and remained standing behind the chair she was supposed to sit on. Nicholas also took his seat.
She stood in silence for a while. Then she dipped her hand into her back pocket and took out an android phone, with something very tiny hidden from other’s view under it. She adjusted the wristwatch on her hand carefully before she returned her focus to her audience. She pointed to the man seated at the rear end of the table and ordered him to stand up. He was the same person who drove her, the doctor and Stephanie to Anambra State.
The man obeyed and got up to his feet with a confused look on his face, he wondered why she needed him to stand.
‘I’ll like you to explain to the rest of the team, why and how you got drunk during a mission?’ Tarasha asked. All eyes in the room turned to the man immediately.
His heart began to beat fast. He remembered having woken up later that day to find a note left by Samantha Osman in his room to call her whenever he woke up. He had gone to meet Stephanie out of fear immediately and the young girl explained to him that Samantha had called him on phone several times and needed him to work but he had been too drunk to get up. He was surprised later when he saw her later and she did not talk about it with him and had thought she had forgotten about it when they returned back to Lagos without her mentioning it.
‘You have twenty seconds to start talking,’ Tarasha said in a frightful voice.
For the first three seconds, he stood without knowing what to do but then his instincts told him he could only save himself by escaping. He remembered that they had all come in for the meeting through the backdoor of the room which was right behind him. He turned sharply and headed for the door, he got there in three seconds and struggled to turn the knob but it was stiff. He continued to struggle with the door until he realized there was no way it would open easily.
Tarasha glanced at her wristwatch, he had nine seconds more. She placed her stare on his face and he stared back at her too.
Then he tried to play smart and reached for the gun in his pocket. He took it out and pointed it at Tarasha.
She wasn’t shaken by his gesture. She glanced at her wristwatch and saw that he had only three seconds remaining.
She raised her right hand up and before the man could do anything, a tiny piece of arrow had gotten into his forehead. He fell to the floor lifelessly.
All the other men stared at her in horror.
She returned the android phone into her pocket. ‘Clear his body,’ she said, looking at one of the men at the right side. ‘You would get other instructions later, I think that’s the end of the meeting for today.’
‘Have you taken your lunch?’ Cole asked, surprised to meet Henry in the control room as he walked in.
‘I would do that very soon,’ Henry replied. ‘It’s taking longer than I expected. Rex has good knowledge of securing phones.’
‘It’s expected,’ Cole commented.
Cole’s phone rang and caused a distraction. He brought it out of his pocket and glanced at the screen. Patricia was the caller.
‘Hey Vic, I’m coming to Lagos tomorrow. My company is bringing us for a five days training.’
To be continued