‘Security issues?’ Cole raised his brow as he stared at the warning prompt.
He picked the phone and unlocked it. He stared at the notification for some more seconds before clicking on it. The notification was from the location security application on the phone. Every device that was being used in that house had the app installed on it and it was always introduced to any device brought in newly.
Cole wondered why the application had stopped running. He knew it was almost impossible for it to crash or for the app to stop running by itself. The app had been edited by Tarasha herself and it couldn’t have any bug or unknown error.
The app, installed on all smartphones and devices in the house connected the devices location services to the main control server and it was used to hide the devices’ location from people forcefully trying to find the location and it could also be used to redirect hackers attention to another location. The link which was sent to the device from Tomi was an advanced phishing link which immediately extracted the real IP address from any browser that visits it and also tracks the location of the device immediately. The malware from the website was specially designed to crash any application or software that could stop the website from extracting the location.
There was no other reason Cole could find for the application crash except for the website link which he clicked on. He clicked on the start button for the application to continue running and he minimized to check if other applications were not affected. Some other applications which were not necessarily security apps were also affected, he turned them all back on. He opened the whatsapp messenger again and opened the chat with Tomi to see the link one more time.
He stared at the link for some seconds, there was nothing suspicious by merely looking at it. Then he clicked on it again, this time he opened with another browser on a private tab. The same warning popped up. The first and only line of words on the warning tab read;
‘Website may be harmful or unsecure, continue or exit?’
The words ‘continue’or ‘exit’ had the green color which meant they were embedded links.
The warning didn’t look different from the usual warnings that popped up on browsers when visiting pornographic websites and other websites which was rated unfit for all surfers by the Nigerian Internet Authority, so Cole had no reason to take it serious since the website he was supposed to visit contained nudes.
His thumb hovered around the continue and exit links for a while but then he realized that there was a button for ‘Read more details’ under the warning which he had taken for granted because he was too used to the prompt. He clicked on read more details and more information was displayed.
‘This website contains dangerous files and attachments that could manipulate your computer and it’s files.’
Cole let out a gasp. He shone his eyes widely as he thought. Why should Tomi be trying to find his location? What could she need it for? And how did she get such a link that could extract the device’s location. He was baffled. He knew for a certain that the link couldn’t have been created by Tomi herself, she didn’t have enough knowledge to do that.
He exited the browser and quickly opened his call dialer. He searched out for her number and dialed it. It rang three times consecutively without being answered. He dropped the phone for a moment, wondering what Tomi could be up to.
He picked the phone again and dialed Stephanie George’s phone number.
‘Hi Steph,’ he said as the call was answered from the other end.
‘Good evening Cole,’ Stephanie replied.
‘I’d like to speak with Tomi please, I tried to call her phone but she’s not answering.’
‘I’m sorry but Tomi is yet to return, the doctor has been trying to reach her on phone and she’s not answering.’
‘Where did she go?’
‘Doctor Ekwueme sent her to get some drugs.’
‘Since when did she leave the house?’
‘More than an hour ago, she left in the black Corolla.’
‘Okay, what pharmacy did the doctor send her to get it from?’
‘I don’t know, give me some seconds to confirm.’
‘Please confirm and send a text to me as soon as possible.’
Lizzy stared at the phone on the table as it vibrated. She smiled to herself, knowing it must be Victor calling to speak with Tomi. A young man was seated beside her at the table, he was seated in front of the computer system directly and the phone was closer to him. He checked the screen and glanced at Lizzy.
‘The caller’s name is Cole,’ he said to her in an American accent. He was a black American.
‘Let it ring,’ Lizzy replied without moving an inch. She turned to the back and smiled at Tomi who was tied to a chair with her mouth gagged with a duct tape.
‘Tomi, I’ll like you to get some drugs from Outright Pharmacy before it’s late.’
Tomi heard the doctor speaking to her. She was in the kitchen and had just finished preparing dinner, she was now cleaning the dishes and pots used in the cooking.
‘Okay sir, I’m rounding up already.’ she turned back and found the doctor at the entrance of the kitchen.
‘Thank you,’ the doctor replied. ‘Can I come and help you with something there?’
‘Thank you sir, you don’t have to worry.’Tomi said and glanced at him with a smile. ‘You need to have a lot of rest, I’ll just hurry up and go get the drugs for you immediately.’
‘The drugs are not to be used by me, they’re for Stephanie’s mother,’ the doctor replied.
‘Oh! I thought we got all the drugs she needed already.’
‘Yes, we did but after what happened today, I discussed with her daughter and I realized that some of these new drugs will help the woman.’
‘Okay then, let me hurry up.’
Tomi finished with her work ten minutes after and dressed up to go to the pharmacy. She called Tarasha and informed her that she’d be going out to get some drugs and Tarasha instructed her on how to get out of the building.
The pharmacy was about thirty minutes drive from the base. The doctor had always insisted that she went to that particular pharmacy because of their quality service and presence of almost all medicines in the store.
Tomi had just gotten to the pharmacy when she received a call. She stopped at the entrance to answer it.
‘Hey Tomi,’ a male voice sounded through the speaker.
‘Hello, who am I speaking with?’
‘You’re speaking with…’ the voice faded off and the call ended.
Lizzy was seated in front of the computer set. A man was seated beside her and making a phone call. Her hand was on the mouse as she scrolled through the tracking app, trying to track the location of the receiver of the call who the man seated next to her was calling.
She navigated through the software draggingly. She wasn’t expecting the tracker to be able to locate the call receiver’s location. She expected that the location would be untraceable as usual and didn’t think it was possible for Tomi not to be in a secured location at the time of the call.
‘Hey Tomi,’ the man beside her said into the phone. That gave a signal to Lizzy that the call had been answered from the other end.
She stared on surprise at the computer screen as the map popped up and a dot appeared on the call receiver’s location on the map. She quickly zoomed it. The call receiver’s location wasn’t far from their own location, it would take a walk of about five minutes only.
‘You’re speaking with…’
‘Shhh…’ she turned to the man and placed a finger on her lips signalling to him to stop talking.
The man slowly took the phone away from his lips.
‘Cut the call,’ she said in whispers and the man obeyed. ‘Right now she’s in this same street, at a pharmacy not far from here.’
‘What do we do?’
‘It’ll make our work easier and faster if we get her physically,’ Lizzy replied. She got up and disconnected the laptop from the power source. ‘Let’s go get her, you would continue the call in the car as you monitor the tracker for possible change in location while I’ll drive.’
Tomi hissed as she walked into the pharmacy. She looked around for a second and located the desk. She walked to the place and gave the attendant the list of drugs she wanted to purchase. Three minutes later, she had paid for the drugs and was waiting to get a receipt at the counter when another call entered. It was the same number. She finished with the cashier at the counter before she turned to answer the call.
‘Hey Tomi, where is Samantha?’
She frowned as she walked back to the entrance door. ‘Who is this?’
‘It’s a colleague of yours, I want to ask if you can reach Samantha Osman for me. We are on a mission from her but Cole has been delaying us, he’s been in a hotel room with a girl for more than one hour now.’ The man replied hurriedly without pausing for Tomi to say anything.
Tomi was quiet for a while. She still did not know who the caller was but the mention of Cole being with another woman got her attention more. She cursed him under her breath. He was supposed to be on an errand for the boss but he chose to waste time with a girl which perhaps was the whore Patricia in a hotel room just because the boss had gone out with Henry.
‘Which hotel is he in?’ she asked.
‘Golden Green Hotel at Asipa Road,’ the man replied.
‘Asipa road?’ she questioned again. That was the same road the pharmacy was located.
She stopped to think for a moment. She considered going to the hotel to see things herself but discarded the thought when she realized that it wouldn’t help matters but only cause troubles. Then she thought about getting the boss to be angry with Cole, it was another way to get Cole punished.
‘Hey!’ she said into the phone. ‘Is there anyway you could get his picture with the girl in the hotel room or hotel premises?’
‘Ermm… I don’t think so…’ the man was saying when the line went off.
‘Hello…’ Patricia said before looking at the phone’s screen. She dialled back the number but it was unreachable. She tried two more times and it still didn’t connect.
She shook her head as she returned the phone into her bag and proceeded to the car parked outside the pharmacy. She got into the driver’s side of the car and dropped her bag on the passengers’ seat. She then started the car and pulled on her seatbelt. She turned on the trafficator and placed her gaze on the side mirror to check the cars coming from behind. She waited patiently for the right time to drive into the road as the vehicles passed. She noticed a car stop right behind her but she didn’t pay much attention to it.
The men at the passenger’s side of the car stepped out. He was putting on a dark shades to cover his eyes and a blue face cap on. He walked to the car in front and turned round the bonnet to the driver’s side.
Tomi saw as the man walked to her side. She wound down the window when he stopped beside her.
‘Hey!’ he smiled as he bent to talk to her.
‘Hi,’ she replied with an indifferent look.
‘Step out, I need to talk to you.’ he said.
Tomi stared at him in awe, surprised at his audacity. She ignored him and smiled. She faced front and tried to wind up the window but he scattered the window glass with a blow that touched her chin.
She was too shocked to react and before she could come back to herself, the man had grabbed her neck and was pulling her out through the window.
She had never felt a man’s hand so strong. She was helpless as he pulled her out of the car with a hand and carried her towards his car. His grip on her neck was so tight that she couldn’t even let out a scream.
The passers-by watched in amazement as the man dropped her into the backseat of the car and entered with her. The lady in front of the wheels drove away immediately. She didn’t waste time to put on the trafficator and almost caused a crash as she burst into the road but she was unconcerned. She continued driving, and drove roughly.
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35 minutes later
After driving through a long route to ensure their vehicle could not be traced, they finally got back to their operation base. The man carried Tomi in and dropped her on the floor.
The black American man was already waiting for them in the room. He was seated in front of the control system and working on the security cameras software.
The place was dark but wide. The computer systems in the room were located on the tables resting directly against the wall at the left side. The entrance to the room was at the right side. Tomi sat up where she was dropped at the centre, she noticed the place was fairly lit but well ventilated. The air conditioners there were major contributors to the coolness of the place.
The lady who drove the car walked in through the entrance and Tomi turned to look at her. She was dressed in a blue top and a black trouser made of shining materials. Her high heeled shoes made sounds on the tiled floor as she walked towards Tomi catwalking like a model with Tomi’s bag in her hand.
‘Hey! I’m Patricia,’ the lady squatted before Tomi and stretched out a hand for a handshake.
‘You b****! I should have known,’ Tomi cursed angrily.
Lizzy smiled and retrieved her hand. ‘I don’t think it’s the time to get touchy, you need to cooperate with us if you want to get out of here alive.’
Tomi stared at her confused, wondering what her cooperation was needed for. ‘What do you want from me?’
‘Nothing much or too difficult, I only want you to lead us to Samantha Osman.’
Tomi frowned, wondering what business Patricia had with Samantha Osman.
‘What do you want with Samantha?’
‘It’s none of your business, all I ask of you is that you lead us to the base she operates from.’
Tomi was silent for a while. She was disgusted by everything around her and annoyed with the fact that she had to listen to Patricia without being able to punch her in the face.
‘I can’t and would never do that,’ Tomi finally voiced out in a determined tone. She realized that Patricia might have been an enemy of the Samantha Osman’s team and was using Cole as a bait.
Lizzy bit her lips and chuckled. Then she got up and walked away.
‘We need to tie her up,’ she said as she approached the desk. ‘I’ve got her phone from her bag and get some contacts from it.’
The Nigerian man who had brought Tomi inside walked back to her and tried to drag her up. She resisted but he dealt her blows and weakened her.
‘I think I have a better idea,’ the black American spoke. ‘Does she have that Victor’s number?’
‘Yes, she should.’ Lizzy answered and sat beside him.
‘We could trick Victor to reveal his location.’
The Nigerian man returned into the room, now changed into a dark blue cloth which looked like a security official uniform. Lizzy and the black American turned to look at him.
‘I made the call and the guys are ready, we’d get there in few minutes time.’ he said as he approached them.
‘Am I coming with you?’ the black American asked.
‘No Tiger, we need you here.’
The black American looked a bit disappointed but he turned and faced the system.
Cole finally located Outright Pharmacy along Asipa Road. He clicked on the location on the map and switched to the street view. He checked the area to locate the features briefly, then he copied the numerical details of the location and switched to the NSCC software.
The NSCC software was quick to locate the cameras in the location and displayed a live capture of the place. Cole stopped the stream and began to fetch the footages for the past few minutes.
Soon he found the footages he needed, he saw how Tomi got into the pharmacy and the call she received outside. Then he saw how she was also pulled out from the black Corolla.
Tarasha walked straight to the room which Henry directed her to, she stopped and stood sideway in front of the door. She stared at the opposite room for a while before she turned the knob. The door did not open.
She stared silently at the opposite room for about five seconds before taking out an instrument from her bag. She inserted the weapon into the keyhole of the door and tried to fit it in. She turned it carefully to avoid making any sound as the instrument fit into the keyhole. The door did not open still. She pulled it out a bit and turned it again without success. She repeated the process for the third time and the door finally opened. She pushed the door in gently. Just as she tried to step in, the door of the opposite room opened and a man hurried out of the room. He stopped in shock as he saw her. She released the door and walked back towards him slowly.
‘I think we’ve got some company here,’ the man said aloud, trying to call the attention of the others in the room he came out from.
He stood boldly as she got to his front, wondering what she was planning to do. She looked so small in his eyes that he saw no reason to be scared or careful.
‘Who’s she and how did she get there?’ someone else appeared at the door.
‘I don’t know,’ the first man glanced back to reply.
Tarasha took him by surprise and kicked him at the groin before he could turn back to her. He screamed out loud in pain and grabbed his private part. With that she held him by the neck and twisted it so hard that it made a loud sound. The other man rushed towards her.
He launched a blow towards her but surprisingly to him she grabbed him by the fist and squeezed it in her palms. She then twisted his arm, making him fall on a knee with a groan. She sent a kick to his neck with her right knee and dragged his neck with her left hand, she turned his neck until she was sure the bones were broken.
The capon stepped out and fired a shot at her but she had seen him earlier and was able to dodge the bullet. She fled into the room which door she opened.
She walked straight to the right hand corner of the room and at once noticed Chief Nonso seated in fear at the right corner of the room. She chose to focus her attention first on the man that shot at her. She brought out her gun and cocked it in readiness. She watched and listened for the man’s footsteps.
She could hear as he moved carefully among the fallen bodies and touched the frame of the door. The door made a little movement sound and she realized that he was already behind the door. She tried to picture his height from what she had seen before entering his room. She raised her gun and targeted it towards the door, imagining in her mind the level of his forehead. She released three quick shots and they pierced through the door at three different points on the same level.
She paused for a moment but didn’t notice any movement, she then lowered her hand and fired three more shots in the same pattern.
One of the first set of bullets entered into his neck and another from the second set his belly. He fell to the ground with his bum hitting the ground first and his back resting against the wall. His feet pushed the door forward.
Tarasha stepped forward slowly and carefully until she was able to see him and confirm that the bullets hit him. He was dead already.
‘Get up Chief, we need to get out of here right now,’ she turned and said to the Chief with a note of urgency.
‘Tarasha, is that you?’ Chief Nonso’s voice sounded shaky, even though he had an excited look on his face. He sprang out of the chair and hurried towards her, full of hope again. He had grow so lean and unhealthy due to the lack of good food and health habits for the past weeks he had spent there.
‘Henry, get the car now.’ Tarasha said as she proceeded hurriedly. She stopped at a point to wait for the man who was trying to catch up with her. She checked her time, they needed to get out of the place quickly because of the sound of the gun that must have been heard.
35 minutes later
Henry was seated alone at the front seat of the car while Tarasha and Chief Nonso were at the back. They all sat in silence, each one to his own thoughts.
As the car approached Alasia Bus stop, Tarasha found the need to speak with Cole. She adjusted her mouthpiece and the fixed back the earphone which had been removed from her ear.
‘Hey Cole, are you still with us?’ she said into the mouthpiece and waited for a response. She couldn’t hear Cole’s voice except for some noises underground. ‘Cole, are you there? I need you to check again if we are being followed or monitored by any security officials.’
She still got no response. She concluded that he must have left the communication device to quickly do something else. She took out her phone and opened the call dialer. She was about to dial his number when she heard his voice.
‘Boss, we are under an attack. Some unknown men are here and they appear to be fully armed.’
‘Unknown men?’ Tara replied in shock.
‘Yes boss, the men are more than us. I hope we are able to control the situation.’
Tarasha was quiet for a while. Cole voice sounded with very little hope and she knew the situation must be very bad for him to sound that way.
The drive back to the base would take about one hour and even more if there happened to be traffic congestion on the way.