Henry raised his wrist to check the time immediately after his eyes popped open. He had slept for over two hours with Tara’s head on his chest. For the first few minutes after she had forced him to remain in that position, he kept staring at her face and wondering what to do. His eyes also wandered for some minutes around her exposed thighs under the mini skirt but he returned his gaze to her face and fondled her hair for sometime.
He had been aroused sexually for a moment when she had laid on top of him but it went down after he was certain she was deep asleep and wasn’t even responding to his touch and caress. He only kept glancing at the ceiling and walls of the room until he slept off too, for over two hours.
He looked at Tara’s face again, she took in a deep breath at that moment and turned her head, facing the other side. Henry raised his neck uncomfortably as her hair got into his mouth. He used his fingers to arrange back the hair and made sure her head remained beneath his jaw.
She took in another long deep breath and exhaled, and they rolled away from his body, she was awake though her eyes still looked sleepy. She turned to face him as both laid side by side with their head on the same position. The distance between their faces were so close that they could feel the exhaled hair of each other’s on their lips. They stared keenly at each other for some seconds without any words spoken until Tara moved her head a bit forward and met his lips with hers. She drew closer and shifted her thigh in between his legs as he placed a hand at her back of her head and one at her waist, pressing her body firmly against his.
Their moment of pleasure was cut off abruptly when an alarm went off. Tara broke up first and sprang out of the bed immediately, she dragged down her skirt which had rolled up her waist as she looked towards the wall where the sound came from. Then she proceeded to the device which was located beside the control for the air conditioner. It was blinking red and still sounding out loud. She turned back, looking around the room and her eyes met with Henry who was now seated at the edge of the bed.
‘What’s that?’ Henry asked, standing up from the bed and touching his lips. He straightened his shirt properly as he joined her where she was.
Tara gave no answer to his question but walked away after putting off the alarm sound. She proceeded out of the room, leaving the door open. Henry followed behind at a very slow pace.
He met her in the computer room, already seated in front of the main control system, a laptop. She was staring intently at the screen with her hand hovering above the mouse. The main control system was displaying a red rectangle at the left side of the screen which signified danger. The florescent lights in the computer room had also changed from white to red and was blinking in quick successions.
‘Why did you turn off the alarm sounds?’ Tara shot him a cold look from where she was seated. He couldn’t see her face properly because of the colour and instability but from the tone of her voice, he was sure she didn’t have a pleasant look on.
Henry was dumbfounded at the entrance where he stood, the alarm must have been on for more than an hour but made no sound because he had turned off the sounds. He did turn them off because they were disturbing when he was trying to check what she had in the underground inner rooms and didn’t remember to turn them back on. The only alarm sound he wasn’t able to turn off completely was the one in her room because he couldn’t enter in her absence and it only sounded because it was a critical situation.
Tara typed in some commands with the keyboard and soon the rectangular sign showing danger cleared off. The lights in the computer room also turned back normal.
‘I don’t understand what you did here,’ Tara turned to Henry again, speaking in a cold voice. He could see her face now, there were thin lines of frown on it. ‘After accessing the hidden programs, did you also set it to break up at intervals?’
Henry felt like a kid with the way she was scolding and staring at him. He closed the door and walked slowly to her.
‘I’m sorry I turned off the sound for the alarm but I only programmed a one-time access, I don’t know the cause for the alarm that sounded.’ he replied.
Tara maintained her cold stare at him and sized him with her eyes from head to toe. From the way she looked, it was obvious she was angry with him and did not believe the explanation he gave.
‘Believe me please, I only set up a one-time access.’ Henry repeated as he got closer. He tried to touch her shoulder but she avoided him and rose immediately from the chair.
‘Return everything the way you met them,’ she said to him in a commanding tone and began to proceed towards the door. ‘I’ll be back in ten minutes time,’ she said after opening the door and slammed the door afterwards.
Henry stared blankly at the door for a while. The atmosphere in the house which was romantic few minutes ago had changed into something opposite, a very tensed one.
Tara returned ten minutes later like she said. She was now dressed in a plain white V-neck top and a black jean trousers. Her ruffled hair had been neatly arranged. She met Henry still busy with the system.
‘Have you returned everything to the normal program?’ she asked as Henry turned his face towards the door and their eyes met.
‘The alarm sounds are now on and I’ve hidden the opened files but I don’t understand the cause for the alarm which went off earlier,’ he said, standing up from the seat slowly as he watched Tara approaching him.
She sat on the seat in silence and fondled with the mouse for a moment. ‘Everything looks perfect now but I hope they’re as perfect as it looks.’ she said, taking a glance at him. ‘I’ll just check to make sure you don’t have any surprises for me,’ she added before returning her focus to the computer.
‘I didn’t do anything today, you have to believe me.’
‘Just save your voice and strength, I don’t need explanations, allow me concentrate on studying the settings you might have applied. I still have Cole to bother about, remember?’
Henry tried to talk but his lips vibrated without words coming forth. He let out a sigh and folded his arms.
The two maintained total silence for the next thirty minutes, nothing else could be heard except for the soft sounds made occasionally when she typed on the keyboard.
‘How can I help you to locate Cole?’ Henry finally broke the long silence.
Tara took a brief glance at him without responding to his offer immediately. Henry moved closer and sat on the seat beside her.
‘I also think we need to know that person who’s working with Chief Rikau now,’ Henry continued, staring at her face intently as he spoke.
Tara turned to him again, she shifted her chair backwards and put on the computer system in front of Henry’s seat. She stared at his face for some seconds while the computer booted, then she sighed and returned to her work on the control system.
‘After the system boots, you can help by getting into the NSCC database, I need to watch the movement of Don and his men that day.’ she said to Henry without looking at him.
‘Done!’ Rex announced. Cole looked up at his face with a frown, he shivered a bit as his eyes met with the pop-up window displaying the success of Rex’s operation. ‘It took us three hours and thirty eight minutes to delete her access account to the NSCC system, she worked very well to strengthen the security of their database.’ Rex said, turning towards Cole and Stainless with a finger on his left hand pressed softly against his lower lip and the elbow resting on the arm of his chair. ‘What should be our next step?’ he asked, directing the question to Stainless.
‘Ermm…’ Stainless quivered and his eyes blinked severally as he positioned himself upright on the chair.
Rex turned to Cole, ignoring Stainless who appeared clueless. ‘What do you think we should do next?’
Cole stared at him thinly with his eyebrows raised. ‘How does that concern me? It isn’t part of the deal you know.’
‘Oh True! Good of you to stick to your formality but I hope you get a bit friendlier because it will help the both of us.’ Rex gave a brief evil smile and moved his gaze to Stainless. ‘We’ll start our journey to Abuja tonight,’ he said to Stainless and turned back to Cole. ‘At the same time we’ll work on paralyzing all her connections and network lines.’
‘That’ll be quite difficult to do,’ Cole stated.
‘Yes, difficult but not impossible.’ Rex countered.
‘Might be impossible because she could try stop it if an alarm is raised,’ Cole put in.
‘And she wouldn’t be able to stop it if she isn’t anywhere near the control point, at least we would have done a lot of damage to keep her very busy’ Rex argued.
Cole sighed. He was frustrated but he refused to allow tears drop from his eyes. ‘It is very possible that she has returned to Abuja already, I don’t think there’s any need to start something that’ll definitely fail.’ he said, sniffing in to hold back the water in his eyes.
‘There’s also a high possibility that she’s still in Lagos,’ Rex stated. ‘Besides, I have plans on how to do that without raising an alarm. It’s one of the reasons we’re going to Abuja.’ Rex stopped and there was silence for some seconds. He stared at Cole’s face for a brief moment, then at Stainless’ face.
Cole sighed again and closed his eyes briefly, he had no more points to argue with but had to wait to hear Rex’s plan first. He took in a deep breath with his eyes still closed. He was deeply scared. He was doing what he hated to do – betraying Tarasha – but he had no choice, his parent’s lives were at stake and preserving their lives was the only thing he could do to correct his wrong of being a bad child to them. His lifestyle and job was the same thing posing a threat to their lives.
‘Now that all Tarasha’s access account to the security cameras have been deactivated, she might have received an alarm or not but I’m very sure she’ll notice it soon if she didn’t get the alarm and she’ll seek to reactivate the account but the only way she can do that is by visiting the NSCC head office in Abuja. And that’s where we come in,’ Rex stopped to look at the two men’s faces and ensured they were listening to him before he continued. ‘We’ll wait for her at the NSCC head office or meet her there in case she gets there before us, that’s for me and Stainless.’ he paused again and then faced Cole. ‘She knows the NSCC office more than we do because she worked as a staff there before, so it’s possible she escapes us there but then you’ll make sure she does not escape us totally.’ he stopped again and smiled wickedly.
‘How do I do that?’ Cole asked, with his heart beating so fast.
‘After we’re sure she’s in the NSCC office, you’ll get into your headquarters; your Headquarters which is Tarasha’s main operation base. I know there’s still one person with her,’ he said and paused to confirm his assertion from Cole’s facial reaction. ‘Henry George E,’ he stated in a questioning manner. ‘Am I right?’ he added when Cole appeared too stunned to respond. Cole nodded slowly in affirmation. ‘You can take care of Henry E.G if you meet him at the operation base, kill him or do whatever you want with him. Then you lock up her network lines from her control room. I know you have access to the place, so don’t try to lie or come up with an excuse ‘ Rex stopped and rested back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest. He made a smirk before he continued, ‘With that she won’t be able to escape death, because if she escapes us from the NSCC Headquarters unharmed, she’ll definitely return to her operation base and it won’t be a safe haven for her anymore before you would have destroyed her safety by locking up her network lines. She wouldn’t be able to use any facility in the building, her electronic lock for her doors wouldn’t work either. That would allow us take her easily.’
Thick drops of sweat rolled down Cole’s face as he listened to Rex’s words. He wondered who Rex was to have everything planned out so intelligently. He knew that if everything worked according to Rex’s plan, there was no way of escape for Tarasha.
A thought popped up in his mind. There could be a way to stop Rex’s plan when he is finally allowed to go into Tarasha’s main operation base. Instead of locking up the network according to the plan, he could do something else and also drop a message to warn Tarasha.
‘Don’t think of playing smart, we will all work with time’ Rex said as if he could read Cole’s thoughts. ‘And also remember that your parent’s bodies will be sent to you in bags the next day.’
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‘I’m sending the footages there,’ Henry said to Tarasha after almost an hour of individual work in silence. ‘Or should I track the car for you?’
‘No, just send it to me.’ Tarasha replied, looking into the computer screen in front of Henry. ‘I’ll prefer you forward it to my NSCC account.’
‘Don’t you think it’ll be easier sending it through the network since it’s already on our server?’ Henry questioned, staring at Tara’s face and wondering why she would prefer a longer process.
‘Send it to my NSCC account,’ Tarasha repeated without looking at him.
‘But that’ll mean uploading it to the NSCC server again and then sending it to yours,’ Henry explained in a disturbed tone. ‘The transfer could be discovered by an expert NSCC official and tracked or stopped if the official is capable.’
‘Save the explanations and send it to the NSCC account. You now have access to the server in this building and you would be able to see whatever I do but you can’t if I do it on the NSCC account.’
‘Oh! So this is about hiding it from me? You prefer an NSCC expert seeing what you do instead of me?’
‘Yes, I do.’ she stated blankly.
‘But I’m working with you and willing to help you get Cole back, why should you hide your work from me?’
‘If you’re willing to help me, why don’t you just do the works I send you and stop questioning me?’ she replied coldly.
‘Okay,’ Henry swallowed and heaved a deep sigh. ‘What’s your username?’
‘EvelynAlex,’ Henry mumbled under his breath and typed in the username into a dialog box displayed. He only spoke again after five minutes of silence. ‘No account exists like that.’
She stopped what she was doing and faced him. ‘What do you mean?’ she asked as she turned to look at his computer screen. Henry gave no reply since she could already see the result on the screen. ‘I said EvelynAlex,’ she stared at his face.
‘That’s what I used.’ he stared back at her.
‘EvelynAlex, Evelyn spelt as E-v-e-l-y-n and Alex without space.’
‘I used that and other spelling versions of Evelyn I could think of,’ he said and closed the route error report page. He typed in the username as spelt by Tara again into the dialog box. They both waited for it to load.
NOT FOUND – USER DOES NOT EXIST
The software displayed.
‘How come?’ a confused look appeared on her face. She turned back to her system and hurriedly minimized the running software. She navigated to the desktop and clicked on the NSCC app icon. It loaded in thirty seconds and displayed a box asking for her username and password. She typed in EvelynAlex into the space meant for username and typed in the password. It processed for five seconds and displayed a text box under the log in column. The texts read ‘Account Deactivated’. She typed in the password and username again. It repeated the same result. She tried the third time and it brought the same response but with just few words added to it. ‘Account deactivated about an hour ago’ .
‘What’s happening?’ Henry asked, staring at her computer screen in surprise.
‘I should be asking you that question,’ she slammed and gave him a fierce look.
‘But why should you ask me…’
‘It was deactivated about the same time there was an alarm, that means this was the real cause for the alarm. You put off the alarm sounds to ensure I don’t know what was going on,’ she accused him, staring at him suspiciously.
‘Tara,’ he called her name aloud and stared at her looking shocked. ‘How can you suggest that?’ he asked, getting up from the seat.
‘You had unrestrained access to the server for some days now, you could have timed the deactivation.’
‘Tara!’ he called, moving his head slowly side to side with a sad look on his face.
‘The other person who could have done that is Cole but I should have gotten an alarm if he tries to deactivate from another server. You shut down the alarm systems except for the one in the room which you had no access to, it means you have a hand in it.’
‘Why would I have a hand in what wouldn’t benefit you?’
She paused for a moment. She rose from her seat, shifting the chair backwards as she did with her eyes still placed on him. ‘I know you’re doing all you can to stop the spilling of blood but I’ll give you thirty minutes to restore the account or you won’t like the result.’ she said and walked out of the place.
To be continued