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The room was spacious and wide. Exotic furniture neatly arranged at the corners of the huge sitting room. The blinds were slightly drawn allowing a trickle of early morning sun into the room. There was a huge plasma on the wall and a bar to its left. The walls were painted white with an accent of blood red here and there in the room. The blinds were red, the couch, the reclining chair, the little table and even the bar was painted red. Every other thing was in pure white including the ceiling. Sophia paced uneasily to and fro. She had a bottle of Baileys on one hand and a wine cup in the other. She was restless and worried. Bruno and Marshal were yet to get back to her. This was a simple mission. Get the boy, and bring him to the safe house. She did not trust those fools but they had been highly recommended by Gambo. Now they were nowhere to be found.
Her phone rang again, it was the General. She had this strong desire not to answer the phone. But the General always knew. She answered it on the first ring.
“What is the situation on ground, S?” The General asked. She could see the wrinkles on his forehead. The General always knew. She was sure he already knew what the situation was. He had spies everywhere. That was why he was called the General. Everyone feared him. No one dared him. Very few people have met him. And the General hardly calls. When he did, there was trouble.
“The situation is under control sir.” Sophia answered.
“I did not ask if the situation was under control. I asked WHAT the situation is. I am going to call you pretty soon. You had better have an answer for me.” He said and hung up.
Typical General. Always the last to speak and never failing to seize an opportunity to keep you edgy. She knew that he knew that the fools she had sent to bring in the boy were MIA. This was her first major assignment. She really did not want to flop. She originally wanted to take a subtle measure. Lure him in with some girl. But that would take time and there was a chance he would not fall for the bait. Force was the only option.
They had been watching Sean for three months now, twenty four hours round the clock. They had a different agent on him every six hours. He had been chosen as the ideal candidate. Perfect height. Perfect age. Perfect face, countenance, education and work orientation. All that remained was to determine his lifestyle and how a typical day for Sean looked like. Sophia spent hours going over each agent’s report about Sean. She was always with her radio; the agents would phone in to say that Sean had changed routine or gone somewhere away from their jurisdiction. This was where her leadership came in. She would order them to follow or let him be. She had pulled her strings twice. Sean had made plans to travel out of the city. He had bought a ticket to fly to Abuja. This was going to put a huge hole in their plans. He had to be kept in the city at all costs. A call was made to the General. Sean was held back at work and denied leave to travel. Another time, his office had made plans for his department to travel for a refresher course in Kenya. Sophia was informed. The trip was terminated. They had contacts everywhere including the government. When they wanted something, they always got it.
They had considered kidnapping his girlfriend. The General did not want the silly police force involved. They would just be crawling everywhere, impeding progress. This was going to be a snatch and grab operation. Very few witnesses, if any. Sean lived a reckless life. His mother hardly monitored him. She believed he was capable of handling himself. They sometimes went three weeks without communicating. He had no close friends. His girlfriend was traveling out of the country. She was the only worry. A slight worry that could be easily fixed.
So they had decided to ‘grab’ Sean. They waited patiently for the opportunity. A black Toyota Prado was parked across the street opposite New Inn, the hotel that Sean and his girlfriend were in. They waited for five hours, listening in on their conversation and their sex. Sean had been bugged. As usual. There was a different agent every day and a different agent for this purpose. A handshake, a hug, a collision, whatever brought physical contact. And they were good. The microchip was planted on him. The transmitter was live. Sean never suspected anything. They most times knew of his plans for the next day. So they had planned the smash and grab to perfection. They knew he was going home to see his mother that evening. They knew his girlfriend was going out of the country. They knew he would always wait to cross the road when he got down from the “keke napep”. That was when they would strike. They only hoped that he would not cross the road too soon or decide not to go home. If that happened they would have to hatch another plan.
A Toyota Camry was at Agric bus stop waiting for the signal to know when they would move. The Toyota Prado trailed the bus Sean was in. It was easy. Sophia was listening in the whole time via radio communication. She chipped in orders here and there and monitored the whole operation. The Toyota Camry traced the “keke-napep”, increased speed when Sean got off and picked him up at the bus stop. It was done. Mission accomplished. She called Marshal to confirm if he had the package. He was positive. The journey would take approximately 8 hours. They knew that. All contingency measures had been put in place. All possible loopholes were closed and taken care of. And if anything else came up unexpectedly out of the blues, there was Bruno. He was the brain. He had the ability of split second thinking. He was able to come up with ideas to go past seemingly impassable hurdles. But Sophia did not envision any problems. She had spoken to Marshal again at 2am when they were leaving Benin City, Edo State. All was going smoothly. She had decided to take a much needed nap.
She woke at 5am and found 7 missed calls and a message on her phone. All were from Bruno. She checked the time of the calls. 3:19 am. She checked the message:
“Mission in jeopardy. Bees on tail. Taking precaution.”
She panicked. She called the number. Switched off. shit!! Why wasn’t she awake? She was angry with herself. She did not panic. The ability to keep cool under life threatening pressure was one of the abilities required of the agents at her level of clearance. She took a bottle of Baileys from the bar and calmed her nerves with the creamy alcohol. She was pacing and thinking. Then the General called and almost made her lose her wits. She was not called The Iron Lady for nothing. She thought for a while.
She called Gbenga.
“Gbenga. Yes. Take an SUV. Government plates. Take the mission route to Benin, Edo state. Sniff out Marshal and Bruno. Keep your eyes open and you head low. This is a Code Yellow. And take Mark with you.”
She hung up.
She sat down and crossed her legs, the bottle in one hand and the wine glass in the other. She tried to think of possible occurrences that may have made Bruno call her. Bruno was capable. He was one of the candidates in line to succeed her. She shrugged. She decided to ease off. She took the home theater remote and pressed play. Yanni’s attraction played from the speakers. Soulful jazz. It helped her relax.
Just then the door opened.
Bruno entered, covered in mud and dirt.
TO BE CONTINUED tommorow by 8pm.