ROOM 39: CHAPTER ELEVEN
The new building was constructed to house the special department of antiterrorism that was formed. It was also going to house CODE RED, a special safe box in one of the rooms that should contain some very highly classified info. Not even Chika is allowed into that room, let alone that special box.
It is hidden from the original architectural design of the place because the Directors of National Intelligence and FBI wouldn’t want anyone to know that the room exists in the first place. Only themselves and whosoever they deem fit is allowed to have the special code for that room and CODE RED.
Chukwuma, the architect knows. And even before the suggestion came from the Directors, he anticipated that.
He has always constructed special things in all of the highly secured edifices he has created. He calls it his golden signature; something that the formal architectural design submitted at the city council doesn’t have. But of course, the owners of those buildings know it’s there and they always loved it. Call it illegal, call it pride, Chukwuma enjoys his golden signature and his clients loved the idea even more.
In the construction of this building, however, Chukwuma decided to do something that he has never done before. Something that no one ever suspected. Something that out of pride and a touch of arrogance he wanted to share.
So, one day, he decided to anonymously send an email to a city journalist concerning a puzzle that would fetch 220,000 dollars to anyone who solves it. A puzzle that he was so sure that no one would ever solve, but which if solved would actually unearth the secret code to Room 39 and Code RED as well.
When the journalist received the anonymous e-mail, he discarded it as spam. After a few months, he received yet another anonymous e-mail with a sentence that seemed to refer to the solution for the puzzle he saw in the previous e-mail. He again trashed it. But when he received the third e-mail a month later at 3 am, he thought it was serious and decided to publish it. Who knows what this mysterious person want?
The journalist is an employee of a local newspaper on Pirro’s lane, but unwilling to go through the process of asking permission from his editor, he decided not to publish the puzzle on the pages of the print media (newspaper). He has a personal website where he blogs constantly on certain issues of interest, especially politics. So, he rather decided to attach it as a footnote to his weekly articles.
He runs a weekly electronic newsletter that gives a summary of the sociopolitical happenings on Pirro for that week. And announcements on major economic events that will take place the following week. So, he decided to add this ‘kick’ to his articles weekly.
The puzzle soon began to gather many interested people, especially because of the financial reward attached to the solution.
Initially, Kean, the journalist was reluctant to add the cash reward to it because he wasn’t sure if this anonymous e-mail sender would actually send the money. But when Chukwuma agreed to send him 50% of the cash prize, he knew that this game was serious. So, he decided to play along, after all, he got more traffic to his blog, and even if Chukwuma refuses to pay in the end, he could make up for the remaining amount from the paid adverts on his website.
The weekly publication on Kean’s blog soon gained wider coverage in the media. Even the local radio station, the print media and other blogs began running articles on the search for the solution to this difficult puzzle. Chukwuma sent an e-mail weekly containing some clues to the journalist who published it on his blog. The radio station and the local newspaper copied from there and made their sales.
So, there were a good number of people who wanted the cash prize. There were others who were simply curious to resolve this puzzle. And there was another group that had another objective that goes beyond the cash prize and curiosity. One of such people was a chemical engineer by the name Kachi (Remember Kachi from Chapter One? Yeah)
Kachi was a renowned chemical engineering lecturer at the university. He’s regarded as one of the best minds that the country has ever produced because of his numerous research work that has been featured in all the most important engineering and biomedical journals.
When the construction of the new building for the antiterrorism unit headed by Chika began, the local newspaper began to conduct an investigation into what that new building was meant for. There were already the FBI headquarters and the DNI head office as well. Why would they want to construct a separate structure to house an antiterrorism unit? Why not expand an arm of the already existing buildings, instead of destroying the beauty of the city as well as the environment? The City Council had opposed the construction, saying that it was never in the original city plan. But just like the FBI headquarters, the federal government found a way around it.
So, many residents were angry, and the local newspaper began to dig deep into what will happen in this new building. They speculated that there was a specially synthesized drug that the DNI wanted to hide there. That in fact, it was going to be a laboratory for some highly classified experiments of drugs and other chemicals that would be used for their antiterrorism fights. The DNI and FBI refuted that report, but the local newspaper didn’t budge and went on to pursue their claims.
LET’S GO BACK A LITTLE
Do you remember the corrupt FBI agents that were doing some illegal things with the Collingahs? Yes, Mbe and his team members have been working with the Collingahs, promising them freedom for a huge sum of money. The Collingahs have always cooperated with these men of corrupt minds until something happened.
Mr Collingah senior was nabbed by the FBI some weeks ago at the border when he was trying to escape the country. That caused a rage in his family, and the children felt that Mbe and his men weren’t protecting them enough. That they were lightmen in comparison to the heavy men that ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The first son of Mr Collingah took over the helm of affairs in the family and decided to call it quits with Mbe and his cohorts. Several attempts by Mbe to bury the hatchet proved abortive as Mr Collingah jr seemed determined to break ties with him and search for another alliance to continue to perpetuate the family’s evil business.
The Collingahs were dealers on illegal drugs and child prostitution. They’d import these drugs either by air or water. So, they had men at various ports of entry to allow these drugs into the country. The most wicked part of their business isn’t the thousands of lives that get wasted injecting these illegal drugs into their blood vessels or those that inhaled the powder form; it was that the children being trafficked were used as human couriers for these drugs.
And there have been multiple cases of children who died out of intoxication because the drugs were released into their systems before they arrived in the country. These are children from rural areas in underdeveloped countries, whose families were promised all sorts of good things if they’d let their children go on this expedition. Sadly, most of them never returned after that.
The Collingahs also ran a luxurious hospitality business, with chains of hotels and restaurants all over the country. As you could imagine, this latter business was a cover for their nefarious activities. These young girls ‘served’ in these hotels and restaurants, and the illegal drugs were also distributed through the same means.
This legal part of the business has for years allowed them to run their ‘main’ illegal business underground. They made so much more money from illegalities that the legal income from the hotels and restaurants seemed as peanuts in comparison.
Recently, however, the Collingahs decided to enter the nightclub business arena, and because of their client base, the new venture boomed.
One of the major reasons that they decided to get into the nightclub business was as a result of a new drug that they plan to launch. A psychostimulant that would practically make their competitors run out of business because of how potent it is.
Originally meant to be used for chronic pains that have defied opioids, the drug was synthesized by Kachi in one of his laboratories outside the city. Kachi was already working on finding a solution to the chronic pains of neoplastic patients, but his interest in the research grew exceedingly when a venture capitalist approached to finance his project.
He had lost his daughter some years ago to multiple sclerosis and that was unimaginably painful for him. Later after that, he decided, together with a few of his assistants, to find a lasting solution to chronic pains. Yes, a drug with some euphoric effect maybe but mostly for the morphine-like effect.
The research work had progressed but at a slow pace because Kachi lacked the necessary financing for it. Not so many investors were willing to invest in that project. The only people that saw a business in what Kachi was working on were the Collingahs. Mr Collingah already had a bad reputation around the country, so he recruited a venture capitalist to stand in for him to finance the research work. Kachi and his team were completely ignorant of what was going on.
During one of the routine meetings Kachi had with his venture capital, he told them that the research work was going on very well and that soon they’d be able to come up with something that could serve as a preliminary application for clinical trials.
In addition to the above information was a piece of important news. The new chemical (drug) had more euphoric effects than he had earlier thought. In fact, it is at least twenty times more potent than heroin, both in the analgesic and euphoric effects it produces. The Venture capitalist seemed visibly excited on hearing this, but Kachi was not.
Kachi had seen the opioid crisis and wouldn’t want another drug that would amplify the problem to be pushed into the market or on the streets. So, he told them during the meeting that his team is working hard to see a way to alter the chemical structure of the drug to make it selectively analgesic, with little or no euphoric effects.
The Venture capitalist was enraged and asked him not to do that. That doing such would cut down on his profit. “No one wanted to invest in this research work because there are many pain relievers already in the market.” He thundered. The euphoric effect, according to him, is what cancer patients need most, and it’ll make the drug sell everywhere around the world.
One would think that he was deeply concerned about the pains that cancer patients go through, but he knows what his main objective is. Or rather, what the main objective of his boss, Mr Collingah, is – the euphoric effects of the newly synthesized drug.
You can’t imagine what happened next. Read Chapter Twelve!