ROOM 39: CHAPTER 15
At this point Chukwuma knew that Mbe wasn’t only serious – he could tell that from his voice – but there was no way he was going home tonight alive. Mbe just confessed to making an attempt at his life, stealing drugs and other vital items from the Collingahs, and worst still, Mbe’s face was in full glare. So, there was no way an astute FBI agent like Mbe would allow him to go free. He figured that Mbe just wants to lay his hands on the drugs and documents and then proceed to kill him.
So, Chukwuma opted to die instead, after all, he was dead the day he began to take interest in Chika and was buried the day he accepted to take those items into Room 39. The case was closed from the beginning. At this point, he decided to find a way of escape and if that didn’t work, he wouldn’t give Mbe the drugs either.
“You can’t get into that safe room at this time. Why not come here early tomorrow morning and I’ll give everything to you. No one is going to know anything that happened.” Chukwuma insisted.
“You think I’m stupid, right? I’ll simply laugh, shake your hands and let you go, right?” Mbe beams his evil laughter
“I don’t think you’re stupid. Not at all. But Room 39 is a very specialised room that has several protocols for going in and out. If I attempt bridging any of those protocols, in the next couple of minutes, we’ll have all the security apparatus surrounding this building. A signal will be sent to all of them that someone is trying to bridge the security protocols of the safe room.” Chukwuma continued.
“That’s hogwash. You projected and constructed this hell of a building. There must be a way to get in and get out without triggering the alarms. You can’t fool me. Get on man, I have no time to waste!” Mbe furiously shuts him up
Chukwuma reluctantly walks back to the building to open it. As he got inside the building, they both walk across the offices leading to Room 39. Mbe couldn’t believe his eyes as he saw the sophistication in the building; it was an intricate construction, like a labyrinth that only a mathematics genius like Chukwuma could come up with.
They continued to walk to the side of the building where Room 39 is. Chukwuma was in front, while Mbe followed closely at gunpoint.
While they talked, Chukwuma slowly opened the first entrance to Room 39 and walked in. Then, he triggered the silent alarm by the door. Mbe didn’t notice that initially, but when he saw a red light blinking, he knew that something fishy was going on. Chukwuma on his part was aware that if Mbe steps his feet inside Room 39, there was no way Mbe could leave the room without him given the security measures in place. It was either Mbe spared the life of Chukwuma till they were out of the building with the drugs and documents, or he can kill Chukwuma and leave without the items.
“What the hell did you just do? You set off the alarm?” Mbe fumed in rage.
“I told you that if I bridged the security protocols, the alarm would go off. I told you.” Chukwuma seems to become unusually bold and that confuses Mbe.
“And I told you that if you did that you’d die, together with your daughter and everyone you love. How stupid can you be – you lose the drugs, documents and still lose your life and family.” Mbe retorted.
“Ahahaha… ahahaha…Do you think that you’re the only one who can play this game? Well, let me educate you. My daughter will be out of this country in the next 3 minutes, sorry 30 seconds. I sent her a message the moment I sensed your threat towards my family. Come on! Do you think that a man like me who has constructed highly secured buildings for the Mossad, the Arab security apparati and the FSB won’t know a thing or two about security? Do you think I got to this level just by knowing how to erect nice buildings? Chukwuma said mocking Mbe.
“Shut the hell up and get me the items now! I don’t care who you are or what you have done in the past. Get me those drugs and documents immediately.” Mbe thunders.
“How dumb can you be? And by the way, the night you trailed me to my house, you actually got saved by the police vehicle. I was ready to take good care of you had you come closer. But as I said, the police vehicle helped you that day.” Chukwuma continues.
“It doesn’t matter to me. You’re dead to me anyway. Your daughter can run to anywhere for all I care, but I’m going to find her.” Mbe tries to project courage, although his voice portrays fear and desperation.
“Granted, you caught me off guard tonight. I wasn’t expecting you, so I wasn’t with any of my ammunition. But also, you are a coward because you won’t drop your gun and fight with your hands. That’s ok. You’ve won tonight, and I lost. But to think that I’ll allow you Coward to harm my daughter… that’s stupid. Yes, you are both stupid and a coward. “
As he said these words, Mbe grew increasingly angry. While he thought of killing Chukwuma, he was also aware that he desperately needed the drugs to save his family from the Collingahs. But to do the latter, he needs to go into Room 39 with Chukwuma alive and leave the Room with him alive too. And while he’s at it, the security operatives may arrive, and he’d lose everything. Mbe was confused. He didn’t know what decision to take.
“You can come to get the drugs, or you can escape for your life. Those are the only two options you have coward. You can’t have both. Your choice coward!” Chukwuma shouted.
At this point, Mbe lost it and emptied his barrel on Chukwuma. “To hell with you and the drugs!” he screamed as he fatally shot Chukwuma. Mbe quickly runs back, following the path they had walked. He narrowly escapes before the police could arrive at the building.
When Chukwuma triggered the alarm, all the security apparati were immediately alerted. So, some police officers and FBI agents were immediately deployed to the new Antiterrorism headquarters to ascertain what the problem was. Unfortunately, before they could arrive at the crime scene, Mbe had escaped leaving no traces at all.
As Mbe escaped from the building, he quickly called his FBI friends to notify them of what had happened. He was aware that some FBI personnel would be assigned to the scene of the crime and so asked his friends to intercept whoever was assigned and replace them. Mbe was also very certain that the security cameras in the building must have captured him at some point. On entering the building with Chukwuma, he had wittingly flipped a hoodie over his head and worn a pair of dark goggles to disguise. But he was still certain that in the long run, with the postural and gait analysis that the Attorney’s office would conduct, it won’t be long until he’s uncovered.
So, as he drove for a few metres away from the building, he quickly turns when he learnt that his friends were on their way to the building. On reaching the building, their firm aim is to quickly go to the control room and extract the tape recorder. Then, delete the file recording for that hour and insert it back into the system. The second aim is to go into room 39 and get the stolen drugs and documents before the police officers would find out. So, Mbe quickly asked them to divide themselves into two groups. He would lead the group that goes to the control room, while the other group goes to recover the stolen items.
The FBI agents were the first to arrive at the crime scene because Mbe had tipped them off. Mbe quickly moves to the control room on the first floor. At first, they were lost, not knowing the exact location of the control room. But having visited the building a few times, he was able to locate it. They quickly extract the tape, inserted it into their own system and performed a complete reset of the tape. While they did so, they were on the lookout for when the police and other security operatives will arrive at the building.
On reaching the place where the lifeless body of Chukwuma lay, the corrupt agents tried to enter Room 39 but discovered that the entrance was shut. The security door had locked 30 seconds after Chukwuma was shot. In fact, Chukwuma had hoped to enter the Room and activate the automatic lock. But Mbe was at a close range, so, that wasn’t possible. When the corrupt agents asked Mbe for the code, he told them that he doesn’t know since he stayed a distance from the Chukwuma.
As they sought a way to break into Room 39, the police and another group of FBI agents arrived at the building. When they questioned how Mbe and his friends arrived so early, Mbe simply answered that they were within the neighbourhood for a covert operation when they observed some strange movements around the building. So, they quickly rushed to the scene. And on why they were on the first floor where the control room is, they said that they were searching for the gunman, peradventure he was still hiding in the building.
Afraid of being unmasked, Mbe and his friends decided to leave the scene after they made sure that any evidence that would link them to the death of Chukwuma was tampered with. They left with the excuse that since other FBI agents had arrived at the crime scene, that they will now take their leave to continue the covert operation they were assigned to do in the vicinity.
Chika was at the dinner table with Ebuka and her parents when received a call informing her that Chukwuma was dead. She was in utter shock and disbelief. When she inquired and learnt that he was shot, she was more confused. She didn’t know Chukwuma as someone who had enemies around the country. He was an easy-going person who seemed to get along with everyone around the world… with no prejudice, just projects and money. Nothing more.
She excuses herself and drives quickly to the crime scene to see things for herself. On reaching the scene, Chukwuma’s body had already been taken to the Attorney General’s office for forensic investigation. She asks the investigators some questions regarding the crime scene, and they give her the few details they had.
The whole thing was still shocking to Chika. She quickly puts a call through to Jane’s line to know if she was home and safe. But her line was unreachable, so Chika decided to drive to Chukwuma’s house. A few metres away from his house, he saw three men quickly enter a car and speed off. She slowly stops her car, parks by the side, and turns off her car lights.
As they drive past her, she took photos of the vehicle. When she was sure that they were gone, she ignites her engine and drives to Chukwuma’s house to inspect what was really happening. On reaching the house, she observes that the lights are off and there seems to be no movement inside. She goes around the building, takes some photos, and calmly drives away. She was determined to know what really happened to Chukwuma and the whereabouts of her daughter. And no one would be able to stop her this time.
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Here is Chapter Sixteen.