ROOM 39: CHAPTER THIRTEEN
So, when Jael and Ebuka left, Chukwuma decided to unveil the secrets of the building to Chika. He began by telling Chika patches of stories of the jobs he’s done in various countries and the names he gave to each of the buildings he’s constructed. Chika didn’t know exactly why he was telling the story of his life basically, but since it sounded interesting, she listened carefully. Moreover, the meals that Jael had prepared for the dinner was quite delicious. Who doesn’t love the taste of pasta alla carbonara, lo spiedino served with a beautiful ceramic, a cup of wine, all under an atmosphere that is cosy, exclusive and with a touch of ancient feel to it.
Unknown to Chika however, Chukwuma was gradually telling her the pieces of the puzzle he’s been releasing to the journalist via email, although in a non-sequential manner. She had read of the rave on the local newspapers and blog about some strange puzzle that people were attempting to solve, but she had never been that interested in digging deep.
As the conversation progressed, Chika began to observe a pattern in the stories that Chukwuma was telling. A pattern she wasn’t aware of what it served but which she decided to however follow, peradventure Chukwuma asks questions at the end of the stories to test her comprehension abilities. It was as she did this that she observed that the initials of all the countries Chukwuma mentioned, when pieced together would give the name CABIOJINIA. Cabiojinia is the man that decorated the DNI headquarters on Pirro’s lane.
But she didn’t know what it was for. What’s the relationship between Chukwuma and Cabiojinia? she asked herself. She wanted to find out from Chukwuma but she preferred not to interrupt him, waiting for the stories to end and her turn to speak. Moreover, Chukwuma may be telling stories that have no deeper meaning to them. So, she didn’t want to sound awkward.
Then, at one point, Chukwuma dropped his cutleries, wiped his mouth and adjusted his chair as if he was about to say something really important. At this point, Chika was more attentive, although she pretended to be more involved in munching her meat than in the stories that Chukwuma told. He told her that there is a special room inside the new Antiterrorism building called Room number 39. It is called Room 39 not because it’s the 39th room in the building; it’s actually a highly secured apartment that doesn’t appear in the official design that was submitted to the department of Urban development. That official copy is accessible to the public at the local government headquarters. So, this secured fortress was purposely cropped out of the public design.
39 however represents the secret code for gaining access into this special apartment in the building. The first door asks for the secret code, the second door has a fingerprint sensor, while the last door scans the iris before you’ll be granted access to the safest place in the apartment. The code 39 isn’t in English, but in Igbo language – IRI NA ITOOLU. Once inside the apartment, the exit code is different as well. But Chukwuma said that he won’t tell the exit code to anyone until when the building officially opens and he hands the keys over to her and the Directors of the FBI and DNI. The exit code, he added, changes every 30 seconds, so once in there, you need to be quick whenever you want to exit.
Kachi has continued to teach in his new secondary school. He fled the city to escape arrest because the Collingahs threatened to make the video of his daughter’s death public. One day Kachi was on his way to school when a newspaper front page caught his attention. He had heard of the construction work going on but hadn’t really been interested in knowing for what reason and why it seemed to raise much clamour. So, whenever he saw that the front page of the newspapers was on the said building, he’d simply leave buying them completely. But today was different. Aside from the title on the building project, there was also a cover story on the new drug that the Collingahs seem to be trying to distribute. The newspaper had gotten information from an anonymous source that the Collingahs were going into the entertainment business as a cover to flood the nightclubs with this new pill.
When Kachi read the headings of the newspaper, he immediately knew that this would interest him. So, on alighting the bus, he quickly bought the newspaper. Also on the front page was a title, though minuscule, concerning the puzzle that everyone except him was talking about. So, in one daily, he had the latest information regarding the building, the puzzle and most importantly the new drug in town. Well, he was more interested in the drug and vowed to himself that he would do anything in his power to stop its distribution. He also learned that the Collingahs seemed to have lost possession of the drug they had stolen from his laboratory and were searching for ways to recover it.
His curiosity led him to start solving the puzzle, but the more he did, the more he figured that the three items that he read on the newpaper could all be linked – the building, the puzzle and the drug were all pointing in the same direction. It was a fascinating mix that Kachi didn’t want to miss. So, he set out on a mission to unravel the whole puzzle and lay his hands on those pills.
After the theft orchestrated by Mbe and his team, the Collingahs didn’t spend much time discovering who was responsible. After all, they knew the man that was interested in getting them either jailed or extorting huge sums of money from them. But they couldn’t fathom how Mbe was able to get the secret info regarding the transportation of the drugs. The important documents that the security guards transported included all the formulae of that drug and the steps involved in its synthesis. The Collingahs wanted both of them because the new chemists and biologists they employed needed both the samples of the drug and the formulae that Kachi had painstakingly written down.
So, they quickly devised a means to hunt down Mbe and his men. They were to kidnap all the cohorts of Mbe and their families until Mbe gets them those drugs and documents. Instructions soon got to all the security agents working for the Collingahs, and the search began. The agents had clear instructions not to kill any of the men, but to take down any member of their family if that would make Mbe’s team succumb. And if these men tried to escape, well….
When Mbe learnt that some of his men and their families had been kidnapped, he quickly made plans to fly his family out of the country. He knew that the entire city and indeed the entire country was unsafe for his wife and children. The Collingahs had their agents all over the country, and where they don’t have, they’d recruit local mercenaries to do their evil bidding. Mbe knew this, after all, he was under the pay of this deadly family until a few months ago.
On this unfortunate day, Mbe had arranged with a private jet owner, who was his friend, to fly his family out of the country. He didn’t want to book for seats in a commercial airline and go through the normal controls at the airport. No one knows where these Collingahs are lurking and they might disguise themselves as airport workers to carry out their nefarious activities. The illegal business of the Collingahs majorly travelled by air, so to think that they don’t have men among the airport personnel, including pilots, would be infantile.
Unfortunately for Mbe, one of his men that was captured told the Collingahs Mbe’s plan to whisk his family away from the country via air. So the Collingahs quickly contacted their mercenaries at the major airports and told them to be on the lookout for Mbe and his family.
Mbe arrived at the airport in a regular taxi cab with his family, disguised in blue jeans, a white t-shirt and a cap. His family all dressed in a simple manner with face masks. They briskly go through the normal checks with no hassles and walk down to meet Mbe’s friend – the owner of the private jet. Mbe felt that something was wrong with how peaceful the whole process went; no suspicious moves around the airport and no curious eyes when they passed through the gate. Everything went too smoothly to be true. And no flight attendant to welcome them aboard the private jet. He knew the exact private jet that belong to his friend but he was expecting that his friend would send one of his attendants to meet with them.
While he was still lost in his thoughts, he noticed the flight door open and a man walk down the airstairs. He looked like his friend and for a moment he could heave a sigh of relief; he could see a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. He beamed with smiles as he approached his friend to exchange greetings. But as they climbed the boarding stairs, Mbe’s greatest fears seem to return suddenly. He wondered why the friend was at the airport at that time. He had told him a few hours ago that he would be in a business meeting at the time of Mbe’s proposed travel. Also, he won’t be travelling for the next two weeks. “How come he’s at the airport waiting for us?” Mbe thought to himself. And just in the middle of airtairs, Mbe had a change of mind. He sensed danger; someone has betrayed his trust. He doesn’t know what the deal was, but he was sure his friend had sold him to the Collingahs.
Mbe quickly turns and asks his family to drop their luggage and run back to the airport terminal. But just as the words escaped his mouth, two men emerged from the passenger boarding bridge walking towards them. From their look and gait, he knew who they were and what their mission was. As he turned to see if they could run inside the aircraft, two mercenaries stood on both sides of the door of the aircraft. Mbe knew that his end was close. His family was ushered inside the aeroplane by the two agents at the door, while the other two escorted Mbe to a limousine parked a few metres away.
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Continue reading Chapter Fourteen now.
👀The suspense is mounting and getting intense. It can only get more interesting; keep writing, we’re reading😎
Thanks for reading. Yeah, I’m curious to learn what happened next. 🙂