ROOM 39: CHAPTER TWELVE
Kachi wasn’t having it. He told the participants at the meeting that he would go on to synthesise exactly what he had in mind originally, and that no one can stop him, including his financiers. He was willing to source for investment elsewhere if they decided to pull their money. And he reminded them that his contract with them didn’t include doing what they were asking.
Needless to say that the meeting ended with the venture capitalist (VC) storming out of the room.
One cool morning as Kachi arrived at the laboratory, he noticed some usual quietness. It’s true that he had located this laboratory at the periphery of the city for safety but also for calm and focus, but the silence this morning is so loud that the deaf can hear it. Even a lover of peace and tranquillity like Kachi knew that some noise is better than this tense atmosphere.
As Kachi passed by the few offices at the entrance and walked through the hallway leading to the laboratory, he was shocked at what he saw. The place was completely ransacked, with none of the assistants in view. He couldn’t believe what had happened or was going on. He quickly ran to his office to verify if some sensitive documents he had stored away were still intact.
On reaching his office, he saw his safe box totally empty. It was at this point that he knew that this wasn’t an ordinary accident and the perpetrators weren’t little rats who came to pilfer; the hoodlums knew what they wanted. Kachi quickly tried to place a call to the local police office to report what he was seeing, but just as he drew his phone out of his briefcase, three huge men appeared from behind and asked him to drop the phone immediately.
At this point, Kachi was visibly shaking, fearing for his life. In a few seconds, his mind ran through a list of the many ‘enemies’ that could be responsible for such a disaster but he couldn’t figure out who. Not that the list is so long, but none of them could imagine destroying his laboratory and carting away sensitive documents regarding his research work.
Then, just like Apostle Paul in the Bible, who at the prayers of Ananias observed that scales fell from his eye, Kachi’s quickly received illumination and the scales fell from his eyes instantly. The list after all isn’t that long, it’s just one name that is on it – the VC. He recalled how the meeting had ended and the veiled threats he had received in the days following that meeting. But there was still one puzzle left to be solved – why did the VC have to ransack the entire building? Was it necessary? Why cart away the newly synthesized drugs and documents?
So, Kachi mustered up some courage and asked the masked men why the chaos. The response he got wasn’t just shocking, it was devastating for Kachi. The response wasn’t in words, it was captured in an mp4 format. One of the men drew out a portable device and asked him to watch. It wasn’t the explanation that Kachi needed, it wasn’t a video that Kachi wanted to ever see whether in this life or the next.
The short video clip that played, with audio, captures a man injecting a dosage of an unknown substance into a lady’s arm. The young lady could be seen and heard agonizing, pleading that his father help her out. And the man is seen thinking, running around, trying to reassure her that all will be well. In the end, the man yielded and did what the video says he did. The young lady is Kachi’s late daughter, and the man is obviously Kachi.
As Kachi saw the first milliseconds, he screamed in pain and tried to shut down the computer, but the men prevailed upon him. They held his hands and forced him to watch the last minutes of his daughter’s death literally. What could be more devastating than this? What other hell can there be that transforms a man into a walking package of agony and misery! He wept as the memories returned.
The Collingahs had succeeded in breaking Kachi. They had taken his drugs, his reserved documents and now this video. For what really? Because he refused to synthesize a drug that produces a euphoric effect twenty times more than heroin. How they obtained that video clip is still unknown, although that was the last thing on Kachi’s mind. In fact, Kachi has nothing on his mind; he is blank, drowning in the ocean of agony.
At the end of the video, the men told him that if he ever told the authorities or anyone what had happened to his laboratory and team, they’d make the video public and accuse him of killing the daughter. At that moment, Kachi didn’t care if everyone in the world knew what happened. After all, he was dead already.
But as days went by, he advised himself otherwise. He knew that he had a purpose for being alive, although it seems weak and defeated. He wanted to help as many people as possible not to go through what his daughter went through. He wanted to honour the memory of his daughter through his research work, and the mass production of that drug especially. So, going in and out of the court for the rest of his days, and each time being reminded that he was being tried for killing his daughter was the last thing Kachi wanted.
Kachi’s daughter died of advanced ovarian cancer some years ago. She has been in and out of the hospital for the last 7 years. A trained civil engineer, Nnenna is the only child of Mr Kachi. Kachi’s beautiful wife, Uyom died during puerperium (the postpartum period) in a car accident when Nnenna was barely a month old.
One early morning, she was on her way to the hospital for a routine checkup when a drunk driver hit their vehicle. Uyom’s driver died on the spot while she sustained a head injury. On getting to the hospital, she was quickly operated on but the trauma was so severe that she never got out of the coma. She died a few weeks after that. So, Kachi had to raise Nnenna all by himself and that contributed to building a strong bond between the two.
On one of those evenings when Nnenna, her only beloved daughter was crying out of severe pain and begging his father for help, Kachi decided to administer some opioids to her. It was just unbearable seeing her daughter die before him. He had lost his wife in an accident and can’t afford to lose the only thing that is still keeping alive.
So, seeing his only child suffer is the last thing he could bear. So, he took out a syringe and injected some dose to relieve her of the pain. For a moment Nnenna was fine and smiled, thanking the Dad. In a few minutes, she slept off.
Unfortunately, the dosage was so much that the daughter didn’t wake up afterwards. The opioid not only sedated her but also caused respiratory depression leading to a complete respiratory arrest. Kachi has lost his world. But what hurts the most was that he ‘killed’ her.
How these evil men got the video is just beyond him. He knew that he had installed cameras in his house since the birth of Nnenna, but how these hoodlums were able to lay their hands on the tape is indecipherable. But he wasn’t even bothered about the video anymore. The memories of his multiple losses just came back haunting him. The weight of the things he did and did not do came suddenly on him. Kachi couldn’t help but scream in pain. They had touched his weak point and he was visibly paralysed. The drugs were gone and so were his years of labour too. Kachi was left with nothing but death and maybe… just maybe his teaching career. Because once the video goes public, his teaching career will also bid him farewell.
Not wanting to be arrested for the death of his daughter, Kachi decided to leave the city for a while. To metabolise his losses and know what next horrible experience life reserved for him. The entire university community was shocked when they heard some months later that Kachi is now a schoolteacher in one of the secondary schools in a distant rural area several kilometres away from town.
Mbe is still at daggers drawn with the new heir apparent of the Collingah empire after Mr Collingah sr was arrested. So, one of the days, he learnt that the Collingahs were keeping some drugs which they wanted to produce en masse for use in their nightclubs. He decided to hatch a plan with his team on how to steal the drugs and use them to extort money from the Collingahs. Unfortunately for him, the store, just like the entire compound, is constantly guarded by armed men that work for the Collingahs. So, Mbe couldn’t access the room where the drugs are stored.
After a month from the incident at Kachi’s laboratory, the Collingahs decided to set up a new laboratory in a distant city. The aim was to start mass production seeing that the launch of their nightclub business was a few weeks away. They have found a new team of chemists, and together with the research documents and the original drugs Kachi had synthesized, they were set to increase, multiply and replenish the entire country. Once the new drugs hit the nightclubs, hotels and restaurants, they were sure to rake in money in millions per night.
So, they decided to convey the drugs out of the safe storage in the house to this new laboratory. When Mbe learnt of the move, he agreed with his team to steal the drugs along the way. So, on the day of the movement, Mbe with his team waylaid the transporters, killed the security men guarding them and carted away the drugs and all the relevant documents that they could lay hands on.
While running away, they decided to stop by an uncompleted building to plan their next move. When they got to an uncompleted building on the highway, they all agreed that the drugs needed to be kept in a safe place together with the documents. They wanted a lot of money from the Collingahs for the stolen items and were not willing.
As none of their houses seemed safe for such storage, Mbe suggested that the items be kept in the new building under construction for the antiterrorism unit. The construction of the building was almost done, but it hadn’t opened yet. The official opening is in a few weeks, so they decided to keep there, collect money from the Collingahs and then come back to get the drugs and documents. So, they’d have either gotten the money they wanted from the Collingahs or they’d find a better place to keep them.
So, that evening, Mbe drove to Chukwuma’s office with one of his team members and asked Chukwuma to show them the safest place in the building. When Chukwuma asked to know why, they responded that it was an order from the FBI Director and it should be treated as an emergency.
Chukwuma quickly took the items from them and asked them to wait behind while he went in alone. Mbe refused but after much argument, he gave in. Chukwuma went inside, making sure he was not followed by anyone, found a way to Room 39 and deposited the items into Code RED. He quickly closed the place and came out to bid the men goodbye.
Answer the following questions to test your knowledge of Room 39:
Who is Ike?
Who is Chika?
Who is Jael?
What’s Chika’s relationship with Chukwuma?
What’s the name of Chika’s father?
Who is Mbe?
What happened to Ike?
Who is Mr Collingah?
Who designed and built the FBI HQ?
Who is Nnenna?
What’s her relationship with Kachi?
Who designed the DNI HQ on Pirro’s lane?
Finally, what’s behind the desk of the DNI director?
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Continue to read Chapter Thirteen