The truck rode up to a makeshift road block manned by three heavily armed men and came to a halt. Two men walked up to the sides of the vehicle and signaled Agents Emeto and Nduka out of the truck, as they complied with their hands in the air, the men trained their rifles on them.
“Slowly boys”, the armed man on the passenger side of the vehicle said, a wide grin on his face, “smooth and slow”, he continued as they alighted, he grabbed Emeto`s left arm and pushed him forward. “Move boys”, he commanded.
Nduka joined Emeto and the two armed men marched them on. They kept walking hands raised unknown to them, one of the armed men behind had silently disarmed a smoke grenade and tossed it ahead of them. Before they could react, they felt the cold bite of steel on their necks.
“Easy boys, easy, now I wear you your hoods”.
“They are on their way boss”
“Aha, can you hear that Egbentu? Your boy is learning”
There was a slight knock on the door and it opened. Agents Emeto and Nduka were led through the open door hooded. They covered the short distance from the door to the table in few strides and the hoods they had on taken off. They squinted to adjust their sight to the faint light in the room.
“Welcome gentlemen; excuse the bad manners of the boys. They have learned over time to obey orders to detail. You see, men like us thrive on secrecy and absolute loyalty of the people that work for us. You may take your leave boys.” As the two men retreated from the room, he continued “To my left here is Egbentu, my trusted lieutenant and to my right is Ediabani, he is on my right, he is my beloved son, bringing redemption to my most innermost aching, the sight of him alone is adrenaline to me” Pointing to Ubulu at the far corner of the room, “that squirrel over there is absolutely useless, but Egbentu here adviced I recruit him. I am sorry, seats are limited, and you will have to stand.” Spreading his hands and lowering himself into his seat, he went on, “Shall we begin?”
Ekene glanced at his watch for the umpteenth time, he turned to his right and asked “Don’t you think we should break radio silence, at least among ourselves on the emergency channel and get across to Atom Starboard?” He dipped his hand into his combat pocket, retrieved a packet of Dorchester and flipped it open, using his lips, he picked out a stick. He returned the packet to his pocket and rummaged for a lighter. He reached into the other pocket and searched further.
“This shit will kill you”, Chidalu admonished
“You’ve being coughing for 6 months, why not hands off?” Ikenna added.
“It`s been thirty minutes since we pinned down here, nobody have used this road in that period, I have a feeling all is not right”, Ekene continued.
“Atom Port, Atom Port, come in for Atom Starboard”. Chinedu broadcasted over the emergency channel used my members of The Cell in extreme emergencies when Radio Silence Order is active.
Surprised, Ikenna nodded at Ekene and waved him to respond.
“Atom Port, Atom Port, Atom Starboard, over” came Chinedu`s voice again, this time with more urgency.
“Atom Starboard, Atom Port with you, relay your message”
“Multiple hostiles approaching from my 6 o’clock, we are crawling out, I repeat, we are crawling over to your end, over”
“Standing by, over and out”
Atom Port crawled to the edge of the bush on their side of the road to wait for Atom starboard. In 90 seconds, Atom Starboard had crawled out of the bush on their side and crawled across the road to the other side of the bush.
Igbekele snapped his fingers and a secret door glided open behind him. A tiny young man walked briskly through the door straight to Igbekele, handed a micro SD card to him, returned faster than he came and the door slide shut. Holding the micro SD card between the middle finger and thumb of his left hand, he raised it up for Agent Emeto to see. “This is why you are here I suppose”, he said and placed it on the table. As Agent Emeto made to pick it up, Igbekele continued, “not so fast, your end of the bargain please.” Emeto straightened himself and smiled. He reached into his left breast pocket, retrieved a piece of paper and placed it on the table beside the micro SD. Igbekele reached out and picked the paper, as Agent Emeto picked the micro SD on the table too.
“On that piece of paper is an email address and its password. When we arrive safely to our base, a mail will be sent to you, it will contain all you need”
Infuriated, Igbekele rose to his feet, “You wasted my time for this?”
“You made my superiors understand that the content of the micro SD card will be encrypted and that they will only get the key to decrypt it when you receive words from them that it is safely in their hands”, smiling he continued, “Obviously you don’t trust messengers and it seems you are not alone on that, they don’t trust messengers too. So this is what will happen, I will take your scrappy card to them, and only then will you get what you want from them”
“Fair enough”, Igbekele turned to Ediabani, “call of your dogs”
“Abort mission, allow the sheep to forage”, Ediabani mouthed into his watch.
“Do not engage until engaged”, Ekene instructed the men on the ground around him facing different directions.
They silently watched as 15 heavily armed and masked men crept out of the bush on the other side of the road. The man in front, obviously the leader of the pack raised his hand and they stopped. He spoke a single word into his watch and waved his men back. The Atoms watched as the men backed into the bush.
“Hold positions until further notice” Ekene ordered and glanced at his watch again.