THE SILVER BULLET

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CHAPTER 32

11. 32 P.M

Amara, Porteliuz and Becky are clad in military fatigues and holding guns. They had escaped from the underground and arrived at the main building which comprises of maze-like corridors, they were about rounding a corner when Amara sights one of the terrorists making a call and laughing, she signals the others to stop. She pulls out a knife from her boot and throws it at the guard, it goes right through the back of his neck, and he groans and drops to the floor holding his bleeding neck. Amara pulls out the jack knife and wipes the blood on his uniform and sheaths the knife.

Porteliuz and Becky help her drag his body to a corner.

.

“We have to split here, there’s one last thing I need to take care of,” Amara said.

“Can I come with you? I want to take my revenge on that bastard for what he did to my family,” Becky said angrily.

“Becky , the General is a very dangerous man. but I‘ll make sure he pays dearly. I need you and Porteliuz to get to safety. The CTAN will be on their way soon to rescue you and the rest of the prisoners,”

Becky sighs, “Please be careful and make sure you get that son of a bitch.”

“I will my lady, I can handle him myself. Now which of these hallways leads to the control room?”

“Take this one,” she points at the left, “at the next turn you’ll find the control room. Last time I was there, there was always a guard or two guarding the entrance and they are changed at shifts.”

“Okay, let’s move,” Becky grabs her hand.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You are welcome my lady, I’m just serving my country,” the first lady embraces her and they go opposite ways.

Amara crosses over to the next hallway and tiptoes down it. She peeps left to the last corridor and in the dimly lit hallway, she could make out a guard holding an assault rifle and walking up and down the front of the control room.

She looks at her watch and breathes in and out to calm her nerves.

She sticks her hand in the boot and unsheathes the jack knife. She conceals it under her sleeves and straightens her uniform; she lowers the cap to conceal her face.

She then walks down the hallway briskly towards the guard.

“Hey! Came for replacement!”

“You are new? Let me see,” he pulls out a schedule sheet from his breast pocket, “today is the 12th right? I don’t thi…”

He broke off as she stabs him with the knife and stuffed his mouth with the sheet. She then lets him down slowly and quietly.

She rummages his pocket and finds the office key. She makes the sign of the cross and with shaky hands, she unlocks the door noiselessly and pushes it open.

She stops briefly to take in the environment. She sees the General on a wheelchair, behind his laptop.

“Who the hell is that?” He barks, looking up from the computer and squinting to adjust his eyes. Amara immediately locates the light switch and turns it off. The room is thrown into darkness, save for the screen lights of the overhead flat-screen monitors.

The heavy-set man lunges under the glass table and tries to reach for his gun. Amara fires two shots shattering the glass table and glass splinters scatters all over him. He grunts in pain and he quickly withdraws his hands. He creeps out from under the weight of the shattered glass and crawls stealthily to where he last saw her shadow beside a file cabinet.

She tries to fire the gun at him but the gun clicks as there is no bullet left in it. She curses and the General grabs her middle and tackles her down. She lands a kick in his groin. He groans in pain but he still holds her in his grip, and punches her twice.

Amara strikes at him blindly hits him squarely in the chest. It slowed him down a bit and she pats the floor frantically in search of his gun but he is faster. He twists her arms but she uses it as an advantage to land him an upper cut.

She reaches for her belt and retrieves the jack knife. She strikes blindly and the knife caught him on the shoulder.

He winced in pain and lunges himself at her. They land on the floor and he gained the upper hand. He squeezes the blade from her hand and raises it high above his head to strike.

Just then, the light of the room came on and for an instant, he is momentarily blinded. He screams crazily as a bullet explodes through his chest.

He looks at Amara wide-eyed. He slowly touches the blood pooling on his uniform and looks at it. A crazy smile crept over his face, spittle and blood drools over the side of his mouth.

“It’s not over yet. Worse is coming. All praise is to Allah, the Malibu never fails…” He drops dead on top of Amara as another bullet finishes him off. Amara is completely exhausted and squints her eyes to see Agent Adams, Elroy, Porteliuz, Kim and two uniformed CTAN agents; they were all putting on bullet proof vests.

Adams holsters the gun and walks briskly and helps to pull her out from the weight of the dead man with great effort.

“Good job Amarachi,” Adams said. He pats her and walks to the control unit. Agent Kim rushes to her.

“Are you okay?”

She helps her stand on her feet.

“Yeah, I’m just dizzy. You heard the psychopath. We’ve got a much worse situation,” she dusts herself.

“You really wreaked havoc in here, Amara! I never doubted your capabilities though,” Elroy said and walks to where the General’s laptop is buried amidst the debris; he picks up the laptop and blows off debris on it.

“Thank you so much, Amara. You really stood in for me. One second late, you would have been dead. I’m well aware that I can never pay back for this,” Adams said.

“Actually you can,” Amara said smiling.

Well, you name it,”

“I want you to reinstate me as an agent but I get to keep my job as an investigative reporter,”

“Now that’s a tough one,” Adams said rubbing his chin.

“C’mon Adams stop being so uptight. She nearly lost her life helping your ass, the least you can do is allowing her chase her dreams,” Kim said with her hands akimbo.

“Alright. But you have to retake all your training classes,” Adams said.

“That’s fine by me. I’m getting a bit rusty; I could have taken down the General myself,”

He extends his hands for a handshake. She ignores the proffered hand and hugs him.

“Thanks for saving my life,” she said.

“Oh, told you I won’t let anything happen to you,” he said patting her back.

“And you kept your promise,”

“Ugh c’mon. Could you guys just hold off the happily ever after thingy for the time being? We’ve got a worse situation right here,” Elroy shouts from across the room and some agents giggled.

“Gosh! Elroy, can you just stop being a pain in the ass for the time being? Come give me a hug girl, we got that black girl magic,” she hugs Amara giggling.

“Where’s Becky?” Amara asked

“Girl I see you are now on first name basis with the first lady. Well she’s being taken to the hospital with other inmates. We’ve got dozens of them in that hell-hole,” Kim said.

“Bring him in!” Adams shouted.

The office door opens and an agent drags in Marvin.

“You killed the General? You are a dead man. You are all dead,” Marvin said.

“You know it’s funny. What do you think the General would do to you when he finds out you told me all about Bademosi after we had a few drinks?” Elroy smirks.

Marvin spits at him, staring angrily at him, betrayal and disappointment written all over his face.

Elroy appeared to care less.

“Well well, Marvin. You seem pretty much in- charge here now your boss is dead. Anyway, I need the deactivation password, now. As you can see…” Adams turns the laptop to face him and it shows a timer, “we’ve got barely three minutes to stop the Vatican City from blowing up.

Marvin scoffs, “go to hell or wherever it is you bloody Christians go to,” he said through bloodied lips.

You know what, motherfucker? Believe it or not, I’ve got no time for your brotherhood bullshit. As you can see, your boss is gone. You are about to lose everything. But if you speak up, it will be on record that you cooperated with us and your sentence will be minimized,” he folds his arms and fixes his gaze on him.

“Kill me if you wish. But as second in command, as long as I breathe, I would never betray Allah and the General.”

Elroy starts clapping, “I must say that was really touching, Marvin. I almost shed a tear. But you see, we don’t have much time so we will hasten things up a bit,” he motions an agent and he opens a small case and hands him a 30ml syringe inside, “this would help.”

Marvin stares angrily at him as he empties the contents in his arm. He groans in excruciating pain.

“Now let’s try this again. What is the password for deactivating the bomb? It’s a 9 digit code,” Adams asked.

“1-6-9-2-0-1...” Marvin breaks off and slumps. Kim had already copied it down.

“Damn Elroy,” Adams cursed.

Elroy shakes him but he remains still, he shrugs.

“You didn’t have to overdose him like that. How many digits we got?”

Kim waves the piece of paper, “Six.”

“This is getting more complicated, how the hell are we gonna get the remaining three? Elroy, come and try your hacking skills on the laptop, I’ll try to figure out the rest of it. We’ve got two minutes left.”

He hands the Elroy the laptop and takes the piece of paper from Kim. He lays it out on the mahogany table.

Amara came over and studies the numbers with him.

“I don’t see a sequence in the numbers and it’s obviously not a transposition code. I think the numbers represent something else,” he glances at his watch.

“Then it has to be a substitution code. Let’s work with that,” Amara offered.

Adams’ phone rings and he answers it.

“Hello. Don’t worry Holy Father; I have the situation under control. Don’t bother yourself at all. You just remain in the safe house. Elroy is kind of busy right now but we’ll be back for you very soon,”

He ends the call, his gaze still fixed on the piece of paper. He drops the phone on the table.

“That’s the pope?” Amara asked.

“Yeah, apparently his Carmelengo is the General’s godson and has been working with them to bring down the Vatican City.”

“The Carmelengo? That’s really fucked up. My instincts told me there was something off about that guy,” Amara said.

“Well Elroy just saved his life and brought him safely to Nigeria but he’s hysterical about the Vatican blowing up in an inferno.”

“Wait a sec. Remind me what’s his full name?”

’You mean the Camerlengo?” Elroy asked not looking up from the laptop as he tries to hack it and stop the bomb timer.

“Yeah, what’s his Italian Name?”

“Pietro Bademosi Francesco, It’s right here on Google,” Kim said looking up from her phone and shrugs.

“Yes. I think ‘PIETRO’ is the password,” Amara said.

“You think? We don’t have the time for guesses Amara,” he looks at his watch, “what we do have is 50 seconds left before the Vatican City blows up,”

“The code is such that each of the letters in the name ‘PIETRO’ is substituted with their corresponding number in the twenty-six alphabets to create the password,” she says quickly solving it on the paper and rushes to the laptop, she gives it to Elroy.

15 SECONDS LEFT

Agent Elroy’s hands flew over the keyboard as Amara dictates the numbers

“1-6-9-2-0-1-8-1-5”

“Are you really sure about this? We’ve got one-trial left,” Elroy warned, his finger hovering over the Enter key.

3 SECONDS LEFT

“We don’t have much of a choice,” Amara presses the Enter button herself before it was too late.

Everyone in that room looked tensed up as the computer processed the code, the screen lit up and a command appeared on the screen.

DEACTIVATION SEQUENCE INITIATED CONFIRM DEACTIVATION Y/ N

Elroy presses the Y button without hesitating. A window appears showing a loading process and when it got to hundred percent, another window popped up.

BOMB DEACTIVATION SUCCESSFUL

Someone shouted, and the office turned into an impromptu party house as they hugged each other. They grabbed champagne bottles from the bars and a refrigerator that stood at one corner of the room.

Outside the building, the State Security Service (SSS) and some CTAN field agents with other security agencies like the DSS, the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and the state police force are arresting the accomplices and rescuing the prisoners; carting them away in armored personnel carrier trucks.

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