THE HEIST OF IRON MOUNTAIN (Amara Quest Series)

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CHAPTER 2

“You’ve got exactly three minutes to take down thirty random targets!” Sergeant Jaden shouted into his mic.

“Roger that, serg,” Amara Bradley responded.

The ear muffs doubled as a means of communication to her personal trainer, Sergeant Jaden Chuka who was standing on the other side of the Plexiglas with Maluze Moses, the head of computer operations with a couple of computer specialists to monitor her various body mechanisms and reflexes during the combat training.

The indoor Virtual Reality (VR) combat training facility of the Counter Terrorist Agency of Nigeria (CTAN) was state of the art like every other facility within the agency spanning across an approximate 110 acre of land.

The training facility had a maze-like design with dangerous sharp turns, the Virtual Reality program would make it seem like she was combating real enemies with stun guns.

She was scared out of her wits the first time she got in the VR and felt numb as electric pulses initiated by the punches she had received when fighting. It almost felt real and she managed to score a 65% on the beginner course, she hoped to do better on the intermediate if she wanted to get on the best team.

Though Amarachi Bradley was once a CTAN recruit; she resigned shortly before her team assignment to pursue her lifelong ambition of becoming an investigative reporter. It was then that she got entangled in the Malibu’s terrorism crisis that took place two years back and changed a lot of things in her life; she was then called back to the CTAN by Agent Adams and next thing, she found herself training hard to be reinstated.

“Are you ready agent?” Jaden’s voice came on her headphones. The specialized body monitoring suit she was putting on came online and tightened slightly; she flicked on the Virtual Reality goggles she was putting on, she then made some adjustments to suit her vision.

The whole place still looked the same and real only that she couldn’t see Sergeant Jaden and the rest of the crew; they just seem to have disappeared, though none of it was new to her.

“Whenever you are, serg,” she said and maintained a crouching posture, the M4 MWS GBBR Airsoft gun positioned perfectly beneath her right arm with the nozzle straight in her line of vision.

“Then show me what you got agent,” Jaden said.

Amara cocked her head and smiled,

“You just have to enjoy the show serg,”

“On your 2’O clock, agent,” she heard Jaden’s voice on the ear phone,

“Roger that,” she shot down the figure twice and dodged its shot by rolling towards the other end of the metallic structure; the fighters were all suited up and the specialized bullet in the M4 would only stun them,

“You’ve got twenty-eight more shots left to take down twenty-nine, two minutes and 10 seconds remaining,”

“What the fuck, this M4 should have thirty-five bullets. I knew you’d do something like this and I wasted two bullets already”

“Oh you already forgot what I told you; sometimes a bullet in the right place is just enough. Incoming on your six, that’s the last heads up, you better keep focused or you might get yourself shot,”

Amara did a forward somersault and shot at it as soon as she landed,

“Nice,” Agent Maluze’s voice came on the phone,

“I don’t need your compliments, Moses,” she was breathing heavily as she rounded a corner and came face to face with another fighter, she held the end of his gun and twisted it over her shoulders – it felt really heavy – she turned round and landed a hook punch, a technique she had learnt from her Krav Maga classes. The guy gave a loud cry beneath the mask and fell unconscious on the metallic floor,

“Ouch, that hurts. These guys are so huge,” Amara said and continued.

“Don’t think I’d make it any easier for you, the bigger the better,” Moses said, she caught a hint of a sneer in his voice and scoffed.

The rest of the way Amara had to shoot down the guys before they could get a clear shot as they began appearing quickly at unexpected places, she narrowly missed getting fired at a couple of times and she was almost out of breath. Suddenly, there were no more of them.

“What’s happening, I shot down just twenty-three,” she said breathlessly into her mic.

“Time’s up,”

“So, what’s next?”

“Your weapon just got automatically deactivated, I’m afraid you have to fight your way through to the exit”

“What?” she asked surprisingly just as three more of the huge guys came out of different sides within her field of vision with their guns pointed at her.

She surveyed the situation and slowly reached for her boots. She threw her dagger at the one in the far end of the hall and it went straight through the thigh.

Thankfully, the floor was easy to slide on and she made use of the advantage to crouch low and slid to the other side, electric bolts where shot at the place she just left and they were slowly closing in on her.

The remaining two dropped their guns and came at her, one of them rushed at her with his arms outstretched for a strike. She liked this one, attackers who attacked with force are the easiest to evade if you are quick enough.

She waited till he was close enough before she used her leg to give him a back kick, it caught him on the groin and sent him reeling. She had carelessly let her eye wander off her second enemy as someone pushed her forcefully from behind, she used a forward roll to break the fall and turned immediately to give the incoming enemy a round kick to the crotch.

“Sorry,” she said and sprang up; she felt blood coming out of her nose,

“Like, am I really bleeding out there?” she asked out of breath, her hand reaching for her nose.

“You’d better check it out yourself when the session is over. I bet you’ll need the butt of that gun,” Jaden said.

Amara heard a slight noise behind her and she quickly dove for the gun and held it on the nozzle, she swung the butt of the gun and it got the fighter in his mid-section; electric shots bounced off the floor from its gun and she did her best to avoid them.

“Four to go, agent,”

Amara heaved a sigh and turned around to see four more fighters aiming their stun guns at her, she did back flips as they fired. She had never thought about using their own guns and there were many of them; she picked up two electric stun guns and fired incessantly at the fighters and waited for them to fall but nothing happened.

“Damn thing doesn’t work on them,” she circled them stealthily while edging closer, guns still in hand. She swung the heavy gun and threw it with all the strength she could muster, it did a good job and took down one of them, and he fell back on another fighter behind him while trying frantically to regain balance.

The remaining two seemed a bit confused,

“Whoever programmed this shit did a good job, this shit looks like the real deal,” she said breathlessly and slid on the floor towards them. She made use of the butt of the stun gun to knock out the knee of one, a sweeping heel kick finished up the other guy and they all lay down in a heap.

She was on one knee as she turned off the VR goggles and take them off. She then turned around to look at Jaden through the glass, the suit was drenched in sweat and the air-conditioning could barely work its way through it.

Jaden had his arms folded and she could make out something of a little awe on his face.

“That was one hell of training, how did I do?” Amara said after changing over to black yoga pants and an over-sized polo that had the CTAN logo on it, a large towel was hung over her shoulders as they walked down the hallway.

“You are good. That was a hell of a fight; I wonder what Adams and Elroy would make of your performance when they make the assessment,”

“You know better than I do. But what I do know is that you seem to be enjoying the whole show,” she teased,

“Well that sounds funny because all I kept on saying to myself was that we still have a lot of work to do,”

“Oh sure, we do. I just can’t wait to finish with this ‘fighting with VR ghost’ thingy so that I can focus more on improving my advanced speed driving skills, you know how I love them wheels,” Amara said, she plugged in her airpods and checked her phone for missed calls and messages.

Jaden grinned, “We’re making serious progress, the Krav Maga classes I gave you are seriously paying off but I must say you need to practice how to use more of those skills when confronting an enemy, like the guard reversal, triangle choke escape, guillotine choke escape, you know the lot,”

“Yeah I still do, but real life fighting is way more different than fighting with Virtual reality ghosts during training. I bet you’d appear in my report. I’ll try putting up more of the techniques next time,” her face was still glued to the phone.

A drone flew low over their head at a very high speed, it plunged again and flew high to the roof and hit the ceiling before it crashed heavily on the floor.

“Wow, Elroy would have lots of damaged toys to fume about,” Amara said and smoothened down her long pony tail, the drone had raised tufts of hair on its way over her head.

She heard someone laugh and she turned around to see three teenage boys in green CTAN suits chuckling, one of them is holding what looks like a game pad.

“Take a deep breath and let it go, just like we practiced in yoga,” Jaden implored.

“Jerks,” she muttered and walked over to where the drone had fallen and picked it up.

“Hey shawty, that’s ours,” one of the boys said.

“You mean this?” She faced the boys

“yeah, it belongs to me,” the boy with the control said stretching his hand to grab it, Amara dropped it on the floor and crushed it with her shoes.

“What the hell?”

“Oops. It fell again,” she turned sharply, her ponytail brushing across their faces.

“Amara you didn’t have to do that,” Jaden said.

“Someone needed to teach those robotics jerks some lesson,”

“Serves them right though. I’ve got to get going, your rest ends in twenty-five, meet me at the helipad after your lunch, we’ve got some flying to do and hopefully by next week the final phase of your training would be completed,” Jaden said and checked his smart watch.

“Hey, Amy,” someone called and Amara turned to meet the beaming face of Agent Kimberly,

“How is it going Kim?” they hugged

“Good day Serg,” she waved at Sergeant Jaden.

“Hello Kim, see you later Agent,” he waved back at her and took his leave, his eye still glued to his watch as he tapped it.

“You know what being a field agent is like; my unit was trailing an undercover lead on a supposedly planned bombing at certain public areas in Abuja by the Boko haram sect but we came up empty. Adams is not letting it go just yet and we’ve been keeping an eye out. It’s a bit stressful though but I love getting out there and I can’t wait to have you on my team,” she said as they headed for the ladies bathroom.

“Me too, though I won’t ignore the fact that Adams might just decide to assign me to Team Alpha besides who doesn’t want to be on Team A,” they laughed heartily,

“If he does that, then I’ll be sure he’s got a soft spot for you because last I checked, the Alpha team has only one female agent,”

“Adams doesn’t have a soft spot for anyone but himself. Don’t you think I’m good enough?” Amara asked. She knew that Kim would feel bad if she didn’t end up in her team.

She had been best friends with Agent Kimberly Achu since they were recruits before she was assigned to Team Phantom where she currently doubled as a professional sniper and field agent.

“You know how jealous I could be at times,” she smiled awkwardly and gave her a friendly pat on the shoulder, “I just regret why you left before you were assigned a team and now you’re back. With what you did for the CTAN two years ago, Adams would not bat an eyelid to assign you to the best unit, trust me,”

“There you go again, Kim,”

“And if he’s really catching feelings beneath all that bossiness like I’m suspecting, you better show him your ring finger or I do that by myself,” Amara burst out laughing and it echoed through the corridor.

“You won’t kill me o,” Amara said amidst laughter. Her phone buzzed as they got to the glass door,

An SMS from Derek; she stopped to read it and smiled,

“Gotcha,” she sent a message to Segun, his personal assistant but he declined knowing about any new developments. She knew her fiancé had something up his sleeves. She bit her fingers and went in after Kim to a different bathroom.

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