May 3, 2012
“We have target in sight”
“Keep track of him. Don’t lose him at any cost! We need the bastard!”
They knew. RAW knew. He had not been able to lose the tail. He knew he did not have much time. The file had been passed on, today he had the pass key to it all; all known aliases, safe houses, agents, bases, cover-ups, all the tiny details of RAW’s nearly 45 year history.
He was panting as he reached his place; quickly he turned on his laptop. He had the host program ready; all he needed was to type in the code.
“We’ve lost sight of him. I repeat we’ve lost sight of him”
“Get me some eyes in there damn it! Sierra1,2 anything?”
Kumar had to take a hard decision here.
“Get in there. Now! Secure the area. Hold him! I need him alive.”
It was late. He was spewing foam from his mouth by the time they got to him. The code had been forwarded. Not to the desired recipient though, that would not have been possible. He had counted on his agency to track it down though and that’s why he had typed in the kid’s email id.
I opened my eyes, I had a feeling they were shut for a momentary period which, was quite a satisfactory explanation given the fact, I was standing amidst a brewing storm.
The place seemed empty; it had a ghost-town like vibe about it. The air velocity was constantly picking up; the weather was constantly worsening. And then, it started raining. I started running for cover.
An empty coffee shop became my refuge. I now had a little time to think and well, I realized I live in the NCR region and such a thunderstorm, in these parts, around these times; well, presented a highly unlikely scenario. And as realization hit me, so did the lightening!
I woke up!
I was strapped unto, a bed of some sort; bare, the cold touch of metal brought down some shivers.
“Oh! You’re back! Welcome!” a deep husky voice sounded in the dark room.
Immediately after, a bulb shone right above me, drawing a scream from my side! It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the bright light. I opened them again. A man stood right over me, loosened tie, collars rolled up; I couldn’t quite make out his face. He was looking down upon me.
“So, ready to pass the codes!?”
“What? What codes!? Who the hell are you?? Where am I?”
“You forgot? Here, it’s me who asks the questions!”
Saying so, he went into the dark and was back with something, a box.
“So, the codes!”
“Look! You are mistaken! I…..”
I couldn’t quite complete my sentence; he had rotated the dial; I was being fed electricity!
May 3rd, 2012
Delhi Technological University, New Delhi
“Avengers dekhne chalein?” I asked Saurabh.
He darted back, “Dude! Less than a week to go for exams!!”
“There’s a 12:30 show in G3S! C’mon mate!” I flashed my Blackberry! He immediately grabbed it! I could see it was working!
“Anyways, we’re free for the day! C’mon mate!”
“Alright! Text the rest of the gang!” he said toying with my phone!
“No need! BBM hai na!”
He smiled sheepishly, “Not now! I’m checking my account!”
Minutes later, we were all in my friend’s i10, on the way to the theatre.
The BB in my pocket vibrated, I took it out; there was a mail.
“Hey man! Do we have something like an invisible email id?”
“What? You high or something?”
I forwarded my cell. Saurabh opened the mail.
“Man this is weird…. Crap! Your phone man! It’s dead!”
I looked at it. Fumes were rising off it!
I left, soon after. I needed to get to a repair centre.
I had passed out again! As I came back to my senses, I had a better chance to grasp the surroundings.
It was a dark room, mostly; only a single bulb shone in the room. Right underneath was the bed. To the right were a bunch of stairs, which in all probability led outside. Besides the bed, there was a table on which rest a bunch of tools; most of which had already been tried on me. They had thrown me into one of the few cages to the south of the whole setup, right underneath the steps.
I had to get out, had to warn Saurabh, the police perhaps. Something big was going down.
He was back. The torture resumed. His questions, my answers! None of it mattered anymore! I felt he was enjoying the torture. A few days went down in the same routine.
I remembered now, I couldn’t quite make it to the repair centre; I was picked on the way. Since then, I was being held captive, constantly being pestered for that one thing! That feeling, that feeling of not being sure whether you’re gonna wake up next morning; I’d had enough of it; and so, and so I killed.
His cell was kept on the table, I made sure I grabbed it. I made it past the goons guarding the front entrance. I dialed Saurabh’s number.
“Hey man! It’s Arunabh. I’m in trouble”
“What? Where are you man?”
“I don’t know!!”
“Any landmarks? Anything?”
I realized, that bastard had a smart phone “Wait! I’ll call back”
The phone’s GPS told me I was in Karnal. I called him back.
May 12, 2012
Delhi Technological University, New Delhi
“And then, I called you….”
“You didn’t tell the cops!?”
“No! I thought first I should talk to you”
“Let’s go to the cops! Right now!”
“Not that! The day my cell broke did you see anything?”
“Yeah! I told you! ‘C4N2219’ And then it went all crazy!”
“OK! You be safe! I’m going to the cops!”
“Well, I’m coming.”
“No! You’re not! They don’t know about you yet! It’d be better if we kept it that way! Car keys!”
“No man! This is some serious shit! I’m coming!”
He had to give in, seeing I was not bulging.
It was not long before I reached the police station. I was at the entrance, when some men blocked my path.
“Come with us!”
They were plain-clothed men, quite different from the ones I’d been with since the last week; yet I wasn’t quite in the mood.
“I’m sorry; I’d have to say no to …..”
All I felt was a pinch.
My head hurt a bit, I was feeling dizzy. I was sitting on a chair. It seemed as if I was in some friggin’ cop show! A large glass pane was staring at me; someone entered from the door on the adjacent wall.
“I’m sorry we had to move you in this fashion. All the inconvenience is genuinely regretted!”
“What do you want me to say to that!? Huh?”
“Well, I expected a similar reply”
He threw some photographs on the table.
“Do you recognize any of them?”
“Who is asking?”
“Oh! Introductions are due. I’m Kumar, RAW”
He flashed a badge, with RAW inscribed on it. Since I had no prior interactions with these gentlemen, I didn’t quite question the gentility.
“I understand you were held captive for the past week or so. And we believe these men were responsible. So, can you identify anyone?”
“This one! He was the one who picked me in the first place. Rest I don’t know.”
“All right then! Did you tell them anything?”
“The code you received in your mail. It was a one-time self destruct mail; it contained a code which is of great national consequence! We’re quite positive that it was opened, that’s how they got to you in the first place”
“Yes, I opened it.”
“So, the code!?”
“Where am I?”
“You are in a secure location! You are safe, don’t worry! Now, the code!”
“Look! I’m not exactly sure as to you are what you claim to be….”
Just at that moment another official barged in!
“Look kid! We don’t have time for this! It’s a crazy situation and we need to deal with it. Quick!”
“I’m not saying anything! I want to go home damn it!”
“What? You know how much danger you are in? How many agencies are after that code!?”
“No! But I’m not giving you any codes here!”
He looked away. He went out the same way he came in, the other official in tow. A while later he was back.
“Fine! You’re going home. Kumar will accompany you there. You give the code to him. Two teams will be deployed around your house. You are advised not to get out, till we have the situation under control”
A few hours later
I was home, finally. Mum & Dad were out.
“’C4N2219’ All right! Don’t get out! We’d inform you when it’s all over.”
I powered up my laptop. There must be a copy of that mail in it.
It was something he had done with my mail last year after he’d accidentally deleted all the read ones. Now, whenever he received a mail, a copy of it was automatically saved in the auxiliary storage on the server. He opened his mailbox. The one on top was the one he wanted to see. He clicked on it.
A pop-up opened up on the screen. The screen turned black. In the centre flashed the code ‘C4N2291’; momentarily after, he saw an overheating message pop-up, his laptop was down.
His telephone started ringing. He went up to it. The window next to it was open, he closed it. He picked up the phone.
“Hey! It’s Kumar! It’s over!”
“What? So soon! I mean how….”
He heard the glass breaking. Nothing thereafter. A bullet had pierced his skull.
Kumar heard the sound too; he also heard the thud of Arunabh’s body falling. He spoke slowly in the microphone, “Get in there! Take care of the body, surprise me!”
No loose ends.
“Oh man! What an ending!!!”
My roommate started jumping. I was puzzled.
“Dude! You should have a dekko at this dude’s blog! He’s amazing!”
My roommate was flashing his newly bought GlaxyS.
“It’d be better if you concentrated on the EMFT exam that is tomorrow!”
He had been like this for quite some time now. Whenever there was no hope left he turned this way; movies, songs, docs, and what not!
“Ho jayega yaar!” he said, and returned back to his internet; while I returned to my miseries!
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