Adrenaline surging through his system as his heart pounded in his chest, Saksham thoroughly searched the man he’d just managed to knock out. Empty wallet, loose change, some receipts- but nothing incriminating. Damn it!
The death of two agents (one assigned to ops back-up) had cast a shadow over the Agency. They’d been sent to investigate based on a mid-level chatter, but the execution had upped it to critical level. And 15 hrs after deployment, the new team had gone incommunicado. Ever since then, a sense of doom had prevailed on the corridors of their Headquarters.
Saksham had urged his boss DP to consider his theory that tied the organisation being investigated to Keitan (a strategic ally to their nation, having a dubious history), but DP had wanted to ‘logically follow the pattern of evidences to trap the enemy’. This had frustrated Saksham, for DP (as his trainer) knew he possessed a unique and uncanny ability to search for facts, then link and develop patterns that left the others stumped.
Though the retrieval for the team was ongoing officially, each of them knew the fate of the five agents. So, instead of tweedling his thumbs and deceiving himself with the idea that all was well, Saksham decided to venture on a ‘one-man mission’.
Following the digital breadcrumbs left behind in the auxiliary server linked to the organisation head’s missing assistant, he started to loiter around the back alleys of the shady pubs that were rumoured to be the hangout spots of the well known criminals in their neighbouring country.
After DP had finished castigating him for disobedience and extreme recklessness, he grumbled but agreed to keep Saksham updated and provide necessary resources.
That had been more than a week ago, and he was filthy; sleeping with the homeless, looking as though he’d stolen a few garments from the public Lost and Found as well as smelling like sewage mixed with beer and gin.
Finally today, he’d caught a break when the man he’d bribed to be an informant, had tipped him off about an important foreigner coming to meet with two rival gang leaders. He’d followed this man from Aquarius Bar to his residence, but Saksham was caught unaware when an accomplice suddenly attacked him from behind.
A fight had ensued but he managed to subdue the foreigner, letting the accomplice flee. Bypassing the triple layered security and disabling the numerous cameras took some time; before he entered the safe-house of a man- who was most probably a Keitain agent or handler, he concluded after a quick search. But they had nothing substantial that could tie the Keitains to the ‘attack planned’ that their Agency had now classed as a threat to national security.
‘Think fast, Saksham. Concentrate!’ He didn’t have much time and there had to be something important here for the high-tech security. Pacing back and forth, he studied the two rooms at the very back… There it was! The second room had a little more space than the first despite being more cluttered. Quickly, he touched along the walls for a hidden chamber but a section of the roof opened up to show a giant screen.
He dragged his captive for his palm print but was stumped when the computer asked for object identification. After arranging for backup to secure the site, he waited for the technical analysts to report back, as he was unfamiliar with hacking techniques beyond the basics.
An hour and a thorough search of the house later, no skeleton key was found. But Saksham had already left the site to follow a hunch. A deposit box at the Northern Public Library, whose receipt had been found in the now detained agent’s pocket and whose pass-code had been deduced by lead investigative agent, contained the ornate key.
“It was all axiomatic, sir” Saksham commented with a cheeky smile, as he lounged on the couch at DP’s office a day later. “And I thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve my nation and the Agency.”
Saksham means one who is competent. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.
Space, Lost and Found
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