Chapter 28 by Lennita D'Coutho

Ken paced about the lab gathering equipment and placing it into boxes. Time was of the essence. Now that Nadia has been auctioned off like a prize pig to the highest bidder it was time to make tracks. 

Just as he was shuffling around, his phone started buzzing in his back pocket. He idly reached for it expecting it to be the procurement team but was puzzled by the absence of caller ID. 

Who could it be Ken wondered to himself. He answered to call and a voice breathed into the phone saying “Ken it’s me Adi...I’m on an untraceable line don’t hang up!”

Ken went blank for a minute, then started yelling over the phone, “ADI?! Where the hell have you been, it’s a shit storm over here dude! Where did you go after that chick Tara escaped? The higher-ups have been breathing down my neck wondering if our department has been compromised because of your cock up! Get your ass back here now, we’ve secured a buyer and need to begin moving the subject N to the next location!” 

“Calm down Ken, the situation with Tara is still ongoing...I was taken hostage. Cryptop found me.” Adi started weaving the excuse of the century as to why he suddenly dropped off the map.

He continued over the phone to Ken, who had gone silent, “Tara had set a trap for me. I saw her posting on social media and found her location...” here is where he began to lie so as not to give away Talal’s location, “she made it easy to find her by going right back to her apartment and in my eagerness to retrieve her I didn’t consider she had done so deliberately...”

Ken was silently taking all this in as he continued rushing around, not fully believing what he was hearing. He couldn’t believe Adi had been captured, by Talal’s group of hackers and somehow escaped, unless he was compromised, he mused. 

“...and I didn’t consider Talal’s goons would be waiting in ambush, I’m still not sure how they found Tara so quickly. After a bullshit lie detector test and interrogation that barely cracked me open, they think I’ve defected over to their side. I’m using this opportunity to bring Tara in when she’s vulnerable but I’ve not found the right moment yet.” 

Ken was full of doubt, but at this point Adi and even Tara were superfluous to the overall plan. He decided to throw Adi a bone.

“Look Adi, take care of Tara, kill her if you have to but do it quickly, I can’t cover for you for too much longer, Subject N will be moved in 24 hours now that payment has gone through and we know she and the others are stable. Luckily it seems Tara’s either extremely dumb or too scared because we have seen nothing on her account for some time now. Get back here and get back on track ASAP!”

He bought it, he freaking bought it, Adi thought to himself relieved. He needed to figure out what Nadia’s movements were going to be in the next two days if they were to save her. what do you mean subject N? Nadia?”

“That girl is our golden goose, Adi, she is the cure! She’s already been auctioned off to the President of Thessi for a butt tonne of moulah!"

Adi was thinking on his toes at this point, now that he knew who the buyer was he could figure out a way to put him off the deal. He also needed to take control of the time window somehow to make sure he knew when Nadia would be moved. 

“If Tara is no longer a priority, I’ll assist with moving subject N. What’s the drop location?” Adi was praying that Ken would let slip where the Thessi President was waiting for Nadia to be handed to him. That way he could figure out both how to get to him and how to intercept Nadia. He had never been this nervous before. He was full of adrenaline as he waited for Ken to respond.

“We are moving her tomorrow night, from the apartment complex to the Matana Casino Hotel, the president will be there in the Presidential suite along with his retinue to make the exchange. Then they take subject N to the airport via helicopter and we go buy some cars!” Ken chuckled sickly as he casually discussed human trafficking. "Anyway, stop mucking around and I’ll see you at the labs tomorrow night.” Ken hung up and Adi nearly swooned as he regarded his own luck.

Adi looked up from the phone, staring at Talal who had been listening in with Tara and Rob and a few other operatives and nodded. Talal looked up at him and said, “Game time boys and girls. We need to scare the president off this deal somehow. He has been accused of aiding and abetting in trafficking before but this leverage might be enough to scare him off.”

Talal motioned to his team, “Start combing surveillance footage around the apartment lab, the deal most likely went on there, any phone, microchip, speaker, whatever! Find usable proof of the deed and we got him, we just need to figure out how to intercept Nadia”. 

Tara and Rob both looked around the room, hoping blindly that this near impossible plan could save their friend. Adi looked at them and said, “We’ll get her back guys, you’d be surprised what finds its way into some form of recording...I’m still linked up to the labs security systems. If that deal took place near any form of lab tech, I’ll be able to find it. Don't worry, we'll get her back".

As they all thought about how to save Nadia, for the first time in a long time, they finally felt the world shift in their favour.

About the author:
Lennita D’Coutho, 24, who is currently working at an ad agency in India, is an aspiring young ad strategist. She is passionate about animals, dogs in particular and hopes to one day open a shelter of her own.