Good evening once more. Now I have a confession to make concerning this Desperation series. It’s become a story that appears to have taken on a life of its own the longer I spend on it. I can assure you that the only thing above my desperation to conclude it, is my DESPERATION to serve nothing less than great storytelling to you each Tuesday. After putting all the facts together this week, and based on how this story would like to be told, Desperation will definitely conclude next week – even if the rest has to be turned into a feature film for further consumption . Enjoy this week’s offering below…
Lewis sprang up from the dead body, jumping back just as the second Gardener’s shears swooshed through the air, right where his body had just been!
Mel! That’s it – I’m at my limit. Let’s be done with this as soon as possible because I don’t think I have the stomach for this any longer.
Okay Lewis, just breathe. We’ll be done soon.
Pushing his left hand against the floor with renewed energy he was on his feet in a flash, reassuming the gun kata stance as before. The Gardener was giving him no time to breathe as it rushed forward once more, this time hanging low but with both arms out stretched to block any route of escape open to Lewis.
Lewis had no intentions of running this time, flipping the gun in each hand to be held in a death grip by the barrel – vertically this time – with the butt at a 90 degree angle to the rushing monster. The world slowed down around him once more as he dashed forward to meet his/its charge. At the last moment before they were sure to crash, he crouched down further, bringing first his right arm up powerfully to catch the Gardener just below the chin with the butt of the gun, before repeating this motion with his left sidearm and lifting him/it almost a full foot off the ground with the ferocity of his attacks!
In that strange slow motion still, he saw the Gardner’s body just about to reach the height of its trajectory as he launched forward in a powerful knee strike to his/its center mass, crushing the area his/its sternum should have been as the body fell to the ground.
“Colonel Onyina, good evening sir.”
She’d had scant seconds to get over her surprise at seeing the Colonel dismount from the lead vehicle before he was at their side, scowling disapprovingly.
“Humph! I see you’ve decided to unearth yourself from wherever you went to ground Ms. Opoku. And to what do we owe the uncommon pleasure of your company here today?” He ended with his attention turned to Kwamena, waiting for an explanation.
Tracy kept mum, biting her lip in consternation as Kwamena proceeded to repeat the events of the afternoon in detail to the Colonel over the next few minutes. He only raised a single eyebrow a few times during the narrative to let on about his surprise at a few of the details of the incredible story. When Kwamena was done, he turned to Tracy in turn, eyeballing her with a dubious look in his eyes and with pursed lips.
“So. You don’t look to worse for the wear. Did you just stroll in and out of the Kumasi facility without any resistance or something? How did you manage such a coup singlehandedly?”
Tracy licked her suddenly dry, salty lips before answering. The Colonel was probably the only senior official who seemed to intimidate the normally unflappable lady to some extent. It didn’t help matters much this time that she was in need of a favour from him well in contravention to standard operation procedure (SOP).
“Lots of careful planning sir. I reconciled myself also to the fact that after using my employee clearance to gain access into the facility, my cover would be well and truly blown after retrieving the data I was looking for. And as for resistance, I did have some difficulty, but it all worked out in the end.” She ended with a small smile, remembering Enrico’s look of shock when he saw her rise to her feet after he attempted to break her legs with that savage attack.
The Colonel stared at her intently for a few seconds before turning to address the leader of the strike team, a tall dark man with strongly chiselled features who stood ready in a wetsuit similarly just a few paces away with arms folded, taking in the conversation going on before him.
“Gervais, I guess we found a navigator for your team after all. Brief Ms. Opoku on your infiltration protocols and formaulate a suitable plan before your final report to me within the hour, am I clear?”
Gervais’ snapped to a precise salute, “Sir, yes sir!” None of the personnel in the employ of the IFAS knew for certain which Special Forces body that Colonel Onyina had managed to poach Gervais from. The tale he would tell each person who slyly tried to ferret out more information about his origins by asking him about his past always seemed to differ slightly in nature MI6, Mossad, DGSE, CIA – the story kept slipping away. Looking at his hard looks, one who didn’t know him elsewhere would find it hard to believe that his lips even knew their way about a smile.
Beckoning to Tracy with a nod to the side, they both stepped away from the other two, leaving Kwamena to continue briefing the Colonel on current developments.
In less than 10 minutes, their tech personnel on site were accessing the wealth of data being accessed from Tracy’s website. They only encountered difficulties when trying to send files to the Accra HQ, which they immediately informed the Colonel about.
Frowning in consternation, he barked at them “Try again. I don’t think we’re scheduled for a systems Overhaul for at least a week or two this quarter. It must be your mobile connection – fix it!” He turned to continue his conversation with Kwamena, leaving a disturbed pair of techs to scrath their heads in frustration.
They finally left to run a full diagnostic on their system vis a vis another one of the HQ connection – maybe a printout would present a solution…
The woman strode purposefully towards him, a cold smile on her face as she raised up her Uzi submachine gun, spraying a fusillade in his general direction.
Lewis dove behind a large potted plant in the middle of the lobby that had somehow escaped unscathed from the initial barrage of shots. No more sacrosanct, the large pot was the new bullseye almost immediately while Lewis ducked behind it, his pulse racing like crazy. He clenched the cold grip of the gun in his right hand, absentmindedly wiping the sweat beaded on his forehead with the back of his left sleeve as he fought to calm the panic he felt rising within him.
Christ! What the heck am I doing here?! I’m no Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee!
Sure? You could have fooled me right there. Mel quipped in response, managing to calm him down somewhat with just the few words. You’re doing just fine Lewis, just go with the flow. Jacking into the internal camera feeds, I can detect that the guards behind the desk managed to put both men attacking out of commission before running out of ammunition – it’s only your current engagement of the remaining attacker that is keeping them alive right now. We take her out, and all this is over.
Ok Mel. I hear you loud and clear. No pressure at all.
Lewis slid out both magazines to check the number of bullets still at his disposal – 6; 2 apiece with the solitary round in each chamber. He waited for the current barrage to pause signalling an empty gun in need of reloading – and his window of opportunity.
It came in under a minute, accompanied by the sound of the magazine ejecting from the gun. Rising from behind the plant, Lewis spun quickly around with both guns crossed at his wrists and fired a deadly volley straight at the would-be killer’s chest!
He was however notably quite surprised when the woman grinned widely and finished reloading her gun before resuming her submachine assault of his position as he dove once more for cover!
What the hell happened back there Mel? I know I was dead on target but she seemed to shrug it off like an elephant would a mosquito bite!
Just then, in the air right before his eyes it seemed, CCTV footage from the last minute began to play at double speed but slowed to a crawl as the bullets he fired approached the woman. He watched as the bullets seemed to impact on a barrier within centimetres of her body that flared electric blue at the points of impact, before falling to the ground.
An Electromagnetic Field Barrier – instantaneously generating too, from the looks of it! The AI’s ‘voice’ was obviously surprised for once, Lewis noted. Another project from the Tech Division of the Association that was under development for ages now – the files I have access to don’t show that it had achieved any practical application. She must be using a prototype that theoretically would kick into action once it detected any metallic projectile rapidly approaching within mere feet of her body mass, absorbing it’s kinetic energy almost to a null point and rendering it harmless.
Thanks for the science lesson Madam, Lewis thought at her drily. Any help against that shield thingy??
Well…ceramic bullets could theoretically do the trick, but since we’re fresh out of those – watch out!
Lewis felt the AI putting his muscles through their paces instantaneously as he sprang up into a cartwheel to the left and out of the way as a flash bang grenade rolled just past the plant he was crouched behind! It went off with not a second to spare, still managing to stun his senses somewhat as he unsteadily fought to his feet amidst the smoke and bright light visual aftereffect he was now experiencing. He instinctively strained to hear through the deafening ringing in his ears but he couldn’t pick up a single sound apart from the maddening whine.
“Mel,” he whispered hoarsely aloud, uncertain that she could even hear him above the noise. His worst fears were realised when he realised that though he could hear the form of her voice speaking, he absolutely could not isolate the individual words now!
His shoulders slumped as he leaned against an alcove with disappointment and resignation to his fate.It seemed the last attack had managed to rob him of his one advantage after all. At least we had a good run Mel, no? he mused inwardly.
The muffled voice that was Mel paused for a second, and then the equally muffled strains of a song (could that be Common’s Blue Sky?!) playing in his ears! Lewis started grinning stupidly, his face against the alcove walls as he let the guns slip from his hands to fall, crashing distantly to the floor.
A blinking underscore prompt then appeared in the lower left corner of his visual field as Mel spelled out, HANG IN THERE LEWIS. I’M PROCESSING INFORMATION FROM THE CCTVs NOW, SWITCHED TO INFRARED. LET GO OF YOUR CONTROL AND LET ME GUIDE YOU_
For the last time that afternoon Lewis took in a deep breath, mentally giving himself over to C-Mode. He felt his feet move forward out of the alcove into the low visibility of the smoke-filled lobby.
SHE’s ABOUT 10 PACES TO YOUR LEFT. HER UZI ISN’T HANGING OFF HER SO I GUESS SHE MUST BE OUT OF BULLETS TOO. WE’LL BE SETTLING THIS MARTIALLY_
Lewis turned to face the woman’s general position, crouching low with his right arm in front of himself as if he was a 100-meter sprinter in midstride, while his left leg was extended behind him at an acute angle to the tiled floor. He then started to change positions with his contralateral limbs in a swaying motion from side to side, almost as if in a dance. He felt his muscles rhythmically tense and relax as the tension built up within till silently, using his forward leaning foot as a pivot, he suddenly slammed his hands into the ground, generating a centripetal force strong enough to move along his trunk as his legs went over his head to land his outwardly kicking heel squarely on the concealed mercenary’s right temple – meia lua de compasso, an advanced Capoeira strike!
She went down like a sack of potatoes and lay unmoving on the floor as Lewis panted for breath. The explosive martial arts move had strained his unused muscles far more than he thought it could and he fought to compensate now, knowing he would most likely be paying for it really soon.
THE WRISTBAND ON HER WRIST – THAT’S THE SOURCE OF INTERFERENCE. DESTROY IT PLEASE_
Now in full control of his faculties once more, Lewis bent down to remove the silver wristband, stomping on it after placing it on the floor.
Ahhh, that’s better.
He was pleasantly surprised to realise that though the ringing was still slightly present, he could now ‘hear’ Mel once more.
Hi Mel. Glad you’re back.
Glad to be back Lewis. That was quite a performance there, wasn’t it?
Lewis wearily lifted his head up to survey the quite different-looking lobby now with upended furniture all over and either pockmarked or shattered glass panels everywhere, with the blackened tiles to mark the spot where the grenade went off.
He straightened up, mentally noting no damage to his person save for a few scrapes and minor cuts from the showering glass, before walking up to the elevator to ping it open. Anice was still bent over in the corner on her knees, applying pressure to the other man’s wound to staunch the flow of blood. “Is it all over?” she asked in a shaky voice.
I’ve alerted the Ambulance Service and other security agencies close by – they should be here within the next 5 minutes. If you plan to catch up with the strike team however, I would advise that we leave now before you have more difficult questions to answer.
Smiling more to give her some comfort than anything else, Lewis nodded at Anice. “Help is on the way. You’re doing just fine Ms. Offei. I’ve got to go now though. I wish you all the best.”
With that, he spun round towards the exit.
Go down this other hallway instead Lewis, I’ve got a better idea.
Turning to the right hallway instead, in short order Dr. Koomson found himself in the official garage. Selecting the first rugged behemoth of a car he saw, a modified military Humvee, he jumped into the cab, thumbing the garage door release within it to open the massive automated doors.
Just outside the garage, he found himself once more presented with another Gardener, the one that had remained outside to brutally attack the officers at the gate.
Revving the wild v10 engine in anticipation, he barrelled down at the Gardener in an uneven game of Chicken, who/which was either too dumb to be afraid or to self-confident to care. Neither attribute benefited the monster as the heavy-treaded vehicle drove right over him/it with the sickening sound of splintering bones that Lewis thankfully didn’t hear in the well-insulated interior of the vehicle.
Fishtailing only for a second, he burst out through the main gates unto the main road as he made a beeline to Elmina.
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