Dunking Ink (9)
Soda explored the building wearing a worker’s outfit and a helmet. He entered from the south-east side and probed the empty floors by noon. Everything seemed normal. However, the staircase was barred by a steel wire mesh door above 19th floor and locked with a padlock. He managed to hack open efficiently and hung the lock. The elevator systems were disabled from reaching top floors from the east wing facing south to Ameeni Magu.
He surveyed the top floors with extreme caution hiding inside service booths that stood available on each entrance hall. He sorted them out on a blueprint copy he carried. 20th and 21st floors with automated workstations were in full swing with a number of staffers that he could tell but not able to see. A panel board fabrication blocked the view. Glass-fitted swing doors were not locked. He did not take any risk to enter.
22nd floor got no lights and could not see inside. Glass-fitted swing doors here were locked. 23rd floor was lit bright and waiters in white coats were pairing food and topping platters. Once the function got started, they’d be using the staircase on this phase to carry food trays and drinks. Soda figured it was too risky to hang in here.
The party floors, 24th and 25th, were generously lit and water vapour accumulating on glass panels due to high level of air-conditioning. Besides, panel boards with smooth white surfaces blocked the interior views. Doors were not locked.
Soda climbed down and assembled his gear. He carried them up to the rooftop which was an open layer of concrete with few shelter units to support heating and air-conditioning, aviation lights, antennas, lightning rods, strobes, searchlights and stuff. An important instrument of great value he carried was a FLIR thermal imager night vision infrared camera besides other few things and body cameras. They found it impossible to bug a hall given the short time in hand. Even so, they bugged the stairwell. An officer took control over the CCTV cameras on the south-east section. A police watch planned outside the building, patrol cars parked blocks away and speedboats in water.
He got no idea what the staffers were up to on a Friday working hard running a busy office on the 20th and 21st floors. Each wore gloves and masks. Anyway, it won’t be too difficult to obtain names of them employed by the Economic Council. All it required was taking pictures and he did while hiding in the booths watching staffers cross to reach the stairs.
When the party started, he got stuck in a booth on the 25th floor for the most part because the staircase was in rapid use. He couldn’t even see who crossed to the stairs. They were waiters keeping a busy routine.
Hours later, he heard voices and a little cry. Soda peeked behind the door to find Firal held by two guys in white coats. A woman in an orange gown disappeared in time behind the glass panel doors.
They took her downstairs in a manner forcibly. He took a risky step downstairs to the 23rd floor and hid in a booth filling up with waste. The smell was too tough to tolerate.
Those bearded men quizzed her standing close to the glass panel doors. Soda could see them but not too clear since the panels covered of frosty vapour. Still, he was able to zoom in and capture those blurry images on camera from a hall lit bright.
Suddenly, they drew her panties down. Soda hit a garbage bin swearing softly. They held her like that for few seconds with her blue panties cascaded to the ankles and dress stuffed on the middle. She was strip-searched. He did not know what the heck was going on.
Ten minutes later, two bearded men ushered her down the stairs. He assumed she was taken away. If he climbed the rooftop, he could see the road below.
Soda dashed up the stairs taking all the risk and climbed the rooftop. It was breezy and he could hear a canvas flapping in the wind. Soda trained the night vision binoculars on the road below.
She appeared on the south road, Ameeni Magu, on her own with her mobile in hand.
“Pick her up!” Soda called on his wireless to his colleagues.
“What do you mean pick her up! I can’t go there!” returned an officer.
“Watch her! Follow her and pick her…”
“Glider!” he heard on his earpiece.
“Receiving you, carry on,” replied Soda.
“They have discovered the break in. They found the mesh door lock sabotaged. Get out now! Fast! They’re calling the Special Forces.”
One of those bearded men climbed up the lift to the nineteenth floor after seeing to the girl off and caught sight of the padlock hanging loose. Their voices echoed in the stairwell and captured dynamically on tiny wireless sound pickup devices planted there.
“Dunk! Dunk! Dunk!” a call relayed to withdraw forces, “Split away! Special Forces will reach you in fifteen seconds. Get out now!”
Soda raced towards a hang glider that sat on the rooftop flapping in the wind. That afternoon he carried it up and assembled it, tied down securely.
He clipped on the harness and undid the moors. He grabbed the control bar and ran across the roof slab. Wind grabbed him as he tipped over the edge. He jumped from twenty-five storeys and water below in twenty feet distance. The searchlights lit up. Special Forces climbed the rooftop carrying weapons. They saw a glider leap over the ocean. They waited for orders to shoot.
Colonel Harry climbed the rooftop and reached his men. He calmly patted one on the shoulder, “Do not shoot. Make no mistake. We will have to find out who he is. Send out a coastguard now.”
Soda lowered to the sea and he was picked by a police speedboat.
Firal never made it home. She was ushered into a police car by the gate of her home and taken away. She wasn’t expecting a second blow that very night. It was so humiliating and they all were rough.