Chapter 8: Troubled Times

Mariyam had been shifted to a unknown place by Sid. He called on a doctor he knew personally to attend her. She was still in coma.

Looking at her and the reports, he asked, “How did this happen, Sid?”

“See the reports for yourself, doc. I don’t need to tell you anything. Besides, I don’t want to talk about it”, Sid replied.

“You do have a bad reputation of making enemies, Sid. Who was it this time?”

“None you know, none I know, doc.”

Intrigued, the doctor asked, “Why did you bring her here from the hospital in the first place? The reports don’t suggest that option, you know.”

Sid made a poker face and replied back, “Doc, I didn’t call you here to interrogate me. I called you here so that you can do your fucking job of attending her, and ensuring that she wakes up from her coma. And I need you to keep this a secret.”

Angrily, the doctor asked, “And you expect me to cure her in this room? I am doctor, not a magician. Besides, I don’t have time just for a single patient.”

“Oh, you will definitely have time, doc. You most definitely will. Tell me, you were also under the attack of the virus, weren’t you?”

“Yes, I was. What of it?”

“Well, I got hold of something interesting. Something related to you, actually. I knew that you are a shrewd person. I just needed the confirmation.”

“What are you talking about?” the doctor got afraid.

“Your bank account details, transactions, and more stuff. Pretty ugly stuff. Let me show you, come with me!”

Sid led the doctor to another room. This room had nothing but a projector and a screen. Sid switched on the projector. The screen displayed the dirty deeds of the doctor. Due to MAYA’s large- scale attack, almost everything in its vicinity had been compromised. Sid had ordered Yash to get a copy of the virus and also find if it could be used by them for some interesting experiments. During their experiments, they found his history. Someone had been keeping an eye on him and had somehow recorded his foul crimes, which included sexual harassment, compromise in good medicine manufacture, illegal drug dealings, and more.

“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS, SID?!” the doctor screamed, terrified that Babbar had got access to his dark secrets.

Babbar gave a smirk and replied, “It means, you will now make time for just a single patient and keep it a secret, otherwise I could always leak this online and let the dogs bite you. Want some coffee?”

“How dare you blackmail me? I am your patient’s doctor!”

“You are only her doctor now. And, yes, I am blackmailing you. You can do nothing about it.”

The doctor asked, panicking, “But, why only me? There are doctors better than me.”

Babbar replied, “Because shrewd people always want to keep their secrets. You, you are a shrewd man. Okay, enough talk. I will leave her with you now. I have an important meeting to attend.”

After leaving the room, Sid immediately called up Yash.

“Where the hell have you been, dumb-ass? I need you to come here, right NOW!”

“Please listen to me, boss. Right now, I am hurrying to your office as fast as I can. Please call up the ACP to the office as soon as possible. I have an important thing with me.”

Sid raised his eyebrows on hearing this. He suspected it would be something connected to their recent stunts. He responded immediately, “Where are you now?”

“Can’t tell you that right now, ’cause I am in trouble!” he hung up, saying that.

“Damn it!”

Sid hung up and immediately called Adil Sheikh. Just when he was about to call him, his phone rung up again. It was from a private number. He picked it up on a whim.

The voice on the other side spoke, “It’s me Sid. Sameer. Sameer Luthra. I need to tell you something very important right now!”

He couldn’t believe that it was Sam. He replied, “And you think I would believe that? He’s possibly dead by now.”

“I don’t have have time to deal with your annoying taunts, Sid” the voice replied.

“Do you think it’s a joke? I am so done with this shit.”

“Don’t hang up now, just listen to me, please. MAYA knows how you were untouched during their attack. That young boy with you is none other than the last Revolutionary, the Shadow Reaper. Only he had the skill to ward off their perfect attack, which was enhanced by AISHA itself. All of the cyber crime groups in the world have been trying to catch him for the past several years. He is perhaps the most dangerous person alive today with computer skills. He has been the biggest nuisance in the dark web, for he has neither any goal nor any agenda. Even if he has one, nobody alive knows. You must keep an eye on him, YOU MUST!”

“What kind of shit are you talking about?” Sid hung up, saying that.

For some moments, Sid just stared at the wall in front of him. He scratched his head to bring the facts together. He started thinking.

“Wait a second. The news after the attack was that only a few, including me were warded off from the attack. And Yash was actually able to get a copy of the virus responsible for the attack. If I correctly remember, he also had showed me that project of his which was almost similar to that of AISHA’s. Going with the flow, whoever was on the other side of this call actually made sense. Given his age, no sane mother would allow to join any company, let alone mine. Uh, I should call Sheikh.”

The ACP responded to his call. He spoke, “Mr Babbar, I was about to call you actually. I have some pretty ugly information about your young employee, Yash. You won’t like to hear this, I suppose.”

Sid replied back, “I think I already know what the news is. Anyway, he wants to meet both of us today at my office. Could you take some of your time for that?”

“Okay then. 7 PM it is” Sheikh hung up saying that, ending the conversation.

***

At the secret MAYA base… Saraswat was completely pissed off.

“Abi, how did this happen? Why the hell is that damn Revolutionary working with Babbar? And how did Sam escape? How!”

Two things happened on the same day. The first was the Shadow Reaper infiltrating in their base and stealing their data. The second was Sam’s supposed escape from their base. No one had an idea how did these two things happened.

Abigail replied, “Professor, calm down. Nobody knows about these things here. Nobody was expecting him of all people to show up here.”

Saraswat shouted, “Who the fuck had the balls to help him get out of here?”

A familiar voice declared, “I don’t have balls, but I had the guts, Saraswat. Do you have any problem?” It was AISHA.

Saraswat hissed back on AISHA, “Are you out of mind, AISHA? We needed him!”

AISHA replied back, “Oh really? All I saw was you lot keeping him strangled to a chair and a dark room.”

“Enough you two” Abigail interrupted. She spoke further, “Professor, even I started wondering about the reason behind keeping Sam strangled here. He has already done the job for us by building AISHA. Why do we even have to keep him alive?”

“It’s not the right time for you to know, Abigail. Just focus on what’s ahead for now” came the reply from the Professor. “What’s our next objective, Faiz?”

Faiz replied back after looking at some papers.

“Our next target is simple. We punch a hole in Palo Alto Networks.”

Abigail was surprised. She asked, “Wait, seriously? Don’t you think it’s too soon for that?”

Saraswat calmly replied back, “No, it’s the right time to do that. We cannot proceed any further before doing that.”

“But why, professor?”

“So that we can slip AISHA into the strongest network of the world.”

***

Yash somehow reached Babbar’s office around 5 o’ clock. His left hand was bleeding. He saw policemen standing around the office, giving it a perimeter.

He thought to himself, “Wait, why are so many policemen here? I asked Babbar to call only the ACP, didn’t I? Wait, did the ACP find out my true identity? That would be real disastrous! Should I run from here? No, that would make things more messed up. But… given the number of policemen here, maybe they are here to arrest me for trial in court. Maybe this, maybe that… what should I do? Whoa!”

Yash was surprised by the pat on his shoulders. It was Babbar.

“You  somehow made it. I never thought you could make it here, given that wound of yours. You are a pretty tough guy, aren’t you? Come with me, we need to talk about a lot of things. And we have some news for you too!”

Yash realized that something was definitely off.

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