Chapter 9: The Last Revolutionary, The Shadow Reaper

Inside Babbar’s new office, Sid, Sheikh and Yash were sitting on three chairs, facing each other. The office was being guarded by some policemen. The atmosphere inside was cold and tensed. 

Sid started the conversation, “What have you brought for us, Yash?”

Yash replied, “While tracking back the source of the virus from the last attack, I somehow managed to punch my way into the classified files of our enemies. If they are to follow their plans, they have some pretty nasty stuff to do.”

Showing a pen drive, he continued, “THIS pen drive contains the actual names and code names of the members of MAYA, along with their designations. It also contains all the work they have done so far, AND their next target, Palo Alto Networks.”

Sid paused for some moments, then spoke, “ACP, this is not just an infiltration. It’s for AISHA. I have seen Sam doing the same, and they are following his footsteps.”

Yash inquired, “Wait, Sam? Are you talking about Sameer Luthra, the apparent murderer? Wasn’t he caught by MAYA and is now being kept hostage?”

ACP answered, “Yes, supposedly. We need him back here though. He’s not the murderer actually.”

Sid intervened, “Give me the pen drive, Yash. You have been shot in your arm for that, isn’t it?”

“Yes, apparently for that. But it was worth the information I stole.”

Yash gave the pen drive to Sid. While looking at it, Sid asked, “What information do you have about the so called Shadow Reaper?”

“Shadow Reaper? Who’s that?”

“Well, there are rumors that he’s the last of the Revolutionaries, a group dedicated towards maintaining balance and preventing wars among the cyber groups, that was massacred 8 years ago. Some say that he’s the ultimate enemy to all the people who want cyber supremacy.”

As he heard this, he didn’t notice that Sid was behind him. He gave a pat on his shoulders and whispered in his ears, “It’s time that you tell us your backstory, nameless one, or should I say, Shadow Reaper.” The ACP had pulled out a gun at him.

The young lad realized that he was too late. He knew he had to spill all of it out.

He began speaking, “As you both may already know, I am the one known by the moniker of ‘Shadow Reaper’ in the dark web. Never in my life did I think that I would have to go back to my old days. Although, since the wolf knows what the ill beast thinks, maybe I can tell you my backstory. You two won’t be living for long anyway, I guess. Whatever it is… here goes…”

***

The boy didn’t know where he was born and when he was born. All he was told was that his father died some months after he was born and had left them with lots of money. The boy always kept a photo of his mother and father with him, in his deceased father’s watch which he used to wear. He had quite the lonely childhood, growing up isolated from other children. He never knew what a school meant for a child like him. He missed his father deeply, but he had no regrets. Somehow along the way, he realized how fragile life was. He knew he had to make the most of his numbered days. 

Despite not going to school, one thing his mother always asked him to do was to learn all about computers. Because of this, he had developed his computer skills at a very young age and had mastered the nuances of the various skills to be deemed a computer genius. Being of a modern age, he could grasp concepts experts at that time could only think of. And his hobby? To collect knowledge. He used to collect various programs and software to see how far and wide he could bend them for his personal use. His crave for knowledge took him to a more defined field; Hacking, Programming and Coding. That’s what slowly started to take him to shady cyber crime groups. 

Somehow though, he would always survive, for he would trade one information for another. This became a regularity as he slowly became a universal diplomat in the cyber world. He was praised for his negotiation skills, and he almost brought all these groups under a single roof in a short amount of time. Yet, he did all this just to find more data and knowledge, especially the elusive one. With time, his information trade increased, but he had one strict code to abide by: he would never exploit anyone for his personal gain. He always tried to earn the information by his own means. This honesty would actually increase the trust in him later, for he later was trusted with the most classified information from around the world. And everybody in this sector respected him for that.  

However, the happy days came to an end, on that fateful day. It was 8 years ago. It was the day his mother was murdered.

He was tired after a long day and negotiations with the groups. It was a rainy night. When he opened the doors, he saw his mother bathed in blood. She was dying.

It was a horrible sight for his eyes. He could see blood everywhere. Everything in his vicinity was a mess. Her body had multiple knife stabs. 

Crying, he shouted, “Mom, who did this? What happened here? Why didn’t you call me immediately?”

His mother, with a smile, said slowly, “I guess, this is where I die and leave the rest to you.”

The boy immediately shot back, “I am taking you to the hospital NOW!”

As he attempted to lift his mother, she grabbed him by his collar. She brought him near her face. She wanted desperately to say something. 

“Don’t dare to take me to the hospital, I am going to die anyway! Listen to me. I am going to give your last two orders. And you have to follow them strictly!”

“Mom, this is not the time for nonsense!”

“JUST LISTEN TO ME, IDIOT! You have to find a special pen drive which I have securely hidden in this house after you do the last rites. Once you find it, open it. There you will find my last order!”

She died with those words. She died in his son’s arms. The boy couldn’t cry. He was absurdly silent. After doing the last rituals for his mother, he started searching for that pen drive.

It took him 3 days to find the pen drive. He immediately attached it into one of the USB ports of his computer. On opening it, he found two videos and one PDF stored in it. 

The first video was from his mother. He opened the video.

“My son, if you are currently watching this video, it must mean two things, that I am dead and you have found the pen drive. This video is for you. You will know your legacy and your mission in this video.

I was a part of a rather small cyber group, called The Revolutionaries. Maybe there were around 50 people. This group was created so as to keep the balance in the cyber world in check. There’s too much information in the world that could destabilize several countries, overthrow governments and open dark secrets hidden for good. Our job was to reign in the information flowing throughout the world, and confronting all these cyber crime groups.

We sometimes sold the information and sometimes used it to stall those in the cyber wars. We had stopped several possible breakdowns in 10 years and had become a force for the balance of powers itself. Unlike some groups who claim to fight for the people, we fought for a bigger purpose: to preserve and pass on the current knowledge to the next generation. We believed that all the truth must exist, but not all must be shown to the mass. That’s why we never intended to leak out information to the public.

Perhaps, that’s where we went wrong. One day, with no signs of danger, your father was murdered along with almost all of the Revolutionaries. To my knowledge, only two people survived that massacre. One was me, the other was a young lad who had newly joined. Then you were born.

I decided that I won’t tell you the whole truth until either you became matured enough or I died. That’s why I pushed you towards computers and never sent you to school. Anyway, the next video is a log of all the work done by us. Maybe it also contains some clues on the other survivor. The PDF in this pen drive contains classified information which even I don’t know. Only your father knew about this. I hope  you can crack it.

For now, believe that you are the last Revolutionary in the World and the last man standing for the balance. I know that your life is already messed up, but you realized that you must make the most of your numbered days. There is no better way than to be a force for the world to reckon with. 

I love you, my son. Now rise, and elude this world, Shadow Reaper!”

That is how the Shadow Reaper was born. 

***

Tears were rolling down as he finally stopped. For the first time in 8 years, he didn’t have to be The Last Revolutionary, but just a young man.

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