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*** Today's Maynia Prompt: scandal***
*** Today's Daily Freewrite Prompt: none***
Writers can choose to use one of the prompts, both the prompts or not use the prompt at all. It is all up to you!
I wish to make this into a sci-fi novel. Let's see how it progresses! 😊
The Galactic Interceptors - Day 17
Continued from Day 16. You can read it here.
Intelligence Bureau, Delhi
Akash was growing used to coming early to office. Finishing his report even before others arrived saved him from the distractions. Akash had called Radhika early as well. His cabin was right next to hers, so he would know whenever she came. Akash took a cue from Radhika and brought his flask of tea as well. Only he did not make the tea but got it filled at a local tea shop that lined the early morning road.
For the first time since the extra-terrestrials arrived, Akash thought there would be some reconciliation and hopefully some solution on the horizon. He was still a bit on edge about the weapon. Clearly, it did not appear that Zarqui knew about it, and the button-like thing that he sent for Olyint could clarify that part. The only worry was if Olyint was the bad guy all along or was there indeed some more Arlenians on Earth.
Akash was focused on his laptop and took intermittent sips of his boiling hot tea when he heard his door close. Either he was too busy looking at the laptop or too sleepy to have missed his guest.
"And you make that kind of entry again," Akash said.
"I find it hard to trust anyone," Zarqui settled on the sofa, "I saw your friend on her way here."
"You did? So, she would be coming up. I think you should leave."
"I meant, she was driving to this place when I ran ahead of her. She should reach in another twenty minutes."
"Damn, your speed."
"Did you find out from Sarvi?"
"I did. She checked. There were only three hoppers that took off from Arlenium that day. Two of them are here on Earth and one on Mars. Not a single hopper has travelled towards Earth since then."
"That can't be right," droopy eared Zarqui's frown betrayed his emotions.
"Would you like to have some tea?"
"What is tea?"
Akash poured some into a cup and handed it to Zarqui. He sniffed it and put it down.
"Not something I would like."
"Hmm. That would mean it is not your cup of tea," Akash laughed while Zarqui was lost. Somehow Akash refused to grasp the seriousness of the issue.
"I better leave."
"Wait, I have your favourite beverage too. Stay here for a minute," Akash came out of his cabin to get a Coke from the vending machine. He realized that if no other Arlenian came to Earth, then Zarqui was the only suspect. Either way, he had to know more about what Zarqui was thinking. Akash came back and handed over the Coke bottle to Zarqui.
"Let's meet again in the evening. I will find you," Zarqui said, "thanks for the drink."
"Wait, I had to ask something," Akash followed him out.
"Sure, ask," Radhika was standing right at the door. Zarqui had left.
"And, I guess, you didn't see Zarqui."
"Doesn't matter now," Akash was amazed at Zarqui's speed. There was literally just a second's difference between Radhika's arrival and Zarqui's departure, and yet Radhika did not see him, "you've got a minute?"
"More than that. I can't follow anything in a minute," Radhika smiled. It was an Indian way of asking for a time when both the parties clearly knew that the time required would be much more than that.
"I can serve you a cuppa tea," Akash yelled as the floor was empty. It took Radhika minutes to come back to his cabin,
"I've gotta my own cuppa. So, why did you want me here so early?'
"Few things and all related to Zarqui," Akash updated Radhika on everything that conspired between him and Zarqui, including Sarvi being put to sleep and the button-like device for Olyint.
"Hmm. But no idea of the weapon, yet," Radhika looked at the time on her phone, "I don't think Arvind will be pleased."
"I know. But every time I meet Zarqui, it looks like he makes a sincere attempt at making things right."
"That's my problem, Akash. He is making those things right that he made wrong," Radhika banged the desk, "and that's like a murderer in jail wanting to do social service in the open. He has to be brought in."
"Hmm," Akash didn't say much. His hunch said that Zarqui was an innocent man, but cases did not work on intuition. "So, the weapon, you still feel it was Zarqui who stole it?"
"Everything points to him," Radhika said, "okay, let's take it differently. You have to update Arvind on the case. Tell me how are you going to present the facts and then present a hunch on the case? I bet your hunch and facts don't match."
"I know. It is just odd that he is still holding the weapon and has no demands," Akash added.
"Maybe that is a game too. Who knows? We don't know him from before a few days back. What basis do we support our claims?" Akash knew that Radhika was bang on about everything she said. "Besides, as per our final fact check, there are no more Arlenians here on Earth to have pulled this off."
"Okay, let's update Arvind," Akash felt there was no reason for him to act as the devil's advocate. If the Arlenians were such a superior race, then they would have a better arbitration mechanism to find the culprit. Akash realized that his job was only to get them off the planet.
Radhika and Akash took the long walk to the director's cabin. From the glass panel, they could see that Arvind was on call and appeared pensive. Radhika waved at him and entered. She and Akash took their usual place at the desk.
"Alright, I will have Akash and Radhika come in for inspection," Arvind placed the receiver back. Arvind had a heavy sigh.
"Well, before you send us anywhere," Radhika started, "you got to…"
"Before your update, Sarvi was shot by Zarqui," Arvind said.
"That's odd. When did that happen? Radhika frowned.
"Half an hour back, or thereabout. You can go and check it out yourselves."
"Why would Zarqui do that?" Akash brushed his hair back, "was it just one shot? Then there is a chance that it was just to stun her."
"It was two shots as I understand," Arvind said. "In fact, you will do a great service to go and find out yourselves and give me a report. Don't ask me and don't make me repeat my instructions." Akash had never seen Arvind so wild. Maybe, it was the pressure from the PMO, he thought.
"Okay, let's go then," Radhika nudged Akash. Akash stepped out, making way for Radhika. "Your car or my car?"
"Mine," Akash said while walking to the vending machine. He got three bottles of Coke, "remind me to stop at a medical store on the way."
Sarvi's makeshift residence
Radhika was glad that the lockdown was shielding all these developments. If media got even a whiff of the extra-terrestrials, then it would be a crazy information management exercise for the IB and the Government of India. Despite Sarvi being shot nobody came to know as everyone was following the lockdown procedures. Radhika thanked her stars.
To Be Continued.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay