Breaking The Code (Part 1 of 4)
By: Ammar Ahmed Khan
Dusk shrouded the city of Islamabad. The street lights were on and a few lights were on in the nearby buildings, but the street was empty. Only moments later, a tall figure was seen, shrouded in his coat and wearing a hat, covering his face and carrying a briefcase with him. As he walks on by, he spots an ATM booth and stops, staring at it’s direction for a while before walking towards it.
The mysterious figure began to clench a fist numerous times as he walked towards the ATM. The clenching was slow paced, as if he was adjusting. Suddenly, the street lights began to flicker, as well as the light in the buildings. The ATM was also seen flickering on and off until eventually all the lights in the area was gone. The entire street was in blackout.
The figure walked into the booth, after which the ATM turned on again. After a moment, the figure left the booth, the suitcase in his hand began to look slightly heavier than it was before. A sign could be seen written within the ATM machine stating ‘This ATM is currently empty. Sorry for Inconvenience.”
As the figure was a far distance from the ATM, he raised his unoccupied hand and made a fist once again. Upon doing so, the ATM booth exploded. The explosion was so massive, it caused the entire building to be covered in flames. Not soon later, the lights of all the houses and street lights came back as the people of the area began to panic, wondering who did this. The mysterious figure was no where to be seen.
THE NEXT MORNING
The television screen showed a reporter on the scene, telling the news. Behind her was a pitch-black building, covered in smoke as rubble was scattered across the road, still visible on the screen. Locals looked around the burned building in a form of worry and confusion
“There are currently no reported casualties..” said the reporter, “but the questions in everyone’s mind are “how did this happen?” and “who’s responsible.”. This has been Fatima Arshad from ‘On-the-Dot’ News, reporting live from the scene.”
Saifullah enters the room to find Andrew Swaltz watching the news. Andrew looked in the direction of Saifullah, smiled slightly, and looked back at the television.
“Can you believe this?” asked Andrew as Saifullah came closer to him. Saifullah got a clear view of the building in ashes on the corner of the screen as the anchorman gave further details. A little while later, Andrew turned off the television and stood up from his chair.
“May I ask what that was all about, sir?” asked Saifullah, curious.
“Please..” said Andrew as he asked Saifullah to take a seat while he looked out of his back window, “Call me Andrew.”
Saifullah slowly moved to the front of Andrew’s desk and sat there, waiting for Andrew’s reply.
“It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?” said Andrew looking up at the skyline, eventually looking at the city and admiring the beautiful building aligned against one another. “And every bit of this city is beautiful.”
“Yes, it is, sir.” said Saifullah, “But I don’t see what that has to-”
“So can you really believe that someone would actually want to blow up a part of it?” Andrew continued as he looked at Saifullah. The question struck a small nerve inside Saifullah, but it wasn’t visible to Andrew.
“Someone’s been bombing buildings?” asked Saifullah, sounding rather concerned.
“Not buildings, Saifullah.” replied Andrew, “No, this person is going after ATM booths. Apart from that.. This person manages to take out all the money from the booths before blowing up the booths and a small bit of the banks.
“None, according to the reporter on the scene.”
“Then I’m sure our local authorities will apprehend the culprit.”
“I would like to agree with you.” said Andrew as he walked towards his table and sat on his chair once again, facing towards Saifullah. “There is one thing about these bombings in particular which is very interesting.”
“And what might that be?” asked Saifullah in interest.
“There wasn’t a bomb.”
“Really?” asked Saifullah, his eyes widening.
“Yes. The police did a full-scale investigation, but no signs of a bomb usage was shown.” said Andrew as he got some paperwork from the side of his table and started working on it. “Something similar happened not more than a month ago. Some cafe in Karachi collapsed on top of the people in it. There were no signs of corrosion in the buildings, nor was there any earthquake.”
“That’s….interesting.” said Saifullah as his mind tries to connect the events for a clue.
“Indeed.” said Andrew as he finished up the paperwork and put it aside. “Anyway…How is everything at the office, Saifullah?”
“Oh I’m enjoying it rather well, sir.” replied Saifullah with a smile on his face, “But there is only one thing about my job that’s quite curious.”
“And that would be?” asked Andrew, sounding rather worried.
“We’re a computer company, sir.” replied Saifullah, “So I’m wondering why you’ve given me my own engineering lab as well as an office.”
Andrew chuckled slightly as his assistant, Mariyam entered into the room, she was carrying a series of folders, color-coded and filed accordingly.
“Here are the documents you asked for, sir.” said Mariyam as she placed the folders on his desk, “Also both Mr. Qadri and Mr. Khalid are here for the meeting.”
“Thank you, Mariyam.” said Andrew as he collected the holders and got up from the chair, looking at Saifullah, “And don’t worry, Saifullah, everything about this company will be revealed to you in due time.”
“After a few days ago, I certainly hope so.” Thought Saifullah as he remembers the event that occurred just a few days ago. How he got robbed by a group of thugs, the mysterious figure who killed their leader while the Shadow was about to interrogate him, and the empty crate with the company’s name on it. All of these events just brought up a lot of questions that needed to be answered.
“In the meantime.” continued Andrew as he left the room, “Since it’s your first day, Saifullah, and you think you know how things work, why don’t you take the rest of the day off?”
“Thank you, sir.” said Saifullah as he got up from his chair and Andrew had exited the room. Saifullah fixed his Shalwar Kameez up a little and decided to walk outside.
“Leaving so soon?” asked Mariyam in a friendly tone.
“My boss gave me the offer of a day off.” replied Saifullah with a smile on his face, “Why would a pass such an amazing opportunity.”
“Well, you got a point.” said Mariyam with a laugh, “So what do you planning on doing on your day off.”
“I think I’ll run some small errands.” said Saifullah as he left the room, “Like going to the bank.”
LATER THAT NIGHT
The bank was completely destroyed. No one was at the scene anymore doing any investigation, giving the Shadow the perfect opportunity to do a little investigation of his own.
Charred rubble was all over the place and the ATM booth was completely destroyed. The Shadow got closer to the booth to get a closer look at the machine, hoping to find any clues. Everything inside was completely destroyed.
“How can an explosion like this happen without a bomb?” thought the Shadow as he looked around, “This doesn’t make any sense at all.”
The Shadow started to look around, hoping to find any evidence to find out who did this, but there was none to be found anywhere.
“This is just strange.” thought the Shadow as he looked at the ATM machine. Upon looking at it closer, the Shadow observed something unusual about the ATM machine. Everything about the ATM was destroyed, but the screen was still intact.
“What kind of explosion destroys everything but a screen?” the Shadow wondered. “It must have been a controlled explosive, but that’s something terrorist groups like the missionaries would do.”
Suddenly the the screen turned on and there was a white flash. After a while a symbol began to appear on the screen. The symbol looked like two rings – one large one and one slightly smaller one inside of the ring, with the two upper corners of the rings are missing and parts of the rings from the center below are missing as well.
After a while, another symbol began to appear. It was a thick shaped up-side down triangle which filled in the openings of the rings. The triangle began to light up around the sides and three words began to appear on sides of the triangle.
“Come, See, Conquer.”
“What the hell?” thought the Shadow as the screen suddenly blacked out again. He looked outside to see that the lights outside began to flicker again until eventually the lights went off. The shadow could only see darkness until he saw a light nearby which was still on – The light of an ATM booth.
“No time to waste.” thought the Shadow as he quickly ran towards the light.
AT THE BANK
The mysterious figure covered in his coat and carried his suit case. The lights were already gone as he began to enter the ATM booth.
Shortly after walking in, he came out with the suitcase being full and the ATM giving the same message ‘This ATM is currently empty. Sorry for Inconvenience.”
The figure looked at the booth and extended his hand, but before he could clench it into a fist, the figure noticed someone walking towards him, dressed in dark overalls – The Shadow.
“So you’re the one blowing up the banks?” asked the Shadow, but the dark figure didn’t reply, but put his hand back down and walked away.
“HEY!” yelled the Shadow as he ran in front of him, but the figure kept on moving until eventually they were face-to-face. The figure grabbed the Shadow and tossed him to the side. The figure looked like him for a while and walked away.
“Okay, that does it.” said the Shadow as he ran towards Shadow and went for a kick to his side. But the figure turned around and grabbed his leg, keeping the shadow in that position. The shadow took the opportunity and went for another kick to the face, removing the hat.
Hurt, the figure throws the shadow towards the ATM booth. The Shadow looks up and see the face of a pale young man, looking like he hasn’t shaved in days and a smirk on his face.
“Who are you?” asked the Shadow as the man extended hand towards the Shadow. The Shadow looks behind to see the ATM booth, and suddenly realizes what is happening.
“That, my friend…” said the man as he clenched his hand to form a fist, “Is something you will never know.”
Suddenly the ATM booth exploded and rubble began to fall to the ground. Fire was everywhere and the figure, and the Shadow, were nowhere to be seen.
TO BE CONTINUED…