‘Where is the monitoring base of the criminal satellites?’ Sade asked the new leader.
The vice admiral smiled, though this could pass for a wince. ‘That is the problem, Sade, we don’t know.’
‘How can’t you know where such a sensitive base is?’
The AVM nodded. ‘It’s a sell out. Only Colonel Hector and the Russians know. Another person who could know was the chief of staff to Colonel Hector but he was killed last year in a failed coup.’
The telephone rang and Douglas’ mighty hand closed on the receiver. He listened, then, ‘Thank you.’ He looked at Sade and reported that Mark had just been admitted in the presidential clinic. He smiled apologetically, ‘HAZARD employs some of the best torturers in Africa.’
‘When can I see him?’
‘As soon as we think up how to find the monitoring base of the satellites and put them out of action.’ The blackmail in his voice was so small it almost seemed Sade imagined it.
‘This is a very difficult task. It’s not an immediate term goal.’
The man disagreed. ‘I can’t be an effective head of Camus Island with the Russians monitoring every of my single move. I need the satellites put out of action now, NOW.’
‘Besides the late chief of staff is there nobody who can, remotely, no matter how minute, have a clue to where the control base is? There must be someone,’ Sade urged, trying hard not to lose her head.
‘There is such person. Girlfriend to the late chief of staff. She could know.’
‘Then bring her in and get the information.’
‘We can’t do that.’
‘The girl is a high profile citizen and our most capable agent.’
‘What is she?’
Sade was on her feet before she realised she had moved, that the piece of information had charged her. His excellency, drank in all this, nodded. ‘I can see you are familiar with Valencia.’
A cold fury sprung from an angry admission that she didn’t look forward to a confrontation with Valencia, mixed with a genuine distaste for the woman, darkened Sade’s brow. ‘Some heads of state are known to torture even their deputy head of state. Valencia is a small fry; you should bring her in and give her the maximum work.’
The other allowed a dangerous warmth cross his face. ‘I can’t do that. For one, it will undermine the authority of HAZARD, torturing their star will weaken their morale. I don’t need to provoke their enmity yet. My legitimacy is already shaky. And, I can bet, we can’t break Valencia by force. She’s strong-willed and smart. But you are smarter. If anyone can outwit Valencia, you can. We give you her file and you get after her.’
‘It will be a waste of time.’
His eyes narrowed with the first open asperity of their dialogue. ‘I saved your life, Sade; I saved your boyfriend’s life, what are you prepared to do for me in return?’
‘I will put the Russian spy satellites out of action.’
‘That is for saving your life. Mark is free, what is my reward for that?’
Sade sat down. ‘Get me the file. But I can’t do this alone. I must be reunited with Mark. Valencia can challenge Sade but even Valencia is no match for Sade plus Mark.’
‘Of course, it will be very soft working with your head on your lover’s breast, isn’t it? And I am curious, how good is Mark in bed?’
If Sade was embarrassed, she didn’t show it. ‘How is that your fucking business?’
‘Of course not. But I can’t help thinking aloud, do you see you and Mark leaving Camus Island in one piece, as a couple to live happy hereafter? I shouldn’t be asking you this, as you rightly pointed out, it’s none of my business.’
Sade knew this was prophetic but refused to allow it become a prion of depression. ‘Why don’t we get started?’
Sade was given a cell phone, Valencia’s file and Agent Doe’s phone number. She was to call Doe for anything related to Operation Russian/Valencia. She called him the moment she entered Mark’s room and saw his grave face half-hidden in bandage.
‘I need Carlo’s address.’
‘Is related to Valencia?’ the other asked in his shaky English.
‘You are to answer questions not ask them,’ Sade said.
‘But, the order–‘
‘I will not argue this, Mister. I need Carlo’s address!’
Doe pronounced the one-eyed famous torturer’s address. ‘But–‘
‘Good day.’ Mark was already standing before Sade, she walked into the embrace that killed. ‘I didn’t believe we would ever do this again.’ She gasped.
Mark sighed. ‘Yea of little faith.’ Sade made to argue but he covered her lips with wet passion. They had so much to say to each other but found it easier communicating with their lips and souls connected, producing a joint heartbeat of silence, survival and endangered joy.
It was Sade who finally found her voice. ‘This might be the last time we do this but we have work to do.’
With great reluctance they disjointed their bodies, sat down on the bed and opened Valencia’s file.
They found out three potential information they could explore against Valencia for the secret of the satellite. First, Valencia was a lesbian.
‘What if she requests your body in exchange for the location of the monitoring base?’ Mark asked.
‘I will kill myself first and my dead body will reject it.’
Second, Valencia was a devoted Catholic who called to the confessional weekly, paid her tithe regular and doted on the old priest.
‘We can kidnap him in exchange for the intel.’
‘I can’t do that being a disciple of Christ,’ Mark said.
‘Have you ever heard of the sixth commandment?’
‘Have you forgotten Calvary?’
Sade sighed. ‘It’s a good possibility.’
‘It’s a long shot. Possible but shouldn’t be our first choice.’
When they unearthed the third information, Sade rose to her feet. ‘I am off to confront Valencia.’
Mark stood up. ‘Be careful.’
She drew closer, a kissable distance, and whispered, ‘Whether the whole thing goes flawless, I don’t think you are safe here. You got to escape. You can call my cell phone on 20844.’ They kissed.
‘What do you want with Carlo’s address?’
‘I will look for him,’ Sade said.
‘When you find him, what will you tell him?’
‘I will tell him “I love you” ‘
Carlo was back to his loving family of fishes, for the first time since the official interruption that had earned him a miserable two thousand dollars. But he was nearly consoled, the gush he gave the stupid Nigerian on the face was eternal. And he would derive fuller compensation by fishing far into the night. He dipped the hook end of the line in the brown pond.
Someone touched him on his broad back. He began boiling with irritation as he turned and faced Sade.
‘Do you know who I am?’
He blinked with mounting anger, shock and ignorance. Seeing he didn’t speak English Sade resorted to Spanish. ‘Sabes quien soy?’
He said nothing.
‘Of course, you are too busy dishing out pains to read alien files. Earlier today you tortured a Nigerian, Mark. The torture isn’t a problem because it was in the line of your work. But after you were called to stand down, you went ahead and designed his face. That was a mistake, designing the face of a Nigerian who is also my lover.’
‘You will kill me?’
‘You wish. No, I am here to retire you permanently.’ Sade drew out a pocket switch knife. Carlo struck a blow, Sade grabbed his wrist mid-air with the right hand and stabbed him on his good eye with the other, shattering his sclera, cornea, iris, retina, lens, all. His scream, music to Sade’s ears sent a thousand birds flying off their nests in fright. Sade slammed a concluding knee on dry belly and Carlo and the knife, struck in his eye like a shameless trophy fell on the pond with a splash that must terrified his fish family.
‘Bastardo.’ Sade began to go away then remembered her promise to Mark. She stopped, turned her head and said, ‘I love you.’ Next, Valencia.