Click here to read the previous chapter; Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 1, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 2, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 3, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 4
The moment Paul stepped up to them, they started bombarding him with questions. He looked over their heads for a moment, trying to gain his bearing, sifting through his knowledge, deciding what he could say and what he dared not say if he still wanted to keep his head on top of his body. When he had set am imaginary boundary, he looked down into their faces.
He pointed at a sharp nosed reporter off to the right. “I’ll take your question.”
“What happened here?” asked the man.
“Good question,” Paul said, turning away from him to address everyone. “We intercepted a transmission that there was going to be a shipment of contraband into the country through the Apapa Port. We immediately put together a string operation to locate the ship and take into custody the transporters. We found out that the contraband were little children who had been wrongfully snatched from their families and forced into illicit child trafficking.
“We were able to rescue the kids, though some of them have been injured because of the harshness of sea travel. They have been safely conveyed t the General Hospital, where they are receiving medical treatment. After this, we intend to hand these children over to the Ministry of Children Affairs to return them back to their parents.”
Paul pointed to another reporter in the back. She asked, “What organization do you work for? Why do the DSS and the police report to you, yet you wear no insignia.”
Paul smiled. This was getting good. “We are a special task force within the Ministry of Interior. Are major charter is to protect the country from threats that the conventional armed forces and security apparatus cannot handle.”
“If that is so, then stopping a illicit child trafficked trade from happening seems to fall right under the jurisdiction of the Nigerian Ports authority or the Nigerian Navy or even the Nigeria Police. Certainly not your special task force.”
Paul paused for a moment, collecting his thought. The reporters sensed his apprehension and realized they had asked him a very sensitive question. He expected the questions following this one to center around this area.
“Before we realized what the threat was, we were warned that it could be anything,” Paul said. “Also, the transmission we got intoned that the threat could be unconventional and that it had to be contained by unconventional means. This was why we were called in.”
“What do you mean by the threat being unconventional?” asked a reporter off to the right. “Also, what do you mean by unconventional means?”
“I mean that the threat could have been something the Navy or the Police or any of the security operative were not trained to deal with,” Paul said. “It’s not everything you can contain with a gun and a bullet, you know? My task force is specially equipped to handle these threats that firepower may not be able to solve.”
“How do you solve these ‘unconventional threats’?” asked another reporter.
Paul tethered on the verge of answering that one directly. He wanted to tell them about the shadow world. He wanted to spill the true secrets of the Shadow Corps. But he knew that if he did, there was no way he was living through today. They’d kill him the moment he set foot at Headquarters.
He’d decided to give this speech to bring the country’s attention on what had happened in the harbor to make it hard for his superiors to go and do to the kids what he failed to do to them back on the ship. With a lot of attention on these kids, it would be hard to incinerate them all. There was a greater chance that they’d make it through this after all. Maybe even find their ways back to their respective families.
If Paul went on to spill his guts, the Shadow Corps could go on to kill the kids, seeing how their activities were already in the light.
Paul made his decision and looked into the cameras. “We solve these unconventional threats by unconventional means,” Paul replied. “That’ll be all for now. Thank you.”
Paul turned away and walked to the vehicle. He got into the passenger’s seat behind. “March it,” he commanded Scott, who was at the driver’s seat.
Scott nodded. He threw the car into gear and roared down the harbor towards the exit. Irene was to his side. She was visibly angry, looking at the seaside through the glass.
The air was cold and tight with tension.
“You know what they’re going to do to you, right?” Irene asked after they had been driving down the expressway for ten minutes. At this ungodly hour of the day, the road was totally empty.
“I know,” Paul admitted. “I couldn’t stand and watch as you butchered those innocent kids.”
“We don’t decide who is innocent and who is not,” Irene said, her voice calm. “The protocol does. We don’t decide who lives and who dies. The protocol does. You’ve never had problems with the protocol before. Why now? Why ruin everything we’re trying to build?”
Paul didn’t answer. He wasn’t sure if she was referring to their relationship, which had been going on for the last three months or if she was referring to the Shadow Corps, which had recently left its infancy stage and was now in its adolescence.
“Truth be told, Irene,” Paul replied. “I’ve never never had problems with our methods.”
This drew a sharp gaze from Irene. Even Scott glared at Paul through the rear view mirror. Paul shrugged at them both.
“I’ve shot agents in the head for statements a lot less than what you’ve just said, Paul,” Scott said.
Paul didn’t respond. He looked out the expressway. They were currently speeding across Oshodi headed towards Airport Road. Their private jet was already on the runway, waiting to lift them off to Abuja, where their HQ was. Paul didn’t look forward to going back there. His fate was so uncertain he felt the urge to jump out of the vehicle and run.
Scott growled, pulling to the side of the road. Stomping on the brake, he brought the car to a screeching halt. He tapped the car intercom button and spoke. “Minor car trouble, guys. Proceed to the airport, we’ll be there in a few.”
“Are you sure you don’t need help?” said Tola, one of their team members.
“Nope,” Scott replied.
The three vehicles sped past them, taking the exit from Isolo Road onto Airport Road and disappearing along the bend.
Paul glanced at Scott, unsure what he was doing. Even Irene seemed unsettled.
Scott twisted in the driver’s seat so he could look straight at Paul. “I’m not going to sugar coat this. You are in deep shit. Chances are, once you get back to headquarters, you’ll be branded a sympathizer. Worst still, you’ll be charged with treason. Your life will become forfeit. You’ll be transferred to Purgatory, where you’ll die a slow and horrible death.”
Paul burst into a sardonic laughter, which was more to ease the tightness in his chest than from mirth. When he saw they weren’t joining in his mirthless laughter, he shut up.
“You’re probably going to try and fight your way out of the HQ…”
“Damn right, I will,” Paul muttered through clenched teeth.
“And we’re going to take you down,” Scott replied. He paused, fixing a cold stare upon Paul. Then he said in a voice that could have put the fear of God in anyone: “I won’t hesitate, Paul. I swear to you, I won’t hesitate to put a bullet in your head.”
To be continued…