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It had been fifteen minutes since Vincent lost contact with Mr. Coffee.
The last footage that the drone sent back showed Mr. Coffee’s people viciously getting gunned down by a mysterious sniper who had also eventually shot down the last two drone units.
The Black Nest technicians looked at each other, and for a long time, no one said anything. Vincent was as expressionless as a statue.
“In the end, Vincent broke the silence. “Do your job! Don’t make me repeat myself.”
Black Nest’s staff breathed a sigh of relief. Before Mr. Coffee took over, Vincent had been in charge of the operation. Vincent was their lynchpin, and now, they could get their act together and delve into their work again. The shock and panic that had befallen the crew quickly dissipated as well.
Vincent, on the other hand, was not as calm as he appeared to be.
In fact, he was on the verge of exploding into an uncontrollable rage.
Though he had disapproved Mr. Coffee’s neurotic decision to step into the trap deliberately, he did not stop him when he made the decision. Instead, he sent his strongest combat team to assist Mr. Coffee and even assigned him his best sniper, Abu.
Much to his disappointment, Mr. Coffee performed dismally. Even with such a luxurious lineup, he still managed to fail in such a miserable fashion. Vincent even started to presume that Mr. Coffee must have been deliberately pitting against him.
The arrogant sod’s blunder ruined all of Vincent’s plans. The technicians were fine, but they were getting a little stretched out in the field. Should push come to shove, he would have to put on his battle armor and take out his favorite 17.
Black Nest had the absolute upper hand in firepower, but being on the defensive had its own disadvantages too. Having no idea what mode of transport Edward and his people would use to get to Toulouse, Vincent had to scatter his men at various locations, including the airport, train station, and highway. At the same time, he mediated and directed the team, all in anticipation of making a move. At least they had Zero’s powerful monitoring capabilities, hopefully enabling them to find the target among the sea of people.
Louis was the star reporter of Le Monde, known for his incredible ability to dig up scandals in the government and business world. He had exposed Strauss Kahn, former president of the International Monetary Fund for a sex scandal, eventually forcing him to resign. The wife of former Prime Minister François was also exposed for embezzlement, in no thanks to him, and not too long ago, he was busy following the papertrail of a large welfare agency’s funds.
Louis received a secret tip that the welfare agency was allegedly involved in high-priced purchases and financial fraud-a large part of the agency’s donations was said to have gone to the chairman and vice chairman’s own pockets.
However, in the middle of the debacle, Louis received a strange e-mail. The sender said that he had headline-worthy information in his hands, but refused to disclose the content.
At first, Louis did not take the message seriously since he received emails like this almost daily, with his reputation and all. Still, most of these so-called “big-scoops” were actually the senders getting themselves into trouble.
Louis would reply by expressing his sympathy for them, but he weren’t Batman, and neither could he bring justice to everyone. Instead of drowning within these personal dilemmas, Louis wanted to focus his attention on the big scoop, something he knew would have a far-reaching influence.
Upon receiving the email, he quickly managed to sniff out something unusual from it.
This mysterious sender seemed to know what he was thinking and sent him a second email. This time, it wasn’t sent to the public email address on his website, but to the secret inbox he used to communicate with special informants.
That caught Louis’ attention, his reporter’s instincts telling him that there was big fish to catch.
After an exchange of keys, they began to establish a line of communication through encrypted emails. Louis’ hunch proved to be true. The more he knew, the more he was gobsmacked. At the same time, he also realized the insurmountable danger that surrounded the matter.
Black Nest was not just some multinational group made up of a bunch of consortia. Their tentacles were far-reaching, coiling all the way among the inner workings of political and business circles. Once CTOS was launched, gaining control over entire Europe would be all too easy for them.
Louis immediately set his work aside and set up a place and time to meet Edward.
He managed to put together a small team, and along with him, was a videographer, a moderator of a large online forum, and a well-known documentary director. There was a total of six people, and together, they departed from Paris to Toulouse.
The team was nervous and on edge as they landed. Before they took off, they were briefed about the status of the newspaper’s advance team. The three interns who played bait had done well in completing their part of the mission. The next part was up to them now. Louis looked at Pierre in the next seat. Pierre had been his photographer for a long time, and no matter how precarious the situation got, he was the one always to capture the footage Louis needed.
“Are you ready, Pierre?”.
The lights on the airport runway lit up brightly through the plane’s windows. Pierre did not answer. He nodded and gave Louis an ‘OK’ sign. Before Louis’s big break, he was a war correspondent in Iraq for a period of time, where he had also met Pierre.
They survived the Gulf War together, so there was no reason they wouldn’t survive this investigation.
“Well, let’s begin, then.”
When the plane came to a halt, the flight attendants routine reminder to the passengers to check all their luggage, the six-person crew’s adventure began.
Airports generally got their electricity from two separate power supplies and were also often equipped with more than one backup power set, so power outages were sporadic.
But tonight, Blagnac Airport’s terminal was plunged into total darkness. The airport evacuated tourists and tried to find the cause of the power outage. It was chaos where people were running and stepping onto each other.
Upon receiving the news, Vincent acted immediately, barking out instructions as he commanded the driver to start the lead vehicle. Still, as that was happening, an unfamiliar voice came over his hand-held communicator.
“Mr. Vincent, are you in a hurry?” Vincent’s brows furrowed. “Are you the people who killed Abu and the others?”
“Yes, that’s right. To avoid a reoccurrence of that… unpleasant incident, I strongly recommend you stay where you are,” the voice said.
“And what if I refuse?”
He was replied with the sound of a sharp ‘thwap,’ and a bullet punctured one of the PV’s tires.
“This one’s just a warning. If you insist on doing things your way, then the next bullet will be for you,” replied the voice calmly.
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