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WHILE the president’s speech had calmed the storm of worries for the bereaved people of Kimberland, it was rather the opposite for Dr Oye.
Oye had thought between two options before he decided to go for the option of using the people.
Utopia indeed had a legal claim over Mountana, Oye reasoned.
But if it claimed the right to occupy the ex-city straight on, the conquest might boomerang now and instantly paint Utopia the enemy of the people.
Using the feelings of the people was meant to be a second step; but Oye was rather ahead of himself. He wanted to be steps ahead and his faster pace now led him to losing out altogether.
Dr Oye had about five mobile phones; and which included three burner phones. He used especially the burner phones for his calls with the underworld.
Oye would usually choose a particular phone for a particular call. But here and now the phones were competing for use with the old man.
For almost all the five phones were ringing at the same time.
The president’s speech on TV the night before had put both the almost-fifty-nine-year-old as well as the Utopia organisation in a confused situation already.
And the old man, being Utopia’s agent in charge of the president of Kimberland, was already on a hot seat.
Oye was the one who suggested to Utopia that they win over the people of Kimberland before they would proceed to claim Mountana.
And now that his plan had fallen flat with President Jimi Jacob’s speech of the night before, Oye had to give answers to Utopia.
The old man was frustrated. And yet he knew he couldn’t just ignore the repetitive calls from the multinational Utopia.
Knowing already what the calls were for, he decided to do something crazy. He decided to pick all calls at the same time.
He spread out his phones on the table before him that early morning and picked up the calls.
He was quiet while he allowed the callers to speak first.
A confused jumble of separate voices with Russian, British, American and Chinese accents of English, poured out into the old man’s ears all at once.
‘He-llo, Mister. Kimberland’s situation… go a-head an’ explain!’
‘Hello… what’s this ought to mean? What plan have you got?’
‘Mr Oh-yei… What’s this we hearing from Kimberland? How you gonna manage this, huh?’
‘Huawei! Mister Oy’… what’ going on ’n Kimberland!
Oye took a deep breath and then spoke up.
‘The situation is under control, sirs. I shall update you through an email in the next one hour. I need to put some things together first.’
The callers were slow to respond this time. And before they could gather their thoughts and speak, Oye decided to end the call.
‘Thank you for the call,’ he said and hanged up on all calls.
And then, he went back to the drawing board.
To map out another strategy for Utopia’s entry into Kimberland.
It was already seven that morning. Mia was up already and was prepared to return to Mountana; but her partner in the investigation was yet to come awake.
Teo wasn’t an early bird. That explained why his firm usually resumed work as late as nine in the morning.
Mia checked out of her own lodge at the guest house and waited for Teo at the reception.
It had been an hour the young woman had been waiting
She’d earlier thought Teo would only be a bit late before joining her. But she was already getting tired of the long wait.
Mia decided to put a call through Teo.
Only then, it dawned on her that Teo must have taken his sleeping pills the previous night. And he waking up late now meant the young man was having a good sleep, Mia reasoned.
She decided to wait for the sleeping young man for as long as she could. Soon enough, Teo joined Mia at the reception.
The two had their breakfast and then headed to the ruined city of Mountana again.
They would continue with their onsite investigation.
Till they eventually dug out exactly what – or who – was behind the tragedy.
President Jimi Jacobs could see that the speech he delivered to refuse Utopia’s offer to help rebuild Mountana City, had turned out positive.
The people were pleased with the president’s decision that the nation should take time to mourn the colossal loss. Rather than allow a foreign body pester them into hurriedly rebuilding the ruined city.
The nation was again filled with praises for President J. J.’s characteristic humanity.
Jimi was relieved that Utopia’s grand scheme to conquer the ex-city was stalled for the time being.
Together with his brilliant, supportive wife who had help strategise his timely response, the president could now sit back and map out the next move.
And it had to be a big one.
Something that’d cripple Utopia’s game once and for all.
Dr Oye eventually came to a solution.
He reasoned Utopia had the claim over Mountana already. But he feared public opinion and the side the president had made it drift towards.
Oye admitted that the people would certainly oppose any of Utopia’s move to occupy Mountana at the time.
Especially with the president’s last address that publicly rejected Utopia’s offer to rebuild the ex-city.
But now, the old Utopia agent had found a way forward.
He had decided to use public opinion, too. And sway it in favour of Utopia’s mission.
Oye was prepared to raise people’s suspicion on Jimi Jacob’s refusal to allow Utopia rebuild the ruined city. He had resolved to let the political leader lose the trust of the people.
The little old schemer had decided to use Kimberians against their president.
It was a fight to bloodshed for both giants. And neither could back down now.
With the presence of verdant greenery around Mount Doume in the ruined Mountana City, Teo and Mia were certain that the cause of the ruins in the ex-city wasn’t a volcanic eruption.
Mia let out a deep breath. ‘We could now rule out the option of a natural cause with this,’ she said.
‘Except it’s a case where Mountana sinned like Sodom and Gomorrah and God rained fire on them,’ she added.
Teo turned an instant angry eye at Mia. The young man wouldn’t take anyone making a single joke out of the Mountana tragedy.
But then, the look in Mia’s eyes didn’t suggest the young journalist was joking around. But it was simply Mia’s manner of talking.
Teo still wanted to be sure Mia wasn’t joking about the tragedy.
For since the tragedy, the entirety of Mountana City had come represent Foye to the young man. And Foye had come to stand for the entirety of Mountana.
It had become a case of synecdoche, with a psychological variation, for the grieving young man.
Teo didn’t want any blurry line between good and bad when it came to Foye. He wouldn’t take even a passing comment or joke that would hurt the memory of his precious woman.
He was about to lash out a piece of his mind when Mia finished her words.
‘And, of course, I know it’s not a 21st century Sodom and Gomorrah,’ Mia said. ‘So, we can entirely conclude the disaster is manmade.’
Teo’s gaze at Mia dissolved into a blank expression.
And Mia looked the other way; backing away from him a few steps. She guessed her statement just sprinkled salt on Teo’s fresh hurt.
The two continued to examining the ruins while Teo flew a drone over the ex-city. And then, another discovery came to light.
Teo compared the map of the city they printed out from the Internet earlier that morning with the ruined city his drone captured.
Teo discovered it wasn’t the entire city that was razed down. It was just the inhabited parts.
There were no evidences of fire at the uninhabited waterfalls, around the hills and mountains, or in the valleys. None of the vacant tourist attractions were razed down.
With the new finding, the two guys were double sure that the destruction of the city was meticulously planned.
Staring at the footage from the drone, Teo spoke; his voice firm and decisive. ‘The cause of the fires can only be explosives. They didn’t result from an accident.’
Teo raised his head to ensure Mia was listening to him. He saw the young lady coming closer again and he decided to walk up to her to ease her.
He showed her the footage. ‘What d’ you think?’ he asked.
Mia nodded her head in agreement. ‘I agree with you. The destruction was systematically planned and orchestrated. Some people wreaked this havoc.’
Teo grunted with delight. He glanced up at Mia and nodded. ‘Some big people, for that matter.’
Mia hummed in agreement.
Teo’s tone of voice took a firmer stance. ‘So, now that we’ve found a major headway, what we need to do now is investigate our president.’
Mia was shocked at Teo’s words.
‘President Jimi Jacobs! What has that got to do with the explosive stuff? I believe we just need to find out who those devils are as you already said.’
‘I’ve caught them from the start,’ Teo interposed. ‘I’ve suspected our president from the beginning. We just have to find his connection to this tragedy!’
Mia looked on, stupefied.
Teo went on. ‘Besides those who came to bomb Mountana were just messengers. The real conspiracy is what we should go for. We’ve got to get to the bottom of this.’
Mia was surprised that Teo was trying too hard to tie Jimi Jacobs around the conspiracy. And just out of the blues, at that.
But beyond these, Mia was also a fan of President J. J. and she wouldn’t take any word against her model statesman.
As much as Mia wanted to get to the root of the case with Teo, the young journalist wouldn’t investigate with a suspect in her mind.
More especially when the suspect was President Jacobs. And she wanted to remove the politician from Teo’s list before the two went on with the investigation.
She turned to Teo.
‘I’m sure it won’t be good if we go ahead investigating this case with a bias mindset from the start. President Jimi Jacobs is innocent. He’s a good Christian and everyone knows that!’
Teo smirked. ‘If we suspect someone else,’ he retorted, ‘you will be fine, right? So far it’s not your President Jacobs.’
Mia knew she’d been caught. ‘Ok-ay,’ she said in a slim, weak voice, ‘I give up already.’
Teo looked at Mia’s cute, defeated face and smiled.
‘Okay,’ he said, ‘let’s wrap up and head back to Kakakhi. We’ll meeting often to continue the investigation when we reach home.’
Teo was short of words in thanking Mia for involving herself in the investigation that mattered to him a great deal.
Mia had nursed him back to health when he collapsed with traumatic shock only weeks back, Teo reasoned.
On top of that, she’d followed him to Mountana and worked tirelessly with him.
Teo sincerely felt like hugging Mia and thank her profusely.
He instantly got a hold of himself. ‘Thank you for coming with me Miss Mia,’ he said quietly. ‘And thank you for my sleeping pills.’
Mia smiled. ‘You are most welcome, sir.’
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