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THE praises of President Jacobs only lasted two days before Oye turned the music around.
Dr Oye sought the president’s audience that early morning.
Jimi Jacobs knew he had himself punched Utopia with one big blow. And he guessed Oye must have been sent by the organisation to pass him a message.
Jimi was all smiles. He now owned the game and held sway over the next moves.
The middle aged president was eager to see how Utopia would react to his countermeasure; and so, he allowed Oye in.
Oye walked in. His steps were as hasty as a battalion’s march on the way to stop a war, or start one.
The look on his face, too, was as earnest as that of a scientist developing a vaccine to combat a widespread virus.
The old man perched himself in a comfy armchair next to the president’s seat at the guest reception area of the executive office.
Oye didn’t wait to exchange pleasantries when he zipped open his bag and brought out copies of some newspapers in the country; alongside his phone tablet.
Jimi watched the old man; a little too curious about what he was up to.
Oye drew out two broad glass stools around him, threw the newspapers on them and spread them out to make the front pages stand out clear.
He placed the phone tablet at a corner on the broad arm of the president’s armchair.
Oye flipped on the screen and it showed a preview page of a news article in one of the popular online news blog in the country.
Jimi looked closely, curiously reaching out a hand to pick up the tablet and a copy of the newspaper at the same time. ‘Erm… what is this about?’
The president decided to forgo the tablet in the moment. And, leaning forward to pick up a newspaper copy, he was suddenly thrown off-balance at the sight of the headlines.
With a newspaper in his hand, Jimi shot back his eyes to stare at the tablet. And he could see fairly similar articles on the online blog.
Frustrated and overwhelmed, he burst out. ‘Goodness gracious! What exactly are you doing?!’
The newspapers and online blogs contain the news articles Oye had sent to the news media the previous day.
And the articles right from their headlines strongly hinted that the president had a major hand in the mysterious Mountana tragedy.
One that deserved tenacious probing and investigation.
Oye picked up one of the newspapers and spoke up. His tone of voice was far calmer and nicer than Jimi ever expected it to be.
‘My president sir,’ Oye called, ‘the informants I have at those news media coming up with this – those eyes I have there got me to know about the inciting articles just this morning. Before the press would get it out in tomorrow’s dailies.’
He looked into Jimi’s eyes. ‘I was absolutely shocked, sir. I could barely stop all these from getting published. It took me everything I’ve got to stall them.’
Oye laid down the papers on the table before him.
Jimi stared speechless at the newspaper he had picked up a while ago. His lips quivered as his blank gaze ran forth and back across the front page in a daze.
A slight headache buzzed through the left side of his cranium at the instance. He leaned fully back in his seat, bent his left arm and held the nape of his neck with a hand.
The newspaper in his right hand slid off his grip and fell to the ground.
Jimi wasn’t expecting this.
He couldn’t believe that Utopia would go to the length of defaming and destroying him just to lay hold on the ex-city they razed down.
That, that monstrous devil would even make him the scape goat for the evil they wrought.
He was lost altogether. He was lost for words. He stammered. ‘This… this is…’
‘Defamation of character, Your Excellency!’ Oye interposed.
He stared at Jimi’s smitten face for a moment and warmed up to him.
‘You know,’ he resumed, ‘I had to threaten those media companies that if these articles get published they would all face the music.
‘Now, the good news is, I can stop all these articles from being published.
‘But the not-so-good is this: since the Mountana issue is still fresh in people’s mind, I’m not sure we can stop the media for a long time.’
Jimi was dazed and he bowed himself forwards.
The Kimberland president couldn’t believe Utopia could go this far to get themselves to conquer his country.
He was lost in thought when Oye resumed speaking.
‘What is your plan, sir? What should we do to keep the media quiet sir?’
Jimi didn’t reply a word. And only now, his mobile phone buzzed; and he didn’t take notice until Oye tapped him.
Jimi came back to his consciousness, raised his head and picked up the call.
And the call was from Utopia. It was Devlyn McCathy calling.
‘Hello,’ Jimi spoke first.
The deep toned voice of the caller took over. ‘I guess you got lucky this time, Mr President. The news articles didn’t get published as we planned.
‘But you can’t always get lucky, you know. We’re giving you just seven days from now. And that’s a full week.
‘If you don’t hand Mountana City to us in a pleasant press release, you can be sure you’ll never be able to fathom what we’ll do!
‘For the sake of emphasis, we’ve sent an email to you. So, check through your inbox.’
With that, Utopia’s CEO hung up.
Jimi’s brow was covered with beads of sweat. And Oye entertained himself with the sight of the mighty and witty President Jacobs cowering at the brazen foot of the powerful Utopia.
The old chameleon looked at the newspapers on the table and gave a quick, unnoticed smirk.
He thought to himself. ‘Now, this man will know the game’s always been mine from the very beginning.’
Well, the fact of threatening articles finding their way onto the preview copies of the newspapers, was exactly Oye’s meticulous scheme.
And bringing the news articles to the president could be dubbed anything other than an act of goodwill.
Indeed, Oye had his underhand schemes plotted out so well.
And the old conspirator acted them out to the president without the latter knowing the informant in front of him was the very plotter.
Devlyn had only made a rehearsed special appearance in Oye’s dramatic scheme, with the timely phone call.
Using the influence and power he’d built in years, Oye had sent out the news articles with their suggestive headlines to both newspapers and online news media.
And with a suggestive tip that President Jacobs had a hand in the Mountana tragedy.
But then, Oye didn’t permit the news to be published. He had only asked the media outlets to make a preview copy for just him.
And they were to wait on him till he gave them a directive to publish the articles.
For Oye, the day to publish them would be the last day of Utopia’s seven-day ultimatum.
If or when Jimi Jacobs refused to comply.
Jimi went home early, that day. He didn’t wait till the closing hour to inform his darling wife of the new development.
Oye had left the newspapers with the president as a reminder. And they were the souvenirs of shock Jimi had brought home to his wife.
Demi saw the news and was equally devastated. The first family could contain anything but not a dark spot to their immaculate honour apparel.
Demi could now tell that Utopia, and whatever it the organisation was about, was way scarier than she’d ever imagined.
Jimi told his first lady about the seven-day ultimatum he’d been given. He also told her about the email said sent him from Utopia concerning the issue.
The couple both went through the email together. And Demi did the reading.
Mr Jimi Jacobs,
I am amazed at the fact that you even dare to refuse our offer to rebuild Mountana City in the guise of your lame excuse of mourning.
You know right well why Utopia have to own your country’s Mountana City but I will not be stressing that again in this email.
Since you claim to still be in mourning for the 800,000 lives that we bombed up at Mountana, I hope the mere fact of national mourning would be a loud reminder to you of what Utopia is capable of.
So you don’t dare talk back in Utopia’s face. Like you foolishly did in your last presidential address.
Do you remember last year’s 29th of December that you were supposed to pay back the loan you took from us?
I will refresh your memory. So, you will not dare play another silly game and make me angry enough to raze down your entire Kimberland itself.
While you hoped for us to extend the consensual loan repayment window beyond the 29th, we Utopia hoped for the time to haste into a new day.
And as soon as the midnight of the 30th struck in your country’s Mountana, we struck that city from flying helicopters, with our weapons of mass destruction.
Our primary motive from the very beginning was Mountana City and we would go to hades to get that portion of your territory.
When we offer you the loan, we assumed we would easily get Mountana; thinking you would embezzle or mismanage the funds and wouldn’t be able to pay back before the deadline.
However, you being an economist, you managed everything so well and we knew we would lose out if we let you be. And that explained why you got the Olympic Games.
We making you host the Olympics was a way to make you spend the money you have saved up for repayment. I know you never knew we Utopia orchestrated your country hosting the games.
We wanted to be sure you wouldn’t have a way out like you always do. And so, we scheduled the Olympics to hold during your rainy season.
You have been so focused and busy with the paying back the debt, that your border defenses were left weak and porous. So, coming into your territory was a piece of cake for us.
You see, money isn’t everything!
Everything went according to our plan. No one plays game with us and beat us to it. No one dines with the devil and go scot-free.
Bombing Mountana was a child’s play for us. They were sleeping and defenseless. Utopia might have been the one who killed your beloved Mountana. But Mountana’s blood is on your hands.
By now, I believe you must have seen how far we have gone to get your Mountana; and I am sure you can imagine how far we can go to enter your country.
I am Devlyn “Fierce Courage” McCathy: do not make me more furious than I already am.
All we want is Mountana. Do not risk losing the entirety of Kimberland before you come to your senses. Politely allow us in before we tear down your walls.
Thank you as you comply for your own sakes.
Chairman & CEO, The Utopia Cooperation.
A cold, chilly wave poured on Kimberland’s first family as the stared into space. Their whole body frames shuddered uncontrollably with unspeakable fright.
In all their years in politics, they had never got such a hugely terrifying threat.
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