“You know what, young man? In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got no time for that stupid brotherhood stuff. And as you can see, your so-called boss is already down. You stand to loose everything. Just speak up, we may consider minimizing the charges”, Adams said, folding his arms and fixing his gaze on the man.
“Kill me if you will. But as second in command, as long as I breathe, I would never ever let him down”.
“That was really dramatic, Marvin”, Elroy said. Marvin stared angrily at him; he could kill him at the slightest chance.
Adams motioned to an agent and he brought him a 30ml syringe.
“This would help”, he said and emptied the contents in his arm.
Marvin screamed in excruciating pain.
“What is the password for deactivating the bomb? It’s a 12 digit code”.
“7-9-1-5-2-2-1-1-4…” He broke off and slumped.
An agent had already copied it down.
“So much for overdose. How many?” Adams asked.
“Nine sir”, the agent said, waving the piece of paper.
“This is getting more complicated. Elroy, come and test your hacking skills on this system, I’ll try to figure out the rest of it. We’ve got only two minutes”, he said handing Elroy the laptop and taking the piece of paper from the agent. He laid it out on a mahogany table.
Emily came over. “I don’t see a sequence in the numbers and it’s obviously not a transposition code. I think the numbers represent something else”, Adams speculated, looking up from the paper and then at his watch.
“Then it has to be a substitution code. Let’s focus on that”.
She thought harder. Codes were not her specialty. Though she studied cryptography just as a part-time course in criminology.
Adams’ phone rang.
“Hello. Don’t worry, I’ll instruct them to take you to one of the safe houses. I’ll be back very soon”, he said calmly, his gaze still fixed on the piece of paper.
“Don’t worry Holy Father, I have the situation under control. Don’t bother yourself at all”, he said and dropped the phone on the table.
“Who was that?” She asked.
“The Pope, he’s just arrived at the CTAN”.
“Thank God”, she heaved a sigh of relief.
“But he is d–n hysterical about the Vatican going up in flames, and he said he had something important to say to me, but I told him it could wait, he’s really worried”.
It struck something in her mind.
“Porteliuz, remind me the name of that other guy that was with us in Rome”.
“You mean the Charmenlengo?” He asked from where they clustered around the laptop.
“No, not him. He’s the President of the monetary administration or something. I think it started with a ‘G’. ‘Gio’ something”.
“Okay, you mean Giovanni Lorenzo”, Porteliuz offered.
“Yes. I think ‘Giovanni’ is the password”, she said, searching his face for confirmation.
“What does he have to do with this?” He asked frowning.
Emily searched for her phone around the living room. It had been confiscated when she was brought in. She soon found it on the mantel piece.
“I’ve got a voicemail” she announced and played it.
The stiff voice of the Pope came on.
‘My daughter, Lorenzo is the mastermind of our plight. Be wary of him’
Agent Adams looked down on the piece of paper, the whole thing falling into place.
30 SECONDS LEFT
The code was such that each of the letters in the name ‘GIOVANNI’ was substituted with their corresponding number in the twenty-six alphabets to create the password.
He quickly solved it with a pencil and rushed to the laptop.
15 SECONDS LEFT
Agent Elroy’s hands flew over the keyboard as Adams dictated the numbers.
“Are you guys really sure? It’s a one-trial passcode”, Elroy warned, his finger hanging over the Enter key.
3 SECONDS LEFT
“Let’s give it a shot”, Emily said, “we’ve got no other option after all”
Elroy struck the Enter button before it was too late.
It seemed like an eternity as the computer processed it. Everyone in that room was tensed up as the computer did its work. It was their last chance at saving thousands of life.
DEACTIVATION SEQUENCE INITIATED
CONFIRM DEACTIVATION y/m
Elroy pressed the ‘Y’ button without wasting a second. A window appeared showing a loading process and it got to a hundred percent, another window popped up.
DEACTIVATION PROCESS SUCCESSFUL
Someone shouted, and the living room turned into a frenzied impromptu party house. They grabbed champagne bottles from the bars and a French door refrigerator that stood at one corner of the room. Lychee Martini cocktail and Fruity Sangrias cocktails bottles littered all over the room as they drank into stupor. Luckily, a home theatre sound-surround system was available and Elroy manned it with expertise.
Outside, the State Security Service (SSS) and some CTAN field agents with many other security agencies like the DSS, the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and the state police force were rounding off all the personnel in the huge building and carting them away in armored personnel carrier trucks.