Deceit - Part 2
Deceit - Part 29 mins 1.1K 9 mins 1.1K
The entire group gathered at the amphitheatre where the forty passengers sat on the seats while the four crew members and the six experts stood on the stage. Lucia began addressing the audience.
“Today, when I returned to the control room after lunch, I noticed something extremely perilous,” Lucia said smugly. Murmurs flew across the room and the amphitheatre erupted in chaos until Moshe screamed for everyone to keep quiet.
“Why are you shouting when you’re the traitor?” Zach mumbled with gritted teeth.
“Calm down Zach,” Anish whispered back. “We shouldn’t jump to conclusions so quickly, and we better not start a fight here. I don’t want to create an enemity or get into any trouble.”
“Stop being a wimp,” Zack replied.
“As I was saying,” Lucia continued, “there was a very hazardous breach that put our lives in the hands of our enemies.” Lucia took in a deep breath and said, “Our shields and weapons, including the invisibility shield, had all been disabled. We had been rendered completely vulnerable.” A smirk etched itself on Zach’s face.
“Zack, don’t!” Anish muttered under his breath.
“Lucia, what do you think explains the burns on Moshe’s face?” Zach bellowed. “There is only one way that he could have acquired those bruises, and that is the electrocution machine at the control room’s entrance. I SUSPECT HIM AS THE TRAITOR!”
Moshe’s face went red as a tomato. “How dare you suspect me!” Moshe thundered. It seemed as though a storm was brewing in the distance when this man spoke. “I will squash you under my—”
“Calm down, Moshe,” Lucia coaxed. She then fixed her eyes upon Zach and began, “Zach, Moshe got those burns because he tried to save us.”
“How is that, may I ask?” Zach barked back.
“Moshe’s access cards to the control room were stolen by someone else. When he tried to get in, he was electrocuted because he had the wrong card.”
“Wait a minute,” Sarah chipped in. “I thought that only Lucia and the other three crew members had access to the control room.”
“That is what we told you,” Lucia smiled. “Well, there are two more crew members, and they are Moshe Bar Heim and Guang Zhang. We kept their identities secret, until now.”
“Why was that? Do you not trust us, Lucia?” Zack hissed.
“Some aspects are better not questioned, Zach,” Lucia replied. “Now, please head back to your rooms.”
During the evening, Anish, Sarah and Zach went for a swim in the ponds. The weather was quite hot and Sarah insisted on a lemonade while they relaxed in the water. When they got back to their rooms, they were told that the crew members and the experts had organized a party to celebrate the success of the landing on Athonus after the long hibernation period. Lucia was with two other crew members, while Anish decided to hang out with Zach and Alec. Sarah was with Martina, Moshe and Guang, who were dancing to the 2000s music playing loudly in the background. Some other passengers had volunteered to serve drinks in the counter, and Anish had already downed two mocktails along with his friends.
“Hey Anish,” Alec called out. “Who do you think the traitor is?”
Anish shook his head. “Well, I don’t know man. Next thing you know, Lucia’s the one betraying us all.”
“Exactly,” Zach added with a smirk.
“Hey guys, you want to go back to the room? I feel I’m going to crash right here!” Anish suggested.
“Sure,” Zach and Alec replied together, and the three of them sauntered back to their quarters.
The next day, Guang and Moshe guided the passengers towards the hangars where several military aircraft equipped with large machine guns and missile launchers had been docked. Five long runways spanned the length of at least a couple of kilometers, disappearing into the horizon where the sun was waking up from its deep slumber. Anish’s heart was beating faster than he could keep track of it, and fear rushed into him like a waterfall. He was scared to even pick up a weapon and fight, let alone flying a military aircraft. All fifteen students, and the two experts climbed into their aircraft and, one by one, took off into the air, flying like bullets. Anish spotted Zach performing a few stunts and racing ahead of the others. As Anish flew farther, his eyes fell upon a few targets strategically placed in the air. He tightened his grip on the rough, hard surface of the gun controller, took a deep breath, and began to fire. Bullets flew from the turret like sharp needles and pierced the target board, making it look like a decapitated corpse. Anish smiled, and he felt his confidence slowly returning to him. Suddenly, Sarah’s voice screeched through the speaker.
“Attention! Squadron leader down! I repeat, squadron leader down! Return to base immediately!” Anish veered back and brought his aircraft down onto the runway. They all gathered around the wreckage and gasps flew in the air. Anish looked around for Zach when his friend appeared in the door of the crashed airplane with Guang’s body in his arms.
“We have been hit with extremely depressing news,” Sarah began. “Ms. Guang Zhang, our expert, is dead.”
“Guang and I were bringing up the rear,” Moshe explained. “Suddenly, Guang’s engines burst into flames and she dove down like a rocket, crashing into the grass field below.” Silence filled the area and everyone’s head drooped down. Awkward silence settled for a long time, until Moshe spoke.
“Guys, let us get back to Lucia,” he proposed. “She needs to know about this.”
When Lucia heard the news, she burst out in anger. She balled her fists and overturned her chair as her face turned red. Her teeth were gritted and fumes seemed to coming out of her nostrils like smoke from a coal powered train.
“Who did this?” Lucia growled after several minutes of shouting and screaming.
“It was an accident, Lucia,” Moshe replied slowly, afraid of Lucia’s growing wrath.
“No, I’m certain it wasn’t,” Lucia barked back. “We have lost one of our most trusted and skilled women in a training session where sixteen other people were witnesses. No, Moshe, it was surely not an accident. It was planned - planned very smartly indeed, and whoever the killer is, I will make them beg me for death.”
Lucia then commanded everybody to go have lunch while she discussed matters with Moshe. Anish, Zach and Sarah ate together and discussed about the recent events which were getting out of hand. They even made hypotheses about who they thought the double-crosser was, and Zach tried to convince them that it was surely Moshe.
“Who else can it be? He was the one flying along with Guang, so it would be common sense that he took a shot at Guang’s airplane and brought it down,” Zach pointed out.
“Zach, the last person I would classify as a traitor would be a Mossad agent,” Sarah argued.
“I agree,” Anish added.
“Just wait and watch, you guys. It’ll surely turn out to be him,” Zach assured.
Immediately after lunch, Moshe came around and called everyone to assemble at the amphitheatre, which Anish did reluctantly. Lucia was going to give her speech yet again.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am deeply sorry to announce that our head expert for the warfare group Guang Zhang is no more. Her demise was the result of an engine failure during training this morning, and her plane crashed into the grass field below her. I request you all to close your eyes, remain silent and mourn for five minutes.” Silence fell in the amphitheatre and once the mourning was done, Lucia told everyone to depart to their quarters.
A couple of hours later, Moshe and the other crew came around to call everyone for the de-atomization ceremony. Guang’s body would be placed into a machine which would make her atoms disperse into thin air and become part of the planet’s atmosphere. They all assembled near the main building and just before the ceremony was about to commence, Zach nudged Anish.
“What happened?” Anish asked, concerned.
“Look there,” Zach pointed out. Anish followed Zach’s finger until his eyes fell upon a cloaked figure entering the main building which housed the control room. Anish gasped.
“Come on, let’s follow,” Zach urged.
“Have you lost your mind?” Anish hissed. “We don’t have the access card, and neither do we have a gun. Lastly, I am a not a great fan of death, and I don’t believe you are either.” Zach smirked and pulled out a grey card from his left pant pocket, along with a pistol from his right.
“How in the world did you…?”
“Guang’s body,” Zach beamed. “I volunteered to bring her body out just so that I could get this card, and of course, I always come prepared. By the way, this gun fires immobilizing darts that paralyses the person within seconds. Lucia would want to interview the traitor, so we’d better keep them alive,” Zach held out his gun.
“Zach, are you sure about this?” Anish questioned.
“Just follow me,” Zach urged.
“All right. Let’s get moving,” Anish followed Zach reluctantly. The two of them removed their shoes to make sure they don’t startle the traitor by making noise. They crouched and followed well behind. The figure held out an access card and entered the fortified room, closing the door. Anish and Zach waited for a few seconds and then slowly tiptoed towards the room. Zach handed Anish his gun while he opened the door with the card. As soon as the door creaked open, Anish held out his gun, his hands firmly glued to the trigger. The cloaked figure was seated on a chair operating a device.
“Hands up!” Anish bellowed. “Turn around slowly and reveal yourself.” The figure slowly turned and suddenly, at lightning speed, took out a pistol from its right pocket. Just as Anish’s eyes caught this movement, he pulled the trigger and the figure dropped to the ground, unconscious.
“Wow!” Anish took a glance at his gun, impressed with himself.
“Well, let’s remove this hood,” Zach chuckled and moved towards the body. He pulled back the hood, and both of them gasped.
It was Moshe.
“I knew it!” Zach grinned, his face beaming with happiness and excitement. “I knew it all along, and none of you ever believed me. Here’s our traitor, my prime suspect, caught red handed tampering with the controls.”
“I guess I can’t disagree,” Anish replied. “Let’s get back to Lucia.”
“Lucia,” a voice boomed, “is already here.” Both Anish and Zach jumped. Anish immediately pointed his gun at the person behind him but lowered the pistol when he realised who it was.
“Lucia,” Anish whispered.
“You saw everything?” Zach questioned with a raised eyebrow.
“No,” Lucia frowned. “In fact, I just came here to check on the controls. So you finally found the traitor, did you?”
“Yes,” Anish affirmed. “And it looks like Zach was right all along.”
“Hmm,” Lucia scowled. “I need to know the whole story. Everything.”
“The story of what?” Zach asked, perplexed.
“The story of how you found out that Moshe was surely the backstabber, of how you got that pistol, and, most importantly, how you broke into the control room,” Lucia gritted her teeth on those last words.
“Alright, alright,” Zach coaxed. “Calm down. I’ll tell you everything.” Zach began narrating the whole story of how they got here and successfully took down Moshe. Meanwhile, Anish commenced the searching of Moshe’s body, looking for anything suspicious which might help them in any way. He looked in all the pockets and even tore the shirt to see if anything was hidden inside, but in vain. Suddenly, the corner of his eye caught something he never thought he would find.
“Hey, Lucia,” Anish called out. “Come and take a look at this.” Lucia marched towards Anish and gulped.
“An ear plug for communication,” Lucia snarled. “Moshe was not alone.”