Inspector Milena was walking on the CBIC highway. It was almost evening time. As she walked on, she glanced at the huge façade detailed in Gothic Architecture of the CBIC Bank HQ, just adjacent to the highway. A wonderful building, she thought. As she took the narrow lane next to CBIC building, a shortcut to reach the other road, she saw flashes of bright light. As she moved ahead, she saw a figure vanish behind the pillar supporting the canopy of the Bank HQ service entrance. As she moved cautiously, she looked behind the pillar again. No one. Probably I am seeing things more, she thought as she moved on.
Two nights later, exactly at 12:00 AM, all the CCTVs, the main door electronic locks, the lockers in the locker room and every other electronic lock connected to the main server got disengaged.
Exactly at 12:30 AM, after 30 minutes, all the CCTVs, the main door electronic locks, and every other lock connected to the main server engaged again.
“Tower Control, this is Inspector Milena. We have just received info that the CBIC Bank HQ has been robbed. I repeat, CBIC Bank HQ has been robbed. Request all available units to reach CBIC Highway immediately.”
Just 2 days before, she had crossed this street. Now as she parked & got out of the Police vehicle, she saw a fleet of reporters & media persons outside the Bank along with uniformed policemen. No one had entered the bank. The Bank Officials were waiting for her. Along with them she started walking towards the Bank building. The Door Security opened the door with the Electronic Swipe card & thumb print. As she crossed all of them & entered the bank with two officers, see saw a huge flash of white lightning. All of them covered their eyes. As their vision cleared, they saw nothing.
Still questioning the lightning, Milena ordered to check all the lockers and every single electronic equipment present in the bank. Nothing was touched. No sign of breaking or forceful entering. No fingerprints. No CCTVs were tampered or modified. As per the Bank Authorities who had checked the bank along with her, not a single thing was damaged or hurt. Everything was placed perfectly at its own location. Only there was no money in all the lockers. All the lockers were empty.
“That’s impossible…!” Jim, her boss, fired back at her. “How come nothing’s been broken..? Somewhere, something should be seen. Such a huge bank is robbed & here we are with no clue.” Sitting up on his desk, Jim continued, “Take as much time as you want, Miley. Nab those culprits fast. By the way, I have a more easy option for you.” Winking at her, he signalled towards a cut-out on his pin-up board.
“What, that sci-fi crap….? Bullshit, Jim..! I ain’t believe’n such things…!”
“C’mon Milena, you could use it. It’s a latest invention in solving crime….The Time Machine..! Many of our inspectors have gone back in time to actually nab culprits & to observe the scenario as it happened …! Well, that made them pretty easier to collect evidences. Why don’t you use it..?”
Without answering him, Milena left the cabin. Not believing in time travel, she focused on solving the case manually. She again scanned all the available data to her. No clues. No evidences. No visuals. Nothing. How the hell can I proceed when I have no evidences? Frustrated, she again visited the Bank HQ. She spend a whole day there, scanning all the electronic locks, devices; lockers & everything connected to the main server. She even questioned all the officials & staff members. All of them had the same reply: Nothing is disturbed except there is no money in the lockers. The money just vanished.
“Why don’t you use the Time Machine, Miley..?”irritated , Jim shouted. “We are under tremendous pressure to solve this case as fast as we can. Almost more than half of the city population have their accounts in this bank. All of their money is looted by those robbers. This is an added help been given to you. Use it & make your work easy…”
Nevertheless & left with no clue, Milena finally decided to use the Time Machine. Almost every inspector in the department had successfully solved their cases using the apparatus. Let’s give it a shot, she thought
She then went into their research & technology department, where, in the centre, covered with toughened glass, was a huge cradle chair attached with wires connected to a series of computers, which was called the Time machine. “Don’t worry, it’s quite simple. I’m putting this belt on you.” Dr. Eric, the main person behind the invention, was speaking to her. “The principle apparatus is here. The control switch will be on your wrist. We’re sending you in the past on the same night when the theft took place. Remember, how much ever time you will spend in the past or future, you’ll only spend 8 minutes in your present time. Also, remember; do not bump into yourself in your past, in that case, you’ll land back here in your present time. And, keep in mind, Do Not, I repeat, Do Not change or alter anything or anyone in your past, else that’ll have serious implications in the future. Good Luck..!”
As she sat on the cradle chair, Milena remembered her past. Once a happy family, her mom-dad had died right in front of her. While strolling around one day in the park, a thief stole her mom’s purse. Her dad tried chasing him, but got knocked down by a vehicle from the opposite side. Her mom ran to save her dad, but she suffered the same fate. As a kid, Milena was raised by her Uncle. The events in her childhood subsequently raised the hatred towards criminals inside her, gradually turning into a Police Inspector.
While she was lost in her thoughts, she suddenly felt strange shivers inside her body. Instantly, she felt being sucked in somewhere & in the next instant, she was in the bank. It was the main hall. She checked the date. Indeed, she was exactly at 1:00 AM in the bank, on the same night when the bank was robbed. The thieves may approach any time. I’ll stay alert, she thought. Being alone in the bank, with every electronic lock activated, she roamed around checking for any commotion. Hours & Hours passed by, but no clue was discovered. She kept pressing till dawn, hoping to find some hint. She kept roaming around in the locker room, but no moment was heard inside. As morning approached, frustrated, she came near the main entrance & as she was about to open and step outside to check the premises, she saw her future come near the door & open it. Now she understood. The bank was already robbed & the bank authorities had already informed the police. She stepped back & without thinking, she pressed the button on the device on her wrist. With a flash of lightning, he bounced back on the Cradle chair in the technology department. She checked the watch on top. Exactly 8 minutes.
“I need to go back in time.” She said as she removed the apparatus.
“Wait. You need to spend at least 4 hours in the current time to let your body adjust, owing to the whole night that you had spent in the past.” Dr. Eric replied.
After 6 hours, she again made a jaunt in the past, this time 1 day before the theft took place, during the bank working hours. She landed in the service corridors, and headed to the main office areas. The housekeeping staff, 5 of them, were busily cleaning the service corridors. They glanced at her as she crossed them and entered the main hall. Everything seemed intact. She again spent some time, roaming around in the entire building, checking each & every person as she went.
No clue. No suspicious persons. Nothing.
Agitated, she went in the ladies restrooms and pressed the button.
I am missing something. I should notice it, she thought as she rose from the cradle chair.
Again resting for 6 hours, she went back in time, this time, 2 days before the theft took place. Again she roamed around the whole place. Looking, observing, and scanning everything. She spent a lot of time around the locker rooms area. The entry inside was strict. All the locks in the locker room were connected to the main server. Only one person could enter and had access to it. She was allowed to roam around, as she had an officer’s ID and she had told the bank officials that she wanted to check all the security measures inside the bank. By evening time, with no clue spotted, she went and sat in the main hall. Some distance away, a group of 5 professionals were discussing something in soft voices. As she looked towards them, immediately she recognized them.
They were the same housekeepers, who were present in the service corridors in her earlier trip.
They will be present tomorrow in the service corridors, cleaning up the area.
Feeling doubtful, she stood up and started walking towards them. One of them looked at her & identified her. Alerting others, they all looked at her. With alarmed look on their faces, they all stood up and raced towards the service exit. Milena followed them. They paced towards the service corridor, opened the exit door& ran out. Following them, Milena saw huge flashes of light outside. It took almost half a minute for her to reach the exit door. She opened the door & was about to step out when suddenly, she remembered something. She hid behind canopy pillar & stormed inside the exit door. From the gap of the door, she saw her past going along the narrow passageway. She remembered that she had taken this path 2 days ago. Exhaling out, she pressed the button on her wrist device.
“I need an identity on these 5 people,” she said as she checked the CCTV footage of the main hall 2 days before the theft took place. The footage showed her and the 5 people sitting in the lobby.
“Also check all the footages of the past month for these 5 faces. Check all the bank accounts, all the services staff ID’s & every entry /exit since the past one month.” Her orders were immediately carried out. Every detail were checked & finally, it was concluded that specifically these 5 had joined the housekeeping staff only a month ago.
“We all know them,” the investigating team said, “They had repaired the server systems of this bank almost 6 months ago. It was a major glitch in their server. All the programs had corrupted. All the systems were down. These same guys had worked for 3 hours and had got all the systems online.”
Milena now got their identity. Probably hackers. But seeing the flashes of light, which were similar to the one that she was experiencing, were they travelling in time? Did they have the same technology that she was using?
“They’re the 5-wi,” one of the investigating officers said, “Or 5 wires. I scanned for their faces in our database. Each of them is expert in some field. They had formed this group some time back. They’re wanted in many crimes, most of them have no evidence & no one knows how they committed these offences.”
Now Milena understood. She needed to find them ASAP; else she won’t be able to track them again.
………TO BE CONTINUED