Chapter 20: Face to Face

SUPERNOVAA team of creative warriors pacing towards winning the goal by way of mystery writing.

Read the previous part of the story here.

"Trust, a difficult word these days", Shekhar was thinking to himself. It was already 3 in the morning and his eyes were wide open with worry. He had given too much information to Cyrus and Jennifer and now he was questioning his act of last few hours.

"What was the picture of Junior Sarkar doing in Jennifer's wallet and why is Cyrus taking so much time, what is he doing?" Shekhar stared at his watch. 

The noises, the whisper in the coach had slowed down by this time. But he could sense the fear in the atmosphere. The fear within him was now palpating, the two new revelations had shaken him.

Shekhar finally decided to find out the truth. He needed to be safe to keep his country safe but also needed to know who among them is the traitor and who is with the country. Suddenly Cyrus appeared, "Hey dude what happened to you?" Shekhar's body was on fire and sweat was trickling down his face.

Shekhar wipe his face, look towards Jennifer, who was in deep sleep or it seemed so and then at Cyrus, who was looking little unusual, as if somebody had hit him hard. He decided to confront Cyrus. Shekhar takes out the note and Cyrus' book. 

Keeping his voice down and gesturing Cyrus to do the same, Shekhar asks him, "What's this Cyrus?"
"What were you doing in my bag?" asks Cyrus, a little annoyed now.
"That's not the answer to my question?" replies Shekhar.
"Cyrus where are you coming from, were you really smoking or went to meet your friend Sasha?" Shekhar by now was quite angry and at the same time anxious. But before Cyrus could say anything Shekhar got up from his place and gestured Cyrus to come outside.

Cyrus was totally clueless; hundreds of questions were running in his mind now. As soon as they were out Cyrus grabbed Shekhar's collar and asked angrily, "What the hell, what gives you the authority to check my bag?"

Shekhar was now confused, "What do you mean, it is you Cyrus who is playing the games. What is the meaning of this note you left in my food plate?"

"Why would I do that?" asks Cyrus. 
"Don't act smart Cyrus, I know you are with Sasha, your long smoking breaks, this note, your extra smart answers, everything point towards you." barks Shekhar.

"This isn't my handwriting and this isn't my book. And what do you think you are doing?" Cyrus accuses Shekhar and tells, "Sasha's men took me to him asking about all the information I have and showed me the live coverage of Indian news channels which says you have hijacked the train. Doesn't that mean you are with them Shekhar? You were so far playing with me and now checking my bag for the information. You liar."

Shekhar now understands everything and tells Cyrus, "I am not the one. Sasha is just trying to break us because we know too much and I think it is him who had slipped the book in your bag." Shekhar explains the incident of seeing the picture of Sarkar's son in Jennifer's bag and how he came across the book.

Both of them cool down after their long discussion and get back to their seats and find Jennifer sitting there looking outside through the window deep in thought.

"Hi Jennifer, how are you now?" asks Shekhar. Without answering him Jennifer asks both of them sternly, "Where were you two gone?"
"Nothing, just some fresh air. Hardly sometime left in reaching Mumbai and I don't know if I will reach alive or dead." says Cyrus.

Both of them sit down. Shekhar then has some water, looks at Jennifer and Cyrus and says, "Nothing will happen. We just need to think smart."

"Are you crazy? We all gonna die and now you better give the information they want. I don't wanna die soon nor do I want to be the reason behind death of so many people. I want my freedom back. I just don't get this cyber-attack and I have nothing to do with stupid government. Why shall I pay for their negligence", Jennifer snaps him and then starts crying again.

Cyrus holding her hand tries to calm her down and then Shekhar starts to speak again.

"Over the last century a lot of things have changed. Just log in and you might be headed towards being a puppet of your own e-device. It's like a game, one side it's you and the other side it's the cyber world, full of cyber thieves and hackers. The world map is now changed with no more geographical boundaries. You never know when your door will be knocked by the one living 1000 km away and without you knowing your home will be empty; the hackers will take away anything you have in virtual world.

Information is the key. One who has is the master of everyone's destiny. They are the one who are behind some big cyber-attacks like shutdown at Tokyo Stock Exchange, hacking data of Swiss Bank account holders etc. 

My wife has given a large part of her life to research on this secret world order 'Xombie'. She can go to any extent to save her country."

Jennifer who was hanging on each and every word of Shekhar says, "I think they are either Patriotic or with the Indian Government. We shall in fact give them what they want to help them and to be free of all this havoc."

"Indian Government? No not at all. How can you even think so? Do you think that Indian Government would stake so many lives? I am sure it's either self-proclaimed compassionate and insane patriotic group, what we call "jihad" or the one who wants to run their own government taking over Indian government." says Cyrus irritated. He further adds, "During my research I also came across the information which point towards 'Xombie' being the reason behind some of the biggest scandals of India. Then how can they be patriotic?"

"I absolutely agree with Cyrus and if we even think of handing over the details we have, they won't let us go alive. Because we know too much." says Shekhar.

"What do you exactly know Shekhar and I still feel we should give them what they want, after all its about life of thousands of people in the train." Jennifer now has a very weird tone. Cyrus frowns and Shekhar coughs then have a sip of water again. 

Shekhar replies, "Jennifer I don't think that is a good idea. It will not only close all doors of escape but will also put entire country to danger. Plus, I don't have any document with me right now. Whatever I know is nothing without the information which Tara has. What I know is that it's about our country's one of the biggest defence technology ever which will change its face forever and give it a new identity on the world map. And I am sure the hackers won't want that to happen." Jennifer eyes wide open on the name of defence technology.

After a long silence. Jennifer intervenes Shekhar's thought process, "What is it Shekhar?"

"Tara and Roohi", Shekhar utters with sob, "How did it get so late so soon?"

My team and I are participating in "Game of Blogs" at "CelebrateBlogging with us.

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Stuti Shrimali