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Mishiida Alexander

Stalking Shadows



“All a dishonourable enemy deserves is destruction, and all an honourable warrior needs is to take his time.”



Chapter Four: Imperfect crime

A skirmish is just an accidental event, and a battle just a stage. It is war however whose result is the final statement of settlement. It’s not the result of a skirmish or a battle, rather the balance of resources utilized and the significance of results achieved that determine the outcome of a war. Skirmishes are inevitable when two adversaries go to war, and battles can sometimes be willingly lost to lead the stronger adversary into a disadvantageous position from where his greater resources become vulnerable. But a war is orchestrated to develop a final picture that suits the pursuer of hostilities. It is thus of utmost importance to study the known war strategies of the enemy before involving him in a conflict, as much it is important to understand the turfs various battles will be fought on. Any battle, or even a skirmish in a war, can assume a result altering proportion if they claim a vital component of resources. But the war is lost only when a commander loses sight of the bigger picture, and fails to retrieve enough resources from a lost front before the war effort is irretrievably jeopardised.

Ethics however, are often the first casualty of the heat of the moment. A war could witness the fall from grace of the best of warriors. When victory is given precedence over ethics and morality, a dishonourable warrior will resort to the most disgraceful of tactics to achieve ends. But unlike a battle or a skirmish, the result of a war can never be established in a quick time. Thus the need for hurry is non-existent, and an honourable warrior should take all the time he or she needs to, but administer justice upon the dishonourable adversary without wavering from his principles.

A war is not just a demographic altering event, but it also leaves an indelible mark on the psyche of the survivors. If the war results in the corrosion of ethics and morality beyond recognition, then even a victory is worse than an abject surrender. Only if it leads to the establishment of a much more cohesive and morally uplifted society, could a war be considered worth the resources it consumed. Mishiida’s clan might have been completely routed in the battle, but they survived with their conscience still intact. A war can be waged anytime again, but the values their victory will establish will be much more important than the sacrifices made thus far. Today they regroup, re-equip and re-strategise, tomorrow they will save the day; that we can be sure of. What imprint will humanity leave on their war; that however we cannot predict just yet.

Tagging along with Rick, Alex and Mishiida might be tempting for Corbett is not the most interesting of companies, but it is important we hang around him as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of Sandeep here in Adelaide. The atmosphere around him is always tense unless Hayley is around to lighten him up, but perhaps it is the demanding circumstances that bring the best out of him. “His last purchase on his credit card was from this twenty four hour store. You were the one doing the drag shift last night. Do you remember anything about this man, which direction he went, and any other peculiar thing, like say, someone following him?” Corbett inquires from the staff behind the counter of the twenty four hour store on North Terrace, as Lieutenant Carl Stewart looks on.

“Sorry officer, but it was so busy last night, I barely had the time to look at who was entering and who was leaving the store,” the staff informs in negative.

“Did you see anyone that looks like our alien friend Mishiida?” Carl joins the investigation with his query.

“They were all looking like Mishiida Sir. It was a ‘Horror and Heroes’ night at the club in the alley behind. There were Zombies, nurses, patients, aliens, all sorts,” the staff quips shaking head.

“Which one, the one in the basement,” Corbett asks to which the staff shakes head in affirmative. “We need a copy of your surveillance tape, around the time of this purchase,” Corbett then asks the staff.

“This way sir,” the staff leads them to the back of the store and hands Carl the compact disc carrying previous night’s recording. Carl immediately copies the disc on his computer and plays the recording. He moves the recording to around the time Sandeep enters the store. The video shows him move through the aisles grabbing stuff he had come in to purchase, then take it to the counter, make his payment and move along his way. But on account of the shadows on the glass, it is not distinguishable as to which way he walked after he walked out of the store.

“That’s just so many of people, and that’s right, they are all in fancy attires. We cannot single out anyone from this video,” Carl quips.

“Let us just walk towards his hotel from here and see what we can find,” Corbett suggests, “He would have had to walk down one of the alleys anyway, and they link up via buildings, and sideways.” Carl nods in agreement and they both wrap up their investigation in the store and walk outside. We follow them as they walk through the poorly lit alleyway.

“These hundred odd meters between North Terrace and the next street over is where something must have happened,” Corbett exclaims pointing out to the stretch in front, “There is one security camera looking this way, and one the other way. Let’s get the footage of the one facing North Terrace first.”

We follow the two as they approach the night attendant of the building, asking him questions and requesting a copy of the surveillance video of the camera in alleyway. Carl copies the data and plays the video around the time Sandeep walks through the alleyway, and then past the camera’s angle.

“Nothing in this one so far,” Carl quips.

“Just wait for a minute,” Corbett replies back, “Let us see if someone followed him.”

Right at that moment Sandeep reappears in the frame, running haphazardly and limping slightly, his shopping bag not in his hands anymore, turning around to look behind himself and then continuing towards North Terrace. “What the hell,” Corbett is cut short in his speech as a solitary figure appears at the North Terrace end of the alleyway, stopping Sandeep in his blocks. The figure is heavily disguised with a wig, mask and long robes, hence hard to say who it is, but he pushes Sandeep back with one hand, flinging him back towards the camera. Sandeep quickly gathers himself, holding his chest and clearly in pain, he makes a quick escape through a door on the side of the building on the opposite side. The figure from North Terrace end quickly rushes towards the door, and is joined by a similarly disguised figure from the other end, but they both fail to grab him by inches. The two look towards each other, nod and then follow him inside.

Corbett looks at Carl’s face in surprise. Carl exclaims, “We need the surveillance video of that building.”

“Isn’t it the one with the night club?” Corbett asks to which Carl nods in affirmative.

The two thank the attendant, and move on for the next part of their investigation. They quickly make their way to the other building’s attendant and grab the security footage of all the cameras installed in the building. Sandeep had entered the building through the door that leads to the stairway inside, which is not too well covered by video surveillance. His two assailants follow him inside, and they along with Sandeep, are seen moving through various levels of the building until Sandeep goes missing at one stage. The two assailants are seen searching through the building for a long time, before they are seen leaving with one of them carrying what looks like a bed sheet with a body. They leave through the back entrance that they came in through.

“Oh no,” both Corbett and Carl exclaim in unison as their hands reach for their foreheads in despair. We all are left speechless and with a lump in our throats. The two wrap up their investigation and leave for the base as we decide it’s time to catch up with Rick.

“I’m just listening to the news on the radio now,” Rick is speaking to someone on his mobile just as we catch up with the trio in Alex’s jeep, “They are saying one of the garbage trucks picked up a body of a woman wrapped in a bed-sheet from one of the large bins in the city. I think you need to go through the entirety of the surveillance video of the building and see who and how many entered the building, and how many left that night.”

“We’ll do that Sir,” Corbett can be heard from the other end, “But one thing that puzzles me Sir is; if they are who we think they are, why did it took them so long to start attacking us? And even more importantly; how do they know about all of us and where we are?”

“Those are the most significant questions of your investigation at the moment Corbett,” Rick acknowledges, “Perhaps they were getting ready all this time, just like Mishiida, learning our ways, language and city.”

“But who would be teaching them?” Corbett asks perplexed, “I don’t think even the most hardened of criminals would have assisted them.”

“Even though I feel an urge to agree with you Corbett, but humanity has often surprised the best of us,” Rick has his apprehensions though, “I would keep my mind open on all possible scenarios. Perhaps we should start by looking for answer to how they know about us and our movement.”

“They either need to have an informer amongst us Sir, or they need access to our social networks to know of our movements,” Corbett replies, “But how did they come up with a short list of all the people directly involved with our mission?”

“Perhaps from the person from whom they learned our ways, language etc,” Rick replies, then pauses for a quick thought before issuing the next very important instruction to Corbett, “Corbett, get Hayley now, quick!”

“Why Hayley now,” Alex, who had been overhearing the conversation patiently for a change, asks as soon as Colonel disconnects the phone, “I mean; we can inform her on the social network right now before Corbett even gets to her, if it is that important.” He then adds without realizing the gravity of the situation, “You know Sir, even Mishiida has a fan page, and millions of people follow her. She loves reading their comments everyday on my mobile. Last month my phone bill was more than my grocery spending, and she isn’t cheap to feed either.”

“What did you say?” Rick was immediately all ears as if it was the most important piece of information to have emerged out of the entire day. Thankfully he immediately clarifies what he wants to know before Alex could take the conversation way out on a dirt road, “I mean; Mishiida has a social networking page? Where’s your mobile phone right now, I want to have a look.”

Alex searches all his pockets, even his socks, before raising his hands, “Must be in the caravan!”

“How can you be so irresponsible with your mobile,” Rick laments in frustration.

“He is an idiot,” Mishiida replies using a mobile computing device she has stylishly hung inside a sports styled leather pouch by the side of one of her biceps. Alex puts his hands on his hips and glares back at her.

“Could you be anymore careless with your stuff?” Rick asks shaking his head.

“Don’t know! I can try,” Alex remarks nonchalantly much to Ricks chagrin. Alex however quickly hops out of his jeep and goes to his caravan to bring back his mobile, but not before he had turned everything upside down in there. “Here it is Colonel,” Alex replies handing the offending device to Colonel.

Rick asks him to show Mishiida’s public page which we find is littered with images of the two with all the people who were involved in the rescue mission. “How could you two be so naive,” Rick exclaims in frustration, “So this is how they know all about us.”

“But what have we done,” Alex asks surprised, “How were we supposed to know that something like this could happen?”

“Never mind,” Rick exclaims in frustration. At this point however the peace of the environment is disturbed by a couple of footsteps on the fallen leaves. Alarmed by the company, both Mishiida and Rick pull out their weapons and point it in the direction of the noise.

“Relax will you, it’s us,” Mr Rai’s voice booms out of the dark as he and Mrs Rai emerge out of the shadows of the night.

“Mr and Mrs Rai, you could have been killed!” Rick exclaims as he hops out of the vehicle to shake their hands, “Why didn’t you ring us?”

“You asked us to leave our phones,” Mr Rai remarks.

“Yes indeed I did,” Rick replies a bit embarrassed, “Please jump in, we need to get moving. Get the wheel Alex.”

“Will someone explain to me what is happening?” Mr Rai asks.

“Your lives could be in danger Mr Rai,” Rick informs him, “We have an unknown enemy on loose.”

“Colonel, I think I am capable of defending myself and my wife,” Mr Rai exclaims, “For God sake I’m a man. I can’t be running away at the drop of a hat!”

“Mr Rai, Rogers and Ken were no lesser men either,” Rick’s words leave Mr Rai speechless. Rick continues, “We need to focus and conserve our resources until such time when our enemy is in open and in our target. And even then, we won’t gift him away any easy piece!”

At this moment Rick’s phone rings and he answers it. It is Carl at the other end, “Sir, we’ve quickly gone through the entire surveillance video. Everybody entering the video is counted for except for one group of people dressed like hospital staff.”

“What is special about that group?” Rick asks.

“Sir, they enter the building as a couple; a nurse and a doctor,” Carl replies, “But they are seen leaving almost immediately with one more member; a patient with face covered in bandages, and body draped with what looks like a curtain or a sheet. The patient is limping!”

“That’s our boy Carl,” Rick nearly jumps out of his seat, “Find the group.”

“Sir, it won’t be possible until tomorrow now,” Carl replies, “Corbett’s just been to the city and the small shops in the alley way are all closed.”

“So you are going home I’m guessing,” Rick asks.

“I am already,” Carl’s reply is cut short and he is heard yelling, “Hey, who’s there! Come out or I’ll shoot.”



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