First part: The Little Red Book - I
Continued from: The Little Red Book - III
“I wish I could skip this Sam” Cynthia said while getting ready for the Triage’s Annual Conference. The mere thought of spending an entire day in a resort with Mortley around brought back memories of the conference at Delhi, one she wished she had skipped for good. In fact, she wished to have not seen the tall bearded man, Abdul Al Habib, at all or even the logo of Treeazej on the envelop for that matter. Though the past could not be changed, she feared a complete paradigm shift in her life in the future. It was imminent. There was no way she could carry on working there not after what she had discovered.
Sam broken her chain of thoughts saying “I wish you didn't have to go too but if you don’t go Mortley will get suspicious which I already think he is.” The only thing Sam could do was comfort her. Without proof there was no way they could go to the authorities and Mortely was a very powerful man. The best course of action was to gather whatever evidence she could and then leave in a manner that didn't spook Mortley.
“Listen I was thinking you should put down your papers. That way we could leave town without creating any doubt on his mind. Tell him we are getting married or something. I know he will ask. Also, once we are out of harm’s way we could decide what to do with the ledgers and how.”
“True. I’ll do that today and then go to the conference. Also, there are some documents saved in the hard drive at Mortley’s secretary’s office, I will try to copy that too. I chanced upon them last week when she was out sick but couldn't get it. Since everyone will be at the resort, I can take a chance today.”
"Un huh.." he said but worried that they were treading a dangerous path and wished it was him who had to go through it all. But then he didn't work there and Cynthia was the one with all the access. He hated to not be able to control the situation.
She walked up to Sam sensing his worries, hugged him and smiled. It was she who had insisted that they do something about it. She couldn't live with herself if she didn't!
“Ahh…well that’s my Cynthia. You know you should keep smiling always. Everything seems easier then.” He hugged her for she felt safest in his arms he knew.
“Okay. Let’s do it then. Drive me will you?”
“Of-course. Always at your beck and call!”
‘Well let’s click on send Cynthia!’ she said to herself after typing her resignation letter. It was a strange feeling for she never could have imagined resigning under such circumstances. She had loved working here, enjoyed it a lot and her growth was a testament to that. But she had to leave. It was all a lie, this was not the kind of place she wanted to work in.
She closed her eyes and sighed at the mess she found herself in. It wasn't easy but then she sent the mail. The office was virtually empty. This was her chance and she had to take it. She intended to copy the data on Mortley’s Secretary’s computer and with that resolve she moved to the latter’s cubicle. Making sure there wasn't anyone around she logged in to the system. She had to use her credentials which she knew was not a smart move but there was no other way to login.
Drops of sweat accumulated on her forehead in spite of being in an air conditioned office. She was nervous and rightly so. Connecting her own removable hard drive she waited for it to be read. But it was not to be. How could she have been so stupid? “Of-course the ports are disabled! How did I forget that?” What could she do next?
A message beeped on her phone. It was from Sam. “Hurry up. Everything ok?” She didn't have time to respond. “Okay. Take a deep breath and think” she muttered. Just then her eyes fell on the CPU. ‘What if I just take the hard drive?’ was the thought that struck her.
But there was a lock to prevent anyone from fiddling with the CPU. And it wasn't the brightest of ideas to steal a hard drive. The office logs would show she was the one who had come to this floor. But something told her that it was now or never. It was her instinct and it could be totally wrong but she still wanted to do it. Something took over her at that instant and she decided to go for it.
She rushed back to Mortley’s office to fetch a huge showpiece which was quite heavy too. She had seen that on several occasions displayed on his shelf. And that was the first thing that came to her mind to break the lock. So she took it to hit the lock open on his secretary’s CPU. It didn't break at the first go. She looked around to see if anyone had heard the sound. Making sure that the guards weren't rushing in, she struck it again and then again. Finally after at least a dozen attempts the lock gave away.
“There you are!” she smiled after opening the CPU and taking out the hard drive.
“This is it!” she covered up as much as she could closing up the CPU. The lock was gone so there was nothing she could do about it. She threw it in the dustbin in the men’s room. She thought putting it in the ladies room would make it too obvious. And then hiding the hard drive on the back of her jeans covered by her top, she walked out flashing her best smile to the guards.
Sam was waiting at the gate “So?”
“Yup got it! Actually got her hard drive! Don’t think I’m going back there again!”
“What! Cynthia that was…”
“Ya I know! Let’s go.”
“Are you sure you want to go to the resort?” he asked.
“Abdul will be there too, I saw it in his appointment book, no name. Must be him. I can get a few clicks of them. We would need to show that Mortley met him. Right?”
“I hate it when you do that… Fine. Let’s go. But I’ll wait outside. And after a cursory glance around you will come out else I’ll come in!”
“Alright! Alright! Relax.. I’m the one who panics not you Mr.!”
“It’s no joke Cynthia. I’m worried.”
“I know. I’m too. But this last thing I need to do.”
The environment was one of merriment. Everyone was dressed in their casuals, letting their hair down. She met some of her colleagues who were busy sipping the pina coladas
while enjoying the music. The lawn and the swimming pool areas was filled with guests. It was strange for just last year she had enjoyed the annual bash so much. But today she just wanted to get out of there. She suspected everyone. If Mortley was in on it, there had to be others. But where was Mortley?
Suddenly her eyes caught the glimpse of him walking out of the lawn towards the parking lot. There was no way he would be leaving, that she knew. She looked at her watch it was time for his nameless appointment. In about fifteen minutes Sam would come in, she had to capture Mortley and Abdul together before he came in.
Cynthia made her way to the parking lot stealthily. It was in the basement which was strangely quite well lit. It was hard to spot Mortley though, so many cars around she thought. She made her way further inside and almost dashed into Mortley on a turn. But she was saved by his shadow and stopped just in the nick of time.
Her heart beat catapulted to crazy levels as she hid behind a pillar on the other side of which Mortley stood talking to someone. The voice of the other man seemed familiar. It had to be the bearded man. It had to be Abdul. She was right, Mortley met him in such places always. She was right, Abul was indeed his nameless appointment.
She had to be careful. One noise and they would latch onto her. The first thing she did was to turn her phone silent and even turn off the vibration. It was then that she got an idea. She could record them through her phone’s front camera. It was risky but wasn't she already in enough trouble. So cautiously she turned the camera on and pressed on the record button. It was now or never she thought.
‘Just a few more minutes and you’ll be out of her Cynthia’ she told herself. Her heart didn't stop racing though, there was a weird queasy feeling in her stomach. But she stood her ground. ‘Extraordinary circumstances, ordinary people!’ she recalled and filmed the entire conversation for better or for worse.
My fellow Bloggers Richa Singh, Shilpa Garg, Sheethal and Suzy are taking part in UBC. Drop in and cheer them too if you please :).Trust me nothing motivates us bloggers more than a comment from our readers!