Cobra Strikes Again – Swati Sengupta
13:00:00 hours: Saturday
The digital timepiece on the chestnut-colored side table struck 1:00 am in the night; the pastel-shaded curtains with Chinese design slightly caressed the window sills as they slowly moved. The white-colored flower vase with Chinese yin contained sweet-smelling Osmanthus which emanated a languorous fragrance throughout the room. The air conditioner had kept the room statically cool which induced sleep in our protagonist’s eyes.
Raajvir, although asleep, was lost in his world of lucid dreams where he saw a labyrinth of pathways abuzz with revelry and celebration. It was the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the streets of Guangzhou were filled with a motley crowd donning resplendent dresses, beautiful Chinese lanterns, and balloons floating in the air. The skies were full of beautiful kites, shops were open with delicacies and savories and accessories. The celebration was in full swing with musical troops performing their traditional dance accompanied by instruments.
Amidst this carousel, he spotted a very familiar face; the same cold cruel oblique eyes, the beastly protruding jawline, and a deep cut on the left cheek. This is the face that had made Interpol and the Chinese government spend sleepless nights because it led the heinous rampant flesh trade right from the by lanes of Guangzhou spreading up to Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, to backward east European countries of Latvia and Moldova. With disgust, he remembered that this serpent had made its way into India also. This face belonged to the notorious Chinese mafia – Zhang, who in front of the world had declared himself dead in order to carry on his abominable business without hindrance.
Suddenly, his sleep broke and he realized seeing a premonition of the evil man being in Guangzhou.
Immediately, a message flashed on the screen of his phone,
“Z present in Guangzhou, Baiyun; time to strike.
Wen will be with you.
He smiled as he realized that Zhang would be there in the streets, immersed in revelry, as usual, he would never anticipate anything in his local area. Zhang’s complacency had increased lately after he managed to hoodwink the world by faking death due to cardiac arrest. He got the false news spewed all over media and news and also his henchmen went underground halting the nefarious activities for some time. Luckily, they all got dispersed in different provinces and most of them got busted. Since the connection got broken, this news did not reach Zhang as the news carriers were also exterminated. Zhang would have been aghast if he had come to know about this.
He did not know how vulnerable he was along with his handful of men during the festival who would be cleverly manipulated and dispersed by the other international undercover agents working along with Raajvir. Once they move away from their ring leader, the strike would ensue.
Therefore, the by-lanes would be the apt place to carry out the operation.
The celebration and music would douse everything.
He knew his plan and the location to execute it. He went off to sleep calmly as it was the need of the hour.
08:00:00 hours: Sunday
Our protagonist had his breakfast, sat on his favorite red cushioned sofa, and awaited the arrival of Chen, a local elderly person who was more famous as a handyman.
Chen came in and greeted him in Cantonese with a smile. Raajvir greeted and smiled back.
Chen had brought a leather bag with him which opened into manifold pockets both large and small. As he bent down, his gold-rimmed spectacle dangled on his nose. He brought the bag near to our protagonist and uttered, “These are your tools which you can use as you please. They can be as harmless or as deadly as you prefer.”
Then Chen whispered something in his ears and gave him a vial which made his lips break into a beaming smile.
When offered his remuneration, Chen retorted firmly that his greatest remuneration would come when the monster would be punished. His old eyes blazed with anger and anguish for his only daughter who had been sacrificed at the altar of Zhang. She had provided the most potent information about the strategic points of the flesh trade. As a consequence, she was hunted down and assassinated but not before the most ravaging damage was done to the flesh racket.
Chen had fallen silent after reminiscing about the past. He suddenly felt a consoling touch on his shoulder, as he looked up, he was assured by our protagonist that his daughter’s sacrifice would not go in vain; it will be avenged.
13:00:00 hours: Sunday
Everything had been properly communicated and discussed with Wen during lunchtime. Wen’s disguise was so mind-boggling that at first Raajvir failed to recognize him.
Together they had a lunch of a medium bowl of chicken Mei fun gravy and readied their equipment and plan of action.
He handed over a very small chip that was to be fitted in the Chinese watch which would act as a GPS and also show where other agents would be operating. Communication would also happen through the same equipment.
After everything was complete, Wen bade adieu to our protagonist and wished him luck. He said he would be present in the provided location at the provided time.
18:06:00 hours: Sunday
The streets and bylanes of Baiyun were filled with merriment and music. Beautifully dressed women were playing flutes, gorgeously dressed men were playing cymbals and resplendent kites, balloons, and paper lanterns were floating everywhere. An intoxicating fragrance filled the air which doused people more into revelries.
A procession slowly progressed in front. It was surrounded by musical instruments and nicely dressed women. Behind it came two artificially made colorful Chinese Dragons which infused enthusiasm. In midst of all these was Zhang, busy smoking his Chinese pipe and immersed in merriment sitting atop an open palanquin with splendid Chinese designs carved on it.
Another small group also progressed towards Zhang’s group from the opposite direction. This group was relatively sober and consisted of a motley crowd carrying beautiful Chinese accessories. Zhang did not seem to notice.
Suddenly, a small paper pellet came hurling towards Zhang. It fell to the ground and started emanating a thin intoxicating smell which made the people present there, drowsy, including Zhang. But he went on smoking his pipe which added more fumes around him.
In the meanwhile, an elderly man, dressed in colorful traditional attire, had come nearer to Zhang’s palanquin. He had a big farmer’s hat on his head, carried kitchen articles that went clanking, and a whole lot of children’s toys including paper horns. He was bent forward and walked with a stoop.
One of his paper horns fell to the ground and made a bleating sound. He stooped to pick it up. In the meantime, something fell from the palanquin with a gentle thud but the noise was completely doused by the sound of cymbals playing to the fullest.
An oblique smile shot through the old man’s lips. He knew he had done it. As he slowly got up and started moving away, his real face peeped out of the makeup. It was none other than our protagonist. He closed his leather bag and went out of the crowd and stood in a corner.
On the other hand, Zhang had fallen to the ground apparently unconscious. A very thin and long needle, typically used for acupuncture, had entered the base of his throat and pierced his jugular vein. But it was totally invisible due to its super thinness. Its tip was dipped in botulinum – a type of biological poison, found in the bacteria produced in the intestine of animals. It is a neurotoxin that turns lethal when administered in high doses. Here, it was given only to make Zhang unconscious.
A small blip sound from his Chinese watch made Raajvir look at it. A message flashed on it – “Dragon got his prey!”
He looked up and saw the artificial colourful Dragon moving in front of him with its big belly. The man leading it turned towards him and smiled. It was Wen. The women present around the palanquin, now passed by, slightly bowing down in front of our protagonist. They were none other than the other undercover agents. All of them had successfully pulled it off.
Raajvir could not help but laugh heartily imagining Zhang’s predicament of being completely hoodwinked, sedated, and at last landing up inside the belly of a paper dragon.
A gentle tap made him look behind. It was none other than the pilot of the chopper waiting for him nearby atop a building. He swiftly left the place with him. Within a couple of minutes, he was inside the military chopper.
He settled inside comfortably. A call came on his phone, to which he smiled victoriously and answered, “Cobra strikes again.”
As the chopper sped across, he visualized Zhang sitting on an electric chair and shrieking. Ultimately, justice was rendered. This was Raajvir’s sole objective, for which he had become an undercover agent, and that too of the highest degree. He is the Cobra who is sent every time when other measures fail.