From Part 1 :
I made it to Criminalizer level-IV after solving a case of forgery, in which Mr. Martins was proven guilty as he confessed. On joining level-IV, I was amazed by the new atmosphere and the team I was included in. Mostly, I was awestruck by Mr. Joan, my new boss. While going through the file reports, I was intrigued by a bizarre case involving paranormal activities. Mr. Joan refused to allow me to work on it, but I had a knack for it, so I went for it anyway. I used a disguise to hide my identity and boarded the train on which paranormal activities were going on. This led me to discover a new set of facts which brought out the ongoing crime behind the veil of a curse. However, there was an ugly turn of events and my cover was blown. I was in a sticky situation and was knocked down unconscious, when my team turned up and saved me. I was given a stern warning by Mr. Joan.
Continued from Part 1…
Next morning, when I reached headquarters, Mr. Joan called me in his office. I reached his office, envisioning a few possibilities about what he would say regarding my actions from the past night. I entered his cabin. He was sitting in his chair, looking serious as usual. He signaled me to sit down.
“After what you did last night, I have to send you off for some time. It is not official, but that’s all I can do,” he said.
It came as a shock to me. This was nowhere near the possibilities that I had foreseen. This left me dumbstruck.
“Um… but Sir…we solved the case…” I pleaded.
“This is the repercussion of your decision to ignore my direct order. I can’t help it,” he said.
I had no choice but to accept. I rose and was about to leave when I heard him say, “Sit down. I haven’t finished yet.”
“You have to relocate to Paris for about a month, and while you are there, stay alert.”
He handed me an envelope and told me that it included all the details.
“Mind it, no one recognizes you there.”
I nodded and went back to my cubicle. Seeing me in a gloomy mood, Wilson and Sarah came to me. Wilson tried to crack a joke, but I just couldn’t laugh. Sarah noticed.
“What happened, Marky? Why do you seem so low?” she asked.
I handed over the envelope, which was grabbed by Wilson. He read it, and punched me jokingly and chuckled, “Wow, holiday in Paris for cracking your first case on your first day!”
“In that case, why are you sad, Marky?” Sarah inquired.
“I am not going on a holiday. I am being punished for not paying heed to Joan’s orders. I am being sent off,” I replied.
“But you solved the case.”
“That’s why I am not suspended, else I would no longer be here ‘officially’.”
“Well, tough luck, I guess,” he said, with a heavy voice.
After a while, I read the letter carefully. I was to stay with Ben in Paris.
I packed my bags and took a flight to Paris the same night.
Ben was there at the Paris airport to receive me. He greeted me. Apparently, he knew I was there, and we headed towards his home.
For one week, I was in a bad mood. To stir me and take me out of negative thoughts, Ben asked me to assist him with a case he was working on. I was surprised on hearing this.
“Case? Are you a policeman?” I asked.
“No,” he replied, amused. “I am a private detective.”
“Since you know about detective work, and I must say brave at it too, I thought you might be interested.”
“Of course I am. Are you taunting me with that brave comment?” I asked sheepishly.
“No, no, I was just trying to lighten the mood,” he replied.
“Never mind. What assistance can I provide you?” I asked curiously.
“I have my suspicions on a guy, who I think is trying to smuggle something out of France, but I am unable to put my finger on how he is doing this,” he elucidated.
I was amazed at my fate; it was a smuggling case that brought me on the verge of losing my job and here I was, ready again to be involved in a smuggling case. I took down all the details, studied the case overnight and we started tracking down the guy the next day itself.
We followed him, collected information about him, and Ben noted them down in his report. Every weekend, our suspect used to meet someone under the Viaduc d’Austerlitz railway bridge, and hand over a file to him. We followed that guy, but could not get much out of that lead. So we decided to continue our spying.
By then I was more than interested in this case, as I noted its uncanny resemblance to my previous case. This too involved trains, a bridge, and a smuggling racket.
After one and a half weeks of following and spying, we reached a conclusion that our suspect was sending some information via a butcher boy. He would fit the information in some bills, and it was passed on.
With this one and a half week of spying, my time in Paris was over, and I was ready to return back to my hometown and resume being a Criminalizer.
Next morning, I was back in my hometown, and after getting refreshed went straight to office. I went to Joan’s cabin and he asked me to hand over the file to him. I was totally baffled.
“How do you know that I have a file that is meant for you?” I asked bewilderingly.
“I know much more than you think. I will explain later, but first give me the file,” he replied calmly.
He opened the seal and went through the contents of the file. As he finished reading the file, he sat in his seat for a minute, made a call and asked me to call the whole team. When the entire team was in his office, he told us to do something unthinkable for us. He asked us to arrest the assistant to the Defence Secretary. Seeing all of us hesitant and confused he said, “Okay, I will accompany you. Let’s go.”
When we reached the office of the Defence Secretary, he was already present and his assistant had his head in his hands.
“Please explain the whole matter, Mr. Joan,” said the minister.
“Sir, do you remember that all our A-level missions have been failing since the past few months?” Joan asked.
“Yes, I remember, and it was because somehow our cover was blown every time, and our agents had to abort the mission,” he replied.
“That was all because of this assistant of yours,” Joan disclosed.
“How?” asked the minister furiously.
This question was in the mind of everyone present in the room.
“I had an intel that there was something fishy going on, and the confidential information about our missions was getting leaked. So I started working on the case and made a report. The day Smith joined us, he took some files from my desk to look at our cases. He also happened to pick up the file containing my report,” Joan began explaining.
“I was searching for it when he came to me, and expressed his willingness to work on the case. I could not allow him to take up the case on his first day, so I refused. While he was leaving my room, I could sense he was going to work on it even after I forbade him,” he said.
I looked down embarrassingly.
“I had also sensed that it would be dangerous, so I asked Wilson to follow him. Later that night, while working on the case, he found himself in a tricky situation. Luckily, we saved him in time. Overall, his actions increased my faith in his competence.”
“We retrieved the diamonds that night from the smugglers. It seemed to me like something was not right, so I sent those diamonds for testing, and as I had imagined, things didn’t add up. Those diamonds were fake, so what was being smuggled was the question in front of us. On checking the pouch that had those diamonds, I found an extra linen piece sewed underneath. Upon cutting it open, I found a letter written in French. We had intel that something was being smuggled from Paris to our land, but it was not via water or air,” he went on.
“No suspicious activity was seen on our borders. The next day I sent Smith to Paris, under the pretext of sending him off for disobeying my direct order, and he bought it too.”
“Marcos, you stayed there with Ben, right?”
“Yes, a private detective. You ordered me to do so,” I replied.
“Yes, I did that on purpose. He is not a private detective, but an undercover agent. He already had a suspect, and I was impressed by your disguise the other day. That’s why I selected you,” he told.
“The file you brought today has the details of your findings there.”
“We just found that some information was being passed through bills. How is that related?” I asked, as I was not able to understand even then.
“That is the reason we never found anything suspicious. Our intel was being passed on to our enemies hiding in Paris using the decoy of paranormal activities, and in return, the payment was received by these bills,” Joan told.
“I don’t get you, Joan,” the minister said.
“Actually, those bills had information about the location from where the payment was to be collected. Since bills contain numbers, nobody doubted them, and a person carrying bills of his purchase in any other land will never appear suspicious.” he explained.
And now everyone was struck with awe.
“But why my assistant?” inquired the minister.
“Sir, I asked Wilson to follow the messenger this morning, who brought the bills to the Defence Office and threw them in the dustbin. After a while, the bills were gone.”
“Now only one person connects all these dots together, and that is your assistant. He was posted in Paris in the external affairs department for 5 years, and knows French very well.”
“Well, I must commend you, Joan, on your fantastic work and diligence. A special mention for the team, and especially you, Smith. Well done!” said the minister.
Joan signaled Smith to arrest the minister’s assistant. He was handcuffed and taken back to headquarters.
When I was promoted to level-IV, I had never thought that my first two months would turn out like this. Now, I was more excited to work at this level, especially with Joan.
By : Priyansh Taneja