Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Through The Godless Hours (18)

From his aisle seat towards the middle of the aircraft, Adi spotted the Captain settling into his business class seat. Suited and booted in full military garb, the ice-cold officer was also sporting his trademark glare. All around him, the other passengers became visibly twitchy at his presence, nervously trying to avoid eye contact. They were intimidated as much by the mere sight of his uniform as the undisguised aggression he cast. For, in a country whose army had fought most of its campaigns against its own unarmed civilians, generations of ordinary folk had passed down their instinctive aversion to a brush with the callous brutes who comprised the motley agglomeration of bullies known as ABRI. Aware that officer rank could be bought as readily as it was earned, Captain Farid’s fellow passengers were, on this occasion, moved by his supercilious demeanour to assume that the menacing figure now sat in their midst had taken the less strenuous route to his stripes. It was fortunate for them, however, that they could not be aware of the extent to which this heartless officer was capable of inflicting cruelty on their kind.

The short domestic flight was an uneventful bore. Adi fidgeted in the confinement, anxious to disembark and resume his mission. Mid-flight, the situation was momentarily rescued by a charming pramugari who served him a generous pouring of the luke warm, over-brewed cup of tea-coffee hybrid that was standard fare on Indonesia’s fledgling private domestic airlines. At his request, she further obliged the confident young Detective by supplying her cell phone number, after which he began to make arrangements for them to meet when they both returned to the capital. It was not for Adi to waste such an obvious chance to further sow his seed.

The plane seemed to take an age to reach the terminal after finally touching down in the Central Java provincial capital of Yogyakarta. Feeling a slight bump as it nosed up to the stand, Adi unbuckled and was quickly out of his seat, ensuring that he would be the first among the contingent of economy class passengers to disembark. Cautiously, he took the opportunity to peer around the concertinaed curtain, spying up ahead the Captain’s uniformed back as it disappeared through the exit door. Back in Jakarta – encouraged, no doubt, by a steady supply of hard currency – the driver was meanwhile proving to be a highly resourceful informant, gathering quality information without raising suspicion. And it was his text message that now startled the Detective when suddenly announcing itself with a harsh beep on his freshly activated cell phone. Adi was beginning to warm to this man, whose initial reticence had been supplanted by enthusiastic participation in the quest to snare his heartless boss. Through the information that this particular message conveyed, Adi was able to pursue his quarry to a luxury Parangtritis hideaway. And so, after a ride of approximately ninety minutes along the twisting and pot-holed road that connected the two towns, Adi checked into a room in the Duta Satya hotel.

By now it was late afternoon and he unpacked hurriedly, returning smartly to the ornate lobby, where the five star establishment’s efficient staff were busy attending to the increasingly unreasonable demands of its pampered, yet permanently dissatisfied, guests. Adi ordered a drink and positioned himself strategically, so as to observe the comings and goings of the Captain and his swarthy Latin accomplices. He now relaxed a little, pleased that at last there was the prospect of some genuine action. He had not waited long when he saw the officer emerge from the bank of lifts and approach a corpulent cigar-smoker who was seated with his back to him in a corner of the lobby bar, facing the window. The pair greeted one another with a bear hug and kisses on both cheeks. Although out of earshot, Adi noted from their mutual back-slapping that the two men were highly comfortable in each other’s presence: that they had overcome any mistrust one side or other might have felt at the outset of a relationship such as theirs. He took this as an indication that they had been business associates for some considerable time, as indeed the driver informant had previously intimated.

And it was in this very instant that Detective Adi finally made his confession, admitting to himself something that, secretly, he already knew he was contemplating. For a defining moment lay ahead: a fork in the road of destiny, no less, where his future direction would be determined, one way or another. This case was without doubt, he realised, developing into the biggest of his career to date, and a large part of him sought to adopt a textbook approach in bringing it to a conclusion. His rational side told him to trap his prey through the careful assimilation of sufficient hard evidence, facilitating legitimate arrest. A promotion would surely follow, launching him on a glittering career as the famed Detective who uncovered ABRI’s illicit weapons trading: the man who faced down the terror unleashed by its perpetrators and brought the unholy alliance of the despicable Captain Farid and his Colombian clientele to a crashing end, in joint victory for people and state.

But there was another, strong lure that had been nagging at him ever since the Chief Inspector had called him into his office and presented the simple facts of the case as they were then known. Arms dealing involved money. Lots of it. And recently, Adi had been wondering whether securing a share of this prize was not, in fact, a more appropriate reward for his efforts. Because whatever his next moves were, they would inevitably cast him in the way of great danger, would present him with the hardest challenge he had ever faced in his young life, and would require all the guts his strong body – and moreover his mind – could muster. Sure: promotion would be a certain kind of reward, he now reflected, but was there anything better than wealth? The possession of a fortune that would enable him to live out all his wildest dreams? A stash that, in all likelihood, would be sufficient to last a lifetime?

As he pondered, his eyes staring absently at the glass in his hand, a burst of laughter rang out from the corner of the bar, where the two men had just chinked together heavy crystal goblets of the finest Armagnac, in celebration of the cementing of their latest contract.

posted by Kirk at 9:48 pm  

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