Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Mid Sem Saga: Ghost Protocol

        Agent H sat on the table, gaping at the book in his hands, contemplating the meaning of what he just read. He couldn't grasp a thing and he didn't wish to strain his already exasperated mind. He walked out of his room and into the next, where his contact was waiting. He walked over to the table in front of the contact code-named MGU003, placed the book on the table and looked directly into his eyes.

 "I was hoping you could clarify this doubt of mine" he said.
"Yeah man, sure" 003 replied.

        Agent H sat listening to him, while he tried to explain the asked question as elaborately as possible. H wished he didn't ask him that question, considering the show 003 was trying to gloat the knowledge he had obtained from detailed study of several reference books. Oh GOD this guy is getting on my nerves.
       Suddenly something strange caught his eye. There was a thin elongated patch of light on 003's face that looked like his moustache. Strangely enough, it started moving up and down, narrowly missing his eyes. In an instant, H knew it was a signal from one of his colleagues. He closed the book, abruptly interrupting 003's explanation.

"I got it. Thanks for the help" he said and strode out of the door, leaving a bewildered 003 behind.
       Downstairs, in the area overlooked by 003's window, Agent B was waiting for H. H could see from a distance that B looked pretty unnerved.
"Are you crazy? You almost blew my cover! You better have a good reason to do that" H almost yelled.
"Of course I do. The Secretary wants you out on a simple SR mission to the Maggu section right now" B said, savouring H's expression of surprise while doing so.
"Rendezvous in five minutes at the mess" he said and walked away.

       Surveillance and Response mission!? Things must be pretty bad out there. He grabbed his smart phone, put it in vibration and rushed to the mess. B was already waiting for him. This will be B's first mission in the field and H's first with B. B seemed pretty excited about it.

         Slowly they ascended a few flights of stairs and reached their targeted floor. H slowly gazed into the corridor. There was nobody. Each room was occupied. H could picture studious nerds at work, sitting amidst piles of books. H beckoned B to follow and tiptoed to the room they targeted. Beside the door there was a panel encasing the room's MCB. H put his ear to the door and listened intently.
del dot E is equal to charge density upon epsilon
del dot B equals zero
del cross E equals minus dB by dt......

     Thumbs up. The mission was a go. B slowly opened the panel and on the count of three, he quietly shut the switch down and ran for the washroom, a twenty paces away. H followed suit. If their target was as dumb as their intel told them, the target would directly rush to the hostel office without checking the MCB.     
    He sure did and hurled a series of obscenities towards the hostel management. H gathered that the target was more agitated over his neighbours not having a power cut than over him not having power. As soon as the target was out of sight, H tiptoed to the room, though B looked unsure if they should barge right in or they should wait for the neighbours to come out, disturbed by the loud unparliamentary language. H however knew that the only thing that could bring them out was a power cut. He confidently walked into the room, took out the cell phone and took one hundred and thirty two pictures of what their target had been studying prior to the apparent power cut, before B signalled him. H and B were back in the washroom in a jiffy and peered into a corridor to see their target accompanied by an elderly man who looked like an electrician. Shit!! H knew the consequences of their target learning that he was targeted. They had only one option, now that they had forgotten the most important function of their protocol, that is, to turn the power back on.


    H stepped out of their hiding spot, walked confidently towards the duo. He wanted to engage their target in a conversation to give B a sufficiently long window to turn the power back on. H knew exactly how to stop such a guy in his tracks. "Dude, have you any idea how many marks will come out of chapter 2?"
    B received a sufficiently long window and was waiting for H in the washrooms when suddenly, there was a loud sound of a door being banged hard. A big guy appeared from one of the rooms, clutching a smart phone in his hands and running through the corridors "Thieves! Thieves! They are onto us!” In a moment the once quiet corridor turned into a bustling one with everybody in a state of awe. H slipped away in the commotion that ensued, joining B. All of a sudden B's cellular phone started glowing red. It was a message from the secretary.


     H and B froze where they were. H was the first to come to senses. He immediately called their chief analyst Agent W.
"One of the agents went rogue and confessed on Facebook. Somebody mailed the Warden the details of our organisation. The Warden has posted a mail to all hostel residents cautioning them against malpractices in the time of examinations and thefts of notebooks going on in the floor you are in" W explained.
     That explains the smart phones.
"Our contact with other agents has been lost" W continued. "Any attempt to re-establish our network will only cause exposure of our activities. Rumour is that the management already has a few names. Under a lot of pressure, Secretary has been forced to initiate Ghost Protocol. You are on your own, Agent H".


A few days ago, Agents B and P were sent on a simple reconnaissance mission to scout a few rooms with potential. They were spotted by an MGU and were barely able to escape, felicitated by the dark. Though the MGU hasn't seen their faces, he could deduce P's identity with good probability. The next day P was blackmailed into confession by his identifier, causing the downfall of an organisation that had semesters of experience in what commonplace dub as MASS COPYING.

        H sat in the mess hall trying to construct his next course of action. Should he fail, he would be destroying the hopes of countless number of students who have placed their faith in the organisation. He looked at the cold chapatis in front of him. Nothing was clear to him any longer. Days of training in hostile situations have rendered him one of the organisation's best agents. He also held the record of most number of notes stolen, most additionals exchanged in examination hall and most number of books hidden in 'strategic locations' like bathrooms during exams. Now he couldn't even think straight. His confidence was in shambles.

        A couple of students sat in front of him. One of them said "Why are you depressed? You are a nine point someone. It is not like you to be so dull. OH! I get it. You are depressed because you probably forgot one equation" and they both started laughing. Fools! The topper was sitting right next to me that day!
     H went back to his room. Examination is yet to start in 18 hours. He looked at the syllabus. There is no way he could complete the syllabus in 18 hours. He took out his pocketbook and jotted down his plan of action. Now or Never.


     An MGU unit is four rows away. Even if somebody could approach him, there is not a chance that he is willing to help, not after what happened yesterday. The seating arrangement is diagonal type. My four neighbours along the diagonals are my classmates. From the expressions on their faces and the speed of their pens, I can judge that none of them seem to fare any better. Other neighbours are my seniors, and I hope they don't mind me copying. Ah! They are copying too! All others are familiar to me except the person behind me. He looks older than me. What the hell!! I should concentrate on business. The only other MGU of my batch is sitting in front of the invigilator, I cannot rely on him for help. Where is the other invigilator? He seems to be nowhere. Bless heavens! Things will be easier now. I can answer more than half of these. In fact the paper seems to be easy. But I will have to help the organisation. I hope B will remember the plan.......

     H's head rang with thoughts as he assessed the situation. That morning, when there were eight hours left for the examination, all disavowed agents assembled at their secret location- the bathroom at the community centre. After elaborate and intricate discussions, a plan was devised to co-ordinate between different rooms so that most of the information can be shared. A micro-photocopy of the two hundred and thirty two pages of information extracted from various MGU notebooks, bound into a short pocketbook is to be hid under the water filter beside the bathroom. Initial plans to hide it in the bathrooms have been cancelled, owing to recent confiscation of copying material placed there, by the cleaning staff and the subsequent fuss it created. The access to this material has been given to different rooms based on time slots. H's time slot was from 1hr 30min to 1hr 40min. The exam had only begun. So H started answering the questions he already knew.

      Three benches away, Agent O started folding his sleeve backwards. The person next to O gasped at O's hand.  It was covered with tiny ants. No, they weren't ants. They were letters. He was surprised to see that O managed to shove paragraphs of information on his arms. O quickly began scribbling it on his additional and quickly slid the additional onto his classmate's desk. So quick he was, that even his classmate was surprised at the appearance of an additional with an answer to one of the questions he found tough. H could see all this happening. So could his neighbours, who looked in awe at O's professionalism. H was initially alarmed but then felt confident that the proceedings were blocked from the invigilator's line of sight by a column in between.

      Speaking of the column, H noticed something peculiar. It didn't take him long to realize that the scribbling on the column, on the face hidden from the invigilator was different from regular obscenities that you come across on walls every day. Though not of his batch, H was of full praise to the person behind that pillar.
That guy is a genius to come up with that! I should add it to my arsenal.
     That pillar served beacon not only for the person behind it, but for a couple of neighbours too. The only drag was it was quite conspicuous, even for the invigilator. Within moments, there was a warning from the invigilator to the people behind the pillar.

      Other than a few suspicious looks from the invigilator, everything went smoothly for the organisation. Nobody spotted the material beneath the filter. A person from each room came and went, having studied all they needed to. H could answer most of the questions, but he wasn't satisfied. Suddenly there was a distress signal. He was called upon to pass answers to people in need. As he kept doing that, H concluded that the invigilator seemed to pay little attention to the people at the back. That's highly unlikely. Taking advantage, H assumed his full form, rolling down his socks and pulling his trousers up to reveal a whole list of formulas on his leg. Agent B in the next room had a jerkin full of micro-photocopies. Were these not sufficient, H would have a chance to grab answers when his chance comes to visit the 'bathroom'. That was his plan.

 Okay, I am not getting any help from organisation. Doesn't mean I can't copy! Only problem is, had the organisation been operational, MGUs would have helped us. Doesn't matter now.
       Suddenly, without warning, the door opened. Agent O was nearly standing up, peeping into his neighbour's paper, and barely had time to sit back on his bench. It was the attendant.

        He brought two plates of Samosa and two glasses of tea. While he was putting the snacks on the table, H looked in earnest towards the invigilator, waiting for him to say "Take away one tea and one plate". He didn't. Maybe he wants to have both for himself. After two minutes the invigilator said "You might want to take your tea before it gets cold, sir".

         H's heart sank as the person behind him stood up.


  1. Nice suspense.... hope H had taken his surroundings seriously..:P

  2. Seems a very sophisticated underground organization. A dramatic representation of hostel dwellers made a familiar situation striking.