48 Hours a Day
Chapter 427 - You Want My Coffee?
It was probably because the team had experienced too many unimaginable things in one night that the 01 did not appear to be shocked, but rather, desensitized when Zhang Heng said that he could hack into CTOS.
After seeing a solid wall melt before their eyes like warm chocolate, Waldo would have probably believed it if Zhang Heng claimed to be Thanos who had come to Earth in search of the Infinity Gems.
Amid the oblivion and confusion, Little Boy was the first to break the silence.
“Can you hack into CTOS and disable it?” she asked.
“No, I’m not going to do that. Now that Iron Fist is dead, we need to find Edward as soon as possible,” Zhang Heng answered calmly.
Little Boy looked unconvinced. “Wait, don’t tell me you’re thinking of using CTOS to get to Edward?”
“Since Black Nest can find Edward using CTOS, I don’t think they would mind sharing their search results with us,” said Zhang Heng, “but first, I’ll need to remove our mobile phones and equipment from CTOS’s surveillance network.”
On the 27th floor of Black Nest’ Toulouse branch, Vincent’s lips were tightly pursed as he watched the man in front of him sipping a cup of coffee.
The man was very patient. He had not spoken since he walked into the room, even brewing his own coffee without asking. With a set of seemingly cumbersome tools, he carved a leaf on the latte, as if he hadn’t noticed the presence of a guest.
It was clearly not a very polite thing to do.
But Vincent was way past the age where he would be irritated by something like this. And since the person had not spoken, Vincent remained silent too, patiently waiting on the sofa.
While he was one that didn’t mind waiting, someone else could not.
A particular sniper who claimed to be the best in the world was very upset. Rubbing his nose, he lamented, “Ah, I really can’t figure it out. It’s obvious that everyone works for someone, yet how is it that some think so highly of themselves that they feel superior to others?”
A slow smile spread across the face of the man enjoying his coffee. “Perhaps it’s because I haven’t screwed up before?” he scoffed and put the cup down, “…I’ve seen your resumes. Imposing, I must sayespecially yours, Mr. Vincent. You’ve practically become a legend after what you did as a mercenary and all that dirty work for the seventh division. And… Mr. Abu, the teenager with an addiction to the internet, but discovered accidentally to have extraordinary reflexes and a dynamic vision, then molded and groomed to become the best sniper there ever was. Such a motivational story should have been made into a novel.”
“Since you know how close we are, why didn’t you at least offer us a cup of coffee during the entire time we are here?” Abu answered, clearly miffed.
“Because I still couldn’t wrap my head around one thing,” the man leaned forward, smiling.
“Since the both of you are such outstanding individuals, even having groups of elite armed forces under your command, why then weren’t you able to handle a weak technician?” he went on.
“Edward is no ordinary technician. He is meticulous and methodical, and his cautiousness, close to paranoia. You can see how sly he is from how he plays chess, always thinking about how he could set-up his opponent. He’s very difficult to catch,” Abu retorted, picking up an empty cup in front of him, “hey, my mouth is a bit dry, pour me a cup of coffee too, please. No foam, just more sugar…”
The man opposite him chuckled, actually picking up the coffee pot. He was about to pour the coffee over Abu’s cup when he suddenly let go, and with his free hand, he grabbed Abu’s arm.
Caught off-guard, Abu jumped out of the sofa, slipped, and fell into the coffee table. He screaming in pain as nose came in contact with glass. But it wasn’t over yet. The man opposite him had gotten up as well, grabbing both of Abu’s hands. He held them back in a handcuff position, before finally stomping his boot on the young man’s face.
A bout of rage flashed in Vincent’s eyes. Although he never really liked Abu, the young man was still his subordinate. When the man stepped on Abu’s face, it indirectly meant stepping on Vincent’s face as well. Vincent reached for something at his waist, but the quiet and unmoving red figure standing by the window was much faster than he was. The next thing he knew, the woman’s gun was up against his temple.
“You want my coffee? Sure, here, have all you want. Come, come, don’t waste any of it,” the man mocked in a chummy tone. He leaned in on the leg that was on Abu’s face so that the young man’s cheek was pinned against the table. The pot he had just let go shattered, spilling out with it steaming hot coffee that quickly moved towards Abu’s mouth and nose.
“Did you people really think I had a good temper?” The man growled, “I’ve meant to say this, but what the heck is wrong with you French? So rude, yet you think so highly of yourselves. Oh, and you’re always late. You can’t even do a simple task properly. Slow-witted, yet hate accepting the leadership of others, not to mention your constant insecurities about getting your power snatched from you.
“Please, try counting the number of opportunities you must’ve wasted. There are so many of you in Grenoble, yet you couldn’t watch over a little girl, letting her slip under your noses. You had even more in Toulouse, yet all but Edward’s shadow is mising. Headquarters even used the unfinished CTOS to help you find those people. Weapons, personnel… you have everything you need, yet, is this how you repay me in the end?!”
“You let Edward slip away two weeks ago. Okay, let’s just attribute that to your carelessness. But last night, you fell at the same spot over and over again. What are you? A goldfish? Does your memory last only seven seconds?! Please! Can’t you be a little more ashamed of yourselves? If this happened in my neighboring country, you would have been disemboweled-one of the few things I admire about them. You, on the other hand, stroll into my office and demand for coffee. Tsk, tsk, tsk… I should crush your head under my feet right now. At least you’d contribute to the world, reduce carbon emissions perhaps.”
As the man spoke, he put even more weight on his feet until Abu’s face was completely contorted. Vincent couldn’t hold it in anymore. “Enough! You want the authority I have-I can give that to you… I would even follow your commands voluntarily. I planned to explain yesterday’s failed operation to headquarters; to give up my position and let you take over. Are you satisfied now?” Vincent said coldly.
At that, the man loosened his grip on Abu’s hands and removed his boot from Abu’s face. The smile returned to his face. “Great. If you’d said that earlier, I wouldn’t have had to lose a coffee pot. I rather liked that one. Too bad, I won’t be able to use it for coffee anymore.”
“Give me one hour. I will hand you the job, then the team, over to you.” Vincent immediately got up from the sofa. Obviously, he did not want to stay in the room any longer.
Abu clutched his bleeding nose and sheepishly followed Vincent from behind. Just as the two were about to walk out the door, the man’s said, “Just in case, I have a question to ask you. Are you going to do something stupid and irrational… such as asking your subordinates to pretend and obey our orders?”
Vincent kept walking, “Relax. We both know how that would end, but you’d better kill Edward because you know that there are still many in the headquarters who don’t trust you. If you fail, you will end up worse than us.”
“Thank you for the reminder.”
After Vincent and Abu left, the woman in red asked in Mandarin, “Are you sure you want to use such brutal means to seize power?”
“Trust me; I know how to build a good relationship. A harmonious and friendly partnership is the ideal picture, but unfortunately, we do not have the time. We all choose to be on their side because Black Nest is powerful, but who knew how complicated their internal structure was,” the man frowned, “Black Nest is like a clumsy giant, strong but stiff. I can’t believe it took us more than two months just to gain some authority. Zero is the same. We were only able to register for it three weeks ago. We could have grabbed the players from the opposing side and ended the game before they even had a chance to react. We can’t go on like this. It’s too slow. We need to speed up this giant.”