Sridhar said, “Trust me. I can handle this.”
Though Anand was confident of Sridhar’s abilities to deal with dangerous criminals, Anand tried to prevent Sridhar from handling this case due to some unknown fear.
The terrorist outfit has targeted the airport this time. Anand’s team received information from reliable sources that a terrorist group has planned to seize the airport and hijack the flight network from this city.
Sridhar has to reach the airport in time and find out the criminals without creating havoc in the name of any terror attack. No announcements should be made, lest the terrorists might execute earlier than their planned time.
After spending nearly thirty minutes identifying the travelers and talking to suspicious people, Sridhar and the airport security team found five people who are really suspicious and did not have proper answers about their presence at the airport.
Sridhar and team had only sixty minutes to find out their plan and stop them from executing their plan.
Sridhar interviewed them using all possible techniques but could not get any information. All the five people seemed to be pleasant despite the strenuous grilling. Sridhar wondered if this is a suicide squad and found it very difficult to get any information from them. Some of them kept on insisting the fact that they are innocent and not related to any terrorist outfit. One of them smiled and said that the plans will be executed as all measures have been taken to ensure for effective implementation.
Sridhar and team simultaneously checked their luggage and every nook and corner of the airport to see if any arms or bombs are placed anywhere. They could not find anything or any clue about the attack. Sridhar was getting worried if the information they received about the airport attack was hoax. He hoped it was not a diversion for some other target.
Sridhar checked with other sensitive places and tried to find out if any other activity started happening in other places. There was no suspicious activity anywhere else.
Sridhar stepped out of the interrogation zone into the airport where normal passengers were waiting for their flights. He went through the people and the display boards and did not find anything suspicious. He did not find any more suspicious people. Their search for suspicious people and objects went on. As time passed by, it proved to be more intriguing for Sridhar.
Just as he was clueless and sat down in one of the lounges, he overheard a kid cribbing to his father.
“That loo is stinking. I cannot go in there. Can you find another loo for me?”
The father took the child to the other end of the airport where there were more restrooms.
Curious about the stench that the kid talked, Sridhar walked to the rest room and tried to find if the stench was the regular one. The airport needs to maintain good hygienic conditions and the presence of stench did not make any sense to Sridhar.
As he walked into the rest room, he realized that it was not the regular stench and it smelled bad. He also noticed that he felt a tingling in his throat as he spent more time in the rest room. The odor seemed to multiply within the few minutes Sridhar spent his time there.
Sridhar immediately called the scientific team and asked them to identify the stench. After a few minutes, the scientific team said that this is some kind of gas that would spread to the lungs and debilitate the respiratory system of the people who inhale it for more than thirty minutes.
“It’s a bio-weapon,” declared the scientific expert.
He added, “And, it is a completely new compound. We are not prepared for this. It is similar to Anthrax. But, it appears to be more dangerous. As, there are more symptoms that are not related to Anthrax. It can be a new strain of bacteria. It is not a mycotoxin either. Some aerosols have been used for transmission of this. Yet, we are not able to determine the source and the methodology of any such usage in such a short span of time.”
The scientific expert continued, “We need advanced equipment to determine the source of this bio weapon agent and also identify if it is a bacteria or virus.”
After a few minutes of discussion with experts in various countries, it has been determined that water might have been used as a contaminant initially to spread this bacteria. Some people in the airport who have earlier used this rest room have started showing similar symptoms and have been rushed for first aid.
However, Sridhar noticed that the four suspects have not been ill and seem to be healthy. Sridhar asked the scientific team to check their luggage and also undergo medical tests such as blood test on these terrorists to determine how they have been safe despite being exposed to this bio weapon.
With all the analysis and discussions taking place, Sridhar and team lost at least another thirty minutes and needed to act immediately to prevent any further damage and to avoid information leakage to the media.
Sridhar decided to act swiftly despite the lack of information to deal with the danger at hand. He requested the airport authorities to evacuate the areas surrounding this rest room. He sent a couple of people to the tank that supplies water to the faucets in this rest room.
The two people immediately informed him through phone that they found some suspicious powder and packets around the water tank. The scientific team was immediately alerted and sent to use those samples for identification.
Using the samples, it hardly took a few minutes for the scientific team to relate the symptoms with the strain of bacteria. They realized that it is a new bacteria.
After searching other tanks in the airport terminals that supply water, there were small syringe-like water dispensers that were placed above all the tanks that dispensed this chemical. Sridhar realized that it was the job of the four suspects to remove these dispensers after the chemical has been released into the water.
Sridhar sent the images of these chemicals and dispensers to the police headquarters and alerted them to check other airports and significant places where more people are usually present. It has been found out that at least five other airports in the country had a similar occurrence and authorities could not even register as none of the people showed any symptoms nor any alarms were raised anywhere.
It was later found that these bacteria start working after twenty four hours and begin showing symptoms. The medical and scientific teams set out to identify the vaccines for this strain. Within a short span of six hours and with the cooperation of friendly countries, they could develop a vaccine and administer it to the people who were prone to this in the last few hours.
Sridhar immediately arrested the four suspects and started the investigation process in detail to identify how this attack plan has been implemented.
During the course of his investigation, Sridhar heard from one of the suspects.
“This is just the beginning. You have been lucky and alert enough to prevent it from spreading now. You cannot stop this war when it goes to the second stage.”