The game had been on for a week, and the stakes were higher than I could have imagined.
I'd come here for a different purpose. I was a different person - not like any of these peasants chin deep in financial debt and poverty, willing to el their freedom away for a measly million dollars and for the entertainment of the evil rich heads in the country. Pride? Arrogance? Those were words used to describe people who had measured the worth of their vessel and made bold, outspoken comparisons with other people's vessels.
No, I had made a decent amount of money for myself so I didn't particularly need to play the game, but I was after something else. Years of expertise as a hacker and a pirate before I joined mainstream IT practice meant that old habits would have a tough time dying 0- and they did not. I had been researching Saheed Al-Mostafa, a Saudi Arabian Millionaire Businessman who was known in the criminal underground as a sadistic human trafficker.
The boss of a whole human trafficking syndicate in fact.
As despicable as Saheed's business was, I had no business with what he did. There was demand, and he met it with a supply and made money from it. If anything, the fact that he was a criminal made things even better for me because then I could do what I wanted to him without any feeling of guilt. Like me, he was a criminal, so I would enjoy myself snatching the food from the lion's mouth.
Word on the street had two interesting pieces of information for me: One, that Al-Mostafa was organizing a form of X-Factor games consisting of 200 players- only with higher stakes like a huge sum of a million dollars for the winner, and death for all the other losers. Of course, the naive contestants did not know that these were the stakes, which I found funny. It's funny how when in the pits of despair, you begin to think every hand reaching out to you is for the sake of your aid.
The sick billionaire wanted to see his lapdogs do tricks for money, and other wealthy men like him were interested in being spectators. My judgment? None. The rich were free to do whatever they wanted with their money, and the fact that the poor were ignorantly going to sign away their rights to life and participate in his games only made it fair.
And what was Two? Two was what interested me. A few weeks ago, the Royal British Museum reported that a heist had taken place, and the Oculus, a large diadem which was taken from South African mines, had been stolen. The case interested me because such a heist was only possible if the organizer of the whole thing had enough money and influence to pull it off.
Security cameras, laser sensors, nothing had documented the entry and exit of the culprits, and even the car used was a mystery because the security cameras in the streets did not work either. So where was the diadem taken? Further e=investugation told me the diadem was now in Al-Mostafa's possession, meaning he orchestrated the whole thing. That was what made me start following him up.
Al-Mostafa planned to cut the diadem into smaller pieces before selling them off - that was for sure. It was going to be too difficult to move something like that around without getting caught, and he couldn't just sell it. Intelligence agencies all over the world were literally sniffing around in every rabbit hole looking for the diadem.
He obviously could not let it out of his sight either. The mind of a criminal; I was not a religious man, but I could agree with the Bible when it mentioned that the wicked ran when there was no pursuer. His mind would not be at rest until he had successfully gotten rid of the diadem and gotten his money.
That meant that wherever the games were going to take place, the diadem was going to be there. It was now left to me to position myself well to become a contestant.
And that was how I found myself here. Armed with several hidden state of the art tech pieces, I managed to break out of my holding cell at night and I was scouring through the area. According to what I'd overheard from one of the guards, there was going to be a big dinner and banquet amongst the elites.
That was my big opportunity. Grab the diadem, alert the coos, and escape with the piece. Then I would cut it up, sell it myself and reao the bountiful harvest that would set me up for life.
I had reached the exquisite living quarters that AlMostafa was supposed to be lodging in. There were three rooms there, and one of those rooms housed what I was looking for.
It was neither in the first room nor the second. Both were empty,and I searched for trap doors or hidden wall safes but I found none. I banged upon the third and that was when I realized my mistake.
The door opened to Al-Mostafa, a gun in his hand leveled at my chest.
"Nice try, my friend."
I smiled weakly as he pulled the trigger.