After thinking things over, the presidential Operations Aide, Brig. Gen. Lupo Kusaidan, welcomed the idea that he was going to be relatively free from the encumbrances of his office to attend to the matter at hand; which was to close all the loopholes from the operation he had organized to prevent the Prime Wife from travelling to the occasion with the Leader in the northern province.
His first call of call, as it were, was Staff Sergeant Biso Bukwat. Kusaidan wanted to know what the SS knew about any leakage of information in the barracks as to what the soldiers knew – and more importantly – what they had been talking about the so-called rebel attack on the Prime Wife. Since he did not want to use his office which was situated adjunct, but outside the barracks, he would summon the SS to his official residence. This would give the matter at hand a sense of unofficial familiarity with which Bukwat would feel relaxed to talk without the strictures of authority.
He telephoned Bukwat to report to his home in the early afternoon of that day, and leave any other barracks business to another non-commissioned soldier. When the SS arrived, he found that the Brgi. Gen. was about to have lunch. Kusaidan immediately invited Bukwat to the table, but seeing the other uncomfortable and trying to demur, he told Bukwat:
“Take it easy Sergeant, this is not official; we are just friends going to talk things over about our work. You and I should discuss things which other officers should not know about. And we can talk this over lunch and then later have a drink on the house, not so?”
“If you say so Gen., O.K,” Bukwat replied.
“I say do. And let us not be authoritative. Here, in my house, you can call me Lupo. Mark you, we are just friends,” Kusaidan re-assured the other.
“Very well, Lupo. I shall join you at table for lunch. When you summoned me, I had no time to go for lunch, since I thought this was an urgent matter,” Bukwat said with a chuckle.
They sat down at the dining place; and instantly a female soldier in uniform started serving them. As they settled to a course of of an assortment of chicken, fish and a variety of salads,
Kusaidan opened the matter od their conversation.
“You are right to say it is an urgent matter; but in another sense it is not urgent. Urgent in that the Leader has asked me to take time off to sort out what we did a couple of months ago. But it is not urgent in that we do not have to take it as a rigid command matter,” Kusaidan said, “O.K., the Leader has given me a time scale but it not anything to worry about. By the end of it I shall have briefed him on all the situation,” he added.
“What does the Honourable and Great Leader want to know about it, then?” Bukwat asked.
“Oh,” the Brig. Gen. replied, “Nothing that we can’t come up with.” He was non-committal on this as the woman soldier was by the table serving some other dish. Clearly, Kusaidan did not want her to get the gist of their conversation; and waited for her to go off before he continued. When she left the table, Kusaidan continued:
“You remember you were Col. Chokoler; I made that up, as you might now have guessed and known, it was to deter any intruder from knowing the exact nature of our operation in the north.”
“Yes, Lupo,” For some time, people in the barracks were curiously talking to and asking me about the import of it,” Bukwat chuckled. “But it has since died down and not many people talk about it anymore.”
“Good,” Kusaidan said, and asked, “What were they talking about it then?”
“You know, some members of the platoon that carried out the operation talked about it being a cover-up for something they did not know about. But when some of them read it in The Daily Whistle, they knew that the paper was way off the mark. They know what they actually did; that is why I told you then that they said I should be the Battalions Press Secreatary – that I am able to pose something completely different.”
“Well, well, two things, Biso; and we should tackle each one by one. First, do you want to be the Press Secretary?” Kusaidan asked Bukwat, somewhat surprisingly. Bukwat dimly remembered that Kusaidan had earlier warned him not to get this matter into his head.
“Well, if you want me to be, you are the boss, Lupo,” Bukwat replied guardedly. “What advantages would that entail?” he continued to ask, “Especially if it contains promotion and other operational allowances,“ Bukwat was quick to add.
“O.K. , we shall see to that in due course of the week,” Kusaidan promised. “But the second point I want us to talk about are about some members of the platoon, particularly those who were, or are, quite inquisitive on the matter. Tell me who those are, and more so how we can quieten them.”
From the turn of the conversation Bukwat realized that, although there was an attempt to be affable, the insinuation was now on dangerous ground. In effect, Kusaidan was asking him to report on his colleagues and rat on them. He started to think that the matter at hand was serious and ominous since, the Leader had given a go-ahead to take time off to find this out. He started to realize that there was something amiss in the whole affair; hence the affability Kusaidan seemed to offer him.