***

"Mr. Jeric Tan?" A middle-aged guy in suit approached us as we walked through the airport.
"Yes," Cliff answered while giving his luggage to the guy. "Thank you."

Kasunod naman ng escort niya ay ang sarili naming escorts ni Jett. Of course, the three of us acted like we don't know each other, although we would be staying in the same hotel.

Nagpunta kami sa kani-kaniya naming sundo at sumakay sa kotse na dala nila. Noong nasa loob na ako ng sasakyan ay agad kong kinuha ang phone ko at binuksan ang GPS. Our voice changer devices have trackers attached to it so that we could easily locate each other.

Nang nakarating kami sa hotel, bumaba agad ako sa kotse at binuhat ng escort ang mga gamit ko. Dumiretso ako sa lobby at binigay sa akin ang susi ng kwarto. Pagdating ko ro'n ay agad akong humiga sa kama.

'Hey. You guys. Shall we start?' I asked. Our rooms were just beside each other and mine was situated between theirs.
'Not yet,' Jett replied. Napabangon naman ako bigla.
'Why?' Suddenly, I heard a rustle in my veranda and with a dagger on my hand, I carefully approached the place.
"Because someone from the Nox might be inside this hotel," Cliff added as he walked into my room from the veranda. He had removed his disguise and he was carrying his laptop along with his starknife.
"How did you know?" tanong ko.
"Jett spotted their trademark," he answered and I shuddered when I heard that.

Nox Organization is like the Pandora's box of the underground community. The more you wanted to get closer to it, to uncover it, the more dangerous it would get and you might unleash something you have no control over. It is an organization shrouded in mystery and almost all Intelligence Agencies are after them because of the crimes they have committed. However, everyone of them failed to gather enough information and the only detail they have collected, after countless deaths, was their trademark—a black sun tattoo.

"Where did you see him?"
"Lobby. He's at the waiting area," sabi ni Cliff nang nakaupo na siya sa kama ko at binuksan niya ang laptop niya.
"Where's his tattoo?"
"Nape area. His hair's kinda long but Jett managed to see it for a while. Should we observe them or are we going to that coffee shop?"

It has been a long time since I felt this uncertain. I needed to go to that coffee shop to find some clues about Nigel Grand but the presence of a Nox member in this hotel might also give us valuable information about their organization. After some thought, I decided to observe the Nox since seeing one would be a rare opportunity.

"We're going to stay in this hotel and observe his movements," I ordered while getting my laptop.

Pagkakuha ko ay binuksan ko kaagad ang software na ibinigay ni Naia sa akin para makapag-communicate kami through dark web—a place where all kinds of secrets in the cyber world, like government's confidential information, criminal works and mysterious and dangerous projects, could be found. Thus, only those with connections and power could navigate this place.

"Naia, can you hear me?" I used the earpiece she gave me before I left and I heard her breathing.
"Yes. Is there any problem?"
"You've got another work to do." She was quiet for a few seconds but I could imagine her cunning smile right now.
"Spill it."
"Give me any information that you can get about Nox Organization and their activities in the Philippines."
"Nox? You mean the Blacks?" Napakunot naman ang noo ko sa sinabi niya.
"Blacks?"
"That's what the other underground members call them since they are always doing their activities in the shadows and they don't leave any clues."
"Noted. I'll be waiting for your information."
"Roger. By the way, I finished your previous order. I'm sending it to you right now. Bye—oh, and also, tell Jett to open his goddamn server because I sent his guns' diagnosis. Bye."

A minute later, I received the files from her but I didn't open it since I might get distracted. My focus should be on the Nox member. The information about Nigel Grand could wait.

"Cliff, stay here and gather data about this hotel's guests," I instructed and he nodded.
"Roger," he said while opening the hotel's site and system using his laptop. I smiled. Cliff is one of Class S' top hackers, crackers, black and white hats. In short, he's the best when it comes to computer system and networks.
"Jett."
"Yes?"

I heard his voice at my right side so I knew that he also used the veranda to enter my room. God. Maybe I need to remind these guys what privacy means.

"Observe the actions of the guests in this hotel and report any unusual behavior. Stay in the lobby," sabi ko sa kanya.
"Roger."

Pagkatapos no'n ay naghiwa-hiwalay na kami. Cliff stayed inside my room while Jett and I roamed around the hotel. He wandered around the lobby and I decided to go to the dining hall, of course, as Sab Rivera. As I entered the room, several people were already eating and chatting with each other but some of them, especially those who were near the doorway, stopped and looked at me.

"Oh. Parang nakita ko na siya before"
"Her? Wow. She's beautiful."
"Ah. Isn't she an actress? The one who acted with Troy Javier."
"Yung recent movie? Blockbuster daw 'yon. I think it's her."
"What's her name again?"
"Sab. Sab Rivera."

Hearing their conversations made me smile a little. Choosing her as my current identity was not that bad. This girl recently debuted as an actress but she was already known by some. Might be because of her successful movie release.

Naglakad ako papunta sa isang bakanteng table at naupo muna. Naririnig ko pa rin ang usapan ng mga nakapaligid sa akin pero nagulat ako nang biglang may umupo sa tapat ko—a guy with shoulder-length hair, wearing black overall and a piercing gaze. I immediately knew who he was because his presence screamed Black. This was the Nox member they saw a while ago.

I managed to keep my expression neutral and I stared at him, too, but I was a bit surprised when he started to talk.

"How about some olive?" he mumbled.

I frowned after hearing that because it didn't make any sense. I couldn't think of any reply that wouldn't make me suspicious so I just stared at him with a confused expression. He openly expressed his annoyance and he immediately stood up. As he was leaving the dining hall, he looked down and I saw the black sun tattoo on his nape.

"Wow. Kasali ba siya sa film na gagawin dito ngayon?"
"Maybe. May ibang artista rin daw rito ngayon. Buti nga at nakapag-book kami ng VIP dahil 'yon lang daw ang pinayagan nilang mag-stay since ni-reserve ng production staff ang buong hotel."
"Oh. It's a relief that we're also on the VIP list."

I listened to the murmurs of the people around me. Does that mean maraming artista rito ngayon? Wait. If that Nox member also heard what they were talking about, he must have also heard that I'm an actress.

Agad naman akong tumayo pero napatigil ako nang makita ko si Cliff na papasok sa dining hall. Nang nakita niya ako ay naglakad ako palapit sa kanya at hinila naman niya ako papunta sa isang corner kung saan wala masyadong tao.

"Why? Is there any—"
"Here," sabay abot niya ng papel sa akin. It was a list of names.
"Who are they?"
"According to the network, they are actors and actresses. They will stay here for three days."
"That guy spoke to me," I said and he gave me a confused look. "The Nox member. I think he's after an actress and it's their way of knowing each other."
"What did he say?"
"How about some olive? That was what he said."

Natahimik kaming dalawa at umalis kami ro'n dahil may ilang tao nang dumadaan. Pagdating namin sa lobby para puntahan si Jett ay may nagkukumpulang mga tao kaya agad kaming lumapit.

"What happened?"
"Someone left a note." Napatingin ako sa kanan ko at nakita ko si Jett.
"Note?" tanong ni Cliff sa kanya.
"The shoot was halted because of a disturbing note."

We walked towards the crowd and I managed to get inside. I was pushed towards the front and I flinched when I saw the note Jett was talking about.

Prepare your coffin because you're going to die today.

I managed to get out of the crowd after that and went to Cliff and Jett, worried about the next thing that could happen.

"Do you think this was his doing?" I asked but they both went silent.
"Someone might die today so we need to be prepared," Cliff added.
"Guess I'm using my guns today," sabi naman ni Jett.

After that, we went to our respective rooms and gathered all the things we needed. If this was really the work of Nox, the actress he's going to meet will die. I have no idea what's going on but we could get information about that organization if we keep close to him.

Nagulat naman ako nang biglang nag-blink ang ilaw sa relo ko. I immediately opened my laptop to see who messaged me and I saw a notification from the Naia's software.

Nox Organization

A hierarchical organization that works in secrecy and silence. Their trademark is a black sun tattooed on their body parts. According to people who managed to infiltrate their group, their system functions like concentric circles. They have four levels and the outer circle does the mundane jobs involving the humdrums. The inner circles are hard to penetrate and the people who saw and witnessed their works ended up dead that's why there are no information available at the moment. However, they might be the ones responsible for murders and other higher class criminal jobs.

P.S. I don't know if this is reliable but according to a few sources, their members use shades of dark colors as their codename.

Pagkabasa ko no'n ay nakaramdam agad ako ng kaba kaya agad-agad akong nag-search sa net at mukhang tama nga ang hinala ko dahil sa nabasa ko.

Black olive, a representation of the color of ripe table olives. Also known as olive, which is widely used in Europe.

Now I know what he meant by that question.



***