Chapter 3: A turn to no turning back

Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2007 by Red Ruby in Labels:

As Ayin put down the phone, just about to tell them that her father, Prof Z had chosen a place for them, somewhere at the far end of the room, Rizal was smiling.

It was brilliant. His plan was a success. All he did was to provoke them with his 'philosophical attitude'. He knew there was more to this project to Prof Z. Not just mere ulam kampung or any ulam they've browsed in the internet. He knew something others did not. And it happened on the day Prof Z assigned them the project.

Rizal was on his way to Prof Z's room, as usual, on a lazy Friday afternoon where most students are scattered on the college's ground planning on what to do during the weekend, which midnite movie should they watch or simply going to the nearest map-ley to lepak. Unlike Rizal, he usually meets up with Prof Z during these hours to discuss (well..for Rizal it's more of debating philosophically) on his lectures for the week. For some lecturers, students like Rizal are simply a nuisance and a waste of time but for Prof Z, student like Rizal was something he considered 'refreshing, enthusiastic and welcoming'.

Considering his Friday afternoon was more of a 'routine' for both of them, Rizal simply knocked at Prof Z's room twice and barged in without hesitation. Only when he looked up, he saw that he was not Prof Z's only company. Prof Z who seemed like he was talking to two men who dressed up full suite in black with black sunglasses (which was obviously sooo out of place here in this humid country of ours-and for the sunglasses..why should they be wearing them indoors anyway?) and Rizal's sudden appearance had abruptly stopped any serious conversation the men had. For a moment, Rizal saw the look on Prof's face showing as if his privacy had been violated but as soon as he saw it, Prof Z's sudden expression changed and smiled awkwardly at Rizal.

"I'm really sorry gentlemen.I almost forgot my meeting with my brilliant student here.I guess we should continue our conversation later," Prof Z said to the men in black gesturing them towards the door and turned to face Rizal, "I'll be walking my guests outside.You could wait for me if you want to.Just stay in the room."

"Um, okay.Sure.Take your time Prof.Sorry to barge in like this.Didn't know you had company," Rizal apologised.

Prof Z smiled and shook his head."It's not a problem." Just before he left the room with the weird men in black, he placed a brown file he was holding on his table.

As Prof Z closes the door, Rizal sat on the chair facing the table, half embarassed for the awkward situation he had to face earlier."Damn," he swore and suddenly his eyes were fixed upon the brown file placed earlier by Prof on the table.

Rizal stood up and walked nearer towards to take a closer look at the file. The only thing that was printed on it was the word ULAM and on top of it there was some kind of logo with a stamp marked 'PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL'.

Rizal blurted out a small laugh wondering who in the right mind would want an ULAM file and what is so P & C about it? But as he was inches from his file, curiosity got the better out of him. "Hmm," Rizal thought to himself, "Maybe if I could just take a peek..."

Ignoring the PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL imprinted on the file, Rizal suddenly tried to assess the whole situation that he just witnessed earlier. Who are those really weird men in black? Why did he have the feeling that he had just interfered a very important conversation between Prof Z and his guests? And what does any kind of ULAM has got anything to do with them? The subject that Prof Z teaches has nothing to do with any kind of vegetation..well he's basically teaching them socioscience. Prof Z has done some researches involving historical archaelogy. But nothing on ULAM.Maybe its an abbreviation.Or maybe it a top secret project involving the government.

Rizal's imagination starts to run wild and he begins to ponder again..but then he felt that his pondering was taking a toll on himself. Why do I need to keep pondering about stuff. I need some action once in a while.

What is in the file? Should he take a look at it? Prof Z doesn't seem to be coming back for another few minutes. A peek wouldn't hurt..or would it?