The time was 10:00 am and the place Nkran in the year 3000. On top of the biggest Bank building in the city, a dark, lean and tall man walked to the very edge and stopped, hands in his pockets. Below him, a thick crowd was formed and watched him in horror, fearing that he would commit suicide. However the man in question, Nii Okai, had no intention of jumping over the edge. He had simply come to enjoy the view of the entire city from that height.
‘Some people believe that when one commits suicide, she or he is doomed to wander the earth as a restless spirit and denied access to the realm of the ancestors’ a soft voice suddenly said. He turned to his left and noticed a woman clad in the attire of the Asafo Bii, the traditional Ga militia. ‘Your life may be unpleasant but the afterlife is not so great either for those who die before their time’.
‘I’m not going to jump’ said a shocked Nii. ‘I’m only here for the view.’
She looked at him in stunned silence and then looked at the entire city below them in the sunlight. ‘It’s a superb view’ she admitted ‘but there is a very frightened crowd down there who think you are going to jump and even more nervous Asafo Bii companies on the rooftops of the six buildings close to this one who think you’re going to do it’
Nii sighed and walked away from the edge with her. ‘My name is Larley, by the way’, she said extending her right hand to him. ‘Nii Okai’ he replied gripping it tightly in a firm handshake. Fifteen minutes later, he dogded a machete that arced toward his head and kicked the arm wielding it, knocking the akodze away.
He punched the assailant in the face, knocking him out. Five other men wielding machetes rushed at him and he unfastened his belt and lashed out at them, whipping them severely. His belt wrapped around one machete and yanked it away from his attacker and into the dirt.
He blocked the attacksfrom the four robbers and swung four times breaking each of their machetes. He leapt at one of them, his two feet kicking the chest of one of the attackers. He struck one on the left with his left foot and one on the right with his right foot. One dove at him, tackling him but he kicked upwards, sending him flying into the dirt behind him.
The third scrambled for the fallen machete but he reached it first, kicking him in the face with his knee. He heard a loud click of guns being cocked as the barrels of 4 AK-47 guns were pointed in his direction by four grim faced women. An afena spun towards them, slashing through 3 of the guns before striking the dirt.
Larley lunged at the three of them, striking them with quick punches and kicks to the chests and kicks. The fourht shot at her but she strafed her to her left, making a perfect shot impossible. She spun towards the shooter and slashed through the akodze with her afena, her blade stopping inches from the neck of the shooter.
Several Asafo Bii rushed towards the men and women, restraining them as Larley examined the guns with a puzzled look on her face. 'What is it, Larley?' Nii asked.
'These are military grade weapons' Larley said to herself. 'Very sophisticated and only permitted to be used by the Ghanaian Military under the 3 weapon safety lawsof the Ga Traditional Council'.
Under the Akodze Safety Laws, knives, guns, akofenas, spears were issued with special permits to the Military. The use of such akodze by civilians was banned in the year 3000. This law was so vigourously enforced that the three criminal elements left in the city had to resort to the use of sticks and farm implements like machetes to conduct their operations.
'I'll have to take them to the company headquarters for questioning' she said and paused for a moment.
'It's 2:00 pm' Larley pointed out. 'Shouldn't you be at work on this Monday morning?'
'100 people were retrenched at the company building I was standing on this morning. I needed time to contemplate my future' he replied.
'After our talk, I was heading home when I noticed these people capprying several akodze into a truck. They spotted me and we had a slight confrontation'.
'Then you're a witness', sighed Larley. 'I'll have to take you for questioning too.''
The Asafo Bii headquarters consisted of a series of buildings constructed in a traditional domed design and stood in the centre of the city. Behind a thick layer of glass, Larley and the Asafoatse (Chief Warrior) Naa watched as Nii gave his statement. 'The akodze you brought in today are similar to the ones the Asafo Bii picked up at the edge of Nkran this afternoon.' Naa mused.
'Larley, someone is stockpiling weapons across the city, possibly in preparation for a planned ethnic conflict or violent chieftaincy dispute.'
'I understand, Asafoatse Naa' Larley sighed. 'We will interrogate the culprits thouroughly to find out everything they know'. I've also posted an alert to the other Asafo Bii Companies that their main priority now is to check for the movement of akodze and suspicious persons in the city'.
Naa nodded in agreement. 'Train Nii in Abotri ke Tahuumo (Ga Martial Art) as well as the rest of the ways of the Asafo Bii, if he's interested in becoming one. He's already shown that he can handle himself in a fight. If we wnat to avoid the loss of lives and property that come with these conflicts, we'll need all the help we can get'.
Larley and Nii, armed with a baton faced each other in the training room of the Asafoakyer Bii (female asafo Bii Captains). 'There are several components of Abotri ke Tahuumo.' she noted.
'Abotri is the Complex use of handstands and somersaults, Intia Shomo is the use of complex kicking and feet attacks, Mim Dzee is the art of evading attacks, Kwasafo Nomo and Asafo Atwele are the arts of free expression and multi partner combat strategy, Asafo ke Tahuumo kaklakle lor is the art of fighting in a trance like state, Ataalai Gbanoo is the art of cartwheeling, Adzenkeklulu is the art of acrobatics'.
Larley drew out an afowatsena (double or triple bladed sword) from the scabbard slung across her shoulder and sunk into an offensive stance. 'My favourite art is Kakla ke klante Nomo, the art of bladed weapon combat'. Without warning, she lunged at Nii forcing him to spin away from the attack using Ataalai Gbanoo .
Even as he strived to keep his distance to look for an opening, Larley struck at him again and again using Gbobi hava, the art of hunting down prey, forcing him to be on the defensive. He snatched an afonanta (machete like sword) from a wooden stand on his right and blocked her attacks matching Larley's kaklake Klante Nomo with his own version.
He noticed an opening and tried to swing the afonanta to tap her shoulder lightly, signalling the end of the bout. Surprisingly, she caught the blade between her teeth and drew her head back, yanking him off balance. Even as he stumbled, she dealt him several ferocious double hand slaps and kicks with her feet.
As he collapsed to the ground, she pinned him facedown by locking his feet and arms in a tight brace. The door to the training room slid open and a woma with a shaved head walked into the room and sat down on the training mat beside Larley. 'The interrogation's complete' she reported.
'The attackers said they were supposed to send the akodze to the old underground train station beneath the Great Nkran Museum.'
'That place is a maze, Akai' sighed Larley. 'I'll need a clear outline of the place to avoid any surprise attacks on the Asafo Bii.'
'We could get the outline from the new library across the street' ventured Nii.
At the Abrewanana (sage) library, Nii paused outside the door for a moment, with Larleyand Akai at his side. 'Leave your akodze (weapons) and portable communication devices at the entrance. This library has soundproof walling and has strict rules about silence within its walls, even for Asafo Bii' he instructed.
After 11 minutes of searching, they found the outline of the old underground station and headed back to the headquarters. Several Asafo Bii gathered around Larley as she mapped out the points for entry.
'The station is in the middle of three entry points.' she noted. 'The old 'galamsey' mines, the abandoned goldmine shafts and the old route for the oil pipelines. We'll split into three groups to cover more ground tonight'
A truck slowly moved through the shafts, armed to the teeth with several women wielding AK-47s, grenade launchers, akofenas, crossbows and longbows and other akodze. 'Stay sharp, Dedoi's follower in the Asafo Bii warned us that vehicles B and C were seized earlier today, warned a fair, heavily tattoed woman wielding two ekumapraban (long handled axes).
Four arrows shot through the tires of the truck, deflating them. The arrows whizzed through the air, nearly slicing through the wooden handles of the ekumapraban but its wielder was faster, slashing the projectiles. She sunk into an offensive stance as Nii and Akai charged at her.
She fended off the swings of their akodze with her own, preventing the handles from being slashed. She swung at both of them but Nii spun around the left akodze and spun again to his right as she drew the akodze back the axe head nearly slashing his back. At that moment, he swung at the axehead with all his might, smashing it into pieces before breaking the wooden staff with his left sandaled foot.
She drew back and struck at Akai who blocked the attack with her afonanta at the same moment as Nii kicked the woman's head with his left foot. She fell against a truck tire and watched as several of her people were restrained and bound in handcuffs. She drew out 6 smoke bombs and smashed them against the floor before fleeing.
Nii gave chase even as she paused at tinervals to shoot at him with two Berettas. Despite warnings from Akai, he pursued her deeper into the tunnels. She looked over her shoulder as their path became darker and she could no longer see him. She stepped and remained motionless behind a wall to draw out two shocksticks, each baton designed to deliver a high amount of electric shock.
A mobile phone in her backpocket began to ring and as she reached for it, a figure suddenly darted at her from her right, his afonanta glowing in the dark as it slashed through her shocksticks. She swung her left foot at him but he spun around it and dealt her ferocious double hand slaps and kicks to her torso, forcing her into a corner and stopping only when she slumped to the ground.
The phone rang twice and stopped as Nii turned her over and picked it up. He heard two footsteps in the darkness and brandished his afonanta as he sunk into an offensive stance. Akai and Larley stepped into the light from the phone and Nii lowered his akodze before turning his attention to the phone.
Using his experience in the I.T division of the bank that retrenched him, he was able to get pas the multiple security features of the phone and unlock it. One name stood out among the most recent calls, Dedoi.
'You are certain it was Dedoi?' asked Naa with a hint of disbelief.
'Yes' replied Nii. 'It seems she was behind the movement of akodze and fighters to key parts of the city. We checked the messages on the phone and they confirm this.'
'Dedoi is a royal and the sister of Chief Naarkie' Naa said to herself, as she rose from her mat and watched the city below from her office. 'I will inform the Ga Traditional Council myself'.
In the centre of the royal quarters of Nkran, a long haired woman sighed as five armed men slowly edged towards her. Before they could strike, she drew out two Glock pistols and shot each one in the chest. Five more men lunged at her but she anticipated their movements and shot them without wasting a bullet using Gun Kata (The martial art of gunplay).
She noticed five figures darting towards her from behind but she spun towards them , clutching a large duffel bag that released a hail of bullets. The bag fell apart, revealing a large machine gun. The fallen attackers faded away, and a blue light shone from a yellow hologram disk on the floor.
The light materialised into the image of an old woman with a shock of white hair. 'Dedoi, the Ga Traditional Council wishes to invite you to attend a special session' she spoke.
'I'll be there shortly, Chief Naarkie' Dedoi replied softly before the image flickered off. She felt uneasy about her sister's tone of voice and made three brief calls before setting off for the council building on foot. As soon as she entered the grand hall, she felt the eyes of the rest of the council looking at her with disapproval.
'My apologies, Dedoi', Naarkie said sadly. 'I'm sure its a false allegation but you have to goto the Asafo Bii for questioning.'
8 Asafo Bii approached her from behind and one made the mistake of holding her shoulder. Dedoi turned towards that Asafo Bii and punched her in the face. One Asafo Bii rushed towards her but she grabbed the Asafo Bii she had punched earlier and shoved her into the second one.
The Asafo Bii brandished their akodze and Dedoi pulled out her guns as the other council members edged away from her in fright. Naarkie shoved them aside and thrust herself between the Asafo Bii and Dedoi. Dedoi sighed and holstered her guns. 'I'll go quietly'
At 7pm, Koi a janitor at the Asafo Bii Headquarters begun his usual duties, cleaning the training rooms and offices of the Asafo Bii. At 7:30 pm, after cleaning the washrooms, he received three phonecalls and each message he relayed was the same: 'The Asafo Bii are moving Dedoi through the Efua Gardens tonight using the northern footpath.'
At 8:00 pm, the Asafo Bii marched through the gardens with their captive. Akai led the march when five porcupine quills tore through the leaves of the nearby trees and struck her in the arms and legs and chest. The remaining Asafo Bii brandished their weapons and formed a protective ring around Dedoi.
On their left, a large burst of flame erupted towards them, setting several Asafo Bii on fire. The circle broke as several Asafo Bii rolled in the dirt to put out the flames. Five Asafo Bii escorted Dedoi away from the flames that licked the bushes around them when a bullet struck each of them in the shoulder.
As they fell, three women stepped out of the bushes, one wielding porcupine quills, the other a large flamethrower and the third, heavily tattoed wielding two large pistols.
The third woman slashed the handcuffs with and akofena and together the four of them disappeared into the bushes.