© Oluwatosin Emmanuel Oyinloye
June 19, 2016
The FOX Corporation,
“Good morning sir,” Agent Mark welcome Paul Edwards who was just arriving at the underground building with two younger officers.
“Hello Agent Mark, there’s certainly nothing good about this bleeping new day,” Paul Edwards replied, venting out the frustration of the day before. He and Agent Mark began to walk side by side further into the building with the younger officers following behind.
“We’re about to send a memo to other security outfits to increase security at all entrances and exits into major cities, it’s waiting for your approval.” Agent Mark said.
“Please do right away,” Paul replied him as they turned into another hallway. The two young officers behind them went in a different direction.
Agent Mark dialed a number on his phone immediately. “Let the memos start going round immediately,” he said briefly and ended the call.
“Today is Sunday,” Paul Edwards continued after Mark’s call. “We need to make some efforts to avoid casualties at religious gatherings.”
“You’re right sir, how do we go about it?” Mark asked.
“Make contact with the leaders of the Bethanna Christian association and ask them to send warnings to all church leaders, especially those leading large congregations. They should take extra security measures to ensure no terrorist gains entrance into their facility. You can also provide hotlines for them to call if they observe suspicious movements.”
“Okay sir,” Mark nodded in agreement.
They continued walking for a couple of seconds before Mark turned into a different hallway. Paul took a few more steps before he entered into a large office with over 30 agents sitting at their tables and working on computers.
“Good morning sir,” greetings from every corner of the office welcomed him and he replied with nods and slight wave of hands.
“Good morning Chairman,” Agent Sylvanus approached him and ushered him to the table he was sitting.
“Good morning Agent Sylvanus,” Paul Edwards replied. “Did you arrive very early today?”
“Yes, I did. I left earlier yesterday. So I had to resume early today, I heard you left the office at 1 AM.” Sylvanus replied as they both sat.
“Yes, we lost a lot of our men yesterday. We already counted forty before I left the office,” Paul replied. “What’s the current situation?”
“Our men who reported to the office earlier today found fragments of the IEDs used at the different locations,” Sylvanus said as he opened a folder of pictures and clicked on the first picture. “Here are some pictures of the fragments found, I’m sure you’ll recognize some parts.”
Sylvanus squinted at the screen and studied the pictures carefully as Sylvanus changed from one to another.
“I’m not sure Hannah Kelvin could have done this alone,” Sylvanus said after he got to the last picture.
Paul Edwards took in a deep breath as he rested his back. The pictures of the fragments revealed that the IEDs were made in the FOX way. The FOX had begun manufacturing explosive devices several years ago to counter enemy attacks. Someone who had been with the FOX must have led the process of manufacturing the IEDs.
Paul was not surprised. He knew Hutton had a wide knowledge in almost every area of the FOX and even if he couldn’t manufacture the bomb himself, he could provide instruction manuals for experts to use. However, Paul could not reveal to anyone else that he knew Hutton was behind the Wolves.
He would have to answer a lot of questions from the executives and that would increase their doubts about him. The report given had already made it clear that he arrived at Sisa Camp after the leaders of the Wolves had arrived. His meeting with Carl Winston was also unknown to any other person. There was no way for him to explain how he got his knowledge. He had to keep it to himself until the FOX discover the truth itself.
“It’s obvious we have more men of the FOX who are more experienced than Hannah Kelvin working with the Wolves, I suggest we investigate the department.” Paul finally replied.
“That’s what we should do…” Sylvanus was saying before Mark interrupted from behind.
“A total of sixty-five FOX men have been confirmed dead while 103 Wolves men are dead,” Mark dropped a document showing the statistics on the table before them.
Sylvanus and Paul raised their faces to look at him.
“A total of seven arrests were made, five of the men are at the FOX hospital receiving treatment while two are currently in our custody.” Mark continued. “I’ll be interrogating the first two this morning.”
“Who is organizing the reports from the different security outfits?” Paul asked.
“Agent Michael is heading that,” Mark replied.
“We also need someone to monitor vulnerable areas and prepare our response teams,” Paul said. He looked at the faces of the other two agents, expecting to get a suggestion from them but he got none. He picked his phone and unlocked it. “Agent Mensah should handle that, I hope he is around.”
“I saw him not too long ago, we arrived at the same time.” Sylvanus replied.
“You’ll have to excuse me please,” Mark said and turned to leave.
“Please, make the interrogation as strict as possible and let me get the videos immediately after,” Paul instructed before he placed the phone close to his ear.
“Definitely sir,” Mark replied and walked away.
“I’ll be back here soon,” Paul whispered to Sylvanus before he got up from the seat and proceeded to his office.
Bexford International Airport.
Henry and Hannah placed their bags into the boot of the cab and watched the cabman close the boot before they entered into the backseat.
“Can we go now?” The driver asked, after sitting at his side.
“Yes, you can proceed,” Henry replied.
He took off his face cap and his sunshades. Hannah also took hers off.
The driver kicked on the engine and drove out of the facility.
After they had gotten to the road, Henry handed a device to Hannah for her to see what’s on the screen.
“Those are pictures from the scenes of the latest explosions, have you seen them before?”
“No, I haven’t,” Hannah replied as she scrolled through the web page.
“The explosions were of the same impact at the different locations, I guess they were the same explosive devices,” Henry said to her, still in low tones.
“That should be it,” She replied, looking unsure.
He stretched his hand to take back his phone from her.
“So, we’re not doing anything about this for now?” She questioned.
“Nothing the FOX is taking care of it already, we let them do their job,” Henry replied.
He moved his eyes to the rearview mirror and caught the driver looking at them. He was sure the driver was wondering why they were talking in low tones.
After some seconds of silence, Hannah spoke again.
“Sir, how soon would the others return?” Hannah asked. “Don’t you think it’s a dangerous step for them to visit their homes at this time?”
“I trust that they’ll be careful enough, they all know what is at risk,” Henry answered her.
She nodded in response and they continued the rest of the ride in silence.
The FOX Corporation
Sitting around the table were three of the executives: Mark, Sylvanus, Michael, and the chairman. They had their eyes glued to the flat-screen television in front of them and were listening carefully to the just concluded interrogation of the arrested culprits by Mark.
“Please, pause it there,” Paul said to Mark who was with the remote control.
Mark paused the clip and they all turned to listen to Paul.
“The guys we arrested do not seem to have any information concerning the installation of the explosive devices but there seems to be something consistent about the two of them. They came to Bethanna with the aim of killing FOX officials.”
“From their words, the war seems to be against FOX officials now,” Agent Sylvanus put in.
“It could be retaliation for stopping their plans and dissolving their camp at Sisa,” Mark suggested.
“I’m thinking the same too,” Paul agreed with Mark.
“But we killed over one hundred of their men,” Michael opined.
“And they killed bleeping 65 of the FOX men,” Paul said in an aggressive tone. “That’s crazy and too much.”
“You’re right Chairman, it’s a strange proportion. That population of FOX men shouldn’t have died in a war with some terrorists.” Sylvanus supported.
“These terrorists are also trained, remember Sisa camp was just discovered.” Michael reminded them.
“We shouldn’t compare the training received in such camp with the FOX training,” Paul said. “I took a walk around that camp and they don’t have the facilities FOX men are trained with.”
There was silence for a couple of seconds.
“I think what we should not forget that those men were prepared for it, those men did not kill 65 of our men because they were good fighters but because we walked into their trap,” Sylvanus said.
“You’re right sir,” Mark agreed.
“It’s evident that the Wolves is led by a good strategist, the man had a good plan and deceived us into their hands.: Michael put in.
“How wise could this their strategist be?” Paul stared Michael who was diagonally opposite him in the eyes.
Michael stared back at him. “Very wise and experienced sir, it’s obvious. We can’t let our guards down anymore.”
“I just got a text message from officers at the hospital, three of the injured culprits are awake and fit for questioning,” Mark said as he got up from the seat. “I hope to return with some more helpful information.”
Two Hours Later
“There have been no new reports of explosions anywhere,” Agent Mensah reported as he walked closer to Sylvanus and Paul in the open office where they were sitting.
Paul glanced at Sylvanus to see his reaction. He waited for Mensah to sit with them before he spoke. “We still have to be on guard, it could happen anytime.”
“Yes, we still have our eyes on the vulnerable areas,” Mensah replied.
“Have you been in touch with the government of Ghana? I’m not heard about their request in a while,” Paul asked.
“I haven’t heard from them, I believe they have been able to handle the cases themselves.”
“Good, that reduces the things we should be worried about,” Paul said. He was about to say something else but his eyes wandered around the place and he noticed Agent Steve walking towards him. “I think Steve is coming to see me,” he said to the other executives who also glanced at Steve.
“Good afternoon sirs,” Steve greeted when he got to the Agents. They responded in low tones and he faced Paul. “I’ve got some reports for you, sir.”
“Wait for me in my office,” Paul instructed.
Steve nodded in response and then saluted before he turned away.
“I’ve got to go listen to him now, please keep me updated and let’s take necessary actions as soon as we can,” Paul said to the executives before getting up from his seat.
2 minutes after
“Agents Evelyn and Dave have just discovered the training camp for the Red Wolves at South Husan,” Steve broke the news barely before Paul could sit.
Paul raised his head sharply to look at his face. “Are you sure about this?”
“Yes,” Steve replied. “Dave sent reports on how he combed the area the same way you did.”
“Do you have comprehensive data to prove this?” Paul asked.
“Yes, he sent me the files,” Steve replied, taking out a flash drive from the inner pocket of his suit jacket.
“Can I see it?” Paul said, opening up his closed laptop.
Steve stepped closer to the table to extend the flash drive to him.
“No, turn around,” Paul said to him.
He placed the laptop by his left side for Steve to have easy access.
Steve plugged in the drive and typed in his password to unlock the files. He opened the first picture.
“These are screenshots taken from the map of Hiatangwa in South Husan,” Steve began to explain. “The circled blue area is the village used as the camp.”
“Can you zoom in?” Paul requested and Steve complied. He nodded when he was satisfied with viewing the zoomed image. Steve closed the image and opened a subfolder close to the image in the drive folder. There were several other images in the subfolder. He opened the first one.
“They took pictures of almost every move of Stan,” Steve continued explaining. The opened picture showed Stan and two other men stepping out of a car. “He was here with these other men to withdraw some money at the bank.”
Steve slid to another picture where they were getting back into the car. He continued with his explanation for about thirty minutes. In the end, Paul Edwards was convinced they had indeed discovered another camp of the Red Wolves.
“We need to plan this well, in a way that will help us make arrests that would help us in defeating the Red Wolves leaders. We also have to ensure that the captives are safe and they don’t get hurt.” Paul spoke after the whole explanation.
“We will need thirty more men with us to carry out the mission,” Steve requested.
“Giving you thirty more men is not an issue but you need to assure me that you aren’t leading these men to a slaughterhouse,” Paul said.
“Sir, we have a good plan, all we need is the men and the weapons.”
“How many terrorists base invasion have you been involved in?” Paul asked him.
“Seven, sir,” Steve answered.
“In what capacity did you function and who led the teams?”
“My first two experiences were with Agent Mark, I was at rank 2 then and I was tasked with storage and cleaning of weapons. The third…”
“Just tell me the highest capacity you functioned in,” Paul Edwards interrupted.
“I was in the strategy unit two times, once with Agent Ted and another with Agent Carl Winston.”
Paul took in a deep breath. “I can’t risk having you lead the team alone, you’d need a senior agent to head the team for this mission.”
“How much is it?” Henry asked the bike rider after he stepped down from the bike.
“One Bethannan dollar,” the man replied in a thick accent.
Henry raised his brows in surprise and smiled. He took out his wallet and paid the man who rode away immediately. He looked around for a moment. Gogiata was a rural community just like he had read. The roads were untarred and bushes could be seen everywhere. While on the motorcycle to the place, they had seen many local farms by the roadside and met occasionally with hunters.
It was not his first time of visiting a community like that, he had actually visited less developed ones. There was electricity and good government schools in Gogiata but there were some other villages that lacked such. He had read while finding out about them that the village had existed for long but had not experienced so much development.
After looking around for a while, he turned to stare at the big old cathedral in front of him. It was just as he expected. He hung his backpack properly and proceeded into the cathedral.
A young lady approached him as soon as he entered and greeted respectfully. She requested to know what he had come for.
“I’m a visitor here, I’ll like to see the Priest,” Henry replied.
“Alright, please have your seat. I’ll be back in a minute,” she replied.
“Thank you,” Henry replied as he walked to sit at the place where she pointed to him.
Memories of how he met Sarah returned to his mind as he watched her walk away. He recalled again how he entered that church that morning and could still remember some of the things said by the preacher that morning. He remembered the smile Sarah made the first time she spoke to him and how calm she was.
The young lady returned a few seconds later to tell him the Priest would join him soon.
True to her words, the Priest, adorned in a white garment appeared five minutes later.
The Priest was younger than Henry imagined he would be. He got up immediately after sighting him to greet.
“Good evening sir,” Henry bowed slightly. He had seen how two other men in the cathedral greeted the Priest before the Priest got to him.
“Good evening gentleman,” the Priest replied with a nice smile. His accent was different and it was obvious he wasn’t from the community. “You’re welcome to Gogiata, how may I help you?”
“Sir, I have come in search of someone. I’ve asked around before I boarded the motorcycle but no one seems to have the answer. So, I came here to ask because she is a very committed member of this Church.”
“So, who is this person you’re looking for?”
“Her name is Cecelia Kanwa, she’s about eighty-three years old now.”
The Priest squinted. “I’m not sure I know anyone bearing that name. Are you sure she comes to church and she is committed?”
“Yes, she’s a deaconess,” Henry replied.
“Oh!” The Priest seemed more confused. He turned and beckoned on one of the men standing at the altar side in front of the church. He turned back to Henry while the man walked closer to them. “He is a native of this place and knows them by their name more than I do.” He said to Henry with a smile.
Henry smiled back.
The man got to them and bowed slightly to the Priest.
“Do you know anyone who is Cecelia Kanwa?”
The man frowned his face and then stared at Henry for a moment. “Yes, is he looking for her?”
“Yes please,” Henry replied with a smile.
The men turned back to the Priest. “Well, she left the community two years ago, before you were transferred here.”
“Oh! I see,” the Priest turned to Henry. “I’m new here, that’s why I didn’t know her name.”
“Do you know where she stays now?” Henry asked the man.
“Nobody knows, they said she left at midnight one day and she never returned.”
“Is there a problem?” The Priest asked Henry.
“No,” Henry smiled at the Priest and turned again to the other man. “Please, do you know anyone else that knows her well?”
“Sorry, may I know why you need to know her?” The Priest cut in, stopping the man from answering Henry.
Henry took out an ID card and displayed to them. “I’m actually from the police office in Bexford and we’re digging some history. She happens to have some information we need.”
The Priest stared at the ID card for a moment and then signaled to the man to answer him.
“Yes, I know an old woman who was her close friend.”
“Can you take me to her please?” Henry requested.
“No please,” the Priest interjected. “You can wait here, he’ll get her for you.”
“Oh! Thanks,” Henry smiled.
The Priest spoke some words to the man who walked away hurriedly. “He’ll be back with her soon.”
Thirty Minutes Later.
The man walked in with an elderly woman and they walked towards Henry. She was made to sit down in front of Henry.
“She can’t speak English, so you may need an interpreter but I have to get the Priest first. He wants to be here while you talk to her.” The man said to Henry.
“Okay, please get the Priest.”
The Priest returned with the man a few minutes after and they all sat down.
“Good evening once again ma, I’ll like to hear from you everything about Mrs. Cecelia Kanwa’s disappearance,” Henry went straight to the point.
The woman spoke in the local language while the man interpreted.
“She left two years ago at midnight, she only came to tell me her son was taking her to the city but gave me no explanation.”
“Did she ever tell you she was leaving before that night or give you a hint in some way?”
“No, she didn’t.”
“Do you know the son who came to pick her?”
“Yes, Hughes is his name.”
“What do you know about him?”
“Hughes grew up in this community, his father died of sickness a year after he was born. His mother struggled to make sure he had his elementary education. He was so intelligent and got a scholarship to the tertiary institution. He came back years after joining the military.”
“Did she tell you anything about him?”
“Yes, several years ago. She told the women in Church to pray for him that he had some trouble with his superiors.”
“What happened after that?”
“She stopped hearing from him for a while, she was so worried and thought he was dead. But he miraculously began to send her letters again after two or three years.”
The questioning session ended after ten minutes. Henry thank the woman and the Priest profusely. He gave some money for the woman to purchase fruits before he left.
Henry rode on a different bike to the park where he was to board a vehicle back to the train station. The journey to the train station lasted ten minutes and Henry got there twenty minutes earlier than the time for the train to move.
He settled on a seat on the train and busied himself with his phone while he was waiting for the train to move. Five minutes before the departure time of the train, he noticed two suspicious-looking men walk into the train. He carefully took note of them and wondered if he was just suspecting them for no reason.
After a minute, he looked up and looked around again. He caught suspicious eyes staring at him. Then, he realized that the men were more than just two in the train.
To be continued