“What do you really want from me, Carl?” Hutton asked after a long period of silence.
Henry stepped down slowly from the stairs. He stopped and then stared straight at Hutton’s face.
“I want to know why you chose to become a terrorist,” Henry replied. “I need to know who is paying you, and what the purpose is.”
“Where is my mother?” Hutton asked without answering Henry’s questions.
“Whether you see your mother again or not depends on the answers you give me here,” Henry answered him.
“I don’t bend to people’s rules,” Hutton said confidently.
“Neither do I,” Henry replied. “But I got your mother with me, so I call the shots.”
“What do you want from me?” Hutton asked again.
“I told you already, sir,” Henry replied.
“I don’t work for anyone, and nobody pays me,” Hutton answered him.
“And what do you gain by killing people and making a lot more cry?”
“As long as the wicked remains at the top, people will always die unjustly, and many would cry.”
Henry squinted at his face. “What are you talking about?”
“Carl,” Hutton called and took in a deep breath. “I don’t have the answers you seek.”
“But you ki*ll the people and you raise armies of killers.”
“At the end of the day, those killings would be accredited to the real killers. I’m only fulfilling their wishes,” Hutton replied.
“And who are those real killers?”
“The answers you seek, Carl, you can only get from the FOX.”
“What the heck are you talking about? The FOX is not the one that has killed thousands of people,” Henry raised his voice slightly.
“Yes, but they will be known as the real killers soon.”
“Agent Hughes, I don’t understand how and why you got betrayed by the FOX, but I feel strongly that you were betrayed, is it enough reason for you to sacrifice thousands of lives?.”
“Have you ever asked why I was imprisoned?” Hutton asked.
“I have asked questions without getting enough answers,” Henry answered. “Maybe you can provide me with the right answers.”
“On what terms are you letting my mother go?” Hutton deviated from the discussion.
“You should answer my questions first,” Henry replied.
“Sixteen years ago, I led a team that stopped a rising terrorist group. You were with us on one of the operations but could not continue because you were injured. We eventually wiped out the terrorists some months after we began the operation. But we lost over 400 Bethanna citizens and some FOX men,” he began a story, looking towards the window.
“I was not recognized for the success of the operation but was blamed for the lives lost. I got a query for not following the instructions given to me by the FOX during the operations. It led to a further accusation that I was part of a conspiracy to ki*ll twenty thousand Bethannians and disintegrate the FOX. That was why I was punished.”
Henry was getting more confused than he was already. “Why didn’t you follow the instructions given to you during the operations.”
“Those instructions were deadlier than the terrorist group we were facing,” Hutton replied. “Following those instructions would have killed thousands of people.”
“Okay,” Henry had a frown on his face. “You saved thousands of people from dying but got punished for it, and now you’re killing thousands of people in reality?”
“Yeah,” Hutton smirked. “You can say I’m committing the crime after being punished for it.”
Henry stared at Hutton’s face unbelievably. “What about the innocent lives you’ve been punishing, why did you not go after the men that punished you unjustly?”
“I’ll go for them after completing the crimes for which I was accused,” Hutton replied.
“What the bleep! So, you’re planning to ki*ll twenty thousand people?”
“No, I was in the conspiracy that killed them before going to prison. Right now, you’re only seeing the manifestation of things that have happened already.”
“How can you go on to ki*ll people, remember you made a pledge many years ago to save lives only.”
“Damn the pledge, Carl. Damn it!” Hutton sparked. “My solidarity to saving lives ended the day my mother began to see me as a murderer.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Can’t you see my mother no longer thinks well?” Hutton spoke in a loud voice. “She lost her sanity after she was told I conspired with a terrorist group to ki*ll thousands of people and destroy the FOX. I was her only pride and hope, she used to see me as a hero to the world. But they changed all that with the information fed to her, and they kept me from seeing her for seven years. To date, she sees me as a murderer and I cannot even stand before her.”
Henry was dumbfounded. He had noticed Hutton’s mother was unwell, but had thought she was only acting that way because she had been taken away from where she was used to.
“Your mother can become well again, but you need to stop being the murderer they told her you were…” Henry was saying but Hutton interrupted him.
“I think we’ve had enough talks already. Where is my mother?”
“We haven’t finished talking,” Henry replied him.
“I’m not telling you more. Where is my mother?”
“She’s not here with me,” Henry answered. “I’d only let her go when you stop the killings and surrender your weapons. I’ll make arrangements for you to leave Bethanna to a good place with your mother without having to go through the punishment for all that you have done.”
A brief smile formed on Hutton’s face and it developed into a short laugh. “So, you’re going to stop coming after me for the death of your wife and child? Or why would you let me go without facing punishment?”
“I can’t bring my wife and child back. Besides, you’re the only reason I ever lived to have had a wife and a child,” Henry replied.
“You’re trying to pay me back for the past?”
“No, I’m trying to save more lives that would be lost if you continue with this.”
Hutton was quiet for a while and he seemed to be considering something. He suddenly let out an evil smile.
“I can’t stop,” he said.
Henry flashed a quick look at his face.
“I can’t stop until the man who told my mother I’m a murderer announces publicly that he is the real murderer,” Hutton added.
“This might be the only chance you’re getting, Mr Hughes,’ Henry said, subtly issuing a warning.
“It’s the only chance for you to back down, Carl. Step aside and watch things unfold, this is none of your business.”
‘You seem not to be interested in getting your mother back.”
“I’m not giving in to your terms, Carl,” Hutton insisted. “You keep her safe until we meet again.”
“We won’t be discussing next time we meet, Mr Hughes,” Henry threatened subtly.
“I’m ready for whatever you come with, Carl,” Hutton replied. “Make sure my Mom is safe, regardless of what you do. I’ll be coming to get her soon.”
“You won’t get a better opportunity than this.”
Hutton stared at Carl’s face for a few seconds and shook his head gently. “We’ll meet again, Carl.” He said, and turned to leave.
“Agent Hughes,” Carl called as Hutton got to the exit. Hutton stopped and turned his neck slightly, using his side eye to view Carl. “I hope you stop before we meet next. Else, I’ll be punishing you for your crimes against humanity when next we see.”
Hutton smiled and nodded. He turned forward and proceeded out of the building without looking back.
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20 Minutes Later
“How did it go, boss?” Dave asked after Henry joined him in the front seat of the car.
“I feel Hutton Ryker has got some mental illness like his mom,” Henry remarked. “He didn’t agree to stop his activities for his mother.”
“I thought you said he loved her,” Dave said, his eyes on the side mirror as he attempted to make a turn.
“Yes, he does. He’s taking advantage of the fact that I’m not going to hurt her.”
“Why don’t we threaten to hurt her?”
“He wouldn’t believe I would do that until he sees we truly hurt her, that’s the only way to let him agree to our terms.”
“Why don’t you threaten to take his mother to the FOX?”
‘I’ve considered that, but I’m not sure how safe it is,” Henry replied. The question made him remember he needed to call Paul Edwards. He took out his phone and dialed the number.
“Hello Carl,” Paul Edwards answered almost immediately.
“Hi Paul, I need to get some information from you. I hope you’re alone?” Henry asked.
“Yes, you can talk to me.” Paul replied.
“I got to discover that Hughes Kanwa spent five extra years in jail after serving the initial two years. What was his crime, and who ensured that punishment?”
“Well, he was accused of insubordination and conspiracy. It was considered that releasing him after the first two years would be dangerous.”
“But the court declared him not guilty,” Henry pushed.
“I don’t know about the proceedings. I was not there,” Paul replied.
“Can you help me investigate personally?” Henry requested. “I want to know those in the FOX who organized his punishment. I think that may help us stop his madness.”
“Oh Carl, I can’t dig into that at the moment. There’s so much going on already.”
“But you can give me necessary information to dig,” Henry insisted.
“I’m not sure I can help with that Henry,” Paul replied. “It’s been several years ago, it will take me a lot of time if I get involved in that.”
“Okay, I’ll call you again soon, Mr Paul,” Henry said before hanging up the call.
His second phone was already ringing, he quickly took it out to answer the call.
“Hey Cole, what’s up?”
“I identified the developer with the code already. I’m sure he’s in Bethanna, but his location is currently hidden.”
“Keep tabs on him to know when we can get him.”
40 Minutes later.
“Where’s mama?” Del asked as Hutton walked back into the house alone.
“He didn’t let her come with me,” Hutton replied him.
“I told you, you should have gone with more men and capture him,” Del said painfully.
“I wouldn’t have met with him if I went there to attack him,” Hutton replied. “He would have detected foul play before we got there.”
“So, what are we going to do about it?”
“I’m already doing something about it,” Hutton replied. “I’ll get her back from Carl, either here or when Carl gets back to Bethanna.”
“I do hope nothing happens to her before that time,” Del voiced his concern.
“Carl would dare not touch my mother,” Hutton smirked. He was so sure Carl would not be able to harm her.
“I really do hope so.”
>>> Fast Forward>>>
June 28, 2016
Henry was in the garden alone doing some pushups, when he noticed some footsteps coming close to him. He turned his neck to the direction of the sound and saw Cole walking towards him. He continued with his pushups until Cole got to where he was.
“Good morning boss,” Cole greeted as he stood beside Henry with his arms folded.
“Good… morning Cole,” Henry managed to greet back while he continued his exercise.
“I got an alarm on my phone today, the developer with the codes is now in an unhidden location.”
Henry stopped and stood up straight. “And where’s that location?”
“He’s here in Bexford,” Cole replied.
“Have you checked the footages to confirm?”
“Yes, he’s currently in a public transport going to Ruthernard estate.”
“This should be our opportunity to get him,” Henry said as he wiped his sweaty hands with a hand towel.
“Yes,” Cole nodded affirmatively.
They both proceeded into the computer room of the house where Dave was waiting.
“Do you still have eyes on him?”
“Yes, he’s still in the bus.” Dave replied.
“Is he alone?” Henry asked.
“Yeah, he is alone.”
“The both of you will have to trail him,” Henry said as he sat before the computer. “If we can follow him well, he should lead us to Hutton Ryker and help us stop his plans.”