“It’s Henry,” Dave said to the other two, after peeping through the window. He looked for some more seconds before he returned the window blinds and turned. “He’s with someone.”
“Maybe the new guy,” Samantha said as she sat on the sofa and crossed her legs. She was an armless shirt and bum shorts.
“Maybe,” Dave shrugged as he returned to his sofa and sat beside Jennifer. Jennifer remained quiet and looked busy with her phone.
Henry stepped into the house soon and held the door open for a young man to walk in after him. He closed back the door and gestured for the man to proceed.
“Good afternoon, everyone,” Henry said after he and the new guy got to the center of the living room. “This is Maxwell, a native of El Deols, he will be working with us.”
“Welcome, Maxwell,” Dave greeted first with a smile.
“Welcome,” the ladies chorused, Samantha smiled and waved his fingers briefly.
“Thank you,” Maxwell replied, his voice barely audible. He had a small bag held in his hand.
“Maxwell is a freelance hacker, I met him some years ago while working somewhere in Anthanna.” Henry continued. “I briefed him, so he knows about the mission already. Right now, we all should meet in the control room for a brief meeting.”
Henry led the way to the room while Maxwell followed him. The other three got up one after the other and followed.
— 30 Minutes later –
“I’m a hundred percent certain that Trip Jones, his friend Charley, and their colleagues all have devices more secured now. So, we can’t track Charley the same way Trip was tracked, we have to track him externally.” Maxwell had the floor. “What I mean is we would not monitor whatever he has on his device in real-time but we can intercept his messages before they leave his device and before messages get in. But we also have to be careful to ensure he does not notice the interception.”
“How would he notice the interception?” Samantha asked.
“Through the delays,” Maxwell replied. “Intercepting messages will cause some delays in delivering and receiving messages on the device, we have to make sure we minimize the delay period especially for incoming messages.”
“Why can’t we intercept the calls? The way we did it the last time?” Jennifer asked, directing her question to Henry.
“I don’t know what you did the last time,” Maxwell answered. “I’m sure you made an installation on the person’s device, right?”
“Yes, you’re right,” Henry answered him and then turned to Jennifer. “Remember you had to meet with Trip physically the last time. We can’t do the same now.”
“I explained already, even if we can gain access to their devices physically, they’ll be ready for us. So, it’s no use trying to,” Maxwell explained.
“And you think getting their SMSes will give us the details we need?” Dave questioned.
Maxwell turned to him. “SMSes? Not just that. We are intercepting WhatsApp messages, emails, Facebook messages, and other social networks that connect to an external server from their device.”
“And how can you possibly do that alone? Hack Facebook, Emails, and every other thing? Those platforms are secure ones.”
“We are not hacking the platforms, we’re intercepting the messages through some bugs in the current version of the apps. And Maxwell is not alone,” Henry replied, making everybody turn their attention to him. “Sheila Jack is with us, but she’ll be working from here, underground. Maxwell will be at our physical location.”
“And with Sheila Jack as the backup, there’s nothing we can’t do together,” Maxwell put in with a shy smile.
“And we are not stopping at reading the conversations alone,” Henry continued. “We will get into the Wolves deeper by following their every move.”
“But there’s very little we can do,” Dave put in. “The Wolves know our faces, we can’t go so close to any of them like we did the last time,” he paused for a while and turned to Maxwell. “Except he does the trailing.”
Henry smiled and glanced at Maxwell. He was about to explain further when Jennifer spoke.
“And I also think getting WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, and emails will not be enough, especially from someone like Charley. Charley isn’t even like Trip Jones who is closer to the Wolves’ superiors, it will be difficult to get anything reasonable from him.”
Samantha also joined in. “Besides, these men are staying close. They are currently in the same country, probably in the same states, and town. They won’t be sending so many messages that will give us key details via emails, they would be doing a lot via voice calls. Getting messages from this Charley can’t substitute for all that.”
“But we aren’t focusing on Charley alone,” Maxwell put in. Except for Henry, the rest of the men seemed surprised by his response. “Charley is just where we start.”
They all turned to Henry for a better explanation of Maxwell’s response.
“Yes, Charley is just where we start,” Henry confirmed. He took some steps closer to the computer and tapped the keyboard. The large screen by the wall came on. “You guys made correct observations. Charley was just a close friend of Trip Jones but he isn’t an important member of the Wolves. So, we are not thinking of getting all the information we need from him. All we want to do is to link an important member from him.”
“I don’t understand all these,” Dave frowned as he expressed his confusion.
“You see,” Henry picked the mouse and maximized a window.
A graphical representation of a plain terrace with a building at the right side popped up. Henry tapped some keys on the keyboard and 5 avatars displayed on the screen. He tapped another set of keys and some lines began to connect the avatars until it led into the building. Henry moved away from the computer and moved closer to the screen.
“All these avatars on the screen represent the most important Wolves contacts in our mission. This is Charley,” Henry began, pointing to the avatar at the extreme left end of the terrace. He then changed the direction of his finger to the avatar closest to the building. “This other one represents Hutton Ryker and Elvis Kahn,” he said and stopped pointing. He faced his men to continue his explanation. “The other three men are unnamed yet but they represent the likely number of people we need to get to Hutton Ryker.”
“Why do we need one to three people to get to Hutton Ryker?” Jennifer asked.
“Jenny,” Henry walked towards her and stopped halfway. “The way to determine a man’s strength is not only by measuring what he alone can do, you must always measure what his friends can do. In this kind of situation, Hutton’s strength hugely depends on the strengths of those around him. If we can weaken the closest men around Hutton Ryker and Elvis Kahn, it would be easier to get to them.”
“How do we get to the men around them and how do we weaken them?” Dave asked.
“That is what we have been describing,” Henry turned back towards the screen, picking a pencil from the table on his way. “We start with Charley, it should take us between 24 hours to 72 hours to get what we need from him. There are so many things we could get from Charley, it could be a name, phone number, address, or all of them. Whatever we get from Charley is going to lead us to the next person of interest,” Henry paused and the next avatar on the screen with his pencil. Four other avatars, two from the left and two from the right emanated from the avatar. “This person would be a key leader in the Wolves unlike Charley, so these four represent people whom he may directly lead in his unit or team. They could be more than four, even in their hundreds or thousands but once we get to this man, we get all others under him,” he tapped the avatar again and the four others moved back into it. “It will take the same process for the other two before we get to this last avatar,” he tapped it with the pen and it split into two. “These two represent Hutton Ryker and Kahn and all other men that may be unbreakable. They will be so weak by the time we get to them because we would have weakened them from the roots.”
Henry left the screen and stepped closer to his men again.
“But even in their weakness, they will have some power. Men like Hutton Ryker and Elvis Kahn will always have backups that none of the other men will know about.”
“So, it’s necessary that we pass through all the stages before getting to them?” Dave asked.
“No, we may not pass through all of that or we may pass through more,” Henry replied. “But like I said before, we will not rush any step.” He paused and took in a deep breath as he shook his head very gently. “Because this time, we’re out to completely paralyze the Wolves.”
Samantha, Dave, and Jennifer exchanged glances. They seemed to like the plan and were excited about it.
“How do we plan to get to all the teams just from Charley?” Samantha asked.
“We need just one person from Charley, even though we may get more than one,” Henry replied. “After that, we will infiltrate the Wolves…”
Henry had to pause on noticing they all looked shocked except for Maxwell.
“Infiltrate the Wolves?” Dave questioned with his eyes shone widely. “Do you mean any of us is going in?”
“Yes, but none of us here,” Henry replied, also shinning his eyes wide at him for a moment. He then relaxed his brows and turned to face the others. “This is how we’ll do it…”
He explained for a couple of minutes and they all smiled after listening to the strategy.
“With this, we will be able to make our imperfect plan perfect,” he said in a forceful tone, biting his lower lip. He turned his eyes briefly to Samantha. “This will help us make use of the loopholes to our advantage and Hutton would be helpless.”
“It sounds perfect already,” Samantha giggled.
“Yes, if we all follow through and carry out our roles effectively,” Henry replied. He took a step back towards the computer and then frowned as he remembered something. He faced them again.
“Guys, Hutton is a wise man,” he sniffed in. “Like I said, he could have some backup we have never thought of. But it’s our job as a team to collectively weaken every backup he might have, so you all will observe him carefully the same way I do.”
“Now that we have the plan, why don’t we start immediately?” Jennifer asked.
‘No, we have to wait for the right time,” Henry answered her.
“When is the right time?” Maxwell asked.
“We have to find out,” Henry said and moved closer to the table. He picked his phone up. “Our FOX men may be helpful to us.”
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FOX Corporation, EPA Hill
Paul Edwards walked into his office and proceeds straight to his seat, taking off his suit jacket. His lips were moving as he was muttering some words under his breath.
He finally hung his jacket and drop into the seat. He rested his head backward as he let out a sigh and rolled in his swivel for a while. There had been no headway on the Wolves case and he was getting stressed out. His mind kept wandering about as he thought of the next step to take. His phone rang and distracted him temporarily from his thoughts.
He reached for the phone and checked the caller. It was an unsaved number and it carried the Anthanna international code in front. He squinted at the screen for a while, wondering who could be calling him from Anthanna on a personal line. Finally, he answered and placed it close to his ear without saying a word.
“Hello, Mr. Paul Edwards,” he heard from the other end.
The voice sounded familiar but he couldn’t tell who it was immediately.
“Mr. Paul, are you there? It’s Carl,” the voice came again.
“What the heck!” Paul exclaimed and got to his feet in excitement. “Where the hell have you been, Carl? I’ve been expecting you to reach me for some days. Why haven’t you?”
“Because I couldn’t reach you until now,” the voice replied.
“And why are you in Anthanna?”
“To sort out some personal things.”
“Now, tell me, Carl. Were you involved in the recent events? Did you send us those mails to report the Wolves men?”
“I’m sorry, Paul. I didn’t send those emails, Hutton did. And I and my men were the ones pursued by the FOX.”
“Holy sh*t! And why the heck did you not let me know?”
“What would you have done if I let you know? Stop the FOX men from coming after us?”
“No,” Paul shook his head. “But… You could have let me know somehow.”
“It wouldn’t have mattered, Chairman.”
“And are you the one that killed that man and Hannah Kelvin?”
“No, they were my men.”
“They were your men?” Paul seemed surprised. “Hannah Kelvin set up the explosive devices in the Bexford University, she is one of your men?”
“No, Paul. She wasn’t with us then, I captured her and forced her to work with me after that time.”
“And the dead man? Who is he and where is he from?”
“I can’t tell you that,” Henry replied. “All I want to let you know is that Agent H-Force tried to set me up. He tried to trap us in that firm but we escaped. He then hoped that the FOX will be able to identify us but he also failed…”
“Who the heck helped you wipe off those fingerprints from the items?” Paul cut in.
“You don’t expect me to tell you that, do you? But I will,” Henry replied. “I sent in one of my men to do the job for me.”
“You sent in your men? I watched the footage of that woman coming into the FOX building, she walked like she knew every damn thing about the building.”
“I trained my men for days like this, Paul. I have the map of the FOX building in my head, so we can build a virtual environment for it at any time and learn how to move around the place.”
“Tell me, what the heck is going on right now?”
“You tell me, Paul. I don’t know what is going on.”
“What happened between you and Hutton?”
“I just explained, he tried to set me up.”
“But I told you to stay out of this.”
“I can’t, I’m in it already. Hutton will come for me if I don’t go for him.”
“But you can stay far away and hide until it’s all over.”
“You know I can’t do that, Paul. All I need is that you let me know as soon as there is any activity from the Wolves. I need to follow every single movement they make.”
“Come off it, Carl! Maintaining contact with you secretly is illegal enough, I can’t do this any longer.”
“So, what are you going to do? Tell the FOX that I’m alive?”
Paul was quiet for a while.
“I need you to back off, let the FOX work.”
“If you don’t help, I’m going to do this my way, Paul.”
“I’ll be ready for you, Carl. I’ll treat you like a culprit because you’re going about this the wrong way.”
“Paul, the Wolves failed in their first attack directed to the FOX because I intervened. I’m not sure they will fail the second time, you don’t have a choice than to work with me,” Henry threatened.
“What bleeping attack are you talking about? There was no attack, Carl. There was no attack on the FOX.”
Henry was quiet for a while.
“I’ll send you an email address via text after this call, you should memorize it and delete it from your phone afterward. You can send me a message there anytime you need my attention, I’ll call you once I get it.”
“Bleep off, Carl!” Paul said angrily and ended the call.
He was panting heavily after the call. He couldn’t tell whether to be happy or sad. The case that had given them a lot of stress in the past few days had actually involved Carl. If Carl had called to tell him earlier, he would have put so much into the investigation as he did.
His phone beeped as he returned to his seat. The text message had entered. He was about to delete the message immediately but changed his mind. He decided to memorize the email as he could not tell if he would need to reach Carl soon.
“Paul is not cooperating with us for now but I’m sure he will soon,” Henry said to his men after ending the call.
“So, do we have to wait for Paul to get back to us?” Dave asked.
“No, we will set our plans in motion at the first sign of any activity from the Wolves,” Henry replied. “But for now, we wait, we’ll keep planning, and preparing.”
He stopped and looked at each of the men’s faces as he rested his bum gently on the table.
“Does anyone have a question?” He asked.
No one asked any question and he assumed there was none. After about five minutes of silence, he picked up his phone and dialed a number.
“Simon Perry,” Henry said as he placed it on loudspeakers for everyone to listen.
The call was answered soon and Simon’s voice sounded from the other end. He not to know who the caller was.
“Hey Simon, it’s Carl,” Henry replied.
“Carl,” Simon sounded more cheerful.
“How are you doing over there?”
“I’m great, how about you?”
“We’re perfect, Simon. How about Doctor Alan and Morris?”
“They’re fine, Agent Rex is responding well to treatment and is already looking so healthy.”
Henry smiled. “That’s nice to hear, I hope I’ll be able to talk to him soon.”
“Yes, the doctors said he’s going to be speaking very soon,” Simon replied.
“Great, I hope you’re following the directives properly. There must be no mistakes and nothing must happen to Morris or any of you.”
“Yeah, I’m following everything you told me,” Simon replied.
“Good, I gotta go now, I’ll talk to you later.”
Over two weeks passed by and there was no new explosion by the Wolves or headway made by the FOX. Henry and his team had more time to train and strategize as they waited for the right signal to move. The long break seemed like enough time for them to plan for a complete victory but they weren’t expecting what was about to come.
Five of the Wolves men including Kahn and Daysman were sitting around a table and discussing silently when Hutton walked in. They noticed his presence but no one seemed to give him attention until he joined them at the table.
“Good afternoon, Gentlemen,” he said to call their attention before taking his seat. They all turned to him. “We’ve waited a long time without making any move but we will proceed with all our plans from today. Carl’s mole in the FOX, Evelyn Alexandra should get into our trap today. It will make things easier for us while we activate the other moves.”
“And what about Carl? Have you heard from him?” Daysman asked.
“Not yet but I believe we will soon,” Hutton replied. “I think it’s important that I remind us all of our roles.”
They continued the discussion for about thirty minutes before a phone rang.
It was Hutton’s phone. He stopped talking and reached for it. After checking the screen, he placed it on the table and cleared his throat.
“Gentlemen, we have a call from the United States, I think this might be important,” Hutton said and they all got silent. He answered the call and placed it on loudspeakers.
“Bleep you, Ryker,” a gruff, shaky voice sounded from the other end.
Hutton squinted and glanced at the other men’s face, wondering who was on the line.
“Who is this?” he asked.
“Rex…” the caller stuttered. “Rex Morris.”
Hutton let out a broad smile and then rested his back comfortably.
“Rex Morris, I’ve been expecting to hear from you for a long time.”
To be continued.