Monday, August 1
DIA Club, Estaru
A handsome young man clad in a blue suit walked into the club, holding a light briefcase in his right hand. The place looked empty as expected and somewhat quiet. The only thing that could be heard was soft music playing from the stage.
He was already walking towards the stage when he noticed a young woman walking down the stairs with her eyes on him. He could tell that she was coming down to attend to him and he paused.
She got to the down floor and turned towards him, the pointed sole of her high heels making some sounds.
He looked up while she walked towards him and noticed some other ladies standing at different points on the verandah upstairs. They were all dressed like the one coming towards him, in a blue mini gown on high heels.
“Good morning, sir. How may we help you?” the lady asked with a light smile and stopped in front of him.
“Hi, Good morning. My name is Oliver,” he replied and turned to her.
She smiled back even as she sized him quickly with her eyes. From the way he was dressed, he seemed to her like a serious businessman who came to book the club for an event. He also looked strangely handsome, with his huge beards and lowly cut hair.
“I’ll like to make inquiries concerning the club hall; can I talk to you about it?”
“Please, come with me,” she said and turned, leading him towards the stairs.
They walked up the stairs silently and she ushered him into a lounge.
“Please, have your seat; the director would join you in a few minutes,” she said politely.
“Thanks,” the visitor nodded and then unbuttoned his suit jacket before he settled down in one of the sofas. He watched her walk away first and then turned to look around the lounge. A bar was just behind where he sat and directly opposite him was the entrance to another special lounge.
In less than two minutes, a woman walked into the lounge. She looked in her mid-thirties, a bit older than most of the ladies he had seen in the club. She was also putting on a similar gown to the ladies but hers was of a different color and closer to the knees.
“Good morning, Mr. Oliver,” she greeted as she walked towards him, offering a handshake.
He stood up briefly to receive her handshake.
“Please, sit,” she said and also took her seat not too far away from him. “My name is Emily and I’ll be glad to help you with the enquires you’re here to make. But before we start, can I offer you a drink.”
“No, thanks,” he rejected the offer politely. “Let’s just get straight to business.”
“Okay, then, tell me what you need to know.”
“Thank you,” he said and leaned forward slightly. “I work at Stauch Global Limited. We’ve been expanding recently into different states in Bethanna, and we’ve just finished building here in Benuit. Our launch would be taken place in six weeks and we have events for the launch. We’re considering having a party at the club on one of the nights. I was hoping your club would offer us what we need.”
“We have the best clubbing facilities in Benuit,” Emily boasted. “Every big company makes use of the club for similar occasions. All you need to do is tell us what you want and we will give you the best party ever.”
They continued the talk for more than 15 minutes until Emily decided to show him around. He walked behind her quietly as she showed him all the facilities that they had. He took note of each place carefully and asked questions when he needed to.
“Your facility is truly great,” Oliver remarked after the end of the twenty minutes tour.
“Thank you,” Emily smiled and turned to stare at him.
“So, when are you making the booking?”
“I’ll be back for that very soon,” Oliver replied as they both walked down the stairs. He suddenly stopped like he remembered something. “Do you have an event coming soon? I would like to attend one and see how plans are put into action here.”
“Yeah, there’s an event tomorrow for the M&M production firm,” she answered.
“Oh! I think I’ve heard that name before,” He squinted at her face. “I guess the event could be strictly for those invited.”
“Yes, but I can give you an invite if you want to attend.”
“I will appreciate that,” Oliver smiled.
Henry is sitting alone in the dining area. He had earphones that were connected to his ears and plugged into the laptop in front of him. Jennifer was also in the living room but sitting alone on the sofa and bust with her device.
Dave walked in from the inner section of the suite, holding his device with him.
“It’s noon already, boss,” he said as he walked towards Henry who took off his earphones to listen. “Evelyn is yet to call us and the news reports that only 6 FOX agents survived the operation last night.”
“Evelyn must be one of those six,” Henry replied and took his eyes off Dave. He was about to put on his headset again when Dave spoke again.
“There have also been three explosions just today.”
“What?” Henry squinted at him. “Can I have a look?”
Dave unlocked the device and handed it to Henry.
“What the bleep!” Henry cursed after skimming through the webpage.
He stared blankly at the wall for a while and then glanced at Dave who already sat on one of the dining chairs. Jennifer who was in the living room was also listening to their conversation.
“Did you read the news too?
“I think the Red Wolves set up the trap against the FOX to cause a distraction,” Henry voiced out his thoughts.
“I don’t think so,” Dave retorted. “I think they only took the opportunity.”
Henry pondered on Dave’s response for a second and adjusted himself on the seat. “They set it up,” he insisted. “They were ready right from the moment Daysman was arrested. Hutton knew the FOX was going to focus on finding information from Daysman. He turned the FOX’s focus from the whole of the Red Wolves to Daysman.”
“That doesn’t look like a bad idea from the FOX,” Dave remarked. “Daysman was a top official of the Wolves; it is expected that information gotten from him will be useful.”
“You’re right,” Henry remarked. “However, the fact is that Hutton was prepared for the day the FOX would arrest a top official and he knew the agents would concentrate on Daysman. That gave him enough freedom to plan other attacks without distractions.”
“Are we ever going to end the bleeping Red Wolves? How come Hutton has everything planned out already?” Jennifer joined in the conversation.
“There’s something he doesn’t have planned yet,” Henry stated, looking at Jennifer with a light smile on his face. “He doesn’t know he’s going to be attacked tomorrow.”
“You think we can ki*ll him tomorrow?” Dave questioned.
“I am a hundred percent sure we will ki*ll him as long as he attends the event,” Henry answered confidently. “He’s not expecting us, so we will catch him unaware.”
The FOX Corporation, EPA
From the beginning of that day, there had been so much tension in the FOX office. The operation had turned out fatal. Thirty-seven of the soldiers had died on the war grounds. At the same time, eight were taken to the hospital after the backup teams arrived. Out of the eight that had gotten to the hospital, three had given up the ghost already, and some others were in critical condition.
Steve stood at the center of the executives in the hall. The questions being thrown from all directions felt like arrows piercing into his body. He had envisioned this at the war ground, from the moment the airforce jet went up in flames. It happened like a dream and he couldn’t believe his eyes. The airforce was meant to take the Red Wolves in the camps by surprise and make way for the other soldiers but it happened the other way.
“Are you sure that the criminal in detention is in no way in contact with the other gang outside?” Agent Mensah, one of the executives asked.
“That wasn’t it; Daysman never knew we were planning an attack,” Steve answered in a strained voice. He looked dirty and unkempt, frustrated, and dejected at the same time. He still had some of his war clothes on. He had only taken off the tops, leaving only a white round neck shirt on.
“We need to question the rest of the team members who are still alive and unhurt too,” another executive put in. “The mole must be among them.”
“It doesn’t have to be,” Agent Sylvanus joined. “We can’t start suspecting them because they managed to survive.”
“Then, who should we suspect?” Another member of the executives asked. “You, the Chairman, or the others present at the secret planning?”
Sylvanus couldn’t reply. It was more of an indirect accusation than a question.
“Who are the Agents unhurt?” Mensah asked.
“Agents Dan, Lydia, Caleb, and Khaleed,” Steve answered.
“Agents Dan and Lydia I know. Who are Caleb and Khaleed?” Mensah asked.
“They are non-FOX soldiers who went on the war with them,” Sylvanus answered instead.
There was total silence for some seconds before Mensah dismissed Steve.
Steve walked silently to where he hung his khaki jacket and picked it before proceeding out of the hall.
“Yesterday was a mess but we must find the mole and deal with whoever it is,” Mensah said after Steve had left.
“What bleeping Mole do we need to look for?” Agent Michael cut in. “The soldiers going to the war front couldn’t have sold themselves out to be killed. I think we need to question the FOX executives who knew about the operation but kept it secret from the rest of the board.”
“Shut the bleep up, man!” Paul Edwards who had been quiet for a long time slammed. “It was an urgent operation; we don’t call board meetings for matters that have to be treated urgently.”
“Not matters of such weight!” Michael fired back. “You bleeping organized fifty men to go on a war after deciding with only three members of the board?”
Paul was about to reply but Mensah intervened. “That should not be an issue, gentlemen. It’s not the first time an urgent operation was carried out without the knowledge of all the executives. He had three people to agree with him and that was all he needed.”
“The difference here is that more than forty men were lost during the bleeping operation,” Michael refused to keep shut.
“It is not the first time we’re losing so many people. In fact, we’ve lost more than that number of men in an operation before,” Mensah stated.
“But this particular operation bleeping failed,” Michael continued. “We succeeded in all the examples you’re making. But in this, we lost forty men and killed only six of the Red Wolves. Does that mean that some illiterates mother*****ng terrorists are more experienced than our Soldiers?”
Michael’s question caused deep silence in the room.
“Well, I must confess that this is a really complicated matter,” one of the Agents put in. “The plan we had to attack them was a perfect one. We only lost because there was a mole.”
“And whoever coordinated the attacks for the Red Wolves must be a real motherf^^^^ng professional. He did it so neatly,” another agent said.
“Gentlemen, we need to find the mole and look for a solution,” Mensah advised. “There have been four explosions today with nothing less than 120 deaths and over 200 casualties. This must mean the Red Wolves planned to distract us and continue the attacks. We must do all to fight back.”
“What do we do?” An Agent asked in a loud voice.
They all looked at each other’s faces in silence and it seemed no one had a clue.
“We need the information to work; we can’t come up with new strategies without enough information,” Paul chipped in.
“You’re right,” Mensah agreed loudly. “We need to get to work fast, study the pattern of these explosions and find out how to repel or stop them.”
“And we need a stronger hand to lead the team,” another Agent suggested. “I would not blame Steve as it seems the case is a bit heavy for him. I only wish we could find someone like Carl and Rex again.”
“This is more than Carl and Rex,” Agent Sylvanus put in. “Have you forgotten that they both died only a few weeks fighting the Red Wolves?”
“Well, without Carl and Rex, we can get this done,” Paul joined. “All of us standing here are soldiers, more experienced than Carl and Rex were. Men from the executives can lead the new team while the rest of us give them support…”
“I think none of the executives involved in this failed mission should continue on this case,” Michael suggested. “That could reduce some risks.”
The suggestions sounded pleasant to the other members except for Paul and the other three involved.
“I don’t think we should have any problem with that suggestion,” another Agent agreed. “Just to eliminate all doubts.”
“That’s good. We will not be involved directly,” Paul stated. “But let’s solve the mole mystery.”
Steve entered into his office and sank into the chair, devastated. He would have to go four months without being paid his salary but that wasn’t so much of a problem. He couldn’t just clear off the pictures of the previous night from his memory. It was a horrible experience watching his men die on the battleground. However, it was even more frustrating that the Wolves had totally overpowered them. His mind kept replaying how the helicopter exploded again and again. Seeing that shattered his heart on the field and at that moment, he had known he had led his men to the slaughter ground.
“Steve,” a soft voice distracted his thoughts.
He trembled at first, with his eyes closed and then opened it to find Maria standing at the other side of the table.
He sighed and got up from his seat immediately. He began to arrange the items on his table.
“Steve, I heard about the mission yesterday and I’m so sorry about how it went. I can imagine what you’re feeling right now,” she tried to console him. “But thank God, you’re alive and you have another opportunity to fight back.”
Steve did not reply or look at her. He just continued with arranging his table. After clearing the files from the table, he kept some in the drawer and then picked his car keys. He turned to proceed to the door but he found Maria standing so close to him.
“Hey, I’m talking to you,” she said softly and grabbed his hands as he tried to turn away from her. She stared directly into his eyes. “I’m just here to tell you that I’ll be available in case you need any help.”
Steve heaved a sigh and nodded gently. “Thank you, Maria,” he said before she pulled him into a hug.
He felt hesitant for a while but hugged back after getting a feeling of calmness.
The hug lasted for close to a minute before Maria broke it.
“You’re going out now?” She asked.
“Yes, I’ll be back. I need to cool off my head somewhere,” he replied.
“Alright,” Maria replied. “You can call me whenever you need my help.”
“Thank you,” he replied and walked past her. He proceeded to the door without looking back and stepped out, leaving her alone in his office.
Maria turned to the other side of the table and rested her backside on the edge after Steve walked out. She folded her arms and let out a deep breath.
She wondered what could have happened and how Steve had lost almost all the men he took on the operation. The Steve she knew was an intelligent Agent and wouldn’t lead men to war without doing his homework. Again, she remembered how she had cloned his Simcard that night they met at the hotel and hoped she wasn’t working for the enemy.
Maria was sitting alone in the office eatery that afternoon. She had just finished her lunch and was about to make her way back to the office when someone unexpected joined her at the table.
“Agent Michael!” She expressed her surprise, squinting at the man’s smiling face. She knew Agent Michael wouldn’t just sit at her table and start smiling except he wanted something.
“Hi, Maria,” Michael replied to her. “It’s sad to see you sitting alone here. Some months ago, you used to have a lunch partner.”
Maria smiled. “We’ve not been working together of recent, sir. Our schedules are different and we don’t have lunch at the same time.”
“That’s not it, Maria,” Michael made a mischievous smile. “You two were bleeping each other. Have you stopped?”
Maria was caught by surprise and quickly looked around to see if no one heard the man.
“It was just a momentary thing,” she replied. “There’s nothing more between us.”
“Let’s forget about that and talk about your claim of not working together with him recently,” Michael said and then leaned forward. “I’ve seen you two together recently. What have you been talking about?”
Maria frowned. “We’re colleagues, sir. And we get to exchange pleasantries often.”
Agent Michael smiled and then placed both hands on the table.
“Don’t lie to me, Maria. We’ve been investigating Steve and his partners for unethical conduct recently and if you don’t tell me the truth, you might go down with him.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Steve was at a mall recently where an armed robbery took place. His partner, Evelyn was also there. Someone in the office helped Steve track a vehicle, was that you?”
Maria swallowed a breath.
“You don’t have to answer. I know it was you,” Michael continued. “I checked the FOX files that night to see who tracked the car and noticed it was from your department. And you were one of those on duty that evening. As of yesterday when I tried to check again, the files had been removed without being recorded anywhere. This can only mean you are helping Steve carry out some illegal activities.”
Maria squinted at his face. “No, Steve is not doing anything illegal. He would never do anything outside of the law.”
“That’s what you think, Maria. I’ve been asked by the executives to investigate Steve’s illegal conduct and reporting you to them will be a huge progress for me. Don’t you think so?”
She shook her head, frantically.
“But I don’t want that. I want something more. I’ve not been able to catch Steve redhanded. So, I need your help to do that.”
She stared thinly at him, wondering what he was going to say next.
“I need you to clone his phone…”
“What? That’s illegal!” She exclaimed.
“But you bleeping have to do it or get exposed,” Michael threatened.
“This is worse than whatever you think Steve has done,” Maria retorted. “I’m going to pay more if I’m caught.”
“How are you going to bleeping get caught?” He fired at her. “You want to tell me you can’t get it done without Steve knowing?”
“Yes, I can’t,” she replied. “We’re not so close anymore, so I can’t use his phone easily.”
“So, you wouldn’t do this, even for a thousand Bethannian dollars?”
She almost refused but thought about the money again. “It’s going to be bleeping difficult to do.”
“But you can do it without getting caught, can’t you?”
She stared at him silently for a moment and then looked left and right. She heaved a sigh.
“When would I get the money?”
“I can pay you right now, but you’ll have to get it done.”
Maria heaved another sigh and shrugged as she proceeded to the door.
—- 10:02 PM —
The whole team was sitting at the dining table. A large sheet of paper was at the center of the table and each of them was looking at it. Henry was standing at one of the longer sides of the table, leaning forward and was making the explanations.
“The first step will be to attack all these places where the security will be tighter,” Henry was saying. “It has to be silent enough to ensure we don’t blow it up. Then, we proceed to stage two and take off the main lights. After that, we will bring down the next set of guards while making sure that the guests at the party do not get hurt.”
“Don’t you think Hutton Ryker will be out once he finds out what is happening?” Samantha questioned.
“No, he won’t leave. He wouldn’t even know we are there for him. There would be other dignitaries present at the event and he would think that one of those dignitaries is the target of the attack. He would be preoccupied with trying to get the dignitaries protected that he would not know we’re coming after him.”
Samantha chuckled. “That’s a good one.”
“Now, Hutton Ryker does not know we’re coming but he still has an advantage over us,” Henry continued after took a step back from the table. “We’re going to meet him in a place he owns and in a very secure place. Therefore, if we want to make it a success, we must all play our roles carefully. No one must make mistakes,” he paused for a while and looked at their faces. Then he leaned forward to pick a piece of paper on the table. “I’m going to read out everyone’s roles to them again…”
Henry’s phone began to vibrate on the table, distracting him from reading.
“It’s Mrs. Alex,” Dave who was closer to the phone said.
Henry quickly stepped forward and picked the phone. He could see the anxiety on everyone’s face as he delayed answering the call. He could tell that, like him, they were all waiting to get the good news that Evelyn had returned home already.
“Hello, Mrs. Alex,” Henry greeted coolly, hoping to hear Evelyn’s voice in reply. Instead, he heard sobs from the other end. Mrs. Alex’s voice trembled as she spoke to him.
To be continued.