® 18+ SNVL
© Oluwatosin Emmanuel Oyinloye
The FOX Corporation,
“If he wants to speak with his family, you should let him. You can even give him video confirmation if he insists,” Paul Edwards said after a moment of thinking with some of the executives.
“I don’t think we should just let the criminal have anything he wants,” one of the executives objected.
“We don’t have a choice,” Paul answered him sharply. “We need to something substantial today.”
“The chairman is right,” Mensah joined in. “It’s not going to cost us anything to allow Daysman and his lawyer to confirm if his family is alive. Let’s give him that and get what we want from him.”
From the body movements of the executives, it was obvious they had all agreed even without speaking.
“Get to work right away,” Paul faced Evelyn and Steve. “Give him what he wants and get me something reasonable to work with as soon as possible.”
“We’ll be right on it, sir,” Steve replied as she and Evelyn.
“I’ve been looking for you all around,” Samantha stated as she stepped out to join Henry at the balcony where he sat.
“I’ve been here,” Henry replied in a low voice. “I just wanted to spend some time alone.”
“When are we taking action, now that Maxwell’s got the office we need?” she sat on the pavement close to him and placed her gaze on his face.
Henry shrugged. “I don’t know, we need to start thinking about a plan first.”
Samantha squinted at him. “You haven’t started thinking about the plan?”
He turned his face to her this time. “I have,” he answered. “But I’m yet to conclude.”
“And why is it taking you so much time to conclude? You’re not usually this slow.”
Henry sighed and shook his head. He turned his face forward and stared blankly for a minute. “I don’t know,” he shrugged again.
“I think I know why,” Samantha moved closer to him. He turned his face to her.
“It’s about that call,” she stated and Henry turned his face forward again after a sigh. “Why don’t you tell me what Sheila said to you?”
Henry remained silent and didn’t even act like he heard the question. Samantha moved closer again and then placed a palm gently on his shoulder.
He let out a breath calmly as he felt the warmth of her hand. His lips parted slowly with some hot air escaping briefly.
“Talk to me, Henry.” Her voice was gentle and reassuring.
He turned and stared at her face again. “Rex is in Bethanna and he fixed a meeting with someone today.”
Samantha did not look too surprised to hear the news. She only blinked and shook her head gently. “And you still think he’s up to something against us?”
“I don’t know what the hell to think,” Henry sounded frustrated. “He escaped, leaving the men who went with him for treatment all dead and now he’s back in the country without trying to contact me.”
“Have you tried to contact him?” Samantha asked.
“Yeah, I sent him a message since the incident happened in the UK.”
“And what if he didn’t get the message?” Samantha suggested. “It’s possible he doesn’t remember your contact methods anymore, he’s just recovering.”
“He does,” Henry chuckled. “He bleeping does remember. If he doesn’t, he wouldn’t have contacted someone else through the same channel.”
Samantha paused to think for a moment before she continued. “Maybe he has his reasons for not reaching you yet.”
“And I don’t bleeping understand what those reasons could be,” Henry stated with a note of anger in his voice and got up immediately. He ran his fingers through his hair down his face as he released another deep breath.
Samantha got up and stared at his face. “Then we have to give it time and watch. You’re letting it get to you and this could cause a setback for us.”
He turned and gave her a look as if wondering if she knew what she was saying. He turned to the other side and was about to walk away when she grabbed his arm and made him turn back to her.
“I’m not going to let you continue like this,” she widened her eyes at him. “Because if you’re going down, you’ll be bringing the rest of us down too. You’re a soldier, you’re supposed to expect betrayals from anyone at any bleeping time. So, why the hell are you acting like this is something new?”
Henry wriggled her hands off his and then grabbed hers close to her shoulder. He moved his face close to hers and stared directly into her eyes as he spoke. “Rex is not anyone, he’s my brother. And families are supposed to stick together every time and he knows that. So, he can’t f****ing join the other side.”
“If you’re so convinced that Rex knows he’s supposed to stick with you, why are you so bothered?”
Henry tried to reply but his mouth was left agape without any words coming out of it. He felt weak as he thought about her question. His fingers loosened slowly, releasing her hand from his grip. He suddenly grew calmer.
He tried to turn back again but she held him back and held his face with her palm, trying to make him look at her face.
“Stop fighting yourself and quit trying to deny reality. I know you’ve come a long way with Rex and it’s difficult to believe that he could have moved to the other side. But that’s the possibility now and we need to work with that. The more you struggle to fight with the thoughts, the faster you go down. We’ve got a lot of work to do and you need to get Rex out of your mind. And if he ever comes against us, we take him down.”
Henry raised his eyes sharply and stared at her face after her last sentence. He had never imagined taking Rex down and it sounded so wrong to him. But he realized that she had said the right thing even though it was difficult to accept.
“You’re right,” he finally agreed and took a step back from her. “We need to get back to work now. And if we find out Rex comes against us, we take him down as an enemy without thinking twice.”
Samantha smiled lightly.
“Thank you,” Henry rubbed her cheek gently with his palm before he turned sharply and walked away.
45 minutes later
“You need to see this, Hutton,” Chanda said as he walked into the living room. Elvis Kahn was in the sitting area while Hutton was in the dining room with a laptop in front of him. “It’s a text message from Nathan,” he added as he got to the dining area.
“What does it say?” Hutton raised his eyes to look at Chanda.
Chanda unlocked his phone and placed it on the table in front of Hutton to read the text message himself.
Daysman took the deal and he’s started giving information to the FOX. He helped them identify Hutton Ryker today
Hutton cleared his throat and made a nod to signal he was through reading the message. He turned back to his laptop to continue his work.
Chanda squinted at him, wondering why he wasn’t bothered. Then, it popped into his mind that Daysman could have identified the wrong person.
“He couldn’t have identified you, could he?” Chanda voiced out his thoughts.
“Who else would he identify?” Hutton turned to stare at Chanda. “Of course, if my picture was shown to him, he would have identified me.”
“What the f***! And you don’t think that gives us a problem?”
“No, it’s not a problem,” Hutton shook his head.
“It’s not a problem until your face is on every newspaper?” Chanda asked.
Hutton turned to him to answer but Kahn who had just joined them at the dining area interrupted. “What’s happening here?”
Chanda picked the phone and handed it to Kahn. “There’s a likelihood that your friend’s photo is going to be on the front page of every newspaper soon and he’s not bleeping bothered.”
“My face ain’t making it to the newspapers, we’ve got it covered,” Hutton replied.
“You’re sure it’s gonna work?” Kahn asked, staring calmly at Hutton.
“Yeah, man,” Hutton nodded.
“What’s happening here?” Chanda stepped back, shifting his gaze from Hutton to Kahn. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”
“Damn it, Chanda! Why the f*** do you think we captured those men?”
Chanda took a deep breath. “I don’t know, you tell me.”
“Damn! You gotta figure it out yourself man. I can’t explain everything to you all the time,” Hutton closed his laptop angrily and walked out of the place.
Chanda watched him go and then turned to Kahn for an explanation. “Would you please tell me what’s happening?”
“Why did we capture those men instead of killing them?” Kahn asked.
“To use them as hostages when we’re getting screwed up,” Chanda answered with an unsure look.
“And now that’s Hutton is about to get screwed up, we gonna use them to ensure it doesn’t happen.”
The FOX Headquarters
“Hughes Kanwa, a native of Bethanna… “ Paul Edwards began to read out the brief history of Hutton Ryker they gathered.
About seven of the FOX executives were sitting around the conference table. Evelyn, Steve, and Daniel were also seated with them.
On the screen was a picture showing Hutton Ryker’s face clearly and Paul was standing beside the screen, talking to the gathering about their just discovered enemy.
“He used to be one of the best craziest Agents of the FOX during his years of service. He got dismissed from the FOX after being found guilty of helping some members of the terrorist organization he was supposed to fight…”
“Those accusations were never proven, that’s why he only spent two years in prison…” Agent Mensah interrupted.
“If there were no proofs then, I think they’ve just been proven,” Mark joined. “He got out of prison then after two years but he now leads a deadly terrorist organization. What other evidence do we need to prove that he was always a terrorist?”
“You have a valid point, Agent Mark,” Paul remarked. “But we’re not going after him for the past. His present role as the leader of a terrorist organization already earns him the death penalty. So, we may not need to dig into his past to nail him. We only need his past to create a good story for the press tonight.”
“What time is the press conference?” Agent Mensah asked.
Paul paused to look at the wall clock hanging directly opposite him. “In six minutes,” he answered. “We have enough information to buy the president and people’s confidence already and after the press conference, we’re coming back to strategize…”
He was yet to finish when someone rushed into the conference room and distracted all of them. It was Paul’s PA and it seemed he had urgent information.
“There’s something you need to see, sir,” the P.A said with a tone of urgency. He turned to the other people sitting and held up a flash drive in his hand. “You all need to see this.”
“The press conference is in five minutes,” Paul stated, looking at the wall clock again. “I’m not seeing anything until I’m through with that.”
“Sir, you need to see this” the P.A insisted. From the look on his face, they could tell it was something serious.
Paul stared at him for a moment and then sighed. “It better be something worth it,” he warned as he stepped aside for the P.A to step forward.
Paul watched impatiently as the P.A plugged the flash drive and waited for it to display. In less than a minute, the P.A played a video showing Abraham Carter. The first sentence sent chills down the spine of each of the listening Agents.
My name is Abraham Carter, one of the men from the Wolves. By now, you must have confirmed not less than 300 dead bodies from the explosion. However, I have some good news that could save your country’s reputation. We have fifteen foreign delegates in our custody.
At that moment, the video was zoomed in to show about ten men tied to seats.
“Pause the video now,” Paul ordered and then turned towards Agent Mark, snapping his fingers. “Where’s the list of the identified delegates?”
“Here’s it,” Agent Mensah pulled it out quickly and stepped forward.
“We need to confirm if they’re all there,” Paul said and snapped his fingers again, nodding for the PA to continue playing the video.
The video continued and it took five minutes of pausing and playing for them to identify all the shown faces.
“All the delegates from the UK and US are there,” Mensah announced.
Paul heaved a sigh and signalled for the video to be replayed.
We have fifteen foreign delegates in our custody. They may or may not remain alive. It depends on what actions the FOX take. We urge the FOX to remain quiet for now, we will contact you soon for negotiations.
Paul let out a sigh of frustration as the video ended. The whole hall was quiet. Things had just taken a turn which no one had expected.
Another junior Agent barged into the hall, disturbing the silence.
“I’m sorry, sirs,” the agent apologized on seeing that his superiors seemed to be busy.
“What the heck do you want?” Paul was impatient with him.
“The members of the press are waiting sir,” the agent relayed shakily.
“Tell them to leave, we will no longer hold the press conference today.”
“Right away, sir,” he saluted and turned out hurriedly.
“Agents,” Paul said in a fatigued tone as he moved closer to the table. He pulled a chair and sat facing the others. “Things have changed, we can no longer go ahead with our plans, we need to analyze this video properly.”
The whole team, including Maxwell and Jennifer, had just finished eating together at the dining table. Unlike other days when anyone could get up after eating, they all waited to know that there would be a meeting even without Henry informing them.
“I think it’s a good time to talk now since we’re all done with eating,” Henry began. “Or is there anyone who wants to do something else before we start?”
He paused to get a response but he got none, so he continued. “I asked that Jennifer and Maxwell be here because we need to plan something for tomorrow. As you all know, we’re trying to get good information to launch an attack. And there are only two places Kahn and Hutton could have hidden information before they left Benuit. It’s either their residence in Benuit or the office in the DIA club. And now that we’ve confirmed that they have an office there, we need to break in but we need to do it carefully.
They must have beefed up security since the last incident took place. So we must get it right tomorrow. This time, we ain’t killing anybody. We just want to get any useful information.”
“Don’t we have anything specific to look for?” Dave asked.
“We’re looking for everything, nothing specific,” Henry replied. “There must be something hidden in that office or something they must have left in error and we must discover it.”
“What’s the plan?” Samantha asked.
“We’re going to have six major players in this plan,” Henry began. “We’re five here but we can pay someone else to do the extra job for us. What we have to do is simple…” he stopped as he heard some sounds at the door.
“Maybe we might not need to get an outside after all,” Samantha chipped in. “Evelyn is here, can’t she fit in?”
“Evelyn has her responsibilities with the FOX, we can’t put her in this,” Henry replied in low tones.
“Well, the task is at night. So, I don’t think she’ll be too busy to join us. Besides, it could help her in the case,” Dave put in.
“I don’t think Evelyn would like to mix the FOX job with us,” Henry insisted.
“Well, I think I’m about to do just that,” Evelyn who had heard Henry’s reply, joined the conversation. She had all eyes turned to her as she walked towards them. “The FOX is so confused right now. We don’t have an idea of what to do even with all the information we’ve got.”
There was silence for a while.
“What are you talking about, Evelyn?”
“We officially got Hutton Ryker named today by our prisoner and we were supposed to declare him as a wanted man,” Evelyn explained briefly and then paused to take a seat. “But we can’t because he’s got us in a position we don’t want.”
“You need to explain clearly to us, Evelyn,” Henry urged.
“The Red Wolves sent a video,” she continued. “They kidnapped fifteen of the foreign delegates and are asking for a negotiation. Abraham Carter spoke in the video for the FOX.”
“What the heck!” Henry cursed and let out a sigh of frustration.
“Yeah, so as long as those delegates are in their custody, the FOX gotta keep negotiating with the terrorists.”
“Did you just say Abraham Carter spoke for the FOX?” Samantha questioned. “I thought Carter was not with them.”
“Of course, he isn’t. They must have made him do the video. He’s one of their captives,” Henry answered.
“Yeah, we discovered that after analyzing the video,” Evelyn affirmed and then turned to stare at Henry’s face. “How come you know he’s one of their captives when you haven’t even seen the video or analyzed it yet?”
Henry was quiet.
“Agent Henry, I know this team knows more than the FOX knows and I need you to join or you need to help us.”
Henry shook his head and let in a deep breath.
“Evelyn, it cannot work like…” Henry was saying when a loud alarm interrupted.
“What the f***!” Maxwell cursed and flashed a quick look at Henry’s face. He then got up and proceeded towards the control room immediately. The alarm was still beeping so loudly.
“Did someone follow you here?” Henry directly his question to Evelyn as he also got up to his feet.
“No, I didn’t notice anyone,” Evelyn shook her head.
“That alarm means we’ve got trespassers, someone’s trying to gain access into this place,” Henry stated and then headed for the control room immediately. The rest of the team members got up and followed him.
Maxwell was already sitting behind one of the computers and had gotten the feeds from the cameras. He got up and turned towards the rest of the team members who had just gotten in. “I think we’re under some form of attack.”