“So, what do we do about Carl Winston?” Kahn asked.
“We won’t do anything about him,” Hutton said in a confident tone. He walked back to the table and sat on the other visitor’s seat. “Rex will ki*ll him. Carl would be so busy with Rex that he won’t have time to stop us.”
“Good idea,” Kahn gapped as he walked to the other side of the table. He stared directly at Hutton. “So, what are you waiting for? Make the call for Rex to begin the hunt right away.”
“Boss, are we leaving for Bexford tomorrow, or we still have things to do here?” Dave asked after a few minutes of silence. He turned his face towards Henry after thirty seconds of asking and not getting a reply.
He noticed Henry seemed lost in thoughts and wondered why. It was strange to see Henry so absent-minded.
“Boss,” he called again softly. “You with me?”
Henry glanced at him in silence. His eyes were squinted and there seemed to be tears forming slowly in them.
“I don’t know for now,” his voice sounded so calm. “We’d have a meeting by morning tomorrow. There we would plan what to do next.”
Dave noticed the change in his demeanour and began to wonder what was happening. He was about to ask Henry what was happening but paused on seeing Henry dialling a number on his phone. He tried to maintain his gaze on the road while stealing glances at Henry.
“Hey, Sheila! How are you doing today?” Henry said into the phone after his call was answered.
“I’m great, Henry. How are you doing?” the reply came from the other end.
“I’m fine,” Henry sniffed as he readjusted the phone’s position closer to his ear. “I called to ask if you have any information concerning Rex yet.”
“None yet. I’ve been following closely. Still unable to intercept any of his messages.”
“Once you do, try as much as possible to find his location and report to me immediately.”
“Understood, Henry. You sound so calm today, is anything happening that I need to know?” Sheila asked, also noticing his unusual calmness.
“I’m fine, Sheila. Just let me know when you get anything useful for me,” Henry answered.
“Have a good night rest, Sheila,” Henry replied, his calm voice sounding soothing and bothering at the same time.
He ended the call and returned the phone to his pocket.
“Is there a problem, boss?” Dave glanced at him, his eyes full of concern.
“I’m fine, Dave. I just need to rest well,” Henry rubbed his palms on his face briefly, a deep breath escaping through his slightly parted lips. He tilted his head slightly backwards, positioning it against the headrest.
Dave was not convinced with Henry’s answer but he made up his mind not to ask further questions. He was sure that whatever it was, Henry could get over it easily.
The DIA Club
“I swear with my life. No one else came into this office except for these ladies,” the security guard, pleaded on his knees.
The two ladies who had also prepared Kahn’s room were also on their knees, pleading for mercy to retain their jobs. They were all in Kahn’s office, with Emily, two other security guards including the head official. Kahn, Hutton, and Chanda were seated in silence, watching the security guard question them.
“If no one else came in, it can only mean you or these ladies broke into the restroom,” the head security official alleged.
“No, I’ve never stepped into this office,” the kneeling security guard cried. “This is the first time I’m coming in here.”
“Both of us only cleaned the office like we were asked to, we didn’t get into the restroom,” the older woman spoke out. “We couldn’t have stolen anything from there since we didn’t get in.”
“And why didn’t you clean the toilet?” Hutton interrupted, getting up from where he sat. He moved closer to them. “Why did you skip the restroom after cleaning the office?”
“It was locked sir, we couldn’t get in,” the older woman replied.
Hutton kept his eyes on the younger lady instead. He noticed she was somewhat jittery and decided to focus on her. “Is that true?” he directed his question to the younger lady.
“Yes,” she nodded frantically.
“And if it was locked, why didn’t you request for the key?” Hutton pressed further, still staring at the younger woman.
“We could have…” the older woman wanted to answer but Hutton interrupted.
“Shhh…Let’s her speak,” Hutton glanced at the older woman before returning his gaze to the one beside her.
“I asked about it but she said the boss never lets them clean the toilet,” the lady answered shakily.
“Huh?” Hutton raised a brow and then turned to look at Kahn as if to confirm if the lady was saying the truth.
Kahn nodded. “I only let them clean the place when I’m around.”
“Is it your first time cleaning this office?” Hutton turned back to the younger lady.
“Yes,” she nodded.
Hutton paused for a while, trying to read the situation. Then, a thought came to his mind. “And you said you asked about the toilet, right?”
She nodded again.
“Where did you ask? Were you inside this place when you asked her?”
“Yes, we just finished cleaning the office.”
Hutton turned again to the older woman. “What did she ask you?”
“She asked if we could go into the toilet. I only told her it’s locked and we don’t clean it until the Chairman is here.”
“Is that all she said to you?” Hutton turned again to the younger one who nodded in affirmation.
Kahn and Chanda who were sitting behind, exchanged glances, wondering why Hutton was asking such questions which seemed irrelevant.
“You mentioned that a drunk woman came in your direction before the cleaners arrived,” Hutton turned to the security guard to confirm.
“Yes, but I took her away immediately. It didn’t take up to a minute to get her away.”
“That’s fine, I think the three of you can leave now,” Hutton said dismissing the cleaners and the kneeling guard. His eyes met that of the head security official who was staring at him and wondering why he dismissed the suspects without getting any reasonable information from them.
After the guard and the cleaners had gone out, the head security official moved closer to the table where the Chairman sat.
“Sir, if you would let me know what exactly was stolen, it might help us in retrieving it.”
Kahn chuckled and shook his head. He raised his face after staring down for a while. “I hid some documents there, man. They contain classified information that shouldn’t get to the public.”
Meanwhile, Emily who was also in the office, walked towards the toilet to have a look.
“I think we should involve the police sir,” the security head suggested. “They could be of help in tracing the documents.”
“No, we shouldn’t involve the police. If we do, we would be attracting more doubts concerning the safety of our guests here,” Hutton chipped in.
“We only have to strengthen our security again,” Kahn joined. “If we have a very strong security system in place, it will prevent situations like these from happening.”
Emily looked baffled as she stared at the hole in the ceiling again. Then she looked down to see the dust on the floor and the toilet seat. Her mind flashed back immediately to the dust on Oliver’s bag and his dirty hand glove.
She began to wonder if Oliver really had something to do with what had happened or if it was just a coincidence. Or could that bag she saw with Oliver be what was stolen?
The Chairman had earlier said that documents were the items stolen. But since the Chairman refused to talk about what documents they were, she found it difficult to believe that they were just documents. Besides, why keep important documents in a toilet? She thought to herself.
“The person who did this really had some time to work,” Emily remarked as she stepped out of the toilet back to join them in the office. She caught the attention of the men whom all stared at her.
“And that’s why we must tighten our security,” Kahn agreed with her and then turned to continue his discussion with the head security staff. “So, we focus on getting more people to work with the surveillance team and others to protect the guests and facility.”
Kahn paused for a while and stared at Emily who had just gotten closer. “We still have business to discuss, Director. But we need to solve this mystery first. I do believe that the temporary power outage was also a part of this theft. I think it was done to allow the executioners to escape safely. Or have you found the security official who was supposed to be at that area?”
“No, not yet. The closest guard to him said he went to ease himself. And that was the last time he was seen.”
“How long had he gone before the lights went off?” Kahn asked.
“Not up to ten minutes.”
“This means the person who disconnected those wires must have been watching and waiting for the guard to leave the position. I hope that guard hasn’t been killed,” Kahn thought aloud.
“It could also mean that the guard disconnected it himself,” Hutton put in. “We haven’t seen the guard yet. Until then, he is the prime suspect.”
“He’s one of the new guys,” the security head said. “We’re looking for him and will bring him to you immediately we find him.”
“Okay, you can return when you find him. Please, excuse us now,” Kahn said after getting a signal from Hutton. He turned to Emily and gave her a sign to also step out. “I’ll see you later,” he said to her.
“What’s happening, Hutton?” Kahn turned to Hutton after they were left alone.
“Whoever broke in did so before the cleaners came in,” Hutton finally spoke. He had his eyes staring blankly at the table and was tapping a finger on the table. “That drunk girl the guard took away only came to distract him and give way for someone else to get into the office.”
“I don’t think so,” Kahn interjected. “From the guard’s report, the interval between the drunk girl’s distraction and the cleaners arrival was short. That time wasn’t enough for the intruder to do all that was done.”
“Of course, it wasn’t enough,” Hutton glanced. “The intruder remained here while the cleaners were doing their job.”
“How could that be possible,” Chanda looked around, wondering where the intruder could have hidden in the office. “They would have seen him.”
“He was there,” Hutton said and raised his eyes slowly towards the opening in the roof.
“***!” Kahn cursed under his breath as he got up from his feet and walked slowly towards the place. “The motherf****r must have hidden here.”
After a while of staring at the opening thoughtfully, he suddenly turned and shot a look at Hutton. “But how the heck did he find out something was in the toilet.”
“The cleaners,” Henry raised his eyes and turned to him. “They talked about the toilet and how you didn’t let anyone get in except you were around. He must have guessed that the toilet is where you hide the documents.”
“Shi*t!” Kahn cursed and rubbed a palm across his face. He now realized why Hutton was asking the ladies those questions that seemed so irrelevant
“If we’re going to make moves now, we gotta do them fast,” Chanda put in. “Carl Winston is clever and unpredictable. If we want to beat him, we must be faster than him.”
“That’s exactly what we would do,” Hutton took a quick look at Chanda and got up instantly. “Let’s get started immediately.”
With that, Hutton proceeded towards the door. Chanda also stood to join him.
“I still have some meetings to do,” Kahn shouted from where he was. “You guys are gonna wait for me or not?”
Hutton suddenly stopped. There was a suspicious look on his face as he turned. “We will wait for you in the car,” he said as he walked back towards the table. The look on his face deepened as he realized a mistake they had made that night. “Whatever discussion or meeting we have here, we can’t disclose vital information. If Carl Winston was here, he couldn’t have left without leaving something behind. He could have planted a listener, recorder, or video bug here,” he paused and looked around briefly. “Be careful,” he added before he turned and walked out of the place.
Emily walked straight to the toilet after she got into her office. She moved closer to the dirty area and checked the floor again. She stared at it for a while and continued to wonder if Oliver was really involved.
She remembered how she had told him the location of the Chairman’s office the last time they met, only for the place to be burgled on his next visit. What she couldn’t still understand was how he could have accessed the office without the guard noticing.
Whatever he went in to steal at the office must have been very important for him to have to make a hole in the ceiling, she thought. But then, another thought got into her mind. She stepped out of the toilet and looked towards the back wall of her office.
Her lips parted in shock as she stared at the opening in the ceiling. As if in a trance, she walked slowly towards the place with her eyes fixed on the opening. Her eyes moved down as she moved closer to the spot and noticed that it was dirty on the floor too. The dirt on the floor formed a pattern that showed that someone had stepped on the place.
Then, she realized that Oliver didn’t need to go through the door to access the Chairman’s office. All he had to do was go through the attic.
And the FOX official! She remembered. Was the FOX official’s arrival a coincidence or planned with Oliver? She asked herself.
She let out a sigh of frustration. On seeing Oliver that evening, she had thought her day will end on a better note. But I had just gotten worse than it was before Oliver arrived.
So many thoughts were racing through her mind and she couldn’t tell which one to accept. Mr Kahn, the DIA CEO was also acting suspicious and it was obvious he had something hidden in his cupboard.
Kahn or Oliver? She couldn’t tell who the good guy was between them both. There was only one way to find out. She needed to discover who Oliver truly was.
Her phone rang just as she turned to walk back to the table. She took it out and looked at the screen. It was Oliver.
She held her breath for a few seconds and then released it slowly before answering the call.
“Hey!” She greeted cooly.
“I got to my hotel room a couple of minutes ago,” Oliver sounded normal from his end. “I’ve been thinking whether to call you or not. Thought you could still be in the meeting with your boss.”
“I left his office a couple of minutes ago but I’m still going to meet him tonight.”
He chuckled. “That’s crazy! You’ve really got a hectic schedule. Isn’t it too late for him to be asking you for another meeting?”
“It’s truly crazy but that’s how our jobs could be sometimes.”
“Well, just try and finish early so you can rest,” he advised. “Don’t want to see you worn out with stress.”
“All right, thanks. I’ll try,” she replied.
“Goodnight, Emily. I love you,” Oliver said in a concluding tone.
Emily seized her breath as she heard the three last words. She took her phone down for a moment, holding it tightly in her palms.
Did Oliver really say that? She thought as she breathed out slowly.
She took the phone closer to her ear again and heard his voice again before she could say anything.
“Are you with me, Emily?” Oliver was asking when he didn’t hear her reply.
“Yeah,” she cleared her throat. “Just got a bit distracted.”
“Okay, it’s fine. Make sure you rest well. Goodnight.”
She seized her breath again, expecting him to repeat those three words again but he didn’t.
“Emily, you there?” He asked again before she jolted out of her thoughts.
“Oh! Sorry, goodnight. Rest well too,” she replied and ended the call immediately.
Her body suddenly felt weak. She reached for her chair and sank into it. She had never felt so confused in her life.
Was Oliver real or was he just trying to play her to get something from Kahn? She thought. And even if he was only playing her, why should he lie about loving her when his game plan was already working on her.
She placed her arms weakly on the table and slid them gently until they could no longer move further. Her chin rested on the table gently.
“How did it go?” Samantha who had been waiting anxiously in the living room of the hotel suite asked Henry as he entered.
“Great,” Henry replied without any excitement in his voice or expression. “We got some things to work on,” he added, displaying the book and document in his hands.
“Oh! That’s good news,” Samantha seemed elated and stretched out her hand to take the document and have a look at it.
“Go to bed, Sam. We’ll talk about it tomorrow,” Henry snubbed and walked past her, lifting the document above her reach.
She scoffed as she turned and watched him walk away. There was something about his tone which didn’t seem all right.
“Where are the other two?” Dave who just walked in asked Samantha.
“Evelyn is in. Maxwell and Jennifer have just left for their rooms,” Samantha turned to him.
“The boss says we’ll discuss by morning,” Dave took his shirt off as he walked past her. “Goodnight Sam.”
Samantha watched him as he walked on, wondering whether or not to stop him and ask about what went wrong with Henry. But she couldn’t get herself to ask till Dave went out of sight.
8 AM Next Morning
Henry looked different from how he was before he slept that night, Dave noticed. He looked like his usual self again, full of life and confident. They made jokes freely as they ate at the dining and he joined in the laughter.
The table was cleared immediately after breakfast and they all returned to sit.
“I took an hour to scan through those documents before I slept last night and we have indeed some good information to work on,” Henry began. “If we work well with what we have, there’s no way we won’t bring down Hutton Ryker but…”
Henry paused and turned to Samantha who had raised a hand slightly. “Yeah, Sam?”
“We were supposed to make copies of the document or make shots of every important page. But we have the whole book here, won’t Kahn and Hutton know that the document is missing?”
“Good question,” Henry remarked and then turned to Dave. “I explained that yesterday, will you do us the honour of telling the others what I said?”
“The plan changed when Hutton and Kahn arrived at the place. We had two to three hours to make copies in our initial plan but their arrival reduced it to only a few minutes. The escape plan had to be activated at a different timing to give us those few minutes to steal the document. So, there was no other way we could have done it.”
“Thank you, Dave,” Henry smiled lightly and then looked away from him. “And if you’re wondering if Hutton Ryker will change his plans because he knows we have the document, that’s not a problem. He won’t because all the assets he needs to fulfil his purpose are tied to this plan. He will only try to go faster. And that means we also have to be super fast.”
“Why not get started right away then?” Samantha suggested.
“Before we proceed, I’ll like to know if no one made a mistake or left any clue last night.”
Henry paused to look at all of their faces. At the first set of glances, he didn’t notice anything but the second time, he noticed an expression of discomfort on Maxwell’s face. The expression was still not enough to mean that he had something to hide but Henry kept an intent stare on his face.
“Yeah, I dropped something by mistake,” Maxwell finally spoke up.
“What did you drop?” Henry asked in a calm voice. There was no note of anger in his voice.
“One of my gloves, it must have dropped when I was hurriedly washing in Emily’s office,” Maxwell replied.
“Oh! F***,” Dave cursed. “That would f***ing make you the suspect. You should have been more careful.”
“It’s not his fault,” Henry defended him. “The rush was much.”
“I called her yesterday and she didn’t seem to have noticed anything,” Maxwell added.
“Maybe she was yet to see the glove when you called,” Henry thought aloud.
“Or maybe she’s just trying to pull you into a trap,” Dave put in.
Henry shot a warning look at him to make him desist from suggesting the worst.
“Whatever the case is, we’ll find a way to confirm today,” Henry said. “Now we have to focus on using this document faster.”
He got up and picked up the file he placed on the ground. He took out the documents and dropped the file on the table.
“This is just a part of the whole document we got. It contains eleven pages in total,” he explained as he handed two pages from the document to each person except for Evelyn. “I’ll take the last three,” he said as he returned to his seat. “I’m splitting the documents so that we can make it faster. Each page contains coded languages. These coded languages are meant to hide the locations of different assets and make the ordinary mind unable to access them. So, we find these codes and decode them. We have to get it done in five hours at most so that we can proceed to the planning process.”
“Why don’t I have any?” Evelyn questioned.
“You’re going to the office now, Evelyn. You might not be able to do anything there. But we might also need your help to pull out information from the FOX database. If we do, I’ll give you a call.”
“And is there anything else we need to know apart from this?” Samantha asked.
“Yeah, there is,” Henry’s voice went low. They all stared at him. “Rex might be a problem for us.”
“Huh?” They all looked at each other in shock, except for Samantha and Dave who already had clues.
“Yeah, Rex is coming for me, he’s coming to stop me.”
Rex was drenched in his sweat on the branch of the tree where he hung. He had been on an exercise routine, trying to build more strength quickly and become as fit as possible.
He was still deeply engrossed in the activity when he heard his phone ringing. He paused and looked down to look at the phone which was placed on a stool under the tree.
It was impossible to see the caller from where he was. So, he reluctantly got down from the tree to get the phone. It had already stopped ringing when he got there. But he heaved a sigh of relief on seeing that it was the call he was expecting. He dialled back the number
“I’ve got some good information from you,” a gruff voice answered from the other end.
“You’ve got their location?”
To be continued.