The FOX Corporation,
“What the heck was your boyfriend doing at Maria’s place last night?” Steve stormed into Evelyn’s office in anger.
Evelyn raised her eyes to look at him, wondering why he was raging. “Do you really have to talk so loud about it? Someone could be hearing you,” she warned in a calm voice.
“I don’t care whom the hell is listening to us,” he fired at her. “Tell me what your boyfriend was doing at Agent Maria’s home.”
Evelyn stared at his face silently for a few seconds before speaking calmly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Of course, you know,” he slammed his fists on her table angrily. “Why is he going there to threaten her?”
She scrunched up her face. “You’re in my office, Agent Steve. And you’re going to behave yourself or I make a report right away,” she threatened.
Her threat seemed to work on him and he seemed a bit calmer. He leaned forward on the table and looked into her eyes.
“He better not go near or threaten her again or he’s gonna…”
“He’s gonna what?” Evelyn interrupted him. “What the heck are you talking about? If you think someone was at your girlfriend’s house to threaten her, why not make an official report to the police or the FOX?”
Steve was further enraged by her confidence but he had to control himself to ensure they didn’t attract attention from others.
“Warn your boyfriend to stay away from her and her home,” he said in a final note and turned to leave.
“At least, no one was killed when he visited Maria’s home,” she took a jab at him. He stopped and turned his neck slightly. “Someone else killed two men on visiting my apartment for a night.”
After a few seconds of indecision, he turned back slowly and walked to her table. “I hope you know you can’t keep blackmailing me with that, Evelyn?”
“I don’t wish to blackmail you, Agent Steve. I’m just trying to keep you in order,” Evelyn replied.
At that moment, one of the agents who shared the office with Evelyn stepped in. Steve had to refrain from speaking. He withdrew and was about to turn away.
“We have some questioning to do with Mr Daysman today, don’t we?” Evelyn reminded him.
“I got to submit some reports now,” Steve replied after checking his time. “I’ll let you know when I’m ready.”
Paul Edwards was in his office alone that morning. He had four different devices on his table and was going through each one after the other, searching for any Carl Winston’s contact he could have stored somewhere; whether email, phone number, or any online messenger.
He was busy with the tablet device when the landline on his table rang. At first, he didn’t want to get distracted by answering the call but eventually reached for it on second thought.
“We’ve got a distress call on the FOX emergency line, sir,” his assistant’s voice sounded.
“Yeah? Why are you telling me about this? Are there no agents to receive the call?” Paul fumed.
“The caller specifically requested for you, sir,” the voice replied.
“ And who’s this caller?”
“He claims to be Agent Michael.”
“What the f*! Put him through right away,” he ordered. “And make sure the call is being traced.”
“The location has been identified already, sir. And I’m connecting you right away,” the voice replied before cutting off.
“It’s me, Chairman,” Michael’s voice sounded at the other end of the call.
“Agent Michael,” Paul widened his eyes at the sound of the abducted agent’s voice. “We’re tracing you now and coming for you.”
“I got away from them already and I’m somewhere hiding,” Michael replied from the other end. “They can’t find me here.”
“Please, stay right there and we’ll be there to get you soon.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Paul dropped the receiver and got up immediately. He picked up his phone and proceeded out of his office.
2 minutes later
“You’ve got to do everything to get him here safely,” Paul said to Agent Mensah who had just strapped on his kevlar and was loading his gun with bullets.
“We will bring him back,” Mensah reassured. “He’s in Bethanna and that gives us 100% chance that we’ll bring him back here safe.”
“Agent Michael has been discovered by the FOX,” Henry announced as he entered into the living room where they were all sitting. “I just got the message from Evelyn now.”
“And what do we do next?” Dave who was laying on the couch sat up.
“It’s time I make the call to the FOX chairman.”
The FOX Office
The abducted agent had already been brought safely to the FOX building and was just talking about his experience to the other executives. He looked battered and unkempt, with a plaster close to his lips.
They were in a hall. Michael was sitting on a stool at the centre while about seven executive members were around him. Two of the other executives were also sitting while the most were standing.
“What exactly did they want?” Paul questioned from where he was. He was standing close to the conference table, with his backside leaning against it.
“I don’t know,” Michael replied, his eyes fixed to the floor. “They just kept torturing me. They had intentions of asking me questions which they never did before I escaped?”
“How many men were there?” Mensah joined.
“I saw only six faces. I killed three of them while I was trying to escape.”
“So, we have no idea why the abduction was done?” Paul squinted at him.
“I wasn’t the only one there,” he replied. “I could hear voices around. There was a video centre too. I think they were trying to force people to make wrong confessions. The same way they did to Abraham Carter. I guess they were trying to frame me as the FOX mole to the Red Wolves.”
The executives stared in confusion for a while, trying to connect his explanations. It wasn’t really making sense to any of them yet.
“But you’re a trained FOX agent and Hutton Ryker knows this, how’s he gonna think you’ll confess out of torture,” Agent Tom questioned. The question sounded reasonable to all of them and they stared at Michael for a response.
“He’s not gonna make me confess out of torture, he’s gonna try bend with my family,” Michael answered.
“But he let your wife go,” Mensah countered. “His best bet would have been to threaten you with your wife.”
Michael’s eyebrows gathered together. “That confused me too,” he turned to look at Mensah. “I don’t know why he let her go. But he knew where my kids were. He told me their addresses in Germany and the UK.”
“Damn! We’ve gotta do something about protecting your kids right away,” Agent Tom stepped forward.
“I called them already and told them to report a threat at the nearest police office in town,” Michael replied.
“But that’s not enough,” Paul put in. “We’ve got to get our men over there too,” he stopped and turned to one of the executives. “Can you arrange for that right away?”
“Will do,” the man replied and excused himself immediately.
“Your wife said he accused you of working with the Red Wolves,” Paul stated.
“Yeah, he did make some bogus claims in front of her,” Michael answered. “I don’t understand why.”
“That may just be why she wasn’t abducted too,” Mensah chipped in after a few seconds of thinking. “I guess they wanted her to report these claims about him to the FOX. It got us considering if you could really be with the Red Wolves.”
“It all makes sense now,” Agent Tom sighed.
Paul Edwards was about to say something when his phone rang. He took it out and stared at the screen, it was an unknown number.
“Please, excuse me for a second,” he said to them as he stepped aside to receive the call.
“Hey, Chairman Paul,” the voice from the other end seemed familiar.
“Who’s this?” Paul squinted.
“Carl Winston,” Henry answered from the other end.
Paul took in a deep breath and glanced towards the remaining FOX agents who were still discussing.
“I know you’re most likely debriefing Agent Michael now,” Henry continued. “I’m quite sure he didn’t tell you that I abducted him.”
“You didn’t, the Red Wolves did,” Paul replied, trying to make his voice as low as possible.
“We need to talk, Chairman,” Henry replied, sensing that he was around other FOX agents. “Take an excuse and step out now.”
Paul sighed deeply and glanced at his colleagues again. “Give me a minute,” he said into the phone before muting it. Then he walked back to his colleagues. “I’m sorry, gentlemen. This call is from my family. I’ve got to step out to attend to it properly.”
“Sure, chairman,” Mensah replied while the others gave a nod of approval.
Paul Edwards quickly walked out of the place and proceeded to his office.
“I think we really do have a mole in our midst,” Michael said after the chairman was gone.
“We’ve known that for long but we’ve never been able to fish out who the mole is,” Mensah remarked.
“Maybe because we were looking in the wrong direction,” Michael stated and took a brief pause. They all fixed their eyes on him, wondering what he was driving at. “Only two people attacked my home that night; a lady and a man. And they knew every single corner in the house. They even knew the escape route.”
“And you think the mole in the FOX gave them that information?” Mensah questioned. “Until you were kidnapped, some of us didn’t even know your residence.”
“Some of you, not all. There’s someone who knew every part of my home and even helped to plan the escape route with me,” Michael claimed.
“And who’s that?” Mensah asked. He and the other executives exchanged glances.
“The Chairman, Mister Paul Edwards,” Michael stated.
“Come on, Agent Michael. We’ve been through that and over it already,” Tom scoffed.
“But he’s the only damn person who knew the corners of my home like the attackers did,” Michael insisted.
“I think we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, Agent Michael,” Sylvester urged.
“You’ve not been friends with the Chairman recently, how do we confirm that he really knows your home as you claim,” Tom stated. It seemed more like an accusation.
Michael squinted at him. “You think I just want to lie against him?”
“It’s your word against his, men,” Tom maintained his stance. “That man has been unsettled since he got the news of your abduction and he’s done so much in our efforts to get you back.”
“We can ask from him if you think I’m lying,” Michael defended himself.
“There’ll be no need for that, gentlemen,” Mensah raised his hand to calm them. “The Chairman really knew his home. He told me that when we visited the place together. He needed no one to take him around,” he added with his eyes narrowed thoughtfully.
Michael heaved a sigh of relief on having someone support his claim.
“But I still don’t think he has something to do with this,” Mensah raised his head.
“Listen, gentlemen. I haven’t just said this because he knows my home,” Michael continued. “But from the conversation of the men that abducted me, I’m quite certain that we’ve got a mole here in our midst, among the executives.”
They all stared at him for a moment but refrained from replying.
“I think you should go to the medics for a check-up now,” Tom picked up his device from the table. “I’ve got some other things to do right now,” he added before proceeding towards the door.
“Trust me, guys. The call the chairman received right here wasn’t from his family. He just told us that,” Michael added. “We’ve all got to be careful of him.”
Tom stopped halfway to the door but waited for less than five seconds before proceeding out.
“Hey, Carl! I’m in my office now,” Paul said after settling on his seat.
“So, you really think that he got kidnapped by the Red Wolves?”
“If you kidnapped him, he would have let us know.”
“Not when he’s working with the enemy,” Carl replied. “He’s only going to tell you what Hutton Ryker wants him to say.”
Paul took in a breath before he continued. “So, if you abducted him, how could he have escaped from you. I’m quite certain you couldn’t have made the mistake of not tying him up properly as he said.”
“I let him go, Paul. He didn’t escape. I just had to make it look like an escape to give him a feeling of victory.”
“You kidnapped him and then let him just go?” Paul scoffed. “That doesn’t sound reasonable to me.”
“You questioned his wife, didn’t you?” Henry questioned. Paul was silent. “She must have described who took her husband. Doesn’t her description match me?”
Paul was again silent.
“Think well, Chairman. I don’t know what he told you. But I let him get away from me last night. He must have gone straight to Hutton Ryker who told him what to tell you.”
“Why did you let him go?” Paul finally spoke up.
“Because he’s more useful to me if he goes back to Hutton than when he’s in my captivity.”
Paul didn’t understand his response and was already getting impatient. “Can you just get to the reason you’re calling me? Or you just want to claim responsibility for his abduction?”
“I called to warn you, Paul. Michael is on a mission there. He’s going to help Hutton Ryker take back the FOX.”
Paul’s eyes brows gathered together as he stared with an amused look on his face. “Take back the FOX? Hutton Ryker never owned the FOX,” he scoffed.
“If Hutton Ryker wasn’t accused wrongly years ago, he would be sitting on that same seat you are now. He would be the Chairman of the FOX.”
The expression on Paul’s face slowly turned into a frown and he sat up.
“But how is that possible? He’s got no chance to come back.”
“Not if he takes you out of the way,” Henry replied.
“Even if he takes me out, there’s no way the seat will go to him,” Paul replied.
“He’s gonna take down the other qualified five along with you.”
“You’re saying he’s gonna ki*ll all of us?”
“Yeah, that’s what he plans to do.”
Paul thought about it for a second and a chuckle escaped his lips. “Come on, Carl. He’s got no chance to be back at the FOX. No matter whom he takes out. And trust me, he’s never going to be able to take us all out.”
“You know Hutton, man. He’s got a strategy and if we don’t prepare against him properly, he’s gonna win.”
“The FOX executives are also strategic, Carl. No matter what strategy he’s got, he can’t beat all six of us.”
Henry’s reply was delayed as it seemed he was taking his time to think. “I want to work with you in taking precautionary measures, Paul. And then we can take him down together, my team and the FOX…”
“Carl, your team is not a legal entity,” Paul cut him short. “I’m taking a lot of risks talking to you and I’ll be crazy if I ever think of working with you. The best way you can help us is either presenting yourself as alive to the FOX or submitting whatever information you have to the FOX.”
“Hutton Ryker plans to ki*ll all six of you and become the chairman of the FOX soon. That’s the information I’ve got for you,” Henry replied in a thick tone.
Paul chuckled and shook his head. “Is this some kind of joke, Carl? Even if we all die, he still has no chances of taking the seat of the FOX chairman as you claim.”
“Not if he takes out the President and his government first, and installs the government that will put him there.”
At this point, Henry sounded absolutely ridiculous to Paul and he couldn’t stop himself from laughing.
“Come on, Carl. Stop being an idiot! Have you got useful information to give me or you’re just going to continue with these theories?”
“I just told you the truth, Paul. If you let me help you, we can avoid this.”
Paul had heard enough of bulls*** from Carl and was already getting irritated. “Can I warn you, Carl?” he hardened his face as he sat up. “If it’s true that you abducted Michael. This should be the last time you try it with a FOX agent. If it happens again, I will declare you wanted.”
“Rest in peace, Paul,” Henry said in anger before the line went off.
Paul gasped as he dropped the phone on the table. He thought about all that Carl had said and they all seemed impossible. There was no way Hutton was going to succeed in killing the President and taking down his government and also killing six of the FOX executives.
He wondered why Carl sounded so sure about it. Was Carl just trying to play some mind games with him or did he really mean it, he couldn’t tell. After some more minutes of thinking, he picked up the landline receiver and dialled a number.
“I want Agent Evelyn in my office right away,” he rasped and dropped the receiver.
Maria got back to her table after leaving there for more than an hour. She stretched her body before sitting and swivelled her neck in both directions before leaving forward to tap the space bar on the keyboard. She noticed a note under the keyboard and picked it up.
“12:45 PM at the cafeteria,” the note read.
Her mind skipped a beat and her lips parted slowly. The note slipped from her fingers unconsciously. There was only one person who could have dropped that note, Agent Michael. She didn’t expect him to request a meeting with her, especially because he had just reappeared.
She remembered the visit she had from Dave the night before. He had told her that Michael was a mole for the Red Wolves and it all made sense. But Steve, on the other hand, had told her Dave was most likely a member of the Wolves who was walking with Evelyn to get secrets from the FOX. She didn’t know whose account to believe.
The note which slipped from her hand to the table dropped to the floor and she quickly picked it and squeezed it in her palm. For a moment, she decided she wasn’t going to be part of Agent Michael’s activities again and wasn’t going to see him. But on second thought, she realized that only he could give her an explanation of what really happened. She decided to meet him up at that time.”
“Take your seat, Evelyn,” Paul offered as the junior agent stepped forward. He leaned forward with his elbows on the table. He placed his fist together and balanced his chin on it.
After a few seconds of staring at Evelyn’s face for a moment, he leaned back.
“Evelyn, I know I’ve threatened you a lot in the past few months. But I need to talk to you as a friend now and not just a boss,” he started in a calm voice. “As you know already, Agent Michael returned this morning. And Carl called me to confirm that he abducted him.”
Evelyn put on a surprised look on her face which made the Chairman pause.
“Don’t give me that face, Evelyn. We both know you’re aware of that, except it isn’t true that Carl abducted him.”
Her expression changed and he knew it was in affirmation.
“Carl made some serious remarks about Hutton Ryker trying to take power from the FOX. How true is that?”
“If the remarks came from Carl Winston, they must be accurate.”
“Tell me what you know about it.”
“I know nothing, sir. Carl doesn’t tell me everything except I really need to know.”
Paul was quite convinced that she was lying but he didn’t want to say it to her face. He needed to be her friend to get the information from her.
“We need the information, Evelyn. If we have them, they can help our investigations to go faster,” Paul pressed.
“I wish I knew more, sir. But he wouldn’t tell me,” she insisted.
Paul squinted at her face for a while. He could tell that she wasn’t going to say anything to him regardless of how he tried.
Maria was already getting uncomfortable in the cafeteria where she sat alone at the table. It wasn’t the usual time for lunch, so she didn’t plan to get one yet. And the man who had asked her to come was nowhere to be found.
After fifteen minutes of waiting, she decided she would leave in the next ten minutes if the man did not show up. However, Michael showed up immediately after she decided in her mind.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting for so long, Maria,” he apologized as he sat down.
She readjusted herself to begin the conversation, her eyes fixed on the man’s face. She also noticed the bruises on his face.
To be continued.