Breakfast was late that morning because of the work they had to do earlier. Now, they had all just finished eating at the dining table and Paul Edwards was wondering why no one was getting up from the table. He didn’t want to be the first to get up, so he remained on the table.
The others automatically knew that there was a discussion to be made whenever Henry asked that everyone had breakfast together.
Henry cleared his throat and finally began. “Guys, we’ve made some progress recently but not towards our mission. We’re still yet to figure out how Hutton plans to take the rest of the five men out.”
There was silence at the table for a while. Paul was the first to speak.
“I’ve been thinking about that too and I can seem to find an answer. But why should we focus on how he wants to do it when we can just stop the attack on them from happening?”
“I thought about that before,” Henry remarked and then fixed his eyes on Paul. “How do you think we should prevent it?”
“Let’s warn the men involved, so they’d be more cautious,” Paul suggested.
“Naah,” Henry closed his eyes and waved off the suggestion. “I don’t think that will work.”
“But why not let’s try it first,” Paul pressed on.
“I don’t think it will work either,” Dave joined in.
Paul glanced at Dave with a frown. At first, he wondered why Dave would join a conversation he was having with Carl without being invited but then he remembered that this was not the FOX where he was the boss. And he was the newest on the table, which meant he should probably act like a recruit. The thought humbled him and decided to keep his mind open to discuss with the team as one of them.
“Why don’t you think so?” Samantha was the one who questioned Dave.
“It won’t work,” Dave replied and then turned to Paul. “The Chairman here did not believe when Henry told him the plan and that’s even after he’s had previous discussions with us. So, how are they gonna believe now that everything is more complicated?”
Henry agreed with Dave. He had the same thoughts in his mind. “I don’t think preventing them from attacking will work. We should find a way to make the attack fail. But to do this, we need to know how and when they plan to attack.”
“What if they try to attack the same way they did to the Chairman here?” Jennifer suggested.
“You think they’re gonna try trap them too?” Samantha questioned after a few seconds of silence.
“Maybe,” Jennifer shrugged. “They could want to make the rest of the executives look like bad eggs too.”
“No, I don’t think so,” Dave put in. “It doesn’t make sense that they’re going to try roped the same man who’s gonna make a press conference this afternoon.”
“Dave is right,” Henry remarked. “They’ve already succeeded in making Paul Edwards look like a member of the Red Wolves. I don’t think they need more of that. Besides, there’s no one else that has a hidden grandson like the former chairman.”
Paul Edwards felt attacked by Henry’s last statement but he felt no need to react since it was the truth.
“They can’t attack in the same way they did to Paul,” Henry continued. “Hutton knows that will help the FOX create a pattern in their investigation. Also, I’m beginning to think that they will plan these attacks simultaneously.”
There was silence for a moment as they all tried to ponder on Henry’s statement.
“You think they will try to ki*ll them all at once?” Samantha questioned.
“Yeah,” he affirmed. “If they go for another executive individually, it will make it obvious that they are being targeted. And that won’t work for Hutton Ryker’s end game. So, his best pattern will be to assassinate them all at the same time.”
“But is that possible?” Paul questioned. “They can’t just murder all six executives at the same time or even at the same day. It’s not that easy to ki*ll a FOX high-ranked officer, talk more of an executive.”
“There you go doubting again, Paul,” Henry stated with his eyes peering right at Paul.
Paul sighed. “Okay, I get it. Maybe it’s possible that Hutton Ryker is planning it to murder them all at once but he’s got to have a damn genius plan to pull that off.”
“Genius plans are not usually difficult. They only include the little details that other people ignore. If we can connect those tiny details, we would be able to determine what he plans to do.”
There was silence at the table for a little while. This time, it took over a minute before someone talked.
“Is it possible for us to identify what these men schedules look like,” Samantha suggested. “If we can check each one’s schedule, we might be able to identify how they’re gonna hit them together.”
“Come on,” Paul scoffed. “A FOX executive’s schedule is as boring as hell. You work on almost every day of the week. And even while on official leave, you could still be called up for work. Their basic movements are to work and back home, except anyone has an important family event to attend. Even at that, they can’t all attend to family events the same day.”
Henry glared again at Paul, wondering why he was sounding so negative. He picked a spoon and began to drum it rhythmically on the table as low as he could, just to keep himself calm.
“You’ve got to realize this, Paul,” he spoke, still looking directly at Paul. “If Hutton Ryker gets to ki*ll any of the executive, the world would take you as the murderer. Your face is currently the one Red Wolves’ face they know.”
“I’m sorry,” Paul apologized in low tones and bowed slightly. He decided not to speak again as he seemed to be pulling back the team instead of helping every time he spoke. He also pondered on Henry’s words and he realized they were true. If anyone’s picture was going to be displayed as a member the Red Wolves, it would be his, especially now that he was still in the news.
“Sam is right,” Henry continued, ignoring Paul’s apology. “But it would be difficult to see the loopholes in their schedule except we have an insider who knows them well. The only insiders I can think of are the junior agents assigned to these FOX executives. But it would be difficult to get information from them.”
Paul’s mind had travelled far even though he was still with them physically. He thought of all the things that would happen if Hutton ends up succeeding with his plans. They may never be able to prove the truth if all the executives were dead. Then, he would be a fugitive forever.
His mind drifted far away from their conversation until a thought struck him. His eyes lit up like he just discovered gold.
“I think I’ve got it,” he interrupted without minding what Henry was saying. All eyes turned to him and he began to explain immediately. “There’s gonna be a kind of secret Armed forces celebration tomorrow night. It’s gonna include the bosses in the military, police, FOX, and many other security agents in the country. There are also going to be some foreign attendees. The President, his Vice, or both of them will also be in attendance. In the last two years, only the Vice President has been in attendance.”
“Uhmmn…Why is this celebration secret?” Henry questioned.
“Because in this meeting, we discuss top secrets. Sometime, very dirty secrets. It’s done without cameras, devices, and no journalist is allowed in. That’s why it receives little publicity. And even when it comes out in the news, it’s gonna be tagged a conference or secret meeting.”
“All the executives will be in this meeting?” Henry asked and Paul nodded. Henry pondered on it for a while before he spoke again. “When did this celebration start? And is it possible that Hutton Ryker knows about it?”
“It started five years ago,” Paul replied. “And no one else is supposed to know about it except the attendees. It’s supposed to be top secret.”
They all remained silent for a few seconds.
“Could he be trying to ki*ll them in there?” Dave questioned. “And how easy would that be? There will be top security agents in the meeting. I wonder how he’s gonna try to pull off assassinations in there.”
Paul looked confused for a moment. It was true that it would be difficult to try to ki*ll five men in a venue with over 80 security men.
“If only invitees are allowed to enter the place, how then is Hutton going to gain access?” Samantha put in. “Or will he try to murder them when they leave the venue?”
Paul heaved a sigh of frustration. “I don’t have answers to all these questions.”
There was another moment of silence.
“These foreign attendees, how are they invited?” Henry broke the silence.
“The Vice President makes contact with other countries and takes the names of delegates,” Paul replied.
“So, the President is not involved in the invitation in anyway?” Henry questioned again.
“I’m not sure he does, but he approves the list after they’ve been made,” Paul replied.
“Is the Vice President and Hutton Ryker connected in anyway?”
“I don’t have an answer to that,” Paul replied.
Henry squinted blankly for a few seconds and then turned to Maxwell. “Max, go find everything you can about the Vice President. Check for any connection between him and Hutton Ryker or Elvis Kahn.”
“Right away,” Maxwell got up immediately and proceeded to the control room.
“I think the rest of us can get busy with other things now, I’ll join Max to dig for info right now,” Henry said as he got up to his feet.
El Deols, Anthanna
Sheila was just stepping out of the shopping mall with two bags on her hands. Two bodyguards were walking behind her.
They were on their way to her car in the garage when she suddenly stopped and turned to the man by her left.
“Can you hold this for me please? I need to use the restroom,” she pleaded with the guard.
The bodyguard frowned and seemed reluctant to take the bags from her.
“It’s not problem,” his partner put in. “You can drop the bags in the car, I’ll walk her to the restroom.”
The guard collected the bag and headed towards the car while Sheila walked to the restroom with the other man.
They got to the door and Sheila stopped as her guard was about entering with her.
“You really want to come in with me?” She frowned at his face.
“I’ll just stay out while you go into one of the compartments,” the guard defended himself.
Sheila paused and peeped into the place. “What about the ladies dressing?”
The guard attempted to peep also but a woman stepped out of the place at that time and gave him a strange look.
“Just hold this for me,” Sheila handed him her phone. “I’ll be back out in no time.”
The bodyguard took in a breath and collected the phone from her. He took some steps back and stood by the wall while she walked in.
He kept on checking his wristwatch while waiting for her. He had no worries as other ladies who got in also took time before stepping out. Then, a lady putting on a niqab approached the door.
His instincts prompted him to search her before allowing her in. But he remembered that he had no right to do so at this particular place. He could only search her body with his eyes and hoped she wasn’t hiding anything under.
Five minutes later, the lady with the niqab stepped out. That was when the bodyguard became alarmed. He checked his time and realized that Sheila had been there for almost eight minutes.
He thought of going in but the thought of the embarrassment he could face from the ladies restrained him for a few seconds.
Then, his partner showed up at that moment. “Isn’t she done yet?”
“It’s almost seven minutes now,” he stared at his wristwatch in horror. “We gotta go in.”
They took out their pistols and walked into the place.
A lady who was half unclad screamed on seeing them and covered her upper half with her hands but they didn’t mind. They began to check the compartments one after the other. Ladies in each one screamed out in fear but the bodyguards did not mind.
After checking the five compartments, they found Sheila in none. That was when they both realized they’d gotten into trouble.
They looked at each other for a second as if to exchange thoughts. Then without saying anything, they began to look around the place for other possible exits. There was no other door and all the windows were intact.
“Damn it! Where could she have gone to just now?” they questioned each other.
Just as they turned to rush out, one of them noticed the lady whom they’d met getting half unclad. Her dress looked exactly like the one Sheila wore. He remembered that he didn’t see anyone wearing a similar dress walking in after Sheila. He turned to the lady, leaving his partner to rush out alone.
“Hey, where the heck did you get this dress from?”
“What?” the lady stared at him, half surprised and half scared.
“Huh?” the guard stuck his nose in the air on getting close to her. He drew his face closer and sniffed in the scent from the dress. It was the same scent as Sheila’s perfume. He was convinced beyond doubts that the dress was Sheila’s.
“Hey, Adrian,” Sheila greeted as she joined him in the front seat of his car. She was clothed in the niqab.
“Hi,” Adrian replied without any expression on his face.
“Can we leave now?” she asked when she noticed he wasn’t making any move.
“Are you sure we should be doing this?” he stared at her face, or rather her eyes which were the only thing he could see behind the veil.
“Come on, Adrian. Trust me, I’m gonna be fine,” she reassured.
“Please, ensure you are,” he stated without enthusiasm and started the car engine. Without saying any other thing, he zoomed out of the place.
“Leave me alone, please leave me alone,” the lady shouted on top of her voice as the bodyguard lifted her on his shoulder and carried her out. It attracted attention from other shoppers and also the security officials of the mall.
“What’s happening here?” one of the officers approached him.
The bodyguard had no choice but to place on her on the ground. He, however, held onto her hand. His partner also came running back to the place immediately, surprised to see his colleague busy with what seemed like something else. But as he looked properly, he also noticed that the lady was putting on Sheila’s dress.
“This man is trying to take me away forcefully,” the lady cried to the security officers.
“We are private bodyguards,” the guy displayed an ID card to the mall’s security officers. “And this lady is putting on the clothes of the lady we’re protecting. She’s got to explain what she did to her.”
“I did nothing to her,” the lady protested. “She only asked me to meet her in the restroom, dressed like a niqab.”
“I don’t understand you,” the mall’s security man complained.
“I dressed into the restroom with a niqab and exchanged it with the lady’s dress,” she explained further.
“I don’t know her,” she added with a frown. “I was paid by someone to come in dressed that way.”
“Who paid you?” the bodyguard asked.
“Another woman I don’t know. She showed me the picture of the one I’m to change the dress with and told me to come to the mall and wait for the signal to get into the restroom.”
“You’re gonna get us to that lady,” the bodyguard tried to drag her along with him.
“I don’t know any of them,” she screamed. “I was only doing what I was paid for.”
The security officials tried to stop the bodyguards from taking her.
“Hey, you gotta let us do take her. This woman just helped in kidnapping the lady we’re protecting,” the bodyguard explained to them.
“Just hold on, we have to follow due measures and hand the case over to the police.”
The FOX Corporation,
“Ready for the press conference?” Tom asked as he stepped into the chairman’s office.
“I don’t even know,” Mensah replied, staring into the mirror as he adjusted his tie. He turned to face Tom. “I’ve got so many to deal with in the past few hours and I’m not so sure I’m ready to face the press.”
“You’ve gotta give them only information from yesterday and act like nothing has happened today,” Tom suggested as he sat in one of the visitor’s seat.
The chairman also returned to his seat. “Have you come up with any solution to the recent complications?”
“No, I haven’t thought of any. But I think I know someone who may be able to help us clear our doubts.”
“And who’s that?”
“Ernest Daysman,” Tom replied. “He gave Steve information regarding the meeting and helped us nab Paul Edwards.”
Mensah thought for a moment before talking again. “But he’s been talking to both Steve and Evelyn until the last time. And if you remember when we used to monitor their interrogations, he preferred to talk to Evelyn.”
“But he changed suddenly,” Tom noted. “He must have seen something in Evelyn that he might help us.”
“Hmmmm… If that’s the case, we can just go and question him now,” Mensah said, picking up his device to get up.
“No, Mr Chairman,” Tom objected. “The press conference is in a few minutes. It’s your first one and it’s important. You should not load yourself with confusing information before going.”
“You’re right. I’ll just hold on until after the conference.”
At the Teams Lodge
“So, we discovered a possibility of Elvis Kahn and the Vice President being friends. The VP’s sister was Kahn’s baby mama and they would have gotten married but she died of cancer not too long after she gave birth to Kahn’s child. Kahn and the VP could have built a relationship then,” Henry explained to the team who were now all sitting in the control room.
“If our assumptions are correct, the VP could be the major financier of the Red Wolves. Recent history shows that he also worked with Dexter Joe and Evans Blake. The end goal is for the VP to take over the presidential seat and then Hutton takes over the FOX.”
“So, are they planning to blow off the celebration venue?” Samantha asked.
“I don’t think so,” Henry replied. “The VP and other dignitaries would be in. So it’s quite unlikely that they will choose to use a bomb. We don’t know how they intend to pull it off yet but we will find out somehow.”
“But I don’t see any reason the VP would want to take the presidential seat forcefully when he can just wait for the right time to contest and win,” Dave opined.
All the other men seemed to agree with him as a few other heads nodded.
“I also did not see reasons…” Henry remarked with a smile. Then he walked towards the large screen and made a signal to Maxwell to project something on the screen. “Until I saw this line in the G63 documents.”
They all stared in suspense. There were huge monetary figures on the screen and they did not seem to understand what it meant.
“Some of you must have seen these figures when you went through Hutton Ryker’s plan documents but did not understand. I didn’t understand these figures until today,” Henry explained and took a brief pause for Maxwell to switch to something else on the screen. “I and Maxwell dug deeper today and connected these funds to some project funds to be carried out by the government. The projects costs have been estimated to be the figures displayed on the screen. The VP is gonna take out the President and these funds will disappear afterwards. We don’t know what they intend to do with the funds. But once the President is dead, there will be no explanation for these funds. So, the VP is not just eying the seat. He’s also eying some cool cash.”
The rest of the team were in awe. Paul, especially wondered how they’d been able to dig so deep and come up with explanations from the tip he gave so quickly. He knew of Carl’s intelligence, so he wasn’t surprised. But he marveled at how Carl had been able to select intelligent people on his team too. He wasn’t sure so many of the men at the FOX IT department could match up with the speed at which Maxwell dug out the needed information.
“Boss, now that we know what they’re doing and why, how do we discover their plans and how do we stop them from killing the executives?” Dave questioned.
“To me, it feels like we might have to also get into the venue to know what’s been planned,” Samantha opined.
“You’re right, Sam,” Henry agreed. “But it won’t be easy to get in. The venue would be the most secure place on earth tomorrow. The only way we can get in is if we go by Paul’s previous suggestion.”
“Tell the new chairman what’s happening? I thought we already concluded that he won’t believe it?” Samantha squinted.
“I’ve thought about it too, I’m not sure he would believe,” Paul supported.
“None of us are going to tell him about it,” Henry replied. “Evelyn will do the job.”
“What?” Dave stared at Henry in surprise. “We just helped Evelyn throw the executives in confusion. They aren’t going to believe a thing from her now. They’re likely to believe something more from Steve.”
“Not if she gives them something accurate,” Henry replied. “Something to show that Steve has been misled.”
They all stared at him, wondering what he was talking about.
To be continued.