RESTLESS : The Hunt For Peace Episode 223

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“Can I have your keys?”

The moment Maxwell dreaded finally came. He had the keys in his pocket but pretended not to hear the agent standing in front of him.

“Can I have your keys?” the FOX agent reiterated but Maxwell stood firmly without responding.

“We’ve got someone resisting here?” The FOX agent announced loudly.

All eyes turned to Maxwell and he instantly knew he was in trouble. His heart began to beat so fast. He had no idea how he was going to get out of this.

“What the f*** is wrong with you, man?” Another masked FOX agent approached him. “Hand the keys to me now.”

Maxwell quickly took out the key and placed it in the new agent’s palm.

“I’ll handle it,” the new agent said to the previous one and glanced at Maxwell’s face before walking away.

Maxwell heaved a sigh of relief as the attention on him reduced. The new agent that intervened was Dave. Maxwell recognized him with his voice.

“There are ninety-one booked rooms but we have only gotten eighty-six keys,” Mensah announced two minutes later after the agents had finished collecting the keys.

All the agents with the keys were standing on a side while the hotel guests were on the opposite side.

Mensah turned to talk to the hotel manager but saw Mark walking towards him.

“Mr Chairman, we have all the guests from the party right here among the guests. The only ones missing here are our colleagues,” Mark said to him with a serious look on his face.

That was when the realization hit Mensah. He had been too busy focusing on finding Carl and his men that he forgot his men. Were they really dead like Carl had claimed?

“The five missing keys belong to us and our three partners. You have to call the Vice President, and find out what rooms were assigned to our men,” Mark suggested.

“I think we can find out from the manager here,” Mensah stated and walked towards the manager at the counter. The man was still trying to gather the keys to the unbooked rooms. “Can I get a list of all the rooms booked for the attendees of the events hosted in your hall today?”

“Sir… That event was top secret. I don’t even know who the attendees were,” the manager stammered.

“Give me the list, idiot,” Mensah cursed.

“Sir, the event was hosted by top security agents. I signed an agreement that I will never…”

Mensah grabbed the man by the neck angrily. “Who the heck do you think I am, man? Do I look like a junior security agent to you?” he barked before releasing his neck. “Get me the damn list right now.”

The manager took a few seconds to cough before putting the keys aside to get the list.

Mark on seeing that Mensah was busy with the manager quickly excused himself. He walked towards the place where the guests were standing and began to search the faces with his eyes.

He saw some of the attendees of the event among the guests, including both the foreign and national delegates. They also could recognize him but remain quiet like every other hotel guest. After looking around for a minute, Mark finally found the face he was looking for.

Maxwell’s heart skipped a beat as the man’s eyes landed on him. He became even more scared as Mark proceeded towards him.

“You mother****er!” Mark cursed as he grabbed him by the neck and moved him aside away from the other guests and other security officers. “Why the heck did you have to cause trouble before handing us the key?”

“I’m…sorry…” Maxwell struggled to speak with the man’s hand tightened around his neck.

Mark released the grip around his neck and took his mouth close to his ear.

“I know you work with Carl and the agent you gave the key to was one of your men. I could read the expression on your face,” Mark whispered. “Tell me what room he is.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about sir,” Maxwell denied, loudly.

“Shh…” Mark hushed him. “That girl has a bullet in her belly and she’ll die soon if she doesn’t get the right treatment. I’m gonna help Carl get out if you let me know the room.”

“I’m sorry, but you’ve got the wrong person,” Maxwell replied, this time in low tones.

Mark stared at his face for a moment before tightening his neck and taking his lips close to his ear again.

“Chairman Mensah isn’t going to stop until he combs everywhere. The bullet will ki*ll your friend before the place is clear for Carl to leave. I can get them to leave in time. You have to trust me,” Mark said into his ears again before releasing his neck.

Maxwell coughed and tried to catch his breath. He wasn’t sure if he could trust this man but it seemed like the only possible way to get Jennifer out of the place quickly.

He pondered on the thought for a moment until he saw a masked FOX agent walking closer to them. Giving the information to Mark could be the only way to save Jennifer but it could also be a way to get the whole team f***ed up. He was confused.

“You need to tell me right now,” Mark urged.

Maxwell realized he could lose the opportunity if the masked agent got to them. “Room 4E,” he finally muttered.

Mark stepped back quickly. “Take out everything in your pocket,” he ordered.

“Agent Mark,” the masked agent called as he got closer. He took off his face shield to reveal his face. “Do you suspect him?”

“Steve,” Mark glanced at him and then refocused on Maxwell. There was nothing in Maxwell’s pocket. “You can go,” he said before turning back to Steve. “He was the stubborn one. He was only resisting because he had condoms littered around his room,” Mark raised his voice, enough for everyone to hear. He needed Maxwell to hear it so as not to give a different story when asked by another agent.

Steve chuckled. “I can’t find the other executives here, sir. Or did they leave after the party?” He asked in a low voice, enough for only Mark to hear.

“Agent Evelyn was right all along,” Mark replied. “The other agents must be dead already.”

“What?” A frown appeared on Steve’s face. “How the f*** did that happen?”

“I don’t know the full story yet,” Mark whispered back to him. “But Evelyn was right about Hutton Ryker trying to wipe out all the executives,” he added before his eyes moved to the Chairman who was walking back to the centre again. He had a paper in his hand which Mark guessed to be the list with the room numbers.

“Agents,” Mensah said to the FOX men with the keys. “Please step out if you have the keys to the following rooms.”

The man mentioned twenty-nine room numbers and fourteen agents stepped out. Most of them had more than one keys with them. No one had the keys to five out of the rooms he called.

Mensah turned to look for Mark and found him already approaching with Steve. He waited for them to get close enough. “I think we found the three rooms the other executive agents were. I think the three of us should go check those rooms.”

“To confirm their deaths?” Mark raised a brow. “I’ll rather take another assignment sir. I think I’ve had enough to deal with for today. It will be difficult for me to stand and watch my dead colleagues.”

“We can’t be so sure they’re dead already,” Mensah claimed. “There’s no proof.”

“Of course, there’s proof,” Mark retorted. “The proof is that the two of us are alive after facing death today. The sad part is that we’re hunting those who saved us when we should be going for those that that killed our colleagues.”

“And that’s the reason we need to get Carl and his men, they’re the only ones who can help us find these people who tried to ki*ll us,” Mensah insisted.

“Don’t you think Carl also wants to find these people?” Mark questioned.

Mensah was silent for a while. “I know he wants to ki*ll them but he’s unwilling to work with the FOX. We gotta get him to do it our way.”

“How far has our way got us, Chairman? Following our way almost got us all killed here tonight. Don’t you think we should follow his way or let him continue?”

Mensah gasped. “We will be functioning illegally that way.”

“Ermm…Sirs, I really don’t understand what you’re talking about,” Steve interrupted. “And I think we’re taking so much time. Whoever we are looking for may be escaping already.”

Mensah heaved a sigh and took a step back. He redirected his gaze from Mark to Steve. “You’ll come with me, Agent Steve. Agent Mark will coordinate the other activities.”

Mensah then turned to the men with the other keys. “It’s time to start the search. The priority is to bring them alive. I repeat, our priority is to bring them in alive and unhurt. But if by any chance, you need to defend yourself. Don’t hesitate to use your guns.”

Mensah glanced at Mark once more before he walked away.

___

15 Minutes Later

Jennifer was now conscious again after Henry finished applying the first aid treatment and forcefully made her drink some pain relievers. He placed her in the bed where she lay quietly.

She could see that they were still in the hotel room and was wondering why they hadn’t left yet. She managed to refrain from asking questions and decided to use her strength to rest and hope for survival. Henry was sitting on Maxwell’s space, running some other operations.

“How long can I survive like this?” Jennifer finally asked. She could no longer hold herself.

Henry turned and narrowed his gaze on her face. “Are you in pain?”

“Yeah,” she gasped. “So much discomfort,” she added and tried to readjust herself in the bed.

“No, don’t move,” Henry got up quickly and walked to the bed to help her. “The wound could tear up if you move your body carelessly. You have to hold on for now until we get better treatment.”

He placed his hand on her forehead to feel her temperature.

“The pain killers should help you for now…” he was saying when they began to hear some sounds from the hallway.

He quickly returned to the table to pick his gun.

“I need you to close your eyes like you’re fast asleep,” he whispered to Jennifer and then covered her body with the blanket. She obeyed the instruction.

Henry walked slowly to the door and stayed behind it. Soon, he heard sounds at the doorstep. A key was inserted from behind the door. He kept his eyes on the lock as the key turned. It clicked twice and was pushed open slightly.

A masked FOX official stepped into the room and closed the door. He p

“Henry,” Dave called as soon as he closed the door. His eyes searched around the room in two seconds before he turned and found Henry behind the door. “It’s me,” he gasped.

“Yeah, I know it’s you,” Henry lowered his gun.

Dave locked the door before taking off his face shield. He then walked on to Jennifer. He dropped the shield on the bed and crawled to the middle where Jennifer was. She opened her eyes.

“Jenny, how are you feeling?” he reached for her hand.

“I’ve been better,” she tried to put on a smile.

“Be strong, we’ll get you out of here,” Dave promised, even though he had no idea how to fulfil it.

“What’s going on out there?” Henry asked. “They disconnected the cameras, so I can barely see anything.”

“Chairman Mensah is ordering a full search. He wants every area combed,” Dave got up from the bed and faced Henry. “I don’t think he’s gonna stop until he’s sure all the rooms are empty. We may have to find another way to get her out of here.”

Henry heaved a sigh of frustration. “Are there any exits that aren’t manned by FOX officials?”

Dave shook his head sadly. “There are FOX men everywhere, stationed at all exits.”

“Are Sam and Evelyn also searching?”

“Evelyn is, but Sam is one of those with the hostages downstairs.”

“We might need her to leave there and check for the exit point that has the most vulnerable team,” Henry stated and turned to use the communicator on the table.

At that moment, the knob of the door moved, alerting that someone was trying to open it from behind. Dave and Henry exchanged glances. Jennifer also saw what happened.

Dave quickly picked his face shield and put it on. He made a signal to Henry before proceeding to the door.

“If you people have to leave without me, please leave,” Jennifer spoke up.

“Shhh…” Henry placed his hand on his finger to hush her.

“You should leave, boss. Or else, we might bring down the whole team and the Red Wolves may succeed,” Jennifer said again.

Henry hushed her again and then used the blanket to cover her face before hiding the table.

Dave got to the door and unlocked it. He opened it slightly and stepped out to meet Mark outside the room.

“I just checked the room now, it’s clear,” Dave said to Mark as he closed the door.

“I need to get in,” Mark stated.

“I checked it already, sir.”

“I’m here to help you,” Mark said and stared directly at the face shield. “I know you’re not a FOX official. Let me get in and help you save your dying friend.”

Dave let out a breath. He wasn’t sure whether or not he could trust this man. But the thing he was sure of was that Mark was determined to get in and not giving way could even cause a greater problem.

He finally opened the door and let the executive in before following. He locked the door again.

“Where’s she?” Mark asked before noticing the bed. “Where’s Carl?” He turned to Dave.

“There,” Dave pointed at Henry as he stepped out from behind the table.

“Carl, I’m here to help you get out of here,” Mark proceeded towards him. “What was your plan to leave before she was shut?”

Henry stared at his face for a while, wondering if he could trust him. “Why would you help us get out? Your colleague is trying to get us arrested.”

“If she wasn’t dying, I probably would have wanted to get you people arrested too. But she’s dying because she came to stop me from getting killed. It could have been me with the bullet in my body already on my way to heaven.”

Henry finally heaved a sigh. He could see the conviction in Mark’s eyes. “We have FOX uniforms with face shields for everyone. We planned to get out disguised as the FOX.”

“So, you knew the FOX was going to get in?” Mark asked.

Henry nodded in affirmation.

“I guess she isn’t in the form to put on the uniform now,” Mark said, looking at the person in the bed.

“Yes, I think the bullet could have hit an organ. She can’t walk out of here herself,” Henry replied.

“What if you dress in the uniform and carry her out?” Mark suggested.

“We have FOX men at every exit of this hotel. There’s no way I can walk past them with an injured person.”

“I’ll help you clear an exit point,” Mark offered. “You just have to move her out immediately this place is cleared.”

“That’s a great idea!” Henry exclaimed and then proceeded to the wardrobe to take out his FOX shirt and the face shield.

“There’s a problem,” Mark suddenly mentioned, startling all of them. Dave and Henry stared eagerly at him. Even Jennifer had taken the blanket off her face to look at him. “How do I let you know the exit I cleared?”

Henry huffed and dropped the items on his hand to the bed quickly. He detached the device on his belt and the earpiece in his ears. He set the device to connect to Dave’s station before walking up to Mark.

“Here’s our communicator,” he began to attach the device to the man’s body. “Once you’ve cleared it, you turn on your earpiece and let us know.”

___

2 Hours Later

Florence Brown was sitting down in a chair while a doctor was treating the wound at the back of her head when Kahn and Hutton walked into the room.

“Excuse us, Doc,” Hutton said to the man as they approached.

“Can you give me a minute, I just…”

“Get out!” Kahn shouted impatiently at the doctor who was trying to plead for more time.

“I’ll call you when we’re done,” Florence Brown said to the doctor before he packed his things and hurried out.

“How many of them did you ki*ll?” Hutton asked.

“None,” she said and got up from the chair, rubbing the back of her head with a warm napkin. She dropped some things in the dustbin at the entrance of the room before turning back. “I’m not sure any of them died.”

“Why?” Hutton frowned. “You didn’t ki*ll any of the executives or Carl’s men?”

“I shot two of Carl’s men, one in the belly and the other in the arm. The one who got the bullet in the arm is gonna survive. I’m not sure about the one with the bullet in her belly. I couldn’t finish her with one more bullet.”

“What the f*** then did you achieve in that place?” Hutton snapped.

“Nothing, absolutely nothing!” Florence fired back boldly. “You sent me with two incapable men who were killed easily and left me to battle with five people alone. Besides, your f***ing backup did not create the distraction at the gate like you said they would.”

“Damn!” Kahn cursed as he dropped into the chair. “So, we stayed awake all night just to monitor a completely failed mission.”

“It’s not a failed mission, Kahn,” Hutton corrected him. “I think it’s as successful as we want it to be. Even more successful than we planned.”

“What the f*** do you mean?” Kahn barked at him. “We didn’t get our desired outcomes but you trying to come up with another theory to justify the failure of the mission. Paul Edwards is still alive as well as Mensah and Mark.”

“And whose fault is that? You gonna blame me for everything now?” Hutton fired back at him.

“Who the f*** am I supposed to blame?” Kahn got up from the chair and faced him squarely. They stood, staring fiercely into each other’s eyes. “You’re always f***ing rigid and unwilling to be flexible with your strategies. Who else do I blame if not for the one with the failed strategies?”

“At least I’ve got strategies to apply. I’m not a dumbhead who lost the book containing all the plans to Carl Winston. If Carl never got that book, we will have never had this problem.”

“It’s okay, gentlemen,” Florence stood in front of them. “I’m not so sure we’re going to make any progress with the two of you going against each other.”

Hutton was the first to back off. He took out a cigar from his pocket and lit it. Kahn returned to the seat, still fuming.

“We’re on the right track,” Hutton said after taking the first puff. “We’re in a better position than we ever wanted to be. It’s now time to launch our final moves to take over.”

“Can you explain this better position?” Florence Brown questioned.

“We’ve destabilized the FOX, even though not all the executives died,” Hutton began to explain. “In two or three hours, the news of how three executives died shamelessly will make the headlines. The president will call the FOX leadership for a meeting which will result in a suspension for them. The FOX is no longer a problem for us.”

“The FOX has never been a problem for us,” Kahn stated. “It’s f***ing Carl Winston that we’ve been unable to deal with.”

Hutton looked at Kahn but patiently took a drag in and exhaled before he replied. “Carl has f***ing got enough distractions at the moment. His team will be currently busy trying to save their dying member at the moment but will be totally destabilized by Rex soon. Our men are out there looking for Sheila Jack. If they get her soon enough, it will be another distraction from Carl. There’s absolutely no escape route for him.

tbc