2 Hours Later
** At the hotel **
“We’ve got to leave, Chairman,” Mark said to Mensah for the umpteenth time.
Mensah continued to pace around the reception, not being able to believe he would leave the hotel with his team without any reasonable arrest made.
All the guests in the reception had been allowed to return to their rooms at that moment. Those remaining in the reception hall included the two FOX executives, Steve and three other junior FOX officers, the hotel security men, and the hotel manager and two receptionists.
“Chairman,” Mark stopped right in front of Mensah to stop him from pacing. He stared straight into the man’s eyes. “We need to leave now.”
Mensah’s eyes looked fierce due to his frustration and lack of sleep. His body was also weak, but he wasn’t ready to rest yet. Not until he had some answers to all that had happened in the hotel overnight. He tried to walk past Mark’s side but the other executive obstructed his movement again. He stared back into Mark’s eyes.
He clenched his fist and leaned forward to whisper into Mark’s ear. “We have three of our executives dead, not just dead but mutilated. You don’t expect me to just leave without answers.”
Mark was quiet for a while. He understood what Mensah was feeling.
“Sadly, Chairman, there are no answers here. We just need to leave. The day is going to be busy and probably a rough one for us. We need to take a rest, even if it’s for an hour,” Mark opined.
“That rest isn’t going to produce anything for us, Agent Mark.”
“But it will give us mental strength to face what lies for us during the day. Besides, we may get answers when Agent Evelyn gets to the office by morning, but we need to rest to be effective,” Mark suggested.
Mensah’s face lit up slightly on hearing Evelyn’s name mentioned. “Yes, Agent Evelyn!” He exclaimed and turned back slowly, his eyes squinted. He quickly located Steve and walked towards him. “When was the last time you heard from Agent Evelyn?”
“Ermm…” Steve racked his brain. “That should be in the office after she was released. We didn’t talk for long.”
“She hasn’t reached out to you since then?”
Steve shook his head. “I haven’t heard from her.”
Mark stopped behind the Chairman. “You said she called you yesterday,” he said to the chairman.
“Yes, she did,” Mensah turned to him. “She gave me the instruction about the ladies.”
“She might have been here with Carl and his team,” Mark thought aloud. “If we’re patient enough, we should get some answers from her when she reports to the office.”
“You’re right, we need to take a rest now,” Mensah finally agreed. “I suggest we all rest in the FOX facility. We’ll have to resume in the next three hours at most.’
“Those three hours will do a lot for us,” Mark agreed.
Mensah quickly turned and walked to the centre of the reception hall.
“Gentlemen!” He cleared his throat and began in a loud voice. All the people in the reception gave him their attention. “Everything that we discovered here stays with us. We’re not going to be asking any questions or giving any answers to people, is that okay?”
“Yes, sir!” there was a chorused response. The FOX officials’ voices seemed to be the loudest.
Mensah turned towards the reception desk where the manager and two of the receptionist were. He knew he had no problems with the security officers. The ‘civilians’ were the ones who could easily talk about what happened to a third party.
He approached the desk slowly. “Manager, make sure that everything that happens here doesn’t get out.”
The manager nodded frantically.
Mensah turned his eyes to the two ladies. They also nodded quickly.
“No speaking to friends, no speaking to romantic partners, and no speaking to the press,” Mensah warned in addition. “If some of the sensitive information leaks, we will find out who did it and come for you.”
Mensah turned after seeing from their faces that he had been able to create some fear in them.
“In 12 hours, this hotel has to be shut down for investigations,” Mensah announced loudly after getting to the centre of the hall. “We’re only giving these 12 hours to enable customers to check out conveniently. By the way, we will have FOX agents here to keep monitoring the situation.”
Henry stood watching while the Doctor attended to Jennifer in the room. Samantha had also been treated and was sleeping in one corner of the room. Dave and Maxwell were also in the room, sitting at different corners. Maxwell had a phone in his hand and an earpiece stuck in his ear.
“She’s going to be fine,” the doctor announced after he finished attending to her. He turned to face Henry as he took off his hand gloves. “She’s lucky it didn’t hit an organ. The first aid applied also helped to stop her from bleeding severely. She’s gonna get better very soon.”
“Thank you, Doctor Richard,” Henry replied.
The doctor walked to the corner where he kept his bag and returned some of his equipment into it.
“Please, make sure she gets enough rest. It’ll help her recovery process,” the doctor advised and then walked closer to Henry and placed a hand on his shoulder. “You know how to reach me if you need me again, Carl.”
“Thank you,” Henry placed his hand on the man’s palm briefly before letting him walk away.
“She’s fast asleep,” Dave remarked as he joined Henry by Jennifer’s bed.
Henry glanced at him but made no comments. After a few more seconds of silence, Henry turned sharply.
“Gentlemen, the rest of us need to meet right away.”
“Now? Ain’t we moving first?” Maxwell asked after keeping the phone aside.
“We’ll move after we meet briefly,” Henry replied and proceeded slowly towards the door.
“You trust this doctor?” Dave asked him.
Henry stopped and looked at his face. “Yeah, I do. Doctor Richards was my private doctor before I got married.”
“That’s good then,” Dave shrugged and proceeded to the door while Henry changed direction. Maxwell followed Dave.
“Sam,” Henry shook Samantha’s knee gently. She opened her eyes. “We need to have a brief meeting now. You’ll get to sleep later.”
Ten minutes later, they were all gathered in a different room. Samantha, Dave, Evelyn, and Maxwell were seated while Henry stood in front of them.
“We managed to save two of the men,” Henry began. “But our work is far from done yet. Hutton Ryker must already know that we have an idea about G69 and his moves are going to be less predictable henceforth. Even though we saved two of the executives, I’m quite sure that it hasn’t thwarted his takeover plan yet. He’s still gonna make some moves to get to that seat. That moves are what we need to discover now.”
“Why don’t we go back to the documents and see if there’s a plan B in it?” Samantha suggested in a sleepy voice.
“No, Sam. Hutton Ryker won’t follow anything else in the documents,” Henry answered her.
“That means the document is now useless to us,” Samantha yawned.
“No, the document isn’t useless,” Henry corrected. “Hutton is not just going to follow the plans in it anymore. However, the aims of the Red Wolves outlined in the document remains the same.”
“Can he still try to make a move on the surviving executives?” Dave questioned. It sounded more like a suggestion.
“We can’t tell if he is, but he doesn’t need to make moves for their lives anymore. He also knows they’ll be more careful at the moment.”
At that moment, Paul Edwards opened the door of the room. He was holding two bags that contain plates of food for the team.
“I’ve been wondering where you guys were,” he stated. “Have I missed anything?” He dropped the bags aside and proceeded in.
“No, you didn’t miss anything. Please, have your seat quickly,” Henry urged and waited until the man was seated before he continued.
“Currently, Hutton Ryker has achieved his aim in making the FOX look powerless. There are already rumours about the dead executives flying around. Soon, the Chairman will have to confirm it. When he does, the FOX will lose the trust of not just the government and the nation but also of international bodies. The United Nations and Joint International Forces would withdraw their funding.”
“If he’s trying to take over the FOX, why is he going to render the organization powerless first?” Paul Edwards put in.
“Because that his strategy,” Henry noted and walked to the board where he had drawn some charts. “He renders the FOX powerless and makes it look like the organization needs help to come alive. Now, that two executives aren’t dead yet, they’re going to be dismissed by the government. Then the government will have to look for a capable hand to run the organization and that’s where he comes in. That’s his game.”
“So, he’s gonna appear as the Messiah of the FOX?” Dave wondered.
“What if the government doesn’t choose him?” Samantha questioned. “There are many past FOX officials with good records.”
“And that’s the place of the Vice President. The Vice President is more security inclined and he’s gonna be involved in choosing the person to take over.”
“Aren’t we making too many assumptions?” Paul Edwards got up from his seat. “In severe cases like this, the President is going to be heavily involved in the decision making. He’s not going to leave it to the Vice President alone. And since the Vice President was involved in the decision that led to the three executives’ death, the President will find it difficult to let him join the decision.”
“You’re right, Paul. But all these are just theories,” Henry said and circled two of the charts. “The events may not go this way, but the bottom line is that Hutton Ryker wants to get there.”
“Isn’t there something we aren’t factoring in?” Dave noted as he suddenly remembered something. He paused for a moment as if to add some suspense. Everyone had their eyes on him. “The FOX is not just the organization that is targeted for a takeover.”
“Oh, shi*t!” Henry clapped his hand and snapped his fingers in sudden realization. He stepped forward excitedly. “You’re damn right, Dave!”
The others who were yet to understand the situation just watched on. Henry turned and hurried to the board again. He cleaned a section of the board and drew a different line diagram.
“According to the document, there will also be a takeover of the government. And the only person who’s planning to take over the government is the Vice President. This means that the government takeover might just come before the FOX takeover.”
“How’s the Vice President going to take over with the President still on seat?” Samantha asked.
“There are two ways he could take over legally,” Evelyn answered the question. “It could be after the death of the President or if he’s successfully impeached by the house. The latter is very unlikely to happen.”
“Wow!” Paul Edwards exclaimed. “So Hutton plans to murder the President also.”
“That’s right! Our task now is to find out how and when,” Henry put in. “I’m sure that time is not far from now, maybe today, tomorrow, or next week. We must be ready as soon as possible.”
“How do we find out how and when?” Evelyn asked.
“You’re going back to the office today while the rest of us change location,” Henry replied to her. “The rest of us are going to brainstorm after we take a rest. We’re…”
Henry suddenly paused as he noticed that Maxwell had been absent-minded. He seemed to be busy with a phone by his side.
“Boss,” Maxwell was startled at the mention of his name, making it obvious to all that he wasn’t listening. He could see that all eyes were on him and he knew that he’d been noticed.
“This is not the time to get distracted, Max. What the heck are you doing?”
“I’m sorry,” Maxwell apologized.
“F*** the sorry! What the heck is getting you distracted?” Henry asked.
Maxwell sighed and shook his head, not willing to talk.
“Get up!” Henry ordered and Maxwell got up immediately. “I’m gonna ask you for the last time, Max. What is getting you distracted?”
Maxwell reluctantly took out the phone and waved it before returning it.
Henry squinted at him, yet to grasp what message he was trying to pass with the gesture.
“That’s the phone I used for the DIA club mission,” Maxwell explained.
“And what the heck are you still doing with the phone?”
“I’m sorry, I should have discarded it but I thought I still needed to keep in touch with her.”
“Damn!” Henry closed his eyes and ran his fingers through his hair, trying to contain his anger. “I’ve talked to you all several times about getting your emotions involved in our tasks. It’s stupid and it puts all of us in danger, not just you. We can’t…”
“She’s in trouble because of the task,” Maxwell interrupted. Henry went quiet to listen to him. “She’s been voice notes for a long time but the recent ones suggest that Hutton Ryker discovered that we got in through her and he’s in search for her. I’ve tried to reach her since I listened to that but she’s unreachable. I went deeper and found out she’s been missing for two days. Not just her, but her daughter and mother. I can’t tell if Hutton Ryker has executed all three of them yet or not or if he’s still keeping them alive somewhere. I’m sorry but I’m not so sure I can concentrate if they die because of me.”
A sigh escaped Henry’s lips as his shoulder dropped.
“I don’t think we should bother ourselves with this right now,” Paul got up. “It’s an unnecessary distraction. The person you’re talking about could have been dead anyway. Why don’t we just focus on saving the government, the nation, and the FOX? That’s a greater cause and we shouldn’t get distracted for just one person.”
There was total silence for about a minute.
“You’ll get punished for disregarding the instructions later,” Henry finally spoke. “But we’d have to find out if she’s alive or not. If she is, we must keep her and her family safe.”
Maxwell heaved a sigh of relief on hearing Henry’s verdict.
“What the f***!” Paul exclaimed. “Car…Henry! We’re going to get distracted this way. Focusing on things that do not matter will disrupt our plans.”
“This is not the FOX, Paul!” Henry slammed at him. “Here, every life matters to us. We don’t use and dump people.”
Paul sighed resignedly. He knew there was nothing he could do to change Henry’s mind.
“We won’t get distracted, but we’re also going to find Emily if we can,” Henry reiterated.
“Hello, Maria,” Agent Michael called in a calm voice.
Maria turned immediately and gasped. “Agent Michael! I’ve been waiting here for a long time.”
“I know,” Michael replied, unbothered. “I had to ensure that I’m not seen coming here.”
“What’s happening? I saw the Chairman and Agent Mark this morning. I thought they were supposed to be dead.”
“Yea, they should be dead but they’re alive because something went wrong,” Michael replied.
Maria shook her head in disbelief. “What the f*** went wrong? I will be in deep trouble if they ever get to find out that I’ve been involved in all these.”
“So as I,” Michael stated. “That’s why we must do everything to ensure that that they do not find out.”
Maria went quiet for a while.
“Now that they aren’t dead, what happens next?”
“Nothing changes,” Michael shook his head. “We continue to do what we’re supposed to do. Three of the executives are dead already, Mensah and Mark won’t stop our aim from being achieved.”
“There’s no proof that the executives died, there are only rumours on the internet.”
“Have you seen the three agents today?” Michael asked.
“No,” she shook her head. “But I don’t see them daily, so it’s not proof that they’re dead. Besides, the Chairman is yet to confirm their deaths.”
“He will confirm them soon and that will also be the confirmation of his downfall,” Michael replied confidently.
“So, I’ll just have to sit and wait without doing anything?”
“No, you won’t have to just sit and wait. There’s something for you to do.”
“We need you to gain access into the police directory. You can do that, right?” Michael asked.
“I can,” she frowned. “But it has to be with the permission of the Chairman. And he only gives the permission when we have a good reason to access the database.”
“Does he have to know that you accessed it?”
She went silent for a few seconds and then shook her head.
“Good, so you’re gonna do it without letting him know.”
“What do you need from the database?”
“The manager of the popular DIA Club in Benuit is currently in the police custody. She’s being kept in a safe house with her family. We need to find that safe house.”
“I may not be able to find that safe house,” she frowned.
“Just get us the details of the officer in charge of the safe house. Can you do that?”
“Yes, sure. I can do that.”
09: 34 AM
“Is Evelyn here yet?” Mensah asked as he walked into the room where the other officers were. He had just woken up after two hours of sleep. He took a few seconds to clean his face and brush his mouth before coming to join the others.
“No, she’s not here yet,” Steve answered him. Mark and other officers in Steve’s team were also seated in the hall.
Mensah sank into one of the swivels and leaned back comfortably. He closed his eyes and let out a deep breath.
“The press has been calling the office for hours, should we keep ignoring them?” one of the junior officers asked.
Mensah fixed his eyes on the man. “We need to see Evelyn first. Until we see her, we aren’t saying anything to the press or anyone about the situation.”
“The bodies of the executives have been deposited for examinations,” Agent Mark put in. “The President has also called the office to speak to you.”
“What did you say to him?” Mensah asked.
“What else?” Mark shrugged. “I told him that I wasn’t authorized to give out the information he needed. He was angry but couldn’t do anything. He asked that you get back to him in one hour at most but it’s already more than an hour.
Mensah sighed again and leaned his head backwards. “We need to get in touch with Evelyn as soon as possible. Has anyone called her?”
“Yes,” Steve replied. “She’s not answering her calls. I’ve dropped voice notes for her but she’s yet to open any of them.”
Mensah closed his eyes again and an idea popped up in his mind instantly. “Can’t we try to find her location?” He suggested, looking at Mark and then turning his eyes to Steve. “Have you tried that?”
“Yes, we have. According to the results, she’s in Portugal,” Steve answered.
“Huh? But that’s impossible. The line wouldn’t connect if she’s out of the country.”
“Yes, Maria explained that she’s in a location where a virtual environment has been set up. That virtual environment is hosted in Portugal,” Steve explained.
“And why the heck can’t we find who hosting the environment in Portugal?”
“There are thousands of virtual environments set up on that server. It’s impossible to find which one to trace.”
Mensah let out a sigh.
“I think we should just hold on a bit, she might just be trying to rest like all of us,” Mark suggested.
“She’s trying to rest? She left the office earlier than all of us here yesterday. I’m aware she wasn’t called up to join the backup yesterday. Or did you have her on your team?”
“No, she wasn’t with us,” Steve shook his head. “I thought she needed to rest after her ordeal in the cell.”
“Maybe we didn’t call her up, but she could have been there after all,” Mark opined.
“What are you talking about?” Mensah questioned him.
“The men she worked with were there yesterday,” Mark answered. “That means she could have been there too but we didn’t see her.”
“You’re right,” Mensah squinted thoughtfully. “But that still isn’t enough excuse for her to report late. She wasn’t on an official assignment.”
The door to the hall opened at that moment and Agent Michael walked in. All attention turned to him.
“Good morning, gentlemen. I heard about the unfortunate incident yesterday and it’s a real pity that we could lose our men in such a way. Do we have any leads yet?”
“No, we don’t have any leads yet,” Mensah replied. “But we’ve been expecting to see you. Maybe you could tell us something you know.”
“Something I know?” Michael squinted at Mensah’s face. “I heard the news this morning and confirmed from a junior agent when I got to the corporation. What kind of information could I have?”
“You were supposed to be at the event, Agent Michael.”
“I missed it because I was unwell and you all know I’ve been on treatment since I escaped the abductors,” Michael said in defence.
There was silence for a while.
“Wait, are you guys suggesting that I had something to do with this?”
To be continued.