Unedited – There might be so many errors in this piece
“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?”
“Not yet, Agent Mike,” Mensah replied. “We ain’t accusing you of being involved yet. We just want to consider all possibilities. And you know that’s what we do here at the FOX?”
“And you think it’s a possibility I knew someone was going to try ki*ll you people?”
“No,” Agent Mark stated boldly and moved closer to Michael. “Consider it this way, Agent Michael. You were kidnapped by member of the Red Wolves and were lucky to escape. They held you for a couple of hours before you escaped. Maybe you could have heard or seen something that gave you a premonition.”
Michael squinted at Mark’s face for a while. He could tell that the question was being twisted to make him give an answer that he wasn’t supposed to.
“No,” he finally replied, shaking his head. “The only reason I wasn’t at the party was the illness. And I have proof from the doctor.”
“That’s fine, Agent Michael,” Mensah put in. “But we’ll need you to go through the data we have and check if there’s something you can help us with.”
“That won’t be a problem,” Michael remarked.
Evelyn got to the FOX office thirty minutes later. She was led into the investigation room by Steve. Agent Mark was the only one left in the room when they got in.
“Good morning, Agent Mark,” she saluted the executive.
“Good morning,” Mark gasped, slowly taking off his attention from the files on his table to her face. “You’re finally here.”Mark paused to take out his phone. “The Chairman has been waiting to see you, I’ll just call him to join us now.”
Mark dialed the number and informed Mensah of Evelyn’s arrival. He returned the phone into his pocket and then got up from his seat. He walked slowly towards Evelyn and stopped right in front of her.
“Did she survive it?” he whispered to her.
Evelyn did not reply immediately but instead took a glance towards Steve who had his eyes fixed on them. She turned back to Mark and nodded in affirmation.
Mark nodded back in response. “So for how long have you known more than we do?” He asked with a chuckle.
Evelyn glanced at Steve again. He looked anxious to know what they were talking about.
“Not for so long,” she finally answered the executive.
Mark did not look satisfied with her answer and it was obvious to Evelyn, but she wasn’t willing to start talking about how she met with Carl again.
Luckily, Mensah walked into the room at that moment.
“Agent Evelyn, where the heck have you been?” Mensah asked as he walked to take a seat. Mark also walked back to the stool he was previously seated on.
“Good morning sir,” Evelyn saluted. “I resumed about thirty minutes ago.”
“I know you just resumed,” Mensah cleared his throat. “My question is; why did you just resume?”
“Fatigue,” Evelyn answered dryly. “The doctor recommended I rested well after taking the medicines.”
Mensah’s eyebrows gathered together immediately. He was so sure she was lying.
“It’s true, I checked the doctor’s recommendation,” Steve corroborated the story.
Mensah placed his gaze on Steve’s face for a while before turning to Evelyn again.
“So, where is Carl right now?”
“I don’t know,” Evelyn replied sharply.
“Come on, Evelyn. Stop playing games with me. I’m sure you know his location and you’re going to give it to me,” Mensah insisted.
“I don’t know, that’s the truth. But even if I know, I wouldn’t tell you,” Evelyn fired at him. “He f***ing saved your a$$ and you tried to get one of his men killed.”
Mensah jumped up from the stool and charged towards her, infuriated by her reply. He grabbed her by the neck and pushed her to the wall. She didn’t resist.
“You don’t talk to me like that, you little p***y!” He barked. “Now, you’re gonna tell me where to find Carl Winston or I’ll throw your sorry a$$ into the jail right now and won’t f**king give a heck about who tries to ki*ll you.”
“I…don’t… know…where…he is,” she muffled.
“Let her go, Agent Mensah,” Mark stood beside them to advise the chairman.
Mensah eventually released his grip from her neck.
“She’s gonna rot in prison for hiding valuable information from the FOX,” Mensah threatened, looking at Mark.
Mark pulled him by the arm and dragged him aside to talk to him. “Trying to force out information from her won’t work, Chairman. She just saved our lives. I think we should listen to her and work with her terms.”
“I’m not going to be subject to her demands, Mark,” Mensah stated adamantly.
“We’ve got no choice here, do we?”
“Yeah, we do. Everyone bends to pressure, she’s gonna bend,” he seemed confident.
“But I think…”
Mensah did not wait for Mark to land before he turned back and walked to Evelyn.
“Something f***ing tells me that you guys were a part of the plan. Maybe your team set the whole thing up just to penetrate the FOX,” Mensah accused her.
“Carl can get enough penetration into the FOX without having to ki*ll any of your men,” Evelyn replied. “Cal has no interest in the FOX. He just wants to save lives.”
“Then, tell him to f***ing submit and work with us,” Mensah barked.
“Chairman, let’s listen to her first,” Mark placed a shoulder on Mensah’s shoulder but he wriggled it off angrily.
“Agent Mark, you’re not the one under pressure here. The President is waiting for an explanation from me and the world is waiting for a press conference to clear the air,” Mensah snapped at Mensah before turning to Evelyn again. “She’s gonna f***ing tell me where to find Carl Winston. That’s the only way I have answers to give.”
“If I knew Carl’s location, do you think he would allow me come to you?” Evelyn stated, startling the two executives. “You tried to keep him in the hotel when someone on his team was dying. He knows you’re damn desperate to get him instead of listening to him. He’s not stupid to let me come here with that information when he knows you’ll try to force it out of me.”
Mensah heaved a sigh. He realized truly that he needed to change his approach if he wanted to get any help from Evelyn.
“I’m still in the dark here,” Steve stepped closer to them. “Why is Carl Winston’s name being brought up? It’s not even in the written reports.”
Steve looked at each three’s face and no one seemed to be ready to reply him.
“What Carl Winston are we talking about?” He finally faced Evelyn, hoping she could answer that at least since that wasn’t a secret.
At that moment, Mensah brought out a ringing phone from his pocket. “Sh*t!” he cursed after seeing the caller’s ID on the screen. “The President is calling again. What do I say to him?”
“Just tell him the truth,” Evelyn answered.
“What?” Mensah huffed. “Does that include the truth about Carl Winston?”
“Yeah, if you have to,” Evelyn shrugged.
Mensah stared at her in disbelief for some seconds before stepping aside to answer the call.
“Good morning, Your Excellency,” he greeted and paused for a few seconds to listen to the President. “Please, Mr President. I’m trying to make some things clearer at the moment. Will you give me fifteen minutes to get done and give you a complete report of the situation?” He paused for a few more seconds again. “Okay,” he added before ending the call and walking back to join the rest. “I have to give him a report in the next fourteen minutes and fifty one seconds,” he said looking at his wristwatch.
“I told you what to say already,” Evelyn insisted. “Only the truth will help you now.”
“I can’t tell him the truth without proof,” Mensah gasped. “How could I tell him that Carl Winston showed up from the dead and saved us? I’ve got no explanations to how Carl survived because he told me nothing. Or how would I explain to him that someone is trying to take over the FOX and has killed three of our executives already? Doesn’t that make me look confused and clueless? He’s never going to understand anything I say.”
“You’ll look confused to him, but not clueless. You have the clues of what’s happening and that’s better than not knowing anything,” Evelyn replied.
“That’s f***ing not going to work with the President,” Mensah argued. “He’s gonna want specific answers and action points. He’s not just going to take stories without explanation from me.”
“Trust me, Chairman. Telling him the truth will eventually work for you,” Evelyn insisted.
“Not so sure it would,” Mensah argued. “Am I going to spill all that nonsense to the Press too? I’m gonna have to talk with the journalists in less than forty minutes. I’ve gotta figure out something to say.”
“We don’t have any other options that will work, Chairman. Telling the truth will only make you look confused for a moment, but it’s gonna keep you transparent. That’s the only option we have.”
“I don’t think so,” Mensah disagreed. He turned to Mark, expecting to hear his opinion, but even Mark was confused. “We need to find something tangible to give the President and the Press.”
Mensah and Mark turned away to think. The place was totally silent for a while.
Steve took the opportunity to move closer to Evelyn. “What the f*** are you guy saying about Carl Winston? How can he be alive?”
“He’s alive,” Evelyn whispered back to him. “He escaped death from the Red Wolves and he’s been back hunting for them. Some of the anonymous tips we received in the FOX were from him. That was before he showed up to me.”
Steve looked bedazzled. He never worked closely with Carl Winston but knew and admired him like every other junior FOX agent. The closest he had been to Carl Winston was during his training when Carl took he and other trainees on a special training session.
“Why the heck didn’t you tell me all these?” Steve continued in low tones.
“Because he wanted it that way,” Evelyn replied. “He was in that building you traced me to and brought men to raid.”
Steve gasped. “Did chairman Paul Edwards know about this?”
“Yes, he did but he was as stubborn as Chairman Mensah is.”
“Did you…” Steve was about to ask a question when Mark and Mensah began to walk out of the room.
“Sir, what are you gonna tell the President and the Press?” Evelyn ran after them.
“We’re telling them some of the truth?” Mensah stopped to answer her.
“Some?” Evelyn arched her brows.
“Yeah, some,” Mensah reiterated. “We have to tell them that we are in control. The President knows about the secret party, so I’m gonna tell him the truth, except the part of Carl. For the Press, I will have to tell them that the three executives were killed on a secret mission. They can’t know about the secret meeting.”
“Three executives died in a secret mission makes it look like it failed.”
“No, they did not fail. They traced the Red Wolves to the hotel only to discover that there were more members there. They chose to continue the secret investigation to uncover secrets and they gave their lives for it. They died as heros. ” Mensah replied.
“And what if you’re asked about what they uncovered?”
“No one is going to ask me that. It’s supposed to be a secret. Telling them that keeps us in control of the situation.”
“No, it only makes it look like we’re in control when we’re not even close,” Evelyn disagreed.
“That’s what you think, Evelyn. As long as the story helps us buy time to get more answers, then it’s good,” Mensah concluded and walked out immediately.
** At the Teams Place **
Thirty minutes later
“Guys,” Dave stood at the entrance of the computer room where Henry, Maxwell, and Samantha were. They all turned to look at him. “The FOX Chairman is giving a press release. You might want to see this.”
Henry got up immediately and followed Dave. Samantha also followed. Maxwell waited to save his work on the computer before heading out.
Paul Edwards was sitting in the living room, already watching the Press release.
“Damn! Why the f*** is he making up stories?” Henry cursed as the broadcast drew to a close.
“I think he came up with the best answers to save his job and save the FOX from ridicule,” Paul Edwards defended him.
“But this could cause him more ridicule if he has to change his story next time,” Henry replied.
“He might not have to change his story, he’ll just need to hide the fact that a third party which is us were involved yesternight.”
“I just think that the Chairman is trying to protect the other event attendees and the government by hiding information concerning the secret meeting,” Dave put in. “If the world finds out that three FOX executives died in a meeting of security officers, it’s gonna cause some panic and distrust in the FOX and the other security agencies involved.”
“You got that right, Dave!” Paul remarked.
“The death of the three executives is enough to make the world lose trust in the FOX,” Henry disagreed. “The only way to get back the trust is the action that follows.”
“Can we talk about Emily now?” Maxwell put in. “No discussion we have can change the FOX Chairman’s statements. But we can take actions to save Emily.”
“Young man, you just told us that your girlfriend is in police protection,” Paul scoffed. “Do you want us to join the police officers protect her wherever she is.”
Maxwell stared at Paul fiercely for a second before taking his eyes of him. “We all know that it’s dangerous to keep her there. Hutton Ryker may get to her. The police won’t be able to withstand the Red Wolves attack.”
“We need to find where she’s being held before we know what to do,” Henry replied.
“And how do we do that?” Maxwell questioned.
Henry was quiet for a while before turning his focus to Paul. “You can help us find out, right?”
“Me?” Paul gathered his eyebrows together. “How can I do that?”
“You should have a connection in the police that can give us the information.”
“You seem to have forgotten that I’m no more a FOX officer,” Paul chuckled. “I’m currently a wanted Red Wolves member.”
“So you have no one we can reach out to?”
“I do have, but I can’t reach out to the person right now. He’s not going to give me any answer, knowing that I’m wanted.”
“We can reach Mark to get the answer for us,” Henry suggested.
Paul closed his eyes and shook his head. “Ermm…” he realized something as he opened his eyes. “Do we even need to reach the police?” He asked rhetorically.
“What do you mean?” Henry asked.
Paul turned to Maxwell. “Your girlfriend can’t be under the police protection, it must be a private protection.”
“What does that mean?”
“There are no visible signs of threats against her life yet, are there?” Paul questioned. “The police has no proof that someone is really after her life. The only thing they have is her word.”
“And isn’t that enough for them to take her into protection?” Maxwell asked.
“No, if she’s in any protection, it’s private. She’s paying for it,” Paul explained.
“Damn! You’re right,” Henry exclaimed. “That means we’ve been looking the wrong way. If the protection is private, then she isn’t in any police’s property. They must be protecting her in a property that she provided.”
“And that makes it more dangerous,” Paul remarked. “If Hutton finds which of the private property she’s being held. That will help him get her easily.”
Henry turned to Maxwell. “Did she tell you about any property she bought secretly?”
Maxwell frowned. He wasn’t sure he and Emily discussed anything like that. After a moment of racking his brain, he remembered something and quickly went to get the phone.
He unlocked the phone and played a voice note.
“Hey, Oliver! I know you may never listen to this but I just wanna voice out. My life is in danger right now because you came into it. I can’t prove to the police that my boss is trying to ki*ll me, I can’t even prove that it’s connected to the Red Wolves. My claims are being ridiculed by the officers. At this time, I wish I could find somewhere like Solace, somewhere secret to keep my family. Since I’ve got no proofs, the police are asking too much for private protection. I don’t know if I can afford the fees.”
“Is there a place called Solace?” Henry questioned immediately after the voice note ended.
“Yes, it’s a house she inherited from her father who died over twenty years ago,” Maxwell answered. “No one knows she owns the place. She said she used to spend a few days there whenever she needed to be alone and away from everybody. When we talked about it, she wanted me to advise her on what to do with the place. She was considering renovating the place and selling it at a good price.”
“So you think she could have gone there?” Henry asked.
“That’s the only place I can think of,” Maxwell answered.
“Do you know where it is?”
“Yes, she gave me the location.”
“Then, we need to check there immediately,” Henry opined. “You, I, and Agent Paul will go while Dave stays to watch and care for the ladies.”
“Oh, no!” Paul growled under his breath but couldn’t complain aloud.
“You might want to check this before you go, boss,” Dave looked up from where he was sitting. His eyes had been glued to his phone while the other three men were discussing. He got up to show Henry what he saw.
Henry’s eyes widened on seeing the pictures. “Damn!” he cursed under his breath.
Dave also showed the picture to Max, Paul Edwards could also see the screen from where he was.
“Looks like we have some more serious things to deal with afterall,” Paul remarked.
Mensah sat in the swivel in his office, feeling relieved after the press conference. He had tried to answer the questions from the journalist as intelligently as possible. He was quite sure no one spotted a hole in his statements. Now he had to move his focus to working out the situation for real.
He was already dozing off in his swivel when he heard a knock. He tapped the space bar on the keyboard in front of him to put on the screen. Mark was the one at the door.
“Come in,” he said.
Mark stepped in and charged towards the table without closing the door. Mensah could tell that there was something wrong.
“We’ve got some bad and some very bad news, sir.”
“Tell me what the f*** it is.”
“The bad news is that Daysman has been found dead in his cell,” Mark stated.
Mensah sighed and shook his head. “What’s the worse news?”
“There were cameras installed in those hotel rooms?”
“What do you mean?” Mensah squinted at him.
“There are romantic pictures of the dead executives and the ladies they chose,” Mark replied. “There are also pictures of their mutilated bodies.”
“F**k!” Mensah banged his fists on the table and jumped up from the seat. He walked to the cabinet and pulled down some of the files angrily.
He knew he was doomed. He had played into Hutton Ryker’s hands and the Red Wolves had him by the balls. It was now Evelyn’s suggestion finally made sense.
The phone on the table began to ring and he turned quickly to see who it was. The President was calling.