“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.
He stopped and took deep breaths to calm himself. The phone stopped ringing and continued again after a few seconds. Mensah walked back to his seat and settled on the swivel before picking the phone.
“Good afternoon, Mr President,” Mensah answered.
“Agent Mensah, you’ve just made a mockery of the FOX and the country. Didn’t you think well before giving that Press conference?” The President slammed from the other end.
“I’m sorry, Mr President. I was just trying to protect the organization.”
“Unfortunately, you’ve made the situation worse, Mr Mensah. We’re in a big mess now.”
“I understand, sir,” Mensah sighed.
“I guess you know what to do since you understand.”
Mensah’s eyes landed on Mark’s face. He knew his time as the FOX chairman was over. “Yeah, I do,” he gasped. “I’ll do what I have to do,” he added before ending the call.
“What did he say?” Agent Mark asked impatiently.
Mensah shut his eyes and tilted his head backwards to think. After a few seconds, he got up and turned to the other side of the table and stopped beside Mark.
He placed a hand on Mark’s shoulder. “The ball is in your court now, Agent Mark. You take charge of everything now. I wish you the best,” he said and turned back to his owner’s side of the table.
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about,” Mark squinted and watched him as he walked away.
Mensah opened the drawer and began to pick out some personal items. “I’m resigning, Agent Mark”
“Resign? What the f***! How can you f**king resign at this time? We’re in a big mess at this time,” Mark couldn’t believe his ears.
“I’m sorry, Agent Mark. The road ends here for me,” Mensah continued to park his personal items from the table.
Mark infuriated turned to the other side of the table and grabbed him by the arm on both sides, looking directly into his eyes. “You’re not going to leave me in this sh*t, the FOX needs all of us now, the country needs all of us.”
Mensah wriggled his arms free from Mark. “I have no choice, Agent Mark. It’s either I tender my resignation or the President fires me on national TV. The latter is not an option I’ll like to take.”
Mark heaved a sigh of frustration. He now understood that Mensah was resigning in response to the call. The President must have asked me to.
“The FOX is in f**king mess right now, how are we going to fix it?” He closed his eyes and grabbed his head with his palms tightly.
“You’re sharper than I am, Mark. You can get it done,” Mensah said and then stopped what he was doing. He faced Mark. “You can get it done with the help of Evelyn and Carl, but be wise about it.”
30 Minutes later
Henry and Maxwell walked into the living room to meet Paul already dressed and waiting for them. They both had backpacks strapped on.
Paul got up immediately he sighted them. “Do we really still have to go for this?”
Henry’s eyebrows gathered together as he gave the man a cynical look.
“The FOX is in a deep mess, Henry. Agent Mensah has just submitted his resignation and that leaves only Mark at the helm of affairs. Hutton Ryker and the Wolves are gradually achieving their mission,” Paul Edwards added to give more reasons why they needed to stay.
Henry raised his brows and turned to Dave to confirm if Paul was saying the truth.
“Yeah, boss,” Dave confirmed. “They just announced that he turned in his resignation. The office of the President has also released a statement confirming that Agent Mark is the active FOX chairman for the moment.”
Henry paused to think for a few seconds and then shrugged. “Mensah has resigned already. There’s nothing we can do to stop it now.”
“Yes, we can’t change that anymore. But we can work with Mark. He’s been more cooperative than Mensah was. Now is the time to connect with him and get the job done with the FOX,” Paul tried to convince them.
“What job are we doing with the FOX?” Henry squinted at Paul.
Paul remained quiet for a while, wondering what the reason for his question was. “What do you mean, Carl?”
“What job do we need to do with the FOX?” Henry repeated.
“F**k! I thought we were trying to stop Hutton Ryker from taking over.”
“And how are going to do that?” Henry questioned.
Paul was confused. He stared blankly.
“Until we know what to do, we won’t make contact with Mark yet,” Henry continued. “Our main focus now is getting to Emily before Hutton Ryker does. So, I will no longer listen to any complaints about this trip. Besides, your only job is to drive us to the place.”
Paul no longer had anything to say. “It’s fine.”
“Take care of this place,” Henry said to Dave before turning towards the door.
“Alright boss,” Dave replied confidently and watched them all walk away.
Five Minutes Later
They were all seated in the car now, Paul and Maxwell in the front seats with Henry at the back. Paul had kicked on the car engine already.
“It’s a long journey,” Paul said looking into the map by the dashboard. “It’s gonna be late when we get there.”
“Maybe I should drive because we need to get there as fast as possible,” Maxwell suggested, turning to look at Henry.
Paul tapped him on the lap. “You don’t drive as fast as me, boy.”
Henry chuckled behind. “Paul was one of the craziest drivers in the FOX. I’m not sure if he’s still got it though.”
Paul turned and scowl at him. “I’ve gotten better with age, Mister.”
30 Minutes Later
Mark was now the acting Chairman of the FOX but under a circumstance he hated. He wasn’t ready for the position whether physically or mentally. The President had just spoken with him and charged him with the task of solving the mystery behind the three FOX executives’ death between one to two weeks. He also had to address the press in two hours and clear the confusion created by his predecessor.
According to the news reports, international agencies had begun to withdraw their support for the FOX. Other allied forces were also dissociating themselves from the FOX and their activities.
All these made Mark feel like he was running crazy. He had too much to tackle on his first day, first hour, and even the first minute as the FOX chairman.
A knock at the door brought him out of his reverie. He pulled out his chair and settled in it before beckoning on the knocker to step in.
Steve walked in a few seconds after and walked to the table. “Good afternoon, sir,” he bowed slightly.
Mark replied his greeting with an uncomfortable smile and a nod.
“I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say congratulations at this time…”
“F*** the congratulations and sit down,” Mark slammed at him and Steve rushed to his seat frantically. He continued after taking in a few breaths to calm himself. “Let’s wait for Agent Evelyn.”
“Oh!” Steve gasped. He had no idea that the man had also called Evelyn to meet with him.
A minute later, Evelyn also knocked at the door. Mark wasted no time in letting her in and offering her a seat.
“We’re in a deep sh*t guys,” Mark began. “A sh*t that none of us ever thought we would be in. I’m the acting FOX chairman today. This looks like a promotion but it’s a damn sh*tty position to me. We have only two weeks to solve the murders. Has any of you got an idea how we can accomplish that?”
“We know who ordered the execution of the agents already,” Steve answered. “We only need to find them.”
“It takes years to find some killers, Steve,” Mark gasped and shook his head. “But we’re not just looking for killers here. We’re looking for people who killed three of the highest-ranked security officers. I’m not so sure it’s going to be easy looking for them.”
“Then, maybe we should…” Steve paused and glanced at Evelyn. “Maybe Evelyn should help us. She has direct contact with Carl Winston.”
They both turned their eyes to Evelyn but she was staring blankly at the table. She seemed absentminded.
“Evelyn,” Mark called her name softly. “Is there any way Carl can help us get Hutton Ryker in the next one or two weeks?”
Evelyn raised her head. “I don’t know. Carl doesn’t know where Hutton is at the moment. I’m not so sure we can find a man like Hutton in just two weeks except he’s not in hiding.”
“F***!” Mark cursed and jammed his hands together loudly.
“Don’t you think we’re focusing on the wrong thing?” Evelyn asked, startling both of them. “We might just be focusing on the wrong target at the moment?”
“The wrong thing?” Mark squinted at her. “How is Hutton Ryker the wrong target?”
“You know who the right target is, Agent Mark,” Evelyn stared directly into his eyes. “I think you’re only afraid just like Agent Mensah was. If you keep being afraid, you’re gonna end up like him. The FOX is supposed to work as an independent organization and fish out all assholes, regardless of who they are. If you’re gonna make a difference with the organization, stop acting like a puppet that they want you to be.”
Steve gasped in fear for Evelyn. He was certain the manner she was speaking would get her into trouble with Mark.
Surprisingly, Mark did not react angrily. He stared at her silently for a moment and then got up from his seat. He paced around the place for about thirty seconds and then stopped. He placed both hands on the table and leaned forward, staring at Evelyn’s face.
“You’re right,” he gasped. “The FOX chairmen for the past years have been working like puppets. It’s time to change the f***ing status quo. It’s starts by saying the truth, no matter who it affects.”
The new acting Chairman continued to pace around the place.
“What the heck is going on here?” Steve growled and faced Evelyn.
Mark turned to talk to him. “Agent Mensah messed up because he’s been protecting the f***ing Vice President. He didn’t want to mention his name without proof of his involvement. Paul Edwards also messed up in many areas during his tenure because he was protecting the government. But the FOX is not a damn government protection agency.”
Mark turned and picked his landline receiver. He dialled a number and placed the receiver close to his ears.
“Tell the press I’ll be ready to address them in thirty-five minutes,” he said and dropped the receiver immediately.
“Thirty-five minutes?” Steve squinted at him with disbelief.
“Yeah, we’re no longer protecting anyone. So we’ve got nothing to hide,” Mark replied. “I’m gonna let out enough information to also put the government under pressure.”
*Ninety-five minutes into the journey*
Paul Edwards had the vehicle moving at the highest possible speed on the highway. The radio of the vehicle was turned on and the men listened carefully to the acting FOX chairman’s press conference.
“How the hell is he saying all that?” Paul scoffed in disbelief. It sounded stupid to him as Mark voiced out all about the secret party organized by the Vice President. “This makes the FOX look stupid. How could three executives die like chickens after having a party?”
“He’s done the right thing to do at the moment,” Henry remarked. “It only makes the three dead executives stupid, not the whole organization. He also answered all the questions well, especially that on why the previous Chairman lied.”
“But it all worsens the situation for the country,” Paul noted.
“That’s why you’ve been getting it wrong, Paul. The FOX is an independent body. It’s not an organization to clear the mess of anyone in the government. If the country’s situation is worsened, then it’s the fault of the Vice President who is working with terrorists.”
“We don’t have proof for that yet,” Paul argued. “He should have gotten proof before involving the Vice President.”
“The Vice President organized the damn event and knew about the ladies that murdered them, what other evidence do we need to show that he was involved in all these?” Henry slammed.
“You don’t understand, Henry. There’s still no proof that the Vice President organized the event. These things are top secret and we do them in a way that there’ll never be proof that they were done. This could bounce back on Mark.”
Henry was quiet for a while. “There must be some proof somewhere. The FOX just needs to find that proof.”
“Mark has just f***ing messed up everything,” Kahn complained bitterly. “If the Vice President is implicated, everything we’ve been doing fails.”
“That’s not going to happen,” Hutton spoke confidently as he walked into the living room. “He will have to prove the Vice President’s involvement but will never be able to.”
“How are you so sure of that,” Kahn turned to look at him.
“Because I’ve taken care of it,” Hutton replied and sat on the couch opposite Kahn. He brought out a cigar.
“Let’s just hope so,” Kahn sniffed in uncomfortably. “But it still looks like we’ve got to take care of Mark immediately. He might become a problem for us.”
“We don’t need to bother about Mark,” Hutton remarked. “He’ll be out of the picture once we complete the mission.”
“Out of the picture? We don’t just need him out, we need him dead. Leaving such men alive would be dangerous.”
“Yes, he’s gonna die. But after the takeover. We’ll make it look like suicide. The most dangerous two persons out there now are Evelyn Alexander and Emily. Evelyn’s presence in the FOX is giving Carl Winston a lot of power. Emily needs to be taken out before Carl’s team finds out that we’re hunting her.”
“I’m sure they won’t know about Emily,” Kahn remarked. “We tracked Emily’s phone to see if she tried to reach Oliver’s registered number. She did, but the number was always off. She dropped only voice notes. And I’m sure Carl Winston’s team won’t be stupid enough to go back to the phone. They risk being discovered if they do.”
“Let’s hope Maria gets us the policeman in charge quickly,” Kahn sighed.
*El Deols, Bethanna*
Adrian was just rounding off his work in his office when his phone began to ring. He picked it up and checked the screen. It was an unknown number.
He sighed as he answered the call. “You’ve played enough games, Sheila. It’s time to come back home.”
“Hey! Stop being stupid Adrian. You could have implicated yourself there. What if the call wasn’t from me?” Sheila yelled from the other end.
“You’re the only one that has been reaching me with multiple unknown numbers recently.”
“I know that, Adrian. But it could have been someone else, even a police officer. Your response would have made them know that you helped me leave.”
“Whatever, Sheila. I don’t care about that anymore. When are you returning? Your father is worried and I feel guilty every time I see him being mad about not being able to find you. He’s sacked your two bodyguards already and had them thrown in jail for being accomplices to your kidnap.”
Sheila was quiet for a moment. “I’m sorry about them, but I’ll be back as soon as I’m done with my task.”
“Stop this madness, Sheila. Everyone needs you at home and you’re bothered about finishing a task. Come on!”
“Thanks for your help always, Adrian. Take care,” Sheila concluded and ended the call.
Adrian sighed and dropped the phone on the table. He didn’t bother to dial the number back as he was sure it wouldn’t connect.
– – –
Sheila dropped the phone in the bed and picked the pack of chips beside her. She continued to munch the chips as she waited for the process loading on her system to be completed.
After days of work, she was finally getting closer to decrypting all of Rex’s messages and getting his location. She would only need something from Henry at the final stage. That moment seemed like the right time to contact Henry and ask for what she needed. She picked her phone and dialled his number.
The journey continued in silence for a while, except for the radio which none of them was listening to. The silence continued until Henry’s phone began to ring. He picked it up and checked the screen. It was an unsaved number. He squinted at the screen for a while before he finally answered the call.
He placed the phone close to his ear and waited to hear the caller.
Henry squinted and checked the phone’s screen to see the code in front of the telephone number. The voice sounded familiar but he couldn’t recognize the country code.
“Henry, are you there?” the voice sounded again.
“Sheila?” He guessed after a few more seconds of silence.
“Yes, it’s Sheila.”
Henry’s eyes widened in surprise. “Sheila, what the heck are you doing?”
“Trying to find Rex,” she snapped. “Isn’t that what you want?”
“Of course, I want that,” Henry sighed. “But you’re putting yourself in a lot of danger. You need to go back home.”
“Not now, Henry. I’ve gone too far to stop. I’m close to finding Rex. Can you send me your login details to the email platform?”
“You shouldn’t be working on that platform, Sheila. Rex is gonna find you if he notices that someone is trying to intercept his messages.”
“He’s never going to find out, Henry. That’s why I need your login details. If I log in successfully with your details, the system will likely not flag my activity when I try to decrypt his messages.”
“That’s a dangerous gamble, I can’t let you do that,” Henry refused.
“You can’t trust me?”
Henry was quiet for a while. “This is too dangerous, Sheila.”
“I know, and I’ve taken precautions already. Whether you send me the details or not, I’m still going to try to break in.”
Henry sighed resignedly. “Ok, I’ll send it to you. Right after this call.”
“Please, be safe.”
“I will, I promise.”
Henry ended the call and took in a deep breath. He opened his SMS application and was about to start typing when the radio program was paused for breaking news. He paused to listen.
…The information getting to us is that the manager of the hotel was stabbed to death in his home thirty minutes ago. Two other staff members of the hotel have been confirmed assassinated by unknown men. The hotel remains sealed as investigations are ongoing. More details coming soon. Please stay tuned.
“Damn!” Henry slammed his palms together. “Hutton Ryker has just eliminated the available proof of the Vice President’s involvement.”
“What’s next now for Mark?” Paul took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at Henry in the rearview mirror.
“Maybe we should have done something about that manager too,” Maxwell put in. “Only he was the civilian who knew about the organization of the event. He was always an easy target for the Wolves.”
“We can’t protect everyone, young man,” Paul scoffed. “If we try to protect everyone who the Red Wolves tries to eliminate, we might make no progress.”
A thought struck Henry’s mind as he heard Paul’s statement.
“Guys, I think it just makes sense to me now,” he leaned forward. Both of them remained quiet to listen to him. “Why should the Red Wolves be trying to ki*ll Emily if she’s no threat to them. They should have left her since she’s now in police custody.”
“Emily can be a witness against them in future,” Paul answered. “That explains why they’re trying to ki*ll her.”
“Emily has no proof against them, the court wouldn’t listen to mere talks,” Henry argued.
“Are you trying to say they’re after Emily because she knows something?” Maxwell squinted at him.
“You’re smart, man! Emily has some information they can’t risk letting out,” Henry exclaimed.
“If she does, she would have told the police already,” Paul opined.
“That’s only if she’s aware that she has valuable information,” Henry argued. “We might have to press it out of her.”
To be continued