“Can you see the black Venza at the other side of the road?” Henry asked, directing his voice into the mouthpiece attached to his shirt. He was still sitting in his position in the backseat while Paul was at the driver’s side.
Maxwell was no longer there as he’d been tasked with taking Emily and her family to safety. He drove the family out of the town in Emily’s car.
“I can see you, just keep walking and you’ll see the Venza,” Henry added, his eyes focused on a tall guy at the other side of the road.
The guy was the leader of the team Hutton sent to get Emily. He had the phone he picked from the house held close to his ear and was listening to Henry. Immediately after Henry talked about the Venza, he stopped to look for the car and spotted it within seconds.
“I can see it now,” he replied and continued walking till he got close enough. Then he stopped to cross to the other side.
He still had the phone held close to his ear as he walked to the car.
“Get into the backseat through the right-hand side,” Henry instructed.
The man did as he was instructed. He got into the car and jammed the door loudly. Henry was pointing a gun at him.
“I’m here, so what?” He glared at Henry.
“The phone,” Henry stretched out his palm.
The man dropped the phone in Henry’s hand and Henry ended the call immediately. He quickly looked out through the window glasses to the direction he was coming from. There were no signs of explosion there.
“What the f***! I should have known that you were lying. How did I f***ing believe that ending the call would trigger the bomb?” The man cursed under his breath.
“I never told you that the phone was the trigger, Muchacho. I only told you that ending the call would trigger the bomb,” Henry replied with a mischievous smile as he took out the real bomb trigger from his jacket. “Once I tap the red button, your friends there are dead.
The man squinted at Henry without knowing what to say in response. His eyes wandered to the front of the car and he noticed that the driver was watching something on a tablet device. Even though he couldn’t see the screen properly, he was quite certain that they were monitoring the men at the house.
His men were still in that house. He had asked them to remain there according to the instruction he got on call.
He brought his eyes back to Henry. “What do you want from me?”
“You’ll find out soon, dude,” Henry snorted and then hit the back of the man’s head with the butt of his gun instantly.
Paul took out a filled syringe from the backpack at the passenger’s side in front and handed it to Henry. Henry quickly injected the content into the man’s neck. The liquid was to ensure he was asleep until they got to their destination.
“Let’s go,” Henry ordered after injecting the man and discarding the syringe.
Paul turned to him and raised a brow. “We gotta clear those in the house, you know?”
“Yeah,” Henry took out the bomb trigger and clicked on it. A loud explosion rocked the air instantly and they could feel some of the vibration. The video stream on the device with Paul was immediately cut off.
Paul kicked on the car engine and zoomed off immediately.
** At the FOX Office **
The Vice President was already seated behind the interrogation table when Agent Mark walked in.
“Good morning, your Excellency,” Mark greeted and stretched out his hand for a handshake with the man.
The Vice President ignored the hand. Mark withdrew his offer and sat in the interrogator’s chair.
It was in an interrogation room with transparent walls. Agents Steve and Evelyn were standing outside to listen to the interrogation while a junior officer was standing by the wall behind Agent Mark.
“Can we get this started immediately?” The Vice President requested impatiently.
“I must first say thank you for availing yourself immediately,” Mark began. “I didn’t think it will be easy to get you here…”
“Can we cut short the pleasantries and go straight to the interrogations, Mark?” The Vice President interrupted rudely. “I’ve got so many things to do, you know?”
“If that’s the case, why don’t you start talking immediately?” Mark cleared his throat.
“Start saying what? You haven’t even asked me any question,” the Vice President furrowed his gaze.
“You know why you’re here, Dr Damien. Don’t you?”
“I’ve been invited concerning the murder of the three FOX executives, but I have no clue why you think I’m connected to that.”
Mark stared at him in disbelief. “You organized the secret event, didn’t you?”
“No, the event planner did.”
“What event planner?” Mark asked.
“The same one who has been organizing all the past secret events we had.”
Mark squinted at him, confused. “I’ve never heard of that event planner, instead, I’ve always known you to be the planner.”
“That’s because you just assumed the position of the FOX chairman, which I’m confident you’ll be sacked from soon,” the Vice President replied. “When we began these secret meetings. We made plans together with the then FOX chairman and Paul Edwards, to choose a planner who would organize each of the meetings. According to our rules, attendees of the event must not be involved directly in its organization. I’ve only been in charge of paying the event planner.”
“Who is this event planner and why don’t I know him?”
“I just explained why you don’t know him, you’re new.” The Vice President answered.
“What’s his name?”
“Donny Whale…” Mark frowned his face for a moment and then glanced at Evelyn through the transparent wall. He gave them a signal to search the name.
“Unfortunately, we lost Donny Whale. He was killed in the same manner your executives were,” Dr Damien answered before Steve or Evelyn could talk.
Mark flashed his gaze towards Evelyn immediately as if to confirm the VP’s claim. He saw Evelyn nod affirmatively. Then he heard her voice in the earpiece stuck in his left ear. “It’s true, Donny Whale was murdered yesterday. It’s in your file.”
Mark quickly opened the file in front of him to confirm. He took out the picture of the dead Donny Whale and showed it to the Vice President. “Also known as Ezekiel Donny, right?”
“Right!” Dr Damien nodded.
“He died yesterday with the Hotel manager and three other staff members of the hotel. Is that a coincidence?” Mark squinted at the man’s face.
“I should ask you that, Mr Mark. You are the security officer here. I don’t even have details of their death. I only know they were murdered.”
“Do we consider it a coincidence that Donny Whale, the Hotel Manager, and three staff members were all murdered yesterday after I mentioned your name? Or do you know something about it?”
“Are you crazy, Mr Chairman?” the VP flared up. “I’m not going to sit and watch you treat me like a criminal. I’m not a murderer and you should not accuse me without proof.”
“I didn’t mean for it to sound like an accusation, Dr Damien,” Mark remained calm. “It’s just shocking that all of the men that can prove your involvement in organizing the party were all murdered after your name was mentioned.”
“You ought to be blamed for that, Agent Mark. You made stupid claims on live TV. Since you knew that these men could help you in your investigations, why didn’t you protect them?”
“Until now, Dr Damien, I had no idea that these men could help in my investigations. I always thought you were the man behind the event organization.”
“I think you can do better than working with assumptions as the FOX Chairman, that was very stupid of you.”
Agent Mark chuckled and remained quiet for a few seconds. “Dr Damien, do you know anyone who worked with Mr Donny in organizing the event?”
“I have no idea,” the Vice President shook his head.
Agent Mark sighed. He was surer now that the Vice President had a hand in the murders but knew that interrogating him further would be a futile effort.
“If you’re done with this interrogation, I’ll like to take my leave immediately,” the man said with a stern look on his face.
“Sure, you may leave now,” Mark shrugged. The man got up to his feet immediately. “If we need your help or have more questions for you, we will reach out.”
The Vice President walked out of the room without acknowledging Mark’s words. Steve and Evelyn walked in immediately after the man was gone.
“That man is f**king guilty, it was written all over his face,” Steve remarked.
“Whatever you saw on his face won’t be enough proof, Steve,” Mark whined in a disappointed tone. He picked up the file on the table and led them out of the room. “What about the previous call records of the murder victims we ordered for? Are they ready?”
Evelyn took out her phone and unlocked it while they walked on. “It should be sent to us in fifteen minutes,” she replied after reading a text and returned the phone into her pocket. “I don’t think the call records are going to help us in this.”
“Why do you say so?” Mark asked.
“The Vice President wouldn’t be so careless to use his registered number to make arrangements for girls or the murder,” Evelyn replied.
Mark stopped and turned to look at her face. “We’ve got to still try, or do you have a better way of finding what we need?”
Evelyn shook her head. “Nothing for now.”
** At Kahn’s end **
Hutton, Kahn, and Chanda were at the dining table, taking breakfast silently when a phone rang.
Chanda reached for the phone and took a second to check the screen before answering. “Hey, what do you have for me?”
He listened for some seconds and then dropped the phone on the table. “Dexter Joe has been located in his South African home.”
“Good,” Kahn chuckled. “I always knew that dude was clueless as f***!”
“I’ll go with the boys for him immediately after breakfast,” Chanda added.
“When are you getting Evans Blake?” Hutton directed his question to Kahn.
“Evans will be done tomorrow,” Kahn answered. “We need to sort out Emily’s case first.”
“When was the last time you heard from the team going for her?” Hutton asked.
“Two hours ago,” Kahn answered. “He called to tell me that they located the house and were about to go in.”
“Two hours ago?” Hutton frowned. “And you haven’t gotten feedback since then.”
“Yeah,” Kahn took out his phone to check if there was any message but found none. “I’ll just dial his number.”
The men paused to get the outcome of the call.
“It’s not connecting,” Kahn announced after the second trial.
Hutton closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them to stare blankly into nothing. He and the other two men were sure something had happened to the men.
“Is there any f***ing thing we do that Carl Winston isn’t ahead of us?” Kahn cursed.
“It’s a real crazy stuff,” Chanda remarked. “Could any of our men be selling us out?”
“Are you selling us out?” Hutton stared at him coldly.
“Of course not,” Chanda shook his head immediately.
Hutton turned to Kahn.
“Why the heck are you staring at me? This is my life, I wouldn’t mess it up.”
“If none of us here is giving Carl the information, that means none is. He just happens to be proactive and that’s what makes him dangerous. That’s why we must double our speed in all our plans. We have to be faster than him to win.”
Emily had just finished taking lunch with her mother and daughter when Maxwell led her away into a room where two other men were. It was a very small sitting room with a few sofas arranged to form a semi-circle shape. There was a round leather table in the centre. Two men were seated on different sides of the sofas.
“Emily, meet my boss,” Maxwell introduced her to them. “You can call him Henry for now.”
She smiled at Henry and Henry smiled back.
“And this is Paul Edwards, you may already know him,” Maxwell turned his and her focus to Paul who had a smile waiting for her.
However, the smile on Emily’s face disappeared immediately as she recognized Paul instantly.
“Please, sit. They’ll like to ask you a few questions,” Maxwell pointed to the seat close to Henry but she was unwilling to sit yet.
“Can I talk to you for a moment?” She requested and Maxwell obliged. They stepped out of the small sitting room. “Isn’t that Paul Edwards, the wanted FOX chairman?” She whispered.
“Yes, he is,” Maxwell answered.
“What the f***!” Emily’s eyes widened slowly. “He was declared wanted by the FOX, how is he on your team?”
Maxwell shut his eyes briefly and took in a deep breath, thinking of what response to give to her. He knew her current belief was that he was a FOX agent. He didn’t want to change that belief yet as he wasn’t ready to explain what team he was really on.
“Declaring him wanted was a set up. He’s not wanted, neither is he a criminal,” Maxwell replied.
“But he was declared wanted on TV and a bounty has been placed on him,” Emily was not accepting the explanation.
“Yeah, he was. But has now been cleared by the FOX. Even the man that declared him wanted has also been removed from the seat due to his numerous mistakes,” Maxwell added.
Emily’s face hardened. It was obvious she still didn’t believe.
“Hey, you need to believe me, Emily. We’re on the good side and we need your help to get Kahn and Hutton Ryker. Kahn is a part of the Red Wolves and that’s why he’s after you and your family. If you want to be free, you must work with us.”
Emily still did not budge.
Maxwell moved closer and held both arms. “You need to trust me, Emily.”
She finally looked into his face. “I don’t trust you, but I just think you’re on the good side,” she eyed him before walking into the room.
Maxwell heaved a sigh of relief and followed her slowly.
She walked straight to the spot Maxwell ushered her to earlier. “I’m here now, you can ask me the questions you have.”
“Thank you, Emily,” Henry gasped. “You should start by telling us everything you know about your boss, Elvis Kahn. Give us all the information you think can help us nab him.”
Emily puffed. “I told Maxwell that I don’t think I can help but he insisted that I come to answer your questions. The only thing I know about Elvis Kahn is that he is a businessman. He has so many businesses, many of which are in the hospitality industry. I also know he used to be in the police force. He’s got no wife or kids currently.”
“Haven’t you seen anything suspicious about him?” Paul Edwards asked.
Emily looked at his face. At first, she seemed reluctant to answer him but she eventually did. “No, none that I can remember.”
“You’d have to try to remember, Emily. There’s something you must know about him that makes him want to hurtl you so badly. Think hard and remember,” Henry urged.
Emily paused and squinted thoughtfully for a while. “I can’t remember noticing anything suspicious about him. I always thought he was a gentleman until Oliver showed up.”
There was silence for a brief moment.
“Don’t you think we should focus on the captive,” Paul whispered to Henry. “Maybe she knows nothing after all.”
“Hutton won’t be after her if he doesn’t think she can help us,” Henry remarked. He then faced Emily. “She knows something but doesn’t just know that she does.”
Emily’s shoulders dropped in frustration, wondering what Henry think she knew. “I’ve been thinking about it as hard as I can since Oliver told me on our way here. I still don’t think I have any information that may be helpful to you.”
“Why not let’s make it a questioning session, ma’am?” Henry suggested.
“That’s fine with me,” she shrugged and glanced at Maxwell with a confused look.
“So, tell me. Who does Kahn come there with often?”
“With his friend, of course. He calls him Hutton. You have also mentioned him too.”
“He’s never been there with anyone else?”
Emily squinted for a moment. “There’s one that comes with them in the past few months. His name is Chanda.”
“Chanda,” Henry repeated and then glanced at Paul. “That sounds Zambian.”
“It is Zambian,” Paul affirmed.
“So, what does our Zambian friend do with them?” Henry continued with Emily.
“I don’t know what they do together,” she answered. “They just come together and stay in Kahn’s office or a private area of the club. I never get to hear their conversations.”
“Chanda,” Henry repeated thoughtfully. He then turned to Maxwell. “Have you ever come across the name, Chanda?”
Maxwell shook his head. “I don’t think so.”
“Are you sure?” Henry seemed convinced he should have. “Didn’t you ever see the name on Agent Michael’s contact list?”
Maxwell widened his eyes slowly and then got up to his feet. “I may have seen it, I just need to check.”
“Please do,” Henry nodded affirmatively. “We’ve been focused on Hutton and Kahn for a while. If there’s a third close pal that they’ve been hiding, he could just be their weakness.”
“What if he isn’t an important member of the team?” Paul asked.
“Then he wouldn’t be so close to Kahn and Hutton like she has just described,” Henry replied him.
“Well, I don’t think we should put so many hopes on using this Chanda as the missing link,” Paul opined.
“You’re right,” Henry nodded and turned to Emily. “Who else do you see the two of them with often?”
She shook her head in negative. “Only the three of them have been coming together, except you’re asking about the bodyguards or rogues that accompany them.”
“Ermm, talking about that,” Henry turned and picked his tablet device beside him. He unlocked it and opened a picture. “Do you know this man?” He turned the tablet screen to her.
It was the picture of their new captive. They took screenshots of his face in the house where he led the team to find Emily.
She squinted at it and seemed to be finding it difficult to recognize who was there. Henry handed her the device. “Swipe, we have other photos of him there.”
She took the tab and began to swipe. It only took her two swipes to get a better view of the man’s face.
“Yes, I think I’ve seen his face before, but I don’t know anything about him. He’s one of the rogues that accompany them,” Emily answered and handed the device back to Henry.
“How often does he accompany them to the club?” Henry asked.
“Very often, there are so many rogues but he’s a regular one,” she replied.
Henry and Paul exchanged glances. If the guy was a regular one like she claimed, it meant he had to be somewhat close to Hutton or Kahn or both of them.
Henry locked the device and kept it aside. “Let’s forget about this for the moment. During your relationship with Maxwell, I noticed you always knew about Elvis Kahn’s trips,” Henry paused as he saw a frown on her face. “I mean with Oliver.”
“Okay,” she gasped. “It’s true, I wasn’t just helping him handle the Benuit club services alone. Sometimes, he wanted me to do some things regarding his other businesses.”
“Can you provide a list of all his most-visited towns and maybe countries, over the last three months?” Henry asked and immediately reached for the jotter and pen on the centre table.
“Yes, I think I can,” she took the pen and jotter from him.
_ 20 Minutes Later _
Paul and Henry walked into a different room to meet Maxwell busy on the computer. Samantha was also in the room, doing something different on her computer.
“Any luck with the ‘Chanda’ name?” Henry asked as he approached the seat.
“Yes, Agent Michael had a contact named Chanda. And they seem to have talked so many times via calls and chats. I’m compiling all the chat records for us.”
“Great,” Henry heaved a sigh of relief and shook his head.
“It looks like we’re finally getting something from Emily,” Paul gasped and folded his arms behind Maxwell.
“Yea, we would have never known that Chanda was a name to look into if she didn’t mention it,” Henry remarked and turned towards Samantha. “Sam, gotten the locations yet?”
“Yes, I have his locations for the past three months,” Samantha replied, holding up the captive’s phone. They had given her the phone to extract the locations which the phone visited in the last three months.
“Good,” Henry commended and dropped the jotter beside Emily’s computer.
“What’s this?” Samantha asked, looking into the opened page of the jotter.
“These are locations Kahn told Emily he was visiting during the last three months,” Henry answered her.
They took a minute to compare the locations on the screen to what Emily wrote. There were eleven locations on the screen and five locations on the jotter.
“Four out of five locations match!” Henry exclaimed. “That means this dude was probably in these locations at the same time as Hutton and Kahn. He must have more details on their plans.”
“That guy looks hard,” Paul remarked. “It could be difficult to get him to tell us what we want.”
Henry picked the jotter from the table and turned. He stared down at the locations blankly for a moment.
“You’re right, he’s probably never going to tell us what we want from him,” Henry thought loudly. “And that’s why we must not let him know what we want. We’ll let him think we want something else.”
A light smile formed on Henry’s face as he thought about it. Paul and Samantha squinted at him, confused.