“Are you ready to speak now?” Henry asked for the umpteenth time after delivering another round of punches to Alves’ body.
The captive, Alves was at the centre of the hall. Both hands were suspended in the air with the ropes around his wrist. His face and bare chest had been disfigured after he received several punches from Henry and Dave.
Dave moved closer and stopped his body from the oscillatory movement.
“You’re wasting your time, Carl,” Alves mumbled after Dave made him still. He paused to spit out blood. “Hutton is on the move already and you can’t stop him.”
“We’re going to stop him because you will tell us where and how to stop him,” Henry looked boldly into his eyes.
“Do you think Hutton would leave anyone that knows how to stop him alive?” Alves asked jestingly. “If I knew how to stop him, he would have killed me a long time ago.”
“You have the power to end your suffering now, Alves. Once you tell us what we can meet Hutton and stop him, we’ll let you go home to meet Joan. Or would you want her to remain an orphan?”
“Nothing is going to happen to Joan, she’ll be fine,” Alves replied stubbornly. “If you ki*ll me now, she’s going to be taken to the orphanage or probably adopted by a family. She would be better off than being with me.”
“We’re not talking about only Joan here,” Henry continued. “She represents thousands of other children whose parents would be killed if you let Hutton Ryker keep doing what he’s doing with the Wolves.”
“I can’t stop him, no one can stop him…”
Henry did not let him land before sending two more punches to his face. He stepped back and let Dave make Alves still again.
“Whether you tell us where Hutton is or not, we’re going to find him and ki*ll him before he finishes his mission.”
“You don’t get it, Carl. It’s gonna be a waste of time if you’re trying to find Hutton. He’s gone far enough. You may never meet up.”
Henry took a step closer to him and grabbed him by the balls, making him yell out in pain. “I’m gonna keep you alive to witness how I’ll stop Hutton and save the thousands of lives he’s planning to ki*ll. Then, I’m gonna come back here and ki*ll you by pulling out your balls.”
Henry released his balls and turned to leave. Paul who had been standing by the door also turned to leave.
“You f***ing nitwit,” Alves cursed after being able to hold in the pain on his balls. “You think you know so much but you know nothing.”
Henry paused to listen but did not turn.
“You’re a f***ing assh*le just chasing shadows. You think Hutton is out to ki*ll thousands of people when that’s not even his target,” Alves paused and laughed. He spat out some blood again. “The Red Wolves is taking over the nation, that’s the next move. We’ve got the most dangerous weapon and we’ll be penetrating the most secure place. It’s going to happen sooner than you think. You and your f***ing team can’t do nothing to stop that.”
Henry listened patiently until he was sure the captive was done talking. Then he proceeded out of the room. Paul and Dave followed immediately.
_ Back in the control room_
“I think I got something from his late rants,” Paul mentioned as soon as they stepped into the place.
Henry settled on one of the stools before responding to Paul. Maxwell and Samantha were also in the room but had their eyes glued to the computer screens as they were working on something different.
“What did you get?”
“He mentioned that they were going to attack the most secure place,” Paul explained. “I guess he must be talking about the Presidential Villa.”
“Yes, he is,” Henry agreed.
“Is it going to be possible for them to set up a bomb in the Villa? I doubt that,” Dave put in.
“It might be,” Paul stated. “Remember they have an inside man, the Vice President himself. That would facilitate it.”
“So, that means we must notify the FOX and work towards securing the Villa,” Dave opined.
“Yea, if we can do that successfully, we can stop their mission,” Paul put in.
“No, I don’t think it’s going to stop anything. It might just increase the casualty,” Henry joined, staring blankly at the wall in front of him.
“Huh?” Paul squinted at him.
“Yeah,” Henry turned his face to Paul. “Did you listen to Alves? He thinks we can’t do anything to stop the move.”
“Maybe because he feels the Vice President is going to help them make it smooth,” Paul wondered.
“No, the task can’t be as easy as setting up a bomb in the Presidential premises,” Henry thought aloud. “If it was that easy, Alves would know that we can stop that and he wouldn’t have said all those words out of frustration. It must be something more difficult than that.”
There was silence for a while. Maxwell and Samantha had plugged in earphones to avoid being distracted by the other three’s conversation.
“What if we’re just overthinking this?” Paul wondered. “We could just miss it because we’re thinking it’s going to be very difficult. I suggest that we should work with the FOX to tighten the security at the Presidential premises.”
“I’m a hundred per cent sure that Hutton Ryker is not planting a bomb in the Villa,” Henry stated with confidence. They could hear the confidence in his voice and knew that nothing was going to change his mind about it. After a few seconds of silence, he spoke again with his eyes facing Paul. “But I think we’re going to work with your suggestion, not because the bomb will be planted in the Villa but because we want Hutton to believe we think so. He’s not going to have a clue that we have other ideas.”
“How then do you think they’re going to attack the place if they ain’t setting up a bomb there? You think they’re gonna send soldiers?” Dave questioned.
“No,” Henry shook his head slowly and then got up from his seat. He walked to one of the tables and then brought out some documents. He brought the file to the centre and began to search the pages. “Do you remember that Alves mentioned the most dangerous weapon?”
“Yea, he mentioned that,” Paul affirmed.
“He must be talking about the weapon created by Lucas Perez,” Henry muttered while still searching the pages.
“Does this document talk about that weapon?” Paul asked, coming closer to Henry.
“Yeah, I think it mentioned it but I’m not so sure it provides enough information on it,” Henry replied.
It took him a few more minutes to find the pages he was looking for. He separated them from the rest of the document. Paul who was beside him also tried to look into the pages.
“These lines are written in codes?” Paul asked after trying without success to understand what he was reading.
“Yes,” Henry replied. “The sentences are scattered on different lines.”
Soon, Henry took out a pen and began to circle words on the different lines. After a minute, he paused to read out a sentence. “Get G63 second fingerprints launch code moiraria vomva.”
Paul squinted at his face in confusion. “Is this in English? It makes no sense to me.”
“The last two words aren’t English,” Dave was also looking into the page where Henry circled the words. “They’re Greek and they mean “deadly explosive.”
“Oh!” Paul gasped and then looked into the page again. “Get G63 second fingerprints launch code deadly explosive,” he read out the circled words again. “It still doesn’t make sense to me.”
Henry left the table with the sheet of paper in his hand and walked to the whiteboard. He picked the marker and wrote the words boldly on the board. He then stepped back and kept his eyes on the board
The other men joined him in front of the board.
“Is it talking about the ignition code for the explosive?” Paul questioned. It sounded more like a suggestion.
“Yea,” Henry agreed. “And it looks like some fingerprints are involved.”
“The launch codes could be fingerprints,” Dave put in.
“Yes, they are,” Paul agreed. “But what’s G63 doing there?”
“We sorted out the ‘6’ code there already. It must have something to do with the ‘3’,” Dave suggested.
“Yes, it does,” Henry affirmed. “Since we know that the first six there meant people. The three might also be referring to three persons. That could mean the fingerprints of three persons make up the launch code.”
“So, who are these three persons?” Dave wondered aloud.
“It only makes sense that they are Hutton, Kahn, and the newly discovered Chanda,” Paul suggested.
“I’ve considered that too, but if these three are the codes. Does it mean they must be in the Presidential premises to launch the explosive device?” Paul thought.
“It can’t be those three,” Henry put in.
“Who do you think the three fingerprints are?” Paul asked him.
“Abraham Carter, Dexter Joe, and Evans Blake.”
“Oh, wow!” Dave widened his eyes in realization.
Paul squinted at Henry’s face for a while as he tried to work out some thoughts in his brain.
“This kind of makes sense, if it’s the fingerprints of those three, it’ll help Hutton and the other two come clean in the end. They’re going to blame whatever they do on the men whose fingerprints activated the device,” Paul thought aloud.
“Yeah, that’s it,” Henry affirmed. “Dexter, Abraham, and Evans are going to be responsible for it.”
“But they’ve got Abraham already, we don’t know if they have Dexter and Evans too,” Dave put in.
Henry turned to Dave and placed a hand on his shoulder. “You and Chairman Paul would work on that. Find out where those two are. I’ll be trying to figure out the explosive device.”
“Okay, right away,” Paul and Dave moved closer to each other while Henry walked to meet Maxwell.
Maxwell took off his earphones on seeing Henry coming closer.
“What have we got on Chanda?” Henry asked.
“I tracked him to the Bexford airport,” Maxwell replied. “His location has gone off since he got there. I’m trying to check the airline’s data and see what flights took off close to the time he got there.”
“Okay, get it done as soon as possible,” Henry placed a hand on his shoulder reassuringly. His eyes landed on Samantha and lingered on her for a while. He turned and walked out of the computer room.
Henry took out his phone immediately he got into the bedroom and dialled Evelyn’s number. It rang for a few seconds but wasn’t answered. He paused for a few seconds and was about to dial again when he got an SMS from Evelyn.
“I can’t talk now, can you send a text?”
Henry dialled her number again, disregarding the text. The call was answered this time.
“Hi,” Evelyn’s voice was sharp.
“Hey, Evelyn. I just need you to listen more, but reply the best way you can,” Henry said and cleared his throat before he continued. “I need the recording of your conversation with Lucas Perez on the day he died. I remember you told me he admitted to working with the Red Wolves.”
“Ermm…That might be difficult to get for you, dear.”
“You have to try to get it and do it fast. I need to listen to it urgently.”
“I’ll try,” Evelyn finally replied.
“Secondly, I need to talk to Chairman Mark. How soon can you get to him with your phone?”
“In ten minutes.”
“Okay, you can delete this call record before going to him. I’ll call your number with a different cellphone in ten minutes.”
“Noted,” Evelyn replied.
“Thank you,” Henry said before ending the call. He laid back in the bed tiredly and took in a deep breath.
Seven Minutes Later
“Tell him it’s urgent,” Evelyn said to the Chairman’s PA who was stopping her from proceeding into the office.
“You can talk to another senior agent about it, can’t you?” The PA seemed adamant.
Evelyn stared at his face for a while and sighed. She then took out her phone and dialled Agent Mark’s number. It rang but the phone wasn’t answered. She tried a second time and the same thing happened.
She checked her time and heaved a sigh of frustration. Henry was going to call in the next two minutes. She glanced once more at the PA before heading towards Mark’s office without waiting for a go-ahead.
“Hey, officer,” the PA got up from her seat and followed Evelyn. She ran to catch up with her and stood at her front. “Didn’t you hear what I said?”
“Get out of my way,” Evelyn said and then pushed the PA away. She hurried towards the door and opened it without knocking. She was in already before the lady could catch up with her.
“Good day, Chairman, sir,” Evelyn greeted on walking into the office. Two other agents were sitting at the visitor’s side of the chairman’s table.
“She forced her way in sir,” the PA rushed in to say and tried to drag Evelyn out.
“Hold on,” Mark stopped the PA and then fixed his gaze on Evelyn’s face. “What do you want?”
“I need to see you privately,” Evelyn replied. The Chairman squinted at her and then moved his eyes to the men in front of him. Evelyn knew he was trying to say their meeting should come after he was done with them. The seated agents were seniors to Evelyn. “Now, sir,” Evelyn added in a strong tone and then checked her wristwatch again.
Mark heaved a sigh. He could tell it was something serious for her to insist.
“Please, gentlemen. You’ll have to excuse me for a minute,” Mark reluctantly said to the men.
The hesitation to get up by the men was obvious. They were shocked that the chairman would choose to suspend their meeting to see a junior agent. If it was truly urgent information, there was a right way to bring it to the Chairman officially which wasn’t the way Evelyn took.
Evelyn noticed the look on the men’s faces as they walked out but she ignored it. The phone began to ring before the last person stepped out. She moved closer to the table and handed the phone to the chairman. He looked at the phone’s screen and looked at her face.
“That’s Henry, he needs to speak to you,” Evelyn explained.
“Carl Winston?” Mark squinted at her.
She nodded affirmatively.
He breathed in deeply before answering the call. “Hello, Carl.”
“Hello, Chairman Mark. There’s something we’re working on and we need the help of the FOX.”
“Does this relate to the death of the three executives we’re currently investigating?” Mark questioned.
“Yes, it does. But it also has to do with the death of the President.”
“The President, what the f*** are you talking about?” Mark’s eyebrows gathered together furiously.
“Relax man, he isn’t dead yet. And I’m calling so that we can stop his death.”
Mark heaved a sigh of relief. “How do we do that?”
“We’re not sure how Hutton Ryker plans to ki*ll the President yet, but we’ll soon be. To help us find out, I’ll need you to get some information from the President first. I know you can reach him directly.”
“Yes, I can. What do you want me to ask him?”
“Well, I don’t know how you’re gonna ask him but the information we need to know which days the Vice President won’t be in the Presidential Villa within the next seven days.”
“Uhm… I’m not so sure he’s going to be willing to share that information with me.”
“That’s why you won’t ask him directly. Find a creative way to get the answer from him,” Henry urged.
“Oh! I understand, I’ll get that done,” Mark nodded affirmatively. “What else?”
“I’ll let you know what next should be done when we get that information. Can you get it done within the next one hour?”
Mark frowned for a moment as he considered the possibility. “I should, I only hope that he’s not in a meeting by the time I try to reach him. That might make it difficult.”
“It should be difficult, Chairman Mark. Please get it done in forty-five minutes. We don’t have much time. I’ll ask Evelyn to be back soon.”
Mark let out a breath. “I’ll try.”
The call ended immediately and Mark handed the phone back to Evelyn reluctantly. He wasn’t satisfied with the call as he had many questions to ask Carl.
“Thank you, Chairman,” Evelyn bowed slightly before stepping out of his office. She proceeded straight to Steve’s office.
He was alone when she stepped in. He had some files on his table and was busy going through them.
“Evelyn,” he closed the file on the table as she approached. “Please, have your seat.”
“Agent Steve, I need the recording from our visit to Lucas Perez,” she went directly to the point without taking a seat.
“Why do you need it?” He raised a brow.
“I need to listen again, there might be some details we missed.”
Steve leaned back and squinted at her face. “Do you still need to keep secrets from me, Evelyn? We’ve gone through that recording several times already. I thought we both agreed that there was nothing useful in it.”
Evelyn was silent.
“If there’s something new you know, why not tell me?” Steve urged.
Evelyn sat quickly. “I don’t know much now. I think there’s been some progress on Hutton Ryker’s moves and something Lucas said to us could be helpful.”
Steve furrowed his gaze deeper at her. “You’re not the one who needs to listen, who is?”
“Carl,” she stated blankly.
“It’s against the rules of the FOX to give such material to a non-FOX agent.”
“I know, that’s why you’re giving it to me, your partner. I’m a FOX agent on the case.”
Steve considered it for a few seconds and finally decided to release the recording. “I’ll give it to you on one condition.”
“What condition is that?”
“I’ll be the first you give the full information when you finally know what your team is about.”
“I agree to that,” Evelyn nodded in agreement.
30 Minutes Later
Maxwell, Samantha, Dave, and Paul Edwards were in the control room all working on different computers. Henry was also in the control room but was at the centre table, listening to the recording sent to him with his earphones. The documents stolen from the DIA club were in front of him. He was studying them before the recording was sent.
“Hey, guys!” Henry suddenly got up from his seat, clapping his hands to call the attention of the other people in the control room. He stopped when he was sure they were all looking at him. “I think I have an idea of what’s going to happen now,” he said, unplugging the earphones from his ears. He walked closer to the speaker at Maxwell’s spot and connected his device to it. “I just listen to the conversation between the FOX officers and late Lucas Perez, and I want you all to hear this part.”
He stopped and played the audio on the device. They heard an unrecognized male voice and knew it must be Lucas Perez’s.
The last device I manufactured for them has not been used. I didn’t work on it alone but with nine other engineers they employed. I only led the team. It is the most dangerous explosive system I’ve ever worked on. It can wipe out a whole city with a strike.”
Henry stopped the audio and looked at their faces, waiting for someone to talk about it.
“He worked with nine engineers,” Samantha wondered aloud. “And it’s damn deadly enough to wipe out a city.”
“Yeah,” Henry nodded.
“Can you play the last part again?” Paul Edwards requested.
“With a strike?” Paul exclaimed after listening again.
“That’s right, Paul, with a strike,” Henry affirmed excitedly, happy that someone was getting what he wanted to point out.
“If the guy suggests that there’ll be a strike, that means it’s a rocket bomb.”
“That’s it, Paul. That’s it!” Henry exclaimed. “The explosive won’t be in the Presidential premises but will be launched from outside. That’s Hutton Ryker’s plan to wipe out the President and take over. The rocket is going to ki*ll the President and no one is going to think the President was the sole target. They’ll just count the Vice President lucky not to be in the Villa at that moment. Then, the Vice President becomes President and will suspend the FOX chairman for ineffectiveness. Hutton and Kahn will come in as saviours to stop terrorism. Abraham Carter, Dexter Joe, and Evans Blake will be blamed as the sponsors.”
The whole team was quiet for a while to ponder on Hutton’s strategy as analyzed by Carl.
“What if this comes to pass?” Dave wondered aloud. “What about you? Hutton Ryker knows there is a Carl somewhere who knows the truth. Does he think you can’t cause troubles?”
There was silence for a briefer moment.
“Maybe that’s where Rex comes in,” Samantha thought aloud. “Rex might have been tasked to take out Carl Winston. But we don’t know what his stake is.”
Hutton Ryker was alone at the verandah smoking a cigar and also talking with someone on phone.
“Hahaha… Good work man,” he laughed in response to something said from the other end. “It doesn’t matter how close Carl comes, Rex is already closer to distracting him, and possibly distracting the whole team.”
He laughed again in response to a discussion before ending the phone call. A different call came in at that same moment.
“Hey, Ryker. I’m in South Africa,” Chanda’s voice sounded from the other end.