“I’ve been waiting for you,” Mark said, returning to his seat from the cabinet as Evelyn walked in.
“He’s gonna call in less than two minutes,” she stopped at the other side of the table while he sat. “Have you gotten what he asked for?”
“Yes,” Mark heaved a sigh of relief and signalled for her to sit. “It was difficult though, I had to lie to that we have reasons to believe that there could be danger in the presidential villa. I asked him to tell me when he or his Vice were travelling.”
“You might not be far from the truth,” she remarked as she pulled the chair back and sat on it.
“Huh?” Mark raised his brows.
“Carl mentioned something like the President’s life might be taken in the Villa,” Evelyn replied.
“If Hutton Ryker…” Mark was about to say something when Evelyn’s phone began to ring.
They exchanged knowing looks as she handed the phone to him. He answered the call and placed the phone close to his ear.
“Chairman Mark?” Henry’s voice sounded from the other end.
“Have you reached the President yet?”
“Yeah, I reached him. His schedule won’t require him to travel out of the capital in the next eight days but the Vice President will be travelling in two days. He’s gonna spend two days out of the country.”
“That means the Red Wolves would make their move on the President within those two days of the VP’s absence,” Henry remarked.
“Are they going to attack him at the Villa?” Mark questioned.
“Yes, that’s their plan.”
Mark sighed. He would have thought that it was a stupid move for anyone to attack the President in the most secure place in the country, but he remembered who Hutton Ryker was. Hutton specialized in making the most stupid moves work.
“So, what’s our task now? Can we achieve saving the President and catching the masterminds at the same time?”
“That’s what we hope to achieve, Chairman. And we’ve come up with a plan.”
“Let me know what the plan is,” Mark requested.
30 Minutes Later
Except for Jennifer, the whole team was in the control room. Everyone else was using a computer for themselves, except for Henry and Maxwell who were working together on the same computer. The two of them had selected the two most possible locations where the bomb could be launched from. They were studying to narrow down the list of most possible buildings.
“Guys,” Paul Edwards called their attention as he got up from his computer. “I just located Dexter Joe. He’s in Johannesburg, South Africa.”
“South Africa?” Maxwell queried and then quickly turned briefly to his computer to check for something. “That means Chanda must have gotten on the flight to JohannesbSouth Africa.”
There was silence for about ten seconds.
“They’ve gone to get Dexter for the activation of the explosive device,” Paul remarked. “We must go after them immediately.”
“Wouldn’t it be too late already?” Maxwell put in. “Chanda must have landed South Africa thirty minutes ago. How do we catch up with him and stop him from kidnapping Dexter?”
“Saving Dexter is not a priority,” Henry interjected. “Saving any of those three men isn’t our focus,” he reiterated. “The three of them are terrorist’s sponsors who Hutton Ryker fought initially. They only escaped justice because of the corrupt system. The Red Wolves is only a continuation of their previous plans. That’s why they’ve got their fingerprints. Our only aim is to stop the activation of the explosive device. We won’t try to stop the Red Wolves from abducting any of the two men. We must only catch up with them before they activate the explosive machine.”
“That still requires us to be fast,” Maxwell put in. “But now we’ve got a lot on our hands. What if we focus on finding which of the buildings they’re launching from and stop it right there?”
Maxwell’s suggestion made sense to everybody else except for Henry. “We must keep our options open, Max. What if we can’t stop the activation of the machine? Remember, Lucas Perez is dead and we have a very short time to execute this mission. Only Lucas might be able to tell us how to stop the machine from launching after being activated.”
“You’re right, Henry,” Paul agreed. “We must tackle this in every direction.”
“But how do we get it done?” Dave joined.
“I’ll go to South Africa to pursue Chanda. I’m ready to get on the plane immediately,” Paul volunteered. “I just need someone to go with me.”
“Come on,” Maxwell scoffed. “You’re a wanted man, how can you fly to South Africa without proper preparation. You’ll be busted at the airport.”
Paul furrowed his eyebrows at Maxwell. “Hey, young man. I was the FOX Chairman until weeks ago. I could arrange for a secret chopper in less than thirty minutes.”
“That’s right,” Henry remarked. “That means you’ll make arrangements right away to be with Dave in South Africa,” Henry added and signalled to Dave who got up from his seat immediately. “What did you get on Evan’s Blake?”
“Not so sure I got anything. I think he remained in El Deols where he has been living for the past one year,” Dave answered.
“That means he’s an easy target,” Paul remarked. “But we don’t have an idea if the Red Wolves are currently going for him.”
“We can’t tell,” Henry commented and then turned to Samantha. “You’ve been tracking Kahn’s phone details which you got from Alves’ mobile phone. Is there any update on that?”
“Kahn’s number has been untraceable,” Samantha replied.
“Isn’t there Hutton’s number on the phone?” Paul put in.
“There isn’t,” Samantha answered. “If there was, I’m not so sure we’d be able to trace it either.”
“Can’t we uncover the location by calling while tracing it?” Paul suggested, looking at Henry’s face. “We do that at the FOX, you know?”
“No, that’s gonna expose our location too,” Maxwell chipped in. “The FOX doesn’t hide its location. So it’s easier to do that there.”
There was another silence for a couple of seconds.
“If Kahn and Hutton are untraceable, it means they could be anywhere. We must start making moves to counter them. They’re ahead already,” Henry said.
“So, we go in Evan’s Blake direction too?”
“Yeah,” Henry replied and then turned to Paul. “We’re gonna need an additional chopper to get to Anthanna. Is that possible from you, or do I make the arrangement myself?”
“I’ll get it done, but we need to start now,” Paul answered and then stepped back to pick a phone on the table. “Give me two minutes to make a call.”
“Who’s going for Evan’s Blake?” Maxwell questioned.
Henry paused to look at the faces of everyone else in the room. He had yet to decide when the door opened and Jennifer walked in.
Everyone’s eyes turned to Jennifer immediately. She was putting on a big chest to cover her bandaged stomach and a short under. “Ermm…Sorry to disturb you. I just wanted to say I prepared something for everyone to eat.”
“Jennifer will be going with me,” Henry stated, ignoring her food announcement. “Samantha and Maxwell will be here together. Before moving anywhere, you two will have to send Emily to a safe place and then deliver Alves to the FOX.”
“Oh, yeah,” Hutton let out a moan as he grabbed the head of the girl performing mouth action on him.
He was sitting on a sofa with his legs spread and the half-unclad girl was kneeling in between his legs while she performed the job with her mouth professionally.
Kahn walked in at that moment to interrupt the activity.
“Hey, Hutton. What the heck are you doing?” Kahn gasped on seeing what was happening.
The girl got up quickly and Hutton zipped his trousers. He signalled for her to step out of the room briefly.
“Come on, Kahn. Why couldn’t you have waited until I was done with her before coming in?”
Kahn’s jaw dropped as he stared at Hutton. He couldn’t believe Hutton could have time for sexual activities when they had something important going on.
“You really wanna continue getting your d*** s**k while Carl Winston is catching up on us?”
“Man’s gotta relax, Kahn,” Hutton finally got up from his seat and faced his friend. “I needed to clear my head, that’s why I had her here,” he paused and scrutinized Kahn’s dressing. “You heading somewhere?”
“Yeah, going to get Evans Blake right away.”
“I thought you were gonna get him tomorrow,” Hutton squinted at him.
“That might be too late, Hutton,” Kahn gasped. “Carl certainly knows more than we think he does. I don’t want to risk letting him get to Evans Blake before us. Or do you have a backup plan if he gets Evans first?”
“There’s a backup for almost everything, Kahn, except for Rex’s moves. If that fails, then everything fails.”
“I’m leaving now,” Kahn glanced at his wristwatch. “I’ll keep you posted and we’ll meet at the base the day after tomorrow.”
“Be safe, Kahn,” Hutton stretched out his hand for a handshake and Kahn took it firmly.
Location: The Presidential Villa
“Mr FOX Chairman,” the President called as he walked out of a conference room to meet with Mark.
“Good evening, your Excellency,” Mark saluted in the FOX way. He had come to the place with Evelyn, Steve, and three other FOX agents who were waiting in a different room.
“Good evening, Chairman,” the President offered him a handshake. “I was in an online zoom meeting. What is it that’s so important?”
“Your life, sir. We have reasons to believe that you’re being targeted by the Red Wolves. We’re still trying to investigate how they intend to strike. But we need to get you out of here first.”
“How serious is this threat?” The President squinted at him.
“Very serious, we need to take you out of here, immediately,” Mark reiterated. “Our men are here to escort you safely to the other Presidential facility or wherever you choose to be. Some of our men at the FOX will also be attached to wherever you stay to increase the security.”
The President seemed confused and afraid at the same time. He placed his hands on his waist for a moment as he thought of what to do.
“Can I have thirty minutes to round up the meeting?”
“No, sir. We must make arrangements and leave immediately,” Mark insisted.
“Okay,” President Rowland turned and proceeded back to the room he came out from but stopped halfway. “Chairman Mark,” he called. “The FOX believes that the Red Wolves are gonna attack me right here?”
“Yes, your Excellency,” Mark nodded.
“This place is secure already, why do I have to leave. You can just have the FOX men attached here instead of the location you asked me to move into. That way, the Red Wolves won’t be able to penetrate this place.”
“That’s not the case, your Excellency. We have reasons to believe that the Red Wolves already have people and probably their weapons in here. That’s why we have to move you out to a safe place first. We’ll also be checking all your aides and the security staff following you to the new location. Only those we verify will go with you and none of them would be allowed to go with mobile devices. After you leave, the FOX will conduct a thorough search around the Villa with the supervision of a trusted security aide you approve.”
The President heaved another sigh. Mark’s explanation made him understand how serious the threat was.
“What about the Vice President, isn’t he moving too?” he wondered aloud.
“The target is you, your Excellency,” Mark replied.
“Okay, just give me a minute,” President Rowland said before walking back into the house.
Hutton walked into the living room from the hallway to pick up the ringing phone on the centre table. He checked the caller on the screen before answering.
“Hey, Kahn. In Anthanna already?”
“Yes, I just arrived El Deols and I’ve found the men. We’re going for Evans Blake right away.”
“Good, let’s get it done quickly.”
“Yeah, we bring him to the base tomorrow and get ready for the launch the day after.”
“Yeah, but there might be some shift in our plans,” Hutton’s face formed into a frown.
“You’re right, Carl Winston knows more about our plan than we think,” Hutton gasped. “The FOX has alerted the President of impending danger. The President has been moved to an undisclosed location at the moment.”
“F***! That’s disastrous for us, how are we going to fix it? Can any of our inside men get us the location?”
“Unfortunately, no. All the men who went with the President had their devices seized from them. Even if we have an inside man there, he can’t reach us.”
“Sh*t, I told you we needed to pay more attention to Carl. How are we going to f***ing launch the bomb when we don’t even know where our target is?”
“We’ll have to find the target’s new location immediately and changed the direction of the launch. That’s where we have an edge over Carl. The bomb will hit the President anywhere he’s taken to.”
“Come on, Hutton. Stop being a dumb as* dude,” Kahn cursed. “You’re not even sure we’ll find the target’s new location. How can you be so sure we have an edge over Carl.”
“Our inside man, Michael is in the FOX. And he’s got an inside girl,” Hutton replied. “I’ve communicated to him already. He’s going to make her get the location for us, even if it means paying her double of the agreed fee.”
Maria walked into the living room from the hallway to pick up her ringing phone on the sofa. A sigh escaped her lips as she saw who the caller was.
“Good evening, Agent Michael. You shouldn’t be calling me now, what if Steve was around?”
“Shut the heck up and listen to me, woman! Why didn’t you f***ing tell me what your team was up to with the President?”
“Because I had no idea of what was happening,” Maria replied. “I only saw it on the news tonight that the President has been taking out of the Villa due to threats.”
“Hope you know that your job is to extract information from them, not just to wait until they feed you.”
“I know that, sir.”
“Then get active! Find out the exact place where the President has been taken to. You have between now and noon tomorrow to get back to me,” Michael ordered before ending the call.
Maria heaved a sigh of frustration as she dropped the phone beside her. Before she could start thinking of how to get the information out of Steve, a knock sounded at the door. ￼ she got up instantly to get the door for Steve.
“Where have you been?” She stared at him with a surprised look, acting like she had no idea where he’d gone to.
“I was with the team to get the President to safety,” Steve answered as he walked in tiredly.
She locked the door and followed him. “I saw it on the news. That’s so strange. I never even had an idea that the President is in danger. How did the information come in?”
“Through a new external source that we just got linked to,” Steve replied before sinking into one of the sofas. “And we’re quite certain that the information is accurate.”
“Through a new external source or the same Evelyn’s source?” she quizzed, standing akimbo in front of him.
Steve furrowed his brows at her. “Since you know already, yes, it’s the same Evelyn’s source.”
“So you guys trust her and her source now?”
“Yeah, her information has always been accurate and is still accurate,” Steve replied.
“Hmmm…” Maria was quiet for a while. “Have you had something to eat?”
“No,” he squinted at her. “You didn’t get something for me?”
She chuckled. “Of course, I did get something for you,” she turned to pick a nylon pack behind her.
He heaved a sigh of relief. “I knew I could always rely on you whenever you leave the office before me,” he smiled as she handed him a covered plate of food.
“Yeah, talking about that…” Maria settled on the sofa directly opposite him after handing him the food and bottle of water. “I think it’s time to return to my apartment.”
Her statement seemed to catch Steve by surprise and he almost spill the food in his mouth.
“I only need to ensure that the apartment cannot be broken into again. That should solve the threats of being attacked again,” Maria continued. “Besides, you‘re now working with those who tried to attack me.”
“Ermm…” Steve dropped his food temporarily. “Did Dave really try to hurt you?”
“Yeah, we had a fight that day. I don’t know what he could have done if you didn’t come in time,” she answered.
“You said he tried to talk to you,” Steve picked back the plate of food. “Maybe he wasn’t trying to hurt you. He could only be trying to get some information from you.”
“You think so because he’s now your source right?”
“Not just him, he’s got some powerful figure behind him that we can trust,” Steve replied.
Maria was quiet for a while. Then she joined Steve on the other side. “Don’t you think you should apply more caution with Evelyn and her source? What if they’re a part of the enemy trying to make the FOX work for them? Because I wonder why her source won’t report to the FOX officially if there was nothing to hide.”
Steve squinted thoughtfully for a minute. Evelyn had told him about Carl Winston and how he’s been involved in fighting the Wolves from the outside. But she never explained why he chose not to be in the FOX officially. Besides, he was one of the top FOX officials before his supposed death. Why did he have to work in the shadows?
“Did this Evelyn’s source provide the place you’re hiding the President?”
“Of course, no. The President is in one of the apartments registered in his son’s name, just outside Bexford.”
“I hope this source doesn’t know.”
“Of course, the source knows. Evelyn was there with us.”
Maria puffed out a breath. “Let’s just hope this isn’t a set-up.”
Steve squinted thinly to ponder on her words. After a while, he shook his head and dismissed the negative thoughts. If Carl was on the wrong team, he would have tried to help the FOX executives survive the assassination attempts.
He heaved a sigh of relief and picked his plate of food again.
Maria adjusted herself and lay on her back on the three-seater. She picked up her phone and opened the chat with Michael to send him the information.