Dave kept his eyes on the side of the road as he drove through slowly on the slow lane. Finally, he noticed Henry at the front waving at him, with a lady and a child flanging him. He proceeded towards them and halted.
Henry opened the backseat of the car for Sarah and Kellar to step in first before going to the boot of the car to drop his bag.
“Hi ma’am, nice to see you,” Dave turned to greet Sarah with a smile after unlocking the booth from his seat.
“Hi, nice to see you too,” Sarah smiled back at him.
A few seconds later, Henry closed the booth again and joined Dave in the front.
“Hey boss,” Dave hailed him.
“Thank you for coming, Dave,” Henry replied, pulling on his seatbelt.
“Did you find anything?” Dave asked, talking about the scan.
“Yeah, we found an implanted chip that has been taken out already.”
Dave heaved a sigh of relief. “The rest of the team can’t wait to see you,” he added as he zoomed off.
The FOX Corporation, EPA Hill
“Please, drop your phone and all other electronic gadgets in here, thank you,” Hutton’s men went about the hall with bags where the FOX agents dropped their devices.
There were over 100 agents in the hall. Hutton, Mark, Michael, and another FOX top agent were standing on a stage in front.
“Are you sure this is everyone?” Hutton whispered to Mark.
“Yes, this is everyone available,” Mark replied. “Only about fifteen agents who are on night duty today are not here.”
“You’ll have to give me the names of those agents after now.”
They waited until the men were done taking all the devices before Hutton stepped forward to talk.
“Good day, everyone. I’m Hutton Ryker as some of you may already know. As instructed by the acting President of the country, I’m taking over the FOX from Chairman Mark today,” he paused for a second to let the information sink in.
As expected, all eyes in the hall drifted towards Mark. The agents noticed he didn’t move or try to deny it and realized it was true that someone else was in charge now.
|This is a temporary position for me, for now. And it is only for one reason – to bring down the Red Wolves as soon as possible,” Hutton continued. “For that reason, we are taking very stringent measures. The first thing we want to do is identify who the moles are. I understand that many of you here have different assignments but we will have to hold everything as the Red Wolves’ situation is crucial. Our focus in fishing out the moles will be focused on the case team and all agents who have previously worked on the case. But we have taken all your devices to stop communication with the outside world. As soon as we’re done with those connected to the case, we will hand over your devices back to you. Now, I’ll ask that everyone returns to their offices and maintain calmness. Every member of the team in charge of the Red Wolves case should wait behind.”
According to his instructions, the agents began to step out of the hall one after the other until there were only nine remaining, including Maria and Steve. Three of the men who came in with Hutton also stayed in the room with them.
Hutton stepped down from the stage. Mark and the two other agents stepped down with him.
“Is this everyone who has ever worked on the case?” Hutton asked Mark.
“Yes, all of them here have worked directly on the case. There are about twenty others who have been given additional assignments but never worked directly on it,” Mark answered.
Hutton turned to the agents and looked at each person’s face. He squinted after he got to the last one and again scrutinized each one’s face, this time as if he was looking for someone specific.
“There’s someone not here though,” Mark mentioned immediately he remembered.
“Who?” Hutton raised a brow at him.
“Agent Evelyn,” he replied. “We’re investigating her currently.”
Hutton squinted, looking more confused.
“We suspect that she’s the mole that gave away the address of the safe house where we kept the President,” Mark explained further.
“So, she’s locked up now?”
Hutton furrowed his brows at him. “What do you mean by she was?”
“Her lawyer came around last night and she’s on bail.”
“What the f**k are you talking about? How do you grant an agent you’re investigating bail?”
“We stripped off every FOX property and privileges from her already. We couldn’t keep her locked up overnight without real proof. The judge could penalize us for that.”
Hutton couldn’t believe his ears. “What’s the item of your suspicion?”
“She was one of the only three agents that knew where the President was taken to. The other two were me and Agent Steve here,” Mark paused to show Steve to Hutton. “He was by my side all through and didn’t leave after we got the President to the safe house and got back here. But Agent Evelyn left on two occasions and lied about what she went to do.”
“That doesn’t sound like something good enough really. Have other activities made you suspect her before now?” Hutton questioned.
“Yes, she’s had this external source that has been providing us with information. And we want her to deliver this external source to us.”
Hutton was even more confused. Mark was sounding like a fool to him. “Since when have you known about this source?”
“Just after I took over. Chairman Paul had permitted her to keep the external source.”
“Is he that really dumb?” Hutton scoffed and then turned to the rest of the men. “Who are the on-field agents here?”
Steve and three others raised their hands.
Hutton gestured for them to separate themselves from the others and then faced the remaining ones. “What about you guys?”
“We all work on tech and intelligence, except for him who’s with the forensics,” Maria answered.
Hutton again signaled for the forensics man to step aside. “Who heads the intelligence and tech?”
“I do, sir,” Maria replied.
Mark stepped closer to Hutton to contribute. “We lost the agent who used to head the tech on a battle with the Red Wolves. Since then, we’ve had no real leader of the unit until she stepped in on the case.”
Hutton turned again to Maria. “What’s your name?”
“Maria Khalid, sir,” she replied.
Hutton wanted to say something but seemed to change his mind. He stepped back and looked at the three agents standing on the same side as him.
“You lead the rest of the men to the case investigation room,” he instructed Mark. “Maria Khalid and you will wait behind for a brief instruction,” he added pointing to Michael.
“Understood, sir,” Mark nodded and proceeded towards the door. The other FOX agents and two of Hutton’s men followed him.
Hutton was left with Maria, Michael, and the last one of his men.
“This is your Maria, I believe?” Hutton turned to Michael a few seconds after the rest had left. He gestured for him to step forward to the same side as Maria.
“Yes, she is,” Michael answered as he walked to Maria’s side.
“So, can you two explain why I’m just hearing about Agent Evelyn here?”
“I tried to reach Elvis Kahn but couldn’t,” Michael replied. “But I had no idea that she’d been granted bail.”
“Did you have a hand in getting her locked up?” Hutton squinted at them.
“Yes, she was the connection between Carl Winston and the FOX. She was constantly supplying Mark and the rest of the team with information from Carl’s men, and Kahn kept complaining about her every time we spoke. After Maria gave me the information about the President’s location, we knew Chairman Mark will try to find out how it was leaked. So, we took it as an opportunity to put Evelyn away.”
Hutton turned to Maria with his eyes squinted at her. “Mark just mentioned that only three of them knew the location. How did you get it?”
“I installed a bug on his phone, so I traced his location,” Maria replied.
“Hmmm,” Hutton nodded slowly and thoughtfully. He took a step backward and stared blankly above their heads for a while.
After almost one minute, a bright smile appeared on his face and he stepped closer to them again. “Why not let’s just forget about these details, agents,” he chuckled and placed a hand on Michael’s left shoulder and Maria’s right. “The two of you have been doing a great job here, supplying us with all the information we required for the takeover. We really do owe the success to you two. So I’m inviting you to the celebration dinner tonight at 8 PM at my residence. I’ll send you two an address ninety minutes before the time. Is that okay?”
Michael and Maria glanced at each other. “Uhm, yea,” Michael agreed.
Hutton turned to Maria.
“It’s fine, I’ll be there,” Maria smiled back.
“Good,” he took his hands off their shoulders. “Now, we know that the two of you are the real moles here but we gotta give them an act like you’ve been doing. So, you will go into the case room and get a list of all people each of the agents has contacted within the past one week.”
The whole team was sitting in the living room when they heard the gate opening outside. Samantha got up to check through the window.
“They’re here,” she announced after spotting Henry opening the gate for Dave to drive in. She returned to her seat after a few minutes of peeping.
They remained in silence as they waited for the family to step in.
The door opened a minute later and Dave was the first to step in.
“Hey, guys. We’re here,” he announced as he went to hang the car key.
“Where’s Henry?” Jennifer asked after thirty seconds of staring at the entrance without seeing anyone else step in. But Dave did not have to answer her as Kellar stepped into the house at that point.
The boy who ran in excitedly stopped halfway as he saw strange faces all smiling at him. Sarah and Henry walked in at the same time to meet the team looking in their direction.
Henry held her by the hand as she also grabbed Kellar’s hand and led them close to the center of the living room.
“Hello, everyone,” he cleared his throat. “Nice to see you all again. Meet my wife, Sarah. And my son, Kellar. Sarah, meet my team.”
“Hi, everyone,” Sarah greeted with a smile.
“Hey, Sarah,” Paul who was closer to them was the first to reply and stand up.
“Hi, Mr Paul,” Sarah recognized him and shook hands with him firmly.
“Nice to see you again,” Paul patted her on the shoulder.
“Miss Winston,” Samantha was the next to meet Sarah. A smile was plastered on her face as she hugged Sarah. “I’m Samantha, and we’re glad to have you here.”
“Thank you, Samantha,” Sarah smiled at her gesture.
From her, Samantha moved to Kellar and squatted before. “Hey, little man,” she hailed as she brushed his hair gently with her hand.
“Hi,” he smiled back at her.
After almost two minutes of pleasantries, Jennifer led Henry and his family to the room prepared for them. She returned to the living room a minute later.
Ten minutes after going in with his family, Henry walked back into the living room.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, where are we at now?” He asked as he walked to the center. He pulled the footstool closer to sit on it. “Has anyone heard from Evelyn?”
Samantha reduced the volume of the television with the remote control in her hand.
“We found out that we couldn’t reach her because she was locked up yesterday,” Paul Edwards answered. “But we sent a lawyer to get her out on bail earlier today. According to him, he got her out. We’ve sent her an address to get here.”
“And why’s she not here yet?”
“She’s a FOX agent on bail,” Paul replied. “She’s gotta be careful. Otherwise, she’ll lead the FOX directly to us.”
“Oh! That’s true,” Henry exclaimed. “But what’s happening with the FOX now? Is there any news about the replacement of the Chairman yet?”
“None,” Maxwell answered. “The last time the acting President spoke, he mentioned that they were only working on reinforcing the FOX.”
Henry gasped. “What the heck does he mean by reinforcement?”
“We can’t tell,” Maxwell answered. “We’ve been trying to reach Chairman Mark since yesterday, but he did not return our calls.”
“We need to know what’s happening in the FOX to be sure of our next move,” Henry sighed. “Without that, Hutton’s gonna take over completely and everything we’ve been doing will fail.”
There was silence in the place for a moment. Then a phone beep broke the silence.
Dave picked up the phone by his side to check the SMS he got. His eyes widened as he read the content.
“Guys, it looks like we have something here.”
The FOX Corporation,
“What else do I need to know about this case?” Hutton Ryker asked Mark after all other agents had stepped out of the case room. He was sitting on a stool while Mark was standing about a meter away from him.
“There’s nothing else to say,” Mark replied, with both hands in front of him and his fingers locked.
“And since we didn’t find a mole among the agents here, that means your suspect Agent Evelyn must be the one.”
“We still have no proof against her and she seems unwilling to talk,” Mark replied.
“Well, maybe I just need to apply my methods,” Hutton cleared his throat and got up on his feet. He picked up some files on the table “Make sure she’s here tomorrow morning for questioning. I’ll be studying these case files overnight. I’m sure we’ll make a move tomorrow.”
“Hutton,” Mark called as Hutton was about to walk past him.
Hutton stopped and stared at Mark in silence.
“If you’ve taken over from me, doesn’t that mean I’ve been relieved of my duties here?” Mark questioned.
Hutton chuckled. He understood where Mark was heading for. “It’s not time to ask such questions, Mark. We’re at crucial times. The life of our nation is currently threatened by the Wolves. I can’t have you sit back now because we need everyone. We’re gonna talk about our jobs after this is done,” he paused and then placed a hand on Mark’s shoulder. “You need to be here tomorrow,” he added before walking out.
Mark heaved a sigh and closed his eyes until he heard the door open and close.
Maria stepped out of her apartment, dressed in an armless gold-colored gown and with a handbag. Her fingers were busy on her phone as she walked to her car.
She took out the key and pressed the unlock button. She stepped in and continued pressing her phone for a minute. Finally, she dropped the phone on the other seat and closed the door.
Just as she put inserted the key, she felt something cold touch her neck from behind. Fear gripped her heart as both hands went off. Her eyes drifted to the rearview mirror and she could see the face of the person at the back. It was Dave.
“Hey, someone might be watching you. You can’t make any noise,” Dave spoke softly. “I just need you to hand over your phone to me and drive to wherever I instruct you.”
“Where are we going to?” Maria gasped as her hands went down and she reached for the phone.
“I’ll answer you when it’s time,” Dave replied. “Just give me your phone and drive.”
Maria obeyed and handed the phone to Dave at the back.
“Now, drive,” he ordered as he removed the phone battery and took out the sim card.
Rex opened his eyes after what seemed like forever. At first, his vision was blurry but it adjusted quickly and he could see the white ceiling with the fan above him. There was an IV fluid bag hung on a stand at the left-hand side and the line connected to his vein.
He looked around and the room was empty, except for some medical equipment around. It was until he tried to sit up that he remembered he was shot. He groaned in pain as he laid back.
He reached for his belly and saw the dressing used to cover the bullet wounds. Then he remembered how it all happened, how Foden suddenly appeared, and he got distracted in anger, only to be shot twice by Carl.
A sigh of frustration escaped his lips. He knew he had messed up by letting Carl leave with Sarah and Kellar. That was another mistake he would have to fix, no matter what it cost. He blamed himself for failing emotionally when Carl appeared. He should have finished what he was there to do regardless.
A few seconds later, he began to hear some footsteps approaching. He quickly laid back properly and closed his eyes to pretend that he was unconscious.
Soon, he heard the door open and heard footsteps entering. Someone was on a call – a lady whose voice he didn’t recognize.
“They located our trackers and took them out,” the voice said in a desperate tone. “You should have let me finish up the job right there.”
There was silence for a little while and Rex could tell that the lady was listening to someone on the other side of the phone call.
Suddenly, he heard her talk again and this time, it felt like she was closer to him.
“He’s not awake yet, but the doctor is positive that he’ll be up soon,” the voice said.
Rex could tell in his mind that he’d been taken by Hutton Ryker’s men. He didn’t know whether to feel good about it or not. He wasn’t sure what they were planning to do to him but he knew that they were probably his best chance to get to Sarah and Carl again. He remained still and pretended he was unconscious until she walked out of the place.
“What the heck am I doing here?” Maria questioned Dave as she watched him unlock the door with the key.
“Just go in, Maria,” Dave replied calmly. He opened the door after taking out the key and stepped aside for her to go in first.
Maria stared at him thinly and gasped before walking in. Dave followed.
Her heart skipped a beat as she got into the living room to see the eyes staring at her.
“Hey, Maria,” Henry who was walking into the living room from the hallway was the first to welcome her.
Maria proceeded forward reluctantly. She scrutinized Henry with her eyes and could instantly tell from his body size that he was Carl Winston. “What am I doing here? I’m supposed to have dinner with Hutton Ryker. He wants to appreciate us for a job well done, isn’t that what you guys have always wanted?”
“Don’t be naïve, girl. Hutton Ryker hasn’t invited you to thank you. You’re walking into a death trap,” Henry replied and then returned to his footstool.
“But why would he want to ki*ll me? It looks like I’ve done a good job for him, haven’t I?”
Henry chuckled and got up from his seat. He walked to her front.
“We’ve been following Hutton Ryker for months now, even his closest agents do not know his residence. It’s impossible that he’s inviting you over for dinner,” Henry explained. “I think he knows you’ve been working for us.”
“They’re here,” Maxwell who was sitting at the back got up after receiving a message from Evelyn, totally taking all attention from Maria. He walked to the window to check. A frown was on his face as he turned back to look at Henry. “But they’re three instead of two.”
“Who’s the third person?” Henry asked.
“I don’t know,” Maxwell took out his pistol and walked to the door with the key. He unlocked it and waited until he heard the knock. Then he opened it with the knob.
Evelyn stepped in first after which Chairman Mark followed and the Bethannian President.
To be continued