Henry kept his eyes on the scene in confusion, resisting the urge to go closer to have a better look. All the men in both vehicles had stepped out and had surrendered. The FOX men were checking them out.
More cars were beginning to stop behind them and other road users were gathering to see what was happening. The police officers had to introduce lines to keep them away.
Henry’s phone rang, not too long after. He answered without knowing who the phone call was from.
“Carl,” Mark’s voice sounded from the other end. “Those men aren’t terrorists, they’re wedding guests.”
Henry’s eyes widened in shock as he turned to look in the direction of the men again. He felt like a big fool.
“Maybe you didn’t get the right information?” Mark added.
“There must have been some mix-up somewhere, I’ll get back to you,” Henry replied quickly and ended the call. He dialed Sheila immediately. “Hey, it looks like we went after the wrong people.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen that already,” Sheila replied. “The original vehicles paused at a blind spot.”
“Blindspot?” Henry frowned, wondering where that could be on the road.
“Yeah, the tunnel – Attan Underway,” Sheila replied. “It’s twenty minutes drive from your current location. You took a different route to join them.”
Henry heaved a sigh. “What about these men, are they a part of the terrorists?”
“Yes, they were contracted to cause the confusion. They were waiting in the tunnel with the same types of vehicles we were trailing. They drove out immediately after the two vehicles drove into the tunnel, making me mistake them for the ones I was trailing.”
Henry sighed again. “But the FOX also joined you to trail them. How the heck did they miss that?”
“The vehicles didn’t drive out of the tunnel immediately. They waited for eight minutes before driving out. That’s after we followed the two wrong vehicles. But I’m following the right ones now; they’re on the way out of El Deols through the Elianz road.”
“The Elianz road?” Henry exclaimed. “Where could they be going?”
“I have no idea but I’ll keep following them,” she replied.
“Okay, I’ll get back to you,” he said and ended the call.
He was about to dial Mark when a call from the same number came in.
“I was about calling you, Mark…”
“We’re keeping those men, they aren’t wedding guests. They’re a part of the terrorists,” Mark interrupted him.
“Oh!” Henry exclaimed. “Why?” He guessed that the FOX must have discovered what happened in the tunnel too.
“We were deceived, Carl. The real vehicles are still on the run. We don’t know where they’re headed for, but I’ve just asked my men to continue the chase.”
“I got the information from my plug too,” Henry replied. “I’ll be joining the chase now.”
His eyes were on the scene as he walked back to the car. He could see the men in black suits being arrested by the police while other FOX vehicles were leaving the place.
“Kahn and his convoy seemed to have changed direction, they’re currently on Elianz road,” Henry said to Jennifer as he entered the car. “We are going after them.”
The FOX Corporation, EPA Hill,
— Situation Room
“Good morning, sir,” Agent Maria walked into the situation room after finishing the work she had at her office. She stopped in front of the Chairman to salute him.
“Thank God you’re here, Agent Maria,” Agent Mark got up to his feet immediately and led Maria to the main computer. “I need you to take charge of this operation and give us quick results.”
The man sitting in front of the computer stood up to give way for Maria.
“Sir,” Maria turned to the man. “I’m not so sure I understand everything that’s going on yet.”
“You will understand, just get seated and start working with them. We’re trying to locate two escaping vehicles in Anthanna. The feeds are being sent to us from the FOX office in Anthanna,” Mark explained and walked away.
Maria took her seat reluctantly and discussed briefly with the man who got up before she continued her work. Two minutes later, the Chairman was back with an open cloth bag in front of Maria.
“Sir?” She picked up her phone from the table and stared at his face. She could see the numerous phones and mobile devices in the bag and knew he was asking her to drop her phone in it. “I need to be in touch with my mom, sir…”
“I’ll let them know and you will be notified immediately she calls,” the Chairman insisted.
“I may be the one who needs to reach out to her,” Maria stuttered, trying all she could to keep her phone with her.
The Agent squinted at her with suspicion in his eyes. On second thought, he felt that there was no need to be suspicious of Maria. Her involvement in the case has mostly been neutral, unlike Evelyn and maybe Steve, so there was no need for suspicions.
“You still can’t use your phone here,” Mark insisted. “If you need to reach your mom, I’ll give you permission to use it briefly.”
Maria no longer had an excuse. She heaved a sigh and dropped her phone into the bag. She watched the man walk away with the bag and hand it over to a junior agent who walked out of the situation room with her.
The Agent walked back to her seat after handing the bag to the junior agent.
“The vehicles you’re trailing is occupied by suspected Red Wolves agents,” he began to explain. “Agent Steve is in Anthanna and is leading the chase.”
“When did Steve leave for Anthanna? Why wasn’t I involved with the team? There seems to be a lot of things I don’t know about,” Maria questioned, with her eyes still focused on the screen and her fingers busy on the keyboard.
“He left for Anthanna around 2 AM, the same time Evelyn left for South Africa. We’re working with a source that provides us with urgent information now which gives us little time for the necessary documentation. That’s why it looks like the whole team is not being carried along.”
“So, the team doesn’t even know about this official source?”
“It’s not an official source?” She paused and turned to look at the man’s face.
“Not official,” Mark answered briefly.
Maria widened her eyes to show her surprise. “Ain’t we working out of line sir? We’re doing the same thing Evelyn has been doing, and it’s a jailable offense.”
“I’m the Chairman now, Maria. I decide what is out of line. And I’m only telling you all these because I think you deserve some explanation based on your rank,” the man slammed at her. “Now get back to your goddamn work and find their asses for me.”
Maria had no choice but to turn and continue with the job. Agent Mark stood right behind her, watching her activities until another agent called his attention.
“Chairman, sir. We have a call from Pretoria.”
Mark turned immediately and walked back to his seat. He picked the headset and fixed it on before signaling for the agent to answer the call.
“Sir, we’re at the police office in Pretoria, rounding off with the reports there. In a couple of minutes, we will be on her way to the Bexford office with the arrested suspects,” Steve said from the other end. “I need to know if the command remains the same or we need to do something else.”
“Send the suspects down here, Steve. I need you to join Evelyn in El Deols. It seems more complicated over there,” Mark ordered.
The call ended and Mark dropped the headset quickly.
“What the heck is happening here?” He yelled as he got up from his feet. “Haven’t we found those m*th*rf**kers yet?”
“I located them at Elianz road, sir. But they’re heading towards a blind area,” Maria announced and quickly typed some commands on her keyboard before tapping enter. Her screen was immediately projected to the large screen.
The large screen was divided into four sections, all showing the two vehicles from different camera angles. Each section changed frequently or went off as the vehicles left the area where the cameras could cover.
“Put number 2 up and let me see the map ahead,” Mark instructed in a loud voice.
His request was granted five seconds later and it took him a few seconds to see what he wanted.
“Isn’t that a rural area they’re driving into?” Mark questioned.
“Yes, it is,” Maria answered. “There’s no CCTV coverage once they get in.”
Mark heaved a sigh of frustration and then turned to Maria.
“You need to leave there and let him handle that,” he said, instructing the man previously in charge of Maria’s position to return. Maria got up immediately, wondering what next he wanted her to do. “I need you to get all the satellites maps of the area. Locate any building or possible major roads connected to that area as fast as possible.”
Maria headed straight to the computer in charge of the satellite photos and the lady on it got up before she got there.
Mark walked back to his seat hurriedly. “Connect me to the Anthanna FOX office,” he ordered an agent.
He was connected in less than ten seconds.
“Hello, Agent. The terrorists have gotten into a rural area just after Elianz road. I need you to reach all forces around that area. Put up roadblocks and search every damn vehicle that tries to get out through any of the routes.”
** Somewhere in Anthanna **
“We just got into the blind area,” Kahn said into his phone. Hutton was at the other end of the connection.
“Great, but we need to make it in time. It’s possible that Carl still finds where you’re headed for,” Hutton replied.
“I know, but the goal is to leave before he discovers. We have just one hour to get to the train. It leaves in sixty-five minutes.”
“I’ll be waiting for you.”
Elianz Road, Anthanna
Henry’s phone began to ring and he answered it almost immediately. “Talk to me, Sheila.”
“They’re now in a place without CCTV coverage, I can no longer follow them.”
Henry sighed. “We need directions, Sheila. Is there anything we can do about that?”
“I’ve been looking through the satellite images and I’ve yet to locate any building where they could be headed for. It’s not easy here because I’m doing all the jobs alone.”
“I understand, Sheila. I appreciate what you’re doing for us,” Henry replied. “But I don’t think he’s gonna be heading for a location in that place.”
“It will be difficult to follow him now that they’ve gotten into that place. They could change vehicles before moving into another road with CCTV coverage.”
“I’m gonna pass this information to the FOX now and they’re going to set up stop and search operations across all routes…” Henry stopped for a second to think. “The problem now is that they may know we’re following them already. If they do, they would have plans to go past the stop and search operations. If they do, there’ll be no other way to stop them.”
“Why don’t we just assume they don’t know we’re following or is there another way?”
“We can’t make such assumptions, Hutton Ryker doesn’t leave any box unticked,” Henry answered, still thinking of what to do. He got an idea a few seconds later. “If they’re going to escape the roadblocks, they must be heading for a route which will lead them out of Anthanna. Does that area lead to a major road?”
“No major road, it links to a town and some other rural communities.”
Henry heaved a sigh of frustration. He closed his eyes and ran his fingers into his hair as he pondered on what to do.
“I’ll get back to you, Sheila. Give me some seconds to think,” Henry requested and ended the call.
He dialed Agent Mark’s number immediately but it rang for several seconds without being answered. Before he could redial, a call from the number came in.
“Hey, Carl,” Mark’s voice sounded from the other end.
“Mark, the vehicles have entered an area without CCTV coverage.”
“Yes, we know, Carl. And I’ve ordered roadblocks on all exit routes. They can’t get out of there with those cars.”
“That’s great, but maybe they may try to get out without the cars. What if they switched vehicles?”
“I thought about that too and ordered for a critical search,” Mark replied. “But I’m not so sure how effective that would be if they disguised properly. What do you think we should do?”
“I don’t know, that’s why I’m calling to ask you.”
“Our team is currently checking through the satellite images. I’m sure we will find something.”
“But it has to be fast, we can’t let them get away.”
“We’re working on it, Carl. I’ll let you know as soon as we get something.”
**20 Minutes Later **
“Why is there traffic on this route today?”
“It’s strange, there must be something wrong.”
“I hope it isn’t an accident.”
Different people in the public transport bus gave their opinion about the traffic on the road. They were on a long queue of vehicles which was moving slowly, a strange occurrence for those who ply the road regularly.
Kahn and three of his men were sitting quietly on the bus. They had changed into casual clothes which made them look not too different from the other passengers.
Unlike the other passengers, they knew what the cause of the traffic was. They had anticipated it, which was why they made sure they looked like the other passengers. The other Wolves men with them had followed other buses.
The vehicles kept moving slowly and they finally got to the roadblock after eight minutes. There were six uniformed policemen and three others without uniforms. Kahn guessed that they were FOX agents.
Two of the men without uniforms and two uniformed men moved closer to inspect their bus. They looked in from the windows, scrutinizing each passenger’s face and dressing.
“Where are you coming from?” One of the non-uniformed men asked the man sitting next to Kahn.
“From the village, went to see my grandmother,” he replied confidently.
“And where are you heading to?”
“The train station, going back to Eltin where I came from.”
The agent scrutinized the man for a few more seconds before moving his attention to Hutton. He peered at his face for a while and then moved on.
“What do you have in your boot, driver?” One of the policemen asked. Two other men were looking into the boot from the back of the car.
“Just some luggage for the passengers,” the driver answered.
After a few more seconds, the officers let the bus drive on and continued the process with the next one.
After driving for about five minutes in the rural area, they got to a T-junction and Jennifer had to slow down as she wasn’t sure which route to follow. Henry took out his phone and dialed Sheila again.
“Hey, Sheila. Have you got anything yet?”
“I’m sorry, Henry. I can’t find any major road or major building they may be hiding in.”
Henry heaved a sigh of frustration. “Okay, thank you…” He was about to end the call when Sheila interrupted him.
“But there’s a train station not too far from there…”
“What the heck! That must be the damn they’re headed for,” Henry gasped. “How far is the train station from here?”
“Hold on a minute,” Sheila asked and went silent for almost forty seconds. “It’s twenty minutes drive from your location. But with the roadblocks set up, it might take much longer and you may not be able to catch the train. It leaves in thirty-five minutes.”
“Send us the exact position of the train station and the fastest route to the place, I’ll contact the FOX to clear the route.”
“Will get it done,” Sheila replied before ending the call.
Henry dialed Agent Mark immediately. Just like the other time, he did not pick instantly. Henry dialed the second time and he answered almost immediately.
“What have you got for us, man?”
The FOX Corporation,
“Sir, you’ve got a call from the same number,” one of the FOX agents in charge of the submitted phones returned with Mark’s device into the situation room.
Mark let out a breath. He was tired of stepping out each time to receive the calls. He was sure it was already looking suspicious to the other agents in the room.
“Let me have it, thank you,” he said to the officer and got the phone.
The call ended before he could answer but began to ring before he dialed it back.
“What have you got for us, man?”
“I have reasons to believe that the Red Wolves men are heading for the nearby train station,” Carl replied from the other end.
“Hold on,” Mark took the phone away from his ear to instruct his agents. “Check for the nearest train station in the locality,” he said and put the phone back closer to his ear. “Are you sure about this?”
“We can’t be sure, but I believe that’s the most possible place they can head to.”
“We’re checking it already.”
“Our agents found some men with weapons during the search operations. But they’re still questioning to know if they’re the Red Wolves we’re looking for. The men in charge of the team seem so sure that they are the Red Wolves soldiers.”
“He might be right, but it could also be a distraction technique.”
“You think they let us catch them?”
“Yeah, just to distract us and give the real guys enough time to leave.”
Mark heaved a sigh.
“We found the train station, sir,” Maria announced loudly.
Mark glanced at her and saw her typing hurriedly on her keyboard. He looked forward two seconds later to find the information displayed on the screen.
“We found the train station, it looks like there are cameras installed,” Mark said into the phone and then turned to Maria briefly. “Can we tap into the cameras?”
“The train station CCTV is controlled separately from the general road camera system. And it’s not in our jurisdiction. We might need more permissions to tap,” Maria answered.
“We can’t tap into the cameras there, but I can get our agents and police officers to search passengers at all stops.”
“Can we stop or delay the train journey?” Henry requested.
“Come on, man. It’s in a different country. I don’t have such powers. Besides, it will be difficult even if it were here in Bethanna,” Mark replied. “The only option we have is to put our men at all exit points.”
“What if they exit before the regular points?” Henry suggested.
“That’s unusual, but it’s true that Hutton Ryker could try something like that.”
“I need to be on that train, Mark.”
“How long do you have before the train moves?”
“Less than thirty minutes.”
“The roadblocks,” Mark gasped. “Ain’t they’re going to be a problem for you?”
“They will, I need you to get them off.”
“I will,” Mark replied before the call ended.
He dropped his phone and got up from his seat.
“Which of the routes lead to the town where the train station is?”
“It’s Ute road, sir,” an agent replied.
“Put me on a call to the agent there, they need to free up the road.”
Mark faced forward and was waiting for the call when Maria stepped forward.
“Sir, I need to check up on my mother now,” she requested.
“You can go, but you have only two minutes.”
“Yes, thank you,” Maria gasped and walked out hurriedly. Two minutes was enough for her to text Michael and the other person she needed to send a message to.
20 Minutes Later
**The Train Station**
Kahn heaved a sigh of relief as he walked towards the train with his ticket in his hand, his men following behind him. He looked back for a second as if to check if anyone was coming after them but there was none.
His phone rang and he took it out of his pocket.
“We’re there now, the train leaves in ten minutes,” he said to Hutton.
“See you soon,” Hutton replied briefly and the call ended.
“Drive faster!” Henry huffed after checking the time again.
“I’m already as fast as I can,” Jennifer replied, keeping her eyes fixed on the road.
It was her first time driving with such unusual speed along a residential area. They had gone past the point where the roadblock was and were heading to the train station.
Henry’s phone began to ring and he picked it up to check the screen. He squinted on seeing the number. It was an unsaved Anthannan number.
He answered the call and placed it close to his ear without saying anything.
“Hey, it’s Foden,” the caller introduced himself.
“Foden?” Henry asked in surprise.
“Yes, it is Foden. I’m in El Deols now and I need to see you urgently.”
“Sorry, we can’t see, I’ll let you know as soon as we can see.”
“It’s about your friend and it’s urgent, we need to see.”
“What’s it about, can you tell me here?” Henry gasped.
Henry took his phone off his ear for a moment as he heard a beeping sound, signaling that another call was coming in. It was from Sheila.
“I’m sorry, Foden. I’ll call you later. There’s a call I need to pick,” Henry said and ended the call to answer Sheila.
“Henry, I got a message from Maxwell. He has something from your FOX source.”
To be continued