“Are you going to take us with you?” Sarah crawled back to where Henry was sitting in the bed after a brief moment of silence.
Henry sighed deeply and ran his fingers through his hair. He stared into her eyes for a moment.
“I think you’re right,” he stated, nodding his head slowly. “It will be safer to leave you here. I need to know how you’re doing and where you are at all times. The Red Wolves are not just going to give up on you easily.”
Sarah heaved a sigh of relief. She placed both palms on his left shoulder and rested her forehead on them.
After another brief moment of thinking, Henry turned his face towards her again. “Sarah, I know we didn’t leave the plane with any of your bags, but are there any of your personal items you brought here?”
Sarah raised her head and squinted into his eyes. “Ermm, except for the clothes I had on to this place. You asked us not to take anything else.”
“Oh! I did?” Henry seemed to have forgotten. “I just wanted to be sure,” he added and quickly buried his face in his palms.
Sarah let out a breath and squinted blankly for a while. After a few seconds, she shifted slightly away from him and put her hand around his shoulder. “I really want to be with you, honey. If anything is going to happen to me, I prefer it when I’m by your side. But that’s just my desire. If going with you is going to affect your moves over there, then maybe I should stay.”
Henry quickly raised his head. “No, no… I didn’t say it was going to affect you. If you want to go with me, then you should.”
Sarah gasped and paused for a while, staring thinly at his face. “You didn’t agree because you think it’s safe. You agree because ‘I want to’.”
“No, Sarah,” Henry raised his brows and shook his head in denial. “I may have said it wrongly there, but that’s not what I meant. I really feel it’s safe that you should follow us.”
“You don’t have to lie, Carl. I’ll be selfish and unreasonable to insist since you think it’s unsafe. You should go alone,” she replied and got up to turn to the other side of the bed.
Henry got up and followed her immediately. “Hey, you’re getting it wrong. I don’t think it’s unsafe. I only used the wrong words there. It’s actually safer if you’re with me.”
Sarah stopped just by the headboard at the other side and turned to face him. She squinted at his face. “You’re the one getting it wrong here, Carl. I’m not pissed with you about your decision not to go with us. I understand that you’re doing it for our safety. Maybe I and Kellar’s presence with you might just be a tool for the enemy to use against you. I understand that.”
“Come on, Sarah,” Henry shook his head. “You’re right. But at this point, it’s actually safer with me.”
“It’s not,” Sarah insisted. “You should take us to a safe location here in Nigeria and come back for us when it’s time. You’ll be coming back right?”
Henry seemed lost for words.
“Carl,” Sarah called and her eyebrows gathered together. “You’ll be back for us right?”
“Of course, yes,” Henry gasped. “But you’re going with me.”
Sarah frowned and then folded her arms. “What’s changed? I told you I wasn’t pissed with you for your decision.”
Henry drew in a breath. “You know I’ll always make the right decision for your safety, whether or not you’re pissed with me.”
“I’ve reconsidered it and I realized that you will be safer with me.”
Sarah raised a brow, expecting him to explain further.
“As I said before, the Red Wolves aren’t just gonna give up on you like that. I’m sure they have something planned. Maybe they put a bug on you somehow and they may be tracking us with that.”
“A bug? I don’t think so,” Sarah squinted in confusion.
“I think so, Sarah. It was too easy getting you out,” Henry gasped and turned sideways slightly. “That woman, or sister as you call her, took you from the Monastery to the aerodrome and left you there for no reason. They knew I was gonna come there. I’m sure they were watching and are still watching us.”
Sarah looked more confused. “You think they know that we’re here?”
He faced her again and replied while nodding slowly, “I think so.”
“That means we’re not safe right now?” She widened her eyes.
“I don’t know,” Henry answered, staring blankly at her face. “That woman, did you notice anything strange while you were with her?”
Sarah gasped and shook her head. “No.”
“Was she asking you questions? Or touching your things?” Henry pressed on.
“She asked questions of course, but they were all related to how we were treated at the Monastery. She kept mentioning that she was sure someone was coming for us, but she was there to get us to safety.”
“Did she touch any of your things?”
“Yes, she searched our bags. She wanted to make sure that there was nothing there that could be used to track us.”
“That must be it!” Henry exclaimed. “She could have put something in your bag or attached it to one of your clothes.”
“Well, I was watching her, I didn’t see…”
“That was it, Sarah. I’m telling you. You must have looked away for a few seconds while she did it.”
“Then that means we’re safe then,” Sarah remarked. Henry squinted at her face. “We left the bag on the airplane. Whatever tracker she placed must be in the airplane.”
Henry heaved a sigh of frustration and his confidence seemed to leave with it. “Damn! That isn’t it. We disposed of the bag and they must have seen us leaving. There must be something else they hope to track us with.”
There was silence for a while before Henry remembered something. “What about that phone? The device with the number you gave to us.”
“I hid it with me and she didn’t discover it until we got to the airplane and a scanner was used on my body. She took it and broke the sim card and phone.”
Henry sighed again. He turned and grabbed his hair with his palm.
Sarah’s brows went up as she remembered something. “What if it was this?”
Henry turned back to see her holding the pendant of the necklace around her neck. “Did she touch that?”
“Before we boarded the plane, a man scanned our bodies and asked us to take off every accessory on us,” Sarah replied. “I took it off and gave it to him. I don’t know if they could have done something to it.”
“Take it off now,” Henry ordered immediately.
“Okay,” she gasped and quickly unhooked the necklace.
He took it from her and knelt beside the bed. He took a few minutes to check it out before getting to the pendant. It took him another thirty seconds to open the pendant.
He widened his eyes and gasped as the tracker hidden between it dropped on the bed. Sarah knelt beside him and watched him pick up the tracker.
“Is this it?” She asked in hushed tones.
“Yes, it is. Fortunately, it’s not a recording or video device. So they could not have been hearing what we’ve been saying.”
Sarah heaved a sigh of relief. “So, what do we do with it?”
Henry turned to look at her face.
“Destroy it?” She added.
“No,” he shook his head and then coupled it back with the pendant. “You’ll keep wearing it.”
“Huh? What?” She got up and stared at him in surprise.
“Yeah, you wear it,” Henry insisted. “Now is not a good time to destroy it,” he added and got up to his feet.
“Do they know where we are?” her eyes were still widened in fear.
“Yes, they know.”
Her jaw dropped.
“They know that we’re here, but they are not attacking yet. That means they still want us alive, but I’m sure that will not be for long.”
“Why will they want us alive?” she raised her brow.
“To lead them to the rest of my men, maybe. Hutton may not want to take chances of leaving anyone that knows about him alive.”
Sarah heaved a sigh of frustration.
“So, we’re gonna keep putting this on for now. I’ll tell you when to take it off,” Henry said as he hooked it around her neck.
“Are you sure about this?” She asked, fondling the pendant.
“Yes, I am sure.”
The FOX Corporation,
Chairman Mark and the Vice President were standing in front of a glass-enclosed box in the laboratory with the lab scientist standing in between them. The lab scientist had his white lab coat on and was holding a document showing the results of the test.
“We confirmed it,” he mentioned finally. “The DNA matches with that of the President. He’s dead.”
The Vice President heaved a sigh and turned his face towards Mark. “Thank you, agent,” he said shaking his head as he stepped back and turned. Mark turned with him.
They took some more steps until they got out of the lab and then stopped. They faced each other.
“You failed in your task to protect the country, Chairman Mark.”
“Your Excellency, we are very close to catching the culprits.”
“You don’t look close to anything,” the man countered. “You seem very far to me. If the president can be killed under your watch, it means no one else is safe. Maybe I’m the next.”
“No sir, no one is getting killed again.”
“You don’t know that for sure, do you?” the man scoffed
Mark shook his head and sighed.
“I’ll have to take serious measures to stop this once and for all, Chairman Mark.”
“You need to trust us, sir. We will handle this,” Mark argued. “The damage has been done already. It started with the other FOX chairmen and not me. If you give me a chance, I can turn the story around and bring down all the terrorists.”
“I’m sorry, I can no longer trust you or the FOX with this. I will have to take other measures,” the Vice President concluded and proceeded to leave.
“We found the mole, sir. The agent who leaked out information to the Red Wolves and we believe she’s gonna lead us to them.”
The Vice President stopped and turned. He took two steps closer to the man. “What makes you think this agent you caught will lead you to them? It’s not the first time you’re catching a Red Wolves soldier and getting nothing from it.”
“She was an agent of the FOX, we know how to get what we want from her.”
“Hmm…I see,” the man shook his head, obviously not believing Mark. “Who is this your agent? Can I see her?”
“If that will restore your trust in the FOX, yes. I’m going to be questioning her when I leave here. You can come along,” Mark offered.
The Vice President raised his hand to check his wristwatch. “I’ve got a Press conference in ten minutes. I’ll be back in forty-five minutes.”
“Okay,” Mark nodded and stood still while watching the man go. He proceeded in the other direction.
Mark got to his office and took a quick look around before settling on his seat. He picked up his laptop and turned on the screen before positioning it on the table for easy viewing. He logged on to pobsonline.com to join the live stream of the ‘Acting’ President’s Press conference.
A few minutes later, the press conference began.
“Our country is in a time of deep mourning and deep sorrow. Our dearly beloved President has passed on suddenly. He was my boss, he was a man of integrity and passion. I know how much he loved this nation. He died in the fight for the nation. He died trying to make sure the citizens of our dearly beloved country is safe…” he took a brief pause and wiped his lips gently with a handkerchief.
“Even though his tenure, which was also my tenure as his Vice. Even though it was saddled by the activities of the Red Wolves, he still managed to bring development to almost every sector of the nation. He attracted a lot of foreign investors and created a good relationship between many countries and Bethanna. Today, I’m sad to say that this man is no more.”
He took another pause and sniffed in gently.
“Right now, all the legacies and developments brought in by this man are about to be destroyed by the Red Wolves. The attack on our President is an attack on the whole nation. Our investors are afraid and are beginning to pull out. Even the citizens are afraid and are beginning to leave. Therefore, it has become important for us to take drastic measures to flush out these bad eggs from our country and the world. With the help of other stakeholders in the government and the security agencies, we’re going to be making some crucial decisions to stop the terrorists once and for all.”
“The FOX has always been the number one agency for fighting terrorism, not just in Bethanna alone but in many African countries and Europe. It makes me sad to see the news agencies around the world label them with bad names and make them look powerless, forgetting all that the agency has done for the nations of the world. I want to say to everyone in the world that I still trust in the FOX.
Despite my trust in the FOX, I have been looking into ways to strengthen the FOX. I was with the FOX chairman a few minutes ago and we both came to a conclusion to reinforce the FOX and this we will do immediately. I promise you today that I will not sleep until we bring down the Red Wolves. Thank you.”
The Vice President walked off the stage immediately, ignoring all the cries from the journalist for him to stay and answer questions.
The FOX Corporation
“Damn, f***ing assh**le!” Mark struck his fist on his palm as the Vice President finished his speech.
He wasn’t sure what the vice president meant when he mentioned reinforcement for the FOX. Even though he was surprised that the man did not announce his suspension, he still believed that the reinforcement mentioned was something he wouldn’t like.
A knock sounded at his door after a few minutes.
“Come in,” he said without bothering to check who was there.
Steve opened the door and stepped in. For some reason, he held on to the door for a few seconds before closing it and proceeding inside.
“Sir, we know that Agent Evelyn isn’t supposed to be in that cell,” Steve argued as he moved closer to the table.
“I’ve been doing a lot of rethinking in the past hours, Steve,” Mark seemed unbothered. He got up and picked up his suit jacket. “Have you gathered the agents on our team?”
“Yes sir,” Steve answered.
Mark put on his suit and then stepped out from behind the table. “Shall we,” he requested, gesturing towards the door.
Steve sighed and led the way reluctantly. They got to a room where eleven agents were seated. Maria was also with them. The eleven agents got up to salute the Chairman.
“Please, sit,” Mark urged them. “I assume that you all listened to the vice president’s press conference. Now, he hasn’t suspended me yet and that gives me, and all of us more time to fix this case. We don’t need to fix it all immediately, but we need to make a vital headway. I mean one that would be noticeable to everyone. That’s what we need to save ourselves and our jobs right now. And that’s why we have Evelyn where she is. She’s gonna help us get her informants and they will lead us to where the Red Wolves are.”
Steve who was standing behind the FOX chairman heaved a sigh of frustration.
“Now, I want us to keep working hard,” Mark continued. “Everyone needs to do their duty properly. We must keep an eye on everything going on in this country. Our agents in South Husan are also working tirelessly to get something for us in this case.”
Mark had to pause as his phone began to ring. He took it out and checked the screen. A sigh escaped the lips and he turned to Steve.
“Set up an interrogation with Evelyn, right now.”
Steve felt reluctant to carry out the order but he knew he had no choice. He proceeded out of the place and Mark followed after answering the call. “Your Excellency…”
__ Ten Minutes Later__
Mark and the Vice President walked towards the interrogation room where Evelyn was already sitting. Steve was also present but was standing while he waited for the Chairman.
“You have to wait and listen from outside,” Mark said to the Vice President, gesturing for him to stand by the transparent glass wall. Two other agents were also in the place where the Vice President was to wait.
“That’s okay,” he nodded and took a good position. He looked in and his eyes met with Evelyn’s. Her eyebrows gathered together, forming a furious look as their eyes met.
Mark proceeded into the investigation room.
“What the heck are you doing, Chairman? Why is that man here?” Evelyn flared up on seeing Mark enter. She got to her feet and banged her fist on the table.
Steve moved closer to control her immediately. “Sit down, Evelyn or you’re gonna force me to cuff you.”
Evelyn took in a deep breath and sat down reluctantly.
Mark chuckled before sitting down at the other side of the table.
“Tell me you’re not serious about this,” Evelyn still seemed ruffled as her eyes met with the Vice President again. “You’re not going to have him stand there while you question me.”
“Shut up, Evelyn. You can only talk when answering my questions!” Mark slammed at her.
Evelyn sighed and shook her head in disbelief.
“Now, you listen to me carefully. The deal is if you help us catch the Red Wolves, we’ll let you go. So you gotta cooperate with us.”
“Now, you have to start by admitting that you gave out the safehouse address to the Red Wolves.”
Evelyn stared at the man’s face for a moment and then folded her arms before resting back. “I’m not saying a word until I get my lawyer.”
“Huh?” Mark raised his brows, showing he wasn’t expecting the response. “You may never get this deal again if you don’t talk now.”
“I’m not interested in your deal, Chairman. I want my lawyer.”
The Chairman leaned back and took in a deep breath. He turned his eyes towards the Vice President standing outside and shook his head resignedly.
20 minutes later
“We both knew she wasn’t going to say anything,” the vice president remarked as they got into Mark’s office.
“We still have the opportunity to make her talk, sir,” Mark countered as he walked to his seat.
“Naah, I’m sure you know that’s not true. She’s never gonna flip.”
“Please, have your seat, sir,” Mark offered.
“No, thanks. I don’t have to sit to do this.”
Mark gasped and remained standing.
“I know you must have listened to the press conference and heard me talking about reinforcement.”
“Yes, sir. But we never discussed that as you said.”
“Yeah, we didn’t because you really do not have a say in this,” the man scoffed. “Tomorrow, we’re expecting reinforcement.”
“What kind of reinforcement?” Mark frowned.
The man chuckled. “You will find out when the time comes. Just make sure that all your agents, especially those on this case are available tomorrow.”
Bexford International Airport, Bexford
“Wow, I’ve missed home,” Sarah looked all around as they walked towards the garage to find the cab waiting for them.
She was holding Kellar’s hand while Henry had the only travelling box in his hand.
“Not so much has changed in the last year,” Henry remarked. “Of course, except for places destroyed by the Red Wolves.”
“The situation is really pathetic,” Sarah scoffed. “I hear folks in Nigeria compare the Red Wolves to Boko Haram a lot of times. At some point, it was noised that the Nigerian government wanted to invite mercenaries from the FOX to help fight the terrorists here. But they changed their mind after seeing how powerless the Red Wolves have made the FOX.”
“The Red Wolves will soon become a thing of history, Sarah. This, I promise you,” Henry replied, trying to be confident.
“Where are we heading to now?” she asked.
“First to a doctor,” Henry replied.
“Yeah, just to perform a check on you.”
“A check on me?” She stopped and squinted.
“Yeah, I mean a scan,” Henry stopped to make an explanation. “You mentioned that you passed out on two occasions. They could have implanted something under your skin while you were out. That’s why we need this scan. I’ve chosen a neutral location where we’ll get the scan done, for you and Kellar. Once we’re sure that there’s no implanted tracker, we’ll take out the one in your necklace. After that, we will join the rest of my guys. They arrived at Bexford today and are waiting for us already.”
Sarah nodded in understanding and they proceeded to the cab.
The FOX Corporation,
Mark was working on the files on his table in the office when he got the call to inform him about the vice president’s arrival.
“Please, send him in,” he said into the receiver before dropping it in its place.
A few seconds after, his door opened and the vice president walked in.
Mark got up to his feet immediately. “Your Excellency.”
The Vice President stepped in and closed the door. “It’s more than twelve hours now. What have you gotten from that your new prisoner?”
Mark shook his head sadly.
The vice president scoffed. “Have you made any progress on this case at all?”
Mark shook his head again.
“Damn!” the vice president cursed and then stepped back. He knocked twice on the door before walking back towards the table.
Mark squinted at him, wondering what sign the knock at the door was for.
Soon enough, the door opened, and in came Hutton Ryker and two huge men flanging him.
Mark held his breath in shock.
“This is Agent Hutton Ryker. I’m sure you’re not just meeting him, he was here at the FOX before. And as you know, Hutton Ryker has brought down many terrorist groups before he was wrongly accused here at the FOX. Since he left the FOX, he has been involved in fighting terrorism in countries like Somalia where he was a part of the coordinators of the US drone strike that killed Ahmed Abdi Godane. He also led the group of men that took down more than 100 leaders of the Allied Democratic Forces Armed Group operating in DR Congo. With his credentials and his previous connection with the FOX, there’s no one more qualified than him at his moment to take over.”
“Sir, but you know that anyone who was ejected from the FOX previously cannot lead the organization even if he was accepted again,” Mark argued.
“He was ejected unjustly, Chairman Mark. Besides, you told the president that some of the areas concerning the FOX in the laws do not make sense. Maybe that’s just one part of it we’ll need to work on, according to your advice. Now, we should no longer waste time. We need to kick the asses of those Red Wolves guys. Hutton Ryker’s job starts now,” the vice president stopped and moved closer to Mark, staring him directly into the face. “I advise that you cooperate with him, Mark. If you don’t, he may find reasons to send you to jail, remember that you got the Bethannan President killed,” he paused again and let out a devilish smile. “Good luck,” he added before proceeding towards the door.
He stopped right in front of Hutton and shook hands with him before walking out of the office. Hutton moved closer to the dumbfounded Mark and extended his hand for a handshake.
Mark stared at his face angrily, ignoring the handshake but Hutton did not lower his hands.
“My hand is hurting, Mark,” he said in a commanding tone and gestured for him to shake his hand.
Mark had no choice but to take his hand in his.
“Good,” Hutton remarked. “The first thing you’ll do now is lock all the exits and entrances to the FOX corporation now. I want no one going out or coming in. After that, you assemble all the men and take their mobile devices. No one is communicating to the outside world until we finish this starting process.”
Mark shook his head gently. “Understood, I’ll give the orders right away.”
Mark stepped out from behind his table and proceeded to the door. Hutton followed him. Three men were standing outside the office.
“Who are you?” Mark squinted at them.
“Oh, Mark,” Hutton quickly stepped closer to explain. “These are my men. Two of them will be going with you everywhere to ensure that you carry out every one of my orders to you and that you do not make any funny move.”
Mark’s jaw dropped in shock.
To be continued