“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.
A deep silence overwhelmed the room and all of them except for Maria were extremely surprised to see the President. The three of them walked closer to where the rest were sitting.
“How in the f***ing world is this man alive?” Paul Edwards broke the silence. He proceeded towards the President and touched him as if to check if he was real.
“He never died,” Mark replied. “But we had to make him look dead. Otherwise, Hutton Ryker would not stop trying.”
“What about the explosion at the safe house, was that fake?” Paul questioned.
“No, it was real. But no one died. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for those at the Presidential Villa. Even though we asked everyone to leave the villa immediately after we took out the President, more than 20 got killed in the explosion.”
“So, you never took him to that safe house?” Henry asked.
Mark shook his head in negative.
“How were you able to pull that off? I’m sure Hutton has moles in the Presidential Villa.”
“No one else knows about this except for the three of us here,” Mark stated. “We took the President back to the villa first and dressed him up in the complete FOX uniform and bulletproof helmet. We dressed up someone else like a woman and lied to other agents and the state security officers that it was the President who was disguised as a woman. I sent the address of the safe house to Maria here who told it to the Red Wolves.”
“Well, it doesn’t look like Hutton Ryker was just going to believe an address because Maria sent it,” Henry noted.
“I lied that I bugged the Chairman’s phone,” Maria answered him.
Henry heaved a sigh of relief and proceeded towards where the President and the FOX agents he came with were standing.
“That’s a damn genius plan you pulled up there man!” Paul exclaimed and shook Mark’s palm in excitement.
“Mr President,” Henry stretched out his hand to shake hands with the man. “Nice to see you, please take your seat.”
“Thank you,” the President smiled in reply.
Henry also gestured for Paul and Evelyn to take their seats. Paul also returned to where he was sitting beside Samantha. Maria was the only one standing.
“Maria,” Henry called her name and nodded towards an empty plastic chair.
Maria reluctantly walked to the place while Henry returned to sit on the footstool.
“Now that the President is here and we know we haven’t failed, what’s next?” Paul asked with his eyes on Henry’s face and then slowly switched to Mark.
“Is there anything next you have in mind, Chairman Mark?” Henry also looked at Mark.
“That’s why we’re here. Hutton Ryker has taken over the FOX already and the Vice President is setting up himself to take full control of the government. I’ll like to know what you think about it first,” Mark replied to Henry.
Henry heaved a sigh and scratched his head lightly. “I think you should just tell us what your thoughts are, Mr Chairman. I just found out that he was alive seconds ago and it’s gonna take me time to think about it. Why waste time if you have the next move already?”
“Ermmm… Can I say something?” Maxwell put in and looked around to see if anyone would object. No one did. “I feel we have an advantage over Hutton Ryker now that he doesn’t know the President is alive. He’s gonna continue with his new role at the FOX tomorrow and he can be arrested from there.”
“Exactly what my thoughts are,” Mark stated. “Once he gets back to the FOX tomorrow, I order for his arrest and keep him and his men behind bars. Then we arrest the Vice President too and everyone we find connected to them.”
“Do we have enough proof to nail them?” Dave asked. “As far as I’m concerned the court would consider all we’re saying now as mere theories if we don’t provide substantial evidence.”
“I have proof of all my calls and messages to Agent Michael,” Maria put in.
“That implicates only Agent Michael, as you have no direct connection with Hutton Ryker,” Paul replied.
“If we can get Agent Michael, isn’t he going to get us to prove Hutton is the Red Wolves’ boss?”
“We can’t be so sure he’s gonna cooperate yet,” Paul answered again. “We need something more; pictures of Michael and Hutton. Or pictures of Hutton caught in the act. Otherwise, a good lawyer could help them strike out our case against them.”
“Listen guys, it’s quite simple. Once we arrest Hutton Ryker tomorrow, the deed is done. We’ll seize his device and with that, we can check all his call records, track all those he’s been communicating with, and nab them. That’s enough to give us everything to nail them in the court,” Mark explained. “We have the advantage here.”
“Well, we had the advantage. We might have just thrown it away,” Henry replied in a not-so-optimistic tone.
“What do you mean?” Mark turned to him.
Henry turned his gaze to Maria. “A few minutes ago, I was of the opinion that Hutton Ryker must already be suspicious that Maria may be working for us. But her absence at his place for dinner must have just proven that to him.”
There was silence for a while as they all tried to figure out what point Henry was trying to make
“But how does that affect the plan to arrest Hutton?” Jennifer asked.
“Once Hutton figures out that Maria is with us, he also knows that Mark is with us and that the President is alive,” Henry explained. “He may not show up at the FOX office tomorrow except he’s got some other plans.”
“Damn!” Mark cursed and struck a fist against his palm.
“That means you guys made the wrong decision by not letting me go to the dinner,” Maria gasped in frustration. “If I had gone, he would have showed up tomorrow and would be put behind bars.”
“You’re right, Maria,” Henry turned his gaze to her. “He would have showed up tomorrow and Chairman Mark would have arrested him, but he must have killed you and Michael first.”
Maria’s face widened in horror as Henry’s words brought her to realization. It was true that Hutton would have had fewer suspicions if she was at the dinner but might have killed her as Henry said. She was somewhat grateful that they didn’t let her walk into her death even though it would have enhanced their mission.
“But why is no one thinking that the dinner is an opportunity to grab Hutton red-handed. What if we follow Maria to the venue?” Samantha suggested and then turned to Maria. “She must have the address to the place, I believe.”
“We checked the address she was given, it was just a pick-up point,” Maxwell answered Samantha.
“What does that mean?” Jennifer asked.
“It means she didn’t have the address of the dinner venue,” Dave explained. “Someone was waiting to take her to the venue at the address she was sent. That means Hutton has enough time to be warned that we were coming if we were.”
“It’s eight-thirty and Maria isn’t here yet,” Hutton remarked as he walked back to join Michael who was sitting in the living room.
“I haven’t heard from her yet. Her number is not connecting,” Michael turned towards Hutton. He noticed Kahn was being wheeled in behind Hutton. His eyes widened in surprise as he saw the person behind the wheelchair.
“Shall we eat now?” Hutton offered as he walked past Michael to the dining area.
Michael stood up slowly, still staring at the face of the man wheeling Kahn. “How the heck are you here? I thought they put you in jail.”
“Have you forgotten that I took over the FOX today?” Hutton replied instead. “I got him and some others out today.”
“Did Mark know about this?” Michael was inquisitive.
“No, I didn’t have to take orders from him. He knew nothing,” Hutton replied and sat down at the short side of the table where there was only one seat.
Chanda set up Kahn by the side and settled beside him.
“Don’t you think you did that too soon?” Michael was confused. “It would look suspicious if Mark finds out. We could have waited until the takeover is complete before doing that.”
“Yea, that was the plan. But I was seeing so many suspicious things already. Like Evelyn being arrested and allowed to leave on bail and like Maria not being present at this dinner like she agreed.”
“What do you mean?” Michael’s brows gathered together.
“Eat, Michael,” Hutton ignored his question and picked up his cutleries to eat.
Michael had no choice but to pick up the fork and knife too, even though he couldn’t stop wondering what Hutton’s words meant. They began to eat without saying anything to each other but Michael could not hold his silence for long.
“I guess we’ll get to know what happened to Maria when we get to the office tomorrow,” he stated, looking at Hutton’s face.
Hutton only stared at him for a few seconds and continued to eat without saying anything.
They finished the food in silence. Michael was wiping his lips with a serviette when Hutton dropped the bombshell that made fear grip his heart.
“How do you feel now, after eating your last meal?”
“Ermm, w…w… what do you mean?” the serviette in his hand dropped in panic.
“Exactly what you heard man, you just ate your last meal. How do you feel about it?” Hutton replied calmly without any emotion in his voice.
“A…are you going to ki*ll me?” Michael could no longer breathe properly.
“Is there a reason you should not die?” Hutton picked up a serviette and wiped his lips nonchalantly.
“I’ve served this organization faithfully, Hutton. I gave my all and even sold out the FOX to you.”
“Unfortunately, your all was not enough.”
Michael couldn’t believe his ears. He turned toward Kahn and Chanda for help. “Please, you can’t do this to me.”
“There’s nothing I can do, Mike. You messed it up,” Kahn lifted both hands to signal his withdrawal.
“Bu…but I… I did everything I was asked to do. I gave you every information I could get from the FOX.”
“You still don’t get it, Michael. And that’s why you deserve to go,” Hutton scoffed.
Michael stared at him in confusion. He glanced at Kahn’s face again, as if to demand an explanation for Hutton’s decision.
Hutton finally decided to explain. “You were stupid enough not to know that Maria has been playing you?”
“What?” Hutton furrowed his brows for a second. “That’s not possible,” he shook his head and looked again to Kahn, believing he would be understood better “I’m sure there’s a misunderstanding here, Kahn. She must have been held up by something else. Her absence here does not mean she was playing me.”
Hutton chuckled. “It’s a pity that you still don’t see it. Every information she gave to you was what Carl and her men approved for her to tell you. And the address of that safe house she got; I’m a hundred percent sure that the President wasn’t at the location.”
“No, no,” Michael shook his head in disagreement. “You’re taking this too far, Hutton. She couldn’t have lied to me about that. She bugged his phone and tracked his phone.”
“No, she did none of that. You got played and we all got played,” Hutton replied.
“I can prove this to you if only you let me…” Michael pleaded but Hutton was no longer having it. He raised his pistol on the table and fired a straight shot into Michael’s chest.
Michael breathed his last and fell back in the chair with his eyes left wide open.
Hutton uncocked his gun and placed it on the table. There was silence among them for a while.
“So, Carl Winston still found a way to disrupt our plans while pursuing his child and wife,” Kahn spoke aloud thoughtfully. “I thought the plan was to keep him distracted with that.”
“The plan worked,” Hutton replied. “What disrupted our plan was choosing the wrong FOX mole to trust. Michael messed up everything when he couldn’t read that the girl Maria was using him.”
“So, what do we do now?” Chanda questioned.
“We’ll watch and follow,” Hutton replied. “Unfortunately, Foden is dead. He did a good job of getting Carl to meet Rex. Now we have to rely on our final backup,” he added and paused for a second. “We need Rex to find Carl for us. And this time, we must wipe them all out, leaving no trace. Only then can we say that we’ve been successful.”
Hutton took in a deep breath and then dialed a number. The call was answered seconds later.
“Hello, Hutton,” the vice President greeted from the other end.
“We confirmed that the President is alive but we need to act along and see what move they’re planning to make,” Hutton relayed. “You too should not make any hasty decision for now.”
It took some time for the Vice President to reply again. “So, Mark has been playing us?”
“Yeah, and he played us well. Now, we’ve got to play better to win.”
“I really do hope we can win,” the Vice President sighed.
Hutton was quiet for a while before speaking again. “I was told you watched the interrogation with the arrested mole yesterday. I thought you should have mentioned that to me.”
“Ermm… What is important?” the Vice President replied. “I thought since they caught the wrong person, it didn’t matter to us.”
“That wasn’t the wrong person, it was Evelyn. It was all an act by Mark and Evelyn.”
“We can’t afford to fail now, Hutton. Do what you’ve gotta do.”
“I will, you need to play your part well too.”
Hutton ended the call and dialed another number immediately. Florence Brown answered the call from the other end.
“Hello, how is it going with him?”
“Not conscious yet, the doctor said he’s gonna be up soon.”
“The chip is in him already right?”
“Yes, we’ve got the chip in his body.”
“You gotta be careful there. He could try to pull a fast one if he wakes up. You need to protect yourself as much as you can but make sure he leaves and gets away safely. We need him well to start looking for Carl Winston.”
To be continued
So sorry guys, this episode is just around 2500 words. Couldn’t write much before 12 am because I’ve been busy all day with some activities