“I tried to convince Florence that Hutton will not meet us at the venue in Venus without a plan to escape if things go south, but she wouldn’t agree since I didn’t have an alternative plan then,” Rex added after explaining how he got Florence Brown to be on their side.
“She doesn’t think the same way with us,” Henry replied. “She would have gone ahead to ki*ll Hutton even after learning that peoples’ lives were at stake.”
Rex focused his eyes on Henry’s face. “You don’t have to worry about her, Carl. I’m gonna make sure she complies with our plans.”
“I hope you can,” Henry glanced at him. He adjusted himself on the seat and cleared his throat. “You still haven’t explained why you were after Sarah, why you thought she was against us.”
Rex stayed silent for a moment while staring at his friend’s face. Then, he took in a breath and looked away, staring blankly at the wall. “I thought she killed my wife and kids.”
“Huh? What?” Henry furrowed his brows.
“Remember that we were drugged heavily after that night at Turin Resorts?” Rex continued. “They injected me with more toxins after they took us out of that room where we were held captive. For several months, the pictures in my head were that of Sarah killing my wife and two kids. It was impossible not to believe they weren’t true.”
“What if they were true?”
“Well, they weren’t.”
“Why do you seem so sure now?”
“Because I made the confirmation today.”
Flashback – Over 20 minutes ago
Sheila was sitting quietly in the room with her three computers set up in front of her. She had a headset covering her ears, through which she was communicating with others.
The tracking software was opened on the laptop flanked on either side by large screen desktops. A small green dot was moving along a line on the map.
The phone on the table rang, distracting Sheila for a second. She got up from her seat and turned towards the door as soon as she saw the caller’s ID.
“Are you here already?” She asked into the phone, proceeding slowly to the door.
“Yeah,” a female voice replied from the other end.
Sheila got to the door and checked through the peephole to confirm before opening the door. Dave and Samantha walked in.
“Good day, Sheila Jack,” Dave greeted as he walked in. Sheila locked the door behind them and followed.
“Dave, Good afternoon,” Sheila replied, bowing slightly. “Hope it didn’t take you so long to find this place?” She turned to Samantha who was taking a look around the room.
“What the heck is this place?” Samantha asked in amusement. “Ain’t you scared staying here alone?”
The walls of the room were decorated with scary images – skulls, skeletons, weapons, ghosts, and more.
“I thought so when I got in too,” Sheila chuckled.
“I think they must have seized this place from a gang,” Dave put in after observing the wall too. “These inscriptions look like that of an international gang.”
“You’re right, Rex mentioned something like that when we came,” Sheila said. There was silence for a few seconds.
“It wasn’t difficult locating here,” Samantha finally remembered Sheila’s question and answered. “The only difficulty was walking past the thugs outside.”
“Have you got anything for us yet?” Dave questioned.
“No, I’m still working on it. I’ve been a bit distracted, trying to find something more urgent,” Sheila replied as she walked back to the table. Samantha and Dave followed her.
“I thought following them was the most important thing?” Dave queried.
“It was, but we have thousands of lives at stake now. It has become less important.”
“What do you mean by lives at stake?” Samantha asked.
Sheila paused and stared at her face. “Hutton set up a bomb before meeting with them at Venus. I’m trying to locate where he could have placed the bomb.”
She turned forward and tapped the space bar on the keyboard in front of the desktop on the left. The screen came on and showed a microscope icon, with the word ‘scanning’ animated under it.
“Did they catch Hutton?” Dave pulled a chair closer to sit near Sheila.
“No, he got away,” Sheila replied without looking at him.
“What? According to what we were told, they were close to nabbing him,” Dave exclaimed.
“Yeah, they were, but he eventually got away. Now, our minds are focused on stopping a possible explosion.”
“How come we know there’s a bomb and we do not know the location?” Dave asked.
“That was part of Hutton’s plan of escape, I guess. They sent me this video,” Sheila minimized the tracking software on the laptop and switched to the tab of a browser where a messaging app was opened. She clicked on the video sent to her by Rex.
“That woman is one of the reasons our people got killed, are we sure this is not just another trick to get us?” Dave questioned.
“I’m not the only one on this,” Sheila stated. “The FOX are also in the search.”
“How in the world are you searching for an explosive in Venus while you’re here in Bexford?” Samantha queried. “It’s not like you’ve got a tracking code on the explosive device or something…”
“I’ve located this kind of explosive device before,” Sheila paused the video and zoomed in on the woman putting on the vest. “There’s a component of the device which makes it get a signal from the remote control that will be used to trigger it in a different location. The wavelength of the electromagnetic force that makes this possible is unique. So I just have to scan through the area and locate spots where such strong forces are acting. That’s how I can help identify the location.”
“Oh!” Samantha exclaimed and nodded slowly. She wasn’t sure that she understood the explanation but it sounded like it made sense.
“Guys, I think we have to warn the FOX to be careful,” Dave looked worried. He was about to say something else when his phone began to ring. He paused and took it out of his pocket. The caller was Henry. “Yeah,” he answered the call.
“Is Samantha there with you?” Henry asked.
“Yes, she is. And we’re both with Miss Sheila Jack,” Dave replied.
“Put this call on speaker,” Henry replied.
“We’re listening,” Dave stated after putting the call on loudspeakers.
“Sheila,” Rex’s voice sounded instead.
“Rex,” Sheila answered.
“You don’t have to worry about locating the explosive device anymore,” Rex added. “The FOX has just found it.”
“Oh!” Sheila exclaimed and turned to her computer. “That’s fine,” she said as she maximized the running tracking software again. Coincidentally, the software had also found the location. Her jaw dropped on seeing the location. “The bomb was at the military academy?” she asked before Rex could say something else.
“Yeah, Hutton was going to ki*ll thousands of trainees at the camp. Fortunately, the FOX found it and are working on the deactivation already.”
“Wow!” Sheila was speechless.
“You got to be careful, guys,” Dave joined in. “It’s possible that Hutton has got something else in stock.”
There was a short moment of silence from the other end. “Thank you, Dave,” Rex finally replied.
Dave exchanged glances with Samantha. He was quite surprised to hear Rex call him by name.
“Guys,” Henry’s voice came up. “We’re changing your task. You won’t have to go after them anymore. We need you to go to join the agents at the FOX hospital now and check on our guys that survived.”
“We don’t have Maria with us any longer, Henry. The FOX might find it difficult to welcome us,” Samantha noted.
“They’re expecting you guys as family members of the wounded,” Henry replied. “Evelyn already talked to them and talked to us.”
Dave heaved a sigh of relief on hearing Henry’s last statement which proved that Evelyn was alive and okay.
“Do you guys have any questions or something else to say?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Samantha answered, looking at Sheila and Dave’s faces.
“Have we made any effort to confirm if the explosive device put on Emily’s mother is not another trap for something else?” Dave quickly asked.
“Yes, Dave,” Henry replied. “Your theory about Maxwell messing us up was right, but I confirmed that Emily was not aware. Her mother was manipulated.”
“Huh?” Dave raised a brow. He was so suspicious of Emily and hoped Henry was not being deceived by her seemingly innocent appearance. Henry had also seemed convinced that Emily tricked Maxwell at first after Dave first reported his findings to him.
“Thank you,” Dave said as he paid off the driver who sped off immediately. He looked around the area to locate the building Samantha described for him.
“Where exactly could she be in this place?” Maria who was by his side questioned. She was also looking around.
“I think it’s there,” Dave pointed to an uncompleted building.
“Huh?” Maria raised a brow.
“Yeah,” Dave replied and proceeded towards the place immediately.
“Why would she choose such a place for us to meet?” Maria asked as she followed after him.
He ignored her question and kept walking towards the place while dialing Samantha’s number on his phone. The phone had yet to start ringing when Samantha stepped out of the building to welcome them.
“Sam,” Dave called as he approached.
“Come with me, Dave,” Samantha replied and only cast a glance at Maria. “I’ve got something to tell you.”
“I’ve got something to tell you too,” Dave replied and followed her in.
Samantha stopped in the first room of the building and turned to first. “I think you should go first with what you want to tell me.”
“Okay, I think I’ve figured out how we got f**ked up! It was Maxwell and not Sarah,” Dave began.
Samantha furrowed her brows at him.
“Do you remember that Maxwell went out very early on the day before yesterday?” Dave continued.
“Yes, he did say he wanted to do something important before we went to our places of assignment.”
“I figured out he went to see Emily. Maybe he thought there was going to be a danger or something. So, he gave her Zeph’s contact and asked her to reach him for escape. The Red Wolves must have followed Maxwell back to the base from there.”
Samantha squinted at his face for a while, pondering on what he said.
“Who the heck is Emily again?” Maria asked but her question was ignored.
“We put Emily in a secure location. There was no way Maxwell would have been careless enough to let the Red Wolves follow him there, worse still, track him back to the base.”
“Yeah, there’s no way Maxwell would have been that careless, except of course if Emily was the Red Wolves agent herself,” Dave replied.
“Huh?” Samantha widened her eyes at him. “You’re trying to say Emily works for the Wolves?”
“What better explanation do you have?” Dave shrugged. “She was his manager in the club, Sam. How could she have been working so close in the DIA club with Hutton without any idea that he was a motherf**king terrorist?”
Samantha was quiet.
“Of course, she knew he was a terrorist. It was all part of Hutton’s plan to put us down,” Dave added.
“Those are weighty accusations, how can you be so sure?” Samantha asked.
“Zeph spoke to me on phone some minutes ago, he told me that Maxwell reached him earlier to help Emily escape. She was there this morning with her mother and daughter, and they were being followed. Emily must have led the Red Wolves there. They probably wanted to use Zeph to get to the rest of us.”
Samantha was quiet for a while, still wondering how the Red Wolves could have found Emily in the secure location she was put. It was almost impossible for that to happen, except Emily invited them herself.
“I don’t know what to think, Dave. But we need to tell Henry about this immediately,” Samantha replied and brought out her phone from her pocket.
Dave grabbed her by the wrist as she unlocked her phone to dial Henry’s number. “What are you doing?” He raised his brows. “You told me Henry has been captured by the Red Wolves.”
Samantha took in a deep breath and lowered her hand. “That’s what I wanted to tell you. I got a call from Henry a few minutes ago. He wasn’t captured by the Red Wolves. Rex convinced the woman leading the Red Wolves team and she’s on our side now.”
Dave squinted at her, wondering what the chances of converting a Red Wolves agent to their team were. “You sure it was Henry that called you?”
“Yes, he’s not been captured. The woman is only playing a game with us to get to Hutton Ryker,” Samantha replied as she raised her phone again. “You’re gonna talk to Henry now and tell him what you just told me.”
“Emily’s mother had a boyfriend, which she hid from everybody. She lied to us about him and her daughter didn’t know him too. Unfortunately, the Red Wolves had been watching and they knew him. She texted her boyfriend from the safe house to tell him she was safe and not to worry. That was how the Red Wolves tracked them,” Henry explained to Dave. “When Maxwell went there that morning, they were waiting. They got a tracker attached to his car and he drove it back straight to the base. That’s how they got us.”
“Yeah, Emily didn’t let us down. Her mother’s stupidity and Dave’s foolishness brought her down.”
Dave sighed and brushed his hair with his fingers. He remembered Henry’s stern warning for them not to try to reach Emily individually. Somehow, Maxwell must have acted out of the blindness of love to disobey the instruction, which did not just lead to his death, but to the destruction of almost the whole team.
“Dave, Sam,” Henry called from the other end. “I want you two to go to the hospital right away. We have our surviving members who need your support and reassurance. Most importantly, you must ensure that they are safe. Once Hutton Ryker realizes that he’s failed. He’s gonna try to attack what we have left.”
“Do we still have any chance of capturing Hutton Ryker or are we gonna continue fighting this war for years?” Samantha asked.
“Rex has a plan, Sam, and I’m going to execute it with him.”
“You’re sure you’re not going to need our help?”
“I need you to stay with the team, Sam. This war started with me and Rex. I think we’re gonna end it the same way too.”
**Outskirts of Venus
“We’re approaching already, three black jeeps,” Hutton said into the phone as they approached a long bridge.
“I can see you,” the voice from the other end replied. “We’re putting on yellow tops.”
Hutton looked forward and saw from the distance two people putting on yellow shirts under the bridge. He couldn’t differentiate whom he was speaking to from that distance.
“Get your people ready, we’re ready for you too,” the voice replied and the call ended.
Hutton quickly grabbed the mouthpiece by his neck side to send the information to concerned people in the other cars. “Our vehicles will park once we get under that bridge and we will step out immediately. We have less than a minute to complete the exchange.”
A minute later, they got under the bridge and the vehicles halted one after the other.
Hutton stepped out of the vehicle from the left side and quickly turned to the other side to help the bodyguard who was to carry Kahn out. Two vehicles, which were coming from the opposite lane also stopped and some men stepped out. Hutton quickly walked into one of the new vehicles while the bodyguard helped Kahn get in with him. Chanda also joined another vehicle.
The men that stepped out of the new vehicles got into the ones abandoned by Hutton and his people and continued the journey. Hutton, Chanda, and Kahn were also taken back in the direction from which they were coming.
“We should be out of the country in about two hours,” Hutton said to Kahn after checking his wristwatch. “From there, we’ll plan our way to get back at Carl Winston and Rex Morris.”
Incidentally, the radio of the new vehicle was on and the news about the wanted new FOX chairman was being broken.
Breaking News: In a new turn of events, newly appointed interim FOX Chairman, Hughes Kanwa, has been declared wanted by the organization. According to information from anonymous FOX sources, proof of the new Chairman’s involvement in the Red Wolves has been released to the agency. Meanwhile, the FOX have also begun to monitor the President’s movement, attaching FOX agents to watch over him. Efforts to reach the senate President for questions on how soon the President’s situation will be discussed by the house proved abortive as he has not answered his calls. President Jerry who appointed the FOX chairman a few days ago has also been heavily linked with the Red Wolves. Stayed tuned to Youngicee news, more details coming later.
“Our Bethanna dream is over, ain’t it?” Kahn chuckled in disbelief. Everything had happened so fast, from taking over the country to being hunted in a few days. “They know we’re going to try to escape and they’ll be trying to lock up the borders. Are you sure two hours won’t be too much to stay?”
“I’ve got it all planned, Kahn. Me, you, and Chanda are gonna get out of here safely,” Hutton replied confidently.
** At the FOX Hospital **
Samantha sat quietly on the long aluminum chairs in the waiting room while Dave stood by the window, with his elbows resting against the sill as he looked outside.
Some minutes after, the nurse who welcomed them earlier returned to the waiting room. She looked at Samantha and then glanced at Dave. “You two can come with me now.”
Dave rubbed his hands together gently as he followed behind Samantha.
They got into the ward where Evelyn was and found her smiling at them. She was in the hospital bed, with her back elevated for comfort and her bandaged leg suspended in the air. There was plaster on her face and some other visible bruises.
“Evelyn,” Samantha called softly as she walked to her bedside. She placed a hand on her forehead and grabbed her palm.
“Sam,” Evelyn smiled at her.
“It’s good to see you,” Samantha smiled back.
Dave got to the other side of the bed and held her other hand while staring at the way her leg was suspended in the air. He turned back to see her staring at his face.
“I’m sorry about this Evelyn,” he said, staring intently into her eyes
“You don’t have to, it wasn’t your fault,” Evelyn replied. “Thankfully, you were not in the building when it happened. You could have been hurt too.”
“Maybe we would have talked about our suspicions if we got back early…”
“It’s okay, Dave. It happened already. There’s no use blaming ourselves,” Evelyn interrupted him.
There was quietness for a while. Dave found a chair and dragged it close to her bed and Samantha also did the same at the other end.
“Did the others survive?” Evelyn broke the silence. “The nurses won’t tell me anything. Until this morning, they had me cuffed to the bed.”
“No,” Dave shook his head with a sad look on his face. “Unfortunately, not everyone was lucky. Many of our people have been declared dead.”
Evelyn gasped in horror and looked away painfully. Tears filled her eyes quickly as she remembered that night.
Dave leaned forward and squeezed her hands gently to comfort her. “Cheer up, Eve. Hutton Ryker has been sent out of the FOX already and we will destroy him completely to make sure that our people didn’t die for nothing.”
Evelyn sniffed in tears and looked at Dave’s face. “I survived because I tried to save myself only…”
Dave squinted at her. “What are you talking about?”
She sniffed in again and used the back of her palm to wipe her eyes. “Chairman Paul, he didn’t survive, did he?”
Dave shook his head to answer ‘no’.
Evelyn looked away and took in a deep breath. “After Henry instructed us to leave the house, he went further in to look for Sarah and Kellar. At that point, I knew he wouldn’t survive if the explosive device went off at that moment. Just I and Chairman Mark went straight for the gate. The others had something to take or someone to check on,” she paused and looked at Dave’s face again. “What about Chairman Mark?”
“He was taken out of the intensive care unit this morning,” Dave replied. “The doctors say he’s gonna survive.”
“What about the rest? Who else survived?” Evelyn asked.
Dave took in a deep breath and shook his head. “The rest are gone, Evelyn. Agent Steve and Maxwell were also declared dead this morning.”
Tears rolled down Evelyn’s face again and she quickly looked away.
“I’m so sorry, Evelyn.”
This time, she found it difficult to control her tears and they kept rolling down. Samantha found herself crying with her but Dave managed to hold them from rolling even though his eyes were filled with tears.
“Rex,” Florence called as she walked to meet Henry and Rex sitting in the living room of the house. “I think I’ve rested enough already. When are you going to tell me what your plans are? Hutton knows we and the FOX will be looking for him. He’s not just going to sit down and wait for us to come to get him.”
Rex raised his face and stared at her for a while. He noticed she had taken her bath and changed her clothes. “Sit, Florence. I was about to call for you.”
Florence took her seat on the empty sofa, directly opposite Henry. She crossed her legs and stared intently at Rex’s face.
“We’ve got a mole in the Red Wolves team,” Rex stated. “He’s gonna help us with Hutton Ryker’s plans and we’re going to nab them just before they escape the country.”
Henry glanced at Rex in surprise and then also looked at Florence.
“Who’s this mole?” Henry questioned. “And how are you certain this person has enough information to help us nab Hutton?”
“He works very close to Hutton Ryker, so I’m sure,” Rex replied. “You’ll get to see him when we get there.”
“How did you get to convince the mole to be on our side?” Florence asked.
“I simply told him the truth, just like I told you,” Rex answered.
“What truth?” Florence pressed.
“I told him how Hutton Ryker killed his wife and offered him the chance to get revenge for his wife’s death.”
There was a short moment of silence. Rex’s plan seemed like a good one to both of them.
“So, who’s this mole? When and how did you convince him?” Henry asked.
“I met with him this morning,” Rex replied, looking straight at Florence. “While you were preparing to get Carl, I did my preparations. He also confirmed to me that Sarah had nothing to do with my family’s death or with the Red Wolves. He told me that she was never going to give up Carl, not even when she was threatened with the life of her son,” Rex paused and breathed in slowly before directing his gaze to Henry. “I’m sorry, Carl. Maybe if I had known the truth earlier, I would have approached it better and we might have had different results.”
Henry looked away to the window and sniffed in deeply. Sarah and Kellar’s faces flashed through his mind again and he felt grieved in his spirit once again. He shut his eyes briefly to keep the tears in.
“Who’s the mole?” Florence asked.
Rex stayed silent for a moment, staring at Florence’s face. He finally summoned the courage to mention the name. “It’s Jonah Chanda.”
Florence raised her brows immediately in surprise and Henry also flashed a look at him. She squinted and bowed slowly as she tried to think briefly.
A few seconds later, Florence raised her head again. “This is not going to change the fact that I’ll run a bullet into his head, yeah?”
Rex was quiet.
“Talk to me!” she scowled.
“It changes everything, Florence!” Rex slammed at her.
Florence gasped and got to her feet. “I don’t believe this,” she began to pace about the place.
Rex also stood up after some minutes. “This is how it’s gotta be, Florence…”
“Shut up!” Florence barked at him. “That fool has joined them to ki*ll several innocent people and even my brother. Now, you’re gonna let him go?”
“Who says anything about letting him go?” Rex scoffed. “He’s gonna be punished, just that you may not get to ki*ll him as you want.”
“Oh, sh*t!” Florence cursed. “That n*gga deserves a bullet in the head. I don’t f**king believe you’re gonna let…”
“You also deserve a bullet in your head, Florence!” Rex slammed at her.
She paused and stared intently at his face.
“You became an assassin and killed many innocent people, just to get to us. You’re as guilty as Jonah Chanda is, so what makes you think you deserve a better judgment?”
Florence took in a deep breath. It seemed like Rex’s words worked on her.
“Whatever we’re doing here is for the greater good. Hutton Ryker and Elvis Kahn are the two major devils here. We take them out and we can deal with others,” Rex continued in a calmer tone. He paused for a few seconds again.”Sit, Florence. We’ve got more to talk about.”
Somewhere outside Venus
“Gentlemen,” Hutton walked into the living room where seven others were waiting. “We’ll have a brief waiting time here before we get out. You have enough time to take a shower and eat before we move out.”
Hutton was about to turn to leave again when Chanda called him.
“Ryker, I’ve got something to tell you.”
Hutton stopped at the door and turned. He remembered that Chanda had said the same thing the moment they all arrived at the place and got outside their vehicles. But he had no time to answer then.
“I’m listening,” he replied.
Chanda looked around briefly and turned back. “We gotta talk alone.”
“Okay,” Hutton nodded and led the way to a separate room, where they were alone. “I’m listening.”
“I’m changing the plan to move my kids,” Chanda stated.
Hutton squinted at him. “What’s wrong with our plan? Isn’t it safe enough?”
“I’m sorry,” Chanda cleared his throat. “This is not to say I doubt you, but it’s difficult convincing them to leave their careers behind and come with me. They don’t understand. So, I want to send them to a brother in Asia briefly. They seem to understand that option better.”
Hutton gasped, staring at Chanda narrowly. He wondered what the reason for the change of plan was, but he couldn’t understand it.
“It’s fine if you think they’ll be safe with your plans, you can send them to Asia,” Hutton finally replied.
“Thank you,” Chanda smiled and bowed slightly.
Hutton nodded and forced on a smile. He stayed and watched as Chanda left the room. The smile on his face disappeared and he narrowed his gaze. Something seemed fishy about Chanda. It wasn’t just about the question he asked, but also about how he did. Whatever it was, Hutton was interested in finding out.
To be continued