(Full dialogue in Episode 276)
“Where could they be headed to?” Henry asked rhetorically as he and Florence looked into the tracking map on the tablet device in his hand.
“Wherever they’re headed for, I’m sure it’s not too far from here,” Florence remarked.
“Do we send this data to the FOX for joint analysis with Sheila?” Rex turned back to look at Henry. He had an uncomfortable look on his face, which made it obvious he was finding it difficult to make the decision.
“It’s not time for the FOX,” Henry replied. “Hutton and Kahn have to die today.”
>> Fast Forward – a few seconds after
Xavier glanced at Rex. “Are we changing directions yet?”
Rex shook his head. “Keep going, I’ll let you know once I find a shorter route.”
Rex’s phone began to ring at that moment and he quickly took it out. He flashed the screen to the back to show Henry and Florence that Sheila was the caller.
Then he answered and put the phone on speaker. “Yeah?”
>> Fast Forward – seconds after
“I think he’s right,” Sheila stated after a few seconds. “Their movement seems to be towards Urel. I can see them now. They’re in two bulletproofed cars, but I have some more information I’ll be sending to you.”
“Okay, please send everything you get,” Rex replied before ending the call. He dialed Tanko’s number immediately after. “Hey, Tanko. I want you to lead your men towards the Urel now. Try as much as possible to avoid attracting suspicions. We have reasons to believe that they’re headed there. We’ll be tracking from behind.”
“Roger that,” Tanko replied.
Rex ended the call immediately and kept the phone aside. He received additional information from Sheila on the tablet a few seconds later.
“We’re moving closer to a junction now, if I go past here, it’ll take longer to turn back and change direction,” Xavier said to Rex who stayed silent. “Do I keep going?” he added, with a slight change in his tone.
“Yes, just keep going, don’t change directions. Sheila has instructed that we continue in direction of their hideout,” Rex replied, staring keenly at the device in his hand. A WhatsApp conversation with Sheila was opened on the device and it signified that she was still typing. Rex assumed that she was typing her reasons for the instructions and waited keenly.
“Why would she say that?” Henry questioned, looking confused.
“I don’t know…” he paused briefly to read a new message from Sheila. “Sheila says the instruction was from Samantha. She’s currently analyzing the audio sent to her.”
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about,” Henry squinted at him in confusion. “Samantha is in the hospital. What has she got to do with this? And what audio are you talking about?”
“We’ve not just been tracking Chanda, we’ve been listening. I think that’s the audio she’s talking about,” Rex replied. The “typing” notice disappeared from the conversation and he assumed that Sheila was still taking her time with the audio. He decided to explain more to Henry and Florence, knowing that they’ll still be confused. He adjusted his body on the seat and turned towards them at the back. “I believe you two did not believe I placed so much trust in Chanda to let the success of the whole thing rest on him.”
“You’re getting me more confused… Aren’t we following directions because we’re tracking him?” Florence remarked.
“Yeah, but I knew Chanda could flip on us in the last minute or for Hutton Ryker to discover him. So, when Chanda gave us his phone to find his IMEI code and install the tracking software, we also installed a listener, which means we’ve been recording audio from his phone. Sheila was too overworked to listen to it herself, so I asked her to send it to Samantha.”
Henry took in a deep breath and squinted thoughtfully. There was silence for while. “If Sam wants us to continue in this direction, maybe Chanda has flipped on us already.”
“Maybe not,” Rex shook his head slowly. “He seemed like one who was ready to get revenge for his dead wife.”
“Hutton is crazy motherf**ker, I’m sure he found out some way,” Florence put in.
“Well, we have to keep our options open. If Samantha wants us to continue in this direction, I’m guessing Hutton probably didn’t leave with Chanda as he thought. That means we need to prepare for battle for whatever we’re gonna face here,” Rex said. He picked up a bag from beside his feet and passed it to the back. “Let’s get ready to attack, but we’ve got to identify the exact apartment and be very careful.”
There was silence for the next few seconds.
“We’re almost there,” Henry stated as he fixed on the bullets in the guns.
“We have to move slowly now,” Rex said to Xavier who slowed down the vehicle in response. “They’ll be watching closely, we must ensure they don’t know we’re around,” Rex added, staring at the tablet device on his lap.
A few seconds after, Rex’s phone rang and Tanko was the caller. Rex answered immediately.
“Hey, boss. We’re watching the area but none of the men have come to the terminal. However, I’m personally following the tracker and we’ve noticed that they got into a building instead,” Tanko reported from the other end.
“Sheila just told me about that,” Rex replied. “I believe they’re not yet ready to move. Maybe they’re waiting for a special boat before they move.”
“So, what do we do?” Tanko questioned. “Should we move our focus to the building instead?”
“Just hold on, we’re getting closer here too. Once we get close enough, I’ll let you know what to do,” Rex instructed before ending the call.
“We should attack on all fronts,” Florence suggested. “We must not give Hutton a chance to escape.”
“You’re right, but we have to be careful about it too,” Henry joined.
“I feel we still need to get a follow-up message from Chanda,” Rex added. “If we don’t, we’ll assume he’s in the building with them and that nothing has changed. Then, we’ll attack.”
There was silence for a moment.
“Guys,” Rex called out after reading some new messages from Sheila. “Chanda is not on the move. Apparently, Hutton discovered him and threatened him with his family. The last message I received from Chanda was on Hutton’s instruction. The phone was taken to the location in Urel by some of Hutton’s men. They put it in that building in Urel and set up a bomb in it. They’re expecting us to walk into the building and get caught in the explosion. They also have men stationed at different corners outside, ready to take out any of us that survive or any that did not go into the building. Hutton, Chanda, and Kahn are still in the hideout.”
Henry gasped. “Well, even though I thought that was going to be it, this looks a lot more complicated right now.”
“Why is it complicated?” Florence asked. “Hutton doesn’t know we’re coming here, it gives us an advantage over him.”
“There are more than 35 apartments in this building. It’s going to be difficult locating which exact apartment he’s in,” Henry replied. “He could discover us in the process.”
“We’ll have to be very careful about it,” Rex put in. He switched to the tracking software on his device. From the menu, he navigated to history to check the previously saved location. “Carl, you’re good with reading positions, so you’ll help determine the likely positions,” he added before handing the device to Henry.
“How many stories does the building have?” Henry asked as he took the device.
“I think it’s about twenty,” Rex replied.
“Then, we should be looking from the tenth floor,” Henry replied while staring at the device screen. “I have to be close to the building to determine which side the pointer is on.”
Rex was about to say something else when his other phone began to ring. He took it out and looked at the screen briefly. It was Sheila.
“Have you got more info for me?” he answered the call and put it on loudspeaker.
“Yeah, I just spotted the building where Hutton’s monitoring team is,” Sheila replied.
“What kind of building is it? And do you have an idea how many people could be in it?” Rex questioned.
“It’s a small building, I’m sure there aren’t many people in it but I can’t tell if people are watching it from afar,” Sheila replied.
“That’s good enough, Sheila. Thanks,” Rex replied. “Please, forward the location of the monitoring building to Tanko and me too. You’re gonna receive a signal from Tanko soon, when you do, alert the FOX of Urel and let me know.”
“I don’t think people will be watching the monitoring building,” Florence spoke after Rex ended the call. “Their eyes will be on the building they’re leading us into.”
“Yeah, and we’re sure gonna take advantage of that,” Rex remarked while dialing Tanko’s number. It didn’t take Tanko too long to answer. “Hey, Tanko. Have you gotten any new messages from Sheila?”
“Yes, I just opened it now. It’s a location. I’m wondering what to do with it,” Tanko replied.
“Turn your focus to the new location you were just sent. There’s an explosive device set up for us in the building where the tracked item is. It’s been scheduled to go off as soon as we step into it. There are also Red Wolves men waiting around to take down any possible survivors,” Rex explained.
“Oh, sh*t!” Tanko gasped. “I’ve been f**king eager to walk into a trap…”
“Listen, Tanko. The new location is the position of the Red Wolves monitoring team. Now, this is what you’ve got to do…”
A few seconds later, Xavier pulled up. “I can see the building already, we can’t go closer unless we’re attacking immediately.”
“Yeah, just hold on a bit,” Rex replied after checking his time. “In five minutes, you move closer.”
5 Minutes Later
** Urel **
“How long is it going to take them to get here?” the bald Red Wolves guy asked rhetorically, tired of sitting and watching.
In front of him was a computer screen with which he was monitoring the entrance of the building. A pack of almost-finished chips was in front of him and an empty chair was beside him. The empty chair belong to his partner who had gotten up to take some water from the dispenser.
The room was quite dark as only a blue bulb was on and the curtains and windows of the place were locked. It was a temporary hideout, so it was kept that way not to alert those around that people were in the building.
“We have no choice but to sit and watch until they’re here,” the other guy replied as he returned to his seat with two cups of water. He handed one of the cups to his partner who gulped down almost half of the content immediately.
They both dropped their cups on the table at the same time and stared at each other in shock as they heard something other than the sound of the cups on the table.
“Ah, sh*t!” the guy sitting directly in front of the computer cursed as he turned and saw a group of men walking toward them from behind. The intruders had guns pointing at them.
The second guy also turned and saw the intruders. He tried to reach for his gun in the drawer quickly.
“Don’t do that!” Tanko yelled and fired a warning shot past the guy. He was with six other men.
The two guys both surrendered and raised their hands.
“Get seated,” Tanko ordered as he got close to them. “We don’t have so much time.”
He and his men forced the men to sit back on the chairs. One of Tanko’s men took out the gun in the drawer and two others searched the Red Wolves’ men’s bodies to take out other weapons. Other men from Tanko’s team looked around the building while one searched around the room where they were.
“Here’s the trigger,” the guy who searched the drawer took out the device and showed it to Tanko.
Tanko gasped and shook his head in gratefulness for still being alive. He had been eager to walk into the building where the explosive was set up but Rex had restricted him.
He collected the device and took a closer look at it. Then he stared at the computer screen again before handing back the device. He reached for the phone on the table and unlocked it by tapping the “unlock” and “*” buttons. He opened the call register. The last dialed number was saved as “The strategist” while the second one was saved as “Bat”.
“Who is Bat?” Tanko asked the man sitting directly in front of the computer. The guy ignored his question. Tanko followed up by striking the man’s face with his fist. “We ain’t got enough time for this, man. Tell me who is Bat?” He asked again, pressing the mouth of his gun against the man’s neck.
“Damn it!” The guy cursed, touching his bleeding nose with his palms. “Bat is the f**king leader of the team outside waiting to ki*ll your men, so what are you gonna do about it?” he scoffed.
“And you’re Bat’s leader in this mission, aren’t you?” Tanko questioned.
The man stared at his face without replying.
Tanko turned to the back of the man’s chair and put the gun to the back of his head. He bent down to whisper into his ears. “You’re gonna call Bat and tell him the plan has changed. Tell him you lost the connection to the cameras at the back of the building and you need to confirm if something has happened to it or if it was touched. He has to lead three others in to confirm.”
The guy chuckled. “Come on, just blow off my head right away. It’s going to be easier that way.”
“We’re not here to ki*ll you man, we’re taking you in instead,” Tanko replied.
The man frowned slightly. He never thought Tanko could be a security agent but he was sounding like one.
“What are you?” He scoffed. “The FOX?”
“Call Bat now,” Tanko ordered again.
“What are you going to do if…”
Tanko did not allow the man to finish before taking the shot. Surprisingly, he didn’t sh00t the man but his partner.
The shot man fell to the ground, yelling in pain and grabbing his groin. Tanko had directed the bullet to his private part.
“Are you gonna call him now or you wanna suffer the same fate before heading to jail? Make your choice now,” Tanko returned to the horrified man who quickly took the phone from his hands.
“The FOX has been alerted,” Sheila announced over the phone.
“Thank you, Sheila,” Rex replied and was about to end the call, but Henry moved closer to say something.
“Sheila, have you spoken to your Dad again?”
“Yes,” Sheila replied. “I called to tell him that the Red Wolves were with Chanda’s family already, but his men found out already. He’s gonna get them.”
Henry heaved a sigh of relief. He had lost his family, but he couldn’t stand the thought of having another innocent family die. “Thank you, Sheila.”
Rex ended the call after Sheila’s response. “I guess it’s time to go now.”
“Do we all go in together?” Florence asked after arranging her guns well.
They were now parked at a distance from where they could see the building closer. Rex stared straight, trying to analyze the building while still looking at the tracking tool on his tablet.
“I think one or two people should wait here,” Henry suggested. “I and Rex can lead the attack inside.”
“No, we’ll all go in, except for Xavier,” Rex disagreed. “Xavier, you’ll stay here and make sure our escape plan goes through.”
Xavier nodded in agreement.
“Are we all ready now?” Rex asked after keeping his tablet and holding a pistol.
“Henry, are you still in the apartment?” Rex asked as he stepped out of the elevator and proceeded towards the door.
“We just got out,” Henry replied from the other end. “We’re waiting to get into the elevator now.”
“I need you to get into the apartment and search for something we could track Hutton with. The security cameras around the area aren’t working, so it’s gonna be possible to track with the CCTV.”
“I’ve got something already,” Henry replied. “Two mobile phones with the strategist’s number on one. I think we could track him with the number. But he might discard his phone soon.”
“Just send the number to Sheila,” Rex replied. “I’m going with Xavier, you guys are should catch up with us.”
“Be careful, Rex.”
Rex walked out of the building a few seconds later and took a few more steps before Xavier pulled over by his side. He got into the car and they drove off.
“What direction do I take?” Xavier questioned, glancing at Rex.
Rex closed his eyes and stayed quiet for a while. Not too long after, he got a text message. He checked and saw a real-time location file sent to his phone. He opened it immediately but it took him some time to read the location as he had to zoom the map in several times. His phone’s screen was not as large as the previous device, which was now with Henry.
“Turn right away, he took the Orien route,” Rex ordered Xavier.
He minimized the map and quickly clicked on the dial button on the messenger to call Sheila.
“I got your message, Sheila. But how are we sure he’s not deceiving us this time? What if he dropped the phone in a car?” Rex questioned.
“If this is his phone, I don’t think he dropped it yet. I’m reading the data being sent out of the phone now and I think he’s making a call, so it gotta still be with him. However, if he discards the phone after the call as I fear, we’ll no longer be able to track him.”
“If he’s heading towards Orien, the security cameras work there. Can’t we track him with that?”
“Yes, but he still has more than 15 minutes in the camera blind spots. If he discards the phone before then, we’ll lose him,” Sheila replied.
“Sh*t!” Rex cursed as he realized that Hutton was very close to getting away. He closed his eyes to think for a moment.
There was a solution – contacting the FOX for help, but he didn’t want that. If the FOX got involved and they catch Hutton, it would stop him from fulfilling his long-time wish and the promise of killing Hutton. Hutton would get the opportunity to live for some more months and probably even plan some more trouble from prison. Now, Rex had to make a tough choice.
“I’m heading towards Orien now. I’ll contact you as soon as I’m out of Orien. Just make sure you’re there to get me,” Hutton said as he drove, one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the phone.
“I will be there, man,” the call receiver replied. “You make sure you are in Orien safely.”
“I will,” Hutton replied before ending the call.
He breathed in slowly and calmly as different thoughts ran into his mind. He was sure that Rex and Carl must have discovered he left the apartment already and they’ll be after him. Another thing he was sure of was that they would want to catch him without the help of the FOX, which he was going to use to his advantage.
By the time Rex and Carl realize that they can’t catch him without the help of the FOX, it would be too late. He would have gotten out already, or so he thought.
He drove a few more meters and pulled over. He picked up the phone and stepped out with it. He started by taking out the sim card from the phone and chewed it. Then he broke the phone into two parts before flinging it far away into the bush.
After that, he stepped back into the car and continued driving.
“Oh! Sh*t…” Rex cursed out loud as the tracking map on his phone closed.
Xavier glanced at him. “What’s that?”
Before he could answer, his phone began to ring.
“Sheila,” he called weakly.
“As I thought, he turned off the phone and probably destroyed it while he was still in the blind spots. There was no way to continue tracking him, so I could not identify the car he was escaping in. I’ve been trying to fish out the number he contacted but I couldn’t. It seems like he was talking to some professional and the connection cannot be traced.”
Rex heaved a sigh of frustration. Now, it became more difficult to make his choice. They had no idea who Hutton called or what his plan was. He began to consider the chances of him and Carl catching up with Hutton if they continued to pursue alone. The probability was most likely less than five percent. If he involved the FOX in it, they would stand an eighty percent chance of getting Hutton.
However, the second choice was not what he wanted. Neither was it what Hutton would be expecting them to do.
After a few more seconds of thinking, he took in another deep breath.
“Sheila,” he mentioned to see if she was still on the call.
“I’m listening,” she answered. “Contact Maria and give the FOX all the details we have. Let them block all the entrances into Orien.”
Hutton heaved a sigh of relief as he finally drove into Orien. He was out of the blind spots now, but there was no way for them to trace him as they didn’t know what car he escaped in. The day was also getting darker, which was a good thing for him. Right now, he just needed to get out of Orien and get to the pickup spot. It would take him approximately sixty-five minutes if everything goes well.
After driving for about 30 minutes, he began to feel something was wrong. The traffic was unusually slow. He continued for about fifteen more minutes until he got to a point where there was gridlock.
He began to worry as he knew that the traffic was usually faster along that route at that time of the day. After a minute of waiting, he turned on the car radio and began to search for stations, hoping he would find one reporting the traffic situation. He continued switching from one station to another. Eventually, he found two stations where news was being reported. Unfortunately for him, none was talking about the traffic situation.
“Sh*t,” he cursed under his breath. He would have checked online for information if his phone was still with him. Unfortunately, he had no device or phone to use. He had left the apartment in a hurry, so he couldn’t take anything.
A thought came into his mind and he finally decided to try something else. He rolled down the window glass and waved to the car on the other side.
“Hello,” he had a smile on.
“Hi,” the woman waved back to him without smiling.
“Do you have an idea why the traffic is slow today?”
The woman shook her head. “I’m wondering why too.”
“I’m actually in a hurry to the hospital right now to meet my daughter,” Hutton continued. “Unfortunately, I forgot my phone. I would have loved to check the traffic advisory and see if I can change to a faster route. Could you take a minute to check for me please?”
“Oh, alright,” the woman nodded and quickly took out her phone.
Hutton heaved a sigh of relief. He knew mentioning that his daughter was in the hospital would certainly make the woman open to helping him.
A minute later, the woman replied to him. “It appears that security agents are searching all Orien entrances, due to the explosion that happened in Urel today. The news says that they suspect that the terrorists may have fled into Orien. Other internal routes in Orien are a bit free. The traffic is heavy majorly on routes leading out of Orien. May I know what hospital you’re going to meet your daughter in? I may be able to recommend a faster route…”
“Thanks, ma’am. I’ll find one myself,” Hutton did not let the woman finish before he rolled up the window again. She was left wondering why his appreciation of her seemed cold.
“Cowards!” Hutton scoffed.
He was seething. He knew the traffic was nothing about the explosion in Urel. Carl and Rex must have reported his escape to the FOX. How could the two of them be so afraid to chase him by themselves? He thought. Now, they just made it more difficult for him to get out of Orien. He would need to change his plan. His first problem now was to get a phone to communicate with his contact about the change of plans.
He began to think about what else to do. He had very little chance of getting out of Orien without being caught. Then, he also wondered where Carl or Rex was at that moment. When he was trying to get out of the apartment, right before the elevator, he had only seen two people step out – a man and a woman, whom he believed was Florence.
From the legs of the man he saw, he concluded that the man was Rex, but there was no way to be sure. He had believed that Carl would be somewhere waiting for him on the ground floor and chose to stop on the second floor after dismissing the family on the seventh floor.
He followed the staircase to the ground floor but still didn’t see any sign of Carl there. Carl wasn’t waiting outside the building too, else he would have been spotted when he stepped out.
Maybe Carl was the one leading the FOX to search for him in Orien, he thought. Maybe Carl didn’t come with them to the apartment. If that was the case, it meant one of them would be pursuing him from behind (the hideout) and another was searching from the front with the FOX. If that was the case, his chances of getting out of Orien that night or in the morning were even lesser.
He needed a different plan if he wanted to get out of there without being caught. If there was no proof of his presence in Orien or signs of terror threats the next morning, Rex and Carl would no longer have the support of the FOX with them. That meant he had to postpone his exit from the town to the afternoon or evening the next day.
After that, he would need to get out through a solid plan because Rex and Carl would keep watching even if the deployed FOX and other security agents had been withdrawn. But first, he would have to change his direction and find somewhere to stay safe until the next day.
To be continued