December 12, 2015
Location : El Deols, Anthanna
Sheila sat quietly on the bench after thirty minutes of workout. She breathed in and out slowly and noiselessly. She had an armless top on, a football shorts and a face towel hung around her neck. Drops of sweats rolled down her neck into her cleavage and she used the towel to wipe off the sweat from her forehead.
For a minute, she remembered Henry and missed the times of workout they had together. She remembered how they started going to the workout centers together until the fight happened, and how Henry had advised had helped her set up a place in the house where she could do her workout without having to leave the house all the time. And even though she did not have enough facilities like she would find at the workout center, the setup was still good enough to help her keep fit.
Henry had been gone for more than a month in search for members of his team after he returned to El Deols. He called her almost everyday to give her updates but he never came to the house even though he was in Anthanna. He had told her he would only return after selecting his team members successfully.
She picked herself up and wiped her face with the hand towel again. She also wiped her arms and neck. She then walked out of the room and headed straight for her bedroom to take her bath before going for breakfast. She was surprised at who she met at her door, calling for her inside.
“Henry,” she called his name in surprise.
“Sheila,” he turned to her with a bright smile.
She shook her head happily and proceeded towards him. He opened his arms wide and she embraced him.
“I thought you were not going to show up until next year,” she mumbled as she placed her head on his chest.
“How would I not?” He chuckled. “I don’t miss Christmas with my family.”
“I see,” she said as she disengaged from him. “So, does this also mean you have selected all your team members?”
“Yes, for now. I selected the ones I need.”
“How many people are in the team?”
Henry smiled at her inquisitiveness. “I’ll introduce them to you,” he said and stepped back. “I can see you just finished your workout session, why don’t you go and take care of yourself. We would get to talk once you’re ready.”
“Okay,” she smiled and stepped forward to hug him again. “I’ve missed those workout sessions with you and the self defense classes you take me.”
“We’d have some more during this holiday, more than self defence and even on attacking.” Henry said before he released her from his embrace. He patted her on the shoulder.
He watched her walk in and close the door. The smile on his face broadened and then slowly faded as he let out a deep breath and walked away.
Two Hours Later
In Henry’s room. Sheila sat about three metres away from the table where the laptop was placed. Henry was leaning against the table just beside the laptop, facing her and telling her about his selection.
“Cole, the first member of the team. He is an intelligent developer and seasoned hacker. Three years ago, he siphoned funds from three politicians bank accounts and distributed the monies into the accounts of orphanages and motherless baby homes. The politicians are still in court against the Banks till date. He recently attacked an Honorable’s house and went away with a briefcase which contained money just withdrawn from the bank by the honourable. The money was meant to be used for a community project but the honourable sent only forty percent to the chairman of the committee in charge of the project and kept the remaining to himself. This means the project would not get done because the chairman would also distribute the money within his committee. He’s also going after the project committee this weekend to get the balance.”
Sheila listened intently while a slide show of Cole’s pictures displayed on the laptop screen.
Henry turned to the laptop for a moment and switched the pictures to Dave’s.
“The second member of the team. Dave James is a seasoned security agent. He had worked with the IJF, the police and the State Security Service. He’s led the security for important events in the community and he currently serves as a bodyguard for the Minister of Gege Local Government Area. I chose him for his love for justice and hatred for politicians who derive pleasure in hurting the masses. His use of guns and ammunitions is 70 percent, he has good speed and is intelligent and tactical.”
He paused again and displayed Samantha’s picture.
“Samantha Osman, a young strong woman. Grew up in one of the toughest slums in Nigeria. Her father was a drug dealer and she lost him while she was little. She survived through unpleasant conditions in the slum, she learnt to defend herself by fighting with her hands. She got into a gang at sixteen after her high school education and learnt the use of guns and arms.”
“Hmm,” Sheila chuckled interestingly. “And who is the fourth person?”
“Jenny. Jenifer is a cook at the Glory Spring House Restaurant. Her parents gave birth to her out of wedlock, both were alcohol and drug addicts. She finished her high school education living with her grandmother and joined the catering school. She’s a strong and tactical woman.”
Sheila stared at Henry’s face with a light smile on her lips. “How did you find these people?”
“I picked out over thirty people during my first five days in Gege, then I watched for those whose lives had regular patterns. I narrowed my option to twelve of them and finally selected this four people.” he explained.
‘So these ones are everything you need?”
“Ermm… Maybe not, I’m sure some others would need to join us as we proceed.”
Sheila closed her eyes briefly and took in a breath.
“When are you returning to Bexford?”
“Let’s say two weeks after the holidays, I believe that would give me enough time to prepare the team.” Henry replied.
“It will also give you more time to teach me extra fighting moves,” she said with a smile.
January 8, 2016.
Location: Bexford, Bethanna.
The new year has seen two major victories of the FOX over the Invisible terrorists, fourteen members of the terrorist group who were positioned to attack fourteen different places on the new year celebration day were nabbed by the FOX team and ten more were nabbed this past Wednesday. The Chairman of the Agency Paul Edwards has addressed the country this morning, and urged everyone to be calm. He encouraged them to keep reporting any suspicious activity immediately they notice. He also called for the continuous support of the international forces and governments in their fight against the terrorists. The…
“This is trash! It’s nothing to celebrate,” Agent Evelyn cursed in anger and banged her hand on the table. She got up from her seat and began to pace about the floor.
Agent Steve and Agent Dan were also in the room with her, all dressed in black shirts and black pants. Agent Steve was playing with a pistol in his hand while Dan had a pistol resting on the table in front of him.
“How can we have twenty four terrorists arrested and still have no idea about the main source?” Agent Evelyn complained on.
“You need to calm down Evelyn, I’m under more fire than you are. I am the team leader you know,” Agent Steve reminded her.
She stopped and looked at his face. She placed her palm on the handle of the gun prodding out of her trouser at her belly.
“All the men we arrested this past Wednesday only had bomb jackets on them, they had no idea of how or who put it on them. They were all kidnapped and placed at the locations we found them,” Evelyn ranted on.
“It looks to me like the Red Wolves have changed their strategy,” Dan put in.
“They keep changing strategy every time we identify the previous one,” Evelyn added.
Steve stared at her face. “I think it’s quite more than changing of strategies, there’s a pattern to it.”
Dan and Evelyn stopped to look at him, they were yet to understand what he meant clearly.
Steve got up from his seat and moved closer to the computer control. He punched some keys and the word processor dashboard appeared on the screen.
“Check out these names, all of them are professionals.” Steve said and turned to them. “The invisible terrorist attacks kills people of different kinds but mainly target professionals.”
“Yeah, right from when we worked with Agents Rex and Carl, the terrorists main target have been the working class population.” Evelyn added, looking at Steve’s face.
“Yeah!” Steve nodded in agreement.
Dan was the only one who couldn’t agree or disagree. Steve and Evelyn worked with Agents Carl and Rex during the first fight against the terrorists but he was new to the case.
“I haven’t seen any identifiable pattern yet, but with what I know, we have millions of professionals in this country.” Dan put in.
“You’re right,” Steve replied. “But this observed pattern began after they resumed attack last year. They started by attacking financial institutions and their top workers, then they moved to Educational Institutions and their workers…”
“And during the Christmas and new year holidays, they attacked the entertainment sector.” Agent Evelyn cut in thoughtfully.
“Yes,” Steve agreed with her.
“Does that mean they direct their attacks based on seasons, they identify the industry busy at a particular season and attack them?” Dan joined in, now beginning to understand the point.
“Exactly, they attacked the financial institutions at the point where business men needed their funds for investments and buying of stocks and then they attacked the educational sector when the schools were offering admission and students were resuming to school, recently the entertainment industry when it was a season of fun and partying…” Steve said thoughtfully in a loud voice.
“And now, what season are we?” Evelyn asked and ran back to the table to pick her tablet device. She unlocked and quickly opened an app to check for statistics.
After some seconds, she looked up and stared at her partners with her mouth agape. “Very soon, mining would be in operation, gold, cola, coke and other resources,” she voiced out.
“There would be a lot of importing and visit of foreigners into the country towards the end of February.” Dan put in.
“Now , we know their next target and all we have to do is go ahead of them.” Steve declared.
January 28, 2016
El Deols, Anthanna
In an open space in the middle of what seemed like a thick forest, Henry stood in front of the four who were listening to him with rapt attention. He had on a black armless top which revealed his well built muscles, navy green pants on and black jungle boots. Behind Henry was a large bamboo made hut wherein the team had camped for the past fourteen days. The forest had been a place of training and instruction for the team and Henry had taken them through several rigorous physical and emotional trainings. He also took them on the use of guns and weapons which they all had some clues about before. He additionally gave them some important dos and don’ts but was still yet to reveal details of their mission fully to them.
All the four of them were dressed in the same pattern Henry was, the ladies stood at the center while the men flanged them. Their bodies and the looks on their faces testified to the trainings they had gone through.
For the past fourteen days, they slept for nothing more than four hours at night and were allowed to take a nap of only one hour maximum during the day.
“Today is our final day here, I must thank you all for being patient up to this moment. I have seen your abilities in the past fourteen days, your strengths and weakness but I’ve also seen how we can work with them and come out victorious.” He paused to pick a Grasshopper that perched on his head, he squeezed it in his palm and let it drop on the floor. He took a quick glance at his dirty palm and pulled out a handkerchief from his back pocket to clean off the stain before he continued talking. “I promised to tell you our mission fully at the end of the training with the condition that all of you must successfully pass the tests in the training. I can boldly say I made the right choice, four of you are the perfect people to work out with.”
They watched as he paused and let out a smile. None of them smiled or moved in response to his words, they stood still staring at him.
“After I tell you the mission fully, you would be given a chance to stay in the team or opt out. And if you choose to opt out, you would still be compensated for your time with me, but I really hope you do stay.” Henry continued. “I’ll start by telling you who I am.”
“My real name is Carl Winston, I’m a rank 9 Agent of the FOX corporation Bethanna, code 4679. You must have heard how I and my friend and partner Rex got killed by the invisible terrorists ten months ago. The World News broadcasted that but they never told you about my family and Rex’s family that were also murdered that night. I was shot thrice that night and left to die in the Bexford sea, some men picked my body from the sea and brought me to Anthanna, they thought I had died and dumped my body to avoid trouble for themselves but I got help from another wonderful heart, that’s why I’m alive today with you.”
Henry stopped and turned left wards, he took some few steps in the direction and picked a bottle of water from the ground, he opened it and gulped it halfway down before he returned to his previous position.
“So you are FOX Agent Carl?” Samantha asked, keeping an excited expression on her face for the first time since he started speaking.
The other three all felt the same way she felt. Having the legendary FOX Agent with them made them have goosebumps.
“Yes, I am Carl Winston. Only five people know I’m alive and are aware of my plans, the four of you and the one who helped me live.” Henry replied her.
“Agent Carl,” Samantha called and chuckled. “That sounds nicer.”
“No, you would call me Henry, just Henry. Remember you’re the only ones who know who I am.”
“Understood boss,” she said and nodded with a smile on her face. The smile gradually faded away and was replaced by a serious look.
Henry also nodded gently. He gave them some time for his words to sink in before he began to speak again.
“We were betrayed, I and Rex, by some people in the FOX. I’m not too sure who it is, but we would find out together when we get to Bexford.” Henry continued. “These people who are part of the FOX’s executives set us up and planned our death by the terrorists, and this means our battle is not just against the terrorists but these FOX executives.”
Henry paused again and took two short steps back. He stared at their faces for a while, giving them enough time to connect his words as the reason he initially told them the security agents can’t help them in the fight.
He stepped forward again after a minute.
“So having established that the invisible terrorists have their allies in the FOX, it is safe to say we’re going to be fighting men from the FOX and the terrorists.” He drew in a breath and glanced from the first person’s face to the last from left to right.
“Now, I go to the important question. Is there anyone who would want to back out at this stage?” He asked, even though he believed that no one would. The morale they showed during the training showed that they were ready. “Are you in or out?” He asked again.
He waited and stared at their faces for close to a minute and got no response. He took in a deep breath and took a step forward. He stretched his hand forward towards them for them to join hands together as a sign of unity.
“Wait? How much are you going to pay us off with if we choose to back out?” Cole asked. His question came as a big surprise to Henry and the rest of the team but he wasn’t perturbed. “Yeah, how much?” He repeated when he saw Henry and others staring at him with questioning eyes.
Henry stepped back. He felt disappointed that one of them was considering backing out but he tried not to make his disappointment look obvious. He knew in his mind that he would be forced to kill whoever tried to back out at that stage, he had already warned them before the training that it was a dangerous mission they were about to embark on.
“You want to back out Cole?” He asked in soft tones.
“Yea, how much are we getting compensated with for this training?” Another person asked instead of Cole. She took a step forward, it was the cook, Jenny. “You never told us we would be fighting against the FOX. How can we fight the FOX with just two weeks training?”
“We aren’t fighting the whole corporation, just a few bad eggs working with the terrorists and I would be leading our team.” Henry tried to explain.
He looked at Cole and Jenny’s faces, there seemed to be no willingness to continue on their faces. He felt shattered. He couldn’t imagine how he would explain to Sheila that he had made the wrong choice of people and would have to waste some more time to get other people.