“Arggh…” Vincent winced in pain as he opened his eyes to find himself tied up to a chair. He continued to make muffled sounds as he struggled desperately with the ropes keeping him trapped to the chair.
He stopped his struggle after one minute and took a quick look around the place, trying to recall how he had gotten there. He was shocked when he saw Antonio placed close to the window at the back, tied to a chair just like him. He noticed that Antonio was also bare chested and with a gag placed in his mouth also.
It was then he suddenly remembered the night experience at the factory and how he had met with the rider, and then how they escaped just to be pursued by a group of two made up of a man and a woman. He remembered how he was determined to take down his enemy after being tortured on the ground and then how someone else whose face he hadn’t seen had intervened.
He took in a deep breath. Maybe Kahn was right, maybe they should have listened and never given that man the opportunity to meet with them at all. But there was no way the bike rider could have escaped, Vincent thought to himself. With all the men who arrived as backup, he surely would have been taken down.
He began to struggle again with the ropes but he only lasted for few seconds before he got weary. He turned once more to look at Antonio who was still unconscious and oblivious of the new environment. He tried to make some sounds to wake Antonio up but even he couldn’t hear himself properly.
He heaved a sigh and made up his mind to remain calm until their captors came in. He looked around to study the place again. It was an empty large room with unplastered walls, bad windows and screeeded floor. He didn’t know where exactly they could be but he believed they couldn’t have gone so far away from Enox within the short while. That gave him some courage that the men Kahn sent could still find them before their captors achieve their plans with them.
Vincent kept staring around for about forty more seconds before he heard some sounds from Antonio’s direction. He turned and saw Antonio struggling hard to make himself free. he made a sound to get Antonio’s attention and Antonio’s eyes turned to him. They stared at each other silently for a while before Vincent turned back forward.
Antonio let out a deep breath. Seeing Vincent staying calm and not struggling made him realize it was a fruitless effort to do so.
No one came forth until two hours later. Antonio was the first to recognize the first person who walked in. He cursed her in his mind, it was the lady who fought him on the road the night before. Vincent from Antonio’s reaction also knew it was none else but her.
After her came in the heavily built muscled man, the one who had knocked out almost all their men at the factory, the same man who rode on the bike. They were both surprised on seeing him and they wondered how he could have escaped all the men who arrived at the scene before they left. More surprisingly, the brightness of the day revealed his face clearer and he seemed familiar to the both of them, even though they were yet to be sure who he really was.
Two other men entered after him and they walked straight to Antonio and lifted him up with the seat. They moved him closer to where Vincent was and dropped him by the side.
Henry stepped to the front of the two men.
“Hi guys, do you remember me?” Henry asked rhetorically with a mocking smile on his lips.
They both stared at him without giving any response, wondering if he meant remembering him from the encounter they had at midnight or from a far past experience.
“Well, I would introduce myself again.” Henry said and squatted before them. “My name is Michael, the Reconciliation Team. I met you two few hours ago and gave you two options to follow. Unfortunately for you, you chose the bad option. Maybe you thought you could escape from me but as you can see, you didn’t escape and you still can not escape.”
Henry paused for a moment and bit his lips. He raised his brows and moved his gaze from Antonio to Vincent.
“I offered you a deal to work with me, but you chose to stay loyal to Elvis Kahn.” Henry said with a chuckle. “It has landed you back into my hands and I’m supposed to finish you up for rejecting my offer, but…” He paused and licked his lips softly. “I won’t kill you because I like loyal people. If you were loyal to Elvis Kahn, I believe you can be loyal to me.”
Henry stood up after speaking. He turned around and took three short steps forward before turning back to them again. ” So what do you say? You work for me or I do away with you two?”
Henry turned his gaze to Dave and signaled with a nod for the gags to be taken off the men’s mouth to enable them respond to him. Dave proceeded forward and took the tapes off the mouth of both men.
They both stared at Henry silently for some seconds without talking until Henry spread his hands and palms wide to urge them.
“Who the hell are you?” Vincent asked with a squeezed face in a cool and calm confident tone.
“I’m Michael,” Henry widened his eyes at him with an angry expression on his face.
“Elvis Kahn and the Red Wolves we know, Paul Edwards and the FOX we know. ” He took two seconds pause and bit his lips. “Who the hell is Michael and the Reconciliation team?” Vincent blasted.
Antonio glanced at his face. He had a humbled look on. He looked at Henry’s face again and glanced back at Vincent. He seemed to have recalled who was standing before them.
Henry smiled and moved to Vincent’s front directly.
“You were considering this offer last night before he came to drag you away but it seems you are more hardened now than he was yesterday,” Henry said with a smile.
“Bleep you man! You killed Elkim Nuel and tried to sell it to me that Kahn did, you killed him for not agreeing to work with you and you’re threatening us the same way now.” Vincent fired at him.
“I never planned to kill Elkim Nuel, his undue allegiance to Elvis Kahn and terrorism killed him and not me.” Henry voiced out in a firm tone. “As much as I like loyal people, I hate it when people are loyal to the wrong cause.”
“D–n you Michael, stop playing on my intelligence.” Vincent cursed.
“I’m playing no games here man, your loyalty to Elvis Kahn is not only going to get you killed but your family members too.” Henry threatened.
“You can’t get to my family members dude, you can’t get to em.”
Henry laughed and stepped closer to the man. “How do you think I got to you?” He questioned in whispers. Yet to get an answer, he turned his gaze to Antonio and noticed Antonio’s hands trembling visibly. “Your man here seems to be more reasonable than you are this afternoon,” he said before he got up and stepped back again. “What do you think about my offer?” Henry asked, looking directly at Antonio before he turned his back to them. He remained in the position waiting for a response.
Vincent turned to Antonio, wondering why he wasn’t talking. Antonio also turned to him, he was visibly trembling and his eyes were moving back and forth, looking at Henry and also at Vincent.
Vincent squinted at him, wondering what the cause of the unneccesary trembling was for.
“He’s not Michael,” Antonio whispered to Vincent in a sharp tone.
Vincent’s eyebrows moved as he wondered what his partner was talking about.
“He’s Carl Winston.”
Henry turned sharply on hearing the same whispered. His eyes met with theirs and he saw the fear on their face, he never imagined they would know who he was.
FOX Corporation Building,
EPA Hill, Bexford.
“FOX Agents at Vincil are yet to confirm the root cause of the attack at the factory,” Agent Steve announced as he walked into his team’s investigation room with a file in his hand.
Evelyn and Dan who were at the table turned to look at him.
“Don’t you think we need a representative there to confirm our suspicions?” Evelyn asked Steve.
Steve gave no response until he got to the table and dropped the file.
“We’ve got no sensible conclusions yet and there’s no certain link to our ongoing case except for the absence of the footages from the street cameras,” Steve replied.
“But I think that’s enough link to our case, footages for most events surrounding this case has always been missing.” Dan put in.
“Still not enough reason to take permission for a trip out of Bexford,” Steve replied and glanced at his face. “We have to pull out more reasonable facts than what we have now.”
“I have been making some research on why that factory could be a target for the Red Wolves or whoever may have attacked it,” Evelyn said as she turned around the table and proceeded towards one of the computer systems placed on the table at the front wall of the room. She sat on the seat in front of the computer and tapped the space bar to exit the screensaver. She opened a document from the desktop with the use of the mouse and scanned through before she clicked on the command to print the document. She got up from the seat and walked past the table where Steve and Dan were still studying some documents. She got to the printer at the opposite corner and picked up the three printed pages. Scanning through them with her eyes, she walked back to the investigation table.
“What have you got there?” Steve asked her, his eyes followed her as she returned to the table.
“Give me a minute to connect the pages boss,” she pleaded.
“Take your time,” he replied and continued to work on his own documents.
“Here,” Evelyn said after two minutes of checking the newly printed documents and some other ones which she previously placed on the table. She moved closer to Steve. “Here boss, Enox is well known as a natural source for some of the raw materials used in manufacturing of some powerful explosives. This particular factory is known for refining the raw materials but our men reported this morning that they found the empty shells and balls packaging the explosives”.
Steve squinted. “I read that too but I thought they were also permitted for production and packaging of explosives.”
“I confirmed through my research, they are only permitted to refine the raw materials.” Evelyn replied.
“Hmm… Please go on,” Steve said as he collected one of the documents in her hand to view.
“Our men found empty shells in there and it meant that they have been secretly packaging and producing explosives in the factory without permission from the necessary authority,” Evelyn continued. “We requested for a photos of the shell used for packaging and we had , I studied the picture and also studied materials used in producing the shells and balls, they happen to consist of the same material making up the shells for explosives used by the Red Wolves.”
“D–n! So, how come no one ever found out that the secret production goes on there?” Steve raised his brows. Daniel also came closer to them.
“There’s no way anyone could have found out,” Evelyn replied.
“But there should be frequent visits from the FOX and other security agencies to the place,” Daniel said.
“Yes…” Steve cut in thoughtfully, stressing the word than usual. “There must have been frequent visits but we have to note that this visit was different, it wasn’t expected and it was after something tragic had happened.” Steve pointed out.
“Right, the place was attacked from the three different entrances, their men were killed and ongoing production and packaging were stopped abruptly.” Evelyn stated.
“That means they could not have cleared off the materials used for the illegal production before the arrival of men from the FOX in the morning,” Steve added thoughtfully.
“It actually has to be that there was no one to clear them,” Evelyn stated. “And the point I’m trying to establish with all these is that that factory was the production ground for explosives used by the Red Wolves.”
“You’re right Agent,” Steve heaved a sigh and took a step back from the table to think. “This is a good discovery,” he stated as he stepped back forward. “However, some other group discovered it before us, and their own discovery led to our discovery.” he added, stressing his words to emphasize the fact that they made the discovery late.
“That group, I believed attacked the factory.” Daniel said.
“And we’re yet to find out what they took from the place,” Evelyn pointed out.
“Or who they took from the place,” Steve added.
The entrance door opened and they all turned briefly to watch Agent Lydia walk in.
“There’s a new mail boss,” Lydia announced as she closed the door and walked to the system at the corner.
“And who is it from?” Steve asked her.
“The FOX Corporation in Vincil,” Lydia replied. “They’ve got more information about those who went missing from the factory last night, and they also found one man alive at the exploded car.”
Agent Steve turned back to take one more look at the documents on the table while waiting for Lydia to come up with her own documents. Lydia sent the document to the printer from the system and walked to the printer to pick the output. She joined them at the table afterwards, holding two A4 sized papers with her.
Steve took the document from her and began to read through, he was joined by Dan and Evelyn.
The report from the team in charge of the case from the FOX branch in Vincil mentioned names of some men who had left the facility in two cars before they were pursued on a motorcycle by the same man who attacked them from the entrance. It also revealed more about the whole thing.
It was learnt that one of the men from the car which was set on fire by an explosive narrowly escaped death while two others went missing. The rest of them were found dead, four men dead by the explosion while another was found with bullets in his body at the driver’s side of the other vehicle. The man who was found alive was identified as Stanley Inn and the two men who were missing were identified as Antonio Carlos and Vincent Shawn.
Agent Steve underlined major points from the report, especially the names of the man who escaped death and the two others missing.
“This gives us all we need to get fully into the case,” Steve said after analyzing the report. “The factory has not only been found to be connected to the invisible terrorist but two people have also gone missing. We need to find who those two men are and make some investigations.”
“There’s no cause for alarm Kahn, it’s a war and we do not expect less from Agent Carl Winston. You lose some battles and win some but the beautiful thing here is that we are winning the war at the end of it all.” Hutton said boldly after listening to Kahn’s complaint.
“You do not understand this Hutton, he’s got Vincent and Antonio, that’s the same way he had Elkim Nuel and killed him. Not just that, but he also uncovered our largest explosive production factory and you still say we shouldn’t let the whole body know the man responsible for all these is Agent Carl Winston?” Kahn questioned. He was standing and staring at Hutton’s face while Hutton was comfortably sitting in the sofa.
“It’s too late for the whole body to take any action against Agent Carl Winston Kahn, I made mention of it at the right time but we weren’t sure he was alive and we could not take any action.”
“If we let the whole body know, there may be ideas on how to get him down.” Kahn suggested.
“If we didn’t get ideas on how to confirm his presumed death, what makes you think we would get ideas on how to get him down?” Hutton asked and stared sternly at Kahn’s face for a response. He didn’t get any. “You see… We all know Carl Winston is an intelligent and crafty man, who knows if he’s got a mole in our team?” Hutton asked with a shrug. “Making it loud that we know he’s alive could get him to be more careful of us.”
Kahn narrowed his gaze at Hutton. He had been trained to expect anything and not to trust anyone, but looking at the top men in the Wolves, he wasn’t so sure of who the mole could be. All of the men had high stakes in the mission and working against the Wolves would be working against themselves.
“We would act like we know nothing when we get to Bexford for the meeting,” Hutton continued. “We would offer solutions and ideas like the other men would do and try as much as possible to pick information that we may have missed from them.”
Kahn stared at him for about a minute without saying anything.
“So, how long do we keep this from them?” Kahn asked.
“As long as it takes to get the first stage of our plan against Carl Winston done,” Hutton replied.
Their temporary Lodge was more of like an uncompleted building. Only few parts of the building were completed and comfortable enough for human living. The place had been chosen for it’s far distance from the main habitation in the community and it’s closeness to rarely used road.
Cole, Dave and Henry were in a room. The ceiling fan right under which Henry was sitting made funny sounds as it rotated and one would think it was going to drop off the ceiling the next second.
Henry was sitting at the corner of the fifty centimetres high mattress. Cole was sitting on a chair behind a table with a laptop on it and some devices scattered around while Dave stood beside him, bent forward and looking at the laptop screen to see something Cole was showing him.
Henry was still wondering how Antonio had recognized him to be Carl Winston. It pointed to him, something he really hoped wasn’t as he thought, which was the possibility of all top members of the Red Wolves being able to recognize him facially. Maybe they had all seen his pictures after his death was declared or they had probably been shown before the attempt to murder he and Rex. If it were true, then he would have to change his approach to other things involved in the mission.
“We can’t tell you anything Winston,” Vincent had said to him after confirming that he was truly Carl Winston. “You picked our other men and they all ended up dying, we can’t trust our enemy with our lives.”
The men were unwilling to release information to him even after finding out he was Carl Winston. They were of the opinion that he wouldn’t spare their lives even after they gave him the information he required. He tried to change their mind about it to no avail. He was sure they were hardened enough not to release any secret to him.
“Boss, almost all these devices have no passwords.” Cole said, taking a glance back at Henry.
“How many has passwords on them?” Henry asked.
“Just two, one each for both men.” Cole replied.
“Are they the most frequently used devices by the men?”
“No, surprisingly, the most frequently used devices by them has no passwords but we do believe that these two passworded devices have more secrets in them.”
“I agree with you,” Henry said. He got up from the bed and put on his sandals. He joined them at the table. “How long is it going to take to hack into the locked ones?”
“The pattern is quite different from what we faced with Elkim Nuel, it could take two to three days.” Cole replied.
“That’s d–n too much to stay here, we need to get a quicker solution.” Henry said and bent to stare at the computer screen. He stood back upright after a while. “Why don’t we track the recent locations of their frequently used devices, we can track their homes, other offices or hideouts that way.”