He didn't deny either her accusation or her guess about his Tp status. "It'll send him insane. Imagine never being able to act out any of your impulses - he'll function, but only on a very basic level."
Faith felt fury arc through her. "Then that will be his life sentence." At least he'd have a life to live, unlike Marine and the other women he'd killed. And there had definitely been others. His appetite was too certain, his tastes too set.
"Will you have to hack the PsyNet to do what Faith's suggesting?" Lucas asked. "Will they be able to track it back to you?"
"No, I can do it telepathically, but it's a specialized skill. They'll deduce that they have an unknown renegade, but they already know that." He didn't explain why. "However, it'll involve getting through his protective walls."
"How hard will that be?"
"He has to have considerable power given what Sascha's told me about his effect on Faith, but he's going to be in the grip of the killing instinct. Anyone affected by strong emotion becomes vulnerable. He's going to be no exception." He looked at Faith, unblinking, eerily focused. "If you distract him at a critical moment, it'll ensure I get through."
Vaughn's growl was almost too low for Psy hearing, but she felt it in her bones. "She's not going anywhere near the son of a bitch."
"Vaughn, listen - "
"No way in hell, Red. Forget about it."
"It needn't be physical," she said. "I could just brush up against him telepathically. He'd recognize my mental scent."
"Because he's somehow able to connect to you through the visions?" Sascha clearly remembered their earlier conversation.
"Yes. I see the future, but I see it through the lens of his mind," she explained for the sake of the others. "It's as if we experience the visions together...." Her mouth fell open. "An F-Psy. He must be one of my designation." The implications were staggering.
"Maybe," Judd broke in. "But before we get into that, are you sure you can identify him?"
"Yes. Don't worry that you'll be incapacitating an innocent man."
"I'm Psy. Worry is a changeling emotion."
She wondered which one of them he was trying to convince, because the truth was, Judd was no longer Psy. He'd ceased to exist in the PsyNet, probably been written off as dead. And now he lived in a different world. "I'll know. I've seen his face."
All sound ceased.
Judd picked up the logical disconnect in milliseconds. "You just said the visions are from his point of view."
"Then how, Red?" Though there was no anger in Vaughn's voice, she knew he had to be asking himself why she hadn't told him earlier.
"I didn't want to see," she whispered, so low it wasn't even sound.
One of his arms rose to wrap around her shoulders from the front and she knew he'd heard. "Never alone."
It was a promise, one she armored herself in, but it still took every ounce of Psy skill she had to keep her voice from breaking as she relived the horror. "I saw his reflection." A reflection cast in blood, a ruby-red mirror in the enamel house of that last vision.
"Then there's no question - Faith has to be present," Judd said.
"She might be present, but she's not going to stick out her neck and attract his attention." Vaughn's arm was pure steel around her shoulders, not the least bit hurtful, but also not the least bit movable.
"Vaughn." She kept her voice low, but guessed that Clay and Lucas could hear nonetheless. "I think we should go for a walk."
He released her from his hold and took her hand. "This won't take long," he told the others, but didn't say anything else until he'd brought them to a stop several meters into the woods. "I'm not letting you put yourself in danger."
"There's very little danger, almost none, in telepathy."
"Yeah, well, maybe this guy falls into the 'almost.' He's different - he was able to trap you into the visions."
"Perhaps," she agreed. "But that doesn't change anything."
He didn't reply, the jaguar very much apparent in his eyes.
So she spoke to the animal. "You once asked me about guilt. I said I didn't feel any. That was a lie." She forced herself to break another wall of Silence - to do and feel was easy compared to putting those things in words. "The guilt walks beside me from morning till night, from instant to instant. I'm an F-Psy, but I couldn't save my own sister's life. That makes me a failure."
"You had no way of knowing what it was you were seeing," he grit out.
"Logic doesn't work here, Vaughn! You know that more than anyone." She pushed him, asked him to remember the guilt he felt for Skye's death though he'd been a child himself.
He curved his hand around her neck. "There will come a time when I won't bend, won't be reasonable, won't act human."
She'd realized that in the first few seconds after meeting him. "But that particular point hasn't been reached."
"I want you with me at all times. The second anything goes wrong, you get out. I don't care if you have to turn his brains to jelly. Get out."
"I have no intention of permitting him close enough to hurt me. I'll be a shadow and then I'll be gone."
The cat clawed at the walls of Vaughn's mind as they worked out the details with the others. "There's something else," he said, after they'd agreed on a simple plan.
"The Council." Sascha leaned forward. "They have to know she's defected by now. They'll come after her with every weapon they have. As an F-Psy, she knows far too much."