“I was working late anyway.” He opened the box, drew in a long breath. “What do you need on the computer front?”
“Anything you can dig up about a Psy named Quentin Gareth during a particular period almost twenty years ago.” Taking out a notepad, he jotted down the details of the six month gap.
Dorian took a bite out of a jelly doughnut. “Good call, coming to me,” he said after swallowing. “Psy often forget about the Internet. Lots of stuff cached all over the place.” Taking the torn off piece of notepaper, he slid it into a pocket. “I’ll do the search now—have a few minutes free before a meeting.”
“Call me on my cell if you have anything. I’m heading to Nikita’s.” But he’d only gotten to the door when he got a call from the head of the manhunt team. “Doctor’s been found.” Fury and pity intertwined. “We were right about the time and method of death. At least he didn’t torture her.”
It was, Max knew, a small mercy. “Was she found near the private airport where you think he boarded a jet?”
“Yeah. Parents are refusing to tell us where the jet might’ve gone. The filed flight plan says it’s heading to Greece, but that’s a load of bullshit. Air Control hasn’t got it on its systems, which means the Bonners were f**king ready with a plane designed to evade radar.”
Anger burned through Max’s veins. “I’ve put a watch on some offshore accounts I know are his.” Without a warrant and with the help of friends in the computronic crimes branch of Enforcement, but if it would help catch the Butcher before he killed again, Max wasn’t going to sweat the ethics much. “He hasn’t accessed them yet—his mother’s probably supplying him.”
“Bart’s working on a warrant for her financials.”
“Through the roof.” A harsh sound. “People jumping at shadows—you know how it is.”
“We’ll get him,” Max said, able to hear the other cop’s frustration. “We did it once; we’ll do it again.” Hanging up after a few more words, he ran out to the car, the rain pelting against his body. Shrugging off his wet suit jacket, he was driving through Chinatown when he realized he’d forgotten his security keycard—which allowed him full access to the Duncan building—at Sophia’s apartment. Figuring it’d be quicker to pick it up than have it reissued, he thrust a hand through rain-damp hair and turned homeward.
“Sophia?” he called out as he wandered into her bedroom. The keycard was on the dresser where he’d put his wallet the night before, but the bedroom proved otherwise empty. “Sophie? You in the shower?” However, when he knocked, the door swung inward.
Worried she’d decided to head out in spite of Bonner’s possible presence, he pulled out his cell phone and placed a call to hers. It rang in the living area.
Ice crystals formed in his blood.
Closing his cell, he began to scan the apartment with the eyes of a cop. The food preparation area was clean except for the unopened container of milk on the counter. He stilled. Sophie was hopelessly neat, but it was possible she’d forgotten to tidy it away while distracted by something.
Living area undisturbed. Organizer on the coffee table. And the bedroom, when he returned to it—
His head snapped back to the organizer. Sophia might forget her cell phone, but she was never without that computronic device. Gut clenching with a fear so visceral he couldn’t afford to feel it if he was going to function, he ran out of the apartment and straight to the security hub at the heart of the building.
Entering using the override Nikita had programmed into his key, he had the Psy guard rewind the corridor feed. “Stop! Who are those two?”
The guard enlarged the view. “The facial recognition software places the female as an M-Psy attached to a local branch of the Center, while the male appears to be a security expert.”
Max shoved down his raging worry, focusing only on the lethal clarity of his anger. “Why were they allowed up?” he asked, his tone a whip. “I f**king warned you all that she could be a target!”
The guard was already accessing the security log. “According to this, they had an authorization which overrode our—”
“Bring it up,” he interrupted. “The authorization!” It was a snapped command when the man didn’t immediately understand.
The screen filled with a crisp document mandating the removal of Sophia Russo, Designation J, to the Berkeley branch of the Center for Comprehensive Rehabilitation.
Rage burned an inferno across Max’s skin, but his mind remained mired in ice. “What does that mean?” He pointed to what appeared to be a coat of arms or an emblem of some kind on the bottom of the page—a small square of black overlaid with a web.
The security guard went unnaturally still. “That’s Councilor Henry Scott’s new emblem.”
Max was already coding in a call to Nikita as he ordered the guard to send the location of the Center to his phone. “Nikita, Henry Scott is having Sophia rehabilitated,” he said the instant Nikita answered, knowing Henry’s interference would ensure Nikita’s cooperation. Councilors, he’d learned, were as territorial as changelings. “She was taken an hour ago.”
Nikita didn’t ask useless questions. “Which branch?”
He was in the car and screaming out into the rain-dark city by the time her voice came back on the line. “They haven’t yet reached the Center.” A pause. “They should have according to the time frame you’ve given me.”