“It’s not Anthony,” Vaughn said without clarifying. The fact that he was mated to Anthony’s daughter, however, did give the jaguar changeling a high level of credibility. It also made Hawke wonder, not for the first time, about Anthony Kyriakus’s loyalties.
“I agree with Nikita about Ming and Kaleb Krychek,” Judd said. “Ming’s taken a hit with the loss of the Arrows and will still be consolidating his remaining troops. I can say with categorical certainty that the squad won’t have mobilized on this big an operation for Kaleb yet.”
Riley, pragmatic as always, asked the critical question. “Does Krychek have access to other operatives?”
“Yes. But fact is, he’s a powerful enough telekinetic that he doesn’t need anyone when it comes down to it. This is a man who could cause an earthquake, collapse the entire city.”
“Jesus,” Vaughn said as Lucas whistled. “Seriously?”
“His abilities are so far off the scale that the Gradient is meaningless.” Judd’s tone was matter-of-fact. “He’s a master game player, so I won’t discount him totally, but Kaleb’s got two powerful packs in his region, and he’s exhibited no aggression toward either.”
“BlackEdge and StoneWater.” Riley nodded. “We’ve got a line of communication with them, and from what they’ve shared, it looks like Krychek leaves them alone as long as they do the same with him. Doesn’t make sense that he’d come out here to pick a fight with us.”
“If we take Krychek off the table,” Hawke said, “it leaves us with the same three Anthony and Nikita fingered.”
“We go after all three.” Lucas’s tone was hard. “Surgical strikes, same as their hit.”
Hawke, his mind awash in the blood scent and pain of his fallen, growled in agreement. “It has to be hard, and it has to be fast.” The enemy had to understand the packs had teeth and no hesitancy about using them.
“The Scotts and Tatiana,” Judd said, “are all protected behind walls of near-impregnable security. It’s going to be difficult to get close to them.”
“Not them,” Sascha said, then yawned. “Sorry.”
Everyone laughed, and the moment provided some much-needed levity.
“Okay, what I was saying before I fell asleep”—she leaned against her mate’s thigh, where he stood with his back to the wall by her side—“is that you don’t go after them. You go after something that represents them. Something big and shiny.”
Judd’s eyes landed on Sascha. “Are you sure you’re an empath?”
“I grew up with Nikita for a mother.”
It was relatively easy to choose a target for Henry Scott—his London residence was in an eminent location and worth millions. The bonus was that Judd had been in and around the place as an Arrow, knew how their people could evade security. Shoshanna Scott also presented little problem. She’d bought a huge office building in Dubai a month ago—currently untenanted, it had minimal security.
“No casualties—security guards have to be clear before we strike,” Hawke said, because killing innocents would make them no better than the Councilors. “We don’t compromise on this.”
“Agreed.” Lucas closed his hand over Sascha’s shoulder. “Do you have anyone in London? I know Jamie’s roaming in that area, so we can pull him in.”
Hawke gave a crisp nod. Wolves didn’t go roaming as often as the cats, but given the Council’s increasing aggression, SnowDancer had made a deliberate policy of stationing people in and around the world’s major cities. Riley rotated their more lone-wolf types until the men and women wanted to come home. The latest to return had been Riaz.
The bulk of their time was spent handling SnowDancer’s international business interests, but they also kept an eye on certain more covert matters, feeding information back to the den. However, every one of those lone wolves was a high-level soldier, more than capable of handling this type of task. “Dubai won’t be an issue either.” There was a SnowDancer within easy flight distance.
Lucas nodded. “That leaves Tatiana.”
“That’s a problem,” Judd said. “She’s bought interests in human companies—we hit any of those, we affect a large number of blameless people.”
Hawke’s cell phone rang at that moment, the code making his wolf come to wild attention. “Hold on,” he said to the others and walked a small distance away. “Talk to me, pretty baby.” Yeah, he was having trouble with the boundaries when it came to Sienna, even when he was the one who’d put them into place.
Brenna’s voice came over the line. “You sweet talker.” The words were tart.
His wolf grinned. “Put her on.”
“Here—she was just double-checking something.”
“Brenna and I were able to pinpoint three incursions made by the Tk team,” Sienna said without any prelude. “Far as we can figure, they were laying charges. Indigo took people to check out the locations, and from the data she sent back, they’re getting smarter. No metal components, hidden deeper to beat your senses, difficult to detect unless you’re right on top of the devices.”
Hawke’s wolf bared its teeth, but his thought process remained icily rational. “Good work, both of you.” Certain Indigo would have the situation under control, he moved to another matter. “Sienna, while you were with Ming, did you ever learn about a property or holding on which Tatiana Rika-Smythe places particular importance?”