Kaleb. Sahara’s telepathic voice vibrated with anger and fear combined. Something is about to happen here. I just caught a thought about timing “the purification” for rush hour.
Have you identified the individual concerned?
No. It appears this level of perception does have a cost. I can understand the thoughts of everyone in the station, but with my senses extended to cover such a large area, I can’t shift focus fast enough to zero in on a mind while a particular thought is in progress. However, whoever it was was thinking specifically about the layout of the station and how to achieve “maximum strategic impact.”
“THE CENTRAL SKYTRAIN station is a target,” Kaleb said aloud, interrupting the conversation in progress. “Rush hour today.”
Nikita turned cool eyes in his direction. “If we focus our resources on the wrong target or targets, we risk exposing other vulnerable locations.”
“The information is highly reliable.” He switched his attention to the leopard alpha. “Do you have enough people to quietly evacuate the schools and check the hospitals for threats? We can’t risk tipping our hand.”
“It’s already being done. Anthony’s and Nikita’s teams are working with the packs and Mr. Wong’s network.” Lucas glanced down the table. “Vice Commissioner, is Enforcement sweeping the shopping malls and movie theaters?”
She checked the datapad in front of her. “No threats detected as yet. We cannot, however, clear these locations and assist with the central skytrain station.”
“The Arrows and I can handle the station.” Kaleb had already sent the order to Aden’s rapid response team.
The changeling alphas looked to one another, an unspoken communication passing between them, before Lucas said, “Agreed, but we’ll give you some of our trackers. If the attack is anything chemical based, they may be able to catch the scent.”
Kaleb knew those trackers would also be keeping an eye on him and the Arrows, but that was to be expected. Acceding to the stipulation with a nod, he said, We’re on our way, to the woman who stood in the center of what could become a death zone.
* * *
SAHARA spotted Kaleb entering the station, though he was wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, and a UC Berkeley sweatshirt. Nice outfit, she teased, immediately blocking his mind from her continuing scans.
My face is well-known, but people will see what they expect to see.
And no one, she thought, expected to see Kaleb Krychek in a central city skytrain station, much less wearing an old sweatshirt and battered cap.
Listen for any hint of alarm, he told her. The Arrows are better at blending in than you realize, but Vasquez is trained to spot covert operatives.
I’ll ’path the instant I sense anything. She could not fail in her task. If this building went down, not only would hundreds of innocent people die, Kaleb might die.
It was ten minutes later that she heard from him again. The changelings aren’t scenting any chemical explosives. The bombs may be small and well hidden, or we may be looking at something quieter; Pure Psy has been known to use poison gas.
The connection between them open, she heard him give telepathic orders for all airflow conduits to be checked. I’m taking the main fans, he said to her. They’re outside, high on the building, but I have a line of sight.
Sweat dampened her palms at the idea he might be teleporting into danger. Be careful.
She had to force herself to remain in the alcove where she’d been concealed for the past half hour.
When she glanced over at the jaguar who’d kept her company throughout, it was to catch an impatient look on his face. “I’m sorry you have to babysit me. I know you’d rather be doing something else.”
To her surprise, his lips curved. “I’m not impatient about watching you—I’m frustrated because I can’t scent anything that might give us a clue.”
It’s the air. Kaleb’s voice sliced into her mind. A concentrated dose of poisonous gas attached to the conduit below one of the main fans and timed to go off at rush hour.
Sahara’s throat went dry, her mind seeing the busy station go silent as people fell where they stood.
Have you teleported it out?
No. It’s very cleverly rigged. There’s a risk it’ll disperse before transport is complete. I need a tech; the wolves have a skilled female who came in with their tracking team—she’s at DarkRiver HQ helping coordinate information. Ask Vaughn to contact her.
The tech was on the roof with Kaleb soon afterward, ’ported there by a dark-haired telekinetic Sahara hadn’t met, but guessed to be Judd Lauren from what Kaleb had told her of his friend’s allegiance to the wolves. A minute later, Vaughn received a call and asked her to follow him to the nearest set of public restrooms.
“Anyone in the women’s?” he asked.
Peeking in, she shook her head.
Vaughn entered and went through it stall by stall. “Women’s West 2 cleared,” he said into his cell phone just as an older woman with red cheeks pushed through the door.
“Excuse me.” She sniffed. “I know you young people like your ‘unusual environments,’ but really.”
With that, she bustled into one of the stalls and slammed the metal door with a loud bang.
Sahara kept her mouth shut until Vaughn cleared the men’s restroom and indicated they had to move on to the next set. “‘Unusual environments’?” she murmured, doing her best to appear innocent. “Did she mean to imply something sexual? Where, other than the bedroom, do people exchange intimate skin privileges?”