Neither his DNA nor hers could be permitted to fall into the wrong hands.
He had her lifted off the sheets and the bedding rolled up and in the same incinerator before she realized what was happening. Placing her back on the now-stripped bed, he brought in a spare rug from the storage space under the house and rolled it out. “Try not to damage this one,” he said as he resettled the bed. “It’s hand-knotted silk.”
A vivid blue swirled with cream and a hint of indigo, he’d bought it five years ago, when his companies first started turning profits that went well beyond what even the most conservative individual would consider a healthy safety margin. “Is there anything else you’d like to destroy? Do it now so I can catch the shrapnel.”
The woman on the bed stared at him, before doing something he hadn’t anticipated. She picked up the small vase on the bedside table and threw it at something above his head. He ducked, turning just in time to stop the projectile from impacting with the tiny sensor light that gave away the position of the fire alarm.
As the vase hovered in front of the blinking red light, he began to comprehend the very rational reason behind her apparently irrational act. “It’s not a camera. And the mirror was just a mirror.”
Even as he spoke, he understood that she wasn’t going to believe him. The alarm would be in pieces the instant he walked out the door, even if she had to use every projectile in the room to smash it.
Returning the vase to the table, he reached up to remove the alarm from the wall, his height—unlike hers—more than sufficient for the task. The removal wouldn’t compromise her safety; he’d make certain of that fact. Task complete, he got rid of the device and once more faced the woman who hadn’t taken her eyes off him since he’d appeared in the bedroom. “Anything else?”
Her gaze went to the recessed ceiling light.
“I take that out,” he said, “and you’ll be in the dark.”
No change in her focus.
Since the battle wasn’t a crucial one in this war, he ’ported in a small table lamp from another part of the house. “Go over that.”
She took her time doing so, but when she turned it on rather than attempt to destroy it, he judged her satisfied that it wasn’t rigged with surveillance equipment. Dismantling the ceiling light, he scanned the room for anything else that might read as suspicious to her mind. Nothing stood out, and given the areas on which she’d focused, it was likely she’d already checked the walls and visually examined the ceiling.
Categorically not a mind functioning on the animal level alone, regardless of what he’d seen of her twisted mental pathways.
Walking into the bathroom on that thought, he removed both the light and a ceiling-mounted heat lamp, replacing them with a tall, freestanding waterproof lamp she could take apart if necessary. The mirror went, too, and he removed the fine grille on the airflow system so she could see there was nothing beyond but a silent fan meant to mitigate condensation.
By the time he returned to the terrace, his skin had cooled, but it heated up quickly enough, even in the light breeze coming off the trees on the other side of the gorge. With each screw he drilled into place, he considered the room where she’d been held, the probable response of her captors when they’d lost the feed from her cell to sudden static. It would’ve lasted mere seconds, left them staring at the image of an empty room after it cleared.
The static was a useful tool he’d discovered as a teen while experimenting with his abilities. The sheer strength of his telekinesis meant he put out a low-level “hum” that wasn’t discernible to humanoid ears, but that made animals uneasy and messed with technology. He had it under control now, of course. The only time he permitted the hum to escape his shields was when he needed to obfuscate his presence in front of a camera or to otherwise disrupt technological surveillance. It was an aspect of his abilities known to only one other living individual aside from Kaleb.
Nevertheless, given the speed of the teleport, his guest’s captors would suspect the involvement of a high-level Tk, and there were very few of them in the pool, but no one would know it had been Kaleb. Not until he was ready.
And then they would beg for mercy.
Even the most powerful, most Silent begged in the end, the conditioning cracking in the face of a scrabbling panic that blinded them to the fact Kaleb had no mercy in him.
The final screw in place, he packed up his equipment and teleported it away. It was odd to see the terrace surrounded by metal railings—they allowed a view out from between the bars but no entry to the black maw of the gorge. Not even his guest was thin enough to fit in the spaces between the bars.
The polite telepathic knock belonged to Silver, his aide and a member of the quietly influential Mercant family.
He opened the telepathic channel. What is it? He didn’t remind her that he’d asked not to be disturbed—Silver wouldn’t be going against his express orders unless it was necessary.
There’s been an attack against a small think tank in Khartoum. The think tank had just announced the parameters of its next research project: the benefits to Psy of greater political cooperation and social interaction with humans and changelings.
So, he thought, the next volley had been shot in the civil war that loomed over the PsyNet. How many dead?
All ten of those in the building at the time. A poisonous gas introduced into their air supply.
Has Pure Psy claimed responsibility? The radical pro-Silence group had gone quiet in the aftermath of its decisive defeat in the California region at the hands of a force comprised of the SnowDancer wolves and the DarkRiver leopards, as well as Psy who looked to the two Councilors in the area—Nikita Duncan and Anthony Kyriakus—for guidance. The humans, too, had joined in the resistance to Pure Psy’s attempt to seize control of the greater San Francisco and Sierra Nevada region, leading to an alliance that crossed racial boundaries Pure Psy wanted to maintain at all costs.