Vendetta(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 4)(33) by Connie Suttle
* * *
"Matt, we think some of them are holed up in the Chicago narrow gauge rail tunnels," Winkler was on a conference call with Matt Michaels and the Grand Master.
"I’ll get with the City—see if anybody has detected anything," Matt said.
"I can get some wolves on it," Weldon offered.
"Don't get close enough to get anybody killed," Winkler warned.
"Don't worry. I think we can use sensors," Matt suggested. "And if we find them, maybe we can flush them out."
"There's a thriving vampire community in Chicago. I’ll get Wlodek on the phone. He may be interested in this," Weldon offered. "If I send my wolves in with his vamps, we might be able to take care of this with none the wiser."
"That's less conspicuous than sending in Special Forces," Matt agreed. "I’ll send a task force in right away. We’ll know by tomorrow."
"If Wlodek agrees, we can get our forces together by Wednesday night," Weldon suggested.
"Good enough. Let's get what we can. Maybe we can force them off the planet after all," Matt agreed. He'd had several meetings with the President, with specific discussions over this particular alien invasion. The trouble was, none of his agents had been able to locate them. This was good information and Ashe Evans and Randy Smith had collaborated, giving him the best intelligence he'd received to date. Matt itched to get to Chicago himself.
* * *
"Winkler, what's in the tunnels under Chicago is just a portion of them," Ashe pointed out quietly over dinner. Trajan and Trace were listening carefully to Ashe's words.
"You know where the others are," Winkler stared at his ward.
"There are young with the camps. I’m not about to send Matt Michaels and a bunch of vampires and werewolves after kids."
"Ashe, the adults can do more damage," Winkler frowned.
"They're after me. If they find me, the rest of you need to stand out of the way and let me handle it." Ashe was having meatloaf at a local diner in Star Cove. He'd never gotten his burger at Dandee Burgers, so he wasn't sure which might be his favorite restaurant so far.
"Kid, I know you're talented, but," Trajan began.
"Here." Ashe pulled his cell phone out and hit a few keys. "Randy forwarded this to me. He didn't know what it was. You didn't see this because you were on St. Joseph Island. I never knew Randy recorded it." Ashe handed the iPhone to Trajan. Winkler and Trace leaned in to watch as the canal in the center of their Star Cove community burst into flames, burning high into the night sky. Ashe hunched down in his seat when the screams sounded. Winkler cursed in wonder. Trace whistled.
"I’ll get Randy to erase those images. Send this to me, Ashe, if you wouldn't mind," Winkler said, handing the phone back. Ashe sent the images to Winkler's email and pocketed his phone. "Now, Ashe, would you mind telling us how you managed to burn everything else and get out of there alive?"
"I'm not talking about that," Ashe replied and refused to say anything else.
* * *
"He wouldn't say how he got out of that," Winkler sighed. He'd made a conference call to Matt and Weldon after arriving in Star Cove. Ashe had gone out for ice cream with Trajan and Trace. Winkler forwarded the images from Star Cove during the last full moon. Winkler felt itchy—the full moon was four days away. He'd talked to Buck—they could move into the beach house on Friday before the full moon on Sunday. Winkler was brought back from his thoughts by Matt's words. "If we could recruit that kid, think of the possibilities. He could get in anywhere and do anything. Hostages rescued, terrorists eliminated," Matt sounded euphoric.
"You're talking from a purely human point of view," Weldon said. "We need him too, remember? We have rogues that can be more dangerous than any human. Same with the vamps. Wlodek's Enforcers and Assassins are working overtime, while my Trackers haven't seen time off in I don't know how long. I’m working to recruit more, but that's harder than it sounds. Face it, Director, we all need him. The shifters, too, unless I miss my guess. The trouble is, he's only sixteen. Won't be of legal age for another two years—can't drink for three years past that. Those deaths in Star Cove bother him, even though they were trying to kill his friends and capture him. I don't know what effect dealing with terrorists and rogues will have on the boy."
"I think we’ll have to wait two years, but he's already been a big help," Winkler said. "We’ll utilize him for special assignments but as my ward, I don't want him anywhere near the Middle East. He stays in the U.S. and works here."
"That's fine, but when he turns eighteen," Matt began.
"We get it. We’ll all come knocking and he’ll make up his own mind. What we have to do is keep him out of Wlodek's clutches when the time comes." Weldon wasn't mincing words. He knew Matt depended upon his vampire agents. He was trusting Matt to do the right thing and work to keep Ashe the way he was.
* * *
"Sara, I know this is a little forward, but you could come for a visit," Randy coaxed. "There's a beach just a few yards away, a boat slip that runs down the center of the community and we could spend a little time together. I told the newspaper that I could start work on the fifteenth. Come down for a few days."
Sara Dillon was quite shocked. "I don't know," she said over the phone, hesitating at the suggestion.
"Come on, they haul shrimp straight from the gulf. It’ll be the best you’ve ever had. Baby, you said you had some frequent flyer miles. Use them. Come and see me this weekend."
"I’ll think about it. Give me until tomorrow and I’ll call back with an answer," she promised.
"All right, but the answer should be yes." Randy was smiling.
"I’ll give you an answer tomorrow," Sara was smiling, too.
"I’ll be waiting. On the beach, cell phone in hand, walking through the surf in nice, clean air." Randy was teasing.
"Then I’ll think harder," Sara laughed. Randy hung up reluctantly.
* * *
"Honored One," Edmond reported, "Nathan received a call from Aedan. I was not privy to the conversation past Aedan's orders that the call be private."
"He likely ordered Nathan not to reveal further information on the boy," Wlodek agreed. Edmond had waited until his own call might be made in private to the Head of the Council. "No matter, that is why I sent Hector, Casimir and you. You will report the information. Nathan need not worry any longer that he is betraying his sire's trust. Have you anything new on the boy?"
"What you know already—that the boy managed to disappear from a van not far from here and appear at his father's home outside London with two others."
"Yes, Gavin has informed me from this end."
"I have nothing else," Edmond said. "We will contact you when we have news."
"I expect no less." Wlodek ended the call. "Charles?" Wlodek looked up at his assistant, who stood near his desk, waiting expectantly. Charles wasn't as tall as Wlodek, with slightly curly brown hair and hazel eyes. Thinner, too, and not as broad across the shoulders as Wlodek. Many people (and vampires) had underestimated Charles through the years.
"Honored One?" Charles replied.
"Take the rest of the evening off. I have personal business to conduct." Wlodek rose from the seat at his desk.
"Of course, Honored One." Charles nodded respectfully. "I feel like a trip to London. Haven't been in months." Charles turned and strode from Wlodek's private study. Wlodek watched him go before pulling his private cell phone from a pocket. "Radomir, bring the car around," he said.
* * *
Charles closed the door on his own vehicle. He didn't drive much, but he certainly enjoyed it when the opportunity came. His Wiesmann GT Lizard King hugged the road and drove like a dream. Misty silver in color, it could blend with the fog in London if Charles chose to drive it there. Charles shifted and flew through the front gates outside Wlodek's manor. Halfway down a private country lane, Charles pulled over and shut off the lights. Hauling out his cell, he began tapping out an email before attaching a file and sending it on its way. Breathing a sigh of concerned relief, Charles put the car in gear again, left the lights off and drove toward London.
* * *
"Mr. Winkler, Ashe asked not long ago about the possible leak in the Amarillo pack. Did we ever get anything on that?" Marco settled into the seat beside Winkler's desk. Winkler had just gotten off the phone with the Grand Master; Wlodek had authorized several vampires from the Chicago area to coordinate with wolves from the Chicago Pack, in addition to some of Matt Michaels' best human operatives.
A strike would be made against the Elemaiya who were occupying the narrow gauge rail tunnels in the Chicago area on Thursday evening. The full moon wasn't long past that and the wolves would love a fight. Winkler thought about going, but decided to stay put and let others handle things for a change. Marco's question caught him off guard.
"No—nothing ever came from that. The Grand Master suspected something, but the Packmaster swears by his members and we couldn't find a thing. You say Ashe was asking?"
"Yeah. Don't know why."
"Ashe plays his cards close to his vest," Winkler sighed. "There may be something we missed. I'll ask the Grand Master for any records or information he might have and we'll take another look."
"I'd like to help, if that's possible," Marco offered.
"I'll consider it. A new set of eyes is never a bad thing. I'll let you know." Marco recognized a dismissal when he heard one. Lifting himself easily out of the chair, he walked softly from Winkler's office. Marco could move as quietly as a cat when he wanted; it was one of the qualities Winkler valued in the young werewolf. Andy walked in after Marco left Winkler's office.
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