At 5 a.m., the door to the recruit sleeping quarters opened as agents, dressed in full armor, entered the room. Several tired heads popped up from their bunks to see the commotion.
Agent Thorton moved to the end of the row of bunks like a military drill instructor. He always envied Agent Prescott and Agent Edwards. They yelled at these people all day, every day, and kept them under control. It must feel wonderful to command that kind of power.
“All recruits, you are to report immediately to Hinkle. Get out of your bunks, get your shoes on, now. For everyone’s safety, Bravo company will escort us there. You have thirty seconds.”
Agent Thorton watched as the recruits obeyed like trained pets and moved quickly. He made sure to get a good look at the red-head known as Lady Justice. Several of the male agents that worked with the training division claimed she was hotter than even Jury. As she climbed out of her bunk in nothing but a shirt and undies, Thorton agreed. All of them had slipped into their PT gear, wisely sleeping with their exercise uniforms nearby for the early morning run. Everyone was out the door in under 25 seconds.
The recruits seemed less than thrilled to get up this early, all except Justice. Thorton thought he was the only recruit that looked like a real hero. Like a professional, he was marching with his head high and chin forward. He had real bounce in his step.
As they filed in Hinkle, Net immediately noticed that Bravo company and several other units were inside the facility. They were going to take no chances when they arrested all the recruits and overwhelm them with brute force. There must be several Enhanced hidden somewhere if they wanted to take down Justice, Lady Justice, and Solid Copy. Maybe Justice was going to turn on them and accuse them of planning the entire thing. Net tried to access the Hinkle computer to find out how the JTF planned to arrest them. Maybe he could use the building to prevent the arrest and hinder the pursuit but the server was completely shut down. This just went from bad to worse.
Alaina was not sure what to think. She knew the lead agent was watching her get out of bed but she did not care. She only had eyes on Michael’s bunk, undisturbed since he left for his mother’s apartment. The JTF did not realize that he was missing yet. The Metro police officer found his shoes and shirt but he never came back. He must have died of his injuries from Scott after trying to get away. It only hurt her even more to know that her stupidity caused the chain of events.
The JTF was smart. Inside Hinkle, she and Mari could not escape by flying away, not that she would try anyways. She deserved whatever happened to her. She just wish she could take Scott with her. When the bullets started flying, accidents could still happen.
Scott had a huge smile on his face all night. For the sake of appearance, he went home after the club and went to bed instead of celebrating. He did not say much, no one in the group did, but he was ecstatic. That little shit was gone and no one could do anything about it. His relationship with Alaina was over, but he did not care. He never wanted that stuck-up bitch. She was powerful, but she was holding him back from making his mark on the training class. Now that he was Team Leader, as he should have been from the beginning, the team would propel him to JTF stardom. Once he got out of Indianapolis, the rest of them could rot in obscurity.
When the dormitory doors opened suddenly, he was ready to fight his way out of the room. The JTF must have figured out what had happened at the club. It was still Alaina’s fault, but she could still cause problems for him if the JTF could prove he was drunk when he punched Larson. They would have to find other witnesses that would testify against him in court but he would make sure that would not happen. It would be bad for their health. He decided to go along with Bravo company for now, abiding their protective custody.
He was definitely innocent of any wrong doing. He was only trying to stop Larson before he hurt anyone else. If Alaina had not acted like a slut in heat, all of this could have been avoided.
Inside Hinkle, Justice noticed that nearly every local agent was present, representing a dozen companies around the state. If they thought adding more mundanes in armor could stop him, they were sorely mistaken. He would put each one of them in a body bag. His biggest worry was Alaina. That bitch would just love the opportunity to hit him again with her lightning.
The group stopped in the middle of the EUT, surrounded by armored and unarmored agents. So this is where it happens, Justice thought. What was Caldwell doing out in the open and vulnerable?
“Thank you all for coming,” the Bravo company CO began. “I know we woke up a lot of people early this morning, but Director Lehrer raised the threat condition to Level 2 during the night. That means all leave is canceled and all active personnel have been recalled. Agent Prescott and Agent Edwards will be back in Indianapolis later this morning. For you recruits, it means liberty is canceled and you are being reassigned to Bravo.”
Lieutenant Caldwell paused and started finger-pointing.
“Why am I only counting eight of you when there should be nine? Thorton!” he shouted.
Agent Thorton walked slowly to the area with the company commanders.
“Why are not all the recruits here? Which one is missing?”
“Uh…I don’t know, sir,” Agent Thorton fumbled. “I retrieved the recruits from their barracks as you ordered.”
Caldwell looked very unhappy. “You don’t know? What kind of dumbfuck paper pusher are you? We have a rogue Enhanced running around out there scaring the shit out of the JTF brass and you don’t even have a complete headcount of the Enhanced on our campus?”
Justice stepped forward. As the new team leader, it was his responsibility to report that the asshole was dead. No, he was missing.
“Lieutenant Caldwell, my team and I were at the Sands club last night when the equipment malfunctioned and exploded. Recruit Larson was there with us. We were all scattered around the club helping Metro with the wounded. We all returned to Butler at different times and went to bed. Perhaps he was injured and taken to a local hospital?”
Alaina could not take it. She could not let Scott lie like this. She would take the blame and try to protect everyone else. Michael did not deserve this. She glanced at the other recruits but only Net looked back. He nodded in silent agreement. The JTF was not worth this stain on the soul. As Alaina opened her mouth, she heard a voice in her mind.
Stay silent, Alaina. Be patient, Jason suggested. What was there to be patient about? Scott murdered Michael and the team was going to stay quiet out of fear of him.
“Thorton, did something happen at Sands last night?” Caldwell asked.
“Yes, sir,” he replied. “An explosion damaged the building and sent several people to the hospital, but we haven’t received anything from Metro about one of the wounded as ours. If there was a John Doe, they would have posted it.”
“Well, that’s just perfect. We have rogue Enhanced that killed a mundane nearby and the JTF has a missing Enhanced recruit. Does anyone else see a connection?”
The crowd shifted. Alaina hoped, even for the small chance, he was alive. Maybe Micheal killed the mundane because he’s injured, but that just made it worse.
Caldwell turned toward Agent Thorton who was trying hard to avoid any more attention.
“Thorton, since you are good at working the desk, you are going to get on the phone to Metro and find the identities of every single person transported to the hospital last night from Sands. Ask about any John Does they picked up nearby afterwards. You will then call the morgue and ask about any new arrivals. You are then going to drive to every hospital, jail, and morgue with a victim or body and confirm that identity. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, sir,” Thorton wisely said. As he turned to leave, the front door of Hinkle opened and slammed quickly.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the newcomer said to the agent at the door, “ I just got back to Butler and was ordered to report here immediately.”