One Police Plaza
New York City

Captain James Deakins looked up expectantly as his office door opened, anticipating the return of his two best detectives from checking out a warehouse belonging to a murder suspect turned murder victim. It was with some disappointment that he saw ADA Ron Carver coming through the doorway instead.

“You look less happy than usual to see me,” Carver comment wryly at the look on the captain’s face. Deakins shook his head.

“Nothing personal, Ron. I was expecting Goren and Eames. They’re late getting back here from Mathers’ warehouse.” He paused, glancing at his watch and frowning. “In fact, they’re nearly two hours late.”

“That’s unusual for them,” Carver murmured.

“Yes,” Deakins agreed. “It is.”

“Well, I was supposed to meet with them to go over the particulars of the Maloney case, but if they aren’t likely to be back soon…”

“Let me try Eames’ cell phone,” Deakins said. “I’ll find out where they are.”

Carver stood silently while Deakins made the call. A long moment later he hung up and looked at Carver in confusion and growing concern.

“It’s switched off. Eames never switches off her phone.”

“Try Detective Goren’s cell,” Carver said. Deakins did so, only to get the same result.

“His is switched off, too. Something isn’t right.”

“Perhaps they found themselves in a… delicate situation that required them to turn off their phones,” Carver suggested. Deakins immediately dismissed the suggestion with a shake of his head.

“Goren and Eames don’t work like that. If there’d been anything else going down, they would have called in.”

Going to the door, he called across the squad room, summoning over two detectives.

“Something up, Sir?” Detective David Ash asked as he and his partner hurried over. Deakins handed them a slip of paper.

“Get to this address and check it out. Report back to me as soon as possible.”

“What are we looking for?” Oliver King asked. Deakins regarded them grimly.

“Evidence of a crime. Get moving, both of you.”

Once they’d gone, Carver looked to Deakins questioningly.

“You didn’t tell them…”

“There might not be anything to worry about,” Deakins said. “If I start broadcasting that we might have two missing cops before knowing anything for certain, the proverbial will well and truly hit the fan. Let’s just say that I want Ash and King going to that warehouse without prejudice.”

Carver looked through the doorway to the retreating figures of the two detectives.

“Well, let’s hope that our concerns prove to be groundless.”

Deakins returned to his seat, visibly agitated.

“Those two are going to put me in my grave one of these days. If there isn’t a logical explanation for this, they’ll both be on desk duty for a month.”

Ray Mathers’ Warehouse,

“Any idea what we’re looking for?” King wondered. Ash grunted as they entered the empty structure.

“Not a clue. I guess Deakins figured we’d know it when we see it. Whatever it is. Christ, why do we always get the shit end of the stick all the time?”

“Because Goren and Eames are his stars,” King grumbled. “They always get the pick of the crop.”

Ash shook his head, irritated.

“Can’t knock their record.”

“Maybe. I’d hate to be in Eames’ place, though. Five years partnered with that nut? It’d drive me up the damn wall.”

Ash laughed aloud. “You said it. The guy might be smart, but…”

“What is it?” King wondered as Ash trailed off. Ash indicated the far wall.

“Over there.”

The two men strode over to the wall, and Ash leaned down to get a closer look at what he’d spotted from across the floor.

“A gun… Looks standard issue.”

“Oh shit,” King swore suddenly, drawing his partner’s attention.

“What…?” Ash started to ask, and then he saw what he partner was looking at. “Oh no…”

They walked along the wall to where King had indicated. There were two distinct bloodied marks there, one on the wall and the other a pool of blood on the floor. On the floor, smeared with blood, was a police shield.

“Whose badge is that?” King wondered. Ash shook his head.

“Don’t know. I can’t make out the number through the blood. Don’t touch it. We’re going to have to bring in CSU.”

“Look at that mark on the wall,” King said softly, tensely. “What would you say that is… About 6”3… maybe 4?”

Ash nodded.

“Someone got their head slammed into the wall damned hard. Someone who’s at least six foot four.”

The two men looked at each other, and then Ash pulled out his cell phone and started dialling.

11th Floor,
One Police Plaza

“You have news, I gather?” Carver asked as Deakins came striding out of the lift after being summoned upstairs to see his superiors.

“Ash and King found a gun and a police shield inside the warehouse,” Deakins told him. “When they checked outside, they found a second gun and shield, and two smashed cell phones in the rubbish.”

“Belonging, I assume, to Detective Eames and Detective Goren?” Carver asked. Deakins nodded.

“The shield and gun they found outside belongs to Eames, so we can assume that those inside are Goren’s.”

“That is not good,” Carver said.

“That is a massive understatement,” Deakins retorted. “They found blood, too, Ron, and a lot of it.”

Carver stared at Deakins in trepidation.

“Blood? Do we know whose blood?”

“CSU are out there now, and samples have been sent off to forensics for analysis… But Ash and King seemed fairly sure that the blood was Goren’s.”

“So what is the next move?”

“Goren and Eames were investigating a string of homicides that we suspect were the work of a serial killer. With each of the five victims, approximately five days had elapsed from when they went missing, to their estimated times of death.”

“So if that same individual has Detective Goren and Detective Eames…” Carver started to say. Deakins nodded, pale and openly fearful.

“We have less than five days to find them, and the clock’s ticking.”

A few hours later,
One Police Plaza

“We got an ID on the blood,” Deakins told Carver, Ash and King in his office a few hours later. “It’s Goren’s blood. Both lots.”

“Shit,” King muttered. “So, what now, Captain? We read Goren and Eames’ files on this case. They only had one viable suspect, and he’s turned up dead.”

“Go back to the original five victims,” Deakins told them. “One of the last things Goren and Eames figured out was that at least three of them were killed outside the New York City limits. If we can pinpoint where they died, we may have a chance of finding Goren and Eames.”

“We can’t do this on our own, Sir,” Ash said quietly. “If we’re going to have any chance of finding them, we need help.”

Deakins nodded his compliance.

“I’ve taken that into consideration. There’ll be extra personnel here within the hour. Now get moving. We’re on a deadline as of right now, gentlemen.”

“Who are you getting in to help?” Carver asked once Ash and King had gone.

“Lyn Bishop and Mike Logan.”

Carver blanched visibly.

“Logan? From Staten Island?”

“I know. He’s a hot shot and a hot head, but I also know that if I put him on this case, he won’t quit until he breaks it. And right now, I don’t particularly care about going by the book, Ron. Two of my people are missing, and if what we suspect is what actually has happened, they are in a lot of trouble. I’m hoping that in pairing Logan and Bishop, they might just have the grit to crack this one and find Goren and Eames alive.”

“I pray you’re right about that, Jim,” Carver said softly. “For the sake of those detectives, I pray you are right.”

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