One Police Plaza,
Captain James Deakins watched from the safety of his office as officers from the NYPD Crime Scene Unit arrived, accompanied by members of a forensics team that had flown out from Miami at the special request of the head of NY CSU, Detective Mack Taylor. When Mack had come and spoken to him about wanting to bring in the contingent from Miami, Deakins conceded that he had initially been angry. It had seemed to him that Mack had gone over his head in inviting the team from Miami to join them.
He trusted Mack’s judgment implicitly, though, and if the detective believed this crew from sunny Florida could help, then they were more than welcome to join the party.
Deakins winced visibly at his own choice of words. Some party. Two of his best detectives had been missing for nearly thirty-six hours, now. Nearly two days, and they seemed no closer to finding them.
That, of course, was not the fault of the detectives working the case. David Ash and Oliver King had not gone off duty from the moment they discovered Eames and Goren’s badges, guns and smashed-up cell phones in the derelict warehouse belonging to their deceased suspect. And since being brought into the case, Mike Logan and Lyn Bishop had been working their asses off trying to identify the killer. While none of those four detectives – with the possible exception of Bishop – had huge liking for Goren, given his odd ways, they all still respected the fact that he was a good cop. More to the point, he was a good cop who was in serious trouble. Add feisty Alex Eames to the mix, and you had a whole city full of cops who were currently tearing the city apart searching for some sign of the missing detectives.
Deakins shut his eyes against a burgeoning headache.
If Goren and Eames did not survive their ordeal, then God help their killer, because no one else would.
Deakins looked to see Mack Taylor standing in his doorway, looking apologetic.
“Sorry to bother you, Sir…”
“No bother, Mack,” Deakins said dismissively. “Talk to me. What’s happening?”
“Well, the team from Miami have arrived. They brought with them everything on the serial killer they dubbed The Hunter.”
“That’s the killer that got away from them?”
Deakins drew in a steadying breath, recalling what Mack at told him about the Miami team having an image of the killer.
“Lead the way, Mack.”
Mack led Deakins through to the room that had set aside for the task force that had been rapidly thrown together in the wake of Goren and Eames’ disappearance. People were moving back and forth with determination, Deakins noted dully, but with little hope. With every hour that passed, they all knew damned well that the chances of Goren and Eames surviving steadily decreased. Mack ushered Deakins across the room to where two people stood waiting.
“Captain Deakins, I’d like to introduce you to Lieutenant Horatio Caine, and Calleigh Duquesne, from the Miami Dade CSU.”
Deakins shook hands with both, and Mack went on quickly. “The rest of Horatio’s team have joined my team at CSI headquarters, but they have information that hopefully will help us.”
“Okay, Lieutenant,” Deakins said, “tell me what you know.”
“We believe the killer that you have running loose is the same man that escaped us two and a half years ago in Miami,” Horatio explained. “We dubbed him The Hunter, because he’d take his victims deep into the wilderness, set them loose and then hunt them down. We had eleven victims in the time that we were aware he was active, and with every victim approximately five days elapsed from the time of abduction to the time of death.
“The victims were found to have been tortured to various degrees. We believe he would have kept going, but the person who was to have been his twelfth victim managed to escape. From him we got a sketch of what our killer looked like, as well as knowledge of his precise methods.”
Deakins took the sheet of paper that Horatio handed to him, and found himself looking into a pair of glacier blue eyes that sent chills down his spine. Finally, he looked back up at Horatio.
“Thankyou for coming, Lieutenant. I appreciate your willingness to help.”
Horatio nodded wordlessly. Deakins looked around, and spotted the person he wanted.
David Ash hurried over.
Deakins handed him the sheet of paper.
“Get this into circulation. This may be our killer. I want him identified as soon as possible.”
Ash hesitated for just a fraction, staring down at the image with a dark look on his face, then ran from the room to do as he’d been told. Deakins looked back to Horatio, Calleigh and Mack.
“We really do appreciate you coming, Lieutenant, Caine,” he said quietly. “My people are just about at breaking point. The two detectives that are missing are greatly respected here. I’d like to bring the killer in alive, but if Goren and Eames are killed… I just can’t promise that we will take him alive.”
“I understand,” Horatio said quietly. “Right now, Captain Deakins, I can assure you that our priority is the location and rescue of your detectives. If we have to decide between the life of the suspect, and the lives of your detectives, then I promise it will be your detectives.”
Deakins looked reassured by Horatio’s words.
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