Trini Kwan had never been one to be defiant, particularly where her parents were concerned. When they’d learned she was coming to New York to take up a position at the United Nations offices there, they had asked her to pay a visit to an elderly uncle, and she had readily agreed. By doing so, she would be honouring her parents’ wishes, something that was very important to her.

She’d been less than impressed to be told by those two detectives that she was not to leave the hotel under any circumstances. She had already made arrangements to meet her uncle that very same afternoon, and because he stubbornly refused to communicate by any means other than letters, she had no way of contacting him to let him know she wasn’t going to be coming after all.

In the end, it was her loyalty to her parents, and her desire not to see them dishonoured by her apparent breaking of her promise, that saw her slip out of the hotel that afternoon after lunch.

She was certain she could get to her uncle’s home, and then back again before anyone was aware she was missing. And she certainly didn’t fear anyone attacking her. She was trained in martial arts, after all, and surely she could defend herself if anything happened.

Trini tugged her coat tightly around her body as she hurried into Central Park. A quick shortcut through the park, and then she would be at her uncle’s apartment block. As much as she appreciated the concern of the two detectives, really there was nothing at all to worry about.

She hurried along the winding path, and as she walked, she gradually became conscious of someone walking along behind her.

Trini quickened her pace, hating herself for giving in to nervousness but not caring to be caught unawares, either. The footsteps behind her quickened to match the pace set by her.

Her heart-rate began to soar as her mind raced at high speed through a dozen different scenarios, each one more terrifying than the last. Finally, frightened and angry, Trini halted and spun to face her pursuer.

The last thing she saw was the glint of metal as the blade of a knife slashed across her throat, and her blood as it spattered out across the black-clad chest of the man who took her life.

“Trini’s gone.”

Jason looked up from his book in surprise and concern at Kim’s revelation.

“Gone where?”

“I don’t know,” Kim burst out, her voice high with fear. “She’s just gone! I tried her cell, but it just rang out.”

Jason looked around at Zack and Billy. Each of them stared back with similar fear in their eyes.

“Okay,” he said softly, grimly. “I’ll call Bobby.”

“What is it?” Alex asked as Bobby hung up, looking intensely worried.

“That was Jason. Trini Kwan is missing from the hotel.”

Anger flashed across Alex’s face.

“Damn it, we told them to stay put!”

“What’s wrong?” Deakins asked, pausing as he passed their desks. The two detectives exchanged grim looks before Bobby finally answered.

“Trini Kwan is missing.”

“Kwan… She’s part of that group, isn’t she? One of Jason Scott’s friends?”

“That’s right,” Alex confirmed, keeping one eye on Bobby as she answered.

“Hell… Okay, get a description out to the black and whites. Do her friends have any idea where she might have gone? Family, or other friends?”

“Well, apparently she has an uncle living on the east side of Central Park, so it’s possible she’s gone to see him.”

“Get a patrol to Central Park, straight away,” Deakins ordered them as he started back towards his office. “We need to find her before Scott does.”

Alex and Bobby rose up from their seats, and were just shrugging on their coats when the phone on Bobby’s desk rang shrilly. Sparing his partner a grim look, Bobby answered the phone.

“Goren. …When? …Okay, thanks. We’ll be right there.”

“What is it?” Alex asked as he hung up. Bobby stared at her, ashen-faced.

“The body of a young Asian woman was found in Central Park about twenty minutes. Her throat was slashed. CSU are already out there, processing. They found ID in her wallet identifying her as a United Nations employee, so they called us.”

“It’s her?”

Bobby nodded grimly.

“Yes. It’s her.”

Alex let her breath out in a rush.

“Damn. Okay, let’s go see to it.”


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