Midnight Awakening (Chapter Thirty-one)

Andreas Reichen was waiting with two Mercedes SUVs on the tarmac at Tegel Airport as the Order arrived in Berlin. Tegan made quick introductions while the warriors threw their gear into the vehicles and got situated for the ride out to Reichen's Darkhaven estate, which was to serve as the operation's temporary base.

I'm honored to assist, Reichen told Lucan and Tegan as the three men loaded the last of the bags and weaponry. I've often wondered what it might be like to stand among the Order as one of your own.

Be careful what you wish for, Lucan drawled. Depending how things go, there's a good chance we could end up knighting you on the field.

Try not to look so enthused, Tegan said, catching the glint of eagerness in the civilian's eyes. What's the word out of the containment facility?

Reichen shook his head. Dead end, literally, I'm afraid. Odolf went from bad to worse as it turns out. He slid further into Bloodlust–went into violent convulsions. He even started foaming at the mouth. The attendant I spoke with said it was very strange, as if Odolf had gone rabid. A few hours later, they were wheeling him down to the morgue.

Shit. Tegan exchanged a glance with Lucan, his hackles rising. The report had Marek written all over it. What about this foam Odolf was spitting? Was it pinkish, foul smelling?

Reichen frowned. I don't know. I could make some more inquiries, do some more investigating–

No, forget it. I'll take it from here, Tegan said. Lucan knew exactly where this was heading. You don't suppose that Rogue was fed Crimson…

Only one way to find out. I'll be back in a couple of hours.

It will be dawn in about that long, Lucan warned.

Tegan glanced up at the still-dark sky, the moon well into its westward slide. Then we better stop yakking about it so I can get out of here. I'll catch you all back at the Darkhaven.

Tegan. Goddamn it–

He heard Lucan's terse oath behind him, but he was already across the blacktop and moving through the airport complex to the streets outside.

Director Heinrich Kuhn was in his office at the containment facility, writing up disposal documents for the body of his recently deceased patient, when the frantic call came in from security. There had been a perimeter breach. A Breed male–Gen One warrior, by the size and power of him–had infiltrated both the exterior and interior gates and was now somewhere loose in the facility.

Shoot to kill, sir? asked the head of security, anxiety edging his voice.

No, Kuhn replied. No, he is not to be killed. But apprehend him by any means, then bring him to me.

Kuhn hung up the phone. He had no doubt as to who the intruder might be. He'd been warned that the Order would not be far behind once word of Petrov Odolf 's death began to circulate. He regretted that he'd permitted the warrior called Tegan into the facility in the first place–him and the Enforcement Agency female both. It was his job to protect his patients, from distress outside and from within themselves. In that, he'd failed Petrov Odolf, though no more than when he'd permitted the final visitor in to see him.

It was fear of that last inpidual that set the director to pacing his office now. Somehow, against everything he knew to be right, he'd let himself be recruited into a collusion that had ended with Petrov Odolf 's hideous suffering and eventual death. Kuhn had been promised a similar personal experience if he didn't prove useful to his new, lethal acquaintance.

Maybe he would be wise to slip out before the situation escalated any further. It was perilously close to dawn, after all, and he really had no wish to sit around waiting for more trouble to land on his doorstep.

Too late, he thought, not a second later.

Kuhn wasn't sure precisely when he felt the first stir of the air around him, but as he turned to face the closed doors of his office, he found himself staring into cold, deadly green eyes.

"Guten morgen, Herr Kuhn." The warrior's smile was chilling. I hear we've had a few problems here in your little Bedlam.

Kuhn inched back behind his desk. I-I'm not sure what you mean.

In a fluid, instant motion, the warrior leaped across the room and landed in a crouch on top of the desk. Petrov Odolf is dead. That slip your mind?

No, Kuhn replied, realizing he had just as much to fear from this male as he did the one who killed Odolf. It was unfortunate, but he was very ill. Worse than I suspected. The director carefully slid his hand along under the edge of his desk, searching for the button that would sound a silent alarm. He'd hardly had the thought before a sharp blade lifted his chin.

I wouldn't do that if I were you.

What do you want?

I want to see the body.

What for?

So I will know whether or not you need to die.

Oh, God! Kuhn wailed. Please don't hurt me! I had no choice–I swear to you!

You swear.

The answering scoff was crisp with contempt. The dagger at Kuhn's throat eased up, only to be replaced by the clamp of hard fingers. There was a heat that traveled through him from that punishing connection–a draining sense of invasion that buzzed like gnats in his brain.

The cold green eyes boring into his wide gaze went narrow. You lying son of a bitch. You and Marek–

The crack of Kuhn's office door being smashed off its hinges split the air. There was a sudden report of gunfire, staccato blasts that came from no less than four armed security guards as they poured inside and opened fire on Kuhn's assailant.

The warrior roared as the guards hit their mark all at once. As soon as the grip on Kuhn's throat began to ease, he backed away–as far as he could get out of the massive vampire's reach. He watched in stricken relief as the warrior slumped, then rolled off the desk onto the floor.

A wordless snarl curled out of the slack mouth, the ruthless eyes rolling back into the warrior's skull. Kuhn gathered his courage now and approached the fallen beast. He stared down at the collection of tranquilizer darts that protruded from his body.

Are you all right, sir? one of the guards asked.

Yes, Kuhn replied, even though he was still trembling from the altercation. That will be all for now. I don't want this incident recorded in any way, do you understand? As far as anyone here is concerned, it didn't happen. I will see that the intruder is removed from the premises.

When the guards had gone, Heinrich Kuhn took out the cell phone he'd been given and dialed the sole number that was programmed into the device. When the low voice answered on the other end, Kuhn told him, Something interesting just arrived. Where would you like me to deliver it?

Lucan knew something was wrong even before the night gave way to dawn. Now, a couple of hours toward noon, he could only assume the worst. It wasn't unusual for Tegan to go solo on his own personal missions, but this time he was off grid completely. He hadn't returned from the containment facility. He hadn't reported in, and there wasn't even so much as a cell phone signal to indicate where he was or what kind of shit he might be into.

Calls to the facility had been useless. According to everyone Lucan spoke with, Tegan had never arrived. As for getting some intel on Odolf 's death, all inquiries were being personally handled by the director of the place, one Heinrich Kuhn, who would not be reachable until he reported back to work at nightfall. Lucan didn't appreciate the bureaucratic stalemate, particularly when he was getting a very bad feeling that Tegan was in trouble.

Still nothing? Dante came out of the room where the rest of the Order and Reichen were covering the night's upcoming trip to Prague. The warrior exhaled a low sigh when Lucan gave a shake of his head. I know this mission is critical, Lucan, but damn. I don't feel good about leaving Tegan behind.

We're not. Lucan met the serious stare of his brethren. I need you and Chase to head up the mission. I'm going to stay behind and locate Tegan.

How are you gonna go about doing that? We've got no idea where he is, or if he's even still in the city. It'll take you forever if you're planning to go door-to-door.

Lucan shook his head. I think I know of a better way to find him.