Invasion of Justice (Shadows of Justice)(2)

By: Regan Black



In the Government Issue black transport van, Petra closed her eyes and opened her mind. The city seemed to vibrate with a nasty presence that didn't mind being known.

She shivered. Awareness at this level was a two-way street. The malevolence fueling the criminals they sought knew Petra was in town.

As the transport pulled up, she prepared herself for the known and unknown of the process. She'd read the crime scene, interview witnesses, and gently tap their emotions for details they didn't often realize they left out. Even expecting to uncover the weird or surprising didn't always mute her shock when she found it.

"Thanks for coming," Kincaid said with a smile. The Special Agent in Charge of the Central Region Investigation Authority looked past her into the van. "Where's Kelly?"

Petra sent Kincaid a meaningful look. "Out tracking down real glazed doughnuts. Where's the videographer you promised?"

Kincaid's eyes narrowed, but he too reserved comment for later. "There's someone on site that can help us, I'm sure."

Putting the possible security breach on the back burner, Petra took her first hard look at the area. The Hammond Street docks had once thrived with cargo train activity. Now, the prime location for loading and unloading boats and trucks was a deserted, nightmarish collection of worn and rusting parts.

Except the tracks. She walked closer to the original style double rail and ties. The rails gleamed, even in the poor evening light. "I've heard of train collecting, but not true to life models."

"My thoughts, too. This is some operation we've bumped into."

Petra looked at the old diesel engine, sitting frozen on the tracks, with three disconnected cars behind it. Petra walked inside the now empty area and just absorbed the lingering energies.

Fury. Fear. Survival. Salvation.

She took the electronic data pad Kincaid offered and checked his notes. Jane Doe was dead and three other men, all refusing to speak, had apparently watched it happen. Those three sat propped against the train wheels, awaiting her questions.

Mentally she ticked off her interview goals. She wanted to know which of them knew how to drive the antique diesel engine. She wanted to know the contents of the three cars. Evidence crews had found random hairs and prints and a half dozen sterling armbands in an infinity pattern.

"Need some help with a video?" a man's voice asked.

Petra whirled around, startled that anyone had slipped under her senses. She thought she'd seen him before, but couldn't put a name with the face.

"Have we met, sir?"

"Nope. I'm Gideon Callahan," he said.

She stepped back from the smile that didn't reach his eyes and the extended hand she couldn't accept. "A pleasure to meet you," she lied, through her most professional smile. "I'll pass on the video." She slid the data pad into her tote and withdrew a spiral notebook and pencil. "This'll do for today." She climbed up into the engine and opened herself to the residual feelings.

Gideon followed her. "So what the hell happened here?"

Petra began to put words to her thoughts and impressions. "This was quite a struggle. A battle for more than life." She crossed to the side wall where scratches marked the progress of the Jane Doe's attempt to escape her bonds.

Here was the fury. Complete and violent fury that the mission had gone off course.

"Off whose course?"

"What?" Gideon asked.

She ignored him. "Two opposing forces determined to win. Why didn't the men struggle? Why didn't they help Jane Doe?"

"Cat fight."

"I beg your pardon?" Petra turned at last to study the man who wouldn't take the hint and disappear.

He had dark hair that would curl if not for the strict cut, straight-boned features, a Van Dyke beard, and deep brown eyes that didn't evoke warmth, but warning. She didn't need the warning from his eyes as his aura hummed with an evasive quality she didn't trust. The beard was only one more point against him. She'd never liked bearded men.

"Haven't you seen the autopsy report?"

This time she took personal blame for the irritation she felt with this man. She flipped pages, but couldn't find a hard copy. Pulling out her palmtop, she scanned the official email from the coroner via Kincaid.

"Give it up. The words don't do it justice. Take a look here."

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