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It took them a few days, but Conway and Skyler were finally able to organize a fair number of search parties. Coyotes spied around while Darcy set up Emma and Madison for their roles in the grand plot against the mayor, and everyone felt like they were actually making some progress. Madison and Emma would drop off supplies whenever they could, but they were soon busy with their own missions. Madison was busy writing her articles, and Emma putting together an application and resume.
Skyler and the other Jumpers felt like they were finally making progress. Even just moving to a new location with real beds and warm food boosted their morale, and made everyone eager to get back to work. For a few nights Skyler continued to stay up too late in the night, but after Hannah threatened to drug him again, and so heavily that he wouldn't wake up for two days, Skyler submitted to her orders and slept. This phenomenon of sleep, he found, kept him more alert and focused.
Two weeks later, Emma came by with an outlandish plan to replace her job application.
"Absolutely not," Conway said flatly. "No. I'm not letting anyone near that place."
"Oh come on," Emma persisted. "It will help get news of me into Horatio's high-and-mighty penthouse ears. I just need one person to help me. Jumper or Coyote. We can even do two--"
"Uh, yeah, no Jumpers," Jonah spoke up. "We're probably on every wanted poster in the province, possibly country. Maybe countries--"
"Fine, fine," Emma interrupted. "A Coyote, then."
"Let me get this straight," Tag said, shifting his position against the wall of the small meeting room. "You want to send one of us in there, drop with some disease that you happen to know how to treat and you just happen to be there? Won't that be just a little suspicious?"
Emma opened her mouth to protest, but then closed it. "Fine, I didn't think about that..."
"But if Horatio is paranoid," Skyler said. "He might not care, or notice. He's already upped Nabber sweeps again. He's nervous. Whether or not he admits it he's scared of what we can do, and what we will do. He can't show weakness now, and if there's some dangerous disease that's just been discovered in his lobby, and is contagious, he's going to flip."
"But how do you know he's that paranoid?" Kate asked.
"We make him paranoid," Skyler said. "Manipulate him into the situation we want. Send him vague, weird notes. Show him the Jumpers aren't the only pests in town--"
Everyone looked at Conway. His tone was as hard as his expression as he glared at them all. "Absolutely not. I will not have the Coyotes put at risk."
"You already are at risk," Wes huffed. "The moment you signed up for this whole Coyote business you were at risk. You already have your people out on scouting missions. Horatio might even know already there's someone else out there. So if he knows for sure there is someone else out there, he's going to be easy to mold to our needs. There's little worse than a nameless fear lurking at the edges of your own base camp."
"We get him to think he's at risk of catching it," Emma said. "And I can string him up like a puppet."
"And if he asks for a second opinion from his own doctor?" Conway asked.
"If we play it just right..." Emma grinned. "He won't. We need to make him so convinced he's contracted this disease, that he doesn't want the news leaking anywhere. He won't tell his secretary to schedule a doctor's appointment, and he won't mention it to his doctor."
"Alright," Conway conceded, "but how does this help us get at the other Jumpers? Considering they're even still alive?"
"Aw, you're cute," Emma laughed. "This disease is contagious. If he is led to believe he's contracted it, and he's gone to visit your friends, that disease will spread like wildfire among the Jumpers. Now not only does he have the disease, but he's got a lot of sick kids on his hands, too. And if the disease can lead to death without help..."
"He'll take you right to them." A smile spread over Conway's face as he realized this. "If he's kept them alive all this time, he must need them for something. He'll want to keep this disease from spreading."
"Eeexactly." Emma grinned. "So who wants to volunteer?"
Conway raised his hand. "I will."
"Whoa, what?" Tag looked at him. "Conway, what's up? You were so hesitant about--"
"I know what I was," Conway cut him off. "You and the others have the job of giving him his nameless fear. If this blows up in our faces, I don't want any other face but mine to have been seen in City Hall. I won't risk any of yours."
"We play our hand right," Emma said, "and we can force Horatio to play his exactly the way we want."
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Kip looked up as the door slid open. A new face appeared, followed by Horatio's. Kip tensed nervously. The man's dark skin was muscled, making him look intimidating even though he looked at Kip with an expression of wariness.
"Good morning, Oliver," Horatio said. "Are you ready to start talking today?"
"Who's the new guy?" Kip nodded to the tall man. "Built like a ox, that one."
"Ah." Horatio looked at his companion. "My new bodyguard, Devon."
Devon... Where had he heard that name?
"It might surprise you to know Devon was once one of yours," Horatio said, doing something at the table. "A Fence Jumper, I mean."
Kip looked at Devon in surprise, and his memory clicked. Jonah's brother.
"You..." Kip felt the pang of hurt he always felt whenever Claire showed her face. Devon glared at him, a glare that clearly said to shut up.
"Devon has been rather useful to me," Horatio went on. "He offered his services as security in exchange for not being put through the process."
"Process?" Kip winced as he shifted, chains clinking.
"The cyborg creation," Horatio sounded like he was humoring a child. "Devon has given me nothing but faithful service, and now he works directly for me." Horatio turned to Kip, a rather large syringe in hand. "But let's focus on you! There is so much we have to talk about."
"I don't know." Kip eyed the syringe warily. "I don't know where they are. They could be anywhere."
"Ah, but I think they're right here in this city," Horatio approached. Kip strained away, despite the pain it caused him. "My... Nabbers, you've called them? Have been encountering several pesky adolescents lately. We've even had a few sighting of kids jumping fences. Now, if that doesn't sound like your brood, I don't know what does."
"They don't need me to give them orders," Kip said. "They're tough kids on their own. You've disturbed the bee hive."
"Nothing a little smoke won't fix," Horatio said, his voice unconcerned. Kip grimaced when the needle was inserted into his neck and the fluids inside pushed out of the syringe. Horatio pulled the needle out. Pain erupted throughout Kip's body. He screamed, straining at the chains that held him.
"Answer my questions, Mr. Oliver," Horatio said over Kip's agonized yells, "and this can all end."
Kip tried to fight to suppress the pain. He clenched his jaw and stared at a spot on the floor, trying to think of anything but the agony pumping through him. Horatio smirked, watching him. Another cry escaped Kip again, and he shook as the pain burned.
"You know..." He said. "My patience has grown very thin with you. I've only kept you and those other 'Jumpers' of yours alive because they will draw in the ones who have escaped me. But I suppose a few casualties won't hurt." Horatio picked up a syringe of clear fluid. "I have no further use for you."
Someone knocked on the door. Kip suppressed a gasp of relief as Horatio's attention was drawn away from him and to the man standing in the doorway.
"What?" Horatio asked sharply. "I'm busy."
"The blood samples," the messenger said quickly. "They came back."
Horatio's eyes gleamed eagerly. "And?! Where are the results?!"
"Here, sir." the messenger handed Horatio a larg envelope. "Your secretary said you would like them delivered to you personally instead of to your desk."
"Yes, yes." Horatio waved him off with the syringe still in his hand. The messenger ducked out quickly. Kip tensed, but Horatio put down the syringe and was busy looking over the papers. A pleased smile spread slowly over the mayor's face.
"Excellent...." Horatio murmured. "Oliver, you're in luck. It turns out I do have some use for you after all." He pressed a button near the door, still looking over the paper. Two security guards came in. "Take Mr. Oliver to his cell and have him get cleaned up."
"What are you doing?" Kip gasped as he was unchained. He slumped, his legs refusing to support him anymore as another syringe pricked his neck and the antidote soothed the pain. Devon watched, his expression impassive but his eyes guilty.
"You will help me flush out your Jumpers," Horatio said. "More specifically, the Peltons."
Fear hit Kip in the gut. He stared at Horatio, who smirked.
"This time," he said. "You will help me, or all of your precious Jumpers will die."