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Skyler was antsy all day. They hadn't heard back from Emma yet since the text yesterday. What was taking so long? Was she okay? What happened?
"Skyler." Grace poked his ribs during lunch. "Relax. Emma can take care of herself. She's a big girl."
Skyler flushed. "But under City Hall..."
"I know." Grace looked at him. "But she'll be alright. We'll figure this out."
"What if we have to go down there?" Skyler asked. "I don't think I can go down there again--"
"Hey, hey." Grace wrapped an arm around him. "Don't do this. We'll figure something out. You're a brave guy, Skyler, even in the face of what happened down there. It was you who suggested to stay in the city. That took more guts than jumping the stupid train. You're a Jumper, Skyler, you tackled the fences even when you fell. You can tackle this. I'll be right there beside you to help you over. I promise."
"That's great coming from the girl who shoved me over the other side." Skyler smirked. Grace swatted him.
"To safety," she told him. "It kept you safe. So did Wes, but mostly the fall. We're all there for each other, especially when we fall. It's like a Jumper code." Grace smiled at him. "Don't worry. We'll find them, and we'll make Horatio pay."
"She's here!" A coyote called, running into the cavern. Coyotes and Jumpers looked up as Emma entered. Skyler pushed to his feet and pulled Grace up.
"How did it go?" Conway asked. "What took you?"
"I do have other patients." Emma smiled. "I had a few appointments today and yesterday. It went... I don't know."
"Did you see any Jumpers?" Skyler asked. "Anyone?"
"No." Emma frowned. "I'm sorry, guys. But... Horatio took me down there to see a man.... a man named Christopher Oliver--"
"Kip?!" Every Jumper yelped. Skyler's heart nearly stopped.
"You know him?" Emma looked shocked.
"He's one of us!" Skipper said excitedly. "He took care of us!"
"If he's down there, the others might be too," Jonah said.
"I don't know." Emma frowned. "He said he was alone. Cryptically, but that's what he said..."
"Cryptically?" Wes repeated.
"Kip and I have a history together," Emma said. "He was my boyfriend, before he disappeared."
The Jumpers stared at her.
"You and Kip?" Hannah's eyes were wide. Emma blushed.
"Yeah." she smiled. "We were, uhh... we made an interesting pair. But, he disappeared, and I never saw him again... I moved away, and never heard from him again until today."
"Well," Wes said, "that certainly puts Kip in a new perspective."
"How long has he been with you?" Emma asked.
"A while." Wes shrugged. "Um... four years, maybe? Not counting these past two?"
"He disappeared around that time..." Emma bit her lip. "He's been here the whole time..."
"Underground, but yeah." Wes nodded. "We didn't know he had anyone... he was pretty quiet on his personal life..."
Emma smiled faintly. "But we know where he is. Horatio's got something planned for him. Something that will help Horatio get what he wants. I don't know what it is, but he said it would also give Kip his freedom..."
"Yeah." Ethan frowned. "We all know where that's gonna go--"
"Ethan. Not helping." Hannah looked at Emma. "What do we do? There's a back entrance underground, but it's guarded."
"Tag and his crew can take care of that," Conway said.
"I'll work on piggybacking security down there," Darcy said. "I'm gonna need time."
"We may not have much time," Conway said. "Kip's a start. Maybe he at least knows where the other Jumpers are."
"We'd better hurry," Skyler added. "We can't lose anyone else down there."
"Mr. Mayor?" Alexis Cadden's voice came over the intercom. "Your four-thirty is here."
"Send him in," Horatio said, roused from his light browsing of a book. He set it aside as the door opened, admitting a tall man with short, curly brown hair and small, calculating hazel eyes.
"Mr. Mayor." the man shook Horatio's hand firmly. "Osborne Hayes."
"A pleasure, Mr. Hayes." Horatio smiled, motioning to a chair as he sat down. "You said you have... a certain inventory, for me to see?"
"Yes sir I do." Hayes nodded, remaining on his feet. "But not here. My car is just outside. And you may want to bring along a few of your employees. The ones who sweep the streets for the riffraff."
"I have other appointments, Mr. Hayes--"
"This will be well worth your time, Mr. Mayor," Hayes said, his voice calm with a quiet confidence. Horatio considered this, then stood.
"I will make arrangements with my secretary and meet you downstairs," he said. Hayes nodded curtly and walked out.
Horatio made his way outside in front of the Hall, where a sleek silver car stood idling. Hayes was waiting for him, and they got in the car. The driver took off.
"My men are to follow," Horatio said. "Now what is it you have to show me?"
"Something that will help your rat problem," Hayes said simply. "I understand these... Jumpers, are once more at large?"
"It's not definite," Horatio said grumpily, "but I have been receiving peculiar notes that suggest they or some copycat are going around."
Hayes nodded, but said nothing more for the rest of the drive. They drove to the outer limits of the city, just to the edge of where new met old. There they arrived at a storage facility. Without a word Hayes led Horatio into the facility and to storage unit 77. He unlocked it and lifted the door.
Horatio looked upon a large storage space full of firearms. The variety was incredible, ranging from pistols to assault rifles to a machine gun.
"These have all been tested," Hayes said, "to withstand any explosion or any pressure put on them, even under water to a certain level. They are made to hold up to rough use by even a robot's strong grip."
Horatio looked at Osborne Hayes. Hayes looked at him.
"Your cyborgs need firepower, Mr. Mayor," he said. "Firepower built into them, ideally. You want power, and the only standing standing in your way is a handful of street urchins playing at vigilantes. Eradicate them, and the world is yours."
"What do you want?" Horatio asked, keeping his expression blank. While inside he was intrigued. "You could be making a fortune selling these elsewhere."
"But I could make so much more with you," Hayes said, his voice still quiet with calm confidence. "You will need someone to head up your cleaning efforts. I have the connections and resources to make more of these items, and I have the knowledge to put them to the best possible use to eliminate the barriers. These... Jumpers, won't be the only oppositition you will have on this road."
"You're offering to be my strategist?" Horatio asked.
"Yes." Hayes looked at him. "You need me, Mr. Mayor. I can help you go far."
"Why should I trust you?" Horatio asked, watching him.
"Because those notes won't be the last you hear from your problem," Hayes said, his expression unsmiling and serious. "You are a busy man, Mr. Mayor. Assign me to your sweeps, collecting subjects for your cyborg process. I will have searches going to find the source of your pest problem, and free your time for your other duties or pursuits."
Horatio considered this. "You can guarantee that the Jumpers will be caught? All of them?"
"Yes," Hayes said without hesitation. I have men who can train yours to use these firearms, and use them well. Those Jumpers will disappear."
"I need two of them alive," Horatio warned. "At all costs."
Hayes dipped his head slightly. "Then we will capture the Jumpers and give them to you to do with as you deem appropriate."
Horatio thought about this. It all made sense and seemed reasonable. Osborne Hayes appeared to be very sure of himself, but he wasn't arrogant. It actually impressed Horatio.
"Can you begin tomorrow?"
"Yes I can."