Gwen drove home slowly as the rising sun bathed the city and shone directly into her eyes. Her mind drifted over the past day's events, which left her confused, befuddled and pleasantly surprised. Handling Raven and convincing her that the information she passed was valid and really might prove difficult, but Slade and Leona knew what they were doing. She would rely heavily on them. Maria, her friend, convinced her to stay with the VJS, and that helped ease her mind.
Her face held a smile as she thought about her earlier run in the foothills near the university. Meeting another shifter running in the same area was a surprise. The fact he was a stranger intrigued her because the local pack was not very large. The number of males in the pack was small. Having a new male made Gwen sit straighter and feel as if a new part of her life had begun. She felt she needed to spend more time running in the hope of meeting him again. She liked his form, and his scent and colors made her desire catch fire. Gwen grabbed her cell phone and called Maria again.
As Maria answered, she grumbled, "This better be good. I have not slept much."
Gwen chuckled as she spoke, "Maria, it's Gwen again. Thank you for earlier it was a great help. I decided to work with the VJS to solve the abductions and murders. That was the right thing to do."
"I am glad you feel better, but I sense something else has you anxious. What happened?"
Gwen quickly answered, "I went for a run near the university to clear and slow my mind to relax. As I ran, another shifter caught up with me. I never met or saw this one before. He must be new to the area. We ran together with me chasing him. I saved him from serious harm near a cliff, and we sniffed each other like wolves. I liked what I saw and felt, as we stayed close. Now I need to find him again."
"Gwen, that sounds wonderful. Where are you? Do you want to join me for breakfast? Come on over."
"Sure, where should I meet you? I am hungry and could eat a cow. Well, only in my shifter form." Gwen chortled and coughed.
Maria chuckled, "The University has the best and biggest breakfast around. Meet you in the parking lot in 30 minutes."
They hung up. Gwen showered and drove to the university where Maria waited. They met and walked arm in arm to the cafeteria for the breakfast buffet.
Raven sat in her office thinking about the upcoming day. She had many loose thoughts about Molly and her cohorts. The business dealings about the estate, pub and warehouse concerned her. When Jody, her paralegal, entered the office, Raven gave her a list of things to research. Before the day ended, Raven wanted a full book on Molly, her origin, and business dealings. Raven did not appreciate working for a person who was an enigma. She always insulated and protected her practice from inclusion with illegal activities and dealings with potential long-term clients. The only thing Raven knew about Molly was her money was good, plentiful and always cash.
Raven went to the bookcase that covered one wall of her office. She pressed a decorative piece on a shelf, and the wall slid away revealing a large apartment area. She entered the area removing her clothes and setting them on the bed in an inner room. She had designed this space as an escape when she worked long hours or needed to rest during a busy day. She showered, dressed and prepared a simple breakfast. When she finished breakfast, she was ready to start her day. The most pressing item on her list was to affect the release of Carlo from the Vampire Justice System lock-up and return him to Molly.
It was early in the day at the law offices, and Jody could handle anything that occurred while Raven was out of the office. Raven called the VJS lock-up warning them that she was on her way. With the normal human jail system that was enough to get her client ready to leave lock-up. The VJS was an unknown entity, but Raven had to try and exert her influence as best she could. She packed her briefcase with the papers needed for VJS and Molly. As she drove to VJS, her mind puzzled over Molly. There was something missing with her and Raven still felt uneasy. The feeling she had was one of unease about Molly's behavior. Raven had never dealt with a succubus before and had heard that they could not be trusted.
When Raven arrived at the VJS lock-up, she had to wait while Carlo changed his clothes and processed out of the lock-up. It took over an hour before Carlo appeared in chains with a guard. He passed through the gateway to Raven where another guard removed his shackles and released him. Before they left, the guard on duty briefed Raven on the conditions of the release. Raven barely listened to the instructions, until she heard that the preternatural police squad could check on Carlo at any time, day or night unannounced. That was unusual treatment, but then this was an unusual lock-up and justice system.
Kevin drove the unmarked VJS vehicle near the exit of the court area. He picked up his cell and called the guard at Carlo's cell. When he hung up, Carlo moved to the area where Raven waited. As Carlo and Raven exited the VJS building, the guard inside called Slade to inform him that Carlo left the lock-up area with Raven. The next step of the VJS plan started, and everyone waited for Molly or Carlo to commit another criminal act.
As Raven drove Carlo to Molly's tavern, she watched cautiously for a car tailing them. She suspected that Slade would follow Carlo to catch him in a criminal act. She wanted to know if there was a tail to warn Carlo and Molly to be cautious in the days to come before the trial started. Kevin's car looked like a typical young man's muscle car. He dressed like a construction worker commuting to work. Raven saw the car but felt comfortable because of Kevin's disguise. She drove to Molly's tavern and watched as Kevin drove past and pulled into the parking area of a nearby construction site.
Raven drove to the back of the tavern, parked and escorted Carlo inside. Diana greeted them, took them into the bar where Molly waited impatiently.
"Thank you, Diana, you may go." Diana left and moved to behind the bar watching the group meet. "Welcome, Raven, nice to see you again. Did you have any problem with Carlo's release?"
Raven replied softly, "Not really. The VJS procedures varied from the human jail, but nothing strange. Thank you for the cash bail you provided. They will refund the bond when Carlo appears for trial. There are a few things we must talk about before I release him to you and get back to work."
Molly showed no emotion or concern at Raven's statement. She replied, "What do we need to know? I assumed they would restrict Carlo's movements and subject him to tight scrutiny. What else is there?"
"Most of the restrictions were standard practice, but one caught me off guard, concerns me and should you greatly. The preternatural police squad can check on Carlo at any time day or night unannounced. That is unusual, but then the VJS is unusual, and its rules are different. It would be best if you or Diana knew where Carlo was at all times."
Molly started to look puzzled but refrained. Instead, she answered, "Carlo will stay at my estate until his trial starts. I want him kept away from here and out of sight. I have some work for him to do out there, and you can visit him when you need. He will never be alone, but will be free to wander the grounds and house only. Will that meet the needs of the preternatural police for having access to him?"
Raven thought for a minute and remembered her exploration of the estate. She replied, "That will be perfect. The estate could almost be a jail for him while waiting. I will inform the police of Carlo's whereabouts and check in occasionally." Raven stood, bid goodbye to Molly and Carlo and waved to Diana as she returned to her car.
Kevin sat in the modified construction office trailer. Two other VJS security officers watched four wide screen monitors focused on Molly's tavern. The cameras focused on the front, back, loading dock and roof of the tavern building. If anything moved in or out, the VJS would track it. Kevin watched, ready to move if Carlo exited the building. The VJS wanted to make sure that Carlo did nothing that they could not record. He became the focus of bringing Molly down. As Kevin watched, he picked up his cell phone and called Eran at VJS headquarters.
"Hello, Kevin, how are the cameras working? I can see the building nicely here. These new high definition cameras are perfect for this. We record everything that goes on in real-time. How are the cameras at the estate doing?"
"Eran, the team is at the estate installing the cameras now. It is not as easy to install there because there are no buildings close. We will be using trees to hold the cameras which will make monitoring subject to environmental factors," Kevin replied. "Have you heard from Gwen today?"
"No, she left here last night headed for her apartment. Should I call her?"
"No, let her be. Is Slade interested in tracking Raven at all? We can monitor her phones and her car GPS. It might give us some information that would help the case."
"Passive monitoring of her phones and GPS should be enough. She is not under suspicion of any crimes at the moment. We can always go active at any time from here," Eran replied.
Kevin spoke, "I understand. I will monitor things from here in case Carlo or Molly move. When my relief arrives, I will join you at VJS headquarters. We should sit with Slade, Leona, and Gustaf to piece together a strategy for this case."
"I will let Slade, Leona and Gustaf know of your request. It is important that we work tightly together to keep things focused and flowing to a conclusion. See you in a little while." Eran disconnected the call and went in search of Slade. It was daylight, so finding Leona and Gustaf was not possible because they were in their sleep chambers.
Eran found Slade in the conference room, where he reviewed the video of Gwen and Raven at the estate. As she entered the room, she noticed a stranger with Slade. The video stopped abruptly, and Slade stood to greet Eran. "Eran, it is good that you are here. We have a guest, who will be with us for some time observing and assisting us with the current case." Slade turned to the seated man and continued, "This is Quinn. He is from Kiev in the Ukraine. He came to VJS to observe our tactics and organization of the two distinct cultures, humans and preternatural."
Quinn stood, reached across the table and wrapped Eran's hand with his hands in greeting, "Hello, I have heard a lot about you and the work you do here. I look forward to observing and learning from you."
Eran slightly confused and taken aback stuttered, "Err, um, very glad to meet you, Quinn. I hope you enjoy your stay with us."
Slade asked, "What brings you to us this morning?"
Eran turned to Slade and replied, "Kevin is set up to monitor Carlo and Molly at the tavern, and we can capture all the video here. It is quiet for now. The technical crew is setting up the estate for monitoring as we speak."
"Good, good, that sounds like we are ready to gather more evidence and build a stronger case against Carlo and Molly."
"Kevin had an interesting question that we might consider. Should we monitor Raven's activities, cell phone, and her travels? She might lead us in the direction to capture Molly's whole group."
Slade looked startled but concerned at the question. "Let me talk to Gustaf and Andrei, who can answer that from a legal viewpoint. We must tread carefully with Raven. Thank you for the thought."