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Mayhem:Federal Paranormal Agency 7

By:Olivia Black

Chapter One


Dylan Aldian raced toward the conference room at FPA headquarters. His  leader, Abram Jackman, had called an emergency meeting, alerting the  agents that there had been a bombing. Dylan didn't know the details, but  he sent up a silent prayer, hoping this wasn't a terrorist attack. He'd  seen far too many in his lifetime, innocent lives lost to one extremist  cause or another over centuries without any real resolution.

He didn't want to go through another September 11th. The damage had been  horrific, and the attack was one of the deadliest in recorded history  with 2,993 fatalities and 8,900 injuries. Living in New York City during  that tragedy had changed the course of his life as well as many others.  He could still see it all so clearly inside his mind even after  fourteen years.

Rushing into the conference room, Dylan took a seat and waited as some  of the other agents filed in. Not all the agents were in attendance  since there were other active cases.

After a few minutes, the FPA's tech guru, Axel Lee, stood up. "There was  a bombing a few hours ago at the Silver Bullet in New Orleans," he  announced.

Using a handheld remote, Axel brought up a series of pictures. Images of  the Silver Bullet, a popular club in New Orleans, filled the screen.  The building that had once stood tall in the Warehouse District was now  partially rubble. An entire wall had collapsed, spread out along the  city street in a mixture of burnt glass, metal, and brick.

"What do we know about the bomb?" Dylan asked.

"We don't have any information about the bomb at this time, but we  should be receiving pictures of the fragments soon," Abram said. "The  local FBI office and the New Orleans police department are working  together. We've been asked to join the task force since the Silver  Bullet is a shifter-owned club and paranormals were injured in the  explosion."

"Is this an attack against paranormals, a hate crime, or an act of terrorism?" Max Lumeria asked.

"We don't know," Axel answered, shaking his head. "Nobody has taken credit for the explosion."

"What's the count?" Dylan asked. "How many casualties?"

"Sixty-one people injured, eighteen critically wounded, and seven dead. I  want a team flying down to New Orleans within the next thirty minutes,"  Abram ordered. "We've got to find the person responsible and figure out  if this is an isolated incident or if there will be more bombings."

"I'll go," Dylan volunteered without hesitation. "I've got a good relationship with Gideon Channing and his pack."

"Yeah, I think that would be a good idea. You can do the job without  making it personal. I sent Ranger, Shaw, and Brock to Montreal to hunt  down a rogue shifter. That should keep them busy for a while." Abram  rose to his feet. "Dylan will take the lead. Axel, I need you in the  field. I want you to check out the city's surveillance system and run  each person that was at the Silver Bullet through our facial recognition  program."

"I can hack into the city's surveillance system and run the program from here," Axel said. "I don't need to go out into field."

Dylan didn't know the reason behind Axel's reluctance to leave FPA  headquarters, but he was certain it had to be something serious. The  lion shifter hadn't always stayed hidden behind his computer screen.  There had been a time when Axel worked cases in far-off countries.  Again, Dylan didn't know all the details, but whatever had happened  pushed Axel to want to hide from the outside world.

Abram shook his head. "I need you there," he said before continuing on  with his orders. "Max, go to the hospital and the club. You're in charge  of collecting evidence. We need to put this bomb back together in order  to find any signatures that might point to the person responsible. Ian,  get the plane ready. You're transportation."

"Do you want me to stay with the team?" Ian asked.

"No." He shook his head. "Stay with the plane. I don't want the FBI to  think we're taking over their case. At this time, it's a joint task  force. We need to play nice."

Pushing back his chair, Dylan rose to his feet, and the other agents followed his lead.

"If you need anything, call me," Abram told him.

"Yes, sir." Dylan nodded. Turning on his heel, he strode out of the  room. Dylan paused in the hallway, waiting for Ian, Axel, and Max to  join him. "Grab your gear. We'll meet in the underground parking garage  and head to MacArthur Airport together."         

     



 

The other agents nodded in agreement before taking off. Dylan watched  them go before marching toward the locker room inside the FPA's training  facility. Spinning the combination lock around, 16-35-11, Dylan pulled  it free. He grasped the black duffel bag and lifted it up, swinging the  thick padded strap over his shoulder. Dylan slammed the metal door shut  and turned around, heading for the parking garage.

It was hard to believe that the Silver Bullet wasn't in the same  condition as it had been the last time Dylan was in New Orleans. He had  volunteered to travel down south when Gideon Channing, the Alpha wolf  shifter in the area, was having some trouble with a pack out of Northern  Washington. There had been a fight in his territory, and some dead  rogue shifters need to be disposed of. Dylan had taken care of the  problem and stayed on a little longer, getting to know the shifters from  Gideon's pack.

He hoped like hell that none of the men were among those listed as critically injured or dead.

When the elevator doors slid open, Dylan paused, his eyes landing on the  black SUV blocking his path. The blacked-out window glided down,  exposing Max Lumeria in the driver's seat. After walking around the  vehicle, Dylan opened the passenger side door and climbed in.

"Ian is meeting us at the airport," Max said. "He needed to get the plane ready and submit a flight plan."

"Do you have any thoughts about the bombing?"

"I'm hoping this is an isolated incident, but I don't think it is.  Normally, someone would've taken responsibility by now. By putting the  bomb back together, I should be able to find a signature that will point  us in the right direction."

Dylan nodded in understanding.

A single bomb was scary. More would be terrifying. They needed to find  the person responsible before more innocent lives were lost. Time wasn't  on their side.

There was a ding, and the elevator doors opened once more. Glancing to  the side, Dylan watched as Axel stepped out. Axel opened the door right  behind Max and climbed into the SUV. He placed his laptop on the seat  beside him before buckling his seat belt.

"Are you okay?" Dylan asked, turning to face Axel.

"Yeah," Axel muttered. "I would just prefer to stay home."

"Why?" he asked, brows furrowing.

"My reasons are my own," he said, looking away.

Dylan knew he could push and ask more questions, but it was obvious that  Axel wasn't ready to talk, not yet anyway. Turning back around, Dylan  faced forward. "Let's go," he told Max.

Max started the engine and pressed the gas pedal. He pulled up to the  gate, and it opened slowly, allowing them access to the street. Most of  the traffic moved out of their way once they saw the emergency lights  flashing-red and blue.

In the early morning hours, the drive didn't take long.

When they reached MacArthur Airport, Max drove toward the private  terminal where their plane was kept. He pulled the SUV inside the large  metal and cement hanger and parked along the far wall. As soon as the  engine shut off, Dylan grabbed his bag and opened the passenger side  door. He climbed out and shut the door behind him.

The main cabin door of the plane was open, a short set of stairs  welcoming them. Dylan walked up the steps and onto the aircraft.  Gray-and-white-striped carpet covered the floor, and large overstuffed  chairs and couches lined each side of a wide pathway leading to the rear  of the plane where a small galley was located. There were a couple of  flat TV screens mounted on the walls. The bathroom was located in the  front, near the cockpit. The plane was luxurious, giving them some  comfort while on long journeys away from home.

Dylan took the first available seat, dropping his duffel bag onto the floor by his feet.

"I should travel with you guys more often," Axel said, taking the seat on the plush couch. "You're all spoiled."

Dylan chuckled. "Yeah, this is the life. We just fly around the world sipping champagne and living like rock stars."

After a moment of silence, Axel said, "I've been receiving some weird phone calls lately."

"Oh, yeah?" Dylan asked, leaning forward. "What kind of phone calls?"

"I don't know." He shook his head. "Nobody is ever on the other end."

"It could just be a wrong number."

"The calls come every day at the same time. I've even tried to track  down the caller, but the trail always leads me to a dead end. They're  all burner phones that were bought with cash and only used once, and  then they're disposed of."

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