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Revelations 2/2, ATU 'Verse



Back to Part One

"Sara's gonna wake up soon," Nick said with a sigh as he turned his head to look at Greg. Grissom and Warrick had left an hour ago, but Greg had stayed behind to help Nick clean up. Now they were sitting on the sofa, flipping through the channels but finding nothing to focus on for long.

"When's your friend coming over?" Greg asked, referring to the person who was supposed to bring blood or whatever for Nick.

"Should be here in a couple of hours, after Sara wakes up again," Nick said.

"You don't need blood before then?" Greg shifted his body so that he was facing Nick, since his neck was starting to get a cramp sitting the other way.

"I'll survive," Nick said, giving Greg a wide grin.

"So what do they do? Bring you blood in a bag or something?" Greg asked. He was honestly curious about the whole process. He was fascinated by everything Nick told him; he couldn't help himself. With parents who wouldn't let him do any kind of sports and didn't really let him out of the house all that much, he did a lot of reading and had an active imagination. Vampire myth was one of his interests when he was in high school, and it was really cool to find out that, in some form, they actually did exist, even if they weren't the walking undead.

"Or something," Nick said, chuckling. "The person coming is what we call a Saurdain. In the language of the Saurnausis, it means "blood giver". It's a name for the people who share Sylinia with the Saurnausis, but it also applies to any who give their blood for our survival. They come to us in situations such as these, and we feed from them. Carrying around blood would be a really odd thing, particularly since our evolution dictates we only need a small amount normally, and how does one explain a bag of blood when stopped by a cop? The only time we ever need a significant amount that would warrant prepackaged blood is if we were exsanguinated or severely injured and unconscious."

"So, you won't need blood before Sara wakes up?" Greg asked, shifting his eyes away from Nick when he asked. When he looked back, Nick was smiling at him with amusement.

"You offering?" Nick asked, using the best, thickest Texas drawl he could manage without sounding fake, just to see what kind of reaction he could get from Greg.

Greg felt his face heat and he shifted again. "I'm just kind of…curious. I mean, it's not every day you find out your friend is a vampire."

Nick laughed out loud. "Come here," Nick said, beckoning Greg over with one hand.

Greg shifted over until he was closer to Nick. He couldn't keep the look of surprise off his face as Nick lifted him up and onto his lap without any effort at all. "Hey, remind me to con you into helping me move the furniture when I find a new apartment."

"You lookin' for a new place, G?"

Greg couldn't suppress a shiver as Nick slid his fingers through his hair, from his sideburn to back behind his ear. "I was thinking about it. A couple moved into the apartment above me, with their twin three-year-olds. It's so noisy during the day, I have a hard time getting to sleep."

"Well, let me know when, and I'll be happy to help you out. You ready?" Nick asked, his voice low.

Greg closed his eyes and let Nick's voice wash over him. "Yeah, I'm ready," he said, opening his eyes just as Nick's fangs slid into place.

Nick's left arm slid around Greg's waist, and the fingers of Nick's right hand slid into his hair. Greg went with it, letting Nick move him any way he wanted. His eyes closed once more as fangs slid into his neck.

It didn't hurt, which was a big surprise. Greg had expected at least a little pinch, but while it was an odd sensation to feel the fangs slide in, the wave of pleasure that washed over him was almost overwhelming. Some of his blood decided it was time to move south, filling his cock, leaving him hard and aching, especially after Nick's fangs slid out and Nick spent several near-eternal moments sucking on the area he'd just bit, running his tongue over Greg's sensitive skin.

When Nick pulled back, Greg opened his eyes. His body thrummed with the almost euphoric feeling Nick's feeding left him with. "Wow," he finally managed to say after several long moments. "Is it always like that?"

"Leavin' you dazed and feelin' like you've had some of the best drugs you've ever had in your life?" Nick said with a chuckle as he moved Greg to sit on the sofa again, but close enough so their thighs rested against each other, and he kept one arm slung over Greg's shoulders. "Yeah, especially the first time you let someone feed on you. From what I've heard, for humans it always feels good, but you get used to it after a while. Don't worry, though. It's not addictive or anything."

Oh, I wouldn't be too sure about that, Greg thought to himself, but he didn't say anything out loud. Instead, he said, "You mind if I sack out here on the couch? I really don't feel like going home just yet and having to listen to the twin terrors trying to bring my ceiling down around my ears."

"I can do you one better," Nick said. "Sara's got a bed in the corner of her spare room. It's all made up. Why don't you go lay down there? I'll wake you up in plenty of time to eat and get over to your apartment so you can change for tonight."

"Thanks," Greg said, struggling to stand up. He was surprised when his legs buckled underneath him. "Whoa. Didn't expect that." He didn't expect Nick to catch him either, but there he was, right behind him, arms wrapped around his waist, holding him up.

"Sorry, I should have warned you," Nick said. He led Greg toward the spare room, never letting him go. "Feedings usually leave first-time donors a little woozy. You'll be fine in about fifteen minutes."

"Okay," Greg said with a yawn as he plopped down on the bed. Bending over to take his shoes off made him dizzy, so he just pulled down the covers and started to slide in.

"Hold on, G." Nick reached down and took off both of Greg's shoes, placing them out of the way but where Greg could find them easily later on. Then Nick tucked him in and stroked his hair one last time.

Sleepy and feeling like he just had the best sex of his life, even without the orgasm, Greg leaned into the touch and sighed. "Night, Nick."

"Night, Greg," Nick said, heading toward the door and turning out the light. With one last look, Nick shut the door behind him and headed for Sara's room, where she would be waking up soon.

*******

Three days later, and the entire team showed up again outside Sara's door, but this time all came bearing gifts for one of the two people inside. Warrick had gone over to Nick's apartment and brought more clothing and a couple of books he knew Nick was reading. Catherine and Gil had gone to the store for more groceries, and Greg had splurged and raided the local donut shop, bringing an assortment of pastries and kolaches, and he'd gone to the store himself and got orange juice and a platter of assorted fruit. He'd even bought paper plates so they wouldn't have so many dishes to wash up later. He also brought another bag of Blue Hawaiian.

All of them managed to get to her apartment within a few moments of each other, so they rode the elevator up together. All of them were surprised when they knocked on the door and Sara answered, not looking any too worse for her ordeal.

"Hey, guys," Sara said, giving them all a soft smile as she stepped back and pulled the door open. "Come on in."

"Hey, Sara," Greg said, leaning over to give her a kiss on the cheek. He'd seen her a few times over the last few days, but this was the first time she'd been fully awake and coherent. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm okay," she said, helping Greg with his armload. "You didn't have to go to all this trouble, guys."

"No trouble at all," Catherine said with a smile. "It's the least we could do to help."

Greg sniffed the air and made a face. "What is that smell?"

"Coffee. Nick ran out to the corner store and bought some, since we were out," Sara said, laughing at Greg's look of abject horror.

Greg rushed to the kitchen, Warrick tagging along behind him after dropping his bags near the door, and everyone laughed when they heard Greg shout, "Dump out that coffee mug and step away from the coffee pot!"

Gil took the few moments everyone was paying attention to Greg to give Sara a once over. She didn't look any different than she had before Nick called them over a few days ago, but then again, looking at Nick, neither did he. Gil couldn't help but wonder if Sara could change like Nick now, or if she had more time to go before she could transform the way Nick did. It was one more question added onto the mile-long list of questions Gil had formed in his head, and had taken the time to write down in a notebook at home, lest he forget. Now that the shock was over, he couldn't help but be fascinated.

It was a boyhood fantasy come true for many, Gil knew, and he himself as a child was not immune to the fascination of the possibility of alien life out there, lurking just beyond humanity's observation. As a child, he never could have imagined that the aliens he read about were as close as the woman next door or the man down the street…his schoolteacher, doctor, or school bus driver.

After his father's death though, any thoughts of new life were pushed away by the fascination with death, with his thirst for knowledge focusing on something that affected him so deeply. Science fiction and aliens gave way to biology, autopsies, and insect life. Now he was faced with his childhood fascination once again, and he had so much he wanted to know.

So intent on his own inward musings, he stepped back, startled, when Sara suddenly appeared in front of him. "Hello, Sara."

"Hey, Grissom. You okay?" she asked, laying her hand on his left bicep.

"Yeah," he said, blinking a few times and shaking his head slightly. "Sorry. I got lost in my own thoughts there for a minute."

Sara looked like she was doing her best not to laugh. "It's not surprising. You do it so often," she said, finally giving in and laughing softly. "I know you have questions. So do I. Nick and I really haven't talked all that much yet. And somehow, I don't think he's going to be able to answer everything in a couple of hours."

"Neither do I," Gil said, following her further into the apartment. Everyone else was already doing various activities around the apartment. Gil could hear Greg playfully arguing with Nick inside the kitchen, and Warrick and Catherine were setting up the paper plates and silverware for breakfast. "Are you doing okay? How are you adjusting to this?"

"I feel fine," Sara said, sitting down on the sofa. "Nick says I'm doing really well, especially considering my condition when he started the transformation. Apart from my fangs growing in a day late, I'm right on schedule." Sara chuckled. "Do you know how weird it is to talk about my fangs? A part of me keeps wondering if this is real. I keep making my tongue bleed because I keep checking to see if they're real."

Gil smirked as he sat down on the other side of the sofa. "Is this new?" he asked, remembering that her other sofa was a lighter color than this one was.

"Yeah. Nick had the other burned. Apparently I'd bled out all over that one," Sara said. "It's okay, though. Not like I was attached to it or anything."

"Oh," Gil said, not liking the idea of Sara's life slowly draining out of her. He was glad Nick got rid of the sofa. "Are you feeling up to coming back to work?"

Sara gave him another bright smile. "Yeah, I am, even if I do have to work with Nick for the next few days."

"I heard that," Nick called out from the kitchen. "I ought to be offended, but then again, I have to work with you."

"I'm hurt," Sara called back, grinning at Catherine as she did so. "You cut me deep, Saltar."

"Saltar?" Catherine asked, the confused expression on her face mirroring that of Gil's.

"That's Nick's birth name."

Catherine interest perked up at that. "Any other interesting tidbits you get from him?"

Sara practically bounced on her seat, causing Gil to smile. "Yeah. He was born on a planet called Sylinia in 35,000 BC in our years, but his parents were originally from a planet called Kyndisa and he lived there for several thousand years as well. I know his brother is the Head of the Earth Council, his name he goes by on Earth is William, and he's very easy on the eyes. He's also 800,000 years older than Nick."

"Are you tellin' tales about me?" Nick asked as he and Warrick brought out the food on platters. "Greg's waiting for the coffee."

"Just what I managed to get out of you before they got here," Sara said, smiling up at him. Nick had told her she'd asked questions over the last few days, but she'd been half out of it, and hadn't remembered anything he'd said.

"I can see I'm not gonna have many secrets left once y'all are done with me," Nick said with a drawn out sigh, but the amusement lighting his eyes told them he didn't really mind.

It made Gil think that maybe Nick really didn't mind. It was true that he himself preferred solitude and privacy, but that was a choice he'd made. Being what Nick was, and as open as he always seemed, a kind of heart on the sleeve type of person, not having any choice but to keep his real identity a secret had to be difficult and lonely. That thought made Gil glad they knew, even though the way they found out left a lot to be desired.

"Nicky, Nicky, Nicky," Catherine said, shaking her head, "the time of secrets in your life is over. You do remember what we do for a living, right? The job requires us to be nosy by nature. So, do you have a picture of this brother?"

"William? Yeah, I got one he sent me a couple of years ago," Nick said, pulling out the photo he had in his wallet.

"Aw, isn't that sweet. You keep your family in your wallet?" Catherine said, reaching up to take the picture Nick handed over.

"Not all of them. Damn thing wouldn't fit in my pocket if I did," Nick told her. "I have ten brothers and eight sisters by blood alone. I couldn't tell you how many siblings I have through transformation. We don't mate often, but when you don't die by natural means, family tends to build up. Be right back."

"Wow. That would be some family reunion," Catherine said, studying the man in the picture while Nick headed back into the kitchen. William had beautiful bone structure, light brown hair, and hazel eyes. He even had the same little crinkles around the eyes that Nick had when he smiled. "He's really handsome."

Gil took the picture as Catherine passed it his direction. "Yes, he is." While William and Nick didn't really look too much alike, it wasn't difficult to believe they were siblings. "Where does your brother live?" he asked as Nick and Warrick came back in, carrying glasses of orange juice.

"Get that on my carpet and you're going to be in so much trouble," Sara said, pointing and wagging her finger in Nick's direction.

"Yes, Ma," Nick replied in a long drawl. "He's currently in Los Angeles for business, but he usually resides in New York City."

"So, those who you or your family transform become a part of your family?" Catherine asked as she and the others gathered around the table.

"I come bearing drinkable coffee, not that swill Nick was going to subject us to," Greg said, setting down a tray with two coffee pots and six cups.

"Thanks, Greg," Nick said, and then turned to Catherine. "Simple answer: yes, they are. As you can probably guess, family hierarchy, if you want to get into it, is much more complicated than that. The importance of that hierarchy was abandoned long ago, probably a billion years before my great-great grandfather was born, and he's five hundred million years old. The House hierarchy is still recorded, as a matter of keeping track of familial ties, so we don't lose too much track of everyone as they spread out over thirty galaxies, if you include this one.

"So, where do I fit into the scheme of things?" Sara asked as she speared a piece of cantaloupe and popped it into her mouth.

"You would be considered my daughter within the hierarchy, though we share no blood ties. You would be listed under my children, with notation that it is through transformation. From what I read a long time ago, the distinction between the two, besides genetics, was that in the House, those genetically connected to the family held a higher place of honor within the family. It hasn't been that way for a very long time, though. There are many who remember those times well, and even they now find the practice absurd, though they themselves lived by those rules at the time."

"So what happens when you want to transform someone who you want to…you know," Greg said as a slight pink tinge colored his cheeks.

Nick chuckled. "Turn him or her. While that may be where the person fits in the family's hierarchy, that does not make the person my son or daughter. Relationships as such don't happen between parents and children of the opposite sex because of the genetic anomalies, particularly those that occur within the brain. The few times it has occurred within my time…it's like a Saurnaus and a human's offspring. The kid just comes out…wrong. That's why both are forbidden.

"For biological siblings, it's mostly why the hierarchy is still recorded, why we are required to send in documentation every time someone is turned or we have children. With parents, you know it's your kid, you know, but with siblings it's not so clear-cut. I have two sisters and a brother I've never met. I've only seen a picture of one of those sisters. If I meet a female and wish to produce a child with her, we have to go through our familial line and make sure any relation between us, if there is some, is far enough away that it won't affect it. Our concern is with the scientific, genetic problems that come with producing offspring with siblings, since they're more complicated than the issues that might come up with the same kind of relationship between humans. It's why relationships between parents and children of the opposite sex and brothers and sisters are not allowed, though leeway is given."

"What happens if you accidentally get together with a sibling you don't know about?" Gil asked.

"If the intent is to produce a child, the familial line must be revealed. To withhold that information or neglect it carries severe punishment. With women, I always ask before I get involved, if I don't know for certain that they're not. It's not always necessary, because a lot of those on Earth are more recently transformed and won't be related to me. Would I get it on with William? No, because we never had the inclination. As much as I adore him, the attraction isn't there. He's my protector, my big brother. He taught me how to do a nose dive down a cliff, only bringing out my wings at the last moment." Nick laughed. "Man, you shoulda seen the look on my dad's face when he caught us. I didn't know he could go that pale or turn that shade of purple. I'd never heard that kind of language before, and I can honestly say I've never heard someone cuss that colorfully since. That man spent two hours telling us off in about twenty languages."

"Did it stop you from doin' it again?" Warrick asked him, chuckling.

"Nah, man. We just did it when we knew we wouldn't get caught."

"Okay, but say you hit it off with that brother you've never met. What would happen when you find out he's your brother?" Gil asked.

Nick shrugged. "Nothing. You have to understand that while we have scientific reasons for forbidding certain relationships, we don't have the religious and social issues there are on Earth. It probably would be different for me if he was around like William was, but I don't know him. It takes me some time to recall what his name is. I don't go looking for relatives, but I wouldn't lose any sleep over finding out some guy I hit the sheets with was related to me. It happens, particularly with same sex partners. Not often and not to everyone, but it does. It's just a fact of life to us. For Earth societies, I know it's unthinkable and I wouldn't expect any of you to understand why it is this way with us."

"Considering I'm looking at a being who can sprout wings and fangs at a whim, it's not such a far-fetched concept to come to terms with," Gil said with a small smile. "Tell me about your home planet."

"Which one? I spent most of my childhood on Sylinia, but spent much of my time on Kyndisa. I consider them both my homes."

"Kyndisa first."

"I haven't been there in five thousand years," Nick said as he sat back. "It's a lot like Earth, actually, but much larger. There are three major landmasses, two smaller, and hundreds of large islands and thousands more small ones. There are six named oceans and about twelve seas. The animal and insect life is amazing there. Fortunately, the Kyndisians were able to counteract the environmental issues Earth has before they got too far gone, and almost all species were saved from extinction. With intergalactic travel and newer technology, my planet was able to concentrate many of the civilizations on the coastline, leaving most of the interior to nature. Natural scientists love going there to study the animals. You, Gil, would have a blast with the 70 million species of insects alone.

"Think you can swing me a trip there?" Gil said, making it a point to ignore the rolling eyes and snickering going on around him.

"Sure. Let me know when you want to go. Paperwork can be a bitch for first time travelers, but I can walk you through it. Population isn't as large as you'd think if you saw the planet. Like I said, travel between planets and everyone's agreement to keep the planet as a preservation, to make sure it doesn't see the same fate as some others have, means keeping the permanent population from overtaking the area."

"And Sylinia?" Catherine asked, helping herself to another kolache.

"Not as green and spacious as Kyndisa, and not as lucky with some of their native species. It's a little cooler than Earth, around the same size. Has more water and a lot less land mass, but the residents there have adapted to it quite well. Population is greater than that of Earth, probably about thirty percent more. It's greatest advantage is that it's at the direct center of our Federation, so it's where the intergalactic justice system is located."

"So all crimes have to go through there?" Catherine asked.

Nick shook his head. "Depends on the crime and the circumstances. Most are tried according to their own world's laws and on their own planets, unless it involves other species who wish to prosecute. For Sylinia, the Sylinian Council tries all cases amongst the Saurnausis and the Saurdainis."

"So, if they catch this guy that shot Sara, he'll be tried through the Sylinian Council?" Warrick asked.

"Oh, yeah. They've been searching for this guy for a long time. Tarnas is on a long list of wanted criminals for a multitude of severe crimes. When he's finally caught, I'll have to go to Sylinia for the trial, to be a witness on behalf of Sara's case."

"Will I have to go?" Sara asked.

"Only if you want to. Since I was the one who saw the attack, it's not a necessity for you to go with me," Nick said.

A knock on the front door resounded throughout the room. "I thought everyone was here," Sara joked as she pushed back the chair to answer the door. She rolled her eyes as Nick stood, following close behind. "Overprotective much?" she murmured so only he could hear.

"It comes as part of the package," Nick said, reaching out and giving a strand of her hair a light tug.

With a chuckle, she opened the door. In front of her stood four men. Three of them had dark brown, almost black hair, while the fourth was a blond. All of them were fairly tall and rather somber looking.

"Mikaan!" Nick said, reaching out for the one in front and dragging him in to give him a big hug. "I didn't think it'd be you four coming. It's great to see you."

Mikaan returned the greeting with similar enthusiasm, his face suddenly coming to life. "When Tyris requested hunters for you here on Earth, we couldn't resist. Cintaar and Antaan started harping on it the moment we found out. After we're done, I do believe they're going to be looking for a certain someone who seems to have relocated to Miami to be with his Daddy."

"Lord help Miami," Nick said, laughing at the twin pouts that emerged on the faces of the two they were discussing. "Come on in, guys, and you can meet my team."

The other three came inside and greeted Nick in much the same way as the one called Mikaan did, and Greg noted that they seemed to know each other well, and for certainly a long enough time to tease each other. He stamped down the surge of jealousy he felt when the blond kissed Nick, nearly causing death by tongue rammed down the throat.

"Behave, Antaan," Nick admonished with a chuckle. "You'll give my friends the wrong impression."

"I found it to be the correct impression," Mikaan said with a smirk.

"That's entirely beside the point," Nick said, helping Sara find and bring a couple more seats to the table.

Sara bit her lip. "I know there's a couple more chairs around here somewhere…where did I put those fold up chairs," she said, more to herself than to anyone else.

"No worries, my dear," Mikaan said, sliding into one. "This will do just fine." He reached out and dragged one of his companions into his lap. In the other seat, the remaining brunet, Cintaar they guessed, sat down and pulled Antaan into his lap.

Nick rolled his eyes and sighed. "Their species Mates for life. While they do play around with other partners, Mates will never separate. Before you are two Mated pairs, and one of the two best hunting teams in thirty galaxies. So, please excuse their behavior. They never can seem to keep their hands off each other."

Catherine smirked as she looked at them. "Their behavior doesn't bother me. They can do whatever they want and I'll be happy to watch."

Nick was surprised into laughter. "Catherine! Don't encourage them."

Gil cocked his head to the side. "I'd have to agree with her assessment. They are…very pleasing to observe."

Nick rolled his eyes. "Yes, yes, they're a bunch of hotties. Can we move on?"

"Sure," Sara said with a chuckle. "You gonna introduce us or what?"

"Yes, if you'll quit laughing." When everyone was silent, he started. "Guys, I'd like you to meet the Launrasis. They are a people native to a planet called Darmitaan in my galaxy. They are… Well, if my people fit the description of vampires, they would be werewolves. Like us, they are shape-shifters. And they're great hunters. Mikaan is the eldest of this team, his Pack actually, and his Mate is named Taraan. As you probably guessed, on the other seat is Cintaar, and in his lap is Antaan."

Then he turned to the four Launrasis and went from person to person. "This is Gil Grissom. He's my boss. Next to him are Warrick Brown, Catherine Willows, and Greg Sanders. This," he said, motioning to Sara," is Sara Sidle, my kandulan. The attack on her is the reason you are here."

Mikaan bowed his head toward Sara. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. All of you," he added to the others in the room. "Why don't you tell us what happened. Tyris likes to keep things to himself. I believe he enjoys frustrating us to no end."

"Sounds like William," Nick said. "A few days ago, I was bringing Sara home. She'd hurt herself at a crime scene and needed help getting up here, even if she didn't agree…" He gave her a glare and she stuck her tongue out at him. "Tarnas was in the apartment, stealing things. That, however, wasn't his main objective, as I'm sure you're aware."

"No, his main objective in life is to piss off your family," Taraan said.

"Pretty much," Nick said. "He shot Sara twice and then jumped out the window, knowing I wouldn't follow with her dying."

"How did he know you'd be here?" Antaan asked.

"He couldn't have, unless he'd been following me. If he was, he'd have to be watching all of us, to know who each person was and where they lived. Still, it seemed as if he'd been in here for some time, and even if he'd followed us to the hospital and left to get here before us, and there was no guarantee I'd be coming up here, he wouldn't have had time to go through the house as he had. I think he intended to just kill her, and he'd been poking around and waiting for her to get home."

"One more crime to add to his multitude," Taraan said. "The trial will be long, to go through each of his transgressions."

"No kidding," Nick said with a snort. "I called William immediately, so he had everything locked down and there's no way for him to get out of here without being noticed. So, it's up to you."

"It's been a while since we had a good hunt like this," Antaan said with glee. "On a planet we really don't know well, with no idea where he is… Oh yeah, I'm ready. When do we start?"

"He's always been the impatient one of our pack, but we love him," Cintaar said, kissing Antaan on the cheek.

"We don't have anything with his scent on it," Nick said.

"Don't worry. We brought the last clothing article that was found and known to belong to him. It was sealed away for just this occasion."

"I think he must have lived in the thing for a month," Taraan said with a grimace.

"Charming," Nick said with a chuckle. "You're welcome to use my place while you're here on Earth, as your home base."

Mikaan bowed his head. "Thank you. If you don't mind, we would like to go there now and rest. Tonight we will begin."

"You need to use my car?"

Mikaan shook his head. "We have a driver downstairs."

Nick got up and rummaged around in his jacket, pulling out his keys. He took a couple of keys off his keyring, then took a pad and pen and wrote down his address. "This is my address and the keys to my home. The driver should know how to get there."

"Thank you. I will contact you as soon as we have any information," Mikaan said, taking the offered items. The four stood up and followed Nick to the door.

"Thank you for doing this," Nick said. "After this is done, stick around. We can get caught up."

"We will. Goodbye," he said to the others at the table.

Everyone at the table waved, and Nick closed the door behind them.


*****

Three weeks had passed before Mikaan finally called. "Hey, Mikaan. I was thinking you'd forgot all about us," Nick said as he turned down the radio in his truck.

"I apologize, but it took us some time to catch his trail, and we were out of range until today," Mikaan told him.

"Where were you?"

"Egypt. Still are, actually, but we were in the middle of the desert. We've got him imprisoned on one of the ships now and we're awaiting the transport to take him to Sylinia."

"Everyone here will be relieved. How long until the transport gets here?"

"A couple of days. We'll stay here until we hand over custody. Then we will return to Las Vegas and get caught up, as you requested."

"Looking forward to it," Nick said with a chuckle as he pulled up next to the police car, where the officer was leaning against the fender. "It'll be a while before they get to Sara's portion of the trial, so I've got plenty of time. Listen, I gotta go. I drew the short straw and got a dumpster dive for my scene tonight. Thrilling."

"I will leave you to your fun," Mikaan said with a chuckle. "See you soon."

"See ya," Nick said, hopping out of the SUV. If he was lucky, he wouldn't be here long, and maybe he could get back in time to bother Hodges and Greg while they played that Dukes of Hazzard game Hodges thought everybody didn't know about.

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