They had come to a dead end. Kevin had disappeared and with him, little Brittany.
It had been a week after Kevin and Brittany vanished, and although Tom had looked into home schooling, he knew that if they came and lived with him as well as John and Elena, they would be in danger.
Kevin had a charismatic charm about him that could persuade anyone. He had that when he was younger, pretending he had the mind of a child of eight, and now that he was an adult in Homo Dominant society, he could go the other way and pretend to be someone in his mid or late twenties.
This was what being a Dominant was like. You had a short childhood, a short adolescence until you reached fifteen or so. Then suddenly you became a young adult, and you stayed that way longer than a Homo Sapien would. Kevin looked to be in his early twenties and would look that way and be biologically that way, even into his forties and that made him dangerous.
"Does your deputies mind, you taking the time off?" asked Sloan.
"He's okay about it and he is studying for his exam. I asked Cabaño about it, but her tribal chief called her and asked if she'd like to rejoin the Reservation Police Force. It was sudden and she felt she had an obligation, so she's gone. You have a nice home," he said as he looked around.
The fruit tree in the back was full of apricots, they had some pepper plants, and there was fresh soil spread about over the grass. Dominants never put concrete blocks, laid brickwork, or anything that would give people the idea they were on the move. No Dominant had a trailer parked in the back, or a garage large enough to hold one. When they moved, they went on foot or in an ordinary car. They left the furniture behind after wiping off their fingerprints and if they could not, they burnt the house.
When someone found the house empty or the house in cinders, they wondered how those poor people would survive with only the clothes on they wore.
"Tom will be back soon," said Sloan as she opened the dishwasher.
"I hope so, but I doubt that getting his amigos to watch the airports would do. We've already got detectives all over." He had an idea. "I wonder if he'd get on a ship, you know one of those Princess Lines."
"Could be," said Tom, who just came through the front door with another man, "This is Paul Sedona. Kevin killed his wife."
Mr. Sedona's face didn't change, but his eyes narrowed and the sheriff got the impression that if Sedona had grabbed hold of this Kevin, it would be the end of the latter.
"Hello father," said Sloan.
"Hello daughter." He glared at the sheriff.
"Oh he's to assist in finding the small daughter of Kevin's wife," said Tom.
"Is he useful?" asked Paul.
"So far we found Kevin went to Disneyland and then to Las Vegas."
"But without him, you would succeed." Sedona suddenly faced the front door at the same time as Tom did.
There were others coming. Both Dominants tensed, not to make the sheriff aware for he had gone to his car to get some papers and he had just reached into his glove compartment when he saw four smaller shadows.
Twenty years of law enforcement had made him aware. He turned around to see John and Mary as well as a boy and girl whom he recognized as students of the West Coast Academic Academy.
"Aren't you out of school a bit early?" he asked.
"Mice," said Mary, "One of the teachers said she heard noises and with all that talk about terrorists, the principal decided to have a search of every room in the school. Oh I'm hungry."
"Is that true?"
"The noise was deafening. The principal showed prudence in dismissing us."
"He was wise in doing so," her father replied, "however it is imprudent for you to remain here."
"We were approached by Frederick who informed us that our lives would be complicated by us staying."
"And why would a descendant of the Lost Ships inform you thus?"
"One of the guards did not show up for work." She saw her father's eyebrows narrow. "Not to guard us, but to prevent certain criminal elements from getting into the Academy."
"We presumed it is so that their children can attend the Academy even though their marks are substandard," added Richard and whispered, "the construction underneath is proceeding as planned. The guard is no more. His inquisitiveness sealed his destruction. The principal on hearing this, dismissed the school, but gave the reason as rodent infestation."
Tom agreed. The rat poison used to spray the grounds might be dangerous to his kind as well He walked over to the sheriff and told him of the situation.
"Look I didn't mind them looking through the mug books and giving the rundown on anyone suspicious working at their school, but…" begin Venticula.
"You didn't object before," said Tom.
"This is different. Before we had no idea of the danger this Kevin would pose."
"But would you object if someone more mature would help? Paul Sedona knew Kevin when he was younger and has insight into his nature."
"When the school's infestation is removed, we will be back there," said Elena who was taking the cups from the dishwasher.
"No, you won't. Oh the cups go in the right section," said Sloan, putting the glasses in the cupboard and going over to Tom. "Kevin was able to get away because he sensed all of us."
"That is what we do," said Tom, "and why is it of significance now?"
"Kevin probably saw the sheriff and made the connection that he is with us, but what about Paul? Would Kevin believe all of you work together?"
"No, he wouldn't. He would assume that Paul is making, what you call an official visit, but I get the idea. You are very astute, Sloan. Kevin and Paul are enemies. I will contact the school. We have no choice now. They have to stay with us."
An hour later, John and Mary were officially out of school. (They recommended a good home school program), Tom notified Roderick who said that he would give an excuse that Richard would be unable to continue because they were moving, and Elena's family, too, got the okay to leave.
"All right, John, Elena, you go with Paul. Richard, Mary, I will call Daniela's mate and you will go with him," said Tom. "You will use the appropriate disguises."
"Was Daniela the girl who drew a picture of the constellations on the column?" asked Richard.
"Yes. Her father is like us. Her mother had the condition known as anorexia. He is now ready to come to the fold," said Paul. "The mother died."
"They were going to kill Mrs. Leon and Daniela."
"They may have disposed of Mrs. Leon, but not of Daniela. It is not like you. If John Sedona hadn't investigated, we would not have known that you were Paul's daughter, but we already knew about Daniela's father. The Council gave the order to grab the girl and had already arranged a union with a Chameleon."
At that juncture, the sheriff came in. "I just got a call, saying they saw someone looking like Kevin in the San Francisco airport with a young child with him."
"How much time do we have?" asked Tom.
"Look it's out of my jurisdiction, but I called the police there. There'll be a Detective Swanson waiting for you."
"Thanks," said Sloan.
"I'll notify Roderick," said Tom and redialed Roderick's number. At the same time, Paul also dialed his cell phone, but kept his voice low.
"That's done," said the head of the Chameleon program.
"What's done?" asked Sloan.
"We have just removed Kevin's allies," said Tom.
What allies, thought Sloan, as she packed her traveling clothes.
"The Council has asked the family of Scott to come in. He is a lieutenant of Roderick. They will keep the house until our return."
"And then we will get Kevin."
"And if not, his former allies will do."