The feeling that something bad was about to happen hadn’t left me in weeks, the first days after the incident with Jonas I had spent a short time visiting the future to make sure we were safe, but I hadn’t found what was making me feel unease, so I eventually stopped, but the fear still continued. Jonas was still mad about what had happened, and the fact that Fatima said that none of the children were involved only helped fuel his anger, he still insisted that it was Ethan, Dmytro and Hye Ki the ones he had seen. I was grateful that it was Fatima who was in charge of the investigation, because she had managed to keep the children safe.
Faakhir was calling me to be by his side more often, and Jonas less, so I was once again with Faakhir and Jonas was nowhere to be seen. We were back from our lunch, ready to start the afternoon meetings when a group stormed into the room, I recognized the people as the Committee of Technology. They were all talking at the same time, clearly upset about something, some of them yelling, even speaking in different languages.
“Enough!” Faakhir screamed over their voices once he realized they weren’t going to calm down any time soon. “If you all speak at the same time, I can’t understand what you are saying.”
“What we want,” Representative Jeong said, “is our children back, immediately. We have done nothing but obey you, there’s no reason for you to do this.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Faakhir said, but I had a feeling that I knew what they were talking about, and I needed to stay calm, even if I wanted to run away and go look for Ethan.
“The car where our children were traveling was attacked,” Representative Burgos said, she sounded calmer, but I could still feel her anger below the surface, “our security cameras showed two of your men attacking the transport and taking the kids. If Carmina and Fidel are involved, it’s logical to think that you are behind this attack. Since we have fulfilled our part of the bargain, the least you could do is to fulfill yours and leave our children alone.”
“I haven’t ordered any attacks. Are you sure it was my people?”
“We have evidence,” Representative Kozak said, “and we won’t go away until you give us our kids back.”
“I haven’t ordered any attacks, and if I say I haven’t, you need to believe me, I can’t believe that my people is involved in any of this.”
From the moment they have entered the room, the bad feeling got worse, I knew that whatever happened was related to Jonas, and I was afraid that Ethan could be also in danger, I needed to find out if he was missing or if he was safe.
“Carmina and Fidel are really close to Jonas,” I told Faakhir in a whisper, as if I was trying to hide my words, even if I knew they were capable of hearing me, “this could be related to what happened a couple of months ago.”
“Are you referring to the incident where Jonas said your son was involved?” Faakhir didn’t bother to lower his voice.
“Just a few days ago, he said that he was sure that he was right, and that he would prove my son was involved. One would think that someone who uses illusions every day would be more receptive to the idea of someone seeing something that is not there. I think that maybe he sent Carmina and Fidel after their kids and told them the order was coming from you,” I said in a respectful tone, trying to sell him the idea that they could have done what they were saying, but at the same time not making him think they hadn’t gone against his orders. It was easier to think that one person had gone against him that to think a bunch of them had.
“It could be, but as I remember, Jonas’ problem was mainly with your son, the other two were just an afterthought.”
“If you allow me,” that was what I needed to sell him the idea that we needed to check on Ethan, “I can speak with Mbali and see if something happened to Ethan. If he is also gone, then we can see into the possibility that Jonas is behind this attack.”
I knew that Faakhir wouldn’t let me walk away to have some privacy, so I didn’t even try to move away as I made the call. Mbali answered immediately, as if she was waiting by the side of the phone. That was enough to let me know something was going on, but I tried to stay calm as I asked the question. Mbali was still talking when the doors opened and another person stormed inside the room. Kimball walked and the aura of hostility and anger surrounding him was all I needed to confirm my fears.
“I think you owe me an explanation,” Kimball said, his voice strong and controlled, but with an undertone of fury.
“I guess that answers our question and Ethan is also missing,” Faakhir said.
“According to the reports, Jonas kidnapped him,” I added from what Mbali was telling me on the phone. I tried to sound as if the news didn’t bother me. “I think is safe to assume that this and the incident two months ago are related.”
“Then we need to find Jonas and have him explain his actions. My orders were to forget what happened, the investigations clearly said that the kids had nothing to do with it.”
“Do you really want us to believe that you had nothing to do with this?” Jeong asked.
“It seems he is losing control of his own people,” Kimball said. “If he can’t control his close followers, how can he control the Dominion?” His words had the intended effect, and I knew that Faakhir would take immediate action to stop Jonas.
“I have no problem controlling my people. If Jonas is behind this, he will regret his actions, no one disobeys me without consequences. The same way most nations learn not to cross me, Jonas will face the consequences of his actions. Kaiserin, go find Fatima and take her to the last place Jonas was seen, work together to find him. Take as many people as you need, and bring me Jonas and anyone working with him.”
“As you wish,” I said, acting respectfully and submissive, and then walked away. When I was walking next to the Representatives, with the Representatives moving away from me as if I had a contagious sickness, Kimball grabbed me by the arm and moved me closer to him.
“That animal has Ethan,” his face was hard, but I could feel his softness under the surface. “You have to find him before something bad happens to him.”
“I’m sure I will find Ethan when I find Jonas.”
“Go for Ethan, and you will find Jonas,” Kimball said in a deadly tone.
“My orders are to find Jonas,” I walked away and Kimball had to let me go, but I felt him moving behind me.
“Do you have any idea what happened?” His tone was still angry, but I knew he wasn’t angry at me, he was just maintaining the illusion that we weren’t exactly on the same side.
“No, I have a lot of work to do, I need to find Fatima and then go by the apartment to interview Ethan’s guards, they should have information I can use to find Jonas. I need to find Jonas as soon as possible.”
“If you are too busy to search for our son, then maybe I will have to do it myself,” his words were so harsh that for a moment I thought he was angry at me, but I knew he wasn’t angry at me, his fury was directed to Jonas.
As Kimball walked away, I tried to convince myself that everything was going to be alright, we still had time, the kidnappings were recent and I was sure they were fine, Jonas needed them alive, we still had time.
Finding Fatima didn’t take long, to decide who to take was harder, I tried to avoid taking Ivan or Thalia on missions with me, still trying to act as if I didn’t like them, so taking both of them would be suspicious. I needed to avoid taking people that could be Jonas’ allies, I couldn’t rule out that more people were involved.
It took me about an hour to be ready to go to the apartment, when I arrived Kimball and a group of Mzansiers were ready to go looking for Ethan. I wanted to be the one to go after him, but I knew that I needed to keep acting as if I didn’t care about him and going looking for him would be suspicious. Kimball was the one who was all about family, he was the right person to rescue Ethan.
“Mbali,” I said as soon as I walked inside the apartment, “I need you to send Fatima all the information you have on the ambush and whatever you think would help find Jonas.”
“Do you know anything about Ethan?” Kimball asked.
“I can’t contact him, he must be too far away, outside the city, I have a pretty good reach, but I can’t feel him,” not that I had much chance to try and find him while I was working, to really look for him I needed some peace and quiet, and a safe place.
“Do you think he…?” Mbali didn’t finish, but I knew what she was trying to say, and I wouldn’t even consider the possibility.
“Ethan is alive. The fact that I can’t reach him is most likely due to him being outside the city, maybe even the country. But if Jonas took him, it was for a reason, and it wouldn’t be to kill him, not yet anyway.”
“What’s the plan?”
“I need a moment to look for Ehtan, once I find him, you can go for him. Meanwhile, I will go with Fatima and the rest of Faakhir’s people to retrace Jonas’ steps.”
“That sounds good,” Kimball started shouting orders to his people while I went to the living room so I could go into the astral planes.
Ethan, being my son, shared a few characteristics with me that made it easier for me to find his essence. Even if Ethan wasn’t able to go into the astral planes, he had a presence in the material plane that I could follow. The material plane was the harder to move in, but once I was there I was able to feel Ethan in a way that I wouldn’t be able without my astral form. I felt better once I felt his essence, even if I had refused to think of his death, knowing he was alive was a relief.
I finally found him, he was in a place further away than I expected. The place was hard to find if you didn’t know where you were going. I moved as close as I could, hoping than no one there could see astral projections. The scene that I found wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I knew that we didn’t have much time before the situation escalated, we needed to move as fast as possible.
I went back to my body as saw that Kimball and his people were ready to go. I went to Kimball and I used the trick we have been working on to go inside his mind and share the memories of my trip, so he could find his way to Ethan.
“Did you see it all? Can you get there?” I asked once I left his mind.
“Yes, I think so, I have an idea where is the place you showed me and how to arrive, I think I will find it without much trouble.”
“Be careful…” I didn’t like the idea of Kimball going without me, not because I thought he couldn’t do it, but because he could walk into a difficult situation. “Please, go and find Ethan before something bad happens to him. I wouldn’t forgive myself if he is hurt again because of me.”
“This is not your fault,” Kimball said, grabbing me by the arms, “this is Jonas’ fault.”
“But I should have seen it coming! I should have known that Ethan was in danger,” the most I thought about it, the most I was convinced that I had failed my son, yet again.
“I know that you think you should see it all, but no one can, not even a Seer. Don’t worry, I will find Ethan and bring him back. You worry about distracting Faakhir’s men long enough for me to get to Ethan, I will let you know once I secure him. We will worry about the consequences once he is safe.”
I saw Kimball walking out with the rest of his men following, and then I called the driver to pick me up. By the time I went outside the building the driver and the rest of the group I had called, were already waiting for me. I got inside and told the driver where to take us.
“I have the address where Jonas took Ethan, I think that’s the best place to start our search.”
“All I need is a starting point, and I will be able to see what happened and where they went. It won’t be fast, but it will be accurate,” Fatima said. “Don’t worry, Jonas will pay for disobeying Faakhir,” I knew that she chose those words because of the people around us, but I knew that her real meaning was that Jonas would regret crossing me.