"He moved," Keiran explains. "I set the scanner to wake me up if the phone left the hotel grounds. He's just down the street. Get up, come on, go!"
Ninety seconds later Danielle and Jayalitha, clad in sandals and pyjamas, are jogging down the hallway to the elevator bank. Danielle holds one of their anonymous cell phones. She does not quite believe that she is really awake. Except that dreams are never this uncomfortable; being shaken awake this early was almost physically painful.
"Remind me again why you can't come with us," she says into the phone, annoyed. "Just in case someone sees your precious face?"
"Believe me, I want to be there. But I have to stay here to monitor his activity and make the finger call. Let me know when."
There is more activity on the street outside the Alexis Park than Danielle would have expected at four in the morning, even in Las Vegas. At least fifty people cluster, smoking and talking, around the 24-hour 7-11 store down the street, at the corner of Harmon and Paradise. A group of a half-dozen passes them on the way to the store. From their chatter Danielle gathers that a big party has just ended; from their giggles, shining eyes, and the way they gape at street lights, it's clear hallucinogens were involved. Two other groups pass them going back into the hotel. Their members seem very young. Danielle supposes old fogeys like herself, even those who took drugs, are mostly in bed by now. As she would very much like to be. She doesn't know if she can pick out a single person answering a phone in this noisy, milling crowd, but she doesn't know if they'll get a better chance, either. She decides to go for it and opens her mouth to tell Keiran so.
"Bollocks," Keiran says. "He's back inside. He must have walked right past you."
"Why the fuck didn't you tell us?" Danielle demands, turning around.
"It's not a real-time scan. Every thirty seconds."
The two groups who passed them looked college-age, if that. Danielle wonders if their fearsome nemesis P2 will turn out to be a pimply monomaniacal teenager. Both groups continue, their pace leisurely, through the main building and down the long outdoor walkway that winds past the Alexis Park's three swimming pools. Danielle and Jayalitha follow.
"He stopped," Keiran reports, a minute later.
Danielle shakes her head. "The people who passed us are still moving."
"Then he's not with them. Or not any more. Where are you?"
"By the main pool."
"Go back. Check the lobby."
They return indoors. There are eleven people on the lobby chairs and couches; one group of four teenage boys, two couples, and three lone men, one reading a newspaper and two more working on their laptops. She reports this to Keiran.
"All right," Keiran says. She hears him take a deep breath. "He has to be there. The phone might be silent. Keep a sharp eye. I'm going to connect."
"He's doing it," Danielle whispers to Jayalitha, who nods.
"Well?" Keiran asks, fifteen seconds later.
"Did you do it?"
"Yes. It rang. Someone answered. They didn't speak. I started talking and they hung up, they must have some code-word system. You didn't fucking see anything?" The frustration in his voice is palpable.
"No. They're not here."
"Danielle," Jayalitha says. "The lavatories."
Danielle turns and looks at the two doors, marked with the universal man and woman symbols, set in wood panelling. Of course. P2 stopped in to take a leak on his way to the pools.
YOU ARE READING
Invisible ArmiesMystery / Thriller
In a world where security cameras prove what you have done and databases define who you are, the few who know how to manipulate the technology can play God. They can change the future; they can alter the past. They can make big money, they can save...