After the briefing, Micah refilled his coffee. Amazingly, it tasted just as bad as the coffee in his old office topside. Cop house coffee was a universal plague, it seemed.
As he drank, he started jotting down things on the frosted glass wall that stretched in a curled pattern around his desk and Rakon’s. His partner was currently arguing with Percy, and he didn’t want to interfere. Rakon looked adorably flummoxed at the moment, as Percy was all up in his face.
He touched a circle on the wall and a map of Hellsgate was displayed below the glass surface on a quarter of the wall. He quickly began to mark areas of demon dust activity. He drew circles around each of the affected businesses that he had discovered in the files.
“Hmmm, that’s interesting,” said Ilgren as he walked over. “If you press the purple dot it will display each building’s owner, as well as the associated businesses.” Ilgren froze when Arroc leaped into position in front of Micah. Bau comically attached herself to Ilgren’s pants leg and snarled.
“Stand down,” Micah ordered, sending a pulse of command along the link he had to the pack. Arroc gave him a disapproving look, but nudged Bau and moved back. Once again, Arroc took the lead in showing the hellhoundcat pups how to react. Both in leaping to Micah’s defense, and in following his commands.
“Looks like you have all sorts of unexpected depths,” Ilgren said as he moved forward again, finally reaching the board. “The purple dot here, this will bring up the business information.”
Micah looked at the demon, then did as suggested. The information glowed over each of the circles.
“Hey Punt,” Ilgren called. “Could you take a look at this for us?” Micah was startled at Ilgren’s easy use of “us.” Ilgren seemed earnest, but Micah was still wary. He needed his colleagues to respect him, and his position in Azgoth’s life. Ilgren’s ridicule had not been a good start.
“Well, that’s unexpected,” Punt said as she approached. Micah was pleased to see that the hellhoundcats stayed where they were. He couldn’t have the pack threaten his colleagues every time they were in the office. “There’s definitely a pattern there. But the implications are glaringly obvious. Which I don’t trust.”
“I agree,” Rakon stated, apparently having ceased arguing with Percy. “The lack of activity around businesses that owe ties to Phenex makes for an easy solution.”
“And nothing associated with the Nine ever has an easy solution,” Punt finished. “Nevertheless, I think that gives us our next step. Rakon, you and Micah go talk to Phenex.”
Rakon groaned. “Seriously? I thought you had forgiven me.”
“Rakon, I ended up doing paperwork for days after you decided to arrest the Imp King. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you.”