Pete didn't stay at the stock market any longer than he had to. Once the bomb was dismantled, it was tossed into a dark box and carried out without revealing to anyone coming on what they had. The press wasn't informed of the bomb and just told what had occurred that morning was a drill, something to make sure first response was on their toes and ready to handle all situations and all threats. The press was all over it, calling it rash to hold a drill while the Prophet was at large and that it would scare the public. To provide cover, the Mayor himself jumped on that public relations grenade and took the hit for the police, stating that he authorized the drill long before the Prophet started his work. The mayor said that it was essential to make sure the city and its forces were properly trained, and ready at any moment to protect the people. He even had a nice sound bite for the evening news, refusing to apologize for taking the safety of the people and the city seriously. It killed the story before it got legs and that bought the police a lot of time and saved them from having to deal with a panic. The stock exchange was another beast altogether, as the market suffered a hard loss right out of the gate and companies that were attacked by the Prophet took huge loses as the deaths of their CEOs weren't taken well by the trading public.
"Could have been worse," Grozza said as he watched the market on the TV in the lobby. "The bomb could have gone off."
"That might not be worse, depending on who you ask," Pete replied. "Some traders out there might have preferred that."
"Fuck them," Grozza said, not in the mood. "We saved their asses. Losing a few bucks they'll probably get back later is a lot better than getting their asses blown to kingdom come."
"Calm down, gentlemen," the captain said as he emerged from his office, "Bomb squad wants you all downstairs, now."
Pete grabbed his coat as he walked out, and Grozza followed. They took the elevator down to the floor where the bomb squad did most of their work and investigating. When they arrived, the same sergeant was there to greet them.
"Detectives," he called out as he shook Pete's hand.
"What's up?" Pete asked, not in the mood for small talk.
"We made a discovery," the sergeant answered. "This bomb was never going to go off. It was a dud."
"A dud?" Grozza repeated, stunned.
"The detonator and the fail safes were real," the sergeant continued. "It was the materials in the barrels that were not legit. That thing was no more dangerous than a firecracker."
"That doesn't make any sense," Pete said as he paced around a bit. "Why would he plant a fake?"
"Scare the market?" Grozza replied. "Even opening a minute late would cause a dip in everything."
"It could be a decoy," the sergeant guessed. "I'd check around town and make sure no other targets were hit while half the force was trying to save the stock exchange from a practical joke."
"We'll look into it," Pete said as he walked away. Geronimo was playing a game with them and they had no idea if it was checkers or chess. He didn't even wait for the elevator to get back homicide as he grabbed his cell and started checking messages. Each officer out there protecting potential Prophet targets were to check in with him every hour to make sure all was right. He was scanning through the list when one jumped out above the others
"What is it?" Grozza asked, sensing something was wrong.
"One of our checks hasn't logged in." Pete looked back up at his partner. "A few are hit and miss, but this one hasn't checked in for hours."
"Damn it!" Grozza said, mad enough to punch the wall.
Pete wasn't taking any chances. He checked the squad car the parking garage and grabbed a radio from his belt rather than his cell, which was spotty in the elevator and called the desk to dispatch officers to the location that hadn't checked in. He instructed them to get out there quietly until they could find out what was going on, which meant no sirens. With high speed and little regard for actual traffic laws, it took Grozza and Pete less than twenty minutes to make it to the building where they were heading. Pete couldn't help but think about the first crime scene as he and his partner strolled through the lobby. When they reached the floor they were looking for, they emerged from the elevator with their guns drawn, unwilling to take any chances. As they walked down the hallway, there was something missing.
"The uniform we stationed here is gone," Pete whispered as he walked slowly to the door that officer was supposed to be guarding.
The door was open about an inch. Without hesitation, Pete kicked it open and walked into the apartment with his sidearm at eye level, ready to shoot anything that seemed out of place. There was nothing in the hallway so he used his head to point the direction he wanted Grozza to go, while Pete walked the other way. Pete strolled into the living room and found another grisly crime scene waiting for him.
"All clear over here!" Grozza called out.
"Wish I could say that for my side," Pete replied.
Grozza came running back and almost lost his lunch when he saw the body lying in the middle of the living room. "Ah, shit!"
"This is the wife," Pete said as he looked around. "There's no sign of the actual target, Kyle Blitzer. We need to keep looking."
The two detectives continued to search the apartment but it was clear. The body in the living room turned out to be the only victim they could find. There was no sign of the man they were protecting or the officer who'd been stationed there to do so. When more uniforms arrived, Pete had them secure what was now an active crime scene. One of the uniforms seemed visibly upset as he walked up to Pete.