After Pete put the kids and his ex-wife literally in witness protection, he went back to the house to see if he could get any sleep. It was late, and he was pretty sure if something happened, Agent Avery would let him know about it. He also wanted to check on his own home and make sure it was still standing. He wasn't going to find anyone or do anything competently if he didn't get any shuteye and a shower first thing in the morning. While he was eating something recently warmed up in the microwave, Pete kept thinking about the leads they had and what could possibly come from them. He really liked the one Grozza and Brown were looking into with the SEC and hoped that was the right path. Greed was a much better motive than civil unrest, and he could see right through the Prophet's bullshit. If this man was shorting companies and cashing in, then he was no better than the greedy pieces of trash he was trying to take out. It made things much easier for everyone and if he was trying to work the system, they should be able to follow the money right back to him. It was only a matter of time now before Geronimo was behind bars where he belonged, hopefully with an impending date with a needle. Pete wasn't one to support capital punishment, but in the Prophet's case, he was willing to make an exception on the matter. He let it all go when it was time to hit the sack, putting his head down on the pillow for the first time in what seemed like days. Although he slept for several hours, when the phone rang on the nightstand it felt like less than a minute. He reached over and grabbed the cellphone, putting it up to his head.
"What's going on?" Pete asked, slurring the words.
"Get down to the exchange building," Agent Avery replied. "Now."
"Is there another bomb?" Pete inquired as he was rolling out of bed.
"No," Avery answered. "We just found out why Grozza and Special Agent Brown haven't checked in with us."
Pete paused for a few moments to let the comment sink in. Grozza hadn't returned some calls, but he'd thought nothing of it. Something he was starting to learn was a mistake where the Prophet was concerned. "What happened?"
"They were stabbed," Avery answered. "Both of them at the exchange building. Something tells me they got a little too close and our boy panicked."
"That panic would explain the house fire, too," Pete said with a groan. "I'll be down there in a half hour."
Pete couldn't believe it as he disconnected the line. He had no time to grieve his partner of over ten years. He hopped into the shower and skipped actually washing his hair, only using the water to wake up and recharge. After a few minutes, Pete got out of the shower, dried off and was dressed less than seven minutes after speaking to Avery. It took him less than fifteen minutes to get back down to the exchange building for the second time in as many days. He even parked in the same space he did previously, aware that the exchange was hours away from opening so he wasn't worried. As he hurried toward the crime scene that was a stairwell between floors, he could see officers looking over the scene and the captain drinking a coffee while supervising.
"How long have they been down there?" Pete asked as he tried his best not to show emotion upon seeing the corpse of his friend.
"At least twelve hours," Avery replied. "Usually these stairs are only used for emergencies, so it could have been longer. He must have caught them by surprise, because neither man was able to get off a shot."
"Where are their guns?" Pete asked.
"Gone," the captain answered. "Along with their badges and wallets. Without any ID, it took a few hours after the first call to realize that they were both on the job. He did that to stall us, knowing that an officer down would have had the whole force responding."
"So, he kills my partner," Pete said as he looked around, "Then goes off the handle and burns down my ex-wife's house. What the hell is going on with him?"
"He could be upset that you weren't working the case," Avery suggested. "But this also could be another distraction, so I've already had McManus check in with our people on duty. No activity at the condo where your family is."
"Doesn't change what happened here," Pete said.
"If he thought we were getting too close," Avery continued. "Then he could have used that decoy to come back here and cash out before we or the SEC investigated further into those shorts."
"He wouldn't have attacked unless these two were onto something," Pete agreed. "Do we know who they talked to here?"
"We got Jones canvasing with a few officers, making calls to offices," Avery said as he turned away.
McManus showed up and looked into the stairwell. "The FBI is not going to be happy about this."
"Total understatement," Avery concurred.
"Please bring this asshole in soon," McManus said to them both. "He's really starting to piss me off."
"You're not the only one," Pete said. "This guy is going down the first shot any of us gets."
"Permission granted," the captain said without hesitation. "Take this bastard down by any means necessary."
Pete left the hallway, unable to look at Grozza's corpse any more than he could the hot dog vendor. A lot of these recent killings were starting to hit home and throw Pete off his game. But he had no choice; it was all part of the same case. He was more determined than ever to retrace Grozza's steps and try to find out what he knew that ended up getting him killed. After leaving the stairwell, he bumped into Jones, who seemed to be looking for him.
"I got something," Jones said as she handed him a piece of paper. "According to the boys at the SEC, this is where Grozza and Brown were going. They were on their way to question Scott Frisby."