"It's open!" the Adept yelled in response to the knock on his door. He glanced over his shoulder to see the Speaker entering his lab and then turned his attention to the wall of video screens he had been studying for the past day.

"You have something for me?" the Speaker asked, stepping up next to the Adept.

"I do," Adept said, swiping his fingers across his tablet. All the screens in front of him changed over to the same frozen image. A shot from a security feed at Atlanta's heavy water production plant. The image was of Jazlyn Yap standing on top of Dr. Cratty's car surrounded by about ten members of the Chosen Children's Protectorate

"You see this?" Adept asked, circling the skull. He then changed half the screens around so they were dominated by a blown up, enhanced picture of the skull.

"A crystal skull?" the Speaker asked. The Adept nodded. "Why on earth would I be interested in those fraudulent toys?"

The Adept swiped his fingers over his tablet again. This time the screens that still showed Jazlyn Yap began to move. The Adept froze it again as the White Serpent's son swooped down from the sky and picked the skull right out of Jazlyn Yap's hands. "A more pertinent questions would be, why is the Cat's-Eye team interested in one of those fraudulent toys?"

The Speaker's eyes narrowed. "You have a theory."

"Well, it's circular, it's black and it has a crystal structure," the Adept said.

"You think this is the sphere we have been looking for," the Speaker said. "The one that will open the doorway to the realm of darkness."

"I think that the Cat's-Eye team went through an awful lot of trouble to get that," the Adept said. "And I think it's worth figuring out why."

The Speaker tapped a hand against his chin. "You're planning on visiting Atlanta during your next vacation, aren't you?"

"I am."

"And how much longer till then?"

"Another couple months," the Adept said. "The destruction of their lab set them back. It's left them at half-strength and kept Dr. Cratty from creating any sort of defense against me. When I go in, I want them to be at full strength. And I want Dr. Cratty to have traps lying in wait for me."

"Would you be willing to mix some reconnaissance into your path of destruction?" the Speaker asked.

The Adept laughed and turned into his main lab. "I hadn't been planning on it, but I have just the thing." He stopped in front of a large, cylinder tank made of clear glass. The dark colored liquid within kept them from getting a clear view of the scientist's latest masterpiece. But so far its vitals and energy readings were strong and sensors indicated that its development was on course. The Adept had several hundred more of these tanks in the basement of his lab, but his intent was to use them as drones so they didn't need to be as fully developed as this one. This one he was making sure to take special care with.

Because this was personal. Because Dr. Cratty was special and she had surrounded herself with special people. Such a unique team deserved a unique plan to bring them to their knees. And the Adept had devised such a plan. Simple, but brutal. And with all right touches to make it heartbreakingly personal. They didn't stand a chance and the Adept couldn't wait to get started. This would truly be his finest work.

"I think this should fit the bill, don't you agree?" the Adept asked. The Speaker, who had already seen the outline of this plan back when it was in development, nodded and laughed.

"Yes. This should do quite nicely," the Speaker said, running his hand up and down the tank. "No reason not to have it do something useful while it's wreaking havoc."

"My thoughts exactly," Adept said. "It should finish developing within the next couple weeks. If you want, I could send it in early."

"No, no," the Speaker said. "Not unless they're about to open an interdimensional gateway." He turned and smiled at the Adept. "This plan is a work of art, Adept. I wouldn't dream of rearranging the elements unless it was an emergency."

"I'll keep an eye out," Adept said. "But, like you, I so hope they don't. I don't want anything to take away from this special day."


And so it goes. Another year, another Cat's-Eye Book. My thanks to all those who took time to read this latest addition and a special thanks to Pterodactyl and Jerusalem2045 for taking the time to review. You have no idea how much I appreciate your kinda words.

My hope is to start posting the sixth book come March and to finish writing and posting it before October 31st. I have a fool proof plan this time to keep myself on track. Also, if everything goes according to plan (and this is more iffy), I hope to repost an edited version of the first book.

And now, the moment you've all waited for. The title of the sixth book (which is not going to change, I promise). Cat's-Eye Private Investigators: Adept.