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Picturesque woodlands and towns passed rapidly below as Privateer pondered the information he'd been given about the prison break. Not only the Wuxia had escaped. There was a woman whose real name had never been discovered, though from observation she was thought to be a reincarnation, reappearance, curse transference or something of that sort, of Sabertooth. She had fought Ground Zero on many occasions and been thought a casualty of the Daemonwar. This new woman had turned up shortly thereafter; if it was Sabertooth, she seemed to have weakened considerably, but such things were not unheard-of, and she was still plenty dangerous—as Privateer had had ample personal opportunity to observe.
    He had first tracked her down following a series of murder-mutilations back in January, shortly after the team had formed. After a series of inconclusive encounters, during which it became clear that she was growing stronger after each killing, the Swordbearers had taken her down by wiring an entire building to explode and luring her into it.
    Less than a day after her escape, there had been word of a murder in her style at the university in Storrs, and minutes later he was en route, using one of the team's antigrav skimmers, with few traces of his usual cheerful demeanor. .
    "We're certainly glad that you're up here taking a look into this. Let me show you the photos of what we have," a cooperative campus police officer told him, with every evidence of relief at the thought that someone else might be taking over. "As near as we can tell, entrance was through the side window, which is not that difficult to get in." College dorms don't have a lot of security; even a normal person could have gotten into the second-floor room without much difficulty. No normal person had shredded the room's occupant, however; he'd seen those wounds before, and handed the grisly photos back after only a brief glance.
    "Can you tell me more about the victim?"
    "Yeah, her name was Melissa Albright, age 20, sophomore, engineering major. Born in Harborview, grew up around there... that's essentially what we have here, I can hand it over to you."
    "I'd appreciate it. Thank you." He scanned through the remainder of the file. Miss Albright had been seeing one of the campus psychologists, a Dr. Jones, he noted. Apparently she'd been having nightmares. He thanked the officer for his time.
    "Oh, no problem. If you can find this person, that'd be great. Can you tell us if there are going to be any more of these on campus?"
    "I certainly hope not."
    "We certainly hope not, too! We're looking for a little more reassurance so we can tell the students."
    Unfortunately, Privateer could give him none.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson