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Operation Ifrit, Aftermath
Chief Inspector Drayson took the steps into the Golyanovo District precinct two at a time. Reporters were held at bay by a line of beleaguered and grim-faced police officers, and Drayson studiously ignored the questions being yelled in his wake; how many dead, who to blame, investigations!

The Domovoi raid hadn't exactly failed, but the cost in lives had been far higher than Drayson could accept. Four members of Domovoi's SPMU team dead. Volkov dead. An as yet unidentified man, dead. The fire had raged through The Ministry, and destroyed or damaged six adjacent buildings in the densely packed neighbourhood. Luckily, most appeared to have been empty. Fire crews had yet to find any remains in the debris.

Early news reports were already predicting it as a terrorist attack, or more accurately, a police raid on a terrorist cell that went awry. Close enough, for the moment.

He returned the salutes of two officers at the precinct doors, and shared a look with the pair as he passed. As far above the rank-and-file as he was, the loss of the Domovoi team members had affected him just as heavily as it did them.

Moscow's PR department was hard at work, deflecting calls by reporters, concerned citizens, politicians and city officials. The precinct's main floor/office space was a-buzz with ringing phones and non-committal answers to questions.

Minutes later, Drayson stood in Captain Aleksandrov's office, the two men looking years older then they were. Out of sight of cameras or peeping eyes, their masks were at least momentarily dropped as each shared a shot of whiskey from the Captain's personal stock.

Their conversation was brief; Drayson was brought up to speed without preamble or excuses. Botched intel, bad luck, and the risks of the job were to blame. There had been no reasonable way of knowing about the gas leaks. But while Volkov was dead, there was at least one promising catch in the form of the young magic user that had started the fire.

They just had to figure out a way to question the man without putting themselves at risk.

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