So, I did a little rework on a scene I wrote a while back that is meant to be part of Mind the Shadows. I don’t think it’s completely reworked, and I know it’s NOT finished. But I wanted to throw it up here for y’all to see. I’d appreciate some feed back 🙂
I gestured at Vurp to get started. He began working at the security sensor on the door. I activated my stopwatch and took a steadying breath. The adrenaline had started to flow.
Breathing and watching the clock was what kept me focused and level-headed in situations like that. For Vurp, it was the work that kept him squared away. He was all about solving the problem in front of him. He was going to have plenty of problems to solve that night.
I glanced behind me – toward the other corner of the building, down the alley. Chance was there. She was crouched near a line of dumpsters. The only sign of her were the dim points of green light coming from her enhanced eyes. She had switched them to low-light mode. Tucked in the darkest recesses of the night, only by looking directly at her could anybody see that someone – or something – was hiding there. She could have easily been mistaken for a rat, I suppose… heh… but Chance was a rat with teeth.
I started at Vurp’s grunt and turned to see the progress he had made. He had jammed something in the crevice between the door and its frame where the security sensor was located. It was attached to a tiny jumble of wires and a circuit board that he had stuck to the door frame with one of his crazy sticky concoctions. I had quit asking what was in them. Remember, it was Vurp after all. I took that as our sign to head in, so I motioned for Chance to follow. Vurp strained a bit more against the disabled sliding door to get the opening wide enough to slip inside. I was the first through the door. I moved to the left of the door, drew my gun and switched off the safety. Chance came in next and moved right. I caught a glint of metal from one of her trusty throwing knives. She held two at the ready. Vurp squeezed his bulk through the opening then grabbed the door’s lip and pulled it shut. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny gadget. He licked a portion of it and stuck it to the wall near the disabled security sensor. As he pushed on it to make sure it adhered to the wall, it began to blink like the original L.E.D. that was on the door sensor. Only close observation would have revealed it was a fake indicator.
Mr. Smith’s building plans appeared to be accurate. We had come into the main lobby through a kind of side entrance near the front corner of the building. It was about 10 meters from the main entrance. According to Mr. Smith, the door was no longer used. He had explained that the door’s only sensor picked up when it was open, and it was not covered by any other kind of surveillance. That obviously made it a good choice for entry.
We took a moment to look around the lobby. We were in a small alcove with four easy chairs and several potted plants. Business folks took their ease there while waiting for meetings or something. The main portion of the lobby was an open expanse that had a circular kiosk-like desk in the middle. Receptionists and a security guard or two would spend their weekdays dealing with the comings and goings of those that had business there. About 3 meters behind the desk – against the wall – was a large decorative piece of worked brass and carved wood. It was a giant “L” in a fancy font. It was the logo for Lyric Financial. I could only imagine what that had cost…
I heard one of their commercials once. Lyric Financial worked with independent business owners and investors helping them invest and manage their money for a “nominal” fee. The building housed hundreds of accountants and financial gurus that manipulated numbers all day for their customers. I also knew from the research Jammer had done that Lyric Financial worked with owners and investors that were… less than upstanding citizens of the community. Rumors abound that Lyric was involved in money laundering. They apparently helped set up and maintain shell companies to make illegal activities look legitimate. But since nothing official about illegal activities had ever surfaced, Lyric Financial was left to operate as it saw fit. It was the “unofficial” stuff, though, that had something to do with why we were there.
“Now for the fun part…” Vurp’s sub-vocal whisper was followed by the quiet rustle of his pack. He rummaged through the inside pockets in his “bag of tricks” looking for the next gadget that would help us get further inside. A few breaths later Vurp was holding a small box with some controls on one side and what looked like a shooting scope mounted on the other. He held it up and started looking around the lobby through the scope.
“Print said there was only one camera in the lobby. Must be one of those 360-type cameras…”
“Yepper…” Vurp searched back and forth, panning across the lobby, changing his elevation every pass. On his third sweep he stopped and started working the controls as he kept a steady aim on his target. The camera was in a very inconspicuous spot on the wall. He must have had more than night vision in that box of his to spot it.
“What’s the word, ace?” Chance was antsy. She was shifting her weight from side to side. Her night vision enhanced eyes danced eerily in the shadow of the alcove. “This ain’t a real good hiding spot. We’re a bit exposed here in the lobby. All it’ll take is one observant bloke driving by and we’re in deep shit.”
Vurp was still fiddling with his device as he replied, “Keep your big girl panties on. This one’s a toughie.” He paused a second and looked over at Chance. “You are wearing panties, right?” He chuckled quietly, and I didn’t have to see him leering at Chance to know that was exactly what he was doing. I had to work to keep from laughing. Leave it to Vurp to start hitting on the deadliest person in the room right in the middle of a tense situation.
“Get on it, pig!” I could hear the growl in her sub-vocal response. Chance was not in the mood for banter at the time. I didn’t want to see the look on her face.
“Yeah, yeah… I got it. Just… another… second or… two…” Vurp manipulated the controls a little bit more and then grunted with satisfaction. “That oughta do it. That bugger is a ‘360-by-360’ cam. I’m glad I installed that 3D processor last week or we’d be going right back out the door.” He was obviously pleased with himself for being so sharp. I’d give him shit later.
“Okay, let’s move in, folks.” I stepped into the lobby and headed straight for the central column that contained the elevators. Vurp followed, and Chance slipped across the front of the lobby to cover us if someone saw us moving. I could see the glint of the knives again as she skulked to the opposite side of the lobby. Anything in her throwing range was dead. I never saw her miss… except once…
Vurp and I got to the central column and worked our way around to the side where the elevator doors would be. The area was cast in deep shadow. Only the soft light from the elevator controls was easy to see. That’s when I noticed that the middle elevator was moving down from just two floors above us. We had seconds to find and get through the stairwell door before there would be a very surprised – and ultimately, unhappy – security guard or two stepping into the lobby.
I sub-vocalized, “Chance, we got company coming. Hide someplace, and remember, NO killing.” Smith had been very specific about that. The problem I saw now was the fact that Chance was not the type to follow orders from somebody she didn’t know. She didn’t know Mr. Smith. She also had no scruples whatsoever about killing. If a security guard got too close for her comfort…
Vurp hurried around the corner ahead of me and started working on the locked door that led to the stairwell. It had a badge reader on it. That meant it would only open for someone with the right badge. Mr. Smith couldn’t get those for us…
I stayed at the corner waiting for the elevator to open. I hoped to be headed upstairs before that happened, but I kind of wanted to know how many guards were in that elevator. If it was just one or two, they might just survive the night. If it was a squad of four, and they were serious about their jobs, then I was probably going to have to dispose of four bodies before I got to bed. There was no way Chance would hesitate to eliminate a threat like that.
“Almost there… couple more seconds.” I looked over my shoulder to see him working furiously at the door.
“Gimme a second…”
“We don’t have those anymore. Elevator’s here.” The elevator door slid open, and I could see the glow from the light inside. Two guards stepped out of the elevator. They were wearing Fortress Security uniforms. I could tell by the light green shirts with the gold arm patches. I knew then that they were well trained AND armed. Fortress Security produced excellent night watchmen.
Fortunately, it was just two of them. I got my head out of sight right before one of them turned to look in my direction. I hoped their vision enhancement glasses weren’t too sensitive. I sub-vocalized the word “Fortress” as quietly as I could to let Chance know who we were dealing with. Then I jumped as I heard a click. As the goose bumps washed over my skin I saw Vurp open the door and slip into the stairwell. All I could do was hope I moved quickly and quietly enough to make it through the door unnoticed.
I slipped through the stairwell door as it began to close behind Vurp. Vurp had the presence of mind to push me aside –jamming me against the wall, no less – and grab the door right before it clicked closed. I felt like a complete idiot. I had nearly gotten us caught… or worse. Vurp’s iron grip was a bit uncomfortable, but I relaxed, so he relaxed. He held onto the door so it was just shy of being latched closed. We held our breath as the sound of footsteps approached the door. All we had to do was wait until the guard walked by so Vurp could ease the door back into its latched position nice and quiet-like.
Vurp’s grip tightened again, but now to the point of being painful. I was about to struggle a bit until I realized what was happening. One of the security guards was testing the door. I guess all that time Vurp spent pumping iron paid off. He was like a rock, or rather like a solidly latched and locked stairwell door. I could almost feel the door handle wiggle through Vurp’s body, he was so tense. The guard must have decided the door was secure. Vurp and I heard footsteps moving away.
I patted Vurp’s arm to remind him that he was less than a centimeter away from crushing my sternum into my heart. He relaxed and deftly let the door settle into its latched position with almost no sound. I patted him lightly on the shoulder and nodded to him to let him know I was very thankful for his quick wits. Remember, I’m just a guy who knows a few tricks and can talk to folks. The “brains” and the “brawn” came from the rest of the team.
“Headed to the fourth floor; sit tight.”
Vurp let me go up the steps first. He paused a second or two by the door to deploy one of his mini alarms. It was a little ball with motion sensing and transceiver electronics in it. If the ball was disturbed after it was armed, it would transmit a signal to our com units to let us know somebody had opened the door.
“Number One is set at the stairwell door. Let’s go.” Vurp started up the stairs behind me.
Let me know what you think. As always, thanks for reading 😉