Hacking the sub-stations’ mainframes to develop an algarithmic key, bypassing the defensive sub-routines to reach the first few layers of defense around the Unity server, overriding and rerouting specific security systems without tripping any electronic tampering alarms, developing a stealth field which shielded him not only from perceptions but also disguised his causal footprint, mapping the schedules of the security personnel into a chaos algorithm to find the fractural fields through which he could move, finding an unobtrusive path into the sublevel of the facility, cutting through multiple feet of metal and concrete and then through the outer wall of the facility itself…
This is not the hard part. The hard part is getting out alive.
He sweats in his stillsuit, checking the display terminal implanted in its left arm while scanning the storage bay, silenced pistol in hand. He sends the computer mental commands periodically, tweaking the searches and moving the scanners through multiple field frequencies.
The short story is – there’s a portal down here. It appears to open into, at the very least, other physical localities, and may also open onto subspace or hyperspace localities as well. That really isn’t his specialty. Periodically (in intervals no less than 66 minutes apart) the portal will shift and bend and open with a flash of light (similar to a sonic boom, but for light as the space it travels through suddenly bends and shrinks) and something will either go through or enter. There are about a dozen technicians working on the device, one of which seems to be Awakened. Scott is crammed in a corner behind a teetering stack of sealed metal crates trying not to move.
He can’t risk a connection to the outside, so all the information he gathers has to be stored in his own HD. Fortunately, its capacity is massive. Developed with help from Elliot and some of his friends, it has the capacity to, for example, hold a detailed map of every molecule in the human brain. Still, he can’t be here forever. There’s a tremendous amount of complex information to be gathered, and the weakness in chaos fields that he calculated which enabled him to enter will become emergent in only a few more minutes.
Just enough time to see a last shipment.
The first one he observed involved a deliver of sensitive materials into the Unity building’s sub-level. They were immediately surrounded by a detail of four elite security personnel and taken away on some sort of hovering pallet. Whatever it was, it was heavily shielded – too much so for Scott to gather much information without revealing his presence.
He feels more than he hears the surge of energy that precedes the portal opening. His instruments record a massive spike in the flow of Prime charge. There is also a red flashing light in the corner of his display and also in his corneal projector. He feels the squeeze in his heart, the quickening of the limbic system as it floods the bloodstream with cortisol and adrenaline.
There is the flash, and out steps middle-aged looking man with a shock of white hair. He is in the suit of a field Agent. He pauses on the ramp leading up to the portal and is greeted by the technicians nearby. Their movements become more hesitant. He nods to them and scans the room.
His mirror-shaded eyes rest on Scott. For a frozen moment he lowers his shades and through the stillsuit’s goggles Scott sees cold blue eyes.
Then everything erupts. Scott throws himself down behind the metal crates, the sudden movement sending them crashing to the ground. Tiny flechette rounds hammer into the crates around him and shatter and deform against the wall behind where he’s crouched. He springs up and returns fire, little more than flashes sending augmented rounds in the direction of Agent Winter. There is a rush of movement and shouts as the technicians scatter and take cover and activate alarm systems. Slamming back to the metal floor behind a large generator, Scott frantically activates the stillsuit’s defenses, broadcasting alpha-wave interference and scattering his causal footprint as well as bending light around him. The flare of activity will draw attention, but he’s more concerned with covering his escape.
He hears footsteps slowly making their way closer to his position, but they become hesitant. Winter will have encountered the interference field and will have difficulty thinking about what it is he was doing and where his quarry might be. Various hacked programs warn Scott that security personnel are on their way, but they shouldn’t be a problem as long as he can get out.
Winter has stopped, maybe waiting for reinforcements. Scott calculates a new escape path that will take advantage of every weakness he’s been able to observe or infer.
No. Something’s wrong. No. He shakes his head to clear it, squints his eyes to focus. Grits his teeth. Not exhaustion, but something. The same heaviness. Clouded. No.
His fingers falter on the keypad. He blinks. His jaw works wordlessly. No. No no no.
He places his gun carefully on the ground. Stands up. Turns off his display. Loosens the mask of the stillsuit and removes it. To the technicians, he is a sweaty head overing in space, his body hidden by the curvature of light.
Agent Winter claps softly. “Well done, Scott, if you want me to call you that. You showed great ingenuity. The problem, I’m afraid, was timing. Kick your gun toward me.”
He feels his balance shift like he is wearing someone else’s body. His foot moves back slightly and then toward the gun. At the last moment he makes a gasping sound deep in his throat and drops to the ground, snatches up the gun and fires.
Two shots, one silent, one a loud flash of flechettes. Agent Winter staggers but the artificial intelligence aiming for him does not. Scott shudders with the impact and slumps to the ground, writhing as neurotoxins disperse into his bloodstream, overloading the pain centers in his brain and paralyzing him. He moans as his body and mind approach shock.
Drops of blood tap on the metal floor beneath Agent Winter. His suit is soaked in blood on the left side – the shot hit a major artery. Agent River has been notified, and the second security team that arrives will have a medic to stabilize him. His suit should have stopped the bullet, but he can feel, distantly, the entry and the exit wound. Some kind of high-velocity, armor-piercing round.
His legs begin to shake slightly but he stays on his feet until he knows Scott is done, until he sees the change in brain activity, the conscious machinery of the neocortex shutting down, handing the body over to the reptillian instinct of the medula.
“Sir, are you alright?” The security lieutenant is hesitant even now.
“Fine.” He cannot quite hide an edge of fatigue from his voice. The blood at his feet is a spreading pool now. “I want him neutralized and brought to an interrogation room.” Will alone keeps him on his feet, his voice even, his movement measured.
His methods have evolved considerably since he was first recruited for the Psych Ops branch of the New World Order. He has a great deal to learn from this one, lacking only the time to truly enjoy it.