There was something to be said about habits.
Mick – the man I brought back home two days ago and taxied to his place yesterday morning – was deeply rooted in routine. He met his girl in high school, proposed to her after they graduated from the same university, worked nine to five in an office and walked the dog every other night because he hit the gym half the days of the week so he’d look perfect at the altar. He also ordered the same drink at the same bar with the same friends every first Friday of the month.
In and of itself, routine was an inoffensive powdery mixture of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. It became interesting when you added a spark and watched it go boom. The thicker the layers of habits, the mightier the explosion.
And God, did Mick have it thick!
Another thing common to habits and gunpowder was their predictability; once you knew the properties of the explosive, you could mold it into an easily controllable tool that would destroy itself with the push of a button.
Such was the fate of one Edouardo Delgada.
Attired with my assassin face, too much make-up and a blond wig, I sneaked in Subcutaneous Wonders’ building among the cleaning crew using a contraband ID chip. Janitors had such a high turnover that security was minimal. The ID chips of the workers were entered in the system during the night, ready for the crew’s arrival at an ungodly four am. My fake additional hundred pounds and I had no problem entering.
I slid my portable ID in the pocket of a coworker before I went on my round. Vexx rigged the assignment so I had the top floor. Like the rest of the cleaning crew, I double-checked the robots’ work and fixed any remaining stains, listening to some dance music as I went. Surveillance cameras recorded my actions but no one reviewed them unless a janitor failed to beep out of the building before the first Subcut W’s employee walked in to work.
I parked my cart in the closet after I completed my round of the conference rooms. The first real challenge was ahead of me. I called the elevator, as I should to head out of the building. When it opened, I pressed the ground floor and switched on my portable EMP wave. My music chip died and so did the technology within 10 feet of me.
Speed was of the essence. A, the roof access door triggered the alarm automatically when opened – unless an EMP prevented that. B, a loss of image for more than three seconds in any camera also triggered the alarm. C, my portable EMP was only good for one charge.
A thirty seconds charge.
I sprinted out of the elevator, temporarily disrupting cameras and motion sensors as I ran. I rounded a corner to the left and sped past the conference rooms I had just cleaned. Another turn left and I reached my objective.
The roof door didn’t open at the first push. Adrenaline rushed through my system. My EMP should still be working. I forcefully kicked the door and it swung open. As I closed it behind me, music resumed in my head and the electric door lock snapped in place. I took a deep breath, savoring the rush.
Accessing the roof without alerting anyone: check.
I was on tape up to the moment where I took the elevator to exit. When my coworker would walk out of here, my ID would beep too, convincing the automated system I did, indeed, made it out of the building through the proper channels. No one would realize I missed the check out until Edouardo died and the investigation began.
I hid myself on the roof between the back of the satellite dish and the wall of the roof access’s staircase. I pulled off the leggings I wore under my maid dress: the right leg was stuffed with an inflatable lining; the left hid a special back pack rolled around my thigh. Once deflated, I rolled up the leggings and stored them at the bottom of the pack. I didn’t want to leave DNA behind.
The maid outfit followed suit revealing my fake belly and my arsenal. My Taser and my gun were strapped to my side while the twenty feet collapsible track and pulley system held to my back. I lay them on the ground and unsheathed the knife on my right thigh. A quick stab deflated my fake belly which contained the acid, the adhesive, the AP2G2 – such a dork name – and some rope. I organized them in the back pack in the right order.
In the end, I stood on the roof in my Kevlar skin-tight suit and the harness I wore under the whole disguise.
Now onto the painfully long part, aka the rest of the day.
I expected and mentally prepped myself for the wait. Assassination in a crowded building wasn’t my style, yet. I might try it some day. In the meantime, my planned course of action was to wait out until the bulk of Subcut W’s employees headed back home.
I napped for a couple of hours to compensate for the early start on the day. I watched the sun down on the sound of increasing traffic until light and hubbub alike vanished into the night. My watch told me it was time to use Edouardo’s habits to my advantage.
Apparently, the CEO didn’t like eating at his desk. From my understanding, he didn’t like any lingering food smell to disturb his work. Consequently, he had a small kitchen and dining area set up in a room adjacent to his office. Once everyone had gone home, he activated the secondary security system, which covered, among other things, the only hallway leading to his workspace. Then, he retreated for forty-five minutes behind a flimsy closed door, leaving his office vulnerable for a breach through the plasma-proof glass.
Not that anyone would ever be dumb enough to try that, of course.
In the darkness, I stretched my muscles and joints, and bent over backward – my ‘Ready to Roll’ pose. Tapping MUS in Morse code on the protuberance behind my left ear, I wired my chip to play Pistolero by Juno Reactor. It was the first song of a selection of Latino-inspired beats.
Peering down the face of the building, I spotted the glow I was looking for. Bad habits died hard; Edouardo always let his office’s lights on even when he stepped out for dinner.
I aligned the end of the collapsible track with the middle of the lit window, securing it with a splash of acid. I lined the edge of the roof with more acidic glue and pressed the track’s length onto the melting ledge until everything froze solidly in place. The pulley gripped to the track as I bobbed my head to the beat.
A couple of knots later, I was almost ready to rappel down the building.
Killing Time OST – 7a – Hunting
There was something to be said about habits.