Killing Time OST – 22c – Numbers

<< 22b – Numbers

As it turned out, the secret task force folks had indeed prepped an office for me. If I ever had any doubt they came in the conference room with their minds made up, the fancy underground space erased them. Calling it an office didn’t do it justice, actually; it was a war room with projectors, a coffee machine and a bunch of office supplies.
“You spared no expense to get this thing done, did you?” I asked Eliot as he gave us the tour.
“If only it came with a descent computer.” Vexx mumbled has he inspected the available material. “This one’s not powerful enough for me.”
“We didn’t know you’d join us,” Gabriel said. The statement was pretty blunt but Gabriel’s smile was unmovable. He got what he wanted: a partnership that benefited everyone. I didn’t feel blessed but I wasn’t running for my life either.
“We’ll have the appropriate equipment brought in as soon as possible. I suspect you’ll also require a secure Internet connection?”
Vexx laughed. “If you want access to Merrilyn’s mainframe, yes.”
“Stored it on a remote server?” Gabriel asked. He was the one in charge of our direct ‘supervision’ and took it upon himself to understand everything about our dynamic. He grilled Vexx about his role on my missions thirty minutes ago.
“You could say that.” Vexx grinned. I chuckled.
“If your FBI bosses get worried, tell them the bandwidth and storage space inconsistencies will cease soon.”
Gabriel’s jaw dropped. “You stored it on our network! Don’t you have a secured server? What’s wrong with you?”
I stepped between the two men before their animosity raised enough for Eliot to assign us a new chaperon. Why were they so blind to the other’s intention? Gabriel feared the discovery of the files, which would ruin our whole operation and effectively strap me to a thousand volts. As for Vexx’s motives…
“My home is compromised. There’s no saying how long our network will be safe. Lesser of two evils, you know.” My explanation relaxed both men.
“What exactly do you need?”
Eliot made sure all our technical requests were answered before the end of the day. The heads then deserted our base of operation, leaving a handful of soldiers to guard the fort. Chief Bulk and his friends were part of that team. Their glaring stopped when I began sparring with them to work up an appetite; I let them land a few punches to win them over. I didn’t hold back against Gabriel when he joined to see if I could beat him without cheating. His Kung Fu forms were pure eye candy and his Muay Thai packed some punch. I still landed on top. By then, the guards were cheering.
Gabriel, Vexx and I had dinner away from the rest of the group so Vexx’s lack of an alternative face wouldn’t ruin his meal. Eliot had promised to fix that too.
Except for Vexx who had a couch in a separate room, we slept in a common dormitory and, amazingly enough, the lack of privacy helped me rest. I didn’t know if my subconscious refused to disturb my roommates’ sleep or if the steady breath of a dozen men soothed my worries but I woke up fresh and ready to take over the world.
Unfortunately, the world wasn’t ready to be taken.
“The analysis on the files is done but I’ll need the morning to finish the GMTW,” Vexx said. The files had transferred from the FBI server to a secret op location during the night.
“Giant Merrilyn Technology Wiki,” I translated for Gabriel. “I preferred Assassination Planning Supporter.”
“Do you need help from other people? We can ask for reinforcements as long as we keep a limited team.” Gabriel dropped a cup of coffee in front of me.
Chief Bulk and his dudes weren’t the only ones growing used to the dynamics between Vexx and me. I hadn’t played mediators between my partners for a while. On the other hand, putting out fires had kept my own uneasiness at bay. The same thing happened after I cleaned Vexx of his addiction; a good month had passed before his support and camaraderie stopped bothering me.
Adding to the team didn’t sit well with me.
“How long will the selection process take?” I asked.
“Good point.”
“It would take a while to brief them anyway.” Vexx mindlessly grabbed the cup of coffee Gabriel had just put on the corner of his desk. His free hand kept switching between folders and bits of code. “I’ll be fine. Done by one o’clock for sure.”
Vexx made good on his ETA and we gathered around a user-friendly Pandora’s box. Gabriel had a portable computer with him, ready to jolt down the plan. He looked a little too excited about this.
“Initial analysis revealed that the board has a meeting at Headquarter once a month,” Vexx said. “It’s unlikely they’ll cancel or move the next one even if they know we know. Headquarter’s a fortress and they need to address the Nightshade problem.”
Gabriel tapped a few things on his hologram. “Our moles seem to confirm your assessment.”
“Moles?” I stressed the ‘s’.
“Twenty sleeper agents around the globe for the past five years.”
“Way to go!”
Vexx’s hologram faded to a three dimensional blueprint of the whole building. I started studying it, opening up the details about the security in the various areas.
“This is amazing!” Gabriel said as he watched me go. “Can I have a data output of the whole thing?”
“Sure.”
A few beeps and electrical wiring populated my soundscape for a moment but I didn’t pay attention until Gabriel spoke again.
“There’s a fifty percent chance you’ll take this path.” Gabriel drew on the hologram and a green line linked the roof access to an oval office in the middle of the building – the arrogance! –, avoiding the main security choke points. “Thirty percent says you’ll go this way.” Roof, down the side of the building and through the window of a currently unoccupied office. “Ten.” From the roof, to the ducts, to the office. “And last ten goes here.” From the underground garage to the target.
“So I like roofs. You memorized all that?”
“No. WWND did.” I cocked an eyebrow. “What Would Nightshade Do?”
“You’re as bad as him!”
Unaffected by my accusations, Vexx chuckled.
“They’re likely to strengthen those entry points to render your information useless.” Gabriel started looking for other ways in, ones I wouldn’t have used by myself.
“So what’s left?” I asked about.
“Suicide.”
I glared at Vexx and looked around the plan. There had to be a way.
Then I knew. I knew exactly what no one would expect from a carefully programmed assassin.
Storm the castle.

23a – iBroker Souls >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

6 responses to “Killing Time OST – 22c – Numbers

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