The compound didn't seem to heavily gaurded, he knew that missing personell would just trigger the alarm. He snuck in through a side window after the gaurds had passed. He could see men in lab coats running tests and reading outputs. There was the slight scent of rubbing alcohol, lemon scented. He opened the door of an unused room, and got out of the hallway, out of sight. Eta followed closely behind a few moments later. Moving their way across the room to another doorway on the opposite side of the large room, a slight opening allowed enough siteline to assess the situation on the other side. They would need to be quick. Ash and Eta moved silently and swiftly down the hall toward the office towers. They were dark, so odds were that they were under light gaurd and they could be in and out without being seen.
The elevator would be easier, but that would alert someone to it's use. The stairs would be longer, but they would have a great chance of assessing their being spotted. Hopefully the camera's were already looped, they'd have to rely on Chester to complete his part of the mission. They didn't want to risk breaking radio silence to confirm. If he saw them heading into a trap, he'd break silence to alert them.
As they entered the main floor of the office suite they checked infrared and found no dedection of motion dedectors in the immediate area. The main CEO would never have the computer files they were looking for, he would not want to be implicated. Chester advised heading for the admins computer, it's likely the CEO would want them within reach, but not directly implicated to him.
They inserted the thumb drive provided by Chester, and turned on the unit. It whired to life, and started booting. Chesters program hacked in through the boot drive into the main file system and onto the servers. Once uploaded they could leave, because the program would begin uploading all the sensetive data to multiple safe servers around the country, and back up servers behind those. These people may or may not be suffisticated enough to track all that down, but not until Chester had a way to recover the files from one of the back up points, without leaving a trace behind.
The upload of the info-virus was complete. Eta and Ash turned off the monitor but left the computer running. Chester had advised that the terminal would benefit from the access point being left open for a limited time, and would auto shut down the computer before anyone came in for the day.
Ash took the thumb drive and steped on it to crack the case open. He took a screw driver and puctured the memory chip with a hard punch, then repeated this a few times. He then handed it to Eta who placed it onto a supermagnet she was carrying in her pocket. This should sufficiently erase the data. And if by some miracle they are able to recover the data enough to understand the encryption and the virus, it will be long after Chester has recovered what he needed from the server network he used to store the mined data.
Making their way back down the steps, footseps and chatter below gave them pause. Ten levels down. The gaurds were making their rounds, chatting about the latest football game. They looked up, and didn't see anyone that direction. It would be a tight race, but the it was the plan B they had discussed. They kept the foot falls as silent as possible as they made their way back up the stairs, trying to keep an ear on the gaurds below, and not alert them to their presence.
A few floors up, and they heard the sound of radio chatter. They stopped to listen. The gaurd room couldn't see the gaurds in the stair well. The loop had been discovered, they were comprimised, but no-one knew they were here, they heard the gaurds coming up the stairs faster now. The kept to the walls and made their way quickly. If they stepped light enough the gaurds wouldn't hear them over their insesant chatter and yelling "Clear".
Ash and Eta were so focused on the gaurds below, that they failed to watch the doorways as they passed them. The door opened just as they passed it, and lights flashed from the rifle.
Or was that a rifel?
It was a bright blue light... not the yellow red muzzle flash it should have been.
Ash knew it as he was going down...
...he'd been tazed.
He'd known that feeling from years of training. They used to taz each other just for fun, and built up a tolerance to it. In a one on one fight, Ash could have come back fighting, but a then second taz hit him. The gaurds from below had caught up.
Three, no four men were on him, holding him down. The needle in the arm would mean powerful sleep. These were professionals. Now he knew what it felt like to be the victim of a smash and grab. Such a rookie mistake too, letting his gaurd down. They should have come in slower, or divided their attention.
As he felt himself going under the power of sedation, he forced his eyes slightly open, he could see a figure coming toward him dressed in black. He closed his eyes, but he heard a sigh. It sounded like dissapointment.
Was that himself sighing?
Darkness came over him...
... The room always started out so bright. The white room. White walls, cold metal, hissing from overhead... the familiar dream, the dream he'd had every night for five years now... The dark room would be next. He hated the dark room. But the white room wasn't so bad, except for that insesant hissing.
Eta ran for all her legs would carry her, three gaurds were behind her. She was loosing them faster, she could outrun these mall cops anyday. Up ahead she saw the door open, and one came toward her.
Running time was over for the moment. She'd have to stand her ground against this one, and the three behind. She saw the tazer flash, she side swiped and it made no contact. She used the momentum to grab the wand and pull it toward her, while she pulled in the knee to his inner thigh. Whipping around she tossed him like a rag doll at the other three coming up the stairs.
For split fractions of a second time slowed down. Should she stand against these four or had she thrown them off enough to regain her lead? Nope. One had gotten passed the others without loosing momentum.
He came at her with the tazer too. What is it with these guys and tazers? She allowed the wires to fly passed as she used the stairwell handle for grip and plucked herself up into the air, and landed a kick right to the face. He hurled back into the other three who were just getting untangled. That was the break in momentum she needed.
Eta flew up the stairs faster now, highest speed. She couldn't worry about Ash right now. He could handle himself. If he'd been caught, she couldn't help him if she were caught too. Up the stairs, out to the access door to the roof. She pulled her side arm and fired three rounds into the padlock and landed a good jump kick into the door, which flew open before her. She didn't have enough height to land a parachute jump safely, so in a dicey decision, she pulled the rip cord and threw the bag over the edge. It carried enough weight with her extra gear that the parachute should release and catch the wind. They would hunt the fake her down. The parachute landed just over the edge of the coumpound in the distance.
Meanwhile, she found found an access panel, and hid inside the ducting. She waited for a half hour to ensure that they were all on the hunt for her elsewhere, and then Eta slowly exited the access panel. Eta worked her way down the fire escape on the dark side of the building. She could see they'd taken the ruse. Whole rounds of gaurds with flash lights were working their way through the field, other in vehicles were driving the field looking for farther signs of escape. There were even two helicopters searching the fields further out.
Eta noticed that two of the gaurds on break had left their flack jackets hanging no the stairwell when they ran out to joint the chase. Fortutise! She doned the jack that matched the other gaurds, the pants were so similar they'd never been inspected close up. She took the tie back from her hair, and let it down with a shake. She walked in a hurried manner, but purposed to look like someone on a mission for the general (not someone running for her life) toward the gate.
She slipped out the back gate right toward all the fuss, and took a hummer with her, why did they always leave the keys in these things? She picked up a soldier along the way, and order him to watch from the passenger side and she looked out from the drivers side. They whirred along, he tried to talk once, and she reprimanded him for not paying attention. "We have a fugutive on the loose and you want to make small talk soldier?" "No Ma'am!", came his reply. He didn't so much as look her direction for the rest of the journey. She stopped along the road and told him she thought she saw something and told him to head over the hill and look, if he spotted anything to call it in. Meanwhile, she'd check the other side of the road. She was so bossy and official that he never second guessed her and went running up and over the hill. She took off down the road and toward the town.
Eta pulled in behind a truck stop, lost the flack jacket and ripped off the bottom of ther cargo pants, and twisted the belly of her shirt into a knott. Nothing would attract attention away from her face faster than this get up. She headed through the area toward the sleepers. Found an older Ford Escort parked on the darker side of the building, late 1990's. She pulled her tools and had it hot wired. In two minutes she was driving up the on ramp toward the I-10. She need to break radio silence, but not yet, not until she was sufficiently out of range.
*************Darrell G. Wolfe