Monday, December 26, 2005

Episode 5

Kyioshi and Ceri moved quickly through the darkness. One prefect patrol was ambling away from the staffroom, but they were smoking and didn't pay much attention to their surroundings.

The instant Ross's triumphant "Yes!" reached their earpieces, the both of them took off silently, running out of the darkness and into the moonlight. Kyioshi reached up and removed an air vent, and Ceri leapt up, pulling himself into the metal shaft.

The prefects were moving back towards the staffroom.

"Shit." Kyioshi murmured, and disappeared behind a dumpster, not entirely in shadow and leaving the air vent wide open. Ceri buried his face in his hands.

"Don't let them look up, please don't let them look up ..." Ceri chanced a peek at them, they were moving all so slowly from underneath the gaping darkness.

Then one prefect tossed an M&M into his mouth, and froze, staring straight up at Ceri. Ceri's first impulse was to clamber deeper into the shaft, but that would make far too much noise. He stared back at the prefect, hoping the darkness would hide him.

"Idiots. Those maintenance guys didn't even clean up their work!" he said, and then passing M&Ms around, the whole group trudged past.

Kyioshi, face mask in place, leapt up and pulled himself in. "Put yours on." he whispered, and Ceri obeyed, activating night vision as he did so.

The face mask was essentially a hoodie, a cloth covering the nose and mouth, and goggles that gave crude night vision. This was the face that Ceri was staring at, all bathed in green.

"Ready?" Kyioshi asked, his mouth moving behind the cloth. "Thought he saw you there."

"Yeah, though so too." Ceri crawled down the shaft, stopping at every opening. There were hooded figures gliding around the room below, too tall to be human, yet still humanoid, with arms and presumably legs. Ceri couldn't tell - the robes the figures wore covered their lower body completely.

"Creepy," Kyioshi remarked, and Ceri nodded his agreement.

"I don't think our martial arts would work against them." Ceri whispered back, continuing down the chute.

He found (at last) the opening to the board room and pushed the vent, making sure it didn't fall out onto the tiled floor. He placed it carefully in the shaft, and lowered himself into the semi darkness, with light shining in through the blinds of glass windows facing the staff room.

The door opened. Ceri felt a surge of panic, his pulse accelerated so fast he was sure it had skipped a beat. He leapt over the table, thanking the thick soles of his stealth suit, and got under the tablecloth.

There was a swish of velvet somewhere behind Ceri. He pressed himself flat against the floor, and through a thin sliver between tablecloth and tile, he saw robes pausing just beside his table.

Was Kyioshi safe? Ceri asked himself. He had to be - Kyioshi was trained as a ninja, and he could see the entirety of the boardroom from the shaft.

The robes swished again - whoever it was was turning, surveying the room.

Ceri felt a chill seep up his clammy palms, cheek pressed against a tile that was freezing cold, fighting to keep his breath in check. The robes swished away, not making any sound.

Seconds later feet appeared right beside Ceri, and the folds of tablecloth were pulled up.

"Alright there?" Kyioshi asked. "We can't go any further without Ross - and he's not answering."

Ceri got out and stared at the staffroom. Rows and rows of silver tables with Watchers patrolling mechanically along the aisles. It didn't help that the only lighting was low and coming from foot level - Ceri would've preferred no lighting at all.

"So." He said, sighing, "What now?"

Kyioshi's blog extract

Somehow, missions in light give me the creeps. I'm supposed to be shinobi. I'm supposed to be able to handle actual war missions, which the Intelligence ministry gives the Centauri from time to time. And i'm still nervous in this one.

Could it be caused by the fact that i don't usually work with people not as capable as me?

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