Sunday, February 05, 2006

Episode 20

The eight floor would be our target. They're held there.
Security banks are on the sixth ; vaults underground.
The rest are administrative floors. Of interest would be
the fourth.

Jean strolled through the back entrance, rolling a trolley of empty dishes. The actual cleaning lady (Mariam, according to the uniform she was now wearing), was slumped on a bed two blocks away with a blow dart in her neck.

Through the back doors, to the kitchen, Jean looked downwards, a sign of humble politeness. Nobody stopped her or her trolley. She pushed open the two way doors and deposited her load next to the huge bank of sinks.

"Get me the anchovies!" someone shouted. Jean ignored the undirected order, leaving behind the frantic shouting of the chefs.

She entered the lounge, where a dozen or so tables were filled with Internal employees eating scones or pastry puffs. During their recon, Ross and Ceri had noted an intense corporate culture - coffee. Everyone loved coffee, and Alec had calculated, correctly, that there was one main coffee maker in the building to keep costs down. Jean now turned towards the machine, all shiny metal and polished glass.

It was empty.

Jean quickly stepped and turned back towards the kitchens. She pulled up a mental image of the blueprints and headed for the nearest broom cupboard. Panic was about to set in, but she supressed it, fighting to keep her wits about her.

"The coffee's not made yet," She hissed, fighting a mad urge to cry. It's amazing how the human body reacts to stress, she thought, i'm not even shell shocked!

The broom cupboard she was in was quiet and dark, and Jean heard papers crackle through her earpiece.

"The next round of coffee should last till night." Alec's voice crackled over. "Just as planned."

"So what you want me to do now? My cover won't last forever!"

"You're a ninja, aren't you?" Alec said, sounding a little strained. "Stay hidden for as long as you think reasonable."

Jean calmed herself as she said it. It was true, she could hide very easily, no need to go crazy and loose all perspective of the situation.

"Over and out." Alec said.

Jean took off the com set and looked upwards. A small air vent was some eight feet above her. Brow furrowed in concentration, she took out her climbing spikes and lifted herself in.

Then she waited for nearly half an hour.

*

The handyman loosened the few screws on an air vent cover, acting perfectly normal. He didn't look at the servicemen transversing the alleyway behind Internal, nor did he do anything to show he was aware of them.

Ross pulled his cap slightly lower, pocketed his screwdriver and rubbed his grimy hands on his overalls. All this work was killing him, but he was nearing the end of his duty list. Jean should be coming out any moment, mission successful -

A cleaning lady stepped out through the back entrance, tossing a carton of used paper cups into the dumpster. She carried on, not bothering to acknoledge Ross, and melted into the streets beyond. Jean had completed her part. Ross went forward and opened the carton.

Taped to one of the paper cups was a small glass vial, now half full. It was colourless, odourless and behaved remarkably like water. Ross pocketed it and turned, following the last of Alec's instructions. He sauntered out from the service area and to the front of the buildings, stopping only to spit at the side of the road like any uneducated workman should.

Kids were still playing around the fire hydrant, some splashing others with their boots, others throwing handfuls of water at their friends. Happy laughter all around; Ross almost felt like joining in.

He kept his face fierce and growled at them, "What do you think you're doing?"

In reply, twelve pairs of boots came crashing into the puddles, and little hands cupped to throw water at him.

"GO AWAY!" he yelled, face suddenly thunderous. "WASTING WATER DURING WAR-TIME!"

The kids backed off, wondering just what the hell was wrong with the dirty, small geezer in front of them. They left, some spitting, others making rude hand gestures.

Ross shook his head and turned to the hydrant. He took the vial he had lifted from the carton and connected it to another vial, one Jean had given him earlier. The two liquids mixed, but before the reaction was whole Ross had already stuffed it into the fire hydrant, just underneath the cap.

The handyman left, avoiding the biggest puddles as he made for the back alleys.



Alec's blog extract.
When Jean called, I wasn't as calm as i should have been. Grandad used to say calm meant three things - voice, body, mind. My voice was firmed - i had learnt how to mask myself a long time ago. My body - well, i had that covered more or less. My soul, however, was the kind of thing you saw pulled out from car accidents.

What if these people - these friends - die under my responsibility? How can i answer myself?


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  • 2 Comments:

    Blogger Shiv said...

    I just started exploring Janus series..dude u got an imaginative style..ah where do u get all those thoughts of warfare...gud style of writing though..

    Thanks for visiting my blog & dropping a comment.Appreciated.

    As of now, I live in USA...

    Keep blogging!

    10:07 am  
    Blogger Andrew Steward said...

    Yooooo, thankx for dropping me ur comments on my passage, i'll check out ur episodes soon, cheers man

    11:28 pm  

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