To Save a Child - the RP
...the wind. His senses were virtually screaming at him. Something was wrong with the wind...It didn't usually blow down...did it?
His head craned upwards, that's when he saw the helicopter. It moved into position about 100 ft above the helipad, hanging in the air on silent rotor blades. It didn't look to be making any changes in its movements once it reached a hovering position above the landing pad, hopefully indicating that they hadn't seen him emerge from the skylight.
Sticks did his best to sweep his vision along the roof of the building, but he couldn't detect anybody else. Staying low, he considered his options.
Noting that the chopper was in whisper mode, Sticks thought "This is not good. Too much coincidence here" Pulling the monowire container and superglue from his pocket he set a bead of the adhesive against the air handler about 12 inches from the surface of the roof. He pushed the release on the tension spool in the "dental floss" case and touched the monowire to the adhesive. Keeping as much to the shadows as possible he darted back the 15 yards across the roof to the skylight.
Climbing inside, he glued the monowire across the aperture and snapped off the wire with the ceramic cutter built into the top of the case. Climbing down, he used the glue and wire again, quickly forming a monowire X on the inside of the opening approximately 18 inches below the first line.
"Trouble" he said calmly as he re-entered the living room. "Where are the fire stairs?"
Gillian looked to Sticks and nodded. "We have a maid's entrance that leads to a freight elevator." The older man turned back to the comm unit.
"Dan, can you give me a minute, I just got out of the shower."
"I will have them wait in the lobby until you are ready, sir," Dan answered.
Switching off the comm unit, Thomas turned back to the group, "Alright, what now?"
"There is a helicopter in whisper mode just above us. I have left a surprise on the roof but it will only slow down anyone coming in that way...". Seeing the look of confusion on everyone's face Sticks clarified "Monowire", and at the reaction said "It will only harm those who seek to harm us, we will warn Dan about it later. Right now, I think we should leave." Turning to Gillian he said, "If they are careful enough to cover the roof, they will be careful enough to watch the elevators, but nobody is going to climb 122 floors to get to you. The stairs will get us low enough that we can catch an elevator where no-one will expect it." Remembering his resolve to utilize his teammates wider experience and knowledge the Escrimador said respectfully to Jess and Tal, "Unless, you have a better plan".
"I'd feel better if Tal could do his 'recon' thing," Jess admitted as she looked from Sticks to Tal .
"Leaving is defiantly the best idea I can come up with, " she added. "But we also need to figure our where we're going to go once we get out of here."
As Jess looked over at the kitchen a smile played across her face. "Mrs. Gillian, if you don't mind, can I raid your refrigerator?"
Sahara looked a bit taken aback. She gave Jess a strange look then open for Jess and the rest of the team. "By all means...Just head towards the back of the kitchen."
*** *** ***
Tal, meanwhile, was doing one last bit of reconnaissance. Shifting to the astral again, he zipped upward to check the occupants of the helicopter, and examined the vicinity in an attempt to determine if there were any more surprises awaiting them as they made their exit.
Tal floated up towards the roof. Once outside he immediately saw the shape of the helicopter lowering to about 50ft above the deck. Once there, the three human sized shapes that repelled out the sides to the tarmack did little for the elf's level of security. The first two to hit the deck were as black as the two customers downstairs. The third human on the other hand Tal recognized immediately as magically active... Quickly, the shaman did a recon of the service elevator. Finding it all clear on the 71st floor and beyond, he prepared to rejoin his comrades.
*** *** ***
Jess bounded into the kitchen and stopped when she saw the broken plates.
'Okay,' she thought to herself. 'Something must have happened while I was off in matrix-land...'
Sidestepping the shards, she opened the cabinet under the sink and pulled out a dishpan, and the dish soap. After a moments consideration, she pulled out the oven cleaner and the amonia as well.
Next she started going through the cabinets, When she found the cooking oil, that too went into the pan. When she got to the fridge she hesitated.
*** *** ***
Curious, the group began filing into the kitchen, followed closely Mrs. Gillian. Thomas went immediately for the service entrance and opened the door. Through the door, there was a set of stairs that led to the roof and then down. To the left was the service elevator. According to its readout, it was on the 71st floor and stationary.
"One moment, please," Sticks said as he ducked back into the living room. He picked up the Predator II that was on the table and the clip, reloaded and safed the weapon and tucked it behind his belt at the small of his back. He then darted back into the kitchen. "Sorry" he said with a self conscious smile.
As Sticks crossed back into the kitchen then towards the service entrance, he heard the comm unit. "Mr. Gillian," the Filipino heard the voice of Dan, "they're coming up."
*** *** ***
Jess began flexing a spoon until it broke, then shoved it inside a potato. Her next stop was the microwave. As she surveyed the room she tried to make sure that the 'diversion' wouldn't do too much damage. This was after all, the Gillian's home. Once she was sure it wouldn't do too much damage, Jess placed the potato in the oven and set the timer.
It would start cooking in 7 minutes, full heat, until the potato exploded, then the metal would be exposed in the microwave.
*** *** ***
Jess looked at Tal as he 'rejoined' the group. When it looked like things were clear with the service elevator, Jess pushed the 'call' button and looked at the others.
"Look," she said as she looked at Tal and Sticks. "Y'all are probably better equiped to protect the Gillians than I am. I'm better equiped to slow down the opposition. Get them out of here and someplace safe. I'll see what trouble I can make for people pursuiting..."
She pulled out a peice of paper and scrawled a number on it. When you're safe, try reaching me here. If I answer, we'll see what we can do about getting together. If not, tell me about it when this things is over, Okay?"
She winked at them as she prepared to start 'playing' on the stairs.
Sticks shrugged as he watched Jess' preperations. "I guess she disagrees with me about the stairs being a safer escape than the freight elevator. I hope she's right." The teenager thought. "Maybe she's done this before..."
Tal looked around, unsure of exactly what to do about the Gillians. "There are three men coming down from the helicopter above," he said to Sticks. "Two with cyberware and one with magic. The freight elevator looks clear--stairs or elevator, I think we'd better make our decision soon."
"Let's go" The Escrimador said when it dawned on him that the woman was not contradicting him but simply planning on maximizing confusion. He darted into the stairway and began leading the group down. Knowing that he had a team mate creating chaos behind him, Sticks abandoned his plans for monowiring boobytraps in the stairways. Moving with the energy of a teenager, he had descended two floors before the rest of the group had entered the stairway.
As they headed out, Jess thought of one more thing. Since Sticks had already headed downstairs, she handed the pouch from around her neck to Tal. In it were a few personal items and the all important data disk.
"Just in case," she stated, then turned back to the kitchen cabinets. She had ammonia, now all she needed as a bucket and some bleach...
Once the others cleared the door, she started rigging it. She stopped as the freight elevator arrived and began working with that. She jammed a broom into the top, effectively stopping it short. she reached in and pulled the control panel. She started cross wiring the floor indicator with the controls so that no floor matched its button. It was a hasty job, but she prayed it would work. Then she pressed 10, and headed out the door.
She set a bucket of bleach so that when the door was opened, it would spill onto the floor. Then she dumped the ammonia on the floor. Next she decided to put some distance between her and the Gillian's apartment. After a few floors, she took the oil and coated three steps, then another three, and the railings for good measure.
Continuing on down the stairs she started randomly leaving surprises on the floors and rails.
Jess heard the dull thump coming from upstairs. They must be in the kitchen. she thought to herself. Finishing the last of her traps, she listened for the sound of footsteps racing down the stairs. From the sounds, it seemed like they were several floors down.
As Sticks, Tal and company hit the 75th floor, the service door flew open. The young Filipino's reaction was quick and instinctive. As an arm cleared the doorway, he grabbed and pulled the figure off balance. A microsecond after the stunned ork hit the floor, his face was staring down the barrel of a cocked Ares Predator II.
"Easy, lad. It's me, Dan." The ork's voice was steady, even with the pistol so close to ending his life. "You would have gotten me on that one my young friend." Sticks helped the security guard to his feet. That was when he noticed the Saav Guardian in Dan's other hand, and the blood on the his shoulder.
"You've been shot!" Thomas exclaimed and moved to check the ork's wound.
"Don't worry, Mr. Gillan. They had a piece of luck finding the one place where I wasn't armored." The ork said with a toothy grin. "I thought your knew employees might have enough smarts to use the stairs rather than the el or the freight. So I locked down the service entrance." The ork shook his head as he reholstered his pistol. "It's a good thing the rich like to hide the help so well." The ork took a quick head count, then nodded again. "I've called the el from your apartment. The bloody fraggers tried locking it, but I overrode the Stop." He moved back into the door and closed it. "Hopefully they will won't be able ta use it." He nodded back towards the stairs. "We should be on our way. I don't know whether they haven't found this stairway."
Tal moved over toward Dan. "Let me have a look at that wound," he said, already examining the ork's bleeding shoulder. He wondered if he would have enough time to heal it before the group had to make their exit.
The ork nodded, pulling his armored blazer from his left shoulder. The bullet wound seemed to be clean through, and didn't seem to have a lot of surrounding tissue damage. "We may have a moment, but if you can do anything for this old boy, I'd be eternally grateful."
Tal nodded. Reaching out, he put a hand on the ork's shoulder and began muttering under his breath. As always when he was casting a spell, his features seemed to sharpen a bit, taking on a more cat-like aspect. He remained in this position for a few moments, then pulled back to examine his handiwork. "There," he said, satisfied. "That should about do it."
Dan rotated his shoulder as he put his blazer back on. "Thanks ever so much, my friend. That will do just nicely." Dan moved over to the Gillians, then looked to Tal and Sticks. "Where to now, gentlemen."
The two looked ready to answer when they heard a loud thump come from upstairs. Sticks put a finger to his lips, signaling quiet. He pointed at Tal, Dan and the Gillians and with two fingers indicated that they should walk to the elevator and wait 5 minutes. He then pointed to himself and indicated that he was going to go look at what was happening up the stairs. When Dan seemed to indicate a desire to join him, Sticks pointed emphatically at the Gillians until the ork nodded.
He then signaled that he would rejoin the others before the 5 minutes were up. Worried about Jess trying to face off the visitors alone, Sticks, staying close to the wall and away from the center of the stairwell, began climbing quickly and quietly, back towards the noise.
*** *** ***
Jess paused as she listened for any other activity on the stairs. She tensed when she realized she heard voices down below. 'What if they've gotten ahead?' she wondered, but then she recognized Tal's voice down below.
She tensed as she tried to figure out what was being said. Then they started moving again. She hesitated. If she moved now, she could meet up with them, but their stopping meant that there was a smaller lead between them and the people upstairs.
She could hear them at the door now. Hopefully the chlorine gas would give them pause, but now she had to think. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out the spray adhesive. Normally she used it to dress wounds, but she also knew how difficult it was to get out of things. She sprayed one side of the stairs with it then the opposite railing.
Then she ran down another flight and almost tripped over a trash can. As she righted the can, a smile played across her lips. She pulled several gauze wraps from her bag and soaked them in the cooking oil, then dropped them into the can.
Pulling out her lighter, she listened for a minute, then lit the wrappers from the bandages and dropped them into the can.
She hit the stairs running and continued her odyssey. A loud thump from below sent a surge of adrenalin through her system as she forced herself to move faster.
Jess hit the 84th floor landing when she saw the service entrance door bulging. Then came another loud thump. She saw the dent being created on the door, the thin metal bending out.
Jess took a deep breath as she pushed on down the stairs. As she ran, she pulled out an emergency flare and began taping the can of oven cleaner to it. As she cleared the corner, she lit the flare and tossed it back up the stairs, then she stared down the stairs in long swings trying to put as much distance between her and the door, and the flare / aerosol bomb she'd made.
She hit the landing hard, then turned, grabbing the railing at the mid point. She let her momentum carry her to the next landing, and then th next. She proceeded to fly down the stairs, ignoring the impact stresses she was feeling with each landing. She knew she had to put some distance between them before she could rig her next obstacle.
Jess was making good time, clearing stairs three at a time and hopping the last six to the landings below her. Her surprise hit at the same time as her collision with Sticks. As Sticks cleared one landing, Jess came flying down to the same one. The two went sprawling down on to the landing, Sticks rolling up and bringing his gun to the ready.
The explosion from above sent reports throughout the stair well.
'Frip,' Jess swore to herself as she hit the landing hard. She tried to reach for her gun, but was in no position to get to it.
Her breath came in shallow gasps as she looked up, she started to smile when she recognized Sticks. She bowed her head in relief.
Then the explosion hit. Jess started to get a very bad feeling as she looked at Sticks. "84" she managed to gasp between breaths as she shifted back to her feet and pulled out her pistol.
The Escrimador returned his predator to the shoulder holster and responded "75". Without a further explanation but waving for Jess to follow, he moved quickly back down to the 75th floor. He jerked open the door and dashed towards the elevators where the rest of the party waited. Jess took a deep breath and chased after Sticks as he headed through the door on 75, Jess went down one more floor and dumped the rest of the oil then climbed back up the stairs and dove into the elevator.
Still gasping for breath Jess waited for the doors to close.
*** *** ***
Tal, wondering at the wisdom of splitting the team when there was obviously trouble afoot, nonetheless realized that he now had primary responsibility for keeping the Gillians safe. His gaze darting restlessly in all directions, he chafed at having to wait here for five minutes while his teammates were off doing Cat knew what. He was going to have to have a talk about impetuousness with them...he smiled, as he realized that he was *not* the one who should be having that talk with anyone. He probably would have run off if they hadn't done so first, as he couldn't stand not knowing what was going on. He just hoped that they made it back in one piece, because he didn't have confidence in his ability to hold off five armed assailants, even *with* Dan's help.
As the group finally cleared the elevator doors, Dan stabbed the call button for Sub-basement level 3. Sticks, gave the ork a suspicious look.
"Not to worry, young man. This will take us to the service entrance." He rotated his shoulder once more to work out any left-over kinks. "I think we can fit into my Eurovan." He glanced at the team to see if they had any objections.
"I'm sure I could drop you off anywhere you need to go." As he saw Thomas about to speak he held up a hand. "One word of advisement, Mr. Gillian, if I may, do not go to Lone Star." The ork patted the older man on the shoulder with a quiet chuckle.
The ork turned to the team. "Alright, is the van an option for everyone here? I'll go as far as you need me to go, but I must see to the rest of the building." He glanced up through the roof of the elevator cabin. "Judging by the sounds before, I've got a few calls to maintenance to make and very soon."
Dan looked to the three expectantly.
Jess looked at Dan for a minute as she caught her breath, then smiled sheepishly. "Sorry about the mess," she stated, then looked at the others.
"I'm not sure where we want to go from here," she stated. "But it might be better if we discussed once we were away from the building, we still have to make it to the vehicle safely." Then she turned back to Dan and winked.
"No offence," she offered
Dan grinned his toothy smile and performed a formal bow towards Jess. "None taken my dear. I'm glad that I and my building were of some use to you and your cause."
The security man's smile and bow caught Jess off-guard. Starting to feel self-conscious, she started to turn away, then noticed the hole in and blood on his jacket.
"Frip," she swore as she clicked into a more familiar mode, that of paramedic. "How bad?"
Dan waved Jess off, pulling his blazer down from his shoulder. "Do not worry, my dear. All is well. Your friend, Tal here was most generous with magical prowess." He replaced his jacket and smiled at Jess. "In the medical field are we? Very useful in this line of work I'd say."
Dan straightened his suit a bit, looking distinguished and handsome, despite the mess made by the bullet wound. He checked the elevator's progress. "Almost there, everyone," he said almost casually, and drew his Saav Guardian.
Jess paused for a moment as their destination neared. The needed to know what was on the other side of the door, but she also knew that Tal and been 'magic-ing' rather heavily the last few hours. She wasn't sure how much he'd already strained himself.
She stopped. Tal was not Alan, the overdoer, the one who always knew just *when* he had overstepped his bounds. At least she hoped he wasn't.
"Tal," she asked, " you up to a little recon?"
Tal nodded. "On it straightaway," he said briskly, and sat down against the back of the elevator.
Once his astral form had left his body, he carefully looked around to make sure nothing nasty was lying in wait on the astral plane, then poked his head through the door to see what sort of nasties might exist in the physical realm.
Tal checked thoroughly for any watcher spirits and especially well for the magic user he'd seen descending from the helicopter upstairs. With any luck, we won't have to worry about the bugger...thanks to Jess' little party favors.
Outside the elevator, Tal shifted his perception into meat space. It looked to be a loading area, and there in the far back end near the exit was a black Eurovan. There was an assortment of different cars in the lot, but they all were empty after a closer examination.
Tal returned to his body. "Looks clear," he said, rising. "Let's get moving before they figure out where we've gone."
The double-doors to the elevator opened, revealing the sub-level loading dock and parking lot. Dan lead the way, sweeping his eyes to and fro.
Sticks rounded up the back, making sure that the Gillians cleared the elevator. Thomas stopped and looked back at Sticks for a moment, prepared to offer thanks. The look from the Escrimador told him it wasn't necessary.
Moving as quickly as possible, the group boarded the Eurovan. Immediately, all noticed the vast amounts of electronics on the control surface of the van. Without comment, Dan climbed into the driver's seat and immediately pulled a long data jack cord from under the dash board. Placing it into a hidden port behind his ear, the van's engine came to life.
"Where to, ladies and gents?"
Jess looked at the others and shrugged. They needed a safe place for the Gillians, but more than anything, they needed a place to put everything together, before anymore hell decided to break loose.
The apartment she shared with Ray was too small, the firehouse, would be a bit too public. The only other place she could think of was the apartment.
'Well, we were going to meet there anyway,' she thought to herself.
"If nobody has a better place, we can head over to my brothers' place. I need to feed the cats anyway," she suggested with a shrug. Five people in the apartment was pushing it, but it would have to do for now, until they could figure out what was going on.
She was also dying to see the video feeds if any from Darren's machine. Any line they could get on their attackers would make her fell a little bit better.
Dan just nodded, mentally controlling the van to proceed as he keyed the parking lot's exit gate. "I've plugged into the building's security system. It would seem that there quite a few more than we'd originally anticipated." he said glancing back towards Sticks. "Your little surprise there at the skylight did quite a bit of damage to the unfortunate first through the door. Well, done."
The ork's eyes glazed over for a moment. "The surprises that you left in the stairwell..." his focus returned, resting on Jess. "...they were quite effective.
Thomas was holding his wife close, murmuring comforting words as she seemed on the verge of tears. "Don't worry, honey. We'll get Darren...then we can start all over...somewhere else."
Sahara looked up into his eyes, strength forcing its way back into her heart. "I didn't know accounting was so dangerous, Tom." Her husband gave her a big smile, then held her close.
Everyone else still practiced the art of 'coiled spring,' moving their attention from the streets, to the skies, then back again...looking for a tail. It was Jess who actually interrupted the silence. "When we get to the block, drop me off so I can assure that the area is clear."
"As you wish, my dear. Should you need any assistance..." the ork reached into his blazer's inside coat pocket, producing a business card. "Load that into your fast-dial on your phone. It goes directly to my phone." He tapped his temple. "The cavalry will be there, straight away."
The Eurovan rounded a familiar corner. Jess prepared to make her exit.
Jess took the card Dan handed her and nodded. "Will do," she told him, then looked at the others. "The apartment's on the second floor, fourth unit from the end. If it's clear, I'll... " she paused as she tried to think of a way of contacting them. Then she looked at the card again... "I'll call Dan."
With that, she rolled out of the van and started scouting the area. She stretched her senses, listening for anything out of place, looking for anything that just 'felt' wrong. When she was sure things were clear, she proceeded to the apartment. As she unlocked the door, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye, right before she was assaulted...
Jess nearly drew her Walther on Taco as he came bounding at her legs, his partner in crime directly in tow. She let out a sigh and leaned down to pet the trouble-makers, her brothers' cat's.
"You guys are lucky. The day I've been having..." she trailed off. The two cats just continued purring under her attention, ignoring her veiled threat.
After assuring herself that everything was truly clear, she pulled Dan's number from her pocket.
"All is well, my dear?" she heard him sub-vocalize into his phone.
"Coast is clear. Just a couple of..." Jess stopped herself, not too sure how comfortable she should be with the ork. "Send them up," she amended.
Before she disconnected, Dan asked a question. "I see your number on my id read-out. Might I be so bold as to hold onto it?"
Jess considered for a moment.
"This isn't really my number," she answered. "But you can leave a message for me here."
She paused, the assignment, which she still hadn't officially taken, had been full of surprises. It was nice to know that at least one of them might be pleasant.
"Oh," she added as she thought about it. "Can you send me copies of the video feeds you have on our, um, friends?"
Again she paused as she thought about it. "And anything you have on the 84th floor."
She listened to his response as she opened a can, causing Taco and Maxwell to increase their weaving around her legs.
"And Dan," she added. "Be careful."