Ground Floor of the WTC
March 11th, 11:09 AM
The four walked into the lobby, smart shoes clicking on the tiled floor. Isaac, Samantha, Jack, and Raul, as planned. Jack seemed a little uncomfortable in a suit and tie rather than in a flak vest and gas mask, but he tried his best to hide it. Raul, in contrast, seemed totally at ease in his situation, possibly because his standard attire for firefights had been a suit and tie to begin with.
Samantha walked beside him, closer than she would have before. She had an air of… was that smugness? Yes, that was smugness. Isaac smirked. The nerve of that woman sometimes…
The four of them walked up to the counter, where a red-haired woman was just finishing serving some executive or other. Isaac smiled winningly when they got there. “Hello,” he said, “I was told to see a ‘Julia Harper” when we got here, is she around?”
The receptionist also smiled. “That would be me,” she said, taking them all aback. They hadn’t recognized her at all. “You must be the Exalt Enterprises representatives, yes?”
Isaac thought of the prototype revolver sitting with the rest of their equipment. “That’s us,” he affirmed. “So where do we go from here?”
‘Julia’ – who was in fact Raider wearing makeup and with different hair dye – picked up a small collection of keys before walking out from behind her counter. “Follow me, please,” she said, keeping a brisk pace. “And don’t fall too far back. I’m sure you appreciate the extra security in this building.”
She led them to a coat room, and, after checking there was no one watching, she entered. The four behind her followed suite, with Raul closing the door behind them. There she exhaled sharply, removing her skirt to everyone’s raised eyebrows. “Oh, don’t look at me like that,” she snapped. “You have any idea how tight those things are? I’m sure you noticed,” she said accusingly, pointing at Jack.
“I’m just happy to see you,” he said, a grin tugging at the side of his mouth.
“Uh huh.” She indicated a booth over to the left. “Your shit’s over there. God, I hate receptionist jobs. I have to be so happy all the damn time.”
Thankfully, the various booths within which bags were usually stored provided ample cover for any of them that had been worried about the others peeping at them while they changed. A few moments later, all five were geared up, stepping out wearing heavy armor, and with their weapons at the ready.
Isaac looked at Raider, who was fastening the last clip on her own set of Ghost armor. “So these wheeled bags contain the rest of the gear?”
She nodded. “That’s the stuff,” she said. “Now we get that to the service elevator and we’re all good.”
“And how exactly do we do that?” Noxious asked, fastening his gas mask on over his open-face helmet. “Can’t just walk out there wearing this shit.”
Raider grinned, though behind her visor it was impossible to see. “You know why I told you to come now?” she asked. “Everyone’s going to lunch, or they’re starting to. Corridors out here are usually completely empty this time of day.”
“We need better than ‘usually’,” Raul chastised, checking the ammo in his silenced Gauss pistol.
“I say usually, I mean ninety-five percent of the time,” Raider assured him. “I saw one guy once, and that was because he was desperate for a piss. Besides which, we’re not going that way. I just like knowing nobody’s coming in the door while I’m changing.” Grabbing the handles of two of the bags, she gestured with her head for them to follow her.
In the back of the coatroom, it seemed, there was a large vent. The screws in three of the holes securing it to the wall were loose, and only one remained tight. Raider, getting a screwdriver out of the pouch on her belt, got to work unfastening the last screw, quickly removing it and thus the entire vent panel. “You first, Speaker,” she said, indicating inside.
As a grumbling Raul entered the vent, Isaac tapped Raider on the shoulder. “That’s all well and good,” he said in a low voice. “But how are you going to refasten that without external help?”
Again, Raider reached into her belt. “Only have a few of these left,” she said, procuring a small, four legged upright cylinder. “One of the things Gyro cooked up for me, back in the day. Little drone that crawls around the outside, fastens the screws, then self-destructs. Tiny little scorch mark is a lot less obvious than a giant vent cover just sitting in the open,” she said. “I’ll turn him on once everyone else is in.”
Noxious may have winced at that last statement, but no one saw it.
The group dropped out of the vent in a storeroom, with Raul being forced to punch the covering open to allow entry. Thankfully, nobody seemed to be around to witness his less-than-dignified fall from the hole in the wall, the bag he was lugging landing on him afterwards. The rest fell out a little more orderly – first Noxious, then Isaac, then Samantha, and finally Raider, each one bringing the bags with them. The service elevator was on the same wall, which made the journey to it far easier. The doors opened immediately, too, allowing the group to file in with the bags and ride it down to the carpark.
When the elevator doors slid open, the rest of the group was there to greet them. “Ey, man,” Samson said, grasping Isaac’s hand as he walked out. “You brought me some good presents this year Santa? I been a good little boy fo’ yo’ ass, lemme tell ya.”
Isaac smiled. “That I did,” he said, wheeling the bags over to the predetermined alcove they’d be changing in. “How’re we all doing? We ready?”
Luka, who was leaning on the wall, shook his head. “Never ready, as such,” he said. “Always flinch when big-fucking-boom, yes? Therefore never ready.”
“Keep it in your pants until we get downstairs,” Samantha said, though her tone made it clear she wasn’t seriously reprimanding him. “Then you can blow your stuff to your heart’s content.”
While Luka celebrated, Isaac tapped Raider and Raul on their shoulders. “We’re up once Samson gets ready,” he reminded them, and they both nodded.
Samson didn’t take long to prepare, being one of the most simply kitted-out of the entire group. He didn’t have several smoke grenades to secure like Noxious did, for example. The four of them plus Luka ready, they bid the others farewell and began the descent to the bottom floor, Azazel following behind them. It was wise of you to bring the equipment in as you did, the Ethereal stated. The security into the carpark alone nearly detected me. Would have if I hadn’t 'suggested' he not bother looking closely at the tall passenger in the backseat.
“I did tell you,” Isaac said, checking that the zoom on his Pulse sniper rifle’s scope was to his liking. “Security’s tight at this building. They’ve been burned once before.”
“Shit, that was ages ago man,” Samson said, turning to look at him. “These motherfuckers ain’t gotten over it yet? Hell another plane swoops in none of that security gon’ do a thang.”
“It’s a scar,” the Judge answered. “You’re American yourself, I’m surprised you don’t feel a little proud of this.”
“Proud? The fuck I got to be proud of? My ass ain’t got nothing to do wit’ this building!”
Isaac shook his head. “Nevermind,” he said. “Clearly you don’t consider this a source of national pride like most people.”
I would suggest that Samson is not ‘most people’.
“You’re fuckin’ right I’m not! Do I look a fuckin’ patriot to you?”
The group reached the elevator, discretely tucked away in the bottom floor of the carpark. “Luka,” Isaac commanded, and the Russian began placing a small rectangular object on the door. “… are you certain that’s not going to make too much noise?”
“Absolutely certain,” Luka replied. “Charge is concussive force, not explosive as such. Only noise made will be crumpling of thin metal surface and quiet pop of charge.”
Sure enough, the charge ‘detonated’ with a sharp clang and next to nothing else. The doors it had been placed on, however, were blown inwards by the force, and from where the group was standing it felt like a gust of wind had blown past.
“Glad you know what you’re doing,” Isaac said, slapping Luka on the shoulder. “You wait here with Azazel. The rest of us have grappling hooks in our armor, so we can get down fairly easily.”
“What?” Samson gave him a blank look. “My armor don’t have none o’ that shit.”
“You do,” Raul said, attaching his own to the lip of the elevator shaft. “It’s called the middle cable.”
“Fuck you, I ain’t droppin’ with that shit.”
Isaac retrieved another concussion charge from Luka, before turning to Samson. “I’m carrying you,” he said. “Well. Holding your hand while we fall.”
Samson turned to the others for moral support, but they’d already started descending. “Man, fuck you and yo’ crazy-ass plans,” he said, waiting for Isaac to set up. “Once we finished here I am so fuckin’ done with yo’ shit.”