Sid sat in his spot, in the old war room. A large holotable sat in the center, surrounded by places to sit. It was occupied for the moment, by only Cavalier, Sid, Bullwinkle and Spooner. Spooner had wanted a moment to discuss what they’d dug up before hosting a larger meeting.


  ‘Your access worked, as you’d said it would.’ Sid only barely noticed the surprise in his tone.


  ‘I’ve also looked over that drive you gave us. It’s kinda weird.’ Bullwinkle added. ‘Dude like, I’m not even sure what to make of it.’


  ‘Well, lets start with the consortium first.’ Sid looked to Spooner who nodded, and punched a few commands into the table. A small model of the first floor rose from the table, already dotted with doodles arrows and circles where Spooner must have already looked it over.’


  ‘You need to access this Dr. Caesar’s lab correct?’


  ‘Yes. He needs to be dealt with.’ Cavalier said.




  Sid and she exchanged looks.


  ‘I don’t do dark.’ Spooner spoke, his voice gravely. ‘You called me. You tell me, or we’re out.’


  ‘It’s a reality dissolution weapon. He’s the lead on the project.’ Sid quietly intoned. ‘Its how this whole mess started.’


  ‘We don’t fight corps Sid.’ Spooner stated grimly.


  Bullwinkle fidgeted. Both Sid and Spooner stopped trying to stare each other down to look his way. ‘I mean, we could if we had the right weapon right? Just saying?’ The big man said to those assembled. ‘This code, its like, um.’ and he stopped looking for how to explain it ‘it’s like, an AI seed. Kind of. From what I can tell its polymorphic, so it kinda changes based on what its phase one does, which is consume every piece of hardware it can get a connection to, and its got the breakers to take what it wants.’


  He waved his hand in front of him in a circle continuing ‘So my guess is our boy thought it was a weapon. A kind of intranet nuke. It will do that, burn out everything til its forced to stop.’ he frowned seriously. ‘its what comes after that bugs me. I couldn’t figure out what its going to want after that. If anything’ Cavalier looked him over with an expression of deep suspicion, a more serious look than Sid had ever seen her with.


  ‘No wonder Leo was so cagey’ Sid adjusted his seating, placing his feet on the edge of the table, leaning to get a better look at the layout. Looked like a simple enough plan, blow off the doors, storm the elevator, get the fuck out. ‘You have an estimate timewise on your version one?’


  ‘Twenty five minutes minimum. If we can distract them should be more than enough, but I figured that would be your department.’


  ‘I need to be the one down there.’


  ‘Not happening’ Spooner’s tone biting


  ‘But, Hyugin wants in for some of her boys. Murder party got hit hard by that shit show with Leo.’ Sid said ignoring the comment altogether.


  ‘Not happening.’


  ‘Not listening.’ Sid said, calm as a lake on a windless morning. Pulling one of the marking devices from a cup he set about adding some of his own ideas. ‘Bullwinkle, where would we have to drop that drive to get it to go off?’


  ‘You just wanna throw the bitch in there?’ The diver laughed ‘This is exactly the kinda energy I was missing. So you wanna let a maybe-maybe rogue bot loose? Either way, needs intraBullwinkle pointed to a couple of spots that Sid circled and drew a question mark next to.


  ‘Well, figure I can talk Hyugin into putting some charges’ and he drew a few circles around a few pillars. ‘Those would be load bearing right Spooner’


  ‘That is how they’re marked’ his tone flat


  ‘That blocks all reprisal for at least a long while, and maybe totally. Assassins at most. You can put the blame on me, and I’ll just fade off the map. Say I blackmailed you or something. Straight Ki-ray.’ He extended a hand toward Spooner holding the marker.


  ‘Wait wait wait, that’s not how this story plays out.’ Cavalier broke in finally saying anything, her more teasing tone showing its face. ‘This is where the band gets back together. They’re on a mission from god right?’ Sid shook his head but couldn’t help but smile.


  Spooner looked thoughtful for a while. Tapping the device on the edge of the table, other hand scratching his chin, a few false starts to edit the plan, flipping though several of the floors, finally coming to some answer he thought was satisfactory. ‘Wonder of the raven’s still got those explosives from B and B.’


  ‘Frame job?’


  ‘Not going to leave you lubed. Maybe get the corps off ice.’


  ‘That bored huh?’ Sid looking like the cat with the canary.


  ‘Rookies too.’ Spooner replied. ‘I’ll give it a cleaner look. Talk to Hyugin.’ tone indicating that he would be the one doing that. ‘Another meeting in four hours, strike in fifteen?


  A simple thumbs up was all the reply Sid gave as he left the room. Cavalier followed in short order. The two wandered down toward their room where Sid absently began accounting for the case’s contents. He was meticulous, not trusting old labels he inspected every box’s contents, checking battery slots were stored properly and toggling every switch in function checks.


  The two were silent for a while as Sid went about his work. ‘I’m glad you suggested using the AI there.’


  ‘Best way to ensure the records got wiped, and to try and contain that weapon. Not sure where they’d keep all the records.’


  ‘True.’ She agreed. The silence looming over them once more. Sid finally started taking the large rifle apart, and swapping out parts. The only sound was the clicking of metallic locks and banging of plasteel parts. ‘You saw the edge of the the future didn’t you.’


  ‘What?’ Sid said not stopping from his work.


  ‘You walked to the edge of the library. The boards loose and creaking. Its just the vibe I get, from how you presented the information. I’ve seen it before you know?’ She said her voice beginning to tinge with strain.


  ‘Yeah. It was.’ a shiver creeping down his spine causing him to shudder ‘It was a weird sensation, but you know, hurrying and all that.’


  ‘I do. I uh, I can’t see my own life past it any more. Not since last night.’ Sid turned in alarm. ‘That’s the first time that’s happened.’


  ‘What does that even mean?’


  ‘I don’t know. I just know I don’t like it.’


  ‘You’ll’ Sid caught himself ‘We’ll make it. We have a better shot at this than anyone I think would dare.’


  ‘Who is this we?’ she forced a smile, but her voice was still filled with emotion.


  ‘Well not about to abandon my lucky charm now. Besides, If I’m going to be stuck this deep in the black it might be nice’ He put the weapon down finally popping some of his joints. ‘To have you at my back. You know?’ Turning toward her. ‘But with that, why the odd look at the big man back there?’


  ‘It’s complicated. And maybe not even true anymore. I’ll tell you after, if it still is. I promise.’


  ‘Why am I not surprised to get fucking weird answers like that.’


  ‘Well. I have an idea.’




  Flipping herself around on the bed, drawing their faces very close. ‘I think we got interrupted at the safe house back there.’ Moving close enough that they could feel each other’s breaths on their faces. ‘And I might not exist at all in less than a day so.’ she trailed off, and closed the last of the distance between them.


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