Sid stood leaning against an alley wall a block from the consortium building. Cat paced, thumbing knobs on her radio. 99-One sat leaning against the wall, his only movement an occasional pattern of tapping, and checking pockets for the nth time ensuring he had everything. Cavalier was much the same as she had been when they were in that shit-show with Leo, eyes closed, calm and composed.


  A crackle of radio chatter eventually interrupted the thoughts. ‘This is MP one, we have breached the warehouse. Little resistance currently’ the radio chatter was interspersed with the pop of gunfire. A few moments later, an armored car pulled to the front of the building, and they saw a small team emerge from the consortium’s building to hop into it, before it sped off toward the warehouse.


  Sid felt the tension begin to ease, and a familiar sensation settle in his mind. He could see Spooner’s team emerge from another building, and draw toward the tall structure that was their target. Just as they’d read on the security plans, some heavy metal shutters slammed into the earth blocking entry into the building.


  The two teams merged twenty meters from the door, on a small bit of abstract office art that took up a small courtyard just in front of the building. More radio chatter. ‘MP two just took out the first armored car, three more on the way. Within parameters.’


  ‘Sounds like they’re having fun.’ Cavalier said voice oozing enthusiasm.


  ‘Smooth so far.’ Spooner replied his dull tenor the opposite of her. He tilted his head toward the secured entrance. ‘Sid.’


  ‘With pleasure.’ He leveled Menrva toward the door, flicking two switches on the top. There was a small hum, the lightest smell of ozone, and a small red circle formed on metal sheets where they hid the door. Just as the hum reached its height, there was a flash of light, a bone rattling pulse, and the sound of hissing metal. Sid shuddered, it had been far too long since he’d done that.


  ‘Reminds me why I was never in your team.’ Spooner grumbled. Now that their eyes had blinked away the flash, there was a meter wide hole in the armor, which Arch unceremoniously smashed down with the exo-suits help. The two teams entered, and peeled off to the left, toward the security office on the first floor.


  Cat took spoke into her radio. ‘Entrance is breached. Teams entering security.’


  ‘DV one on standby.’ Came a crackling response, as Spooner slipped a film ribbon through the crack at the top of the door. With practiced motions, wiggled the strip, and pulled, the door turning.


  ‘Sloppy.’ he frowned. ‘These people disappoint.’


  ‘Overconfidence is a hell of a drug.’ U-Gar chuckled as he and Cat took post outside, Spooner getting into the computer, and Sid scrambling to find the card making machine and some blanks. They got the system fired up, and started spitting out a few cards with the same access as the security manager, when a few gun shots caught their attention. ‘Don’t worry about this boss, we’ve got it.’ he said as their team returned fire. ‘Cat’s not about to let the new girl show her up.’


  There was a small station for charging radios sitting in the back on a counter. Half of its radios missing, but from one on the station there was a bit of chatter. ‘We have a breech on the first floor, security office compromised. Scramble teams four and seven.’


  ‘That’s the only two on this floor right?’ He said tossing a card on a lanyard to Spooner, who just nodded in response. Sid stopped to scoop up one of the radios before they both stepped out, and handed out the lanyards. ‘So, these should get you guys anywhere in the building. Lets move this-’


  A repeating blast of automatic gunfire, the sound of ricocheting rounds cut him off. The two security teams had been on the ball, and had taken up firing positions around the corners pinning them effectively inside the security office. ‘Nice of them to send a welcoming party.’ Sid growled.


  ‘Too quick I think.’ Cat agreed with him.


  ‘Options?’ Spooner said, more rhetorically than anything.


  ‘Arch, you ever get that plasma cutter online?’


  ‘Afraid not.’


  ‘Cat, gas canisters?’


  ‘Just two. Want to save them.’ Well, he couldn’t fault her for that. So he looked around. There was a small armory, but it was a case of manpower as far as he could think. Thundergun had maybe five or six more shots left but it had a long windup and he’d be a sitting duck.


  ‘99-One, you can take the door of its hinges?’


  ‘Too easy.’ The cyborg said, pounding his fists together.


  ‘Do that, I’ll see if I can get something else.’ Checking the


  ‘Take your time.’ U-Gar said, reaching round the corner to squeeze off a couple of rounds. ‘They’re sitting tight.’ withdrawing to reload his handgun ‘For the moment at least.’


  The radio Sid had acquired was sitting quiet. He tossed it to Cat ‘Scroll through the other channels, see if they’re trying to settle on one.’ She went to work as he tried to find something else he could free up. The locker holding wasn’t going to work, too full of holes. The counters looked to made of some kind of plastic, so not durable enough for purpose. Mix them together?


  Prying the weapons locker open and dumped out the small arms that were contained there in while he said ‘Arch, Spooner, get a couple of those counters off the wall, and well drop them in here. Door makes the other wall, and we can charge one of the positions.’ Spooner grumbled but he moved to comply. ‘They’re likely to try and pincer after we get to one position so Cat, Cav, Yugie, I want you three waiting for them around the corner. Arch and 99-One are on door duty, I’ll call down the thunder on the position we approach, Spooner on mop duty. 99, I’m going to yell and you’re going to count to six, then hop to the side you dig?’


  A series of nods confirmed their roles. The gunfire resumed, pounding into door and the jury-rigged barricade. Specks of dust and shrapnel spilled around them, as they pushed together toward the right position. All any of them could hear was the ringing of bullets pounding them like a terrible hailstorm.


  Sid yelled as loud as he could to U-Gar, hoping he’d heard. leveling his weapon toward where the security troops had been last seen, and he cranked it up. The hum of Minerva going to work, and the vibrations of the old rifle caused his mind to sink into a kind of zen moment, like the lake all over again. He almost didn’t notice his doorman leap to the side, or hear the peel of thunder. A cacophonous wave shook the world, and a path of fire tore through where the guards had been hold up.


  Sid couldn’t hear for bit, but in the silent world turned to the side to see the others had kept the shield wall toward the corner, and were raining hell on the guards that had turned the corner. Blood flowed out onto the pristine white floors of the lobby as bodies piled up. They stopped coming at some point, though whether it was total loss, or retreat he couldn’t say.


  The team sat in silence for a bit, or at least Sid couldn’t hear for a bit if they had been talking. The world slowly grew louder, until he could make out 99-One chuckling with U-gar about the insanity of the plan, but how it had worked. Spooner was silent, double checking equipment with Arch, and Cat and Cavalier were double tapping the guards.


  The Murder Party also checked in, speaking with Spooner. They’d secured the warehouse and less security teams than expected had showed up to dislodge them. It also looked like they hadn’t formed a perimeter. They didn’t have an answer as to why though. Hyugin was looking into it.


  Their stolen radio did eventually vomit up some chatter, after scrolling through all the channels. The remaining security forces were being called to cluster on a number of floors, where there should have been public access, with some checking into the security system, which Spooner had apparently had the fore site to bring down their central server after making their new key cards. Leave it to Spooner to remember the details Sid thought.


  ‘So, we know what we’re doing, it sounds like they’re not expecting us. But don’t get sloppy.’ Sid cautioned.


  ‘Should reminding you that.’ Spooner replied to Sid’s orders. ‘Best of luck.’


  ‘Can we get this show on the road?’ Cavalier said stepping into the main elevator. ‘thirty minutes right?’ Cat, 99-One and Sid filed in after her. The whir of the elevator was the only sound for a while.


  It took some time, and 99-One was never comfortable with silence.‘Things used to always be like this?’ he said to Cat more than anyone else.


  ‘Yes.’ she shook her head and shot him a smile. ‘But bigger jobs.’


  ‘That shit was crazy.’


  ‘He’s been like that since I’ve started running with him. I knew him for like ten minutes before he had me jumping out a window.’ Cavalier smirked throwing a gentle punch into Sid’s arm.


  ‘And yet, here we all are.’


  ‘It worked but man, but you understand, Spooner runs a clean shop’


  ‘I know. We uh.’ Sid hesitated, rubbing the back of his head, before taking in a deep breath and letting out a long sigh. ‘Difference of opinion we’ll say.’


  ‘Last jobs went bad.’ Cat said dripping with melancholy. ‘Lost people. Big surprises.’


  ‘Half Cat, I killed half of them.’ He shook his head, refusing to meet her gaze. ‘From bad to worse.’


  ‘Well lets not hope for the hat trick.’ 99-One tried to laugh it off.


  ‘He’s got a good luck charm now.’ Cavalier added. Eventually, the elevator reached the bottom, and opened silently.


  ‘Will hold here.’ Cat said. ‘Go’ she gestured with the barrel of her weapon down the hall. And so the two set off.


  Ignoring all the doors until they found the lab that was the target of their search. The main weapons lab of doctor that made the crazy gun. Their key opened the lab door without issue and they entered the lab. The lights were on, but nobody was home. The pair of them tore the place apart till they found an empty cell in the back. As they drew close, Sid could feel the air get strange, but his attention was diverted when an alarm sounded, and the door to the lab slammed shut locking them in.


  Cavalier tried in vain to peel the door, but stopped when a voice boomed in the lab. A voice they were unfamiliar with. “Good Evening, Mr. Vicious, we’ve been expecting you. We’re so pleased you remembered your plus one, we have many questions for her.’


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