Day 33

This is a continuation of Day 31 (part six!). Prompt: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?


Johns lowers me slowly, the darkness obscuring my descent. I count four guards on my way down, tugging on the rope. Johns stops lowering me, and I fire a dart into the opposite wall, pulling myself over to it. I’m about ten feet off the ground when I drop down, my legs tensing and absorbing the impact noiselessly. Like I said, cops are expensive to make.

The first guard goes down silently, the dart in his neck knocking him out before he can make a sound. I drag his body behind military crates, peeking inside. Armitech gear. I take a few pictures to save my ass in case I get caught. My life might be worth not having a scandal go public.

I slip through the warehouse, scanning for heat signatures. The guards are hard to read, the low blue of their armor camouflaging them except for the movement. Two heat signatures are in a room at the far end of the warehouse. I swallow hard, checking my temperature gauge and lowering it by half a degree. I want to blend in with the cold metal of the wall. I move slowly, watching each guard, walk aimlessly. They don’t have a discernable pattern, leaving no breaks in coverage of the door to that room.

The door looks unremarkable from here, cold steel, the lighter blue of an electronic lock. Shit. Cracking that will put me in sight of the guards. Even with the camosuit, they’re bound to notice. I consider taking them all out, raining down hellish fury with Johns above, righteous retribution for being part of whatever this plot is. Johns would never go for it.

I send him a message, asking for another way in, waiting a full minute for the ping that tells me he can’t see another way. I sigh, checking the dart gun. The least I can do is attempt nonlethal. They’re just hired guns, after all. I hit one guard from a distance, sneaking the dart into his neck between the pieces of body armor. It was a lucky shot, one I’m not sure I will get again.

The dart bounces off the armor of the second guard, and I swear quietly, running in. The soft vibration of the knife pulses through my suit as I bury it in the back of his neck. I pull a crate over his body, hoping to mask the heat signature of his blood. At least until I can neutralize the last guard. He’s about twenty feet from me when he notices a distinct lack of company, raising his weapon. His mask flips and I can see him scanning in ultraviolet. He’ll see me at this rate. I duck behind the nearest cover, waiting five seconds, hoping he’s looking the other direction as I peek out. No such luck.

His gun fires, a quiet sound, something I didn’t expect from a weapon that size. Stealth rounds. Lovely. I duck back under and tense my legs, preparing to jump for the next batch of cover. I say a quick prayer that he isn’t as modded as I am and make the leap. His gun traces up, following my movement calculated quickness. Shit.

I’m ten feet from him when he fires, catching me in the side, the suit blaring a warning across my vision. I feel a biting pain as I falter, thrown off balance. He’s readying to fire again, barrel following my movement, when his helmet cracks. He falls forward, a neat hole in the back of his head. Johns. I breathe a sigh of relief and regret, knowing exactly what Johns is going to say once we’re out of this mess. I slap a patch on my side, re-sealing the suit. The blood beneath can wait.

The door takes a minute to crack, the electronic lock powering down. A voice rings out as I push the door open:

“I thought I told you to leave us until you heard from-” the man begins to say, stopping abruptly when he realizes I’m not one his guns.

“Who are you waiting to hear from?” I ask, my voice distorted by the com unit in the helmet.

“Who are you?” the man says, seemingly unperturbed by the gun I have leveled at his chest.

I peer behind him, at the other form. Dad. He’s tied to a chair, looking up at me. I cock my head to the left, like I used to when I was a kid, and he glances up. Camera above me. Thanks for the warning, Dad.

My first shot takes out the camera and the second cuts deep into the shoulder of the man holding my father hostage. He clutches his shoulder, grunting in pain.

“That was unnecessary,” he says, gritting his teeth against the pain. “I would have told you.”

I shrug, aiming at his other shoulder.

“I’m waiting,” he says, letting his hand fall, “for you to make a mistake.”

His gun levels with where my head was moments ago, my body curling and rolling. I take him down at the knee, the knife severing the tendons easily as he screams. His scream is cut short as my arm juts up, catching him in the throat. Shit. Reflex. I check for a pulse, not finding one. My handcomp pings as I untie my father, pulling him behind me as I head for the door.

I get Johns message about the alarm just as the front door to the warehouse bursts open. I shoot a hook up, shattering one of the top windows and wrapping an arm around my father’s waist. We fly upward as I fire at the door, keeping them at bay for just a moment longer. Johns is waiting, pulling my father up as I climb through the hole I just made. I disconnect and we’re off, running across the rooftop. Johns points left, and I pause, taking aim at a tree on the hill there.

It’s my second lucky shot of the night. Johns grabs my father and clips him into a makeshift harness. He nods at me, and I push the button, sending the three of us careening into the night. The joint on my shoulder threatens to pop from the added weight, but it holds steady. By the time the guards have tracked where we went, the three of us are in Johns’ car zooming back toward the safe house.

The house is dark when we arrive. Johns goes in to check it out as I pull off the camosuit. My father hasn’t said anything yet, knowing that it’s not safe yet, but I hear him exhale heavily when he sees the hole in my side. He passes me one of the spare shirts Johns has in the back seat, and I press it over the wound, limping my way inside. Johns gives us the all-clear as we shut the front door.

“Hey, Dad,” I say, smiling weakly. “Sorry it took me so long.”


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