Here’s my contribution to December’s Blog Battle! I hope you enjoy.
You’re not innocent. Gwen’s words rambled through his thoughts and set his teeth on edge.
Cole knew this was not the time to get distracted. The wind gusts blasting into his body as he clung to the side of the buildling and the thin rope wrapped through his harness that passed for security were distracting enough.
“CD, did you hear me?” Brick’s voice crackled in his ear.
“Nah, man, the wind’s hella strong. Can’t hear myself think.” In fact, it was easier to hear his toes sliding on the glass through the sublte vibrations running up his legs than to hear Brick’s instructions in his ear. Well, Cole imagined he could hear his feet slipping. “Who’s idea was this?”
More crackling hushed by the wind. “You get all the credit, CD.”
Cole nodded and looked down. Mistake. Not good. He looked straight up. Nope, that was not good. There was no turning back. The black sky stared down at him, judging him with its roiling clouds, but the plop of rain on his exposed nose added icing to the insult cake. “Great.”
“What was that?”
“It’s raining.” Cole couldn’t keep the slight whine out of his voice and blanched. Seriously, not the time to be a whiner.
Brick chortled. Jerk actually kept the line open to make sure Cole could hear him laughing.
Cole shook his head. Get it together. “When I’m done with this and get back there–“
“Yeah, yeah, keep talking, big man.” Brick laughed again.
If it weren’t for the fact they’d had this coversation a hundred times and they both knew Cole wasn’t really going to challenge him over it, Cole might actually take offense, but it was all part of keeping his nerves in check, distracting him from the stressful parts of the job and focused on his task.
“What did you say a minute ago?”
“The lights are out on the floor below, so it’s a go.”
Taking a deep breath, Cole unzipped the pouch on his belt and pulled out the cutting tool. The hardware was top-of-the-line. If he were 007 and had his own Q, this new gear they’d gotten might qualify as cool gadgets, but up here–three-hundred feet in the air–he could care less about the cool factor.
He painted a large oval on the glass that his entire self could easily fit through and then placed a final dot in the center. Once complete, he pressed a button on the side of the cutting tool and watched the glass dissolve from the out edges to the central dot. If the wind weren’t howling, he’d have heard the distictive hissing sound of the acid burning through the glass.
Flipping the tool so the handle aimed forward, he sprayed a counter-agent over the edges of the burned glass to “turn off” the acid, as Molly had explained the process earlier that day. She liked to talk to him like he was five, but he didn’t mind as long as she kept giving him sweet new toys like this.
Of course, he’d have named it something like Acid Punch or Disseminator and not “a cutting tool” that she then said was “sharper than you.” But Molly was Molly, and she probably didn’t even realize how insulting she’d been. Cole chalked it up to her extreme intelligence getting in the way of her people skills.
Once through the opening, the rest would be easy. He flipped down his night vision goggles and leaned closer, looking for any movement. Bogies could be a problem, but security wasn’t expected on this floor again for another hour and a half. They started at the top and worked their way down before doing it all again.
“Clear. I’m going in.”
Cole pushed off from the buildling and angled his swing to glide in through the opening. As he passed the glass, he pressed the lever on his harness and lengethend his rope, landing with a soft thud on the thin carpet. Immediately, the overpowering rush of wind disappeared and the quiet of the room filled his senses.
“Schematic shows the safe room is through the door, go to your right. The third door on your left.”
“Got it.” Cole nodded out of habit and wished he hadn’t. The world never looked quite right through the green haze of night vision.
Stealthy and confident, he traced his way across the room, avoiding desks and holiday decorations. The glass door showed dim light filled the hall. He removed his goggles just before reaching them and then leaned against the wall. “You’re sure the cameras are done?”
“No,” Brick replied with that sarastic tone he reserved for Cole, “I left ’em on so you could spend your time dancing with security guards and their pets.”
“Gee, thanks, Brick. I knew you’d make this easy for me.” Cole imagined Hooper and Molly exchanging an eye roll.
He stepped out in the hall and after a quick glance at the security cameras in the ceiling, spaced at even intervals, he dashed on silent feet down the length to the third door on the left. “‘High Voltage’? You sure this is the right door?”
A crackle followed by a second of silence answered, and then Brick said, “Huh. Must be a ploy to keep people out. I’m . . . 99.634 percent sure.”
Raising an eyebrow, Cole shook his head. “All right. Here goes nothing.”
The security pad next to the door required a badge to open it, but he’d been unable to steal one, so they’d decided to go the old-fashioned route and break into the reader to disarm it and use a little brute force to open the door. Hooper promised he’d made sure breaking the security entry feature wouldn’t set off any alarms. Apparently, Gendyne Systems hadn’t taken the time or resources to update that feature yet.
He used his cutting tool to remove the card reader from the wall and took a little satisfaction in the sizzle of plastic as the cover melted away. Once that was gone, he sprayed it and–
Bleep, bleep, bleep!
“Brick! What is going on?”
“Uh, Hooper says maybe they did update the security on this door.”
“No, really?” Cole scrambled to get to the chip inside and hit it with the focused electromagnetic pulse. The door clicked, but he still needed to unlock the secondary security. Without time for fancy stuff, he grabbed the small explosive from his belt and stuck it next to the door handle.
“Sorry, Cole!” Hooper hopped on the mic and wailed into in ear. “I totally missed that one. My bad.”
“Um yeah, you could say that.” Cole ran down the hall five feet and braced himself. “We’ll talk about it when I get back.” He pressed the button for the explosive and shook with the blast, doing a quick step to stay on his feet before he ran back down to the now unlocked door, hanging from one hinge and smoking from the bomb residue.
“Elevator’s on the move. You gotta be quick, CD. They were only down five floors.”
“Brick, can’t you stop it?” Cole spoke while he worked his way into the dark room, gun drawn, night vision back in place.
“Give me a sec. Working on it.”
Cole looked down every isle of tall servers. “C’mon. Where is it?”
“Got it!” Brick’s triumphant tone wasn’t all the reassuring. “They’re between one and two floors down, and I disabled the door. They’ll have to climb to get to you. I’ll try to keep them in shaft.”
“Yes!” Cole saw the nondescript gray door and dashed down the aisle. He placed his ear to the door and then yelled. “Stay back!”
He had one explosive left and used it in quick order. The door flew on its hinges but didn’t come off this time. It slammed open with a loud crack and revealed exactly what Cole had come for.
Her eyes blazed, but it was the bruise on her cheek, just above the gag running around her head that caught his attention. Cole’s fists clenched, but without time to stop and consider how much of this was his fault, he moved forward and started undoing Gwen’s bonds.
He got to her mouth first.
“You! How did I know you were behind this!”
“It wasn’t my fault,” he mumbled.
“It so totally is your fault, you big dumb stupid liar!”
“Okay, it’s my fault.” He kept working, cutting away the zip ties holding her hands and feet in place. “You were right. I’m not innocent, but I’ll get you out of here. You just have to trust me.”
She huffed, but he could see her near tears as she rubbed her raw wrists, so he didn’t push her for a response. When she took his hand, that was a relief.
“Let’s go. I’m going to give you a crash course in how to fly.”
“Uh, man,” Brick said in his ear, “I don’t think ‘crash’ and ‘fly’ should be in the same sentence.”
And that’s the end of that! I hope you enjoyed following Cole on his little adventure into the heart of Gendyne Systems. This is my story for December’s Blog Battle! If you’d like to read more stories using this month’s word, Innocent, then you can head over here: https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/12/10/blogbattle-stories-innocent/
PS sorry I went over the 1000 word limit! I hope that doesn’t detract from the story for you.