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EternalPhoenix

What Happens In The Shadows

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The Red Rat

 

"Am I a people person?" wondered the Rat, aloud. It was an interesting question. She was paranoid, in a sense. On the run, the life of a spy, head on a swivel. Deeply ingrained from so many pressures over so many years. The question made her think. 

 

"I'd like to be a people person" she replied, honestly. "I would like to trust. But sometimes, trust gets you killed. Or worse" she replied, just as honestly. "But I guess you have to put your faith in something, or somebody, or you end up cold and empty..."

 

"But I think what you mean is can I handle people. Sometimes. People aren't exactly predictable...but sure, I'm a spy. Of sorts. I can do the talking!"

 

"And I don't trust our employer either. We need to find out what this place is hiding. Are you with me? It may not be...exactly...legal..."

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While the others may have killed time with conversation the Black Mamba waited with the patience of a hunter of many decades, somewhere hard to be spotted but with an easy run towards any of the walls that he might need to smash through to get inside. Even as he did so Akhona linked to the internet, and some less obvious electronic boards, trolling for information even as she scanned the building very thoroughly.

 

A little while later her voice slid into the commiunicators of those in the 'team'.

 

++Seems there was a Dr. Tomas Rojero that may have been 'borrowed' from another company.  A big push in R&D through his acquisition means that he, or his research, might be the target. We also have a lot of radio proofing on the first floor and basement. Floor number five and the sub-basement are completly sealed off. Sadly that means we have two targets, sub-basement and floor number five, as far apart as can be just about.++

 

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Red Rat

 

Picking up on Akhona's communication signal was easy enough for SLAVE, and fortunately SLAVE was being helpful - or at least non-obstructive. It seemed the Soviet computer in her head was running smoothly; perhaps because it seemed they were fighting Capatilist corruption. 

 

++Interesting! Dr Tomas Rojero...we best keep a look out for him, or his reasearch...And even if there are two targets, that's a darn sight better than the whole building. I agree, anything sealed under that kind of shielding is going to be the target, or at least very likely to be...++

 

Of course, in the world of spycraft, be it political or corperate, it was always possible that false targets were put up, and the real target was in plain sight. But thinking too much like that was madness; one just had to keep an open mind. 

 

"Venom, lets try the fifth floor first" she whispered to the man himself. "Probably more exposed than the sub-basement. And keep your eyes peeled!"

 

 

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"sounds about right...lets go!" and with that he moved with remarkably more energy than he had yet displayed, it had all been part of his persona as venomax that he was lethargic and curt but now the hunt was on he raced forth like a striking scorpion or snake towards the cause of the action, it would add to his mystique...or so he thought, building a personal legend in this strange world he'd dove head first into was paramount to his success as a hero, the ability to strike fear into the hearts of criminals would be more potent than any venom and with far less....ethical questions involved too.

 

"elevator?" he asked, reasoning that whilst it would only take one use of a keycard to make the trip on the elevator it might've taken two uses by the stairwell...one to enter and one to leave! or so he thought.

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Venomax had it right. The fifth floor was quiet, but not dark. The hallways were lit. There were no visible windows. The hallways led to alcoves, in which the desks of secretaries sat silently. They were expensive; the kind of desk an executive in a different company might have for themselves. Behind these alcoves were doors with card scanners. There were only eight alcove and door combinations, and the corner ones were clearly the biggest on the inside.

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The Red Rat

 

"Eight choices...." whispered the Rat to Venomax. "And not a lot to choose from...."

 

She imagined the key cards they had would open the doors. Not a certain thing, but likely. But the cards only had a few "charges", and wild experimentation was a gamble at best. 

 

++Anokha...you picking up anything in the Ratcopter? Any chatter that might help? Fifth floor has eight sealed off rooms...and we don't know which one to pick....++

 

Not yet, anyway. 

 

She activated her green tinged cybernetic eyes. X-Ray vision, Infrared. Perhaps something would show up behind those mysterious doors! That is, unless they were lead-lined, which, knowing this corperation, was surely a possibility!

Edited by Supercape

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Akhona adjusted all of the Ratcopters formidable sensors, combined them with her own and scanned as well as she spoke.

 

++I'm kind of hoping we won't have to choose. I'm simply trying to reduce the number of places we have to watch for when the attack happens. For now hold your position. I'm going to have Black Mamba slip into the basement and hang around in there. That way we have both areas covered with at least some kind of response force for when they attack. Then it's just a matter of waiting for the reinforcements to arrive....++

 

Her only concern, shared by her husband as he flew into the building again going through the rear door and into the basement level, was that the reinforcements wouldn't get there in time but they could only hope and they had multiple flying vehicles to use as back up if needed...even if they would be firing through walls.

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The Red Rat

 

Lead! They sure are paranoid!

 

Alert! Lead lined walling preventing Superior Soviet Scanning! commented SLAVE, unhelpfully although lamentably accurately. 

 

Her X Ray vision was effectively useless. Still, she thought, the mere fact that they had taken such precautions was interesting and telling. Something, surely, was up! 

 

More usefully, Infrared scanning did make out some blurred heat signatures of people working. She ignored the almost predictable activities of one of the offices (with two people engaging in what looked like carnal activiities). The interesting stuff, as far as she could see, was the corner office with three heat signatures, arguing something or another. They looked important. 

 

++Akhona, heads up...I'm getting imaging of three people arguing in the corner office in front of me....can you pick anything up?++

 

"Venomax, I think we should try the office in front of us..." she whispered carefully to Venomax. It was a calculated gamble, but in her mind everything was a calculated gamble right now. 

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Giving a silent nod of approval to this plan venomax takes a moment to rotate his gauntlets chambers with a soft click before advancing towards the office and sliding his card through the reader and rapidly pushing his way into the office with gauntlets raised and ready!

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The pacing man appeared vaguely Hispanic. The seated person was a female secretary. Behind the desk, obviously, was an executive. Male, of course. There was no nameplate on the desk. Evidently, if you were invited into this office, you knew who worked in it. Speaking of the uninvited, the sudden entrance of Venomax alarmed both the secretary and pacing man. The executive didn’t bat an eyelash. “I believe you have the wrong office.” His voice was deep and effortlessly commanding. “Unless you’re invaded my office to ‘acquire’ Mister Rojero here. In which case, you have ten seconds before I contact security.”

 

Meanwhile, downstairs by the entrance to the basement, Black Mamba was having an encounter of his very own. Her hair was red, her eyes were green, and she was very short. This did not stop her from being stocky and well muscled. The battlesuited hero could tell even through her tactical gear. Interestingly, despite appearing to be a member of facility security (uniform and all), she was unarmed. Not even a knife. “Oh, hey. Good timing. You gotta be one those, what do they call them, consultants.” She smiled disarmingly. “Can I borrow you for a minute? I’m supposed to be keeping an eye on things out here, but I have got to pee. Do a girl a favor?”

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Mamba froze as the woman spoke, his battle senses hummed something was up, or maybe it was too long in this old tin can waiting. With a raised eyebrow she couldn't see Black Mamba's scanner slid over her as he used the eye that the fates had left him to look her over, something was up and he was fairly sure there wasn't anyone in this messed up building that he would actually trust. Crossing his black and gold metal arms he asked,"Really? A security guard who needs to pee? And there are no restrooms close to your station and you don't have a partner? They cutting back on costs for security in this building they seemed pretty set on beefing up security not cutting back?"

 

Over the connection to Akhona he broadcast silently++Something up, I got a guard who suddenly needs to pee...seems a little off. Distraction? Bad infiltration attempt?++

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The redhead frowned. “I’m as human as the next girl. Everybody needs to go sometimes, or did you skip that lesson in school?” She wasn’t annoyed, per se. Just…smart mouthed. “As for my partner,” She pressed the transmit button on the radio on her belt. “James, are you done yet? I know they needed your help down there, but I need a relief here and this outside contractor’s being all suspicious.”

 

The voice of whoever James was crackled over the radio. “Sorry, Seryn. They needed some help in the magic lab. I could be a while.”

 

Seryn looked at Black Mamba. “You see what I have to deal with? He knows one of us is supposed to be up here at all times and yet when she calls, he comes running.” She pushed the button again. “Don’t blame me if something bad happens.” She looked at the battlesuited hero again. “Look, I’m not peeing myself for this guy. Either you’re watching the basement door for me or nobody is. I really don’t care.” She opened the door to downstairs. “Bathroom’s at the bottom of the stairs if you need me.” She went through the door.

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Red Rat

 

"Acquire him?" asked the Rat, faux-shock. "I don't think so!"

 

She stepped forward, boldly. 

 

"We believe he is a potential security threat. We need to investigate" she said quietly. "Now, the risk is low, but given the particular sensitivities of this operation, we must take every precaution, don't you agree?" she continued. 

 

"I am sure we don't want this to take any longer than necessary. Dragging out the process is a potential delay in risk management, thus itself being a risk. And it looks obstructive" she added. "Which I am sure you are not, of course..."

 

"So unless your business with Mr. Rojero is of immidiate time sensitive nature, which we would need explanation of, then we would just need to ask him a few questions..."

 

 

Edited by Supercape

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Black Mamba sighed and nodded to her,"I'll cover, just make it quick." He kept his sensors tuned making sure he was still paying attention to what was going on.

 

He was still not pleased, there was something going on and he wasn't hapy about this kind of thing. Guard duty didn't suit him at all, he was an action man.

 

In the mean time Akhona was scanning the various frequencies available to her and the rat copter as she scanned for any kind of trouble.

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The executive gave the Rat a blank look. “You are a terrible liar.” He considered. “Still, it is obvious you are in need of a word with him. You didn’t break down my door, which means you have an access card that can open it.” He nodded. “I’ll allow you to speak with Mister Rojero. Here. Now. Anything you have to say to him you can say in front of me.” The secretary, evidently, didn’t count.

 

Black Mamba smelled something. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. There was a quiet sound, too. Something like…a crackling hiss. Neither was coming from his suit, obviously, but he couldn’t tell where otherwise. And maybe it was his imagination, anyway.

 

Akhona, for her part, actually picked up on a radio call.

 

The first speaker was a woman of almost indeterminate accent. “Zero.”

 

The second speaker couldn’t have been more Irish unless he was using actual Irish slang. “What can I do for you, love?”

 

“Exfil plan A is a no-go. Somebody caught wind. Probably Germuth. We’re using plan B.”

 

“Got it. Meet at the coffee shop, then?”

 

“Yes. Ghost Raven out.”

 

With her actual eyes, Akhona saw a van a block away from Nova Tech start driving away. The only thing weird about it was the precise timing to the end of the conversation, as even at 3 AM there was a small amount of traffic in Hanover.

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Red Rat

 

I'm a great liar! seethed the Rat inside. Still, it did not good to start that argument now. Even the best liars fell foul now and again. 

 

"You understand the situation perfectly" she lied, again, but did so with a smattering of truth and a smear of honesty. "I am sure Mister Rojeno will be interested in what we have to say, and we are most interested to hear what he has to say"

 

This was winging it, but that's what the situation called for, and that's what they needed to do. This was not the time for lost nerve, and she gave Venomax an encouraging wink. 

 

We're in....I think....she transmitted to Akhona. What's the situation outside?

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Posted (edited)

Vernon dispised rudeness he boiled under the surface with rage at this pompous stick figure of a man but he kept his cool now and remained silent as red rat did her thing.

 

For his part he continued to look around the office for signs of things being out of place.

Edited by Exaccus

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Black Mamba was surprised at the strange smell and sound, not sure whether it was the inside of the suit or something else, to be safe he scanned the area with his radar and wondered where the young lady was who was supposed to be going to the toilet. He hoped she was okay.

 

Akhona on the other hand froze at the radio call, frowning she radioed to the others ++Following a signal, we've disrupted one attempt, but there is a second enroute. Will touch base as needed.++

 

With that she guided the Rat Copter into the air, following the van at a height it would have trouble spotting them in the night to see where it went and what she could listen to with the Rat copter's scanner...this could prove dangerous but she knew Mamba was a short flight away.

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The van wasn’t in any hurry to get to where it was going. The driver pulled into a parking space two blocks down the road from where they were. This was a coffee bar. It was closed now, obviously. Two men got out. The driver was tall and thin, with dark hair. The passenger was short and stocky, with blonde hair and a large beard. They went into the coffee bar, as apparently the tall man had a key. Soft lighting came on inside.

 

******************************************************

 

Venomax’s attention to his surroundings caused him to notice something rather surprising. The secretary was no longer in the office. She had disappeared without a sound.

 

Meanwhile Rojero looked at the executive, who nodded. His accent was that of a native born Spanish speaker, though tempered by many years of English fluency and residency. “Is there some way that I can help you?” His words betrayed a sllght nervousness.

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"Where'd your secretary go?" Venomax was not one for for give and take in conversation, pertinent statements about his observations tended to be his trump card against liars.

 

Catching them off balance and making them stumble worked wonders for catching them out he'd found.

 

"How did she get out of the room without going past me?"

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Akhona was happy to stay above the building, between the rat copters abilities and her own abilities she planned on trying to figure out what was going on inside. If there was someway she could hack a computer, or phone in the building and listen in to what they were saying she would do so. Whatever it took to find out what these people were planning next would help them stop them. She also paused long enough to send her coordinates to Black Mamba, that way if something happened to her he'd have a place to start searching.

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The Red Rat

 

Start with ambigiouty!

 

"We are more interested in helping you!" she said to the mysterious Mr Rojero, who triggered her rat-sense!

 

What was her rat-sense? Was it some super power? Some extra sensory ability that allowed her to sense danger? or cheese?

 

No, it was that gut feeling every spy got about danger and deception. Unfortunately, it was not very discriminative, as her rat-sense was triggered by pretty much everyone, including her own reflection. 

 

"We understand you have some difficulties, and we can help. Any difficulties. Any help. Including legal ones. And, hypothetically, things that do not fall under those parameters" she said as opening gambit. 

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The executive simply looked at Venomax. “That was not my secretary. You must assume everyone is who they appear to be.” His disdain was almost a physical presence in the room. “And as for how she went past you, until a moment ago you weren’t even looking at her. Certain people find it quite easy to sneak past the unobservant. That, and you aren’t exactly standing in the doorway.”

 

As that sunk in properly, Rojero spoke. “No, I am fine. There are no…difficulties. My superior wished to speak with me and so here I am.” He was both shaken by the sudden disappearance and a terrible liar.

 

******************************


The smell grew stronger, and was now obviously coming from the doorway. Black Mamba recognized it, almost. From the creation of his armor. Acrid, and vaguely warm. The scent of metal burning in acid. A look through it would reveal that the stairs had been coated in acid at some point, but it was all but gone now. The stairs were concrete, but the rails were steel. They were also completely ruined. Pitted and scorched, they were obviously structurally compromised and would probably collapse with the next bit of weight on them.

 

*******************************

 

There were both computers and a phone line in the coffee bar. Smartphones, if the two had any, were  not registering. Hacking anything in the coffee bar was a snap for someone of Akhona’s skill, but the conversation was anything but illuminating. They were discussing European football. Well…more like having a…spirited debate over who the best player was. One of the machines was running, preparing coffee.

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The Red Rat

 

"No problems at all. You must be the first person in the universe to have no problems" said the Rat, getting steel into her voice. She quite fancied pulling a Rat-gun on him, until she realised a microsecond later that the Rat-guns were still in the Rat-copter. 

 

Never mind. Venomax could hit hard and if need be, she could kick his ass. She hoped. 

 

"What's your secret? Don't lie to me. You have already demonstrated quite well that you are quite incapable of lying" she said, taking a step closer to him...

Edited by Supercape

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Using his scanner to reach out ahead of him Mamba started to move towards the staircase, and where the smell was coming from, he suspected that there was definitely some funny business going on and he wanted to get to the bottom of it.

 

Walking slowly he moved towards the stairs, the acid, and whatever had put the two together.

 

*******************************

 

Akhona had learned long ago that patience was often better than all the tech she could assemble, so she waited, listened, and waited. There was little else to do, wait here with the possible suspects or go back and wait for something to happen at the site...either one involved waiting.

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