Web of Chaos
Jolting up in bed, Diesel realized there would be workers going to fix the robots from the Legerdemain warehouse the G.E factions used as a meeting place. That attack could have set the G.E back years. There would be infighting for positions of power.
“Oh well,” he thought, “I just have to worry about my guys and do my own thing till I’m contacted.“
Diesel got out of bed, energized to get a plan into action.
On board the America, Gill strolled to the bay area. In the bay, Melissa put on her Yellowjacket helmet, and the wings unfolded from her back. A MA machine with many specialized arms attached Gunnar’s large gun to his hip. Liam had his ESAR strapped to him, and he grabbed its handle, disengaging the gun’s safety. Cathan put on his gray and white, barn owl like helmet.
Alexander picked up his EPR. “We’re good to go?”
Gill walked over to him. “Yeah.”
“This is a rich area. They’re not going to like this.”
“We’ll have to deal with any fallout after we find the Arkvee and have proof of why we did what we did.”
“Ok, positions,” said Alexander raising his voice.
Martial Call lined up at the bay’s closed ramp. Gunnar, Liam, and Alexander attached rappelling lines to their exo-armor. The bay ramp opened, and wind rushed in buffeting them. In their exo-armors, they barely noticed the force of it.
The America hovered above an extraordinarily tall and shiny skyscraper surrounded by many other lustrous skyscrapers. Gunnar, Liam, and Alexander jumped. Melissa and Cathan flew out.
Going down to the top inhabited condominium apartment, yet two hundred and fifty-nine floors above the ground, Melissa and Cathan blasted out a large section of the glass side. The few people inside ran for their lives. Descending fast, Gunnar, Liam, and Alexander swung into the building each releasing their rappelling line in a smooth motion.
Melissa and Cathan flew down to the ground, leaving the others behind.
Onboard the America, Gill watched everything through Martial Call’s exo-armor helmets. Checking every face to see if they’re ID’ed as G.E.
A tiny drone released from Cathan’s exo-armor and hovered twenty-feet above the street observing the building’s parking garage exit. Melissa and Cathan rocketed inside.
Alexander searched on the top floor. Liam went down a level, and Gunnar hurried down two floors.
Inside the garage, a large hole descended down with cars stored all around the sides. Cathan flew to the bottom and found a stairwell. Descending a few floors below the parking garage the scanners in his helmet picked up racks of servers behind one door. With no handle on the door, he did not bother with the touchpad next to it. Blasting a hole big enough for his gauntleted hand, he yanked the door right off its hinges.
Entering, he plugged his exo-armor into one of the many routers’ massive array of Ethernet ports.
Gill accessed the skyscraper’s LAN, taking over its security. Cathan unplugged from the router and headed back up to the parking garage. Most everyone in the building did not know anything was going on yet.
On the Top floor, Alexander rushed down three stories. A minute later Liam hurried down to the level below Alexander.
Gill set an AI to search for the Alacrity through the parking garage’s video for that day. The well of cars did not have cameras, and Melissa searched for the Alacrity in it. When the video showed the Alacrity entering the parking garage, the AI alerted Gill. Watching the footage, Gill saw when the person got out of the vehicle, and the parking machine lifted the Alacrity to store it in the well. Gill used facial recognition to search with all the building’s cameras. He also set an AI to search through all the security footage from that time forward. It logged every instance of ID’ing the man onto a 3D map of the building, showing the paths they had taken.
Finding the man’s office, Gill alerted Alexander to its location.
Ordering Liam to head there, Alexander rushed to the office and ordered Gunnar to stake out the floor below the condominiums.
Cathan stayed hidden, keeping an eye on the place the parking machine would bring the cars back to. Some people came into the garage and hurried to their cars being deposited all ready for their arrival. Most of them turned their heads in sudden jerking movements looking about and sweating before getting into their expensive vehicles.
A few people trickled into the garage at a time, and soon the stream of people increased.
Melissa found an Alacrity the right color and sat on top of the car, waiting for the machine to collect it.
Word must have gotten around, and a crowd built up waiting for the machine to bring them their car.
On the security cameras, Gill’s spotted the man leaving his office, and an AI returned an identification. Gill alerted Melissa to Senator Bai’s attempt to flee and directed her and Cathan to the correct elevator.
Melissa and Cathan flew past the crowd. The crowd screamed and ducked, then scattered.
On the elevator, Senator Bai got a call and tried to stop the elevator to get off. But Gill prevented the elevator from stopping on any floor that was not the parking garage. The Senator leaned against the elevator wall hunching over and hyperventilating.
The elevator made it down to the parking garage, and the doors slid open. Upon seeing Melissa and Cathan in their exo-armor, the Senator trembled.
“Exit the elevator,” said Melissa.
Senator Bai stepped forward wobbling. “It wasn’t me. They gave me no choice.”
Cathan scanned him. “He has no weapons.”
“Scramble,” said Melissa.
“What?” The Senator glanced at Melissa.
A hologram projection came from Cathan and surrounded them, obscuring the view of them in a blurry, pixelated mess.
“Turn around Senator,” said Melissa.
“Please don’t kill me,” said the Senator crying and beginning to kneel.
“Don’t kneel. We’re going for a little ride.” Melissa grabbed onto the Senator, and they flew out of the parking garage; the Senator screeching in fear.
An energized, hyped up Wendy ran outside and got into Jonah’s car.
“Sorry about the late pickup this morning. We weren’t approved access to the building until late,” said Jonah.
“No problem.” But Wendy did have a hard time waiting. Once underway she relaxed somewhat.
Not much later they arrived at the Legerdemain warehouse. The doors were open, and people paraded in and out. Surprised the outside of the building looked undamaged, Wendy expected a scene like a bomb had gone off or something.
Going inside they saw the scorched and broken robots.
“Now this is more like it,” thought Wendy. “But people got hurt here. I hope they’re ok.“
A man carried a robot arm out past her, and she saw blood caked onto it.
“I guess not,” said Wendy feeling queasy.
“Ok. First, we need to find which ones have been set aside for us to fix on site,” said Jonah looking around.
Another man carried junk out, and Jonah stopped them. “Do you know where the machines being left here are being placed?”
“Oh, sure. By the lunch room… that way,” said the man pointing.
Walking over to the lunch room they saw a bunch of robots lined up against the wall and destroyed ones scattered around the area.
A different man walked up to them and spoke to Jonah. “They want the manufacturing machines checked out first.” He pointed at a large stationary machine nearby. “The clients want them delivered as soon as possible. The robots aren’t going anywhere.”
“Ok,” said Jonah.
Diesel walked past behind them. Looking them up and down.
Wendy and Jonah inched over to the nearest couch making machine. They did not have much hope for the BTG-01141990 pockmarked with plasma and bullet holes.
“See if you can connect to it, and if you can, you know what to do. I’m going to check this one.” Jonah strolled over to an identical machine.
Jonah finished working on the one machine and Diesel approached him. “There’s one upstairs they want fixed.”
“Ok… Wendy. I’m going upstairs. I’ll be back. Just check another one if you finish up there.”
Jonah followed Diesel to an elevator.
Opening a side panel on the BTG-01141990, Wendy found and removed a damaged piece. She placed an order for a new part and put the panel back on. She headed over to a different machine to run a diagnostic test on.
The WIFI did not connect to the machine, and Wendy sighed. Plugging into the Ethernet port did not work either, nor did the USB. She headed to the elevator. She thought, “I guess I should spend more time figure this out before bothering him for the answer I’m sure he knows.” Going back, Wendy checked for a physical reason the machine wouldn’t connect.
Not much later Jonah came back down.
“Done already?” Wendy looked over to Jonah.
“Yeah. Just a maintenance robot they wanted fixed to help them clean up. A ribbon cable just came loose.”
“That cable being loose wouldn’t have affected its ability to navigate. That’s what they said was always wrong with that one. But I couldn’t find any problems with the navigation software, servos, or sensors.
Later in the day most of the workers had left. One guy working on the damaged floor turned off the machine he used to fix it. He strolled past Jonah and past Wendy. “Good night. Guess I’ll finish up tomorrow.”
“Good night,” said Wendy and Jonah in unison.
Diesel showed up. “I have a small favor to ask. One more robot. I’m sure it’ll be a quick fix for you.”
“Can’t it wait till tomorrow? Everyone’s going home.”
“A few of us are going to work late. You’re still here. I’m sure you know what it’s like to be a hard-working man.”
Diesel walked off, and Jonah followed him to the back of the warehouse.
Wendy felt something wasn’t right but also wondered if it was fatigue getting to her. She left her stuff and followed Jonah.
Hearing Jonah yell, she ran to find him. She saw Diesel and three other guys trying to drag Jonah out the back door. Jonah thrashed about and kicked, accomplishing nothing beyond making it harder on the guys to get through the doorway.
Running at them, Wendy jumped and screamed, punching Diesel in the face.
Caught off guard by someone who had to jump up just to punch his jaw, Diesel stumbled back. He smiled and grabbed Wendy by the hair with his right hand. “Come on. You should have left well enough alone. One of you was going to be good enough.”
Wendy screamed, kicked Diesel in the shin, and punched his right elbow.
“Awh, jeez.” But Diesel did not release his grip on her and yanked her hard. Every time she tried to hit him, he would jerk her, knocking her off balance.
The other three guys got Jonah into the back of a small truck. One guy held Jonah in place while two of them came to the rear edge of the truck and hauled a screaming thrashing Wendy in.
She slammed the back of her head into one guy’s face. Hollering, he let go of Wendy to cover his bloody nose. Slamming her foot down on the foot of the other guy holding her, she yanked to break away, but the guy kept his grip on her. Twisting around, Wendy slammed her knee into his crouch smashing his balls. He dropped to the floor with a scream of pain. The whole time Diesel laughed his head off. The bloody nose guy grabbed Wendy and shoved her to the front of the truck.
“We need their brains to work. So no damaging them too much.” Diesel poked a touchpad on the truck, and the sliding door came down.
Onboard the America, Senator Bai pleaded with Gill. “Contact Anlon. Tell him I’ll do anything he wants. The G.E know you have me. You have to protect my daughter.”
“As long as you work with me I’ll keep an eye on your family. Anlon has been sent a report. He’s a busy man. If he wants to contact you directly, he will. In the meantime, you will remain here and deal with me and only me.”
Gill got up and left the room, heading to the bridge. He sat next to Alexander. “We don’t have much new information to go on. The G.E were just using him to smuggle in the equipment they wanted. Like the ship. But he doesn’t appear to know any details.”
“Hopefully he’s the only one they had in their back pocket, and it’ll be much harder for them to get anything else down to Earth’s surface.”
“In the meantime, we’ll be heading west. I uploaded the coordinates to the ship.”
Gill received a message from Yori Sato, the agent he sent to investigate the G.E attack on the apartment complex in Harrowgate Philadelphia. “I have tracked the Rephaim spotted on the CCTV cameras. One dead found so far. Orders? 📎Harrowgate_report”
Gill thought out a reply. “Observe only. Be aware a large exo-armor the G.E have may have been a Rephaim model. Any connection is unknown. A SWAT team will apprehend the Rephaim. I told the local authorities to stay out of the G.E case. They may not take kindly to you after I involve them again.“
His Aivot sent the message.
Not having eaten for a long time, Snorri tried his best to think of a plan. He managed to get the exo-armor on without a MA assisting him.
The helmet picked up a sound, showing him the direction it came from and identifying the sound as footsteps coming closer.
Snorri powered the exo-armor all the way up and walked out of the room to face whoever came into the building. He didn’t want to die hungry, but he figured he may as well go all out. A simple plan formed in his mind. He would take as many as he could with him.
Copyright Conrad Brubaker 2018