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Copyright ©2013 Black Arrow
"I work here," I answered feebly knowing that would not suffice, but it was the best response I had at the moment.
"Yeah, sure. So explain what it is you're doing on the seventeenth floor when the cleaner on shift should be working floors three to six?", he said in a very matter of fact tone. No room for argument evident in his voice.
I took a significant gulp trying to swallow the uncharacteristically huge lump that had hardened in my throat. Now was not the time to choke. I had a job to do.
"I-I...listen man I just wanna do my job and get paid. I heard the top floors were larger and so the wages would be better," I said with a slight shrug of my shoulders.
He regarded me intensely for a never ending period, not seeming to buy a word I had said. The waiting for his response was slowly grinding my nerves raw. I think I would much rather have him use that gun and shoot at me than study me as closely as he was. Minutes seemed to pass by as I was subjected to his scrutiny. He hadn't changed his stance a bit, which would have been indicative of any backing down on his part. He knew I was way out of line even being here, ambition aside, the small firm holding the tender would have briefed all their employees beforehand not to attempt such stunts.
"Alright, show me some ID," he said still with the same cold expression, but his shoulders weren't as tense as before. I took a needed breath of relief and removed the ID card hanging around my neck and approached him carefully-innately aware not to make any abrupt movements which could startle him. He hadn't dropped his guard completely. In fact his eyes still said he didn't trust my story.
I handed him the card and he made sure to distance himself from me while he assessed its authenticity. He's eyes were focused down at the laminated card but I still couldn't strike him. He was smart enough to distance himself too, well outside of my striking range. He'd see it coming. This was increasingly maddening. My fate was no longer in my hands. How this would all go down depended solely on his next course of action.
"Okay listen here Lopez. I don't know where you worked before and I don't care. But around here we have procedures that get followed by everybody. Yourself included. They say you work three to six. Then you fucking work three to six and not get any funny ideas about scoring an extra buck. I should call this shit in and get your ass fired," he said pretty much spitting the words at me. That worried me, because if he called it in there would be more people involved. More people who are aware of my presence. Deeper investigation would prove me to be a fraud. I could not afford that to happen.
"Look man, I'm sorry. I'm new and I just thought I could impress the boss. Please... I need this gig, I can't disappoint my employers," I said in a desperate plea. Which wasn't a lie by any measure because I did not wish to disappoint my bosses in the least. This mission was major. It could prove to be a game changer when the cards eventually fell and I could possibly be behind that play. I knew the premise of this assignment was to divide and conquer. The evidence I was retrieving would serve as the proverbial knife that severed US ties with some of their trusted supporters.
He was in the process of lifting the black device to his lips and speaking into the radio. I had to stop him...but how? He was armed and still a reasonable distance away from me. This situation was fast progressing from bad to worse.
"Wait! Please man, I need this job...please I'll just hurry down to the lower levels. No one has to know I was ever up here. Please, please hasn't anyone given you a break?" I pleaded to a sad extent. I was practically groveling at this man's feet and that disgusted me.
"Don't beg...that's just pathetic," he said wrinkling his nose at me as if I had some foul odor or something.
He continued to eye me for a little while before his face returned to the cold unreadable expression he had from before.
"Fine. Take this," he said handing back my ID card.
"And don't let me see your sorry face again," he said as he walked past me to the security door located just behind me.
That split second he took his eyes off of me was all I needed. I unclasped his gun from its harness with a vipers speed and turned to face him with the gun held up at him. The realization of the situation took some time to play out on his face. He went from shock to anger in a couple of seconds.
"You no good son of a b- ,"
"Uh uh . Careful now, you don't have the gun anymore," I said, cutting him off from any more obscenities he could throw in my direction.
"The fuck you want? There is no fucking money around here. Just a bunch of geek papers," he said in an attempt to figure out what was happening to him.
"See, that's exactly what I'm after... a bunch of `geek' papers. Now get on your knees," I said to him in a stern voice.
He looked at me challengingly not believing I could actually harm him.
"Do as I say and you won't get hurt. I do know how to use this. What is this? A Glock 17? Semi-automatic?" I asked him. More of a statement than a question really, since I knew that's exactly what make it was. My knowledge of firearms was consistently drilled into my subconscious years ago. Not to mention that I was sort of a connoisseur, I marveled at their make and elegance so my previous statement was never arguable. I did that to show him I wasn't to be taken lightly. I had no qualms shooting at him. Really. None.
I saw the recognition on his face as he slowly lowered himself to the floor.
"Drop your radio and key card and push them toward me. Slowly, very slowly," I instructed him. I just found my way around the pesky surprise door. Thanks entirely to another unwelcomed surprise.
"Now turn around," I stated.
"What? No way so you can shoot me."
"Dude, whether you look into the barrel or not, it doesn't change the fact that I could shoot you ... but your co-operation does. Now turn around," replied evenly.
He gave me a deathly stare. Have to hand it to him. Most men would have cowered ages ago and shown several shades of fear. Not him, he was intent on being defiant. Going down with his dignity still intact. He did as I said. I watched as he shuffled on his knees to turn around. That being completed to my satisfaction I slowly walked up behind him.
"See, not that bad. Now, I am a man of my word. I won't shoot you" I said as I raised the gun. He served his purpose and now it was time to dispose of him. I aimed the gun at his head then quickly and forcefully brought it down onto the base of his neck. He went down with no struggle.
I said I wouldn't shoot him, and I didn't. I collected his radio and keycard then proceeded to move his unconscious body into the janitor's room I had unlocked just a few minutes ago in my former panic. I laughed at that memory now. He sure had made things interesting. Pulling him by his arms was no easy task. He was a rather large man, over 6ft5 tall. He was relatively bulky, not all muscle but he wasn't overweight either. Then there was the problem of the room only being 4ft by 4ft in surface area. So I had to find a way to place this man so he could fit inside without his limbs spilling out the door. I disarmed his unused weapon and threw the empty gun back into the room with him.
Once that was completed, I stepped out and locked the door. Someone would find him in the morning and he'd get treatment for that headache he'd surely suffer from.
First on my list: I had to remove the damn itchy mustache. Wiping my upper lip with the back of my hand, I hoped I wouldn't get a rash from it.
I dug out a small plastic case from my cleaning cart. I opened it up and started the quick work of assembling my own handgun. It was mainly made of polymers and had a lot more punch to it than the basic firearm the guard was carrying. I dexterously loaded the gun and stuffed it into the back of my pants. I extracted a small empty back pack and filled it up with a few things I had in my cart for later, then swung it over my shoulders.
"Okay Dario, I found a way past the door. If there's anything else you could have missed, now would be the time to share," I deadpanned as I completed my emancipation of druggy garb by removing the ball cap from my head and releasing my dark hair which was held captive. Done with all the corrections, I adjusted my earpiece to a more comfortable position so I could still hear my informant.
"A comedian...nice. No. From that passage move straight down and take the first right. It should lead you to a stairwell. One floor up is the central security room. Be warned, that place is like a fortress once sealed, you can't force entry," he finished.
I used my new security clearance to make my way past the thick doors and stalked my way through the short corridor. Like Dario said, it was a quick walk to the stairwell. It winded up in a circular fashion all the way to the roof. The railings were of steel and the stairs themselves were made of worn concrete. I adjusted the strap of my backpack as I hurried up the stairs. I looked down at my watch because it was very important that I made it in and out of that room well between shift changes. Now I had under half an hour to get that done.
I looked up as I cleared the last few stairs towards a landing, the white solid door read eighteen. That's where I was headed.
"Okay eighteenth, what's it look like behind this door?" I asked Dario over my com-link.
It's rather messy, the room you looking for is at the center of the floor but the hallway right in front of you won't lead you there. They designed this floor specifically to keep unwanted people out. Of the eight passageways in and around the floor, only four will end at the security room-from what I can make out on these blueprints. Hey, look out the northern window-"
"Hold on," I said as I drew my gun and slowly pulled the door towards me. There was a lot more light coming in from the inside as opposed to the much dimmer stairwell I had come from. The area was different from the rest of the building I had witnessed.
The building is made up of twenty-four floors. The big wigs and executives taking up the upper four floors. Exiting the stairwell, I was looking down a large T-junction. It was made up of small offices with names on plaques plastered next to the many doors, clearly middle management. The offices were empty but the lights were kept on- I must be on the right floor.
"Okay what about the window?" I asked.
"Look outside the window. See if you can spot the old rail road. Keep it in sight as you move. Don't go down any other passage. It won't seem like you're going to any place in particular but just stay on it," Dario instructed. It was clear I was supposed to use the landmark as a point of reference. Like a true north within the labyrinth.
I did as he said and sure enough I could see the railway from up here. It was illuminated by the yellow glow of streetlamps. There were several doors and halls to follow but I knew to stay on the outside and keep my eyes on the railway and cautiously made my way deeper into the floor.
At some point I felt like I was walking in circles and that Dario had been mistaken or they had switched up the layout of the building again. I was certain I would be walking into a dead end. If that indeed proved to be the case, I would be so freakin'pissed. For some unknown reason I felt like I was walking down an incline but it was so subtle I had almost missed it. I wanted to start backtracking to one of the passages that looked promising when I reached a rather large doorway. I knew I had reached my destination. The threshold was large and led to a deeper passage. The word passage was putting it mildly; it resembled more of a cavern and was a stark contrast to the rest of the surrounding block.
The floor was bare cement and the temperature was actually slightly colder. Dim white-blue hues illuminated the stone walls. The floor visibly sloped downwards. I thought that there was some crafty engineering going on in this building before but now I was gob smacked as I moved further into the area. This region however reminded me more of a tunnel than any hallway I had seen before.
As I stalked down the eerie passage, I could hear a rhythmic ticking going off which only got louder as I got closer to the end. I finally reached the end of the walk and pressed my back against the wall. The area opened up into a large space, sort of like a garage.
The security room was a circular dome at the center of this large cavern. It large windows that ran all along the room's circumference. What I had been searching for was a mere stone's throw away. I peered round the corner and quickly pulled back. How was I going to just walk up to that room undetected? They had a nearly panoramic view of their surroundings.
I remained crouched in my concealed position. I could count four men within the room. They were in the midst of a boisterous conversation of some sort. I could roughly make out some of their banter from here. They didn't seem like the kind that got too much action. They were far too relaxed. Even so, my nifty new key card wouldn't help me get in because they would see me coming.
The keycard lock was located near the door. It is in clear sight from any angle within the room. If I got caught trying to get into this room, it wouldn't take long for the people involved to figure out what I was after. This mission would be defunct. The documents would be moved to an unknown and probably more secure location. My clean track record would be history. I wasn't about to let that happen.
I scanned the surrounding area and I realized what was making that odd ticking noise-it was the air vents running along the ceiling. They rattled under the pressure of their labors. That's when a smug smile crept on my face; I was struck with an idea. I scanned the area like a hawk and spotted what I needed. Eight feet away from me on the ground and out of sight from the guards was an air vent opening in a corner.
I got my back pack out and removed a small silver canister containing methyl propyl ether (Neothyl)-sleeping gas. It was a relatively small volume of gas. Not enough to take out the entire building but being positioned so close to the security room air supply should carry enough of it into the room to incapacitate the occupants. Laws of diffusion work with me- I silently prayed. The circular room was the first largest area per cubic feet the vents led to, so logically more of the gas undiluted should reach the area.
I eyed the occupants of the room warily one more time before slinking away on my belly like a serpent. It was important to stay as close to the ground as possible as to remain out of sight. The dim lighting of the `garage-like' dome worked to my advantage too. Add in the fact that my charcoal colored uniform doubled as camouflage. Using my forearms I slithered progressively and closed in on my target.
I watched the door closely before working on prying the vent open. It had two screws keeping it closed. I reached into my back pocket and pulled out an all-purpose pocket knife. With the right screwdriver, I eased the screws out .
I was slightly antsy because to work on the vent meant to have my back facing the room. I already had one person sneak up behind me tonight. I doubt I would be doubly lucky in that regard. After smoothly removing the covering grid, I placed the seven inch canister inside and rolled away to my original spot. The canister was remote controlled so I didn't have to manually activate it.
I sat with my back bolt upright against the wall and eyed the workers milling about the room. I needed to get this done quickly in case they grew anxious over the absence of the guy I had disarmed earlier. I made a small mental countdown just to ready myself for the most critical part of my assignment: I had to lay siege of that control center. I had been flying blind for the better part of this mission for the first time ever. Prior to this I always had Dario as my eyes and ears. This time round though, his influence was limited until I could get him control of that particular room.
Once he gained remote access over their cyber network, he'd make short work of deactivating all security protocols and devices on the reserved floors. The upper floors security was independent yet not exclusive from the overall frame. The main purpose of this watch tower was to monitor the numerous thermal-scanners, cameras and pressure senses they had booby-trapped all over that region. It was a heavy guarded and equipped area so instead of working against it we were working with it. Dario would be able to reprogram it to our advantage and I could get the job done quicker.
Nerves in check, I pushed the detonator and the canister let out a small hissing sound and I knew the gas was steadily being deposited into the air vents. The compact gas mask I had in my bag wasn't the most comfortable and I swear it obscured my vision somewhat, but it would have to do. I smoothed my hair back and covered my head with the black mask and began my wait.
The gas was colorless and odorless. They should be sleeping in a matter of seconds. Thirty seconds up to a minute tops I estimated. I eyed my wrist watch pointedly before deeming it time to roll out a little after a minute. That was all it took for the room to become completely inactive. I peered around the corner to make sure the coast was clear before standing up and hurriedly making my way to the glass door. Key card in hand I swiped over the scanner. It let out a small beep and I walked in to see the men slumped over in various positions.
The room was lined with monitors and colored keyboards. A rainbow of colors assaulted my eyes as I studied the various equipment. All the large and elaborate circuitry had to be indicative of how much of the buildings defenses lay in here alone.
"Alright, I'm in," I spoke out then. My voice sounding awfully alien because of the damned gas mask I still had on.
"Good. Just open the server so I can begin my work on their firewalls. I'll need you to manually open the door for me."
I walk over to a chair that carried a sleeping gentleman in uniform. He was already drooling profusely over his blue uniformed shirt. I used my index finger to push him off the stool so I wouldn't have to make contact with any of his bodily fluids.
I sat back and marveled at all the LCD screens in front of me. Heck if I knew what they all did. I started in on the monitor closest to me.
"D, we have a problem... its password protected..." I mumble the last half of that sentence. Along with all the colored keyboards and blinking lights I spot my `saving grace'. A flat plastic device with a red led light flicking through. I didn't need a pin code; all I needed is a helping hand. Literally.
The finger print scanner just made my task all the more easier.
"Never mind. Identification in question is a thumbprint," I stated.
"Is it someone in the room?" Dario asked a little anxiously.
Well, one way to find that out. I hauled up the nearest guy and placed his arm over the table top so I could angle his thumb over the surface of the scanner. No response. I try it again...nothing. I let out a long groan and sigh in exasperation; there are four other guys in here.
Did I mention we were running on a schedule? I went through two more men with a similar and increasingly annoying outcome. As luck would have it, the very last guy is also the one I had purposefully put off. He was the largest in the room, with a hefty beer belly...and he was on the furthest end of the room. Resigning myself to my fate I got up and dragged him by his legs towards the console.
"Shadow, this is taking up time we don't have. Maybe I should just-"
"Give me a sec," I said before giving out a grunt as I heaved the big man onto the chair I was formerly occupying. "He's the last one".
You have those inexplicable moments in life, even if you're not remotely superstitious or religious, when you hope that if there truly are some larger players in this game that they were in your corner. I found myself wishing out loud, let this be it.
I was getting anxious and when I got anxious I tend to generate a lot of pent up energy. There are a few instances where my genetic altering plays against me. My body has a more loose trigger than most. What I mean by that is that adrenalin is my MO. I can switch it on more or less at will, instead of waiting for a dire situation or fear to erupt.
I didn't have any (traceable) foreign chemicals coursing through me or abnormally large organs or muscle fibers. The scientists back at LoneStar were too smart to be easily caught out like that. They wanted soldiers that could effortlessly blend into mass society. So that is the element that had made the clinical trials genius and yet so very tricky. The aim was not to create something that was superficial but rather to work with what's already there.
Our muscular-skeletal structure and hormone secretion is all but normal until the introduction of a chemical that exists in all humans...adrenalin.
It works like a super steroid in my system. A catalyst to the science. Instantaneously strengthening of muscle fibers, denser bones structure, accelerated production of pathogen fighting blood cells, heightened senses and extensive brain stimulation. This of course was our secret weapon. We got to perform like drug-pumped super humans and once the threat was removed, production stops and our bodies naturally balance out the hormonal secretions. Antagonistic homeostasis finished the job off and regulated our vitals just like everybody else. Soon equilibrium would be restored and then we were as normal as can be. Undetectable...they had achieved their mandate.
It's no Incredible Hulk kind of transformation. Nothing grotesquely extreme. They ensured that their signature was a lot more subtle. A sleek, fine-tuned killing machine. In its simplest form, just an advantage that would give us the crucial split-second drop. A superior reaction time and feral aggression. A wise man once said: The best place to hide is in plain sight.
However, every coin has a flip side. It's not always an advantage. Sometimes it proved to be your arch nemesis. You need to learn how to control it. The proverb was never more relevant-you truly are your worst enemy. There are a plethora of times when patience and a delicate touch are needed in high pressure conditions. Those were the times that adrenalin became your worst enemy. That's why discipline was the leading construct of our basic training. Never indulge. Nerves of steel were required to keep your mind in check. It all boiled down to a mental game, how well can you control you own impulses?
How to react to external stimuli? I sensed that familiar rise within myself. The swell in my chest and shaking of my hands. This impulse was fighting to the frontline of my defenses. It needed to be addressed or I would no longer be doing any rational thinking. Just reacting.
"Hey, you okay?" I could hear Dario faintly as if my com was really far from my ear. I realized then that I had been breathing very heavily and he could hear the exertion.
I took a lungful of air and concentrated on centering myself. If there was one thing I was renowned for, it was my mental toughness. Fierce self-control. That is what kept the lid on the beast. That's what made the difference between win or lose.
I opened my eyes slowly with regained composure. Feeling more at ease, I inched the larger man the last few feet and slid his thumb over the pad. There was a brief few seconds of passing during which I entertained the possibility that he's thumbprint may not be the right one. I would have made Dario wait and I would be no closer to giving him what he needs.
Then the flashing on the monitor caught my attention.
I let out a huge huff in relief and removed a small USB device from my back pack. I busied myself with the small task of inserting it into the computer before me and leaving the rest to Dario. He would disable any defensive protocols they had installed.
"What are we dealing with?" I asked. Now I was much cooler, having passed the brief period of relapse I had endured.
"It's a military grade cryptographic security protocol," he replied after some furious typing on his end.
"Meaning?" He often got distracted with his techno-talk. I honestly couldn't care what it was. My only question was could he crack it? Again I am well-aware that we were pressed for time.
"Consider it done," he retorted.
"Okay. This gas mask is stifling," I stated to the genius on the other end.
"That I can help you with. The room has a centralized decompression unit. Give me a second to activate it," he said while tapping away. I hated hearing that rattling over the connection.
"Twenty seconds and then you can remove the mask," he stated. Having opened the server for him he could remotely access the room's control systems but the wired network for the entire building was what would be a bit of a challenge
Okay, that's part of the plan in motion. Once he gives me the all clear Omega International wouldn't see me coming. That did wonders for my nerves, which were overly sensitive, thus making this task out to be harder than it needed to be.
Twenty seconds later I removed the distracting mask and took a cautionary whiff of the surrounding air. I didn't feel any different so I took that to be a good sign. Things were falling into place.
"Oh oh..." Dario cautioned. If I wasn't mistaken, that was never a good sign.
"What?" my voice coming off a little testy, which in all fairness was warranted.
"They had a fail-safe implanted. I almost walked right into it."
"You said you could do it," I accused.
Dario scoffed at that. "Of course I can but.."
Did I mention my patience was thinning at this point? I hated being side lined but this was Dario's turf. I wouldn't know where to begin decoding all there programs, so I had to step back. Now, I just wanted to smash his face for rambling incessantly at no particular resolution.
"It would take a while. Their structure may not be the most advanced but they made up for that fault. The buildings security grid is interlinked with a network comprising of the surrounding buildings. Abruptly tripping one would mean doing the same to all," he stated evenly. He never cracked under pressure and was not about to be derailed by me. Or was that bit all attributed to the fact that it wasn't his ass in direct line of fire?
That caught my attention for a number of reasons. First response- indignation. It showed to be another setback. It would not be pragmatic at all for him to follow through with that line of action. It would be a red flag to anyone who's looking that something was amiss.
"What are our options?" I asked stealing my nerves for the umpteenth time this evening.
Through the tapping and rattling coming through from his end, Dario eventually took a break to respond.
"Well, I'm working on distinguishing the link from the whole. Essentially extract the buildings fingerprint off the chain of dependents and immobilize it separately."
"How long will that take?"
"I'll work as fast as I can..." he took a brief pause before proposing an alternative that was not very appetizing. "-however there is another way. A quicker way, but it risky...in fact forget I said anything".
I maintained my silence waiting for him to complete his pitch. I already had a feeling I wouldn't like this `alternative'.
He took my silence for what it was...compliance. We don't work in a risk-free field by any stretch. Conversely, contrary to popular belief, I do not relish at that thought of running into danger, but I don't cower at the prospect either. In fact I'm none of those polar ideals. I'm not at all risk averse. I'm indifferent. As long as it gets the job done in the most efficient manner, I was all in. I'm all about the end result.
"They have a lockdown procedure in case of a security breach. It will cordon off the reserved quarters on the twenty-second floor and up. You can use the stairwell to the east of you location. Get there before the timer expires and you'll be sealed off from anyone on the outside."
I knew what this meant. To reach the office I was headed to I would first have to alert them off my presence. Rat myself out. The first room to be contacted of the impending threat would be this one, with the sleeping personnel, after that it would be pretty clear what's going on. They've been infiltrated and what I was trying to avoid by playing incognito would come to fruition. A full scale man-hunt. Omega International has a highly skilled tact team not too far from their Headquarters that was on standby for any such occurrence.
Logically, I can't discredit the merit in that plan. If I get myself into the sealed area fast enough, it wouldn't matter that they knew I was there. They couldn't get to me anyway until it was too late. I take a moment to think over what Dario just told me. Even before really playing out the scenarios, I already knew which course of action I had chosen.
"Shadow, you could decline," Dario stated ruefully. No actually I couldn't. Failure is a stigma you couldn't easily wash off. You're only as good as you last mission. I was building up a pretty reputable résumé, well-deserved accolade within my agency. I couldn't give that up. I had earned that the hard way. I just needed to make three floors- that's it. I was yet to fail at what I do. I was NOT about to start now.
"Once I'm in, how much time does that buy me?" my question being a clear indicator of my resolve.
There was a slight pause on the other end. Even Dario wasn't comfortable with this new course of action. Admittedly that did unsettle me a tad because he had worked with a multitude of agents in precarious situations before. This couldn't have been the stickiest altercation he'd had to have quarter backed. I made my decision, now I just had to internalize the notion. I was trained for this, in theory it should be a no brainer. In theory...
"I'd say close to half an hour- maybe a little more. They'd safe-guarded that region so stringently that even they can't bypass their own security measures without set procedure and clearance," he answered.
There was one issue that even he wasn't brazen enough to broach. The possible incidence that I didn't make it to the reserved area before the lockdown. Where I successfully trap myself within the building and render my escape route obsolete. We both knew that this was a possibility. It was an unsaid understanding. Don't ask; don't tell.
I would be lying if I said I didn't think about backing out. Give him the chance to duke it out with their security parameters. But a greater part of me- the more logical part knew that we had a window period. I knew shift of workers would soon come in, involving more people just made my job harder-if not impossible. We simply did not have that liberty. We couldn't take the chance.
But I knew what I was bred for. To place the whole above yourself. I was told to retrieve that document and that is what I intent to do. Whatever the consequences. Taking a deep breath to compose myself, I glanced over at the obnoxious red button on the wall. I just needed to gather myself, that's all I needed to...
Before I could complete that thought I was dealt with a hard hit to the back of my head sent me forward to slam into the control table in front of me. My vision went black...a dull pain running down the back of my neck. Easily losing balance I fell from the seat I was formerly occupying and hit the cold floor below.
Lying on my side on the cold floor-my eyes began to regain focus. My breathing labored and loud within my ears. I was taken by surprise, and the blow to my head had successfully disoriented me. The distant ringing in my head slowly began to subside and my bleary eyes began to regain focus. What had I missed? The sleeping gas should have had these guys knocked out for at least another two hours, I was fairly certain. Then a thought came careening to the forefront of my brain. How could I be so careless?
I looked up to see a figure looming over me, the first guard I had knocked out. I never locked the store room door. How could he be up so soon? He looked down at me in shock recognition and then turned to make his way to the wall. I knew what he was about to do, and in my current position I was completely and utterly unprepared for what was to come.
It was supposed to be on my terms; my own doing. Now the rug had been swiftly pulled right from under me. I fell with the most unceremonious of thuds. Bleary eyed, the cold at the back of my neck prevented me from moving. The ringing inside my head now slowly ebbing away just to be replaced by another. This one however was not only heard by me.
The piercing sound of the building's security system is what jolted some comprehension into my core. I was in limbo for what felt like ions but I'm sure was a matter of seconds. The red sirens started flourishing and blinking overhead. It had started.
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