The Beaumond’s Plaza Tower was a glass-encrusted behemoth that stood haughtily above the streets below. Snow, Taylor, and Jones entered through the main doors and into a lobby choked with anxious people. Realizing that there was a minute chance at best that they would be able to reach the tower before Scott’s arrival, they instead called ahead and asked security to lock the place down until they arrived. The doors to the elevators were locked and the elevator was shut down from the security station on the ground floor.
Snow quickly scanned the faces in the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Scott among those waiting. On one hand, it would seem foolish for him to remain, knowing that he would need to reveal himself in order to reach the chopper waiting for him on the roof, but on the other hand it would be equally foolish for him to flee and risk capture while trying to arrange another method out of the country.
“I don’t see him,” Snow remarked.
“He probably got spooked and took off,” Jones said.
“I don’t think so,” Snow said calmly. “If I were him, I’d find a place to lay low, then come back after we’ve conducted our search.”
“If you say so,” Jones said.
“You two stay here, I’m going to check the restrooms,” Snow said.
“Go ahead,” Jones said. “We’ll keep an eye out here.”
Snow walked quietly through the crowd, overhearing several people speaking in hushed tones, many suspecting terrorism. He passed into a short hallway, and walked into the men’s restroom. He saw several suited men going about their business at the sinks and the urinals. One stall was occupied. Snow approached, then tapped on the door. “Federal agent, open up.”
The door opened and Snow saw a very surprised looking teenager with black hair inside, removing a syringe from his arm. He put his hands up, “Oh crap,” he said.
“Go turn yourself in to the police,” Snow said to the teen’s bewilderment, then ran out of the restroom.
Natalie moved through the crowd, looking from face to face, hoping to spot. The expressions on the faces of those waiting in the lobby ranged from irritated to fearful, but none of them looked familiar. She walked to the guard station where a middle-aged man in a uniform was calming down a disgruntled businessman. Natalie turned to the man and cut him of mid-sentence, “Excuse me, federal agent. I need to speak with this man for a moment.” She then interposed herself between the two, abruptly ending their conversation.
“Thank you. I’m Marty Goreman, chief of security. Care to tell me what’s going on?”
“We have a fugitive with extremely sensitive classified materials trying to get to the helicopter on your rooftop,” Natalie explained. “I’m sure that if you acted quickly after we called, he’s still here.”
“I’d bet he is, ‘cause that chopper’s still up there,” said the security chief.
“Good. At least we know he’s still in the city. How long have you had the ground floor secured?”
“Ever since we got the phone call.”
“And how secure are the doors into the stairwells?” Natalie asked.
“Those are reinforced steel doors with retractable metal bars locking them. We hit a button and they’re sealed unless someone has a blowtorch. Once they’re locked, they can’t be opened again until one of my guards puts a password into the computer. The same goes for the elevator.”
“Thanks,” Natalie said. “I’m going to have to ask you to keep things locked down a little while longer. The person we’re looking for has trimmed brown hair, a medium build, and stands about six feet tall. He should be wearing business casual clothing, maybe with a leather jacket. Have you seen anyone matching that description enter or leave since we called?”
Marty scratched his chin, “Well, there’s a lot of people we see on a daily basis that more or less match that description. I’m not sure.”
“Alright, can you bring up the security tapes from the last half hour?” she asked.
“Sure,” Marty said. He turned to the security station in time to see the guard seated there with a vacant expression on his face, typing a password into the system. “What are you doing?” he shouted at the guard. Natalie looked at the guard, then to the man he had been talking to. It was the former agent Scott.
Suddenly an elevator chime sounded throughout the lobby. The crowd initially ran towards the elevator, expecting that their delay on the ground floor was at an end. Scott pulled a gun and fired two shots into the ceiling, and the anxious crowd fell back in fear. She noticed that he carried a large steel plated case. Natalie could see Snow running from the bathrooms while Jones pushed his way towards the elevator. Scott ran into the only one of three elevators that was at the ground floor while Natalie pulled her gun and squeezed off three shots. Her first shot would have hit Scott in the chest, but he deflected it with his case. The steel elevator doors closed, deflecting the other two bullets. Jones and Snow also had pulled their guns, but didn’t have a clear shot lined up until it was too late.
“Can you stop that elevator?” Natalie asked the head of security.
Marty walked to the computer. The guard still sat there in a daze. He selected the option to shut down the elevator, which then produced a window requesting his password. He typed it in and hit enter. The screen came back with an error: invalid password. “What the….?” He said, “Why did you do that?” he asked the motionless security guard.
Natalie ran to the elevator control panel and hit the button, requesting another. She looked up and saw that it was five floors up. “Damn!” she spat. “He’s going to have at least a thirty second lead on us!”
The three agents waited impatiently as the elevator made its way down to the ground floor. They rushed in, pressed the button requesting the top floor, and waited for the doors to close.
“So he was in the crowd all along,” Natalie said. “Why didn’t we see him?”
“He was probably using his false sensory input ability on us,” Snow said. “He would have looked like someone else.” They felt the elevator leave the ground floor and begin hurtling upwards at a rapid pace. A few moments later they heard a ding and the doors opened to a hallway on the top floor.
Looking down the hallway, they could see sunlight shining in from an opening in the ceiling roughly fifty feet away. They sprinted to it and saw an open trap door above. Normally a set of collapsible metal stairs should have been attached to the door, allowing access to the rooftop, but they saw them lying in a heap a few feet away. They could hear the whine of the helicopter engine beginning to spin up outside.
“Now how are we going to get up there?” Jones asked.
“Grab our hands,” Snow said, standing under the opening.
Jones frowned but did as he was instructed. Natalie and Snow began focusing their psionic energies, willing themselves to rise up through the air. A moment later they slowly floated upwards, carrying a surprised agent Jones up between them. They landed safely on the rooftop to see the chopper on the landing pad no more than fifty feet from them. Scott was already in the passenger seat and the helicopter would soon become airborn.
All three agents fired their weapons at the chopper. Bullets ricocheted from the metal engine casing and the blades. The rear of the chopper began to rise into the air the engine exploded, shaking the rooftop. A ball of fire erupted, then the blade detached from the top of the aircraft and sliced through the tail end of the chopper, then continued through the rooftop landing pad, and into next floor below. They saw blood spatter on the inside of the cockpit, and the pilot hunched forward.
Jones pulled his radio from his vest and said, “Now!”
They watched as Scott bailed out of the helicopter, then hastily unlocked the metal case he carried. He reached inside and donned the metal headband they had found at Doctor Russel’s house. He then pulled his gun, and took cover behind the curvature of the helicopter’s cockpit. He quickly moved out from behind the chopper, squeezed off two shots at the approaching agents, then moved back behind it. Both shots missed, impacting on the rooftop just inches in front of Natalie as they ran towards him.
They closed to within five feet of the edge of the landing pad, then moved behind a concrete ventilation fan housing, which protruded three feet up from the ceiling. They heard two more shots ricochet from the opposite side of the fan housing, followed by a whirring sound. Snow looked up in time to see three objects rise out of the brief case. They were small, with helicopter blades, but hey were only about eight inches long and silver. He could clearly see the gun barrels on the front of them. “Looks like he managed to get a hold of some advanced prototypes,” Snow said as he ducked back down.
The three prototypes opened fire as they raced towards the agents’ location. Just as they were about to pass over them, they suddenly heard the unmistakable sound of an approaching helicopter. They looked up and saw a black helicopter with FBI written in large yellow letters on the side rise up above them. The side hatch was open, and a marksman squatted, peering through the scope of a sniper rifle, lining up a shot on agent Scott.
The three prototypes halted their advance on the three agents on the rooftop and barreled towards the chopper, shooting at the marksman. Scott too took aim and fired. Several bullets hit the agent in the chopper, but were deflected by his flak jacket. The prototypes changed their target to the helicopter engine, and zoomed off towards it while Scott continued shooting at the agent. He knew he needed a head shot to bring him down. The sniper fired his rifle just as Scott lurched to the ground, barely avoiding a bullet intended for his chest.
Snow, Natalie, and Jones emerged from their cover and ran towards the double agent. Scott was immediately aware of this and turned his attention back towards the approaching agents. He was momentarily exposed to their gunfire, but he made up for his vulnerability by shooting directly at them. Snow and Natalie watched as a red mist exploded from the back of Jones’ head, and the agent dropped to the ground. Snow and Natalie retreated back behind the fan casing as three more bullets barely missed them.
The prototypes continued their barrage of fire against the FBI helicopter. Several bullets ricocheted from the engine casing. Finally one prototype flew directly towards the helicopter and entered through the open hatch. The miniature chopper blades nicked the marksman’s neck, opening up a neck wound, which began pumping blood into the empty air below. The prototype continued past the marksman and opened fire on the pilot.
The agents watched stunned as the pilot lurched forward on the controls, causing the chopper to drop. Though the body of the aircraft was not directly over the rooftop of the building, the blades were. As it fell, they could hear the thunderous cacophony of glass shattering as the blade impacted with the building below. They could feel the building shake beneath them as the blade struck a solid part of the building’s frame, causing it to stop spinning. The chopper plummeted, no longer held aloft by its spinning blade.
“Alright,” said Snow, “I’m going to put up an inertial barrier around myself and go on the offensive. You start shooting at those prototypes to draw their fire off of me.”
“Got it,” Natalie agreed. “Good luck!”
Snow concentrated for a moment, focusing his psionic powers around his body, creating a shield that would help protect him from harm. Realistically, he knew that it might prevent one bullet from striking him, but that one bullet might could easily inflict a fatal wound. As soon as he was sure the barrier was in place, he ran out from his cover towards the chopper. As expected, Scott took aim and began firing as the two prototypes moved closer and took aim at him.
He heard a bullet whiz by his ear, but he kept running forward. Snow fired two shots, which both hit the side of the chopper.
Behind him, Natalie stood up and began shooting at the two remaining prototypes. Her first couple shots missed, but one bullet hit the device closest to her. She heard a pop, then the miniature chopper blade detached from the small body of the device and it dropped to the landing pad.
Snow reached the chopper and felt the brunt of a bullet strike his inertial barrier. The bullet dropped to the ground, but the barrier dissipated. He continued on around the curved side of the chopper and stood in front of agent Scott, less than five feet in front of him. Both held their guns out, pointing them at each other, but neither pulled the trigger. If one pulled the trigger, the other would most likely fire as well, and they would both likely die.
The remaining prototype began moving away from Natalie and back towards the chopper. Natalie jumped out from behind her cover and unloaded the rest of the rounds remaining in her gun. She heard a loud ping, and the final prototype fell to the ground.
“It’s over,” Snow said to his former colleague. “Give up.”
“I don’t think so,” Scott said, keeping his gun trained on Snow, his finger ready to squeeze the trigger.
“What do you think you can do from here? I’m not letting you out of here, and even if you did manage to drop me, you would still have my partner to contend with, not to mention the police, who are swarming into this building as we speak. Drop your weapon,” said Snow.
Several seconds passed as the double agent considered his options. He bit his lip, then slowly lowered the gun and reluctantly released it.
“Now, on the ground!” Snow said, keeping his weapon pointed at Scott.
Scott began to crouch, but then turned and sprinted for the edge of the building. Snow fired two shots, but both missed. He pursued Scott, all the way to the edge of the building and watched as Scott leaped into the open air. Predictably, the other man’s descent immediately slowed as he used his feather fall power, which would allow him to land safely.
Natalie ran to the side of the building and looked at the agent gently floating down towards the ground below. While Snow watched, inching forward to line up a shot on the descending former agent, Natalie quickly reloaded her gun, leaned over the edge, and fired twice. The first bullet ripped into Scott’s back and passed through his heart. The sudden lack of blood flow interrupted Scott’s concentration, and the psionic energy dissipated, canceling the feather fall power. Agent Scott’s soon to be lifeless body dropped like a rock to the ground below. “I’ve had enough of that guy,” Natalie said.
Two days later….
Agents Natalie Taylor and David Snow walked into the office of Director Richards. He was a sturdily built man in his early forties with a full head of black hair. He was seated at his desk, but they noticed another silver haired man in a blue suit behind him, staring out the window. Snow had never seen the second man before.
“Agents, I’ve gone over your report and I’d like to thank you for your work in uncovering our double agent. Agent Taylor, I’m pleased to say that I think you’re an asset to this agency. I’m assigning you as Agent Snow’s partner for the foreseeable future.”
“Thank you sir,” Natalie said.
Richards cleared his throat, then opened the file. “There are some items in the report that are…. Troubling.”
“I don’t understand,” said Snow. “We reported everything that we encountered during the investigation.”
“You report mentions a Project Blacklight, which was being carried out by a company called the Clark-Reynolds Technology Company. This project was reportedly funded by the military,” he said, adding a hint of emphasis on the last word. “Unfortunately that company does not exist, and the items that you brought back to D.C. with you can’t be found.”
“I don’t understand,” Natalie said. “We handed over the prototypes ourselves.”
Snow chuckled, “What he’s saying is that what we found is inconvenient for another agency and the evidence is being lost to avoid further conflicts.”
Richards closed the file, then dropped it into the trash can beside his desk. “Excellent work agents, that will be all.”
Natalie stood up, her teeth clenched in anger. “Sir, with all due respect, three government agents and several civilians are dead! We can’t just pretend that none of this happened.”
The silver haired man turned his head to look at them, frowning.
“That will be all, agents!” Richards snapped.
Natalie stared at her superior, as if to challenge him.
“Come on,” said Snow, “It isn’t worth it. Welcome to the PSI.”
Snow led his partner quietly out of the office, and the door closed behind them.
“So that’s it. None of this ever happened,” Richards said to the man standing by the window.
“Correct, as long as you value your career,” the man replied cryptically.
To be continued???
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