By the time Zeta have clawed their way up the two stories to the level where the security terminal is located, more than thirty five minutes and several hundred rounds of ammunition have been spent. Just as well Zetas weapons use generic ammunition otherwise they would be spent twice over. Instead, they’ve been claiming extra off the bodies of the security army they have been battling hard against.
Right now the trio are pinned behind a long door less corridor. Apparently on other sides of the walls that flank them on both sides are server racks. Why they’re this high up the tower Jax hasn’t got a clue and doesn’t rightly care, principally because it doesn’t help their situation for him to know. Still, Teddy had been trying to explain until Jax had silenced him. To make matters worse the only cover between their current position and their goal is at the far end of the corridor, where they need to get to. Jax imagines it offers more room than the recesses the three of them have flattened themselves into. It looks like at one time these recesses might have been doorways. Sadly, following a check from Lister, they are now solid walls unable to be broken down in any real hurry and by the sounds of things, bullet wise, there must be additional Linqi security approaching from the rear. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, they need an out, Jax knows it but options are slim unless they can get to the security terminal and initiate the hack. They’ve already had to fell a number of automated targeting turrets that otherwise would have cut them to bloody scraps just to get to here. That includes the ones that had been above their heads in the recesses they are currently occupying. The only positive is that whatever Linqi used to construct this tower is good at resisting arms fire because not even a millimetre of their cover has been eroded.
“Now I know how fish in a barrel feel.” Lister remarks shortly before angling and then firing his weapon down the hall. He doubts his bullets will hit anything in terms of an aggressor but it keeps them from storming down the hallway to slaughter Zeta where they stand at this time.
“At least fish don’t know what’s coming.” Teddy reasons. Lister isn’t sure he believes that to be true but isn’t about to get into it with Teddy right now. Ferris would have. Arguing this that and the other. In fact, he would almost certainly end up agreeing with the original point but continue ranting about how Teddy said the exact opposite. Always looking for a fight that one, or at least he was. Lister gets a visualisation of how Ferris inevitably must look now. He shudders but quickly shrugs the shudder off not wanting questions to be asked as to why he performed such an action. Jax catches the movements from Lister but says nothing. He has bigger fish to fry right now. Chief among them is how they’re going to get out of here, alive.
“Advance!” Someone screams angrily above the din of gunfire and with that the bullet density dips. It’s only a fraction but noticeably so nonetheless.
Sadly the ebb does not last and is swiftly replaced by a more severe hail of bullets from the teams’ rear. Nothing like feeling as if you’ve walked into a blatant trap, Jax thinks. Suddenly a light bulb goes off in his head. Unlike most people who say that, Jax gets the image of a light bulb being shot. That’s what a lifetime of guns and violence gets you he supposes.
“Either of you got any ‘nades?” Is the question he poses to his fellow squad mates.
Lister looks to Teddy who looks back to Lister. Right after they both turn their heads back to face Jax. Then with a confused expression on his face Teddy replies, “Yeah, I’ve two why?”
“We already tried tossing them. Didn’t work remember Jax?” Lister offers as way of a reminder.
“I know but what about if we blast a hole in the wall.”
“Where?” Teddy blurts still lost as to why they are having this conversation right now.
“How about right where I’m standing. You said there are server racks on the other side of these walls, could you patch into them?” Jax is deadly serious. Lister and Teddy can see it in his green eyes while they flick between the pair of them.
Both men are stood with their mouths agape, their eyes filled with disbelief and horror. Finally Teddy speaks. “Uh, I don’t know, maybe.” Zetas techie shrugs. “But how would we…”
“Let me worry about that.” Jax says cutting the blue eyes man off, only for Lister to remind, “We don’t know if the ‘nades would do any damage to the wall. That’s if we had somewhere to stand while they detonated that wouldn’t see us reduced to soup.”
“You’re worrying too much. But if you’ve got a better idea I’m all ears.” Jax knows something about the grenades that it seems neither of his squad mates seem to. Principally that they contain shaped charges. They aren’t indiscriminate explosives like the fragmentation grenades of old. Rather, they are directed so that the explosion upon detonation goes up and outward, not into the surface they land upon. It’s why the ‘nades are weighted and always land a certain side up. Jax remembers using them when they hadn’t been as refined. They still had a decent success rate, about seventy percent, but occasionally did decimate a floor instead of their intended targets. On more than one occasion that thirty percent failure rate had turned out to be beneficial for Jax and ripped a floor out from beneath his enemies’ feet, saving his bacon.
Neither Lister nor Teddy has a better idea. Hell, they don’t have any idea at all actually. Still, they would rather take any option, including risking stepping out into the walls of bullets being shot their way than be blown to smithereens by their own grenades. It is why ultimately they both shrug; it’s an admittance of defeat. Not defeat at the hands of Linqi security whose voices are growing louder, which in turn elicits quick bursts of gunfire from all three of Zeta, but at the hands of whatever it is that Jax has planned. Whether they like it or not it’s going to happen and they have to accept that fact.
“Good, now hurry up and toss me those ‘nades.” Jax orders without further delay. Teddy obeys and tosses his CO the two he has about his person. Jax catches both and then waits for Lister. He has one and quickly off-loads it to Jax as well. A smile flashes across their CO’s face. “Cover me.” Are the next words out his mouth. Lister and Teddy exchange a quick uneasy look with one another and then return to loosing off bursts from their assault weapons. They keep them frequent, which has the desired affect and forces the approaching security goons back into cover for fear of having their lives ended. Still, it doesn’t change the amount of bullets peppering Zetas position, not really.
Jax meanwhile has turned to face the recessed alcove wall that he thinks must have at one time been a doorway. He knocks on it, his ear close to the surface so he can hear above the noise of weapons firing and bullets thunking against whatever it is they come into contact with. He could possibly, if he so felt inclined, determine what the various materials are from the impact sounds. However, he has more pressing matters to attend to, which is why he pulls adhesive from one of the pouches about his person and following a double-check of the grenades makes sure to attach them to the wall explosive facing toward the plaster covered area. He hopes the armour beneath the plaster is thin. It should be and if it is it’ll be nowhere near enough to resist three grenade detonations.
With the grenades attached and in place, plus a single strand of cord to link all the pins together, Jax goes about removing from across his back a spare plate of armour prior to using another round of adhesive to fasten it to the back of the grenades to create a shield. It’s a just encase but truth be told he doubts it will do much if this goes all wrong. Besides perhaps launch the armour plate across at him and his squad like a missile. If that happens then whoever it hits will die, as the plate will spear deep like a cutting disc into their flesh irrespective of whatever armour they might be donned in. It’s a gruesome thought and would be a horrific way to go.
With everything ready Jax turns away from the wall, he makes sure to keep the line lax as he does. If he fails he’ll pull the pins too early and seal his fate, death.
Lister and Teddy are still preoccupied, unsurprisingly, with loosing off rounds every so often. They’ve been making sure to stagger their bursts so as not to risk both their lives simultaneously if some unforeseen event were to transpire. Neither knows what that might be but their efforts have paid off, they are both alive and Linqi security is not on top of them. Suddenly, both men pause and glance Jax’s way. Their CO is stood, string in hand with a wide grin. Neither of them like the look on Jax’s face but keep quiet as he nods at them, then looks both ways down the corridor. If the pair didn’t know better they’d say it is akin to a child preparing to cross a road. Then Jax rushes across in much the same manner a fraught child not confident in their judgement might. That worries them both. However, no sooner has the thought entered both their heads than their CO is between them. It’s a very tight squeeze now they are all hemmed into this recess but they make it work.
“Cover your ears.” Jax demands. He gives them two seconds. Then he pulls the cord. The pins are yanked free. Jax covers his own ears. All three of them brace. Five seconds later a large boom fills the air. The gunfire stops. The security goons having thrown themselves to the floor because they were sure they were being assaulted by a new party. They aren’t.
It takes a while for the dust and debris to clear to any significant degree. Lister coughs, his hand wafting at the cloud around him in hopes of clearing it faster. It doesn’t really work. In fact, if anything it makes it worse. It is then that Lister remembers what happened. He checks himself over frantically but finds no wounds, he’s relieved by that. Then he turns to Jax and Teddy. They too are both perfectly unharmed. Jax smiles and Lister feels the urge to ask, “How did you know that would…”
“Story for another time; let’s get moving.” Jax cuts in a moment before raising his weapon and leaping the lethal gap. There is no gunfire as yet. Until he offers his own.
“Move!” He orders of both Lister and Teddy. Lister motions for Teddy to go first. After all, it makes the most sense seeing as Teddy is the one who’ll perform the hack and thus save their lives. At least he will from this mess they’ve got themselves into anyway. Who knows about the next hurdle they may face, or the one after that.
Teddy obliges, firing his weapon a couple times as makes his move to cross the corridor. As soon as he is across and at Jax’s side he disappears through the now gaping wound in what had previously been a wall. He gets a complimentary slap on the back from Jax who continues to fire bursts. He’s not aiming to hit anything, just keep any would be aggressors from advancing. He still can’t see much through the thick cloud of dust to say whether anyone is barrelling toward him or not. He doubts they are.
Lister crosses next, covering the opposite direction to Jax. His weapon is on full-auto and spraying liberally. He too crosses without issue and then following a smile that he exchanges with Jax he disappears through the opening. Jax follows right after. His gun is silent now but remains aimed at the hole he blew to get in here. To no surprise this room is filled with exactly what Teddy said it would be, server racks. Jax can well imagine what all this dust will do to the fans in the servers. Lister is alongside him helping to cover the ‘door’ they’ve created. Before long Linqi Security will collapse upon their former position, which will oblivious lead them into this server room. It’s inevitable that Zeta will have company before too long.
Teddy meanwhile is rushing down the rows of server racks looking for an access point. Thus far he has found nothing useful, which worries him. He is especially concerned as by the time he looks up he notes that there are maybe a couple rows left to check, at most. Thankfully, looking up is just what the doctor ordered as on the wall that marks the end of this room is an access point. He feels more than a little foolish to have not taken notice of it sooner.
“Up here.” Teddy calls over his shoulder. Lister turns his way. His face drops. “Teddy!” He cries. Teddy turns to see one of the security goons stood in an actual doorway. The Linqi security employee raises his weapon and fires. Teddy dives, instinctively. Regrettably, a couple of the rounds collide with him mid-air in just the wrong places. He feels his flesh tear and lets out a scream in response. Before long he slams hard into the solid stone floor. He bounces once then manages to skitter away into cover to avoid having his life ended in the seconds that follow. Lister shoulders his weapon and fires. His bullets hit their target and end the life of the security goon. It is at that point Jax commands, “Lister cover our entrance, I’ll secure that door.”
Before Lister gets the chance to make any kind of acknowledge Jax is halfway down the room, running at full sprint and heading for the open door. No attackers yet he notes. A short slide later and he is at the door controls. Three guys are barrelling right for him. They spy his proximity to them and begin to raise their weapons. Jax spins out of the line of fire, slamming the door controls as he goes. It has the desired effect; the metal door slides silently shut and then hisses. The hiss is the result of the lock engaging. Jax batters the control panel with the butt of his assault rifle, then spins back toward Lister. He nods, so Jax turns his attention toward Teddy. The Zeta CO rushes over to his wounded squad mate but by the time he gets there Teddy is already on his feet hobbling toward the access panel.
“Teddy you’re wounded.” Jax informs while Teddy gets to work. First he goes about removing the stupid plastic cover that shrouds the port far better than he feels should ever be necessary on modern panels such as this. Still, Teddy would be remiss if he didn’t acknowledge that he can feel his wounds. He knows they’re bad. He can feel the jolts of pain pulsing through his body as he continues to work. That doesn’t mean the blue eyed man is about to stop however. He has a job to do and he is going to do it come hell or high water. At the moment hell seems like the most probable outcome seeing as there isn’t a significant body of water for… He doesn’t know and rightly doesn’t care.
“Let me fix you up.” Jax demands shortly before a crash draws his attention. The Zeta CO is convinced some disaster has befallen Lister. Thankfully, no such calamity has transpired. Rather, Lister has used his muscle to force over a server stack to help block the ‘doorway’ they created into this room. The server stack covers maybe the bottom third of the makeshift doorway, still plenty of room to squeeze through for an adult.
“No time boss, need to get this hack going. Systems are already showing new arrivals in the lobby. All armed. It’s a literal army. I don’t get this done we won’t make it more than two steps before… aaarrrrgh.” Teddy grunts loudly in pain. He can feel the sting from his wounds worsening. Before long the pain will be too much for him to be useful.
“And you’re no good to us dead Teddy.” Jax fires back without a single consideration for the danger Teddy has made him aware of. That’s a problem for later, the green eyed man tells himself. Right now he has to aid his squad mate, his friend.
“It’s already too late for that. I know where I’ve been hit and unless you can get me to a med facility in the next five to ten I’m a goner.” Teddy replies. His tone is severe. That’s uncharacteristic of the man and as a result catches Jax off-guard.
Lister joins them. He has backed the whole way, making sure to keep the partially blocked ‘doorway’ covered. Still, he risks a glance over his shoulder to assess the situation. He grimaces when he spies the wounds Teddy has suffered. Blood gushes haphazardly from the wounds coating his legs, boots and a section of the floor around his feet with thick dark crimson.
“Teddy you need…” Lister begins only for Teddy to cut in and promise, “I need to get this hack.” Finally the tech member of Zeta manages to get the inversehack slotted into the port. He depresses the button on the chassis of the data stick, a device that is about the diameter of a pencil but about a third of the length and matt black in colour. Teddy’s hand slips off the stick. Right after his legs give out. Jax catches him and eases him the rest of the way to the floor. “I’m going to patch you up.” The Zeta CO promises. It is then that gunfire laces their position. Lister drops to one knee and returns fire.
“No you’re not. What you’re going to do is get the fuck out of here and let me hold them off ‘til the hack is done. There’s a mission to complete and I’m not going anywhere. Not in this state. I know it, Lister knows it and most of all you know it.” Teddy begins to cough while he’s speaking, but grabs a hold of his weapon and hoists it into his lap unaided. His breathing is laboured, though he still manages to smirk at Jax whose green eyes are met with Teddy’s own set of blues. What feels like an age passes prior to Jax nodding in confirmation. Zetas CO doesn’t like it but Teddy is right. “Lister we’re moving.”
“Copy that Jax.” Lister continues to fire two round bursts. It’s effective enough to keep the Linqi security goons at bay, from flooding into the room and slaughtering them.
“See you in the waiting room Teddy.” Jax mutters. Teddy nods; Jax peels away, turns and opens fire. Then he and Lister shuffle off in the direction of an emergency hatch Teddy has just informed him about. It leads to a ladder; it lies beyond a shaft that’ll take them most of the rest of the rest of the way they need to go. Lister offers his silent respect with a nod to Teddy who smirks and then opens fire.
Jax and Lister breach the hatch and slink away into the shadows of the dark emergency sections of the Linqi Lance. Neither of them wanted to leave Teddy but there is more at stake than their lives.
Teddy continues to fire albeit with ever greater difficulty. The inversehack bleeps to indicate progress. By Teddy’s estimation it should be about eighty percent done. These armed thugs will get one hell of a surprise when it completes. That thought alone is what keeps a smile plastered across his face as bullets pepper his position. Teddy makes no attempt to hide from them and as a result some hit. It matters little because his time is short anyway. Plus, he feels is no way inclined to cower and wait to die just so he can prolong what time he has left by a few pointless seconds. No, he’s going out in a blaze of glory. That is his decision.
Sadly, the Linqi security are at little risk from the bursts dispensed by the injured Teddy and upon realising that their only target is dying and alone collapse upon him with ferocious speed. Their bullets shred his body with concentrated fire. Still, Teddy manages to take a few of them with him due to their hubris.
With his position overwhelmed and his last few breaths soon to be over, he hears the inversehack beep completion. Just as he smiles what will be the final time the automated building systems turn against everyone not tagged as Zeta. Thousands of previously inert security turrets drop from every ceiling throughout the building a second before targeting and then spraying the security agents down mercilessly. That includes those who have not long since entered the lobby, which means no fresh reinforcements for Mortimer and his cronies. That should buy Jax and Lister some time.