“How close is this going to put us to that bastard target of ours?” Lister feels compelled to ask. He and Jax have only recently finished scaling what felt like a never-ending ladder. Now they’re trudging through a small corridor. Thankfully, they can see an end to the maintenance section up ahead. It’s quite the relief, though what isn’t is how quiet it’s been. They haven’t come across a single member of Mortimer’s security army and that, to Lister, is suspicious.
“Wish I knew List. A couple floors would be my guess.” Jax offers in response and just as they reach the hatch beyond which should be the remainder of whatever this floor is used for. Neither man is confident that what is on the other side is what they expect. It’s why they both raise and level their weapons ready to fire.
Jax looks to Lister who nods. Right after Jax presses the button to open the door. It slides away into recesses cut for that exact purpose. Immediately before them is nothing except a wide open space. It looks to be a normal office area, which is reinforced as they can both spy desks off to one side. However, the desks don’t look like they’re in use. Jax, seeing little choice, takes the risk and steps out of the maintenance tunnel first. As soon as he is out he sweeps around looking for potential targets. He finds none. They’re alone. Lister follows. He quickly learns that the floor currently seems to be undergoing renovation as evidenced by the presence of dust sheets which are everywhere. Still, this space is far blander than he would have expected it to be. He shrugs concluding that the decorating might only recently have gotten underway. Regardless, the walls are a boring grey colour, save for the occasional splash of yellow. Not a colour that can be found in the Linqi logo, Lister wonders if it is meant to signify something. He doesn’t know. What he does know is that he can see no soul present other than himself and Jax. A sense of uneasy relief wells within him that he expects not to last. In his eyes to believe that it will would be foolish, especially after… Lister trails off. He knows exactly what this operation has cost them. How could be not? And it’s been a heavy price. He wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a too heavier price in the grand scheme of things, but that is only because if Mortimer Davidson is allowed to keep his position it will lead humanity to absolute ruin. In his mind there is no doubt that the board are already dead. Lister would be shocked if they aren’t. Hopefully he should find out soon. Either way it doesn’t change the mission.
“Lister, we need to set the charges.” Jax informs while continuing to survey the area. Zetas CO looks on edge; as if he is convinced devastation will befall them at any moment. Lister fully understands why that is.
“Doubt it’ll be long before we get some uninvited guests crashing our uninvited party.” Jax mutters while continuing his sweeps. Following that and apparently content he turns toward Lister who nods without saying a word.
Having shrugged the pack off his back Lister has laid the charges out. There are eight in all. That’s more than enough explosives to vaporise eleven floors of this tower into dust.
If they had been able to they would have set them down at ground, or close to, level and collapsed the entire building. That had never been a realistic option and so this was Plan B. Plan A really but in Lister’s mind Plan B. He is the unofficial demolitions expert on their… He doesn’t finish that thought because it isn’t true anymore. Instead, he collects four of the charges and sets to work placing and arming them. Jax covers him. He could give Lister a hand to speed up the process but that would leave them exposed. If more of Zeta had survived it would be a different matter but as things stand they have to be prepared for almost anything.
Unfortunately, they are not prepared for Declan. He knows full well the about the presence of the duo, chiefly because he’s watching them. It seems they aren’t aware of his presence however. That affords him the element of surprise. He’ll only get one chance. He can’t afford to blow it, for his own sake. This isn’t his day to die. He feels it in his bones. And after today he’ll be the second most powerful man in the world. Mort is going to need his help to run this new empire, the world. Still, it’s almost inconceivable that Mortimer Davidson, the guy he grew up on the streets with, will soon have achieved what no other dictator, emperor, king, queen or corporation has ever managed, world domination. That is definitely cause for celebration when this is all over. Before that, Declan will have to dispatch these two intruders. Just as well his gun is drawn and ready then. A sly smile spreads across his face. He edges forward, making sure to take each step carefully, silently, so as not to alert his prey.
By the time Declan is ready to strike six charges have been set. In truth he would have liked to delay a little longer but can’t afford to with them having set so many charges and so levels his weapon. He fires soon after. The three round burst slams into Jax. He goes down. Instinctively, Lister spins, levels his weapon and goes to fire. He is hit in the gut by six rounds. He falls back; the wind knocked out of him.
To Jax’s astonishment one man steps forward to reveal himself. He keeps his weapon trained on Jax, though his eyes flit to Lister, who is coughing painfully, every so often. Clearly this Linqi thug is brighter than most.
Jax winces but takes the risk during one of Declan’s glances away. As soon as Jax begins to move Declan’s attention is back on the Zeta CO. Without hesitation the Linqi head of security fires a burst across Jax’s legs. He roars in response feeling the burning from the bullets that have cut into both his legs. Two in his right shin, one in his left knee.
“Stay where you are. No funny business.” Declan exhales, then continues. “You two have got far enough and caused more damage than should’ve been tolerated.”
“So what’s your plan?” Jax utters through pain gritted teeth. In his periphery he can see Lister is recovering. Jax just has to distract this suit wearing bastard, he knows. If he manages that Lister should be able to take him. Jax wishes he could do more but with his legs injured the way they are there isn’t much hope of that in all honesty.
“Kill you both. Secure Morts victory. Prosper at his side.” Declan has a wide cruel smile on his gaunt face. He knows this Agency dunderhead is desperately trying to stall for time. No doubt he stupidly hopes his friend will be able to rush me. Not going to happen, Declan promises.
“You think he’ll keep whatever promise he’s given you?” Jax retorts.
“He has for the last forty years, so yes I do.” Declan replies honestly.
“So you’re his head of security, Declan Parfitt.”
“In the flesh.” Declan says with a half-bow that leaves him open to nothing.
If it did he’d be oblivious to Jax reaching for his weapon, he is not. Declan fires. Jax loses a couple fingers. Another scream of pain in response to the fresh wounds he’s sustained.
“Son of a bitch!” Jax spits, cradling his wounded hand. By looks of things he still has a trigger finger on his left hand, just as well he’s right handed then or things would be far worse, mainly in the gripping a gun opposed to firing it department.
“Now, now. That is not the way you talk to a superior.”
“You’re not a superior. You’re a crook just like you’re boss.” Jax can see Lister has recovered now. Thankfully, the twin bursts put into his gut did nothing. The benefits of wearing body armour. If Jax could he’d breathe a sigh of relief, but right now is not the time. Plus, it might give something away and Jax isn’t inclined to risk that. Not when they have the upper hand.
“I’m not a crook. Crooks get caught, tried and spend time in prison. I’ve never been so brainless. Rather, I’ve spent my life walking free and beside a great, powerful man who will fix the world and all its ills.” Declan sounds devout, psychotically so and that is why the look on Jax’s face morphs to one of incredulity as well as mocking. Declan catches it. The judgement, unwarranted and it makes his blood boil.
Unlike Mort however, he is not a rash man. He is more calculated. Its part of the reason he serves as Mort’s head of security and has been by his side since they were kids playing together in their neighbourhood.
“You judge and mock me. Insect, worm, you know nothing of greatness. You followed the commands of your masters and that led you here, to death. What do you have to say about that?” Declan rants.
“Shut the fuck up!” Lister roars charging Declan. Sadly, it is exactly what the head of Linqi security had been expecting. As a result Declan turns toward Lister and opens fire. At such close range Lister’s armour is essentially useless. Jax roars, rolls to fight to claim his weapon. He can’t quite reach and with his legs almost useless moving further than he has already is probably going to be too difficult.
Meanwhile, Lister doesn’t stop even though he’s been hit around the base of his rib cage by the bullets. Rather, he continues forward ultimately barrelling into Declan, who is taken off his feet and slammed hard into the solid floor. The Linqi head of security is winded but his weapon stays pressed hard against Lister’s torso and so he fires again. Lister goes limp allowing Declan to toss the intruder from atop him with a healthy dose of disdain. If there were anyone watching they would likely draw a similarity between Lister being shoved aside to a piece of trash being discarded with utter disgust.
Finally, Jax manages to get a hold of his weapon. He rolls onto his back once more ready to fire. Unfortunately, Declan is by this time on his feet and upon Jax. The head of security grabs a hold of the weapon and wrenches it from Jax’s hands.
“Now is the time to die little ant.” Declan’s eyes shine happily as he raises his weapon. He’s going to enjoy this.
“You first asshole.” Lister rasps. His words pull Declan’s attention. The head of security immediately catches sight of the detonator in the gravely wounded man’s hand. Declan’s grey eyes go wide. Jax, with difficulty, manages to flail his one leg and knock Declan off-balance and away from him. The impact is just enough and sees the Linqi head of security stumble and then fully trip over a mixture of Lister’s discarded weapon and the dust sheets nearby.
Lister thinks Declan is far enough away from Jax that the blast won’t kill him. He wishes he could delay longer but cannot risk it and so depresses the button on the detonator with his last withering breath.
Jax watches as a screaming Declan explodes into red paste. A wide smile swiftly emerges across his blood splattered face and remains until he remembers Lister. With great effort the Zeta CO rolls onto his front and begins to crawl toward his friend and squad mate who is laid out flat nearby. He’s already too late. Lister is dead. Jax smashes his balled up fist, the one that hasn’t been mutilated, against the floor, cursing.
When he is done and can vent no more, for which he feels no better, he thanks his friend. Soon after he takes the main detonator, not the stage one variant Lister had used to eviscerate Declan Parfitt, and then crawls off heading for the elevator. He still plans on ending this. He could right now but feels he has to be sure Mortimer Davidson is within range of the explosion. Plus, Jax wants to look him in the eye in the seconds before they both die.