Dali spent the ride prepping and re-prepping her entry software. She pulled her little spider drones out and checked their signal strength, battery levels and movement. She checked her gun. As she was reaching to check her drones again she caught Talos looking at her.
“Nervous?” His voice came out like syrupy molasses. Heavy and think but smooth.
“That’s even more dangerous. Slow down, deep breaths. Methodical. Don’t ride the adrenaline. Hit your details and there will be time for excited afterwards. When we’re done.”
Dali nodded and tried to follow his advice. The van hummed over roads and through traffic eventually reaching a dark side street. It pulled to a stop and the doors opened. Pam and Cri got out looking around carefully and then taking up positions covering the sewer entrance. Talos moved up and in a few short moments had it open. Pam went into it smoothly taking point. Griego and Tien followed right behind her. Dali hurried to catch up to them, only vaguely pay attention to Cri and Talos coming behind and closing the door back the way they found it.
For a long while it was just dark, damp, sewer tunnels that seemed to lead everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Then suddenly Griego pulled up.
Then the nervousness disappeared. Dali dove into the net. Surrounding her senses by the immaterial wires and links. Her drones pouring off of her in a dozen different directions. Connecting her forcibly to hard wires, acting as nodes to boost her signal, and expanding her awareness a hundred times over. Suddenly there was no sewer, no tunnel. Only the bright pulsing lights of the building’s power, security, communication grids each blinking their own digital heartbeat.
Once everything was clear she dropped the message into an outgoing comm channel and was half surprised when her voice spoke, in an absentminded distracted tone.
“We’re good. Griego the systems won’t be aware of us anymore.”
She slid back into the grid and continued a constant scan for threats, alarms, and defensive programs. Someone put their hands on either side of her head covering her ears and a heavy “thump” rolled through her body as the entrance was opened. A blinking message light pulled her out of her world.
“ Time to go chica. Keep your scans up but come back to the real world for a bit.”
Reluctantly she pulled herself back to the world of the flesh. The group was crawling through a dusty smoke filled hole and into a basement. There was no one around and the fire alarms that should have been triggered lay silent thanks to her programs. She recalled most of her drones leaving only a few to maintain the hardline connections. Those ones had timers and settings to fry their circuits and explode when they were no longer needed or if handled. Her sister had hammered over and over the need to never leave traces. “Dali if you are going to run jobs, you have to ensure they NEVER know who did them. Jobs piss off powerful people. Powerful people kill and worse. Wipe your fingerprints. If you can’t help but leave fingerprints then it’s better to not do the job.”
Shortly they’d reached the elevator. Talos brought it down to the basement and then cracked the hatch. Climbing up inside there was shortly a sharp spanging sound and then the whole thing dropped about three feet. He came diving out and a whole mess of wires flopped down and around where he’d been. Then he opened his bag and pulled out a dog sized drone. It unfolded into an ungainly spider crab looking thing, and then started into the shaft.
A few moments later Talos climbed in and beckoned the rest after him. Once everyone was standing on top of the disabled lift, they all donned climbing harnesses. Six thin lines suddenly dropped from above and one by one they were clipped onto one. Once everyone was connected Talos hit a switch and they were pulled upwards at a moderate pace.
At the top Talos swung over to the side and grabbed a hold. Pulling a crowbar out he wedged open the roof access and then climbed through. Cri swung himself up after and then reached a hand back to pull Dali up and out into the night sky. For a moment, she just stared in awe at the city laid out before them. Cri didn’t hesitate but went immediately on a sweep around the roof. Talos took off after him stopping occasionally to bend over square machines scattered around the surface.
Their movement shook her out of her reverie. Dali released her drones again and slid back into the familiar. Security was still unaware and she saw the pulsing dots of her team members descending back below after their prize. On the enemies nets she saw brief alerts from the anti-air machines on the roof but the programs she’d installed from the basement intercepted each one before it could hit the main security node.
After a handful of seconds her drones lit up her screen with a 360 degree camera visual of the sides of the building and the streets below as well as video of the sky surrounding them. She automatically filtered the feed and dropped it into Talos’ and Cri’s feeds and sent a message to Griego letting him know it was available to the others if they needed it.
He sent back a terse response and a countdown timer.
She readied her programs to attempt to intercept the vault alarm.
The audio feeds from Griego, Pam and Tien all registered the explosion as the timer clicked over. And she nailed the alarms. Boom perfect silence. She did a little mental dance and was starting to congratulate everyone when Tien’s heart rate skyrocketed.
“Blood of the dead!”
The sound of bullets, a deep bass roar of challenge and screams erupted in her ears. Cursing she tried to pull up her team members body cameras. An enormous black cloud shaped roughly like a lion had emerged from the hole in the vault. Pam had moved to intercept and was being carved up. Tien was throwing bolt after bolt of a purple fire and Griego had emptied three of his four clips into the thing.
By the time Dali had registered this the fight was over. The thing was gone, Pam was in pieces and the others were running for the elevator. Tien swore as they ran. “That thing triggered some spell down below!”
Dali suddenly saw a manual alarm switch in the main security node flip from off to on. “Boss they’ve got an alarm going!” A few seconds later she saw the response message from an external site hit the building’s comm nets. “We’ve got multiple response cells inbound. They say 15. I give them 10. You have security coming up from multiple levels. I think they’re still focused on the vault but stay alert!”
There were more shots but return fired spells and bullets discouraged any real threat. Griego and Tien hit the elevator and began to ascend. Thomas’s large blinking light moved closer and closer on the overlay map in Dali’s mind.
Her drones suddenly highlighted red boxes around five black vans that came squealing around the corner, and pulled up next to the building. Five or six bodies got out of each and began running up to the main doors. Five more vehicles pulled up on the other side.
“HOLY CRAP! Boss they are here already. Like fifty to sixty bangers. They’ve got a perimeter setup and look armored. OHNO OHNO OHNO they just loosed maybe five of those smoke things. The smoke things are coming in the west entrance.”
Griego’s voice came onto their channel in a panty, out of breath sort of way.
“Thomas what’s your eta?”
“I’ve got your building in sight, I’ll be coming around the tower in 25 seconds.”
Dali spun through her cameras until she found the plane on approach. And saw in horror the rocket coming up from the ground. It hit the copter square on and flame erupted. Bits of molten airframe spiraled towards the ground.