The man walked across the lobby, and slid his ident-card against the panel next to the elevator. The runes running across the panel’s surface turned green, and the elegantly panelled wooden doors of the elevator slid open quietly. The man stepped inside, and pressed the button for floor 12. As the doors slid shut, he smiled to the guards. As soon as the two panels had connected, the lift began it’s journey upwards. Before it had passed the first floor, the man had moved into action. By floor 3 the lift was rigged with a remote-control override, which would prevent the lift being locked out if the operation went to hell. By floor 6, the man had cut away one of the wall panels, throwing the thin wooden sheet down the outside of the lift. The lift shaft went all the way to a third basement, so the noise would never alert the guards. By floor 10, a small projector was fitted in it’s place, sending a hologramatic replica of the panel across the hole. The man straightened his jacket, and tucked his data-slate under his arm. He quickly ran his hand through his slicked back hair, making sure it wasn’t out of place. The door slid open.
The man walked out of the lift, heading purposefully down the corridor. The few people who walked past looked tired and harried, working overnight because of the mysterious order that the trade-cartel was attempting to fulfil, the very reason that Aldo was here. None spared him a second glance – it was a big company, and he could very well be an employee from a different floor, or a different office entirely. They were too tired and too over-worked to care.
He reached the end of the corridor, and turned into the final office. In the corner was a cogitator, which he powered up. He knew he would have trouble hacking it without his master’s Seal, but they couldn’t risk being flagged on the Inquisition’s systems, when it was almost certain that the cartel had eyes inside the Ordos. However, Aldo was little short of a genius, having spent his childhood alienated from the rest of the population because he was so different, reading and learning anything he could to take his mind off his depression. It was understandable that he would be depressed: if he stayed in a room with anyone for too long his psychic nullification excited an irrational rage in them. He had lived his life a loner, the outsider, the freak. Until Alexandros had found him, and given him a job, a life, and a purpose.
Within a few minutes he was inside the system, downloading everything to his personal data-slate via the mechadendrite concealed within his arm. This was where the risks came in. The electric current through his body activated the blunt limiter implanted in his head, and his psychic nullification power ceased to function. It would only be a matter of time until the psy-scans of the building picked up his hacking, and detected the gun concealed within his jacket pocket.
The download read 43% when the scanner caught him. Alarms went off across the whole building, and every entrance and access way locked down. That didn’t bother Aldo; he had his way out planned. What bothered him was that similar alarms would currently be going off at the local law-enforcement agency headquarters, and a strike team of crooked cops would be here within minutes, armed and ready to protect their less-than-legal investment.
71%, and his vox chimed. “Multiple weapon-sigs on the stairs, moving up to your level, Aldo. Get ready.” Came the voice of Chai, the promising young accolyte who was his backup on this mission.
Aldo deplored violence. He had bonded with Chai despite the age gap, because they held a very different view of the Imperium, and of their work, than the rest of Alxeandros’ team. They both hated the killing of innocents, and as often as possible attempted to complete missions without drawing blood. But both of them were still Inquisition operatives, and they were trained to kill if the need arose. Aldo slipped his hand inside his jacket, pulling out the Hecuter 8 Autopistol that Alexandros insisted he carry on all missions. The weapon had an extended mag’, protruding an extra 6 centimetres from the base of the grip, carrying an extra few rounds. 14 rounds; more than enough to kill anything that moved.
The download completed as the strike team reached the 11th floor. Aldo was out of the office, his blunt limiter deactivated again, as they ran up the final flight of stairs, and half way down the corridor before they reached level 12. They paused behind the door, believing the stairs to be the only way out. Aldo fired blindly through the wooden panel walls, and heard a few grunts as the rounds connected with the men’s body armour. The lift door opened, controlled by Chai remotely. Aldo dashed down the last ten metres of hallway, and into the elevator. He hit the ground floor button, just as the soldiers burst through the stairwell door. He shot the first one through the visor of his helmet, and loosed off another shot as the doors closed. He didn’t see whether the next shot hit anything, and it didn’t matter. He was home free now.
“Aldo, I’ve got vox chatter, badly encrypted. There seem to be more of them in the lobby, they know the lift is coming. Go to plan B. I’ll be in position in approximately 40 seconds.” Aldo swore to himself as he heard the message, and moved to the side of the elevator where he had broken away the panel earlier. He climbed into the gap, the hologram flickering as his body disturbed it. He leapt from the ledge, grabbing the thick girders supporting the shaft. He climbed down to the nearest exit, and pried it open. He slipped through, and checked the chart on the wall. “Level4, Human Resources” it read.
“I am on level 4, I shall meet you at the west corner of the building. Pray, be quick, it won’t be long until they find me, even with my limiter off again.”
As Aldo walked into the western corner office of the floor, the window in front of him was hit by a projectile about the size of a human fist. The micro-bot stuck to the window, and immediately extended a thin mechanical arm. The arm rotated around the bot, cutting through the glass of the window. As it completed it’s rotation, the bot’s thrusters activated, making it float there, holding the circle of glass. Chai pulled it backwards slightly, allowing Aldo enough room to climb out onto the ledge. The building’s psy-scanner wouldn’t detect the damage until Aldo moved a few metres away, and when that happened it would be too late. The micro-bot placed the piece of glass on the window ledge, and hovered round in front of Aldo. He pulled a wire from it’s body, and hooked it to his belt.
“Okay Chai, bring me in.” He said over the Vox, trying not to look down. He wasn’t built for these sort of stunts – he was the brains of the pair, organising the operations that Alexandros set them, and doing the undercover work. Throwing himself from the 4th story window was not his idea of a safe way to exit a building. But it was safer than walking through a lobby filled with armed soldiers.
“The Emperor protects Aldo, the Emperor protects.” Chai muttered into his vox, knowing that Aldo would be nervous about jumping.
Aldo closed his eyes and stepped off the ledge. The bot’s thrusters pulled upwards as hard as they could, but they were not made to support a grown man, even a small one like Aldo. It slowed his decent however, and as he hit the floor a few seconds later, he wasn’t travelling fast enough to hurt himself. He rolled to the side, and detached the clamp on his belt. The bot returned to Chai, who was crouched down on the roof of a different building.
Aldo stood up, dusting off his suit. He changed his hair style to cover part of his face, using a nearby transporter’s mirrors. He quickly removed his coloured contact lenses, returning his eyes to their natural grey-blue. The data-slate went inside his trousers, and his jacket ended up in a nearby bin. He untucked his shirt, which was just dressy enough to pass for a casual shirt, whist looking smart when he wore the jacket. His tie went in the bin last, and then he set off down the street, away from the enforcers’ vans. If anyone stopped him, he would never be recognisable from the quick glimpse that the strike team got of him as he entered the elevator.
“Mission accomplished,” he muttered into his vox with a sigh of relief.