He raced for the elevator. An alarm went off and nearly burst his eardrums when one of the speakers started blaring right next to him. No one else appeared in the corridor to stop him. Perhaps the security thought that the previous group would have been able to handle Dyx and just forgot about it…or maybe Dyx had just killed every security guard in the building. In either case, Dyx was surprised at the lack of opposition. By the time he reached the elevator, he was starting to get suspicious. When the doors opened without him even having to press the button, he was downright paranoid. Dyx wasn't a lucky person; it just wasn't the way he did things. If he was lucky, then it meant trouble, and lots of it.
Yet, he stepped into the elevator, waiting for a tiniest bang or other suspect noises. The doors slid closed without as much as a hiss. It made him relax when it finally started moving. He jumped when a voice suddenly spoke into his ear.
"Dyx, you read me?"
Dyx had to calm himself down for a split second before he answered. "Yeah, loud and clear, Boss."
"Excellent," said Boss. "I've been having some trouble with hacking into the security grid and allowing our communications to pass through. You can dispose of the cell, it's useless now."
Dyx took a look at the cell phone he'd been carrying, dropped it on the floor and stomped on it repeatedly until the only thing that could possibly have identified it as a cell phone was the tiny speaker which refused to be crushed…or silenced. It started to play the annoying ring tone Boss had equipped it with. After several rounds of enthusiastic stomping, Dyx pulled out his pistol and blasted the infernal thing back to the stone age.
"Alright," he said. "Done."
"Good. Now, the train has arrived, and your friends are causing havoc. They will move into the building once they've cleared the perimeter and disabled the escape routes. After that, you will plant the remaining spheres and get the hell out of there on the train."
"Train?" asked Dyx. "I thought we were going to disable that too."
"And you were planning on getting out, how?" asked Boss snidely.
He really couldn't think of a response to the question and settled for an annoyed grunt. "How's the communication with the rest?"
"Still working on it. They're under thousands of tons of concrete; it'll take a while to amplify the signal enough to raise them. But don't worry about them, Dyx, just do what you came to do."
"Right. I'll contact you when I'm done."
"Good. Boss out."
A small white noise told him the channel had been closed. It was best not to keep them open for too long since it was impossible to know who listened in. The conversation was ended just in time as the doors slid open again, revealing yet another empty and white hallway. Strangely enough, it looked unfamiliar. He looked at the floor counter. He hadn't even made it halfway down the building. He cursed and punched the button for the ground floor again. The tiny screen showed that there was some kind of malfunction. He briefly considered climbing out into the hatch, cutting the cable and hoping that the one he was holding on to would pulled him rather than up, but decided against it. Mostly because a bullet had just lodged itself millimetres away from his crotch.
He turned around. Another group of guards, this time equipped with combat vests, shotguns and automatic rifles of a design Dyx had never seen before…and Dyx knew his rifles. They barely gave him time to think before all of them opened fire. He didn't need half a second; it was all instincts at this point. He bent backwards, kicked off with his legs, spread his arms and legs and held onto the ceiling, hanging upside down and feeling a bit like a spider. The idiots hadn't even noticed him moving as they continued pumping lead into the elevator. Smoke and sparks filled the enclosed space and made Dyx's eyes water. He activated his suit's breathing unit. A small tube extended itself from the back of the suit's neck and attached itself along his jaw. Then it went into his mouth, down his throat and into his lungs. It had been difficult to get accustomed to having a tube shoved down his throat, but it was better than wearing a bulky mask. He (or rather, it) then breathed calmly while he waited for a ceasefire.
The shooting lasted for over thirty seconds. Dyx worried about the rifles. If they could sustain firing for this long without overheating, he could easily make a tiny mistake and end up full of holes. This called for desperate action once again. The moment the guards stopped shooting, he dropped down silently, crouching to fill as little space as possible in case they started firing again. They didn't, and Dyx saw his chance. He carefully drew his sword and gripped it with both hands. This would either get him out alive, or get him killed. Most likely the latter, but hey, he'd been lucky with the elevator, maybe he'd be lucky again. He made a mental note to keep to his principle once he was out and breathing without a tube down in his lungs. One of the guards said something. His signal.
Dyx burst out from the elevator under the cover of the smoke, slicing his way through whatever seemed to be of a humanoid shape. Screams confirmed his hits. He noticed that the combat vests were far more effective than he'd thought as they required more strength to slice through than regular body armour. When he deemed he'd gone far enough, he jumped. He sailed out of the smoke, over the surprised heads of the security guards, hit the floor running and rounded a corner, savouring the confused shouting. He then carefully counted the bulges along his thigh, making sure all the spheres were still there. After confirming this, he pulled his pistol out of the holster on his other thigh, leaned out from the corner and fired four precise shots.
By then, the guards understood what had just happened and were just about to charge in Dyx's direction when four of them suddenly dropped dead with bullet holes in their foreheads. This was enough to discourage two of them. They dropped their weapons and ran for it. One ran right into a wall as he couldn't see in the smoke. The rest of the guards didn't move. No one wanted to round the corner and be the first to hit the floor. The sword had cut two guards in half a third had been decapitated. Of course, by the time they actually dared to move again, Dyx was halfway across the building, one sphere less weighing him down. He doubted the guards would find it.
Dyx found another elevator, thought better of it, and took the stairs. Had he not been wearing his suit, he'd have opted for the elevator. But as it were, the artificial muscles would bear most of the brunt of climbing down the stairwell. He was at approximately the hundredth floor, and he needed to be on the first. Goddamn, he thought and started running.
Despite the suit, he still found himself panting and sweating heavily when he was about three quarters down. It could also have been attributed to the frankly pathetic ambush the remnants of the security guards had tried to stage at the fiftieth floor, since fighting in close quarters like this cramped stairwell had never been Dyx's strong point, but he took it all in stride. As a direct result of said stride, a guard now laid crushed at the bottom of the stairwell. He was ten floors above ground when his radio started making more white noise and a female voice suddenly came through.
"Dyx! Do you read me?!"
"I…read…you…Liz," he panted, stopping and taking a short break after checking for signs of the enemy.
"Good! We need your help! We've been pinned down at the warehouse entrance!" Shooting could be heard, as well as the shouting voices of Yin and Chris.
"What? All three of you?" asked Dyx.
"Yeah, yeah, laugh all you want!" shouted Liz. "We made a mistake, blah-blah-blah! Just get over here now, or you'll find yourself three team mates short! Out!"
He had to laugh. It sounded like his sister's usual eagerness for action had gotten them in trouble yet again. But then, a mission wouldn't be a mission without Liz somehow making a bad situation worse. He hoped this pin-down was this mission's 'liz-quota'.
He tapped the side of his radio. "Boss, Dyx here."
"Go ahead," said Boss' gruff voice.
"I need to know where I am and where I need to go to help the others."
"Right, hang on for a second, checking schematics…"
Good ol' Boss, that's what Dyx and the others called him when he was not within earshot. If he knew they called him ol', he'd lynch them all within seconds. He was always good to have when you didn't know where to go, though, since he had access to the plans for the entire city and then some. It was he who had designed the suits as well.
"Okay, listen up. You need to head along the corridor to your right until you reach a small office area and then turn left until you hit the reception. There's a small, hidden door behind the desk that'll lead you to the building's infrastructure. After that you just need to follow the signs to the warehouse."
"Thanks, Boss," said Dyx and headed down the remaining stairs and then followed Boss' directions. More and more white hallways. Dyx was sure he was going to leave the building with minor to severe retina burns. There were no guards on the ground floor. It seemed most of them were busy with the three in the warehouse while the rest were either dead or severely hurt by Dyx's hand. On the way, he wiped his sword on one of the plastic plants and replaced it in its scabbard, choosing to stick to his pistol for now. He'd wanted to bring one of the unfamiliar rifles as well, but it was simply too cumbersome to carry if he wanted to reach his team mates before they…well, he was pretty sure they wouldn't die, but they'd be hurt. Most likely. Who knew? Boss had said the suits were designed to take a punch, but Dyx had his doubts, mostly because it had been Boss who had designed them.
He reached the reception desk. The lady who'd been swooning over him was gone, probably evacuated along with the other non-combat personnel when the alarm had gone off. Speaking of swooning…
"The pheromones are too effective."
"Yeah, the White woman nearly violated me before I killed her."
"Oh, poor dear," said Boss. "Are you saying the scary straight woman tried to assault you?"
Dyx groaned. "Shut up! We can't have the targets of the pheromones reacting too much if we just want them to be more…persuadable!"
"Yeah, yeah, I read ya. I'll fine tune them some more when you get back. Happy? Now get to that warehouse and solve whatever mess Liz has caused now!"
"Got it." Finding the door was no problem. Kicking the wall in random places until something splintered and exploded inwards had always been a favourite activity of his. It was…comforting to see that G & G built their secret doors out of wood. It just added a little homely touch with all the plastic around him.
But the public areas of the building were not representative of what the inner halls and corridors were like. It was filthy. Filthy and rusty. Apparently, G & G didn't care about their buildings rotting from the inside, threatening to collapse because of a rather bent support beam Dyx was staring at right now. One kick and I'll take this building down by hand…or foot, he thought. He ignored the urge and sprinted along the paths marked with signs.
The path led downwards. No surprise. The train station and warehouse were, after all, underground. It was not far, either. It was too bad the hallway ended up in the other end of the warehouse, leaving Dyx with at least one and a half kilometre to sprint. Endless rows upon rows of completely useless garbage that G & G sold. Dyx didn't even bother to see what it was. It was surely plastic. And guns, he thought. Plastic guns. And that was it. His mind closed itself off from what the body was doing, and Dyx thought. He thought about the usefulness of plastic weaponry. Easy to smuggle, he thought, and lightweight. You could carry much more ammo, not to mention supplies. Before he knew it, he was hiding behind a large container, listening to gunfire. He leaned around and saw that guards were doing the same, alternatively firing at a group of crates and barrels close to the main entrance of the warehouse. The large doors had been blown open, no doubt courtesy of Yin. Dyx's foot touched something. He looked down. Combat boots…on a dead guard…who looked more like a soldier. Shit, they are soldiers, he screamed in his mind when he saw the sheer amount of ammunition, side arms and grenades he carried. He was wearing a black uniform with a white silhouette of a crow's head on the arms.
So, he thought, they've brought in the cavalry. Raven was a mercenary company that sold its services to the highest bidder, like most mercenaries do. Only, the soldiers in their employ did not care much about money as long as they got to shot at, and hopefully kill someone. Now that he looked closer, Dyx could see several Raven operatives among the regular security guards. They had to be the source of the strange rifles. Unfortunately, the dead operative's rifle had been scavenged, probably by one of the other soldiers. But his grenades were still there. A plan formed in Dyx's head. A smile slowly spread on his lips. Ten seconds later he, and the operative's grenades, were gone.
Twenty seconds later, several mercenaries felt something hit the back of their helmets and a clanging sound as something hit the ground. The cavernous warehouse provided ample acoustics for a cacophony as four grenades exploded among four groups of people, adding the sound of screaming to the tempest.
Dyx stood among the slightly smoking bodies, wondering if he had overdone it. He hadn't intended for one of the operatives' grenades going off as well. The remains covered quite a large radius. But, he supposed, sacrifices had to be made, even if it meant painting the concrete floor a dark sheen of red. And white. And some green as well. He turned away from the grisly sight and made a note to never look in that direction again. He waited for several seconds. Not a sound.
"Guys!" he yelled. "You can come out now!"
Sheepish, three people appeared from behind a container.
"Sorry, Dyx, it was all my fault," said the first one, a girl two years younger than Dyx with the exact same facial features, hair and eye colour as he. "They ambushed us as soon as we came in."
Dyx shook his head. "Liz, you've got to be more careful if you're going to continue in this group. We aren't exactly an army, and our numbers are quite limited." He pointed at the other two. "And you two!" They flinched. "How come you didn't detect the ambush? I thought you'd have this thing down by now."
Yin, a man slightly older than Dyx with Asian features and short, spiky, black hair, tried to grin. "Sorry, man. We got a bit excited." Never someone to feel down, he then started to hum to himself. Boss had neglected to do a psychological profile on him, which the group felt was just as well since none of them wanted to know what went on inside his head.
"Yeah," agreed Chris, a Caucasian fellow who liked braiding his hair. His most stand-out feature was his eyes. Because of a genetic mutation, his eyes were pitch black. There was not a speck of white to be found. Many found it unsettling if Chris stared at them for too long. He was not much of a talker.
They all wore suits identical to Dyx's, except Liz, who had…features, that needed a bit of customisation. None of them had swords, though. None of them wanted it. Only Dyx found it strangely rewarding and satisfactory to take down an entire group of enemies with as few slices as possible. The remaining three all used their own weapons. Yin used a pair of light submachine guns equipped with the same kind of vacuum-silencers as Dyx's pistol. Chris carried around an assault rifle he had stolen from a police station some months back. Liz used a crossbow. As archaic as it sounded, it really had its uses. It was silent, could be taken apart and hidden in seconds, and the arrows and bolts could be customised to carry all kinds of poisons, explosive powders and so on.
"Excitement or no, there's no excuse for being sloppy, especially if we're doing as important as this." Dyx paced back and forth. "But I guess it can't be helped for now. Report."
"Explosives planted in the train yards and in the first part of the warehouse," said Yin. "We were ambushed as we prepared to set the second batch."
"Then we will continue where you were interrupted," said Dyx. "But fir—"
"Guys, come in." said Boss. The signal was getting weak. Probably because they were so far underground.
"We're here, Boss," said Liz.
"We're gonna have to speed this operation up a bit. The dust storm in the valley is picking up speed and will reach the city in less than an hour."
"That's more than enough time to sabotage this place—"began Dyx.
"But there's more," interrupted Boss. "Dyx, I just found out that G & G have some of their biological warfare data stored on one of the servers. I want that data destroyed."
"Because if that information is leaked, this world is fucked," said Boss. "I bet one of the ambitious employees at G & G will want to sell it once they find out that their workplace is going down."
"Alright, I'll see to it. Anything else?"
"Oh, and the Raven compound on the other city of the city has been completely lit up. I think you're in for a bit of company…"
To be continued…
Right, second chapter done. Btw, if you haven't looked at my profile, am I the only one who can't access my story and user stats? Oh, and thanks for the reviews, Chimera, Undrahas and StarSplit. It's good to be (somewhat) back.