Laserwatch I: Pilot

~ a short story

Exen produced the schematics of the building. He already had them memorized and now he was just killing time. This one would be all about timing. Needed to get in and out within a narrow window. As always, his employer would accept nothing less than perfect success.

Exen blows another bubble. Then he goes back to chewing, mouth and mind in unison.

He tightens his goggles and facemask, fastened the suit. It would give his body the aerodynamic quality it needed to make the distance. Kneeling down to steady himself, he takes a deep breath. Gazing about the city, Exen absorbed the stimuli of its complex, neon innards below. Never, ever at rest. Just like him. From this vantage point he could see his condo. The night wind breathed into his suit and cooled his body. At this altitude it was a little too chilly to be OK. No worries. No moon, just as planned. The less visibility, the better.

He looks down at the time. Calmly, he starts the timer. Coinciding with the clock starting to tick, Battery begins to play into his mask, further helping him to get into the right state of mind.

He leaps from his post and activates the boost. It wouldn’t last long and it was mostly to put him on a certain trajectory. He needed to be in line with the chosen point of entry. Timing was everything. With his arms now outstretched, the fibers of the suit caught a current, laterally descent began. Exen alternates between a dive and a glide several more times before he has his mark. Ready for the final motions, he brings arms to his sides and dives hard with laser-like intensity.

Approaching terminal velocity, Exen banks his body to the right. He puts himself in line with the eastern side of the building. He points his wrist and lays down an x-shaped slash into the stone and concrete. Imperative he enter here, the only part of the building with no windows, no monitor eyes. No one within would have time to prepare.

He crashes into the weakened wall feet first, holding his arms in an X-formation across his torso while he produces a shield grid around his body by tightening his forearms. Protected from the high speed rock and rubble collisions, Exen rolls to stay his momentum. He lands on the cool steel surface of the safe room. I’m in.

Exen stands up slowly and surveys the area. A small room, just as in the schematic. There is a variety of objects on the shelves surrounding him. But he only looks at the one. In the center of the room, stands the orb. It is encased in a specially built carbon-glass cage. Impenetrable from most known weaponry, it’s designed to be indestructible. The glass cube around it is said to even be capable of withstanding the force of a thermonuclear explosion.

He stands staring at it for several moments, reasoning out what is likely already happening within the facility and what his next most efficient move will be. No doubt security forces had already begun to mobilize. The drawback of having such a secure room meant that it took an inordinate amount of time to open it, even for the owners. Every precaution was taken to keep the things in this room secure. But there were no precautions for this particular agent. He points his wrist at the caged orb. He fires it. It takes several moments before the cracks form enough for his quick hand to retrieve it.

He’d never seen any man-made material last that long in defense against his laser. Instantaneously after he grabs it – a micro-explosive blast triggers inside the cage. He expected that, only the dexterity of his hand prevents serious injury. Suddenly, the ruined wall open to the air behind him, and his most immediate exit route, is encompassed by something. He sees a shadow form over his body as he grasps the orb tighter. He hears what it is before his eyes can register the shape of the shadow.

*Gat gat gat gat* – Exen moved before he had time to think. The sound of the Apache’s machine gun explode into his mind while he pockets the orb and takes cover behind a steel wall. Safe for now, but losing time. While the hellfire of ammunition rains down upon him, Exen thinks of a new exit strategy. He hears additional choppers outside in the sky, his original plan now held for him maximal and unnecessary risk. He could blast through the door into this room, which was already being opened. He weighed that option. But on the other side of that threshold would be dozens of armed guards. They awaited him now. He could wade through that death, but again unnecessary risks would be tread. Instead, Exen decides to get creative. Having memorized the buildings every nook and cranny, he knows the arboretum, of all places, to be directly below the safe room.

I am going to walk out of the front door.

After several moments of the laser cutting through several inches of “indestructible” metal, he drops into the open and fresh air of the greenery below. Even here they are waiting for him. The hail of bullets accost him from every angle. Luckily, or rather as he prepared, the stillsuit is entirely bulletproof; he does not die just yet. Falling and twisting, Exen points his weapon into the direction of the line of soldiers and unleashes. Hoping his wild aim to be true, he continues falling and firing in defense. The last thing he sees before he hits the ground is a butterfly floating along, likely towards some hopefully still immaculate flower.

Having fallen for a full 15 seconds, give or take, the impact would be devastating. At the last moment before landing, he rights himself by extending his arms and catching his momentum in the suit layers between his arms and legs. He lands not quite as a feather, but as a man with bones rattling, still intact, instead of shattering. Rolling over, Exen stands and gets his feet underneath him. He checks the time; he still has some left. Bending his knees, he begins to run towards the line of gunmen.

They take their shots as Exen dodges into the air, firing all the time. The beam slashes through gun and man alike. The commander runs at him with combat knife in hand. He tries to end it quickly, moving the blade quick to his heart. Exen responds by lasering his head off.

He meets sincere opposition next in the library, it pains him to destroy the books. The monitors in the monitor room, unarmed, look on while he destroys the mainframe, crippling their ability to track him after his exit. He vaults through the conservatory quickest of all, no conscience to destroy the undeserving. The efficiency of his maneuvering allows him to be on time. He is almost out.

Ground floor, in the dome. The vanguard. A hundred armed warriors, ready and waiting. They carry weapons he has never seen. Exen is almost out of juice. He has enough for one more gambit. But he’s gonna have to pitch a perfect game.

He left one monitor in the monitor room functioning. The remaining observers there gather around, and they monitor the scene through the screen. One man, facing off against one hundred.

He feels the orb against his stillsuit, it is secure. Exen, turns the outside of the chronosphere. 3 clicks. The EMP is spontaneous. Darkness envelops the dome like a blanket. Almost as instantly, the men begin to discharge their weapons. In a blinding fear, they fire towards the location their weapons were already pointing, at Exen. But he is no longer there. He moves with the grace of a black panther, striding in between them and through them. The only mark of his passage, the bright red blade of death falling up and back down. A firebrand through the swath, felling them two by two. Hired guns to kill a shade. They fall fighting, but fall nonetheless.

The monitors witness the raving death-dealing of the intruder, a red glow inside of the shadows. They have no words, no thoughts.

The dome begins to collapse on itself. Exen has inadvertently destroyed the grand lobby with collateral damaging. Not the first time. But he has already determined his final action. The Apaches were back. While sprinting out of the front door directly towards them, he hears the guns begin to warm. 3 clicks, he reverses the EMP. The systems overload and the choppers fall from the sky all around him. He walks through the blazing explosions falling onto the ground around him in slow motion.

Save for one. Perhaps the pilot timed a defense right or it’s a more (or less) advanced model. One final chopper stays in the burning night air. Exen extends his arm and grapples onto the side of the copter hovering over the wreckage outside the building. The gunner struggles to gain a bead on him.

Exen swings the cord and acrobatically leaps into the cabin. Keeping his balance perhaps through luck alone, he executes 2 strikes and the gunner is down, next the pilot. He sits down into the cockpit. He places the orb into the passenger seat, smiles, and exfiltrates.

to be continued. ~