We stood in the parking lot. Haley looked up at me. “So, where are we going?”
The two buildings stood next to each other, the main one well lit with the glassy front office illuminated to the point that I didn’t need my helmet’s night vision to see Emmy’s desk inside.
The second building was a twin in size, but nothing appeared to be lit at all from the outside. It loomed above us, dark and windowless.
“The other building. The dark one.” I pointed at it.
Haley looked at it. “It’s not that dark.”
Tara pulled goggles out of her utility belt and pulled them on. “That’s better. It must be nice to see like this all the time. Did you have a plan for entering?”
I shook my head. “I didn’t plan to go into the other building in the first place. It’s just that if they’ve got the True already and they’re not all based on Emmy, we should find out who they are based on instead of being surprised.”
Frowning, Tara looked at the main building and then over at the lab. “Maybe we should go to the far side of that building? It would be less visible than standing here. And if those people inside wake up, they’re less likely to notice us there.”
Vaughn nodded. “They’re like Night Cat. I zapped one pretty hard, but Night Cat regenerates and my bet is that this guy does too. Dunno how long that woman who looked at the sigil stays down. Hologram never explained how that worked.”
He paused before continuing with, “I don’t know how Ronnie’s doing. I hit him with lightning too, and he’s got no healing factor. I hope he’s not dead. Aside from trying to shoot us with his eyes, he seemed okay.”
Haley sniffed the air. “I don’t smell death.”
Vaughn looked over at her. “Would you? They’re inside and behind a couple doors.”
Shrugging, Haley said, “Sometimes. Not if the building is air tight, but even then if the door is open for a little while, it’s possible. Um… Shouldn’t we be moving?”
“Yes,” Tara started walking toward the far side of the lab building and we walked with her, hoping that no one had seen us.
The far side of the lab building was empty lawn with the forest starting at least fifty feet from the building. My mind flashed back to standing behind force fields while defending a small building in the middle of forest on the world Hideaway. The attackers had been versions of the same supersoldier design as Art, Zola, and Haley.
I hoped this would go better.
On the off-chance that it didn’t, I connected to the bots that carried backup parts and even allowed expansion of the stealth suit to become as effective as a full Rocket suit. The bots were on their way.
Even if I had to repair, rearm, and refuel my suit mid-battle, it would still be better than not having the option.
I looked down the side of the lab building. Like the office building next to it, the lab building was nothing more than a rectangle. Looking down the side didn’t take much. Between the treeless lawn and the lights, it took nothing to know that we were alone on this side of the building.
While I was at it, I sent out a spybot to check the roof. Even though we hadn’t yet had a sniper start firing at us from above, it wasn’t impossible that we still could.
A few moments later though, I knew that no one stood on either roof. That didn’t quite fit with my image of the project. I’d assumed that they’d keep the top of the building manned at all times. It was, of course possible that they used cameras or that they’d deliberately chosen not to have the roof manned on the night that the CEO came to visit the illegal project in Higher Ground’s lab. That made sense.
I got on the comm. “The roof is clear. The side’s clear. We can walk down to the lab if we want. Hologram, if you’re listening, you told me earlier that you’d replaced tonight’s camera footage with a loop. Are there outside cameras too?”
Stephanie’s voice came over the speakers. “There are. They’re on a loop too. You’ll find them hard to see. They’re small, almost as small as your cameras.”
“No kidding? That’s not good.”
Tara nodded as I replied. “I don’t think they have anyone outside. Let’s go. If we wait too long, they’ll be more likely to catch on to the camera loops and then the situation will change.”
I couldn’t argue with that. Neither did Haley. She did ask, “Do you think I should scout ahead?”
“I‘ve got more spybots,” I said.
Tara shook her head while Vaughn shrugged.
I took a quick look into the lab. The True stood outside the door to their private area, still in Abominator armor, still holding guns.
I checked back inside Sandy’s office. Ryan and Russell Hardwick were no longer there. Noting that, I flipped through all the cameras in my head, searching for any kind of movement until I found it.
They stood in the hall where we’d fought Art, Zola, and Ronnie. Ryan stared at the bodies on the ground, then stared down toward the exit, straining to see something in that direction, muttering, “Shit, shit, shit!”
Russell Hardwick stood over Ronnie, reaching down to check his pulse and then moving over to check Art and Zola, finally saying, “They’re all alive. We need to get ourselves back to the lab and send the True to get them. Then we’re going to have to decide whether we can handle them ourselves or if we need to call in the Nine.”
Ryan stopped muttering to stare at him. “You think they’re still here?”
Russell shrugged. “I don’t know, but if they are, we need to get somewhere where we’ll be protected before we do anything else. We also need to kill the intruders. They know too much.”