Holes: Part 4

“Crap,” I muttered.

Since he’d said it over the comm in addition to me, Cassie glanced up at us from the landing, asking, “How bad?”

Daniel shrugged, “There’s still too much flux to be sure. Hey Blue and Accelerando, how does the first floor look?”

“Empty,” Izzy said, flashing us a picture of the lobby, a big open area of the floor filled with potted plants and booths around the edges. A counter ran next to one section of the wall. It was covered with snacks and a refrigerator with a glass door showing the water bottles, flavored water, and pop cans inside.

My stomach reminded me that it had been a while since I’d eaten. I ignored it and followed Daniel down the stairway, coming out of the door into the lobby. We came out at a different angle than Izzy had shown us. The block of elevators stood behind a row of booths which, now that I was down there, reminded me of restaurant booths more than anything I expected to see in a workplace. I supposed that you could hold a meeting in them.

Izzy and Jaclyn stood near the door as we stepped out.

Cassie turned to Izzy, “You’re right. No one’s here. They’ve all got to be downstairs. Did you scan the place?”

Izzy shook her head, “Enough to know that I can’t get much out of it.”

Crossing her arms over her chest, Cassie asked, “Do you think they had you in mind?”

Holding up her hands, Izzy said, “I don’t know. I’m not the only one who uses sonar. The Rocket’s famous for it.”

Jaclyn pointed at the gun holstered on Cassie’s hip, “Doesn’t that thing have sensors?”

Cassie laughed, “Yeah, but with all the Abominator tech they have, it says it would attract attention. I was waiting until we’ve got no chance to sneak around before using it.”

Jaclyn’s mouth twisted, “I guess. Wait, that thing’s not telling you to run in and burn everything?”

Shrugging, Cassie said, “It’s weird to me too.”

I looked over to Yoselin, “We’re going to be fighting more mind-controlled people. Is there any way we can use your orb or whatever it is? I know it’s slow, but if you stayed in the back and had us keep them off you, would that be time enough? Or do you need someone to be pretty much unmoving before you start?”

“No,” she waved her hands in front of her, “it’s complicated like I said. Every person’s different.”

Watching for her reaction, I asked, “Is there any chance you could do an area of effect thing that wipes away the most recent commands?”

She shook her head, “It’s a complicated thing that won’t become simple no matter how many questions you ask.”

“Okay… By any chance do you have any more Abominator devices on you?”

Through the lower half of her helmet, I could a strained smile, “Yes, but I can’t tell you about them. I’ll use them if we need them, but I’m not supposed to tell anyone about them.”

“They’re from the moon?” I wondered if Daniel had picked up anything.

Her smile became genuine, “You already know. I don’t need to answer.”

I can’t read her at all, Daniel told me. Could be one of the devices is an Abominator psi-blocker. It feels similar, but not the same as one of ours. It’s better actually. I can sense her surface thoughts, but when I try to go deeper there’s nothing there.

Izzy stepped closer, “It would help us if we knew what you might do.”

Yoselin sighed, “I know. I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

“We need to stop talking and move,” Jaclyn said. “Every second gives them more time to prepare and you know they have to be watching us.”

She wasn’t wrong. Looking around the room, I used my suit’s sensors to check for cameras, finding four within a few seconds, two of them hanging from ceiling tiles, and the other two hidden. One was in the center of the clock near the front desk, literally in the spot where the hour and minute hands met.

The fourth was in a clock that hung on the far wall of the lobby.

“If I trash the nearest cameras, we can jump down through a hole placed somewhere they can’t see,” I waved my hand to include most of the lobby.

“Sure,” Cassie said, “if we drop through a hole in a different section of the room, it might surprise them.”

I looked over at Daniel. He said, “Try the spot past the fifth booth—just short of the snacks.”

I knew it wasn’t worth asking why. He wouldn’t know until moments before something happened. I fired off four of the standard bots and they spread out across the room, each of them hitting a camera. As the pieces fell to the ground, we all ran for the fifth booth.

Even though Jaclyn or Izzy could have punched through, Cassie chopped out a circle with her sword. Jaclyn jumped through first with the rest of us following and Izzy taking up the rear.

If I had to use a word to describe the room we landed in, the word would be “grey”—grey walls, grey concrete floor, darker grey doors leading out of the room. Inside the room, grey mechs stood against the wall, all of them damaged or missing arms or legs. That said, most of the mechs were gone. The spots where they could be hooked to the wall were empty as were most of the racks in the middle of the room that held weapons.

We were in the armory. The mechs were waiting for us somewhere else on the floor.

Sometimes, I loved Daniel’s powers.

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