Breaking & Entering: Part 10

The fan increased its power by the second.

The whirring noise came from deeper in the building—possibly pulling it directly outside. That meant instead of being something that Rook’s people had done, it might be ours.

Instead of drifting away, the smoke streamed toward the smashed door, pulled by the fan, but behind it came cold air from outside.

A glance upward showed that the section of the room’s ceiling that had reached up to the roof now opened to the sky. Izzy had taken it completely off.

If she hadn’t taken it off, the part she did remove included the middle.

Anyway, it was pretty impressive. I wouldn’t have been able to do it in the Rocket armor.

Beyond a brief sense of awe, I didn’t think about it much then. I had other things to worry about.

An alarm went off.

A low, pulsing, honking noise, it sounded ominous.

Cassie turned her head upward, staring at one of the room’s speakers. “That’s a new alarm.”

“So… You don’t know what it means?”

“How would I? They didn’t give me an orientation.” Cassie turned toward our captive groups of scientists and lab techs.

One of the bigger guys (I could tell that much through the jumpsuit) appeared to be staring at the door, and getting ready to run.

“What about you guys?” Pointing her gun at the big guy, she said, “Especially you.”

He took a step back. The gun had made an impression.

“It’s the base evacuation signal. If we can’t get out, they’re going to kill us.”

“With what?” Cassie checked the door, and I followed her look. Nothing came through.

“I don’t know. They told us if we heard it we should get to the control room if we didn’t want to die. Look, if you can get us out, we’ll tell you anything we know.”

“Rook’s booby-trapped his bases with nukes before.” I don’t think my voice trembled as I said it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it had.

Cassie took a breath. Her stolen mask stretched it out. “Fuck.”

“No kidding. Portal’s here, but she can’t teleport us out unless she can see us—”

“And they’re going to have to see us in the dark.”

“Yeah, and that assumes they can teleport us out at all. Accelerando and uh… Blue—”


“Our friend that we met last summer, and then at… school.”

Cassie turned her head to stare at me. Well, it’s not as if I could see through her mask to tell for sure, but that would have been my guess.

“Who?” But then she said, “Oh, but why are you calling her Blue? No. No. Never mind. Skip it. We need to get out now. How many of them can you take?”

“One in each hand, and then I guess I can radio the jet—”

“Don’t talk about it. Go. I’ll get as many as I can up to the second floor above us.”

I stepped forward holding out my hands so I could take two of the people who’d been trying to grow warped clones of Cassie only minutes before.

I knew it was the right thing to do. Heck, it was even a practical thing to do. Knowing what Rook and the Nine were up to would be useful, but a small but significant part of me wondered if I shouldn’t just pull Cassie out, and leave them there.

I mean, seriously, if I had to choose who lived, it wouldn’t be them.

Still, I held out my hands, and said, “Let’s go,” anyway.

That’s when I heard the sound of flapping wings behind me. I turned around, pulling my arms into a position where could easily fight or fire off the sonics.

A black cloud of Rook’s bird bots flew down the corridor toward the door to the room.

For a second, I thought it was a good thing. If Rook had set up the bird bots to kill people, it might mean he didn’t have a nuke.

On the other hand it might mean he intended the bird bots to occupy attackers so that they wouldn’t escape before the nuke went off.

Either way, the birds flew like little black missiles—too fast to dodge or casually take down.

Before Cassie or I managed to stop it, one flew through the door, and dove into the chest of one of the people near me.

There wasn’t any question of whether the person was dead. I’m not going to go into detail, but there wasn’t.

Maybe Cassie could have stopped it, but she had to deal with a horde of birds targeting her.

I did what I could.

I couldn’t react quickly enough to stop that first one, but I shot off four EMP bots into the middle of the cloud flying toward us.

Maybe as many as twenty went down, but more were coming.

Cassie opened up with the gun, the brilliant white beam even taking down bird bots next to the ones she hit. The Rocket suit filtered out the worst of the beam’s light, but it still hurt to watch it.

Worse, we hadn’t gotten to talk much about what had happened in the control room.

I didn’t have time to say anything when she swept the beam across the transparent wall to blast at the bird bots behind it.

The wall shattered, and the section of the second floor that it had supported fell in with it.

11 thoughts on “Breaking & Entering: Part 10”

  1. Can you just imagine an enthusiastic voice, that only Cassie can hear, calling “Burny! Burny!”. [grin]

  2. I bet it’s just saying “Pew pew!” over and over again just to mess with her. Or more disturbingly, making some very pleased sounds now that it’s getting to shoot off so much.

    A very Hitchcockian attack. I know there’s also one of those Fear-type creepypasta things that is basically a bunch of birds. That’s about all I know of it, so can’t nerd out on y’all with it. Same with Hitchcock’s The Birds. The only thing I can tell you is that crows are some intelligent animals, shown to be capable of remembering faces and then communicating about them to other crows.

    This was found out when some scientists wore something like Reagan or Nixon masks when they captured some local crows to tag or study. The crows harassed anyone wearing those masks. Later birds who had never even seen their bird buddies do such an attack and who weren’t part of that experiment also had been taught to attack those faces. It’s believed that they learned it do to crow communication. Apparently crows have regional accents in how they, um, crow.

    So basically, what I’m getting at, is that some day we will be enslaved by the evil crows, forced to feed them whatever it is crows eat or face a face-clawing.

    Unless of course we act now and declare that it’s Crowtime! *pumps a shotgun*

  3. Nick didn’t get to tell her what happened in the control room – so all she has is the gun’s version of what happened?

  4. It is nice to see Captain Commando and her sidekick/sidearm Loose Cannon working together again. As far as what Loose Cannon told her about the events in the control room, I would have to guess he probably whined about not getting to shoot anyone while The Rocket had all the fun. He probably also pointed out how many targets The Rocket failed to take advantage of. Loose Cannon doesn’t seem to be too concerned about collateral damage, so the second floor collapseing when she blasts the transparent wall would be unimportant to him. It has been stated that they are standing in an area that is open to the sky, so the floor secong floor will not collapse on them.



  5. All Cassie hears would be: oh yeah baby, pull that trigger. Pull it harder baby, HARDER.Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s right!

  6. I forgot, does Cassie actually have to pull the trigger or does she just think:
    Shoot micro-rook #324
    Shoot micro-rook #358

    Or maybe more abstract as in looks at something and thinks shoot…

    Which could of course lead to problems when she pulls out her unfinished homework and thinks “Shoot….”

  7. There’s no trigger. She just has to think. That said, it’s better than that in that the gun provides her with an entirely mental HUD (heads-up display).

    Not to ruin the humor of imagining the gun blasting her homework into oblivion, but it’s smart enough to recognize the context.

    Granted, it might choose not to recognize the context.

  8. Yeah, the gun would probably interpret it like the robots Mom sends after Bender and Hermes when they’re investigating how Bender could have been approved when he was defective.

    “I don’t see how it’s her-” “He said howitzer!” *robots open fire*

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