They were all cast in the green glow of an even bigger map at the front of the room, surrounding by a blocky boarder forged from CCTV views. The target, the warehouse that Cassidy and Tom had attacked, was marked in red. One of the CCTV screens was announcing that it was on fire.
"Paul, call in the fire brigade."
"Roger that." Paul said, sat just in front of John.
"This isn't the RAF now, Paul." John said. He turned his attention to Echo 1, pulling out of the industrial estate that the warehouse was part of. It took a sharp left out of the estate and then roared down an abandoned road towards the traffic lights.
"This is Echo 1," Cassidy barked through the radio, "lights are red."
"Jason?" John said.
"Green for go." Cassidy said, the 'DeLorean' thundering on.
"Tom?" John said. "Have we performed the identification process?"
"Performing now." Tom said.
On the screen at the front of the room, the green map minimised into a small square in the bottom left corner. Taking it's place was a shaky live link to the car. Tom's hands were holding a camera over his passenger seat, staring it directly at the girl in the rear seat. They heard Tom's voice announce, "Seat belt, please."
The girl clipped it over her, but it drew very tight. She was gaunt, almost grotesque in her malnourishment, with grey skin that hadn't washed in days. Her eyes were black and scared, unsure whether the latest development had been a good one or not.
"Running facial recognition." Nancy announced, one of her twin computer screens performing that task. "Proceed with questioning."
"Can you please state your name?" Tom asked. "Into the camera."
The girl looked up, staring directly towards John as if she could see him. "Rosemary Travers." She said. John saw a transverse wave fluxing on Nancy's screen. She pressed enter and the vocal recognition process began.
"Your age?" Tom said.
John didn't hear the rest of that, however, due to a sudden scream behind him. He turned towards the rear of the office and sighed. There was a glass box of sorts, big enough to be the average living room but instead used as a sound proof meeting room. The glass was specially designed to be electrochromic, that is to say it could turn from opaque to transparent at the flick of a switch. Inside, when the glass had been an opaque, milky white, had waited Rosemary's parents, Mr and Mrs Owen Travers. Owen was a media mogul with enough money to pay the combined wages of everyone in the building, twice for every time in their collective life spans. His wife- Mrs Nadia Travers, a thirty five year old, retired actress- was bordering on hysterical.
"Look at her, Owen!" Nadia screamed. "Look at her! She looks awful! We should have paid the ransom!"
"I thought somebody was taking care of these two!" John cried, his Glaswegian accent stronger than usual. The agent who had been calming them tried to usher them back into the room but they wouldn't budge.
Before John could give them a shout which had melted many terrorist's hearts, Paul made an announcement. "Look through the back window. There's a car!"
He took a shot of the live feed and zoomed in on the rear window, magnifying the two cars behind. They were black and muddy, but boasting full body kits and spoilers. Undeniably bad guy cars.
"Can we get the regs identified?" John shouted.
One of the tech monkeys to his right said, "Somethings can't be magnified."
"What'd I pay you for? Get on it!"
"We've got gunshots." Arthur cried. "Two blocks north. Running parallel in a Range Rover."
"On board SatNav?"
"Running a trace."
Amplified by both the radio system and the live feed, Cassidy shouted, "Permission to fire?"
"Negative, Echo 1." John said. "Standby for further orders."
The live feed suddenly fizzled out. Dark took over the screen. John grabbed a tablet from his desk and used it to control the screen. He brought up the map as half the screen at the front and opened the CCTV display on the other side. "Felicity, get me CCTV feeds for Echo 1's relative location." The map told him they were still on the road which was better news than it could have been telling him. It was just a case of the state they were in.
He grabbed his radio. "This is Command to Echo 1, come in Echo 1. Can you hear me?"
No reply. Radio silence.
"Just had a report of an explosion." Arthur said. "Report from North Gower Street, the explosion was in the distance."
"That's three blocks south of where Echo 1 is." Felicity pointed out.
"Confirmation." Nancy cried. "It is Rosemary Travers in the back of the car."
Mrs Travers simply wailed more.
"Paul, call another fire truck. Felicity, make sure there aren't any pandas responding. Jason, where's the nearest safe point to Echo 1's last reported whereabouts?"
"As the crow flies, two minutes. By the road, a minimum of ten."
"Can you plan a quicker, if not more illegal, route?"
"I'll get on it."
"We've got eyeball on the reported gunshots." Arthur cried. "They've got a SatNav as you guessed. They're turning onto Main Street."
"That's Echo 1's predicted location." Jason pointed out.
John grabbed his radio. "Echo 1, respond if you're receiving this. You have three armed hostiles on your tail."
"Two armed hostiles." Cassidy shouted back. "Sorry about the silence. We've taken one of our tails out."
"43 Portland Road. They're going to need a new front wall."
"They have live trojan?"
"Felicity, send in an armed Ambulance." He turned away from her and picked his radio up again. "We were told there was an explosion. Confirmation?"
"There was an explosion." Cassidy said. "But we're fine."
John grinned. " Jason, that route ready?"
"Almost isn't good enough."
"It's done." He said. "Do you want to authorise it?"
"Consider it authorised." He said, waving his hand at the screen without a look. "Send it over."
"Can I ask for permission to fire again?" Cassidy shouted.
"Standby, Echo 1. Not yet."
"Speed camera!" Felicity shouted.
John flicked a switch on his desk and it deactivated before them. He switched it back on just after they'd passed. It grabbed two excellent pictures of the pursuing cars. The tech monkeys stretched it and threw it onto the front screen. The Range Rovers was being driven by a couple of Islamic State rejects, literally. They'd been thrown out for their overexcitement. The other car, what looked like a Mercedes on steroids, was being driven by a couple of battered Rugby types. The guy behind the wheel was splattered with blood. The passenger was sliding a metal block into a semi-automatic pistol.
"Armed hostiles." John muttered. "Jason, have you cleared your route?"
"In the process. I'm tripping the fire alarms at the further places, locking the doors of the nearer."
"Good work." John said.
He took a couple of steps backwards and then felt the melancholy shadow of his associate at his shoulder. A spectre at the feast, looming over them. "The Home Office is going to crucify you for this."
"I'm sure you'll spin it to them somehow." John said.
"At what cost? This was meant to be a quiet op."
"There's no such thing. We've played the game as the game was presented. As we always do."
"I'll add that to my notes." The Spin Doctor said.
"Should I feel honoured or threatened?" John asked, but there was no point in asking. It didn't matter what the Spin Doctor said; he would always feel threatened.
He stepped forwards and rejoined the game. "How are we doing?"
"We've just seen Jason's award winning route." Felicity said. "Good luck Echo 1."
John brought up the map and studied it. "Bloody hell."
"The Range Rover has crashed." Cassidy announced through the radio. "Player 2 is gaining."
"Okay, Echo 1." John said. "This should take him out."
"Who designed this route?" Tom shouted.
"Jason." John said.
"We're coming for you next." Tom said, no doubt with a grin.
Jason gulped anyway.
"Sir?" Arthur said. "The route contains a great deal of surveillance equipment. We can block some of it but the rest of it-"
"We might have to take it out."
"We may have to take out the Grid for that quadrant. Some of them are state of the art systems which we can't hack at this short notice." A tech monkey said.
John turned towards the Spin Doctor. He shrugged. "Go ahead. It's your call."
"Do it." John said. "God help us."
There was a hurry of scrambled typing and then Arthur said, "It's done."
As the CCTV screens on the board at the front flickered out of life, John said, "Echo 1, you're on your own."
Cassidy throttled it and sent the car flinging across the curb and onto the pavement. Bollards which usually raised from the floor were activated by a remote system, shrinking away before them so they could plummet over. Tom looked over his shoulder, barking, "Hold on, Rose. It's going to be a bumpy ride."
The car streaked across immaculate pavements, creeping towards a grand glass building which housed dozens of award winning accountants. There was an open foyer leading through the centre, towards the other side where an alleyway led to the safe place.
Cassidy slammed her foot into the accelerator, throwing them back into their seats as they zipped through the gap between glass walls on either sides. Accountants watched in horror as two cars chased through. The battered Rugby players had begun firing guns through their windscreens. A couple of shots shattered the glass walls, another hit the 'DeLorean's' boot. Cassidy changed the gear. "Get our guns ready." She said. Echo 1 soared across the pavement flying onto the road. "Stuff not having trojan." She said. "Fire at will."
She pulled the handbrake, twisting the wheel, spinning the car until it was facing backwards. One hand released the handbrake, another grappling the gear stick into a reverse. Her handbrake hand settled the wheel, lining them up with the approaching alley, the other took a gun from Tom. "Damn the windscreen. " She said and began to fire.
Bullets tore through the glass, cutting through the air and towards the car described as 'Player 2.' The front wheels exploded, the passenger dropped dead. The car kept coming, slicing forwards faster and faster.
As they slipped into the alleyway, Player 2 reached the edge of the pavement. A bollard leapt up and smashed into the rear of the car, whilst Cassidy fired one more shot and killed the driver. Then the garage door behind them opened up and they were safe. They were home.
"The Game isn't over yet." Rosemary said, pulling a gun on them both.