Monday, 19 October 2015

The Operation (part 3)

The two metal sheets that acted as doors to the lift slid open and revealed the gleaming mirrors within, interrupted merely by a metal rectangle holding the control buttons. Cassidy and Tom stood in the centre of the lift with their hands pressed against their heads and their holsters empty. Behind them was Rosemary Travers, their guns in her hands. "Don't stop." She said.
As they walked forwards, Rosemary turned one of her guns to point towards the technicians and data analysts caught in the glow of each and every computer. Those who had sank their hands towards their own holsters thought better of it.
John looked up as they approached. He had guns pointed at him by both Nadia and Owen Travers. He raised his eye brows. "They got you too?"
"Tell me you didn't know this was going to happen?" Cassidy said to him.
"Because I'd so send a couple of top agents into the field knowing this would happen." He sighed, stepping away. The guns followed him.
"Stay where you are!" Nadia barked.
"Or you'll shoot?" He asked.
"Yes." She said it with such conviction that it could only be true.
"What do you want?" Cassidy demanded, drawing the gun away from John and towards her. Owen kept his eyes fixed on John, however. "Why get us to rescue her if you were just going to do this?"
"We needed to get into the building." Nadia said. "This was the only way to do it."
"Why?" Tom asked. "Why did you need to get into the building?"
"So we could access the main servers."
"Of where?"
"Everywhere." She said. "Or, more specifically, every bank."
"We can't do that." John said. "Nobody has the ability to do that."
"Really?" Nadia asked. "Is that true? Do you really expect us to believe that?"
"Yes. I swear it's the truth."
Nadia raised her gun and shot Jason. His exploded with a resounding bang, splattering the glowing screen in front of him with blood. "Do you want to reconsider?"
"Nadia!" Owen exclaimed. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Shut up, Owen!" She exclaimed. She turned her gun back at John. "You're going to do as we say or you will end up with more blood on your hands!"
John exchanged a brief look with Cassidy and Tom. They were the operatives, his look told them, they needed to come up with something! You're in charge, their looks replied, act like it.
He sighed as he looked back towards Nadia. "Why are you doing this?"
"ask the questions and make the demands. Not you!"
"No answer, no consideration of agreement." John said. Cassidy estimated the best course of action for the three armed hostiles in the room. He was buying time, she was spending it.
"We are greedy. Leave it at that."
"He's a media tycoon." Tom said, jabbing a thumb towards Owen. "You have all the money you could need. There are exterior motives to this, I can see that clearly."
Nadia sighed. "Do we really need to make this any more difficult than it already is?"
"Tell us why and we'll consider your demands." John said. "What's difficult about that?"
Nadia sighed again. She reached into her pocket and removed a small device that looked like a trigger. She pressed her thumb against it. Cassidy's eyes flickered immediately towards Nadia's bag, inside the conference room. Nadia laughed. "Don't be so stupid. As if I'd put a bomb in there. Any simpleton can tell that glass is bomb proof, and do I look like a simpleton to you?"
"Where's the bomb then?" John asked.
Nadia pointed her gun towards Rosemary. Rosemary's face squinted into a furrow of confusion. "What? I don't have a bomb on me."
"Not on you." Nadia said. "In you."
Rosemary's spare hand instantly dropped to her stomach, her face flashing with pain as it touched a space under her dress. "They said it was a tracking chip. So that if the agents took me somewhere different, I wouldn't be lost."
Nadia frowned a cynical frown. "Unfortunately, life isn't that simple." She turned back to John. "You've got one chance to agree before I activate the trigger."
John sighed. He looked around the room, searching for a solution, or anything that might help him. He found nothing. "How much? And from where?"
"100 Billion pounds. That's eleven zeroes." She said. "And get it from whichever bank can give it to us."
"Nadia, this stopped being funny a few minutes ago." Owen said, stepping towards Rosemary and away from her. "This isn't good any more."
"Shut up, Owen." She said. "You're ruining this."
"You're acting like you're working with them." He said, then a cold dread spread across his face. "Oh, good God, you are, aren't you? You're working with them."
Whilst they had that little discussion, Cassidy turned t John and said, "You can't seriously be considering doing this?"
"What choice do I have?" John asked. "I can't let them take the room."
"There must be something." She said.
"We've both counted the variables, Cass." Tom said. "Can you see a way out of this?"
Before she could reply, there was an explosion and everyone in the room thought the bomb had gone off. Much to their disgust, and a few thankful gasps, they discovered the bomb hadn't gone off. Instead, Nadia had shot Owen.
"Two dead." She said. "Want to increase that number?"
John turned to the technicians. "Open a transfer. Prepare to break into the banks."
"Sir?" They said.
He shook his head. "Don't argue. Just begin."
Nadia smiled. "Thank you."
John didn't smile back. "You're welcome. Now, for the sake of God, tell us why you are doing this?"
"What did Dad mean when he said you're working with them?" Rosemary asked, before Nadia could refuse to answer any questions. "You're not working with them, are you? You're not working with Islamic State, are you?"
Cassidy, Tom and John suddenly exchanged very worried looks.
"Rosemary, not now." Nadia warned.
"You told us you knew nothing!"
"Rosemary!" Nadia warned. "We'll talk about this later. Let me remind you of what's in your stomach."
"She can't hurt you." John said. "If she presses that trigger, we all die. She can't do that until we've given her the money, so speak freely."
Rosemary turned to them. "We were kidnapped by IS. Me, Mum and Dad. They told us that they'd let us go if we worked with them. Helped them steal loads of money from the banks. They told us the plan exactly as it had happened," she let out a whimper, "but Mum is improvising now. Like she isn't scared of them. There was nothing about killing Dad in the plan, and nothing about killing me. I was there at every meeting and not once did they mention the bomb. How do you know, Mum?"
Nadia laughed. "Well, I have always been an actress."
"You were in on it from the beginning, weren't you?" John said.
She smiled. "Of course I bloody was! I had the power to assist the angels of my religion, why wouldn't I help?"
"And the one billion pounds will be spent on what? Sharper axes? Guns? Explosives?" Cassidy asked.
"Got it in one."
"And how will they solve anything?"
Nadia smirked. "I don't know. Why don't you ask your own army? Don't you understand the fact that we are just the same, you and me? We fight for our patriotism, in the name of our ruler. The only difference? You believe you're right and I believe you're wrong."
"We need an account." One of the technicians said.
"In my bag." Nadia said. "Is a slip of paper. One of you go fetch it."
Tom nodded and went over to the glass conference room, strolling over to her bag and picking up the leather bag she had brought. Inside was a purse, a set of keys and a slip of folded paper. Tom opened it and read it. A random selection of numbers, perfect complete and utter anonymity. No wonder she'd needed a slip of paper with it written on.
"76193175787." He read. "That's the account name. There's some more information if you'll be needing it."
"Thanks." The technician said. Cassidy jogged over and took the paper from Tom and handed it to the technician. Tom remained where he was, near the door to the bomb proof room.
There was a furious typing as the technicians entered the information and then the lead technician said, "Sir, shall we go ahead?"
"Yes." John said. "God help us."
He hit enter and the transfer began.
What happened next happened in quite the blur. Rosemary threw her gun at Cassidy. The operative leapt forwards, grabbed the gun. As her fingers slid into place, her thumb hit the safety and her other hand pulled back the slide barrel. She felt the heavy weight of the trigger as she tore it backwards, releasing a heavy stream of bullets into Nadia's face. The terrorist actress just had enough time to press the trigger for Rosemary's bomb.
Tom swore. He grabbed Rosemary by the neck and threw the two of them into the bomb proof room. His leg caught the door as he flew through, kicking it shut. Cassidy swore, running towards the bomb proof room. For a second which felt like hours, nothing happened. Tom looked up as if if nothing was wrong.
The next second, the glass walls were scorched with boiling blood and black smoke. The explosion cut through the floor, throwing her backwards. The clouds blasting against the glass were dark and couldn't be seen through. Cassidy cursed an infuriated scream. John spun, shouting, "Cancel the transfer! Now!"
One of the technicians snapped out of their awestruck daze and clicked the cancel button. The transfer paused. John let out a relieved sigh and then turned back to the glass room where one of his agents had just been torn apart protecting his comrades. In the back of his mind, the Spin Doctor mocked him. "This was meant to be a quiet op..."

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