Marquis Point Heights. Sounded posh, I'll give you that. I pulled over as Drake asked me what we were planning to do.
"There's no point tailing them now we know where they're headed. If the intel you got is correct then we'd only be walking into a trap. Private estate, defensible position. We'd probably be mown down the moment we entered their grounds and nobody would find traces of our bodies for hundreds of years, if at all. No, we're going to make a phone call. I have something in mind."
Drake glanced at me quizzically for a moment but took my wry smile as reassurance. He was good at intelligence, I have to say. Probably a canny operations coordinator and not a bad soldier if he'd survived this long. Can't say I trusted him yet but he was beginning to prove himself.
We stopped at a payphone and I fed it a few dollars.
"Who are we calling?"
I answered Drake enigmatically.
"Hello, is that Mr. Hegemann? Yes I believe you'll remember me. My name is Foster Lewis. I'm in charge of SCIT at this time. I need to call in a favour."
* * *
Drake and I took a trip to the nearest warehouse belonging to Hegemann's arms manufacturing company. The man himself was waiting there dressed in an expensive looking business suit and looking almost pleased to see me.
"Mr. Lewis, such a pleasure. I have always been thankful to your team, I owe them my life. How can I be of service to the SCIT today?"
"Thankyou, Mr. Hegemann. We need something that will allow infiltration of a high danger zone without detection. Enemy presence will likely by high and security watertight."
"Well, Mr. Lewis, I believe I have just the thing for you."
He led us into one of the back rooms through a series of security doors which opened via his access card. There, he showed us something that blew our minds.
"This is the latest advance in stealth technology. A fusion of the Japanese, American, and Canadian advances in active, adaptive, and optical camouflage." The uniform before us was nondescript. A simple set of standard issue BDUs. Apart from sections of it appeared strangely distorted as if the perspective they were seen at was somehow warped. Mr. Hegemann moved to stand behind the combats and as we watched, these sections changed colour and patterning to match almost exactly the tone of Mr. Hegemann's suit.
"It works by combining panels of a negative refractive synthetic material with flexible photo-stealth adhesive fabric. The negative refractive material causes light to bend and distort around it, not only making you appear only semi-visible to the eye, but also distorting and diffracting the infrared light of motion and heat sensors. The photo-stealth technology can map images of your surroundings onto the uniform, thus creating the illusion of invisibility. We call this the chameleon project, it's a new development for us funded by the government."
Drake and I stared awestruck. "Hang on one second," Drake started. "I've worked in the government, I was part of SMCU and we had no knowledge of these sorts of projects going on."
"Oh, and you are...?"
"This is Drake Bradens, he's with SCIT for the infiltration detail," I answered for him.
"Mr. Bradens, this is a black project. I'm sure you understand what that means being from the SMCU. However, the SCIT is outside of the government. A force that can be officially denied. They are a team of black operatives in themselves. They're off the 'official sanctions' radar so to speak. This technology goes hand in hand with the kind of work they have to do. Now, without further ado, do try it on."
I put on the chameleon camo just like any other set of fatigues I'd wear. Up close the material wasn't perfect. The refraction plates or whatever they were called were a little rigid and left gaps where the normal camo material showed through. The photo-stealth only captured an image of the surroundings, it couldn't exactly replicate them, so while colour and texture were similar they weren't a perfect match to the background either. In addition, the chameleon material only covered the arms, legs, and balaclava. There was still a perfectly normal body armour vest sitting on my front. The parts that did have the camo on were pretty amazing though. It was quite surreal looking at where my arm should be and barely being able to see it. I liked it.
"I shall prepare a uniform for each member of your team, if it is to your satisfaction?"
"Mate, this is fricken awesome. There are six members of our team, self included."
"Very well, sir," He smiled with delight and open pride in his technology. "These are in payment back to the team for the life that I owe them, free of charge."
I was shocked but thanked him profusely and asked he considered his debt well and truly paid. As he led us back out we passed more code locked rooms which we couldn't see into, but I wondered what sort of other 'black projects' they were working on inside. Just as we neared the exit something did catch my eye through an open door, however.
"Ah you've found our armoury I see," Hegemann commented. "Eyeing up the DSR subsonic? That's part of our range of special operations weapons. All of which are specially customised to fit the user's preference and maximize field efficiency for high risk stealth operations."
I stepped into the room and saw row upon row of weapon racks, each categorized into their own little section. Assault, Support, Reconnaissance, Special Operations, Close Combat, Police Force, Counter-Terror, Assassination. You name it, they had at least ten different weapons for it. This was something else. I picked up the DSR subsonic and ran through a safety check. The bolt action was smooth and the firing mechanism was precise and comfortable. The sleek black lines and combat scope made it a beautiful weapon. As well as being almost totally silent and exceptionally accurate, I knew Dani loved the DSR range sniper rifles. It was her birthday coming up. This gift would tie in with the operation nicely. I could probably use some of the weapons in here myself anyway come to think of it.
"Mr. Hegemann, sir, how much will it set us back to entirely re-equip SCIT using your weapons?"
"If that is the case, Mr. Lewis, I think we should come to a different arrangement. I would like to become the sole supplier of SCIT. Every weapon, every piece of armour, uniforms, vehicles, ammunition, my company will supply it all. I won't expect a cent back either. We're already paid to work on government projects and once we start supplying SCIT it's only a matter of time before SMCU, CIA, FBI, NSA all want in on the act as well. No, don't worry about a thing, I'm happy to become the official SCIT quartermaster even, but we can discuss those matters some other time. For now, take your pick, free of charge.
I grinned wholeheartedly. It's rewarding to save a life any day but getting paid back like this was a magnificent bonus. I'd have no problem with Mr. Heg becoming our quartermaster whatsoever if this was the sort of kit he'd be churning out for us. We left the warehouse with new loadouts for the whole team in the back of the car and six chameleon combat armour suits. I was glad we had a friend here. At least someone was on our side.