I led Bytes away from the rest of the group, checking that there was no one there before we proceeded down the corridors. We found the tech room easily, it was exactly where Wraith had said it would be on the plans. I carefully picked the lock on the door, surprised that there wasn't anything more complicated separating us from the valuable information stored on the computers inside. The door swung open silently and we walked in.
'OK then Bytes,' I said, taking up my position by the door. 'Do your thing.'
'I love this bit,' she said, preparing her technical equipment to search the computers. I didn't get her fascination with technology. I would rather rely on my hands and my ability to survive than a computer that could turn on you in the blink of an eye.
'Oh shit!' An alarm started beeping and Bytes stared at her computer screen with horror. 'They've found us. How did they do that?'
I fumbled for my radio which was clipped onto my belt. 'Request operation abort,' I said down the radio.
'Operation abort request denied,' was the reply from Wraith. 'Continue as planned - Wraith and Night will hold them off. Repeat: continue as planned. Phantom, Bytes - you have five minutes, repeat, five minutes. Shade, get in here and back us up. Plague, continue as planned. You'll have to go it alone, this time. Out.'
'Can you still get the information?' I asked turning to Bytes who was still tapping away frantically at her keyboard.
'Their firewalls are seriously complex and I now have no idea what other kinds of security they might have to protect their files. I could risk losing everything.'
'Can you do it or can't you?' I pressed, checking the corridor again.
'I love a challenge,' Bytes said, a smile on her face. 'I'm pretty sure I can find a way.'
'Good, then do it.' Her fingers began tapping again, her eyes flicking across the screen as she read and assessed the data there in moments. 'How much longer?' I asked as I heard the sound of footsteps thumping down the hallway.
'I'm still assessing the potential damage I could do to the files, and then I need to extract them without-'
'Cut the computer speak and give me a time.'
'About three minutes.' That wasn't going to be quick enough for us to escape before we were discovered.
'OK then,' I said, making sure the elastic hair tie holding my hair back was secure. 'I'll try and buy you some more time. When you have the files, give me the signal.' Bytes nodded, not looking away from the screen as I ran out into the corridor. Four men appeared around the corner, heading straight for the tech room.
'Right then,' I told myself as they advanced on me, guns at the ready. 'Keep them occupied until Bytes can get the files.'
The first man attacked with a blow to the head, which I dodged around, bringing my own fist up and into his stomach. He bent over, not expecting the blow and I knocked him off balance and sending him sprawling over the floor. The second man met a similar fate, this time from a foot to the chest pushing him backward, where he stumbled over his fallen colleague.
The third and fourth men weren't so easily tricked, the third coming at me from my blind side and the fourth aiming his gun at me. A shot rang out and I felt the bullet whizz past my ear. I ducked a blow from my third attacker, dropping to the floor so I could pull a knife from my boot. I threw myself to the right to avoid a kick in the jaw, rolling as fast as I could so I would be able to get to my feet in time for the next attack.
There was another bullet fired at me, but by another stroke of luck it missed me, ricocheting off one of the walls. A quick fist to the face of my third attacker and he was on the floor, unconscious. I clocked the man with the gun, the barrel pointing straight at my head. I had no time to do any sort of calculation, or work out how to get out of this situation, I had to rely on my instincts.
My wrist flicked sharply and the knife flew from my hand. It hit its target, right in the centre of the gunman's neck. Blood flowed down his shirt and he dropped to the ground. The other men had not moved since I had knocked them down, so I ran across their bodies to collect my knife.
'Hey Phantom.' Bytes' voice came from down the corridor. 'I've got what I need, let's go.' I wiped the blood from the knife onto the man's shirt before putting it back inside my boot and following Bytes back the way we had come.