Jay Farrow had been squatting for so long that his knees felt like they were going to snap in half. He clenched his teeth against the pain and did not move.
The motion sensors would go crazy if he tried to reposition himself. He continued to breathe lightly and regularly. How impressed his mother would be if she could see him now. He had never been able to sit still as a child. Just shows how powerful a motivator desperate times could be. The next two hours passed more slowly than any two hours Jay Farrow could remember. Both legs and his watch arm had all fallen asleep and he had become very worried that he would not be able to get up, let alone move quickly once the sensors were offline. Which would be very soon now. The agreed upon time finally arrived. But the censers remained on, a tiny red blinking light betraying their status. Perhaps he’s just running a little behind. Jay thought, never a quick one to loose hope. He kept waiting. And waiting. Ten minutes passed, than twenty.
This mission was time sensitive. If those sensors didn’t go offline soon, it would be too late. He waited a full hour after the appointed time. Something must have gone wrong. If he moved before the motion sensors were turned off he would be caught for sure. If he just waited, and they were never turned off, he would be caught once everyone woke up in about 4 hours. By then, it would be far too late to complete the mission and escape. Smarty still knelt across from him in the other camera-void spot, once more showing his intelligence in the position he had chosen to wait. Jay now dearly wished that he was kneeling too.
But despite the younger man’s intelligence, which was speeding him through the ranks at record pace, Jay was the man in charge on this mission and Smarty wouldn’t move until Jay did. And he could not decide what to do. Their shrinking time frame allowed only one more hour delay, and even then it was cutting things far too close. But their only hope was to wait and pray that Techy got those sensors off.
The second hour was nearly up and Jay was having dizzy spells because his blood wasn’t circulating properly. He was terribly afraid that he would sway or pass out, activating the alarm system.
Finally he knew that they could wait no longer. They had to at least attempt to complete the mission or die trying.
He made eye contact with Smarty and blinked five times slowly. They both moved at the same instant. Jay tried to stand up, but instead hurled himself forward onto his stomach. Smart began to crawl quickly down the hallway. The alarms went off in a great clamor, loud, and wailing like a nest of angry coyotes.
Jay tried to stand again, than gave up and pulled himself forward with his arms, collapsing now and then on the arm that was asleep. He had to move faster. But he couldn’t. His mind was helpless in the face of his sleeping, tingling, pain-shooting limbs. Smarty was near the end of the hallway, standing now in front of one of the many doors exiting off the hallway, and entering the long series of codes into the lock.
Smarty could complete the mission on his own if he wasn’t caught. Jay would now just be a hindrance to him. He could feel the floor vibrating at the impact of the security guards feet as they ran down the hallway leading to this one.
They would rush through a door in a minute and it would all be over. Unless Jay could give Smarty the time he needed to get in and out. But how could he give him that much time?
Just before four security guards burst through one of the doors, Smarty got the door he was working on open and entered it, closing it behind him. At the same time, Jay pulled himself into a kneeling position, drew his gun and began firing on another door in the hall, randomly selected.
“He went in there!” he shouted to the security guards over the sound of his weapon. Thinking him one of their own in his perfect-copy uniform, they rushed to the door and began pounding on it and trying to open it. While they did so, Jay managed to stumble to his feet and stood, leaning against the wall and panting.
“But this door is still locked,” said one of the guards after a moment.
“He must have locked it behind him,” Jay offered.
“Couldn’t have… it’s locked from the outside.”
Before the four could turn around, Jay shot them all in the back. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that,” he muttered. But the guards didn’t die. They were simply thrown up against the door by the force of the blows and yelling and grunting they reached for their weapons and began to turn. Stupid vests.
Jay fired again and again, this time at their legs and arms. He was faster than them, and he still had the element of surprise on his side. A moment later the four lay bleeding and groaning on the ground. But more were coming, pounding down the hall. He couldn’t use the same trick twice—not when there were four guards laying on the floor. Or could he?
He pushed himself off the wall and across the hall, so that he way laying amidst the wounded guards, clutching his leg with one hand and holding his gun with the other when the fresh quad of guards entered the hall from another door.
Jay moaned in ‘pain’ and pointed with his gun at a door across the hall. “That one,” he gasped between moans.
Smarty dashed down the hallway he found behind the door. The alarms were beginning to give him a headache, as they were meant to. There would just be two more doors and they he would be in the final room where the target of the mission was. While one part of his brain focused on unlocking the next door, carefully chosen from the many doors in this hall, another part quietly panicked and another part wondered vaguely what exactly he would find in the last room. They had not been told what they were acquiring on this mission, and Smarty secretly suspected that it was because the people above them didn’t know what it was. But whatever it was, it would be really valuable—some sort of rare chemical or material, or an incredible piece of technology, or some ancient artifact worth millions. He’d heard all sorts of stories about what others had brought back with them on missions… some probably tall tails, others quite believable.
The second door was opened—one more to go. Farrow must be somehow holding off the guards. Smarty hoped that Farrow wouldn’t get himself killed, although it was very likely. It was also very likely that Smarty would get himself killed. The alarm was really annoying. He counted three doors on the left… the forth would be the last.
This one took the shortest time to open, which was a relief. Eagerness to see what lay beyond the door, even if he wasn’t able to escape with it, coursed through him and he turned the handle and pushed in.
What he saw was not at all what he expected to see. For there, in the centre of the small empty room, on a stool sat a girl. She had tiny, beautiful, yet sharp features and although at first he took her for a child, he quickly realized that she was actually a woman—just very small in stature. Was this-she really the target of their mission? Or had he picked the wrong door? No, this had certainly been the right door.
He heard footsteps pounding down the hall.
“Well, come on then,” he spoke in his distinctively Australian accent, “it’s time to go.”