Complications

Percy shoved Bruce's senseless body into the corner stall, locking the stall door behind him. She hoped that no one would stop in here before morning. She was going to keep the "OUT OF ORDER" sign on the door just in case.

It took her only five minutes to reach the main security room, putting her right on schedule. This was when things got difficult, however. This was when a little improvisation came into play.

Percy walked up to the door, her heart jittering wildly in her chest. She forced herself to walk slowly, trying to imitate Bruce's easy, leisurely gait. Percy hoped that the jacket she wore would disguise herself at a quick glance at least, or perhaps that -- if lady luck was so gracious -- the monitors on duty wouldn't be keeping close tabs on the security cams anyway.

Percy scanned Bruce's card into the security panel and keyed in a six-digit code that Devil had sent to her previously after he had acquired it through some clever hacking. The door slid smoothly open.

Percy was counting on the fact that she would have roughly three seconds before the monitors realized that she was not indeed Bruce, but an intruder. In those three seconds, Percy was counting on the fact that she would be able to nail the two security monitors with taser shots before they had a chance to react.

There was a blue flash as Percy pulled the trigger twice in rapid succession. One of the monitors went down, but one shot went amiss, instead blasting a security screen into a thousand shimmering pieces.

"Hey!" shouted the man as he whirled to look at Percy standing in the doorway. Lucky for her, the security monitors were not guards, and they were unarmed, so the worst the man could do was duck behind his chair and punch the alarm button. Which, of course, was very bad indeed.

Percy darted around the chair, and as sure as she secured a clear shot, zapped the monitor between the shoulder blades. He fell to the floor with a muffled groan, but the damage was already done. A klaxon was roaring in Percy's ears and a cold sweat had erupted on her brow.

She quickly turned to the security console, swiped Bruce's card, and initiated a lockdown of the main security room. The door clamped shut like the iron jaws of a trap.

Percy was breathing and thinking hard. It was just a tiny mistake, but she could practically feel her plan disintegrating around her. Once she had finished, the plan had been to put her name into the security clearance and then to leave the palace. Now she had to make a choice. She could either finish the job at hand and nearly guarantee getting caught, or she could try to run for it while she still could. Her mind in a panicked fog, she stared at the thick metal door. She had time. She had to finish.

Percy pulled her PI from her pocket and put in a call to Devil.

"Yes," purred the reptilian voice a moment later. "Are you in the main security room?"

"Yes," Percy managed in a shaky voice. "But there are a couple of complications. One of the monitors hit the alarm before I took him down."

"Oh dear," said Devil none too sympathetically. "Well I don't know how you'll get out of there, human child, but I can tell you what to do to salvage the mission. You've locked down the security room, I hope?"

"Yes."

"Change the security code. You'll need a security pass card as well as an override program. I can supply the override, just hook your PI up to the console. You'll need to provide the card, though."

With shaking hands, Percy hooked her PI up to the port, then swiped her card once more. She saw a meaningless string of numbers trickling down the screen of her PI as Devil sent along the override.

Soon it was done and Percy lifted the PI back up to her ear.

"Okay, the security system's all yours," said Devil. "While I was at it I had Whitney feed in all the codes she had from CTO databases."

"Right," said Percy, bringing up the security clearance list. It came up without a hitch. She slipped Lorden's ID from her knapsack and a moment later had punched its signature into the console. Just like that, it was all done.

A moment later, Percy heard a knock on the door, and voices that she couldn't quite make out. She scanned the security screens and found the cam that was situated directly outside of the room. There was a cluster of palace security outside, and this time they were armed.

Without another word, Percy hung up on Devil and dialed Lorden's number. She waited a tense six and a half seconds before he picked up.

"Percy?"

"Yes, it's me. I did it, Lorden, your name's in the clearance list. But I messed up. They found me out. They're going to get me in a few minutes."

Lorden cursed. "Don't worry, Percy, we'll get you out of there."

"Lorden, don't, I don't think you can. You'll just put everyone else in danger. But I just thought you should know."

"Percy --" Lorden started, but whatever he was about to say, Percy didn't hear; she had already hung up.

The End

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