Gerald Sanswick leapt over the edge. His heart kicked into high gear as he enjoyed the fleeting moment of weightlessness before gravity took its hold.
Gerald sailed over the narrow street, two stories down and landed in a roll on the opposite roof.
He sprung out of the roll and was running at full tilt again right away.
A twinge of pain scrambled along his arm up to his brain. He ignored it. The doctors assured him he’d fully recovered. The pain was all in his mind.
But that was also where he hurt the most. He vaulted over a low wall dividing one shop front from its rear neighbour and heard his superiors’ dismissive snort in his mind.
That he’d had his arm broken by a foreigner and a woman was only the beginning of his humiliation. Having the BMS’ data torn from his grasp hadn’t helped. But the final straw landed when they went back to toss the safe house for Free Aloysius’ terminal box and found nothing but where the hardline had been torn out of the wall.
No more intercepting couriers for Gerald no more. Back to running patrols in the green zone.
Darren, his cell leader, promised him this was only temporary. If he did a good job here he’d be back to chasing down the other faction’s freerunners in no time.
Gerald ran up to a towering apartment block, launched himself at its drainpipe and began shimmying his way up to the roof. Running the Green Zone was cake. The kids spoke of going into the belly of the beast like it was a death sentence. And when you panicked and started shooting the moment you saw your first marine it was. But ‘The Interceptor’ was no rookie and this wasn’t Sunday school. You stayed quiet and looked harmless and the big scary marines left you well enough alone. It wasn’t exactly rocket science.
He reached the roof and pulled himself over the edge and onto the building’s crown. It wasn’t the tallest building for miles around but it did give an excellent view of the suburbs, if you had the stamina to get up here.
Gerald checked the time in his nanoputer and smirked. 09:32 right on time. His patrols were coming in at a consistent 1 hour per lap and today was looking to be no different.
He looked out across the city, the morning rush was in full-swing, filling the sky with speeders. He counted five Federal APCs, one more than his last patrol, but still well within the norm for this time of day.
Then, glancing down, he took a look at the foot traffic for this area.
He froze when he saw them. For a whole three seconds he couldn’t believe this eyes. Then he opened up his menus and started recording his feed quick smart.
The Black Ranger himself and his Chinese witch stepped out of an apartment building right across the plaza from him. Gerald zoomed in to get a clear look at their faces.
He flashed his teeth in a smile. “Well hello there.”
He recorded the whole feed until they stepped into a rented speeder and flew away. Once they were out of sight he opened up his nanospeak app.
The glowing face of the dispatch A.I. appeared in the corner of his vision. [Seraphim Precinct Police, how may I direct your call?]
[I’d like to report some suspicious individuals.] Try as he might, he couldn’t quite keep the smile out of his voice.
Less than an hour later, Penny was hanging over the side of the apartment block in a rappelling harness. Beside her, on lines of their own were the rest of Amrah’s squad and the bomb disposal droid.
Captain Niazi’s face appeared in a small vidwindow in Penny’s vision. [How’s it look from there Ranger?]
[No obvious traps or switches on the balcony. The disposal droid just reported in, it can’t see anything on alternative light spectrums. Ready to move in when you are.]
Penny turned to the squad beside her, pointed at the droid and then pointed down to the balcony.
[Acknowledged.] Came the droid’s eager secretary voice.
The droid gently lowered itself down to the balcony. Penny held her breath for a moment as its feet made contact with the floor and took its weight. When it failed to detonate and take the entire block with it she breathed a sigh of relief.
Unlike the last place, this one fit none of Rodgers’ normal criteria for a good trap house. It was the fifth floor apartment on a block of about thirty other homes. If this one went up it would take dozens of civilians with it. Or it would have if the Marines hadn’t evacuated everyone to the minimum safe distance. Regular mobile infantry held the line and bundled the residents up in temporary shelter, while Force Recon did the sensitive work.
Penny didn’t want to jinx it, but this actually looked like it was on the level. She’d worried this was a trap when she first heard the report but even someone like Rodgers couldn’t stay completely out of sight.
[Threat detected.] The Android reported. [Ultra-violet laser matrix lining balcony window.]
The stream from the android’s eyes appeared in Penny’s vision. [Penetrate the window-lining.] Penny ordered [Search for the power-source.]