Dust Chapter 12 Part 2

At 2 a.m. it was show time. Tachi and I stepped out of the van and turned on our fatigues. We took a circuitous route from the car park around most of the facility to get to the maintenance staff entrance at the back. Custodial staff had knocked off a few hours ago, leaving nothing but patients, night shift nurses and security guards on site, the last of which were also the least numerous.

[We’ve reached the door.]

The maintenance entrance boasted a biometric security scanner, requiring both fingerprint and retinal data. The model in question, we had discovered, had another interesting feature. Every time the system scanned a print or an eye it didn’t recognise it actually kept a record of the scan in its system. Not only would this give security something they could provide the police with (in a normal country), it also made generating security accounts for new employees a lot easier. As one could simply scan in once as an unrecognised entrant, then the security boys inside could take that sample and paste it straight into the new employee’s security account.

Which is exactly how Atom got us in. We each scanned in at the print and eye booth twice and the second time it gave us the green light and opened the doors for us. Atom had made up a pair of temporary accounts just before we headed in. As Tachi’s eyes were prosthetics they took note of the serial number microdot located within his iris.

[Interior has been breached.]

Navigating once inside was something we’d left entirely in Atom’s figurative hands. It’d actually managed to construct a likely 3D model of the interior by extrapolating the data from the CCTV footage. So Atom knew exactly where to lead us and did so just the same way Noodles had through Little Ginza. Using AR painted lines in our Neupros.

Tachi and I made our way slowly and silently, moving from shadow to shadow. Following the yellow line on the floor that only we could see.

The interior of the John Meadows clinic was sleek, expensive and sterile, perfect considering its purpose. The floors were a polished ceramic that reflected the moonlight coming in from the reinforced picture windows so well it bathed every room in soft blue light.

Or it would, were I not seeing everything through the light amplification enhancer built into my tech specs. Everything I saw was monochromatic green and black.

Tachi took cover behind a stairwell and peeked around cover with his pistol. After a second he waved me on. I patted him on the shoulder as I passed and took up a position to the left of a corridor entrance. After sweeping the hall with my SMG I waved Tachi on.

He in turn patted me as he passed and crept down the corridor while I covered him.

[Are the little green men working?] I cyped back to the van.

Moe-Moe’s voice came back to me. [LGM is active. The only people around you are asleep. If any of them step out of their rooms we’ll light them up.]

[Cheers Moe-Moe.] It was while preparing for this gig that we discovered a lot of the cool little tricks Noodles had used on the Kawada job had been provided by Moe-Moe. Our B&E hacker was impressing the shit out of me.

[Enhancing LGM subroutine.] Atom’s voice appeared in my head unbidden.

Then without warning a whole bunch of little red dots appeared on the walls around me.

[Atom what have you done?] I asked.

[I’m feeding the data from the CCTV’s pattern recognition software into the Little Green Men app and running it through my processors. Now you can see absolutely everyone currently within your wing of the facility. Most are too far away from you right now, but as you get closer they’ll become silhouettes.]

[That and they’re red.] I said.

[That’s so you can see them while you’ve got your NVG on.] Moe-Moe said. [Well done Atom.]

Atom’s painted line led us right to the CCTV room, where the security head maintained his station. With advertised response times down to 5-minutes (response time subject to officers’ availability and cannot be guaranteed) Night Watch had sold the Meadows clinic a scaled-back night time package of only the one security guard and advanced software watching a metric fuck-tonne of CCTV cameras per building. Out of which, Atom was removing any trace of our existence. In real-time.

Patrolling guards were not deemed necessary, though the clinic was visited by Night Watch patrol cars on a bi-hourly basis. Our 2 a.m. start time coincided with the latest patrol’s departure.

Tachi and I took opposite sides of the door to the CCTV room and I scanned myself in.

The door swung open and we quietly rushed inside. Tachi trained his pistol on the security back of the security guard’s head while I gently closed the door behind us. The red female silhouette representing the night shift nurse was at her station down the corridor from us, she didn’t need to hear what happened next.

The security guard slumped comfortably in the chair, his lack of response suggested he was accessing the system through his Neupro. Making the bank of monitors surrounding him only useful if a supervisor wanted to look over his shoulder.

[You ready PR?] I cyped. [We’re about to take out the guard.]

[I got it.]

Tachi grabbed the guard from behind and put him into a choke hold. Even while online the guard felt Tachi’s cyborg grip close around his throat. He clawed at Tachi’s arm and flailed with his fist, trying to get Tachi in the temple. His fist bounced harmlessly off Tachi’s reinforced skull.

Meanwhile I was digging out the cable ties from my kit. The guard would pass out in the next few seconds, but after a few more he’d come to again. So we had to work fast.

In the movies you can knock a guy out with a tranquillizer or a swift blow to the head. In real life that doesn’t work. Anyone rendered unconscious for more than a few seconds suffers brain damage. Anyone out for longer than that probably isn’t waking up again. While Tachi closed off his carotid artery I jammed a signal inhibitor into his interface jack to neutralise his neupro. Then I got to work zip-tying his wrists together.
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