Theresa flicked the switches on the dusty wall panel, turning on two switches and then leaving the third switch off before flicking on the fourth. Not a single light turned on but she heard a low click from behind the panel before she reached up and pulled it off the wall.
The safe house key was still on its hook.
Theresa glanced around sharply while she pocketed the key, but the empty industrial streets failed to produce a threat. Physical keys were almost unheard of in these days of nano-computing and faster-than-light travel. But she didn’t need the key for the front door. Pressing her finger against the door’s sensor let it sample the authorisation in her nano-machines and it unlocked.
Theresa closed the door behind her, leaving the faint moonlight shining in through the dirty windows as the room’s only illumination. Theresa closed her denim-blue eyes and when she opened them again they glowed a faint emerald green. Physical augmentations beyond nano-machines were illegal under Federal law but you could still pack a lot of toys into a pair of contact lenses.
With a gentle tint of green exaggerating the tiny refractions of light Theresa made her way to the farthest corner of the room. She slipped her key between the seams on an old plastic crate and opened it up to reveal her cell’s terminal box. Theresa pressed her hand against the box and accessed its network connection.
A vid-window appeared in the air in front of her allowing her to access the machine’s secure voice chat. She dialled up her cell leader and waited for him to pick up.
The screen went black and displayed the words ‘Audio Only’ across its surface. The gruff but tense voice of John-Paul, her cell leader appeared in her mind.
[Finally. We thought you’d been picked up. Where are you?]
[In the old safe house on the edge of Peter’s Gates.]
There was a pause. [The Order’s turf? What are you doing out there?]
[The idiots bombed the train station, I had to head out on foot.]
[Is the data secure?]
John-Paul couldn’t see but Theresa patted the side of her head. [I’ve got it right here. Do you want me to upload it to you?]
[No.] JP replied. [If you get caught with the data we lose one valuable agent, but nothing else. If they find this information travelling over the network we lose two safe-houses and anyone connected to them. I need you to maintain the risk for a little longer.]
Theresa nodded. [Understood.]
A loud metallic ‘clack’ sounded from the far end of the warehouse. [I think someone’s here. I’ll see you on the other side.]
Theresa took her hand off the computer terminal and pulled the crate over it before pocketing the key. Then the door Theresa came in by swung open, revealing the flash of a silhouette before it slammed shut.
Theresa didn’t need to hear the voice that called out to know who it was.
“Yo, Free Aloysius, you in here?” The Interceptor yelled. “I saw you come in and I ain’t seen you go out. So how ’bout you step into the moonlight and we walk a while?”
He got nothing but silence in response. The Interceptor shrugged and moved further into the room, his right hand straying to reach just behind his hip.
“What’sa matter?” He asked the shadows. “I thought you geeks loved to talk. All your racket about ‘Freedom to sin’ and ‘Separation of church and state’. You talk about succeeding from the Feds, but you sound just like ’em.”
From the back of the room Theresa called out. “We don’t say anything about ‘Freedom to sin.’ We just say ‘freedom.’”
The Interceptor locked his eyes on the origin of the sound and approached slowly, drawing his pistol from under his jacket but keeping it behind him.
“Like I said, just like the Feds.”
As he passed each rack of boxes he took a cautious glance down the aisles. His gun staying where it was. But she wasn’t down any of the aisles so he continued on.
At the last aisle the Interceptor whipped out his pistol and dashed around the corner. Theresa exploded at him, falling upon his gun-hand to turn it away from her as he squeezed out his first shot.
Theresa felt the single-bullet punch through the hood of her jacket, just below her ear.
Twisting around under his arm Theresa moved to get behind him when the Interceptor reached around his back and swapped hands on the pistol.
Whipping his new gun-hand around the Interceptor tried to get a bead on her.
Quickly, Theresa dropped low and tackled the Interceptor to the ground, his shot flying wilding over her head. Theresa scrambled up him and grabbed for his gun again. Holding all of her weight onto the arm across his chest Theresa closed her free hand around his wrist and sent the nanosignal to squeeze over and over again, putting round after round into the boxes right beside them. Coughs of acrid chemical dust sputtered out of the box with each round that hit it.