Security One is the headquarters for all security, enforcement, and control for the planet. The building is home to the world police force, global communications, defense monitoring network, and local enforcement and control. Prisoners under interrogation or awaiting tribunal sentencing are located on the tenth floor. Executions are common so the prison level only needs to be confined to one floor.
The officers and agents of Security One answer to the Board of Directors, a group of six individuals charged with operation of the planet within various divisions. The head of the Board of Directors is the Chairman. Collectively they regulate the planet resources. These resources include mineral, manufacturing, and people. Greed drives the board, and wealth sustains it. Monetary gain negates any moral actions.
To breach this facility, one would be required to get past numerous enforcement and security officers, an advanced security and operations computer system, as well as several explosive traps at various locations. Despite all of this, Torah and Susan, two teenage girls managed to successfully reach the prison level and extricated a prisoner. Torah is a Shadow Fighter from a distant planet, and Susan is a Cadet Lieutenant with an earth based space exploration starship.
The extrication had made it to a stairway exit. On the other side of an unlocked steel door guards were still in a state of confusion due to the deployment of heavy smoke. The next step in this extraction is to get the prisoner, Ambassador Zephon out of the building and to safety.
The three took a moment to regroup as they stood in the stairwell. The smoke was dissipating, and the guards could be heard shouting inside as they attempted to determine what had happened. Out of the smoke themselves they now could see the family resemblance between Ambassador Zephon and their employer / benefactor, Will Zephon. The ambassador was an older man with graying hair. He seemed in good health despite his confinement. In the stairwell, his height made Susan feel smaller.
Torah accessed the control panel and relocked the door, then attached a detonator cap setting the timer.
“This will help delay them, but it certainly will not hold them for long” said Torah. “I’m sure the officers on the first floor are already making their way towards us. We need to go.”
As they made their way down the single flight of stairs, they heard the explosion taking out the control panel. At the end of these stairs the trio was at the next part of the escape. This floor contained the window with the artificial light which is believed to be part of some sort of trap. Quickly making their way to the windows, they opened the one on their side of the trip light. Unknowingly the Ambassador started towards the light but Susan stopped him.
“Be careful Ambassador,” said Susan. “Not everything is as it appears.”
Torah retrieved the rope which was still attached to the ledge above. She checked the security of the rope, then obtained the grappling gun from her bag, and attached the free end of the rope to a harpoon type hook.
“I think the building on the other side of the alley is about 35 to 40 feet away” said Torah.
Susan was confused. She was ready to repeat the swing over to the other window. Now it appears they are going to cross the street – at nine stories up! Torah aimed the gun in a downward slant and fired. The harpoon attached to a wall of the building opposite theirs. It embedded at a second story level, just above a metal awning.
As Torah was rigging the line, her mind was on another problem. She knew that by now the officers on the ground floor were aware that no one had come down from the prison level. With the elevators in lock down, those officers would have to make their way back up using the stairs.
Torah took up the slack and tied off the rope. Susan looked out the window at the line. The drop was certainly steep. Torah then removed three devices from her gear bag. Once she assembled them, Susan could see they were zip line trolleys.
“Okay Susan, you’re first.”
Susan climbed out onto the ledge. She was convincing herself this was no different that swinging from window to window and she liked that a lot.
“When you get over the middle of the road, start braking. It’s very steep so you will be building up speed very quickly. When you reach the end, drop off and wait for the Ambassador. You will need to help him down.”
Torah took out the detonators cap controller and slipped it into Susan’s pocket.
“When you drop off, immediately push the button, count to three, and push it again; got it?”
“Yes” said Susan also nodding.
They could hear the guards trying to get the prison exit door open. Torah looked their way, and then looked back at Susan.
“Ready?” she asked.
“Yeah, ready” said Susan.
This time a hard push off wasn’t needed. Susan raised her feet and Torah gave her a light shove and off she went.
Susan was gaining speed. She watched the ground. At the midpoint she started to apply the brakes. Her speed made her uncomfortable, and she didn’t feel she was slowing fast enough. Just as she reached the wall, she slowed to a point she could drop to the awning.
She looked back at the others and then reached in her pocket. Finding the detonators cap control she pushed the button and heard an explosion from inside the building. She counted; one, two, three; on three she pushed again. There was a brief uneasy moment of nothing, and then the entire sixth floor turned into an orange and blue ball of fires, blowing out all the windows. Susan was initially amazed at the sights, and then she looked back up at Torah, who smiled at her and gave her thumbs up.
On the prison level the guards were working at manually opening the exit door to the stairway. One of the sergeants grabbed his radio.
“I need two snipers to go to the roof and take position on the opposite corners of the building” he said over the radio. “If they see anyone exiting the building, ANYONE, you are clear to fire!”
Torah prepared the Ambassador for his flight down the zip line. She helped him onto the ledge and instructed him on the procedure.
“Now you heard what I told Susan. However, you are not of the same slight build as her, so you will gain speed faster than she.”
“Is that a nice way of saying I’m fat?” he asked. Torah smiled.
“No, it’s just that you’re an older man…”
“So I’m old and fat” he said with a grin.
“Okay,” said Torah wanting to get out of this conversation, “you’re ready. As with Susan she had him lift his feet and gave him a push.
Just as she did, she heard a gunshot and instantly saw a piece of the building near her break off with a crack. She looked up to a corner of the building where the gunshot came from and saw an enforcer with a high powered rifle and scope.
As she attached the last trolley, she heard the prison door unlatch and footsteps on the stairs. She hung on to the trolley and leaned backwards towards into the window. As another shot was hard she extended her leg and kicked the board she had propped there earlier. The board dropped across the light, tripping the trap meant for them. A device that looked like a rotating department store display with mirrors started to turn. Then two laser beams from both sides of the room appeared, reflecting off the mirrors. The room lit up with various lasers, cutting anything it hit. That should hold them off she thought.
She pushed off and started down the rope. Bullets were whistling past her as she very rapidly built up speed. Her push off had her gaining speed quickly so she reached for the brake. Suddenly a bullet struck the rope. Torah filled with fear as the rope went limp. She released the trolley and started in a free fall. She still had a lot of forward motion though.
Susan watched in horror as Torah flew across the street, out of control. As Torah quickly approached the building, Susan winced at the impending impact to the wall. However Torah smashed through a window on the fourth floor. It was better than hitting the stone wall; however at the speed she was traveling, Susan knew she had to be hurt.
Susan finished assisting the Ambassador to the ground. Bullets were still flying as they ran up the alley and around the corner. She wanted to help Torah, but she knew she could not. If she took time to go to her aid, they could be caught or killed. Shawn was waiting for them up the road. Still, she worried about her friend.
Torah lay on the floor unconscious. Her hair was wet with blood. Although the sniper knew he didn’t hit her, he did see that she fell through the window on the fourth floor.
“Tango two, the suspect is down on the fourth floor of the apartment building across from Security One” said the sniper. “Respond a recovery team.”
“Copy tango two” responded dispatch. “Sierra four wants to know if you hit the target.”
“Affirmative, but it is unknown if the shot terminated the subject.”
“Copy and relayed; Recovery units are en route.”
As Torah’s body lay on the floor of an empty apartment, there came whispers from the shadows of the room. Carefully stepping, two figures emerged from those shadows. They were two men in vagabond clothing. These men approached Torah’s lifeless looking body until they were standing over her. One man squatted down and tried to find a pulse.
“What da ya think, Doug?” asked the man who was still standing.
“”Aw, she’s dead. I think it was a head shot; look at all the blood.”
“Does she got anything?”
The man squatting checked her pocket and then reached for the gear bag lying next to her, rifling through the contents.
“Well, well,” he said. I think we hit the jackpot here. Check out this nice computer; and some kind of heavy dart gun.”
As he examined the handheld computer, the other man took the bag and started to look inside. He located the detonator caps, pulling one out of the bag and examining it.
“Hey Doug, whata ya think these are?”
The other man grabbed the bag back.
“Gimmie that!” he said. “Come on Charlie, help me turn her over.”
Charlie was busy examining the detonator cap, pushing the setting dials in an attempt to figure it out.
“Stop that” said Doug grabbing the detonator cap and throwing it back into the gear bag with the others. He also dropped the computer back into the bag and zipped it up. He slung it over his shoulder and tried to roll Torah’s body over.
“Give me a hand with her…” Just then he stopped to listen.
“What is it?” said Charlie.
“I don’t know. Go check the hallway.”
Charlie peered out the door to see several flashlight beams on the stairwell walls. He also heard the crackle of voices over portable radios.
“Hey Doug!” he exclaimed in a whisper. “It’s enforcers. Man if they catch us here with her stuff, and her lying dead, they’ll think we did it.
“Take it easy. Just grab the bag and let’s get out of here. We’ll hide under the flume.”
Charlie grabbed the gear bag while Doug checked the hallway.
“There not here yet, let’s go.”
They burst out the door, letting it swing wide, and ran down the hallway. The officers heard the two running. The officers entered the hallway just in time to see the two men at the end of the hallway.
“Hey you two, Enforcement Officers, stop!”
The command went unheeded. The officers wasted no time in opening fire on them. The two men burst through another door that led outside. Directly next to this building was a large pipe that carried water from a nearby mountain to a large lake that served as a reservoir for the city. A platform on open tube was adjacent to this floor.
“Come on, we’ll climb down under the pipes” said Doug. However, the officers rushed through the door.
“Jump!” yelled Charlie as he started to leap to the platform below. Just as he did, an officer fired his pistol, hitting Charlie. Instantly the detonator Charlie had been messing with exploded, engulfing Charlie. The shock wave from the explosion also knocked Doug off the ladder he was climbing, sending him four stories to the ground below.
The enforcers looked at the officer who fired the shot in disbelief. Realizing these two were not who they were looking for, they decided to back track. They found the apartment with the door standing open, and cautiously started a search, leaving one officer to watch the hallway. Just as they got inside one officer alerted the others.
“Check this out” he said pointing to the broken window and then turning to the floor in line with the window. There was a pool of blood on the floor, but no body. One of the officers noticed that the blood trailed off in the direction of the kitchen.
They entered the kitchen, guns drawn, and searched anyplace someone could hide. Then they noticed a sliding door like a small elevator. It was an electric powered dumbwaiter.
“Do you think someone could fit in there?” asked an officer.
“Yeah, and the indicator shows it’s at the basement level. Martin, you stay here and watch the floor indicator. If it changes, call us on the radio. The rest of you guys come with me.”
The men ran to the stairs, leaving the officer to continue to watch the hallway. The floor grew quiet as their footsteps faded down the stairs. The officer in the hallway paced a short walk at the end of the hallway; he wore a dissatisfied expressing. He started to play fast draw with his gun, pulling it out as he faced down the hallway, holstering it and turning to face the stairwell, drawing again. Suddenly he received a sharp karate chop to the back of the neck and fell to the floor. It was Susan! She quietly made her way to the apartment next to the one Torah had crashed into.
Inside Torah lay on the floor in the kitchen of this apartment. Susan had cleaned and dressed the head wound. Torah opened her eyes, shifting them up to look at Susan. Susan helped her sit up. She winced in pain as she moved.
“We’re safe for right now, but we will need to move; they will be back soon” said Susan.
“Where, where am I?” asked Torah
“You were next door. I moved you to this apartment through the dumbwaiter. It has two doors so it can serve both apartments; kind of a novel idea, actually. I then sent it to the basement so the enforcer’s would think that’s where you went. Can you stand?” Susan began to help Torah to her feet. Torah winced in pain.
“I think my leg is broken” she said. Susan pulled Torah’s arm around her neck but Torah protested.
“No; I’ll just slow you down.” Torah said.
“Hey” Susan said sternly, “I didn’t come back to end up leaving without you. Let’s get going!”
They made their way quietly down the hallway, Officer Martin still watching the dumbwaiter. Susan had come into the building this way so she was aware of the flume. They made their way to a pipe that was open. The water rushed past, inside the pipe. Susan thought that it looked just like the water park rides she had been on back on earth.
She had Torah sit on a box nearby and reached in to feel the water, finding it very cold. From her location, she could see the lake. The pipe dropped the water into the center of the reservoir, meaning there would be swimming involved. She went to Torah and checked the bandage.
“That seems to be doing well” Susan said.
“How are we going to get down from here? I really don’t think I can climb with a broken leg.”
“We’re not going to climb,” said Susan, “we’re going to ride.”
Torah looked back at the pipe opening. Susan continued to study the lake.
“It’s a lot like the flume rides I’ve been on back home. The only problem is we have to swim to shore.” Susan turned to face Torah. “Ordinarily I have no problem carrying you, however this is mountain water, and at this temperature we will lose energy very quickly. We will need a floatation device.”
Susan paused for a moment.
“Take off your pants” Susan said to Torah.
“What!” she exclaimed. Susan started to remove her pants.
“If we tie knots in the legs and then fill the pants with air, we can float on them as we swim to shore.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Yeah; I’ve done this before.”
Susan entered the water first. Torah entered behind her.
“Whoa, that’s cold” Susan exclaimed.
“Keep your head up and remember to hold your pants over your head by the waist when we drop” said Susan.
They started down the flume. The rest of the pipes were enclosed so it was pitch black as they took the turns and twists. Finally they dropped into the lake. Both girls surfaced holding on to their jeans which were like beach balls. Susan and Torah joined arms and Susan pulled her to the shore. Once on shore they collapsed in exhaustion.
“That was a blast!” exclaimed Torah in between gasps.
“Yeah, it is, isn’t it” replied Susan. She looked at Torah and noticed the bandage had become disheveled. She immediately got up to fix it.
“It looks like it’s starting to bleed again. We need to get going” said Susan.
“Indeed we do” came a male voice from behind. Susan looked to see an enforcer pointing a gun at them. He reached to a shoulder mic and called his supervisor letting him know of the capture.
“Come on,” he said, “I have plenty of room in the back seat for you both.”
Susan started to make her way towards Torah.
“I said let’s go” the enforcer demanded.
“She’s hurt,” Susan said with a sharp voice, “She needs my help.”
The enforcer hesitated, and then motioned with his gun for her to help Torah. As Susan helped Torah to stand, the loss of blood and the cold water took its toll, and she passed out, falling limp in Susan’s arms. The enforcer gave a huff, and reached for his radio. He advised he needed assistance as one of the suspects was ill. He waited.
“Terminate that one, and bring the other in.” The voice was clearly heard from the radio by all.
Susan couldn’t believe what they said.
“You’re going to shoot her just because you don’t want to help her?”
“Hey, I get a bonus for finding you two, and I get it whether she’s dead or alive.”
Susan positioned herself in between the enforcer and Torah.
“You can’t just shoot her in cold blood.”
“I’ve done it before, and if you don’t move, I’ll shoot you too.”
Susan stood her ground. The enforcer realized she wasn’t going to move.
“Oh well” he said as he aimed his gun at her.
The enforcer’s body flew through the air, landing about 15 feet away. Susan looked and saw the Bobcat and Will hovering a short distance away.
Will landed and helped get Torah on board. Flashing lights had just entered the valley as he powered up the Bobcat and launched into space. Once out of the atmosphere he went to maximum warp speed.
The Bobcat had a limited medical resource, so Torah was now out of danger. Will told Susan that Torah would need better care, so they would be making their way to his “Loft”, whatever that was. Susan was only glad her friend was better.
Torah opened her eyes, looking around to orient herself to her environment. Then she saw Susan sitting next to her bed with a smile.
“Hey” said Susan.
“Hey” said Torah in a soft voice.”
“How do you feel?”
“Better, but weak.”
“It was a successful mission.”
“You came back for me” Torah’s eyes looked directly into Susan’s.
“You would have done the same for me” said Susan.
“Yeah, I would have. It would be the right thing to do.”
Then Torah’s expression changed to one of sadness.
“We’re now back to the place we were in when this all started. You’ll be leaving to go back to your star cruiser.
“Well, actually I have been thinking about that.”
“Don’t tell me you are thinking of staying. You have a family back on your starship.”
“I know. But there is something else that’s important to me. All my life everything I did required permission, or an adult to go with me. Even when I did get to do something some adult would only let me do just so much. On this trip, I did what I had to and only had myself to make the decisions. That’s a good feeling and I want to do more.”
“But you have a family.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I do love them, but it’s me and my father and brother. We lived on a ranch in Wyoming. It would have been nice to have a sister.” Torah smiled at Susan.
“They will be fine. I will get word back to them that I’m okay.”
“You know,” Torah said, “I don’t really remember my family. I’ve been a part of the Shadow Fighters for so long that I don’t know what a family is like. Mya was my partner for the last two years, and who knows where she is now.”
“I have a feeling that she’s on the Liberty with my dad” said Susan.
“Well, I do need a new partner, and I can’t think of a better partner than a sister.”
Both girls wore big smiles and tears at the same time.
Just then Will walked in.
“Great job girls; I couldn’t be more pleased.” He turned to face Susan.
“We will drop Torah off at the Loft, and then I can get you back to your people.”
Susan looked back at Torah for a brief moment, and then spoke to Will, raising her voice in a pretense of anger.
“Now, there you go again, making my decisions for me!”
Will was confused.
“Uh – you don’t want to go back?”
“Eventually; I’ll let you know when I’m ready!”
“Okay” said Will. He spoke slowly, still confused. He got up to leave, then stopped and turned to look at the girls.
“By the way, I am pleased that your operation remained totally covert. Apparently no one saw what you look like.”
“How do you know?” asked Susan.
“We intercepted a broadcast from Security One attempting to put out a description of you, but they couldn’t. They finally resorted to calling you two deviant shadows.”
Susan looked back at Torah and smiled.
“Deviant Shadows, huh?”
Torah replied “I like it!”