Thursday, 26 October, 2017
Part of Future Past TP.
FBI Office - Islip, NY
At ten stories, the building is one of the taller and newer ones in the area, little though most would care who are only passing through. It is just another unremarkable edifice of steel and glass, an arcology for cube farms in a strip mall full of the same. Even the sign listing the offices it hosts looks dull and uninviting, promising an unsatisfactory bureaucratic experience to those unfortunate enough to visit.
By day it bustles with badge-wearing workers of various stripes. Right now it is quiet and largely abandoned, though most of its lights are still on. Against this backlighting security guards can occasionally be seen on the ground floor, making desultory circuits between the two main entrances.
High above them, a lithe winged form glides effortlessly on the land breeze. Clad in a matte gray bodysuit, Isra is practically invisible in the night sky. She carries only a small lumbar pack, and her hands and feet are sheathed in synthetic gloves that expose wicked sharp talons. A mobile device is mounted to her right wrist, and she lifts it, activating the screen only briefly and glancing below. With one hand she points out the building and the other she signs 'ready.'
Far above the city as well, Dusk is about as unobtrusive as Isra in the nighttime dark, black wings, blue-black long-sleeved shirt, dark pants. Gloves, too, though he has boots on his feet. There's a brief moment of backwinged hovering, where he looks between Isra and the building below. One hand curls against his chest where a (similarly dark) messenger bag has been strapped to his front. In contrast to all the dark, his /teeth/ flash bright-white-fanged. 'Ladies first?'
Isra's reply is her own fangy grin and a smart tuck of one wing that sends her into a spiraling descent toward the office building. She begins to shift her angle of attack as she approaches the roof, easing gradually into an intentional stall. At the point of balance she almost comes to a stop mid-air. Only then does she flap her wings--once, twice--and settles lightly onto the rooftop.
Dusk stays, hovering, until Isra has landed; he watches her descent before his own wings tuck. Less of a graceful spiral and more of a rapid /dive/, he zooms down towards the rooftop, backwinging with a hard gust to stop from just slamming down on the roof. He lands in a crouch, wings folding in behind him. He unzips his pack slightly, reaching in to pull out a tablet and rest it on his knees. '... Just a minute,' comes silently as his fingers move against the screen.
Wings settling across her back with a faint rustle, Isra crouches down low. Her ears swivel forward and back, but only the sound above the whistling land breeze is a low rumble of a distant train. 'I saw three guards on the ground floor. One patrolling, two chatting at the desk. Must be others.'
Dusk just nods at first, a faint distracted frown on his face as he works. It's a long stretch of silence, after this, while he works, eventually pulling up security camera feeds on his tablet. His wings twitch behind him, cheeks puffing out. 'Two more,' he finally decides, 'that I can see. In my way, too.'
Isra growls softly, just at the lower edge of human hearing. 'If they are separate, we could wait in blind spots and take them down one at a time, before they call for help.' She shifts over and peers at Dusk's tablet, tail lashing. 'If they're together...we look for another way in.'
'Patrolling -- but not together.' Dusk points the guards out on his tablet, one in the corridor near the server room he wants to get to, the other emerging from a bathroom at the other end of that floor. 'Not right now anyway.' Though he's eying the path of the one who has been in the bathroom, a little bit warily. 'Best hurry.' Which means he's slipping his tablet away hastily and unfurling himself to his feet.
The easy way in turns out to be an emergency exit on the rooftop and a small, ingenious electronic device. Isra leads Dusk down the staircase to the seventh floor, pausing to press an ear to the door. 'He's coming down the hallway. We can grab him here or wait for him to pass and take him at the next corner.'
Dusk shifts the bag a little bit more comfortably against his chest, following after Isra quick and quiet down the stairwell; his wings press in tight and hard against his back once they're in the confines of indoors. 'I'm good to go. -- Why are stairwells always so /tight/.' His wings shift uncomfortably against his back. 'It's like they don't even design them for fighting in.'
Isra quirks a half-smile, indicating with one hand the guard's progress--though at this point Dusk can hear the footfalls perfectly well even without contact with the door. She braces her elbow against the push bar on the door and shoves it open, snapping out one wing in the same motion to scoop the guard into the stairwell.
The guard is pushed off his feet, stumble-falling into the fold of Isra's wing. "What in the --" He's just reached for his radio when he actually looks /up/ at the pair accosting him. His eyes widen, the radio clattering from his hand to the floor. "Holy -- sh--"
Dusk's wing cracks out as well, slamming up hard against the guard's windpipe with a small /crunch/ that cuts off his words, leaving the man wide-eyed and gasping.
Her wing still hooked around the guard's torso, Isra twists her torso, neatly directing his head to the railing before letting him crumble. Not wasting any time, she slips out the door before it has a chance to shut on its own. She is bounding down the hallway, making for the next ambush point, but the other guard on that floor rounds the corner before she can duck into the alcove she had selected. Without stopping, she picks up an end table--cylindrical, beige, and weighed down with a potted plant that goes flying--and hurls it at her startled opponent.
"Jesus --" This guard does have slightly more presence of mind, scrambling back and pressing himself against the wall as the table flies towards him; one of its legs clips him in the shoulder, though he stays vertical. He drops down to a crouch, upending the fallen table onto its side so that he can crouch down behind it, a temporary shielding barrier as he starts scooting back towards the corner.
Dusk, here, is perhaps being unhelpful. Who knows. At the least, he isn't joining in the fight -- he hasn't even followed Isra out of the stairwell, leaning up against the wall in it, still, to slip his tablet back out of his bag. Maybe he just trusts that she's got this.
The guard had begun to reach for his radio while drawing his sidearm. Seeing the monster over the edge of his cover, however, he brings both hands up to steady his aim.
Baring her teeth with a fierce snarl, Isra mantles her wings and closes them. The extra burst of speed propels her up onto the wall of the hallway. She pushes off from it after only one step--talons plowing furrows in the plaster--and launches herself at the guard. Though she does not quite clear the table, the makeshift barricade is no match for her momentum. Two of its legs break on impact and the other two give way when she slams it into the guard, wood cracking alongside bones.
The pistol drops from his hands unfired, and air rushes from his lungs in a violent wheeze, unvoiced. His head whips back against the wall and renders him blissfully unconscious. Isra straightens up and listens, watching for Dusk.
Dusk is still out of sight; it's not for a little while longer before he slips out of the stairwell and back into view, tipping his head to regard the hallway scene with a small press of lips. His tablet is tucked beneath his arm, and he heads down the hall, stopping to crouch and right the plant in its half-broken pot. He sweeps the scattered dirt into a small pile with the tip of a wing.
He tips the tablet up to face Isra, the security camera feeds still visible on its screen -- though on the video, the hallway they're currently standing in shows as empty. "Wanted to keep that show private," he murmurs in quiet non-apology. His wing brushes against Isra's side as he slips around past her, stepping over the broken table and fallen guard. The door he wants is locked -- though not for long, after retrieving the unconscious guard's ID badge. He doesn't tell Isra to watch his back. Just disappears inside, vanishing into the whir-hum of the server room.
Isra arches one bald brow ridge. 'Always happy to put one on.' She rolls her unconscious foe over onto his side and kicks his gun out of the way for good measure before taking up station beside the server room entrance. Settling down into a crouch, one hand braced against the floor, she goes almost completely still. Only the occasionally flick of an ear, the slow sway of her tail, and deep, even breathing betray her as a living thing.
After this there is quiet. A long stretch of it; Dusk's work is not particularly engaging. It is eventually broken up by the squawking of the radio of the security guard in the stairwell. Nearby, an elevator bank is waking up, its numbers lighting as someone progresses up to the third floor. Then eventually the fifth. It's stopped there when the door to the server room opens again. Dusk is /still/ quiet once he emerges, saying nothing but touching his wing lightly to Isra's and jerking his head for the exit.
Springing back into motion, Isra lopes down the corridor in Dusk's wake. The second guard she downed is just regaining consciousness, but is in no shape to impede them. The pounding of heavy booted footfalls echo in the stairwell as they approach it. 'No good.' She brushes past Dusk with an improbable-looking grace--given their respective lanky limbs--that comes of long practice together. 'Window.'
Dusk hisses quietly, head tipping to listen to the approaching footfalls -- though he doesn't listen for /long/. Just an instant, before he's following Isra to the window, tightening his satchel against his chest. To the window and /out/ the window, a somewhat more ungainly prospect as he folds his wings in to squish-slither through. There's a /tumble/ out into the night before the snap of flared wings catches up, taking him up and away with only the bewildered faces of approaching guards framed in the window to see them off.
He doesn't stop flying for a /while/, letting the night darkness cloak their path until, finally, he comes to rest on a deserted office-building rooftop. His eyes scan the sky as he pulls his tablet back out of his bag.
Whether by happenstance or design, Isra lags slightly behind Dusk during their egress. When he alights, she makes another wide, lazy circle around the building before following suit. She does not bothering this time to touch down quietly, shedding the last two meters all at once and landing neatly beside her lover. 'All clear.' Curling one massive gray wing over Dusk like an umbrella, she leans in to peer at the screen. 'What's up?'
'Not clear.' That is Dusk's reply to her; he curls in close to the shelter of Isra's wing, shivering as though cold -- though his attire is more than adequate for the mild fall night. He's plugged a tiny thumbdrive into the side of the tablet and now his fingers flick over the screen, scrolling through files until he stops -- with a low growl -- on one.
>>> 2017-10-21 >>> SUBJECT: Sentinel Mark III >>> FROM: firstname.lastname@example.org >>> TO: email@example.com >>> >>> Stein: >>> Included is an attachment of the final changes I want placed on the Mark IIIs >>> before we move to the post-prototyping phase. They'll integrate the new >>> detection technology we've been testing at the Osborn Institute, along with >>> the military-grade devices. >>> >>> Now, I realize you and your team have voiced some legitimate, compelling >>> concerns regarding the moral implications of fitting military-grade drones >>> with mutant-detecting technology. Allow me to take a moment to address those >>> concerns right now: >>> >>> I pay you to build my robots, not debate the ethics of building my robots. >>> If I hear so much as a whisper of further complaint -- if any of you even >>> think about going Snowden on me -- just remember: I've got people working >>> for me who can read your fucking mind. >>> >>> They can change it, too. Something to think about, maybe. >>> ______________ >>> OSCORP: It's Where Science Happens.
His head thumps down against Isra's shoulder, a soft breath pushed out as his wings shiver again. '... And only going to get less clear, I think.'
The predatory stillness returns to Isra's frame as she scans the message, but she dispels it by wrapping her other wing around them both. She dips her head and rests it against Dusk's, one ivory horn nesting in his thick black hair. 'One thing is clear, if it were not already: /this/,' She indicates the text on the screen, 'is war.'