Flynn hung suspended underneath the metal walkway. A vast abyss stretched out beneath him, only a few jagged rocks visible in the gloom. Right on schedule, footsteps passed by above him. He heard the rustling of cloth and a body slumped to the grating. He swung himself up onto the walkway to see a small figure crouched over the body.
‘Inouye, I could set my watch by you,’ he said, unhooking the harness that had stopped him from falling to the rocks below. ‘Liking the new hardware?’ he nodded at the tranquilliser pistol in her hand.
‘Handy,’ she smirked. ‘I’m saving a few rounds for the next time Quinn tries it on. Speaking of which, he better be in position.’ At first glance Inouye didn’t give much away. Her strength and resilience were hidden under her slight stature. Only her close cropped black hair betrayed her distaste for femininity.
‘He’ll be there. He’s a clown, but you know he’s good at what he does. Come on, lets move,’ Flynn said.
They kept low as they dashed along the walkway towards the hanger. So far the mission had gone to plan. Breaching the facility unnoticed had been simple with so few guards scattered around on patrol. Calling this grade five security was a joke. Flynn would have an animated chat with Gorval about his faulty intelligence next time they met.
Approaching the door to the hanger, Flynn and Inouye took up position on either side. ‘Moment of truth,’ Inouye said glancing at her watch. Flynn strained to listen but all her could make out was their breathing and the sound of rushing water somewhere far below in the darkness. Inouye began to look around impatiently. ‘He’s not there,’ she said, ‘Damn it, I knew he’d fuck every…’ She was interrupted by the door sliding open. A low whistle sounded from inside.
‘Quinn,’ Flynn said, lowering his pistol.
A towering figure with an infectious grin stepped in to view in the doorway. ‘Miss me, chums?’
‘You’re late, idiot,’ Inouye said.
‘I had a few,’ he paused to gesture behind him, ‘disagreements with our hosts.’
‘Any casualties?’ Flynn asked.
‘They’re just having a little sleep,’ he replied holding up his tranquilliser pistol.
‘Good. We’re not getting paid to kill anyone. Lets head in and find our payday.’
The door closed behind them as they entered the building. The fluorescent light blinding after the darkness outside. The colossal hanger spanned out before them, dwarfing the solitary ship on a raised platform in the centre. The ship was sizeable, a design Flynn had never seen before. The name Laqueum IV was painted across the hull in blue. A large sealed cylinder, covered in plastic wrapping, protruded from the wing.
‘That must be it. Inouye, head up to the control room,’ Flynn pointed to the windowed room nestled on the ceiling, ‘see about getting the hanger doors open.’ She nodded and sprinted off towards the spiral staircase leading up.
Flynn looked at Quinn, ‘Lets go see what all the fuss is about then.’ They approached the ship carefully, examining it with weapons raised.
‘I don’t see a way in,’ Quinn muttered as he circled, ‘no doors, no hatches, no nothing.’
‘Inouye, how are we doing?’ Flynn spoke into his radio.
‘I’m here, but these controls don’t make much sense, nothing is where it should be.’
‘We can’t find a way to open up the ship, can you see anything up there?’
‘Give me a minute.’
‘You reckon that’s the weapon then?’ Quinn said, pointing at the large cylinder attached to the wing. ‘Doesn’t look like much, does it.’
‘Must be, there’s nothing else here,’ Flynn said looking around the hanger. For a grade five facility the place was too quiet, even accounting for it being on downtime at this time of night. There were terminals scattered around the hanger showing lines of code and schematics, but no personnel here to work them. Racks of heavy automatic weapons lined the walls, but not enough guards around to use them.
His thought was interrupted by static sounding over the radio. ‘Say again, Inouye.’
‘I found something, looks like the ship is unpowered. Shouldn’t be difficult to… there we go.’
The ship began humming with power. A depressed panel hissed open in the side of the ship to reveal a hatch. At the same time the roof of the hanger slowly parted to reveal the stars above.
‘That got it. Good work, come back down,’ Flynn said. He looked up through the opening in the ceiling. He was tired of seeing unfamiliar skies. He would find a way to go home after this mission. It had been too long.
‘Welcome aboard the Laqueum IV,’ a robotic female voice sounded from speakers within the ship.
‘Fancy,’ Quinn said, peering into the ship. ‘She sounds like one of my old girlfriends.’
‘Like a girl would ever let you near her, you caveman,’ Inouye said, approaching. She glanced at them both. ‘Well, what are we waiting for? Lets go, ladies.’ She strolled past them and entered the open hatch.
‘Caveman,’ Quinn repeated with his typical grin. ‘I think she’s got a thing for me.’ He entered the ship behind her.
Flynn took one last look around the hanger, then followed them inside.
(Continued in part 3 here).
© 2015, Gavin Zanker.
Photo by Tom Francis licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.