Chapter 10: Conspiracy I

Downtown Chicago, The Gold Coast

The G5 Building

Cassandra DeVries marched towards the G5's meeting room with Carla Alvarez at her side. Alvarez gave the young guard standing at parade rest a telling eye contact, and he quickly strolled to the computer console that sat to the right side of the blast door, typed at the keypad, and the door slowly opened vertically with a pneumatic hiss. The blast door was reinforced with a metallic-blue metal core, and coagulated concrete above and below the door, including the hard-wood floor. This protected the meeting room from direct munitions and incendiary attacks. The two women walked into the meeting room, a well-sized room, dimmed slightly, with a long, metallic rectangular-sized desk in the center. In the far south of the room was an elevator, with "G5" emblazoned across it, inscribed in some type of bluish-carbon alloy.

The room was heavily reinforced with impenetrable concrete, which made the room, to say the least, very unembellished. But Cassandra didn't care about how the aesthetics of a meeting room. As long as it was outfitted with anti-listening devices, in which it was. Tiny vats, unseen by the naked eye, were placed along the ceiling, walls and floor of the room, and these vats emitted ultra-high frequency nodes that disrupted most modern-day and archaic broadband, recorder, and cellular connections. In other words, anyone with a simple tape recorderor even a highly-advanced CamSpy can't break these UHF anti-listening devices were also on a firewalled broadband network set up throughout the G5 building. 803.12 UHF, Cassandra remembered. That was the frequency the devices operated on.

Cassandra batted an eye around the meeting room in one quick glance, and sat down at the desk, placing her briefcase on the table. She proceeded to remove the contents: files of Dr. Carroll, satellite photographs, transcripts, etc. She looked up from the work and her eyes locked with Carla.

"Will they arrive late?" Cassandra asked casually.

"Most likely, ma'am. I haven't been greenlighted by a few of the onsite agents yet.

Cassandra sighed in annoyance. "The's secured in the vault correct?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Which vault?"

"Vault 306, ma'am. It's the most secured vault in the building. Outfitted with..."

"I know what it's outfitted with," Cassandra interrupted. She sighed again in annoyance, because Trent Easton and his associate didn't arrive yet.

Downtown Chicago, The Gold Coast

Jonathan and Joanna quickly left the bullet-riddled apartment of Igor Duprovnikov, and down to the Lubba Nightclub. The music was still as loud and dissonant as it was before, and they both felt comfort in knowing that the ruckus in the apartment wasn't heard and didn't attract any unwanted attention from anyone. Igor was dead, and that was the end of it. The Chicago police might come tomorrow after someone discovers the mess, and the two agents would leave the trail cold. But that problem wasn't even a blip on the radar. Through Joanna's anger and frustration at Carrington, she decided she had nowhere else to go. She came to the glum realization that bounty-hunting was a relic of the past, more specifically, a relic of her father. This profession was long dead inside her. And she knew it. Maybe Carrington isn't all that bad. Maybe he's really TRYING to help me, Joanna thought, as the two shouldered their way through the crowd of dancers and club-goers. They reached the exit, and pushed open the doors. A relief pulsed through Joanna, and she closed her eyes for a few seconds to let it permeate her.

The weather had let up a bit, but it was still overcast, and the late afternoon winds began to pick up. Jonathan tugged on her shoulder to snap her back into reality.

"Come on, we've got to go. I've booked a hotel for us, and all of our equipment is there." Jonathan said. They walked across the wet streets and into an underground taxi annex that was beneath a Gazroth building. The hovertaxis were parked neatly in the dank car garage, and a few people were already programming a few taxis to take them to their destinations. Joanna and Jonathan looked around for an available taxi. "Here's one," Joanna pointed at a hovertaxi, and opened the passenger door. Jonathan got into the driver's side, and pressed a button on the center console. A greenlight flashed on the dashboard computer, and the screen sparked to life. The ions gave of a faint metallic smell, indicating that this taxi's console hadn't been on for quite some time. The blue screen gradually turned green, and a few options popped up, in bold green letters:

Fare - Payment - Off - Panic. Jonathan pressed "Fare", and an amount option clicked on. It read $5.00 old or new currency allowed. Jonathan reached into his trenchcoat pocket, and pulled out a five-dollar new currency bill, and fed it into the slot just above the console.

The console hummed and cracked a bit, it's internal computer reading the money, and an option saying "destination" appeared on the screen. He typed in "Ghast Hotel" and clicked the Return button. The taxi's antigravity thrusters croaked to life, and the taxi rose vertically through the aperture on the ceiling of the taxi garage, and it sped away, through the airborne antigrav highways. Jonathan looked over at Joanna.

"How are you feeling?" He asked, placing a hand on Joanna's shoulder. Joanna felt that he was genuinely asking.

"I'm better. But I still don't understand what we're doing. We're breaking into a building that DataDyne is using as a front, and getting back Dr. Carroll?"

Jonathan smiled and gave a small chuckle. "I know it sounds far-fetched, but yes. Dr. Carroll is valuable to the Carrington Institute. He knows what DataDyne is up to, and I think it's something on a massive scope," he paused and looked Joanna directly in the eyes, "it could affect the humanity and tranquility of the human race as we know it." Joanna felt the seriousness of Jonathan's speculation. She backtracked a little.

"You said that Cassandra is having a meeting. But with who?"

"We don't know. But we do have several undercover agents, and an informant inside the G5 building. Grimshaw's already briefed them on recording the meeting, and feeding the audio back to the institute. All we have to do his hope we have enough C4 to blast through the vaults that Grimshaw found when he mapped up the G5."

"Wait...we're blasting our way through? That'll attract too much attention!" Joanna said surprised and confused.

"It's the only way. This is last-minute stuff we acquired from our agents inside. They're prepared for it, so all we have to worry about is a full-scale DataDyne response..."

"...Which will surely happen," Joanna finished. "I hope we don't fuck this up," She finally said.