Gen X-6 (4) – The Trouble With Trios

Rated:  PG-13

Disclaimer: I still have the '81 Corolla.  I am *this* close to claiming credit for the concept of Dark Angel, Manticore, and all of the show's characters in hopes that the car will be taken as settlement.  Until such time, they all belong to James Cameron.  All other characters are mine.  To answer a question that I have been asked, if you want to archive this story or series on a website, then please let me know.  It will probably be fine as long as I receive credit for writing it, and it is not intended for profit.  Unless of course, this encourages Mr. Cameron to sue for custody of the Corolla.  In that case, we will discuss.

A/N:  This is the fourth story in the Gen X-6 saga.  For new readers, you really REALLY need to read the first three stories.  This one is way off from the series, trust me on that, but I think you'll like it.  It's been rather fun to write so far, and a lot less angsty than the last installment was.  For the faithful that keep coming back for more, I'm glad to see you have returned.  I am such a review junkie and I love hearing from you guys.  Well, I will shut up now and let you get on with the story.  Ta! – Cat

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It was quiet.  That nice kind of quiet that said all was well, and there was nothing to differentiate this night from thousands of others.  The tapping footsteps of the museum guards and the light hum of the environmental systems were the only sounds to break the tomb-like silence.  At three in the morning in the heart of a German museum, silence was a good thing.  Silence was normal.  A silent night meant that nothing was wrong.  Usually.

Periodically, the environmental system would get a little louder as it dumped harmful contaminants from its system.  On this night as the system purged, the sound covered the entrance of a far worse contaminant.  The guards suspected nothing.  The security system was state-of-the-art to say the least, and if anything was disabled, the alarm would go off, locking down the entire museum.  Nothing seemed wrong at all.  They hadn't noticed the line of static that had slipped across the monitor screens for less than a second.

The person who was waiting for the static heard it loud and clear.  She smiled beneath her ski mask.  This was beautiful.  Janna had said she could do it.  She had never met a security system she couldn't beat.  This had been a real challenge, but they had faith in her, and she hadn't let them down.

A hundred yards down the air vent, her partner waited.  As soon as she heard the static, she glanced up at him.  They were perfect partners.  No words were needed to communicate.

(she's going to be pissed...the dark-haired one is really cute)

A decisively male voice echoed in her head, replying back to their joke.

(this is why she's not allowed to go...all clear?)

(we have assumed control...she's getting so good it's scary)

(you owe me twenty bucks now)

(bite me)

His laughter echoed in her mind as they separated.  It was better to take two separate routes than have them both go together.  Trial and error had taught them the best way to get around ventilation shafts.  The layout of the museum was etched into both of their minds making navigation a simple exercise.  Within minutes they were at the rendezvous point.

There wasn't a guard in the room that housed a heartbreakingly beautiful collection of gemstones.  Guards could be distracted or fall asleep or even bribed.  Instead, a laser-beam grid covered the floor, but not in the usual square pattern.  This was far more complex with circles and waved lines that were invisible to the naked eye.  They were also on a separate circuit that could not be accessed by an outside source.  Whoever had designed the museum's security was clever.  The motion detectors were on one circuit, with the laser on another.  If one were taken, the other would still be in place.  What they didn't count on was one being taken and the other out-maneuvered.

The pair of thieves regarded the lasers as more fun than a problem.  It was becoming harder and harder to find a decent challenge anymore.  This was still fun though.  They both reached into a small pouch on their belts and pulled out a small pair of lenses.  They looked like sunglasses without the ear bends.  Except these allowed for infrared vision.  The room took on the cool blue and green tones of infrared while the lasers glared out an angry yellow and orange in comparison.  They weren't hot enough to feel on the skin, but now the thieves could see the pattern clearly.  This was going to be tight, but still very doable.

(you ready?)

The simultaneous question made them both laugh mentally.  They nodded at each other, and then he opened the vent cover that Janna had so graciously deactivated the alarm on.  As soon as it was removed, she slid into position, balancing just on the edge of the vent, both of their hearing perked for the slightest sound of a problem.  Most of the reason they were so good was that they hadn't gotten cocky.  Confident, yes, but not cocky.  All things considering, if you were careful and not greedy, getting caught was a remote possibility.

Her hands wrapped around his wrists and he lowed her down, their bodies moving in a perfect synch so that he would be hanging by his legs, and she would be dangling, keeping perfectly still.  Times like this made them both wish for a dash of their sister's ability, but that wasn't going to happen.  Miss Law and Order would never consider helping them no matter what the profit margin looked like.

The ceiling was about twelve feet high, but she only had to fall a few feet from the position they were in.  Most people would still have to take a step from a drop like that.  She wasn't most people.  She took a deep breath, and then planned the moves.  Her leg muscles flexed smoothly, and then with a series of flips and jumps, she twisted through the laser maze easily, moving with an easy coordination that any athlete would pray for.  Her final back flip landed her inches from the target.  Perfect.  She signaled she was fine and her partner pulled himself back into the shaft to prepare the equipment.

The sapphire was exquisite.  Even without lights, it hadn't lost that blue-green flicker in its heart that only the best had.  Hell, even without the flicker, it was a beautiful stone, larger than a man's fist, and absolutely flawless.  Granted, it wasn't worth as much as a diamond of lesser quality would be, but their client was very eager to have it, and from what he was paying, they were quite eager to provide it to him.

Planning had taken some time, but it was all paying off now.  She looked back where her partner was still hanging.  Trial and error had taught them that the best positioning was for one to stay back and be ready to get the other out if a situation went bad.  Whoever was best suited went in, and in this case, the better gymnast was going to be needed.  She was smaller and would fit better in the tight patterns.  It was a scary feeling to be out there all on your own, but backup was just a thought away for them.

Her hand raised, and a dull hiss of a carbon dioxide canister firing reached her ears.  A fraction of a second later her fingers snapped shut around a staff that had been fired at her.  She grinned.  Neat trick if you could pull it off.  She touched the edge of the staff carefully to the floor, and small legs popped out to balance it.  She looked back up and nodded.  A small bag slid down the nylon cord that had followed the staff that was keeping the cord high enough to not activate the lasers.  She grabbed the bag before it could go too low and pulled out the small device inside.  It looked like a pressure cooker with a glove built in, and in a way, it was.  A blue piece of glass the size and shape of the sapphire was already inside of the device.

The sapphire was housed in a cylindrical casing so that it could be admired from all angles.  The only deal was that inside the glass was pressurized.  If the pressure changed, then alarms would go off.  Janna hadn't been able to find the access to that system.  Creativity was going to be needed.  A little research got them the name of the manufacturer of the casing.  Then it was amazing how nice they were when they were called to discuss security for a tour the Crown Jewels of London were soon going to be going on.  Credentials of the young man were impeccable, and so they were quite pleased to talk to him.  After questioning how the glass didn't break with the different inside and outside pressure, he got the pressure rate within the chamber.

Now at the museum, she attached the device to the glass, set the pressure, and waited until the green light came on, trusting that he had managed to get all the right information.  It was a lot of faith to place in another person, and probably why most partnerships failed.  You couldn't trust each other.  Well, they had a special bond, and she knew without a doubt that he wouldn't screw her over to get out if anything went sour.  It was all or nothing with them.

(going to start cutting now, be ready)

(you know where i'll be)

She slid her hand into the glove, feeling the pressure against her skin.  Her heart was beating faster as it always did at the critical moment, adrenaline flowing through her bloodstream.  This was the most dangerous moment.  If you got too keyed up, you could make a major mistake, but it was impossible to be calm and collected.  Maybe one day she would be, but right now, she had to concentrate on staying steady and doing things properly.

The glove had a laser cutter installed on the tip.  She pressed the start, and made the first low incision into the glass.  She paused as it was breached.  Nothing.  All was quiet.  There was a low feeling of electrostatic when a silent alarm went off, but she couldn't feel anything.  She was too well experienced to breathe a sigh of relief though.  Anything could happen.  That was the prime rule of this business.

(all quiet?)

(can't hear anything up here)

The reassurance helped.  She finished cutting a hole large enough to put her hand through, and lifted the sapphire off of its pedestal.  Because of the pressurization, there wasn't a way to add a sensor so that it would detect if the sapphire were removed.  Carefully, she placed the sapphire in the chamber, and placed the blue glass on the pedestal.  That should keep anyone from noticing it was missing once security was turned back over to the guards.  The glass was replaced and after a slight setting change, the laser was used to weld it back into place.  They had done several dry runs, and it had held the pressure, but you never could be certain what would happen in real life.  Her mouth dry, she released the pressure in the device and waited.  Quiet.  Nothing.  Now a smile spread out under her mask.  This was the good stuff in life.

She slipped the sapphire and device back into the bag and held up the cord.  This was the tricky part.  He slid it back up the rope and secured it without problems, but getting the rope and staff back was going to be a matter of fast moves.  They looked at each other, nodded, and then she tossed the rope into the air as high as she could.

In the vent, he pulled as fast as he could, his hands blurred as he pulled in the rope fast enough to get it to dangle above the lasers.  This was always the point they'd fouled up on in practice, but practice never got that shot of adrenaline into the system like the real thing did.  The rope swung back towards the floor, the bottom arc of the pendulum about six inches above the lasers.  They both breathed a sigh of relief at that.  He pulled the rest of the rope in, and then swung back down so that he was upside down again.

She hoisted the staff, ignoring his mental tease to not throw like a girl, and then threw it at him, javelin-style.  They had practiced that a million times, and it was a technique they'd used more than once in live runs.  He caught it easily, putting it into the shaft, and then waited.  Her turn.  She simply repeated the pattern she'd used to get there and moved like liquid to get through to where he was waiting.  She jumped high, catching his wrist, and he pulled them into the vent.

It took a matter of seconds to get themselves back together.  The vent cover was replaced, the staff was compacted down to portable size, cord rewound.  And both took a second to admire their prize.  Some people might think their client was insane for paying them what he was for retrieval, but up close, it might just be worth it.  The stone was beautiful.

Getting out took no time at all.  In a matter of minutes they were meeting back up on the roof, climbing out of the environmental controls as it purged itself again.  They both took off at a dead run, moving almost too fast to even be seen by the human eye.  They darted across the building, taking a second to make sure the street below was clear, and then dropped the three stories to the pavement below, taking off once again.

"Remote to base," he called, keying his headset and using the radio for the first time since they went silent.

"Base here," came the feminine reply.

"We have the target, heading to the rendezvous site now."

"Copy that remote.  All is on schedule.  Will meet you at Tango point."

"Tango point.  Remote out."

They both sped off to where a dark green van was parked in a narrow alley.  By the time they got there, it was empty, with nothing but some highly incriminating equipment inside.  Both of them hastily stripped off their clothes, shoving them into plastic and pulling out clean ones from other plastic bags.  No incriminating fibers would be on them from ski masks and the like.  They both got dressed, and then took off again, leaving most of the equipment behind.  The expensive stuff was already removed from the van, and as soon as they left, they would activate charges beneath the van.  Ten minutes later, the only evidence the police would get was a pile of burned metal.

Her blouse was rather loose, and she always felt awkward with the too-large bra with the falsies inside.  They looked rather real, except was had a compartment inside large enough to hide a certain sapphire.  It wouldn't pass through customs, but it was enough for now.  They took off quickly, moving over rooftops and across buildings.  Twenty minutes later, they were ambling down a side street where there were plenty of bars, looking like any normal couple enjoying their vacation to Germany like the hundreds of people around them.  A little beer and bratwurst, and this were just nothing unusual.

A familiar car pulled up at the stoplight right on time, and they shot each other a grin as they moved quickly to their partner's car.  A feminine thought echoed in his mind.

(we are so damn good)

Cameron Raleigh glanced down at his twin and grinned, putting his arm around her shoulder.  "Liz…we're the fucking best."