"Are you sure this is the place?" I asked Fang once we arrived at the secret Itexicon lab in Washington. The state, not the initials.
"Positive, this is exactally where the bloggers said it would be."
"Forgive me if I don't think that two or three people from your blog telling us that they think there might be an Itex lab somewhere near the Washington/Canada border is reliable intelligence."
"Do you see any other buildings around here that say 'Itex' on them?" he asked. "Besides, this whole area is off limit to hikers and such. There's probably something here that someone doesn't want anyone else to know about." Darn that logic. One of these days I'm just going to stop listening to him.
Yeah, like around the same time his kisses stop making me feel like I'm on Cloud 9.
"Hey, what's taking so long?" Gazzy asked from some branches higher up on the tree we were in.
"We're still trying to I.D. the building," I told him, trying to sound leader-ish.
"We know it's the right building, Max just doesn't want to admit my bloggers knew about this before she didn't," Fang said with an evil smile.
"So not!" I shot back quickly. I really didn't feel like that, but on the other wing I didn't have any credible evidence to shoot down Fang's statement. I decided to change the subject. "Look," I pointed to an icon at the bottom of the screen on Fang's laptop, "there's a wireless signal here, we could have Nudge hack into their server from here just to be sure."
"Max, you don't have to do that," Angel said from below me.
"Why's that, Honey?"
"Because there's a whole bunch of Erasers down there." The building was about a half a mile away, but because our raptor vision is a about a dozen times better than a normal humans, it only seemed like a quarter mile or so. And this is without binoculars.
I looked at the building again and saw a bunch of people through the windows walking to and fro. Most of them were wearing white coats, (darn those white lab coats), but there were a few that were only wearing normal street clothes. And out of those few, there maybe about fifteen or twenty that looked much, much bigger then all the others.
"Now can we go check it out?" Fang asked. Seriously, one of these days....
"All right everyone," I said, motioning for them to come together. Gazzy lead Iggy by the hand, "here's the game plan. We're going to sneak into the lab, learn all we can, and then blow it all to kingdom come. Gazzy, Iggy, that'll be your job once we get inside." They beamed like a magnesium flare when they heard that. "Angel, you go with them and make sure that nobody sees you guys." She nodded.
"Meanwhile, Fang and I are going to snoop around and find out anything and everything we can before we're discovered."
"Hey, what about me!?" Nudge shouted.
"I want you to stay here and try to hack into their system, try to find out what they're doing here."
"But couldn't I just do that from inside? It's not like they won't have any computers in there."
"She does have a point."
"Stay on my side here, will ya?" I whispered to Fang under my breath. I turned back to Nudge, "They have a wireless network here, right?" She nodded. "And you don't really like getting into fights all the time, right?" She nodded again, this time more reluctantly. "Besides, the less people we have in there, the less likely it'll be that we get noticed. Statistically speaking." She still wasn't looking happy, and I realized that my last statement might, just might, be taken the wrong way. I decided to play my trump card. "And didn't you just have a manicure?"
She agreed my plan was best.
Half an hour later we were creeping through the halls of the building and looking very, very bored.
To tell you the truth, I was having a major deja-vu moment. Every hall looked exactly the same as the next one, and all those looked exactly the same as the ones in every other Itex or School owned building we've ever been in. If it weren't for the arrows that sometimes appeared on the floor, I would probably have had a nervous breakdown.
We searched the cookiecutter labs and supply rooms for about an hour with no interesting results when I decided to see how Angel and the guys were doing.
Angel, are you there? I thought.
Hi Max! she thought back.
How are you guys doing?
Iggy says that he and Gazzy seeded their half of the building and they want to know what to do next.
The boy were done already? Where did they get all those bombs?
"What's up?" Fang asked.
"Angel says the guys are done on their end and want to know what the next step is," I told him.
"Tell them to pack it in," Fang said, sounding slightly agitated, "there's nothing here."
"Come on, there's got to be something here," I pressed. "I mean, Itex wouldn't have built a lab in the middle of nowhere if there wasn't something they were trying to hide." Then suddenly something sparked inside my brain. I grinned wickedly, "You're just mad that your 'Mighty, Infallible Blog" was actually wrong about something!"
"No," he said simply, heading down another hallway.
"He is," I said to myself as I followed after him.
Max? Are you still there? Dang, I forgot about Angel.
I'm here, Sweety. What is it?
Um, Iggy wanted me to tell you that he and Gazzy set all the bombs to explode in ten minutes, so we should probably get to a safe distance soon.
Thanks, Sweety, we're just about to do that anyways.
"Hey Max," Fang shouted from further down the hall, "I think you should see this."
Angel, you guys go ahead, Fang and I are going to check out one more room.
OK, just don't take to long.
When I got to the room my eyes almost fell out of my head in surprise; inside the room was the central computer core for the entire building.
"Jackpot!" I said, and promptly began to search for something I could take back with me. Fang, however, found it first.
"This looks like a backup drive or something," he said, studying the device he found. "It probably has data on whatever's going on here, we should take it with us."
Suddenly an alarm started blaring and I could hear footsteps running towards us.
"I couldn't agree more, let's boogie!"
We raced out of the room and headed down the hall just in time to Erasers round the corner and shout that we were here. They were big, they looked angry, and they had guns. Oh, and they were right between us an a door.
Don't you just love it when life goes right?
If you know what that feels like, drop a line.
"'Number 21'?" Fang asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Why not?" I said, and we both charged straight into the throng of Erasers.
The fight was actually going pretty well for a while, until I remembered that The Flock Demolition Inc. had set half the building to explode.
"Fang," I shouted, let's wrap this up and-ah!" Out of nowhere I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my arm. I looked down and saw a small dart sticking out of my upper arm. It looked like it had something in it too.
But before I could even think of what it was, I slumped down on the ground, my muscles half limp.
"Max!" Fang shouted when he saw me go down.
"Let's go," I said as I struggled to get to my feet. He grabbed me as he ran past and soon we were outside and in the air before the Erasers knew what was happening.
"I think so," I said, yanking out the dart, "except for this."
Like it? Don't worry, the funny will come. In fact, in the next chapter....