Act I: Catching up to speed
Chapter 3: Frozen to the Bone
(Heavy Rain and Norman Jayden © Quantic Dream
Assassins Creed © Ubisoft)
Date: August 14, 1998
Local time: 5:17 P.M.
Location: Unknown location, Alaska
Weather: Heavy Snow storms, 30 MPH winds
When Norman awoke a second time to the opening of the ramp of the plane, a strong burst of wind and snow slammed into his body, a sucker punch from the northern state.
He decided right then and there that this was his worst birthday he would ever had.
"We've arrived Mr. Jayden!" A voice yelled out, the bundled up form of the pilot reminding Norman of a yeti. He himself was now sliding the cloths he had picked up in Canada on, the parka and pants fitting snugly but still allowing full maneuverability.
"I don't see anything out there. How far did you land us from my destination?" Norman asked as he drug the white snowmobile into the blizzard outside, his entire form blending in with the colorless environment.
"Four miles from that direction. Your boss didn't want anyone to know you were out here." The man pointed with his gloved hand.
"I imagined so... so what about you? Are you just going to wait here?" Norman questioned as he mounted the borrowed vehicle, gripping the throttle and waiting for that final answer before he left.
"That I will. You have twenty four hours. If you don't show up after that, I will assume your dead and leave. So... try not to die."
"I wasn't planning on it. Have fun." Norman laughed as he cranked the handle, the snowmobile shooting forward and out of sight. The land was unusually flat, not a rock or a tree in sight. It reminded Norman of a desert but the comparisons stopped there, the cold reminding him where he was every second. Fortunately for Norman, the ride was only about three minutes long before the rough outline of a building appeared. Pulling in closer but doing so slowly, he saw it was a large complex with twenty foot concrete walls surrounding it, a large metal gate blocked by four guards in the front the only easy way to get in. Painted on each wall was a large red Abstergo symbol and the words 'keep out'.
Norman immediately stopped and pulled out the satellite phone lent to him. The first ring hadn't even finished when Cifer picked it up on the other side.
"Norman. You find something?" His boss immediately asked.
"Find something? I found something short of a military complex. Twenty foot concrete walls, four sniper towers with armed men inside each, not to mention the only way your supposed to get in is through the guarded gate up front. Abstergo has it's logo painted all over, so I think it's safe to say they're hiding something here that no one is supposed to see."
"I knew you would... Norman, get inside and find out what they're hiding. Also, what are the dimensions of the wall?"
"It's in the shape of a square, three hundred by three hundred yards. Probably only a single but large building inside." Norman observed.
"Good. They'll probably have ventilation shafts you can crawl through once you scale the wall."
"Um... sir? I'm kind of claustrophobic. I'll just go through a window." Norman explained.
"... just find out what they're doing." Ulquiorra growled before hanging the phone up. With that taken care of, Norman parked the snowmobile and broke into a sprint, running for the eastern and closest wall. Luckily for him, all of the snipers were either asleep or reading a book, none of them ever seeing a single person rush them in the four years they had worked there. Also due to their distractions, none of them heard the clank of a grappling hook that the F.B.I agent had thrown or the mans muttering as he simply starred at the rope.
"Alright Norman, it's only twenty feet. All you have to do is climb the rope and don't look down and you'll be fine... unless the rope breaks and you fall... breaking your back and being left for dead assuming the guards don't hear your screams as you fall... I should have thought this out better."
Cursing his boss and Abstergo, Norman grabbed the rope and began his climb up, climbing like a panicked, drunk, monkey that had spotted a cluster of fermented Banana's, shooting up the wall in seconds. He collapsed on the three foot wide walkway with a sigh. Again, no one paid any attention to him.
"That takes care of the climb... the snow seems to be built up along the edges of the wall and it appears their's sled tracks. Maybe I can slide down it?" Norman thought as he grabbed his grappling hook and pulled in the rope attached to it, stuffing it into the bag hanging off of his back. With that done he slowly lowered himself from the other side of the wall, touching the sledding embankment made to entertain the men stationed at the complex. He slipped as he touched it, sliding down like a backwards penguin. He stopped almost seconds after the ramp flattened out, still unharmed. After that, he stood up and gazed around, seeing with no men outside the large protected single building he was safe to move around.
His infiltration from the moment he had thrown the grappling hook up had only taken three minutes and he hadn't alerted a single person on his way in. He hoped the rest of his mission would go just as smoothly as he moved to a nearby window, peering inside to see only a single man in his office with his back to the window. He grabbed the suppressor from his bag and screwed it on before pulling his hood down, knocking on the window as he hid the gun behind him. The man immediately turned around.
"Sylvester? Did you lose your key again?" The man asked, unable to tell who it was through the window from the heavy snow that had built up on the glass. He did see the nod from the disguised Jayden outside, and moved to open the window, a cold burst forcing his eyes shut as the glass rose. He opened them again about the same time he felt the barrel of Norman's gun pressed to his head.
"Cry out and your dead." Norman threatened. The man merely gulped and nodded, watching as Norman climbed through the window without ever taking the suppressed gun off of the man's face. Norman spoke again when he was completely inside again, the window shut.
"Now I'm going to ask you some questions. Answer them and you'll live. Do you understand?" Jayden asked. The hostage nodded in return..
"Good. First question. What's here that is so important that Abstergo has to have it in the middle of Alaska to contain it?"
"It's a data center. Every file, every picture, every recording Abstergo has is stored in the servers at the far corner of the building. Alaska was just picked due to the natural cold air the room requires and so the place can be secluded."
Norman frowned, pressing harder into the man's head.
"What? Is technology that advanced you only need a single data center for the entire world?"
"Everything you see on the market is about ten years old. The most advanced stuff we keep for ourselves."
"And your saying that nothing else is being hidden up here?"
"Nothing at all!" The man explained. Norman still felt he wasn't telling him everything but for now he moved forward.
"So this data center. Is their a computer that will allow me to access every file?"
"Yes. It's in the center of said room."
"I have no idea. I work as a janitor and maintenance. I have no idea what it is. But if y-" The man was about to plead when Norman growled.
"No, I'm not done yet. Who has the login information I would need if I would want to copy all these files?"
"That would be the head man of this facility, James Morse. His office is on the north side of the facility, the servers are in the west."
"Whats in the south, the gate side?"
"The garage. All that's in there are several snow mobiles, a few ATVs, two Snowplows, the bosses Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Hind-D."
Norman cursed. If he set off a single alarm and tried to escape, he'd have to deal with the helicopter. He made note to sabotage it later.
"And in the center? Whats between all of this?"
"Bed rooms, the kitchen, a gym... nothing important... is that all?" The man asked. Norman nodded with the man sighing when Norman slammed the butt of his gun into the mans face, sending him knocked out to the floor.
"Sorry, but knocked out is better then dead. See you later." Norman muttered to the downed man as he shoved the man into the open space under his desk, before moving to the wooden door. He looked through the glass window and into the hall outside. The hall was almost empty of all souls, a man and a woman chatting on the south side and a pacing man a few feet away from the office and blocking his way to the Administrators office. Seeing no other path, he inserted the gun into the back of his coat and exited the room, acting as if he was a employee going about his bussiness. Almost immediately the pacing man yelled to him.
"Hey! New guy! Are you busy?" The worried man yelled out, running over to Norman. The F.B.I agent leaned against the door, acting as casual as he could.
"Sort of. I was about to visit James Morse to ask him why my password for the servers isn't working. Do you need something?" Norman questioned, guessing that the man did need him for some task.
"Yea I do, and luckily it has something to do with the boss. Would you give him this and tell him it's from Nathanial Smith? He's pist at the moment, so I don't feel like enduring his wrath. I bet he'll be nice to you though." The package in question was small, easily carried in one hand.
"Sure. I can do it. Anything else?" Norman asked.
"Nope... and thanks... Mr..."
"Belmont. James Belmont." Norman lied, taking the package. After a small nod, he walked through the long hallway in silence, nervous but hiding it. He swore he saw Nathanial staring at him for several moments as he walked, but quickly dismissed his fears and simply continued walking. When he reached the end of the hall he took a left, the only way he could go, and headed down that empty hall. In the center of it was the Administrators office, the door locked. The young agent knocked on it several times and almost immediately got a response.
"Who is it! I told you that it better be important or else your fired!" The man yelled, his voice hard and slightly drunk. Norman drew his pistol and emptied the contents of the package, a brand new watch with a apology note attached to it, and fit his own gun into it. After this he spoke again.
"I'm here to deliver a package from Nathanial Smith. Said it was to make up for his failure and he would like to keep his job."
"He'll keep it if depending on how good that gift is! Get in here, the doors been unlocked." The man ordered, a loud click being heard. True to his word, the door was unlocked and opened easily, Norman walking through it without any hesitation and headed straight to his targets desk. The man himself was older, his hair graying on the ends with the center still a bright red, a large red beard hanging from his face. Norman could smell the alcohol in his breath, but didn't comment on it.
"Well? I can see your hand in the box. What's in it?"
"This." Norman replied as he quickly drew his gun and pressed it to the large man's head, his eyebrows shooting up at the sight.
"Holy... okay, tell Smith he can keep his job and get a promotion! No n-"
"I'm not here for that idiot. I want the login for the computer in the server room, and I'll kill you if you don't give it." Norman replied, confusion flooding the other man's face. He pieced is together after several seconds, his white face draining of the little color it had left.
"What? How did you get past t-"
"Doesn't matter. The point is we killed Audrey Jacobs and we'll kill you to if we don't get access." Norman lied. The thought that the man could just lie about the password had crossed his mind, so simple threatening wouldn't work. He needed to make the man feel true fear.
"What? But I was told the F.B.I killed the man who got Jacobs."
"Miles was suffering from Cancer and would have died a week later. He volunteered to take the fall so we could get the F.B.I off our backs. Now, the password?" Norman asked, the other man beginning to sweat. Jayden knew the other man had cracked, now he just needed to break him.
"Still, your only one Assassin. Even if you kill me you can't get through the everybody else here." The man pointed out.
"Who said I was alone? I have twenty other men waiting outside and I'll I have to do to get them in here is press a button on the satellite phone in my backpack. But I don't see any reason that anyone here has to perish. All I need is the login and password and we can be on our way. If you don't tell me it now, we'll torture and interrogate everyone here until we find out who does have the password. It goes without saying we will get what we want today. It's simply your choice how much blood has to spill out in order for us to gain it."
"User name is father of understanding with spaces between each word. Password is Illuminati."
The man immediately explained when Norman finished. Norman couldn't figure out whether it was because the man was drunk and therefore had a weaker constitution, or if it was because he had been that skilled in breaking him down. He guessed the former, but at this point it didn't matter. He simply did the same thing to him as he did to the repair man earlier, being he clubbed him over the head with his gun and stuffed his body into the open space that a persons legs were supposed to fit into. With that taken care of, he left the room while closing the door behind him and putting his gun back into his coat, heading for the west wing and the server rooms. Again, he walked in silence and passed no one, everyone occupied with something. Norman thought it was a little bit eerie, but he also thought it could be blamed on the fact that it was getting colder with each step he took towards the server rooms.
"Why does it feel like I forgot something? If someone finds the bodies they'll only activate a alarm. I didn't do anything wrong so far." Norman thought to comfort himself, the air growing colder and heavier as he approached the room. It was dead center of the west wing, the only way in was through a glass door that was place in the middle of the long wall that blocked entry into the room. Norman calmly opened it, ignoring the cold rush that enveloped him as he strode into the room. The computer it's self, a desktop with cords attached to four black towers surrounding it was the only unique object in the room other then the countless black towers that were exact copies of the four connected to the PC. It was about thirty feet to the computer in the center, a short walk but one that gave the young brown haired man time to grab his satellite phone and call the director.
"Norman. It's only been thirty minutes since you last called. Did something go wrong?"
"On the contrary, I found out what they hid here. It's their main servers that has access to the Abstergo network, the servers themselves containing every file that's ever been accessed on one of their computers. Is is possible for the agency's hackers to access the computer and copy every file?" Norman questioned, gripping the phone to his ear with his left hand while his right typed.
"It is quite possible, but first I must ask you a question. Has anyone seen you?"
"Three people, two of them knocked out. The third thinks I'm a new guy that's just been hired... and I'm logged in. What do you need me to do now?" Norman asked with glee, the login information a perfect match. He was in the root menu at the moment, a search bar and several menus that would take him to the different divisions for Abstergo.
"Go to your work email and login. Once you do so, download the program I left in your inbox and install it. Our hackers can take care of the rest once you finish that." He replied, Norman doing exactly as he said. It took several minutes, but as soon as the program was done a white bar appeared on screen that slowly filled with green.
"Perfect. It should finish downloading in four minutes. As soon as it does, delete the program and get out of there. I'll call you once your in the air about what your next step will be." Ulquiorra replied, excitement in his voice. Norman was also excited, but for a different reason.
"I'll do exactly that sir, but do you know what this means? About all of this?"
"Please be more exact Norman."
"Templars. A secret order pulling strings behind everything. How far is their influence? How long have they been active? If they exist, what else does?" Norman asked, a mixture of curiosity and fear making his voice at this moment.
"I don't know... but for all we know this might be it. We'll find out shortly... unless you already know something."
"I do. The password to the computer was Illuminati. Could they also exist? Could these new world order conspiracy theories be more then that?"
"Even if they do exist we'll take them own Norman. We are to ensure that America remains free... or at least ensure that whoever is pulling the strings is following our opinions." Ulquiorra responded.
"Whoever is pulling the strings? What are you saying? That America should remain controlled by someone other then it's own citizens?" Norman said, anger entering his voice and growing larger with each sentence. He had grown up with the idea that all who lived in America was free. How could he accept otherwise.
"I don't want America to be controlled by some secret group bent on making some new world order, but you need to understand this! When a animal is fed everyday by it's master and one day the master disappears, the pet won't know what to do. It will die because it doesn't know how to take care of it's self. Would we not be doing the same thing to ourselves if we killed our master right now... but this conversation is also irrelevant. For all we know the Templars are the only part of this conspiracy that exist and their extent is only the world markets. The download is almost done and when they are I'll browse through the more important documents and see what I can find."
The several seconds that followed were done so in silence until a loud ping was heard, the bar now completely filled with the message saying every file had been successfully downloaded. Norman then followed his instructions and deleted the program, also making sure to log out of his email and clearing the Internet history and cache. With all traces erased, he picked up the phone.
"I'm done. Can I leave or should I look for anything else while I'm here?"
"No, you did more then I could possibly want. Leave the way y-" The directors voice was interrupted as the blue lights in the room turned red, the alarm system turning on as the sound similar to the alarm of a police car filled the room. Norman cursed.
"What did your men do?"
"Nothing! What did you do?" Ulquiorra asked in return.
"I don't know... I'll call you when I get back onto the plane. I might still be able to sneak o-"
The door slammed open as Norman ended the call and vaulted over the computer, taking cover behind one of the large black towers. Six armed guards walked in, each of them dressed in shining black armor with military grade assault rifles in their hands. Nathanial himself followed after, slamming the door shut and locking it before putting the key back in his pocket.
"Your trapped James, if that's your real name. I'm the head of the security division for the computers and while it's perfectly normal for someone to log in here, it's not normal for the administrator to log in when he's knocked out!"
Norman frowned, peeking from his cover as the guards flocked out through the room. Luckily for him, they were moving slower then a crippled turtle and with thirty feet to where he was and another thirty feet in every other direction, the six men had a lot of ground to cover. All he had to do was to wait for them to get away from the door, then book for it and hope he breaks through it before he got shot. But the biggest thing on his mind at the moment was how the man found the corpse.
"No one is that paranoid that you check under your bosses desk when you see they're not in the room. Why did he investigate... unless-"
"You want to know how I knew you weren't one of us James? You dropped the watch outside of Morse's room! All you had to do was give him the stupid object and I would have never guessed you were a Assassin. Guess they always send the morons out here to die!"
The man gloated, taking a air of superiority that bugged Norman more then the cold air that was freezing him to the bone. It was at that moment that the guards were close enough that in a few mores seconds they would discover him. He jumped out and started running for the guard six feet in front of him.
"I f-" Was the only thing the guard could yell before Norman shoved him to the ground, only losing a tiny bit of speed that he quickly regained. It took Nathaniel to yell out that Norman was making a break for it before the guards turned their guns on him and opened fire. Almost every bullet missed their target as Norman covered the thirty feet in seconds, burying themselves in the black towers instead of the white clothed man. But two projectiles found their target, one burying itself into Norman's shoulder while the other nicked the small but extra fat that was attached to the back of Norman's leg, also called the Gastrocnemius muscle. He felt both bullets and cried out in pain, the bullets hitting simultaneously due to the absence of towers because of how close he was to the single exit. He crashed into Nathaniel, the two falling through the glass door and hitting the wooden floor outside the room. Norman didn't have time to admire the fine workmanship put into it as he broke into a sprint, heading for the south wing as Nathaniel screamed after him. He had just managed to turn the corner right as the security guards exited the server room and opened fire, the bullets hitting the wall instead of his flesh. He never looked back, never getting the chance to see how close he was to losing his life. He only thought about the task ahead.
"The walls will be locked down by this point, the only way out being that metal gate. If I can hot wire that Jeep Grand Cherokee I can plow through it, but I'll still need to take care of that Hind-D before I leave or it'll chase me all the way back to the plane... F-" He cursed as he tripped several feet away from the door leading into the garage, the wound in his shoulder having bled enough to steak down his chest and onto his shoes, causing him to slip. He brought himself up, tolerating the pain as best he could, and opened the door before slowly shutting it, hoping that the guards would run past the door. They did, each assault rifled man running without even peeking through the glass as Norman limped to the helicopter. The agent knew he had to act fast, that such a trip wouldn't stop the guards for long, but he was thankful it had slowed them down at all.
"The door is still shut, but assuming their boss is smart the jeep will have a clicker inside that will open the door and lead outside... but how can I destroy the helicopter? I could use my lighter... no, I don't have one since I gave up smoking two weeks ago. Screw my life!" Norman thought as he reached the copter, ripping the gas cap off of the vehicle as he looked around for something to ignite the fuel with. It quickly became apparent that nothing could be used for that purpose.
"Think Norman think! You don't have to necessarily blow it up, you just have to disable it... of course! I can't ignite it by shooting the tank, but I can drain it of it's fuel!" Norman thought as he drew his gun and opened fire. He used half of his clip, eleven shots, and spread them out over the tank that hung from the bottom of the vehicle, the fuel quickly draining out from each shot. He guessed at that moment the guards knew they had been tricked, so he ran as fast he could to the Jeep, reaching it in seconds. He guessed he had effectively half a minute before the men would get there.
"30... 29... 28..." He counted in his head as he tried the door. It was locked, forcing him to break the window with a single hit of his gun. He immediately dove in feet first, landing in a up right position.
"24... 23... 22..." He pushed each of the three buttons set to open doors and shouted in glee at the sight of the door opening, the large metal gate being the only thing that stood between him and what he considered freedom at the moment. That, and the fact that he still had to hot wire the car.
His gun still in hand, he shot out the metal screws that held the casing in place, the lower half dropping like a rock and exposing the wires.
"17... 16... 15... move faster Norman!" He grabbed the two red wires that were used to prove the car with power and snapped them from the cylinder before stripping the ends and tying the exposed wiring together. The electrical system sprung to life.
"9... 8... 7... almost done!" He thought as he repeated the process with the brown wires, the starter. He again detached them from the cylinder and exposed the ends, but instead of tying them he merely touched them together. The car started and Norman shouted in triumph, a shout matched by the arrival of the armed guards.
"Someone open the roof and get that Hind-D up in the air. The rest of you mount get on those snowmobiles and ATV's. I'll go check and take the Jeep. He couldn't have gotten f-"
Norman slammed the pedal to the floor as the car shot forward, having heard enough from the men. He was out of the hanger in three seconds and plowing through the metal gate at forty miles per hour in five. That gate fell like the Berlin wall from the massive car.
"Finally. Now it's back to the plane a-... burn with the devil Abstergo... or will you send all of your men to me so I can do it for you?" Norman complained, several snow mobiles catching up to him. Two passengers were on each one, a total of six following him with two taking his left and right side while the remainder followed from behind. Their assault rifles stuck out, being the only black object in the flurry of white that covered everything else.
"To easy." He thought as they opened fire. He immediately slammed the breaks, his car slowing down and the trunk smashing into the two snow followers behind him. He immediately sped up after that, the other Abstergo employees turning around and rushing like a bull, firing everything they had into the car. He ducked under the steering wheel as the bullets hit nothing but glass and metal. When he looked up again, he saw his transport, the cargo plane.
"Wait a second... is he moving? The cowards running! What the heck are you doing!" Norman cursed in his head as he sped his car back to max speed, the snow mobiles slowly catching up behind him. The plane was not only moving, but within several seconds off the ground and into the air, Norman stunned at being abandoned. He had expected the getaway to be the least of his problems, but as he watched the plane take off into the sky as the men following him got closer by the second, he could only curse as he let go of the steering wheel and fell back into his seat.
Then, as if to screw him over even more, the powers at be decided his car should hit a large rock, the only unburied object in the wasteland. The car hit the rock at a hundred twenty miles per hour, destroying the wheel and launching the man into the air, who at the time wasn't even fazed how much of a bad turn his life had taken. The car landed on it's hood before it began its roll, it's front rolling under it's back about five times before it again rested on it's hood, the car compacted to a much smaller size. But this hadn't killed Norman, who shot the hinges off of the mangled car door as he kicked it out, his formerly white figure now painted a mixture of black and red as the car's oil seeped onto him. He crawled from the car, pure rage on his face as the roar of the oncoming snowmobiles drained out his own panting. He in return drew his gun, ripping off the suppressor as he struggled to stand up.
"You want to take me? Just try it! Your going to need something short of a army if you want to take me!"
Norman yelled out as he managed to fully stand, raising his pistol as he fired a single shot at the snowmobile two hundred feet away. The driver slumped forward as it began to turn, rolling and killing both of it's passengers as Norman heard a ringing go off. His satellite phone, somehow intact, was ringing several feet away. Limping over as he watched the second snowmobile turn around, he picked it up and once again recognized the voice of his boss.
"Norman? What happened? The pilot-"
"Is a coward who left me here to die. What the heck am I supposed to do now?" Norman asked, turning back to the wreckage of a car that was now burning brightly. He immediately limped away, fearing a explosion.
"The pilot said our contract is over, so the best I can do is get a helicopter to pick you up in a hour and a half. Can you last that long?" Ulquiorra asked.
"If I have no other choice I will. Anything else?" Norman asked.
"Yea. Two more details. The first is you must hold onto this phone. Lose it and we'll have no idea where you residing. The second is if you get caught, they will torture you. I generally don't encourage suicide, but considering this is a black op..."
"You don't need to tell me that. See you in D.C." Norman replied as he ended the call and looked around him. The cold, harsh winter had killed everything in sight, the only thing that went on for miles was snow, snow, and more snow. Which immediately gave Norman a idea. At this point he was about fifty feet away from the burning wreckage, the fire providing the only illumination as a mixture of cloudy weather and a setting sun had darkened the sky. So, using the mixture of snow and darkness to his advantage, he laid down and buried himself in a light layer of snow, the only part that wasn't covered was a small opening for his nose and eyes. His parka and pants, while damaged, still managed to retain a large amount of heat in them, ensuring that he wouldn't die of hypothermia that day.
Inviable, abandoned, broken and bleeding, the F.B.I agent Norman Jayden still managed to let out a small smile as his eyes closed, once again falling to sleep as he finally gave into exhaustion, the sound of snowmobiles being the last thing he heard before he allowed sleep to take him.
A silent prayer for safety was the last thought in his mind as he drifted to sleep.
End Act I
Author's Note: Ironically, this is my second story to be posted but the first act I've ever finished. Yes, it's short, but unlike most of my stories that are divided into three acts this will be divided by five, maybe even six acts.
The hot wiring the car works however. I myself own a four door Jeep, not a Grand Cherokee but a 04 Liberty and by looking at the wiring when I removed the casing I figured that this would work, although I would recommend wearing insulated or rubber gloves when you tried it. However, since the two cars are different I did consult a self proclaimed car expert about it and he told me that the method used would work. If anyone who owns a Grand Cherokee and would like it test it for me though, I would be very thankful. Not thankful enough though to fix your car however.
With that said, thank you for reading and leave a comment or review!