Chapter 23: The Drop Off
I opened my eyes and sat up as Isaiah pulled the plug from my neck.
“Good going team, you all did great,” I said walking over to the operators station.
“Captain we’re not out of the fire yet take a look at this,” said Parker. On his screen was the proximity alarm viewer re-routed. I looked at it, it showed that there was a swarm of sentinels on an attack course. I looked at Dan and he glanced at the screen, seeing the screen instantly Dan took off for the navigation deck.
“I’m on it,” he said on his way up.
“Captain should we man the turrets?” asked Colin.
“Go to the weapons deck you guys, don’t fire at anything yet I will give the signal. But we should be able to get to a spot to use the E.M.P. before they get into range.” Colin and the others ran to the weapons deck and took their posts and Brandan went to the top deck to help fly the ship.
Colin sat in his post next to Tarra, she looked over at him with a worried look on her face, he gave her a reassuring smile and turned to look into his viewer.
“You guys think we will be able to make it to a place without firing a single round?” asked Isaiah.
“I certainly hope so,” said Tarra.
“Yeah we might need the ammo for more dangerous situations. We’re gonna be out here for a long time so we need to conserve everything as much as we can,” explained Parker.
“Well after this all I want is a good meal and some sleep would be nice,” said Colin.
“Jeez Colin you’ve been sleeping for twenty years you would think you’d gotten enough of it after all that,” said Tarra. They each put on a headset and turned them on.
“Ok Captain, just give the word and we’ll blow them away.” They each watched as the ship flew through the tunnels, the sentinels were still a distance away, they were gaining fast.
“Come on Danny, fly,” whispered Tarra. The ship was flying incredibly fast but the sentinels were catching up quick.
“Um Captain, are you watching these things?” asked Isaiah.
“Don’t worry I can see them but were almost at the safe spot, don’t worry everything is under control guys,” said Brandan over the headset. One of the sentinels had gotten in reach and clung to the hall.
“Hold steady guys!” Colin watched as the machine came onto the ship and got right in front of his viewer.
“Colin don’t worry they’re through like twenty feet of armor. This ship is one of the most heavily armored in the fleet,” said Parker. The ship began to slow down as they approached the spot. All the sentinels clung to the hall instantly starting their laser cutters; the ship came to a halt and sat down.
“EMP charged and ready!” Just then the ship went dark and the EMP fired, they listened as each of the sentinels fell against the hull making clunking noises as they hit the cold armor of the ship. “I told you we’d make it,” said Brandan in a clearly relieved voice, “Ok well guys I’m getting a little hungry so why don’t we go grab a bite then we’ll contact Niobe in the morning.”
“Sounds good,” said Colin.
“Good for me,” said Tarra. They each took off their headsets and got up to head to the table in the residence deck.
They all walked to the residence deck and went to the table where they each grabbed a bowl and lined up at the spout. Tarra placed her bowl under the spout and pulled the lever, the food they lived on during their time away from Zion poured into the bowls. The food was a mixture of complex carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids having all the body needs and not going bad easily. Tarra walked over and took her place at the table, then Colin, Isaiah, and Parker. Brandan walked in and took up a plate.
“Man this stuff has got to be the hardest thing to get used to in the real world,” said Isaiah taking some in a spoon and pouring it back in the bowl.
“Man you could suck this shit through a straw,” Colin laughed. Colin ate a couple of spoonfuls and looked back up at the crew.
“Hey its exactly what we need though. It’s the perfect protein supplement Colin,” said Brandan. Colin shrugged his shoulders and kept eating. “I’m really impressed with the job you all did in the mission today.” Brandan took a mouthful of his food.
“Captain, I’m so sorry about the disk, I really should of checked for it before I got out of the car,” said Tarra.
“You’re right you should of, you could of cost the drop and the mission would have been a total loss if you and Colin hadn’t of been able to hold out,” Brandan paused, “But it didn’t and we pulled through ok so all is well and you’ll know for next time.” Tarra nodded.
“For sure.” The crew went about eating their food. They did some routine maintenance checks on the ship, Parker kept watch on the ship for the night. At the dinner table Brandan had discussed the plan of attack for the next day, first they would get a hold of the Logos and then set up a meeting place with Niobe and Ghost.
Brandan arose out of bed and could feel that the rest of the crew was already up and about and going about their orders. He got out of bed and got dressed then headed to the main deck. Dan and Isaiah were in there usual stations and Tarra and Colin were on the broadcasting deck.
“Report Isaiah,” he said.
“Well Captain, we’ve contacted the Logos and we’re looking for a safe broadcast zone right now. Niobe and Ghost are gonna meet us in the old sewer treatment plant,” explained Isaiah.
“Good work team,” said Brandan surprised, “Have we got an ETA on a broadcasting zone yet Dan?”
“We’re just about at the place I found, it will only be a few minutes,” Dan continued on the course he had laid in,
“Tarra and Colin are working on getting the broadcast terminals ready for us, you should head down there Isaiah and I will join you in a minute.” Brandan nodded to Dan and headed on his way down to the Broadcast deck.
Colin had just checked the last computer and walked over to the operators station, as Brandan walked in.
“Good morning Captain. We got all the terminals ready,” he said. Tarra walked in from the adjoining room.
“The core is all in check, we’re ready as soon as Dan gets us a broadcasting spot,” she said.
“Is the meeting spot clear Parker?”
“It’s good for now we should be fine,” said Parker typing in a few commands. The ship stopped moving as Dan set them down.
“Alright Captain we’re in place,” came over the headset.
“We’re on our way down Captain,” said Isaiah. Colin and Tarra both sat down in a terminal and Parker walked over and jacked them in.
“Captain.” Parker motioned to Brandan to sit down. He walked over and sat down in the chair and Parker hooked him in.
“I’m gonna wait and load you all in at once when they get down here.” Isaiah and Dan walked through the door, Isaiah smiled as he saw that the others were hooked in.
“I see you guys have started without us, time for us to catch up eh Dan.” Isaiah jumped into the seat and quickly fastened himself in with the leg straps. Dan shortly but less enthusiastically followed his example, Parker followed them and jacked them in.
“Ok now that we’re all ready can you just hit the damn button, the needle is starting to itch,” Colin squirmed.
“Ok guys just to let you all know, this should be pretty easy, just get there give them the package and get to the exit. You should be fine,” explained Parker.
“Alright just hit the god damn button man, please,” said Colin. Parker typed in several commands and hit the enter key sending them each into the construct program.
“Ah, finally,” said Colin, scratching the back of his neck.
“Oh stop your complaining, you whiner,” said Dan checking his gun. Colin took out his gun and did the same.
“Alright guys here we go,” said Brandan as the program began to load into the matrix. The two cars and the warehouse loaded all around them. “Alright Isaiah, Colin you’re with me. Tarra, Dan you guys go together and follow behind.” They piled into their expected vehicles and pulled out of the warehouse. Colin drove the mustang and Brandan sat in the passenger seat with Isaiah in the back.
“Colin the meeting place is marked on the map I trust you’ll be able to get us there,” said Brandan looking at Colin over his sunglasses.
“Aye Captain, we’ll get there, the map says were not really that far away so I wouldn’t worry,” said Colin. Brandan sat back in his seat and looked out the window as they drove down the crowded city street. To watch all these people go about there daily lives was strange, knowing that they know absolutely nothing of the real world and of the people who were fighting for their freedom. Some of the places they passed were places that he and Isaiah used to go to together for supper or just to shop or hang out.
“Hey Isaiah,” he pointed, “ you remember that place?” Isaiah looked to see that Brandan was pointing at a restaurant that they used to eat at quite frequently.
“Yeah of course, how could I forget they have the best salads in town.” Isaiah smiled and took out his small dagger just looking it over to kill time.
Colin pulled the car into an alley beside a large abandoned building.
“Here we are guys, lets go.” Colin shut off the car and opened his door. Brandan got out and looked for Niobe’s Thunderbird and it was nowhere to be found. Isaiah got out just as the Acura pulled up and shut off. Brandan pulled out his phone as they started to walk into the building and put it up to his ear.
“Parker are they here yet or have they been held up?”
“No Captain they are fine, check your clock you guys are still a bit early.”
“Ok good then I will talk to you later.” Brandan put his phone away as they walked down a hallway and eventually into a manhole that had been covered by the building and was hidden by a rug. They each dropped down the manhole and Colin sealed it off. Brandan looked at Colin.
“When they get here I want you and Isaiah to go watch the main door.”
“Well do you want us to go now and keep watch for them?” he asked.
“Actually you’re right, yeah go now then call me if anything happens.” Colin and Isaiah nodded and went back up the manhole to keep watch at the main doors.
Dan, Tarra and Brandan waited for Niobe to arrive and shortly her and Ghost walked through the back doors.
“Your just on time,” I said checking my watch. Niobe smiled at me and walked over to the table in the middle of the room.
“Of course did you expect otherwise?” she said. Tarra, Dan and I walked over to the table and I took out the package.
“Here it is this is what we’re here for,” I said. I sat the package down on the table.
“Great going Brandan, you and your crew are to be commended for your work in retrieving the package,” said Niobe as she picked up the package.
“Have you gotten my next orders yet or will they be sent directly to me?” I asked.
“For now.” Ghost interrupted her in mid sentence.
“Captain wait,” he said.
“What is it Ghost? Is there something wrong?” Ghost walked over to one of the other entrances to the sewer system. Ghost swung the door open and pulled a strange looking pale-faced man out by the arm. The man had a gun in his hand and Ghost quickly and easily disabled him and pinned him to the floor with the gun trained on his forehead.
“Who are you and what are you doing here?” said Ghost firmly.
“Shit I didn’t even hear him, Ghost how did you know he was there?” asked Dan.
“I refuse to tell you anything?” said the pale-faced creature.
“He’s one of the Merovingian’s exiles that much is obvious,” said Niobe.
“The Merovingian? Who’s that?” asked Tarra. Niobe looked at Tarra then the man.
“The Merovingian is one of the most sinister, evil programs ever created in the matrix. He knows everything that goes on around us, mainly because of these little goons that he dispenses all over the place.” Niobe picked up a small sharp piece of wood and walked over to the man on the floor.
She knelt down beside him and placed the piece of wood at his heart.
“Either you tell me what you were doing here or you get a deep gouge in your chest.” Niobe pressed the sharp edge of the wood into his chest slightly causing him to bleed. “Well.” The man squirmed slightly as he began to talk.
“Alright already, the Merovingian found out that the feds were looking for a special drop that was to be dropped off here, my orders were to find out what is was for and to report it back to him.” Niobe looked at Ghost then back at the man.
“What should we do with him Captain?” he asked. Niobe was silent for a few short seconds.
“The Merovingian he should start doing his own dirty work or at least hire someone with enough brains not to get caught!” Niobe forced the wooden stake through his heart and he started shaking violently. Niobe stood up and watched him for a second then returned her attention to the others again.
“As I was saying, your new orders are to complete your crew compliment and then report to me. We will then commence on our attack on the mainframe.”
“Alright.” I nodded my head to her.
“Well if that’s all we needed to discuss then I see no reason for us to stay here any longer than necessary.”
“Yeah your right lets go, get to your exit and good luck,” said Niobe.
Ghost and Niobe walked back through the door they came from and Tarra, Dan and Brandan went up the stairs to where Colin and Isaiah were keeping watch.
“Did everything go ok?” asked Colin. Brandan nodded to him and walked through the door.
“Everyone head back to the exit were heading back to get ready for the next mission,” said Brandan. They each walked to their cars and got in, this time Dan and Tarra took the lead and Colin followed behind. Isaiah got on the phone to Parker.
“Parker is there any suspicious activity in the area?” he asked.
“No it looks like you guys are pretty much in the clear. The phone will be ringing when you get there.” Isaiah hung up the phone and put it back in his pocket, they kept driving.
“So what’s the next mission Brandan?” asked Colin. Brandan thought for just a few seconds.
“I think our next mission is Tabatha. . .” Colin nodded his head and kept driving.
“So who comes after that any idea?” Colin had an expecting tone in his voice.
“Saba is after Tabatha don’t worry I thought all of that ahead of time.” We pulled into the warehouse and got out of the car. The hard-line on the table was already ringing as we walked up to it. Tarra picked up the phone and placed it to her ear she disappeared and the phone was left swinging in the wind. Brandan hung up the phone and looked at Isaiah as it started to ring again.
“Isaiah your turn.” Isaiah quickly picked up the phone and put it to his ear as his image vanished Dan caught the phone and hung it up.
“I’ll go next,” he said. The phone rang and he put it to his ear, Brandan hung up the phone.
“After you man,” said Colin as the phone started to ring. Brandan picked it up and put it to his ear and vanished.
Colin slowly picked up the phone and put it on the hook, before it started to ring he looked around to make sure the coast was clear. Meanwhile outside the matrix Parker was watching the screen and just as he sent Colin the signal the phone exploded.
“Oh no, Captain we have a problem here,” he said. Brandan rushed over and looked over his shoulder at the screen.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Agents, they traced us!” Back inside the matrix Colin had turned to see why the phone exploded and turned to see a Lexus and two agents standing in the doorway to the warehouse.
“Oh my god,” he whispered to himself. Colin looked at the large window to the warehouse he ran as fast as he could take himself and bounded through the high window.
He landed on the ground outside and took out his phone as he started to run.
“Captain what do I do?” he asked panicked.
“Colin stay calm and don’t panic, you have to focus, we’re looking for the nearest exit for you right now, just focus.” Colin kept the phone to his ear as he ran, gun shots were fired from behind and he could feel the bullets whisking by him. He dived and rolled behind a nearby building.
“Have you found anything yet?”
“Yes, it’s in the top floor of the apartment building your leaning against, the entrance is only a few feet away from you.” Colin looked to his left and seen the entrance, he immediately took to running. Colin kicked the door open and kept running passing several onlookers along the way.
“What’s your hurry?” yelled an old man he passed. Colin came to a stair well and began running up the well circling breathing heavy, the phone still in his hand.
“Colin the phone is actually on top of the building it’s a maintenance phone, good luck I know you can do this.” Colin hung up the phone and burst through a door that led him to the last floor of the building. He could see the steps that led to the roof at the end of the hall with a red exit light at the top of the doorway. He darted down the hall and slammed the door behind him as he could here the footsteps behind him. He ran through the door way and up the steps bursting his way through the door at the top.
Once he got on the other side of the door he could hear the phone ringing but there were also two swat soldiers walking towards him. Colin focused and took into the first one with a serious of low landing punches. One last hit in the gut sent the man leaning over, he focused his hardest and time slowed almost to a halt as Colin delivered a massive uppercut send the man hurling through the air and off the building. The other man looked at him and turned to run when he fell to the ground and began to turn into an agent as his body warped. Colin darted for the phone as he realized what was happening, he quickly picked up the phone and put it too his ear just as a bullet flew into the wall right next to the phone. He pulled the cord to its full length and jumped into the air as high as he could vanishing in mid air.
Colin opened his eyes as the connector was pulled from his neck, he sat up quickly and gasped for air.
“That was close,” he said breathing heavily.
“I knew you could do it, great job,” said Brandan, smiling. Colin smiled and collapsed forward on himself making a strange moaning laughter.