Intelligence Gathering, Part 1

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April 14

I have unfinished business. The unsolved mass-poisoning terrorist attack, the sudden establishment of PRIMUS, and Lawless’ appointment as Director all need to be unraveled. Team Liberty might do something decisive against the terrorists since they don’t seem to be fond of Government control anymore. DOSPA (the Department Of Superhuman and Paranormal Affairs) may decide to add the Team to PRIMUS’ “Threat List” because of their new independence. Never know when the terrorists, if that’s who really did it, may attack again either. Team Liberty has plenty of reason to act, but they don’t know who to act against. Yet. My part. My pleasure.

There is something rotten in Denmark – Denmark, New Jersey. PRIMUS Headquarters. I need to get inside. That will require security information. That is going to take some doing. Sometimes you get a break. Marcus Wayne is attending a ball at J. Cranton Lawless’ manor in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Kind of him to invite Mr. Wayne like that. I easily excuse myself from the main party. Being only 28 has its advantages. I find Julia Lawless, and true to form, she’s had a little more alcohol than she can handle. I ask her to give me a tour of the home, suggesting the upstairs where the bedrooms are. Hanging on my arm, she serves as an easily visible explanation for my foray upstairs. This will incense old J. Cranton once his “staff” get word to him. Good.

I suggest we start with her parents’ room, which she thinks is “wonderfully kinky”. While she is unlocking the door, I enhance her drink, which I’m holding for her. I do not need her staying conscious once we get inside. After she locks the door behind her, she leans against the inside of it and asks me what I really want. I make a suitably fresh pass at her as I hand her back her drink. Mischievously pleased, she smiles at me and finishes it off. I catch her as she begins to slide down the inside of the door and toss her unceremoniously onto her parents’ bed, then head for the closet.

He has size 10 and a half feet and prefers Hugo Boss shoes. I open his closet and find the first two pairs, picking up the right shoe from each set. Sitting on his bed, I have about 2 minutes before “Daddy” comes up here looking for me. Boss’ have layered heels, which I pull off, keeping the bottom layer. The rest goes in my pocket. The two removed layers get replaced with counterfeit layers loaded with passive recording equipment. Passive will not set off detectors the way active stuff will, and the silicone components will be about the same density as any plastic shoe sole so it won’t raise any alarms going through the metal detectors. No transmitters, so I will have to “seduce” Julia again to retrieve the data sticks. I might like that under other circumstances. I replace the shoes and look for his security badge. As a PRIMUS agent, he will have a nice convenient device that he has to mount on his jacket, chest high, and wear everywhere he goes. Bingo. I’ve seen these badges three times before, duplicating the clip that holds it in place was easy. Purchased bulk from a security accessory manufacturer in upstate New York. The counterfeit houses a passive camera that records 8 images a second, fast enough to catch every stroke of a 90-word-a-minute typist. Fast enough to record keypad security codes. None of this stuff will escape detection forever, but before it is found, I will retrieve it and have the information I want.

I replace the clip and exit the closet as “Daddy” starts banging on the door. I snatch off my tie and jacket and toss them on the floor. As he bangs a second time, I snatch her shoes off and push her dress off one shoulder. I hop on the bed and cradle her against me as I administer the inhalant that will restore consciousness. She opens her eyes and smiles. I offer her a kiss. She is receptive. Interesting, but unimportant. It will serve mostly to spin “Daddy” up once he finishes unlocking and opening the door. The more upset he is, the easier he will be to distract, and do I ever have a distraction for him. I just hope Blackwing did his homework.

[Outside on the balcony]
Marc is counting on me and I won’t let him down! I wish he had let me do the inside part cause Julia is a babe but hey, we all have a part to play. I see the necking has begun and that means,… yep, Daddy’s home! Lights, Camera, Action! Boy is old man Lawless mad! I can see why, too. Julia is ravishing in that little gown and Marc is 9 years older than she is. I see some of Lawless’ “staff” have joined the situation too. This is gonna be so easy and so much fun. And ol’ Bat isn’t here to tell me “be careful” every two seconds. The “staff” grab Marc off the bed and none too gently. This ought to be good. I’ll just let him sweat it a little. Not like he can’t take a little abuse. Old man Lawless is really in his face too. Man I wish I could get a picture of this without blowing the whole charade.

Can’t fool around forever or they’ll drag him out of the room and maybe worse. I’m in Old man Lawless’ private office right next to his bedroom. It opens out on the same balcony. Handy if you are rich, stupid if you want security. Some folks think being part of PRIMUS makes you invulnerable. He actually had some nice stuff in the safe, but the reading material was even juicer. Whoa, buddy the stories I could tell! I got nearly two hundred pictures of documents. I hope The Bat appreciates it.

I clunk the balcony door of Lawless’ office closed behind me and start walking to the banister like I was all that or something. Lawless and company suddenly become very businesslike. They aren’t rousting a hormonal male for threatening a daughter’s virtue anymore. They are suddenly aware that someone has been bold enough and lucky enough to make it to the private office, and they come out to the balcony like they mean to do something about it.

You know, I think they are serious! They have their guns out! And they are shooting! Silencer’s and machine-pistols! Holy bat-guano! I won’t have to do much acting to look panicked. I do a quick jump and roll over a decorative table, dragging it over as I go. The only cover it offers is concealment from direct view, the bullets come right through. They don’t care if they kill me! If they actually hit me, they will have blood samples. They will find out I’m a metaX, not just some thief. They will be very careful, thoroughly investigating exactly what really happened here tonight. If they search hard enough to find the stuff Marc put in Lawless’ shoes tonight, they’ll link him to metaX activity! It’s time to go!

Machine pistols usually only have 30 to 40 rounds in a magazine. Thank goodness. While they are reloading, I go for the rail. I didn’t even have to remember to “forget” my backpack full of loot by the upturned table. I really do just want to go away! As I hand-vault the rail, the machine-pistols start up again, chewing the balustrade apart as I go over. Problem is, I still have weight on it. My position is wrong and I am going to be off balance when I land. That’s not bad enough! They are reloading and they are coming after me!

Not good! Not good! Oh boy! Don’t think, just roll with it. Land on my back and roll to my feet. Time to go! Darn! More bullets! Oh boy! Go, feet, go! Just go! Just go!

They’re reloading, they gotta be. Bullets have stopped, won’t last long! Should have listened to Marc!

The wall is 12 feet high, concrete, and the top is covered with embedded razor-edged blades. No cover in this whole stupid yard! What kind of mansion is this! Peasants! Better security than I gave them credit for. The machine pistols will be concentrating on the wall as I go over. Man is this gonna hurt! No choice, I go for the wall. Should have listened to Marc.

[Back on the balcony]
Seemingly from nowhere, a giant raven swoops directly at the balcony, an impossibly loud bird-shriek sound assaults the men trying to do their job with their machine-pistols. They instinctively duck away from the sudden aerial attack and in the instant they are diverted, a very scared young man in close fitting sweat-clothes escapes over the wall, unhurt.

Mission accomplished.

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