Constraints: Follows 'Pre-emptive Counter Attack.'
Synopsis: The Legion are needed elsewhere while Harman steals something.
Please Give Me Your Full Attention.
Content: Few corpses.
Inspector Ralph Jarrod entered his office and started sorting through the letters from his pigeon hole.
The one at the top looked a little odd.
He opened it and read the following:
'To whom it may concern:
A number of armed men congregated at 32 Indigo Ct, Chicago, Illinois.
Because they could be government, I opted to write a letter to give myself time to leave so that I don't get eliminated, but I was concerned that they may not be government.
Yours sincerely: I wasn't here.'
"Oh that's nice, now we can nip it in the shod leaf," said the inspector as he picked up the phone and called one of the gang unit Detective Inspectors.
"Yeah?" asked Charles as he answered the phone.
"We're all converging on Chicago," said Brittany, "Where's Daria? I can't raise her."
"Neither can I," said Charles, "I've been spending the last day trying to find her, she was supposed to be chasing up witnesses."
"I hope she's okay," said Brittany, "oh, but this just can't wait, a terrorist gang has been uncovered planning to blow up public spaces in the Chicago area, and the police may need us to help find the bombs or ... ... ."
"Right ... ... I'm on my way," said Charles. He took a final look around and finally turned into an owl to fly back to the police station where the L1 was parked.
Jane, Tom and Stacy stepped out of the Gridrunner and approached the police cordon around the house.
"I smell them, Harman and his mercenaries," said Stacy, she then asked "who's running the crime scene?"
A female CSI in full suit said "That would be me," she was carrying a bag with a steel trash can inside it, there was the burnt remains of some maps, "we've spent the last hour or so looking for useable footprints, we've only found three."
"But I'm smelling at least fifty scents," said Stacy.
"And they're planning on blowing up public spaces?" asked Jane. Something seemed wrong. "Who'd hire them for that? Where are these bombs meant to be?"
"One's meant to be in the park across Lake Street, there's five meant to be within Congress Circle, twelve at Lake Park High School," she continued to name locations, which Tom and Stacy memorised.
"Okay, Tom and Stacy, check those out," said Jane.
They shot off using their own self levitation capabilities.
"EOD must be stretched pretty thin, as are most SWAT and uniform in general," said Jane, "what's really happening?"
The cops startled when they heard a bang.
Jane looked up and eventually said "Just Charles."
Over the radio they suddenly heard "Sierra Oscar from Sierra Oscar Zero One Three, our car just blew up, literally, something in the engine exploded and blew a hole through the bonnet, over."
"Sierra Oscar Zero One Three from Sierra Oscar, have that."
"Blown up?" asked Jane. "Excuse me," she said as she flew off.
Quinn landed next to Jane and asked. "So, what do we have here?"
"Engine blew up," said Jane, "take a look at the hood."
Quinn looked at the hood, there was a couple of tiny holes surrounding a big hole.
She then looked at the engine, a V8 twin turbo diesel.
"What did you fill this thing with?" she asked of the cops standing nearby.
"Diesel ... I think ... " said one.
Quinn explained "The damage originated from within the fuel injector, that tells me the fuel has a significant amount of a high explosive in it, and given how much pressure a diesel fuel injector generates, it wouldn't need to be particularly sensitive to detonate from this. Where did you last take on fuel?"
"A gas station on the corner of Route 43 and W Montrose Avenue," said one of the cops.
"Right, Jane, get this car to the middle of nowhere, the remaining fuel in the engine's fuel bus could cook off at any time and set off the tank, officers, hold on to me, I'll fly us to the gas station," said Quinn as she checked the map on his cell phone.
After Jane flew off with the car, the two cops grabbed Quinn's shoulders and Quinn levitated, the two cops hanging of her shoulders. She located the gas station and flew them over there.
As soon as she landed, she said "One of you give me your radio and then I want this place shut down and evacuated, we need at least half a mile exclusion around here,"
One reached for his radio as the other started to the shop, but they both stopped and asked "Half a mile?"
"Remind me: What's the typical capacity of a gas station's diesel tank?" Asked Quinn.
They jumped to it, and Quinn broadcast "All call signs from Quinn, I'm with the Legion, all fuel vendors in the Chicago area need to be closed down immediately and a half mile exclusion zone set up, I have found that the fuel of at least one was sabotaged with an explosive additive, and could have been rigged to detonate, I also need EOD to assist at the gas station on Route 4 3 and W Montrose Avenue, further, any vehicle stopped because the engine exploded is likely an explosion hazard following replenishment at one of the affected vendors, if evacuation looks impractical, sever at least ten centimetres of the fuel line to disrupt detonation, over."
She then used her cell phone to call Betty, she had a feeling that this was mainly going to be all about explosive ordnance disposal.
"Well what's wrong with them?" asked Betty as the men with the articulated truck tractor unit stood before him next to the magazine Betty uses for maintaining the Legion's explosive demolition training.
The nervous looking man eventually said "we don't have that information for you."
"Eh? Do you have it for yourselves? You're the ones being told to ship this stuff back to the factory, don't you know what risks you're taking? Truck full of dodgy explosives? That's about six tons of everything from black powder to composition C4, are they too sensitive, or insensitive, or ineffective?" it was about now his phone started ringing, he checked it as he asked "Are you sure you want to shift them instead of just doing a controlled detonation here? You should have this information, you would if you had a union. You need to form a union. Excuse me a second." He answered it asking "What's up?"
"I need you up here to help us look for bombs, can you meet me on the corner of Route 43 and W Montrose Avenue, Chicago? Harman's mercenaries have set up a fireworks display here and this could be the opening salvo."
Betty sighed and said "All right, be there in a second," he addressed the men and said "I want that information or I will not release this container to you, find out the reason for the recall or I'll do a controlled detonation here. I'll be back later."
"Up a bit ... ... bit more ... ... bit mo-STOP!"
The car now blended perfectly with the view of what was behind.
"Okay," Harman said as he boarded the vehicle, "now we just got to wait."
He checked his watch. "Almost time for the Chicago show to begin. Pity we can't get all the Chicago radio stations to play 1812 Overture, that would have been classic."
That got a chuckle from the others.
Betty showed up and looked around.
"QUINN?" he shouted.
He then saw Quinn levitate out of a manhole within the premises of a gas station, she carried a bucket which had something duct taped to it, probably filled with a cast HE and the device taped to it is the fuse.
She set herself down and knelt over the device.
He approached and asked "What's going on Quinn?"
"Wow," said Quinn. She looked faint.
"Nitro exposure?" whispered Betty.
"Yeah, the diesel tank, I've already briefed the others on the gas stations, we think the whole city has been rigged for-" a police van's sirens blared from nearby and Quinn tried to shove her palms into her ear holes.
"Right, get out of here, you remember what I taught you about recovering from bang-head?"
"Yeah, this bomb might have useful evidence," said Quinn, she then looked up alarmed and seemed to clench her buttocks.
"I'll handle it. Go."
Quinn nodded and flew off, doing her best to hold her bowels closed.
Tom entered another diesel tank and removed another bomb. He remembered Quinn's briefing saying that the bombs he was looking for could be quite small, but Harman's people probably went belt and braces just to be sure.
That seemed to be the pattern. His shape vision allowed him to tell from a height which gas stations had bombs in their fuel tanks (that seemed to include the gasoline tanks as well).
He removed it and flew back to the first gas station where Betty was also moving bombs to.
"Hold it," said the sergeant in charge of the EOD team, "that's as many as we have disruptors for, any others, you need to drop in the lake."
"Okay," said Tom as he flew off again.
"Daria and Tiffany have the right idea about reviewing the no killing policy," groaned Quinn as she sat folded on the toilet stall in the Oak Park station rest room, every time she thought she was completely empty, more came out.
Moreover, her head still throbbed and she was seeing stars, she stank of diesel, she must have knocked over five people on her way down to this underground station's toilets, "I just want to kill those bastards, painfully and slowly, screw setting a good example for the world."
She then heard some cracks and screams, indicating a number of explosions that scared a whole load of bystanders.
"That had better be all of it," she whined as she stood up, flushing the toilet with one hand as she pulled up her pants and trousers with the other.
After she was dressed, she grabbed a squirt of soap, rubbing it into her hands as she left, not bothering with water and drying as she went to investigate the probably life threatening situation.
She flew over the ticket gates, pissing off those under her as she flew towards where she had perceived the hypocentres to be.
After arriving over an excited crowd that were looking east along the line, she asked "What's going on?"
"A train was approaching and suddenly there were some flashes, I think it got blown up," said someone. He then said "where have you been swimming? You smell like the inside of a ... a ... "
"A diesel tank at a gas station. It's the latest skincare fad. Excuse me," said Quinn as she pulled a keychain flashlight and entered the tunnel.
She eventually came up on where the ceiling had been blown in. The holes where the charges must have been inserted were surprisingly well defined, and the reinforcements in the cast concrete beam had a thin smear of copper and striations pointed away from the holes, the hole must have contained a linear cutting charge. That would have been enough, the shockwave from the back of the charge cracked the concrete while the copper liner was blasted through the reinforcements, they must have looked like underground maintenance workers, type up a phoney work order.
Would they even have needed a phoney work order?
'Tom and Jane from Quinn, train immobilised east of Oak Park station, need one or both of you to clear its way and move it out, over.'
'Quinn from Tom, I'm inbound, over.'
'Quinn from Jane, I'm still dealing with gas station bombs, I'll continue with that, over.'
'Brittany, Quinn, I need you to get onto Chicago Transport police to get the Chicago Underground shut down, in fact, why hasn't this happened already?'
'More trains?' asked Brittany.
'I'm working at evacuating one that's been blocked in by a cave in,' said Quinn before something caught her attention.
There was a patch of concrete in another concrete beam over the train.
'Bastards have more bombs in place over the train, I need Tom or Jane to help move the beam and then the train itself, I'll see about getting everyone out of the train,' said Quinn 'maybe I can get some of them out of here.'
'Have that, over.'
The front and the back of the train had been covered in soil. Something else was strange, the doors had all been dented.
Just enough to stop them opening.
Quinn looked at the walls and saw craters blown into them. Probably deliberate, to trap them.
She then looked at the ceiling. She couldn't remove people along the side of the train in case the remaining charges go off, they were safer in the train, especially considering the threat of shrapnel direct from the charges.
She needed to place some kind of suppor-
She flew back towards the station and lowered her face to the rail lines. She then drew in a big breath, pursed her lips and blew, discharging a current from her tongue to the rail, cutting through the rail.
She then used the butt of her PFT M2 to knock the clips out of the anchor points.
She then lifted the length of rail off the sleepers.
"Ohhhhh crap, I really need to catch up on my weight training," she just about whimpered as she struggled to lift the piece of steel.
Brittany hung up, having finally got some movement from the Chicago transport police, and dialled the white house again.
"White house, how may I direct your call?"
"I'm Brittany, Legion Leader, I need the president to be aware that the activity in Chicago is probably a diversion, he needs to make all departments aware that an attack on something important is probably imminent."
"Oh yeah, I put you on hold and you hung up."
"Because I had to make another call to someone else regarding a life threatening situation in Chicago, I'm also going to run out of call time, this is urgent, how are you going to look if an inquiry later finds that you repeatedly put me on hold while a high value target gets hit?"
"I'll put you through momentarily, please hold."
Brittany sighed as she listened to 'Things Can Only Get Better.'
"I've paid forty five bucks to listen to a track I wouldn't download for free."
Tom entered the tunnel, seeing Quinn welding bits of track into A-frames and pushing them into the space between the ceiling and floor, she then used another piece of rail to brace the frame against the wall.
The lack of any kind of shielding gas meant the welds were going to be slightly crap, but they would be sufficient.
Tom elected instead to shove the material obstructing the train and he pulled it out.
Quinn considered whether or not to continue what she had been doing. Any more of these beams come down, it could cause subsidence, which would threaten to topple whatever was above the tunnel.
Tom had started to cut more beams when the charges went off, so he instead flew through, extracting Quinn before the beams dropped more than thirty centimetres.
"Thanks," said Quinn.
Having landed the L1 at O'Hare airport, Charles was flying on his ring when he saw a rocket streak skywards. The motor burned out in half a second, and it was so far away he couldn't see it without the fire.
He morphed his eyes to see over the distance and reacquired it.
Charles decided to morph his arm into a PFT M2 set to 11, full auto.
He lined up the sights and fired off a burst. The warhead exploded with the energy of a mk. 83
'Brittany from Charles, I just splashed a rocket, it looked like it was homing on something, over.'
'Charles, Brittany, Have that, Jodie from Brittany, Need you and the Gridrunner in the air, look for any radio beacons that appear to be out of place, over.'
'Jodie's on task,' thought cast Jodie.
Julia approached the origin of the rocket, and she too now wanted to kill Harman, because it had originated from Loyola Park beach, there were twelve casualties with 3rd degree burns.
Seven children and five adults, there were also surfboards with the remains of some sails there which Julia guessed were windsurfing boards.
Julia landed and got to work healing the injured.
The train passed them.
"Start engine and advance," said Harman.
The man operating the 2.5T truck started the engine and advanced as ordered.
He drove onto the track, lining up to follow the train. He then hit a switch and motors whirred, bringing the rail wheels down. The truck lifted 10cm off the ground before a clock indicated the rail wheels were locked.
He then advanced.
Harman stood up through the hole in the roof, a PFT M2 in his hands, and he watched through the slot in the screen as the train appeared in view.
"Maintain this distance," said Harman. This PFT M2 had been refitted with a scope sight. M2s were generally not considered ranged weapons, if you were in a legitimate armed force, you'd instead get an M4, but the M2 was all they had available to them, so they had to improvise a scope and a stock so Harman could use it over the greater range. They had spent about half an hour zeroing the scope.
They had also fitted it with a high power IR laser, they had also zeroed that. This was intended to destroy their cameras.
The name of the game was surprise, they needed to avoid causing them to call for help until they were somewhere the hell else with their loot.
Harman fired the laser.
They would know it worked when someone came out the back to find out why the camera's down.
'Charles from Jodie, I have found a suspect signal originating from a gas station, the intention was probably to have the rocket back up the bombs they had manually placed, I've used the Gridrunner masers on it, I'll do the same with any other signals I find, over.'
'Jodie, Charles, received, out.'
Charles had been onto the phone talking to the police about the possibility that other rockets had been installed, the one he had spotted was in a launcher disguised as an advertising gimmick. How many similar ways are there to disguise a rocket launcher? The rocket had been four metres long, that's apparently big enough to hit anywhere in the city. Finding out how many transmitters there were could help them determine how many rockets were in the city.
'Jodie, Charles, don't destroy the transmitters, I propose we relocate them into a place we don't mind having high explosive ordnance raining down, over.'
Charles knew, as did everyone else probably, that there could be many hundreds of transmitters, and probably only a few, possibly even just that one rocket, the Chicago job was just to keep the Legion occupied.
'Brittany, Charles, how's it going with the president, over?'
'Still on hold, over.'
'Brittany, Jodie, I'm calling Armalin, he should have a direct line to the president, over.'
Harman and a growing number of his men were replacing the people on the train. None of them had encountered the metajammers that were currently an obstacle for Val and Sal, nor had they found the security centre, they were probably ahead of the flask, and the loot they were after was simply too dangerous to carry using anything other than Diclonii vectors.
Harman came up against the flask. The flask, being the width of the rail car, could not be passed without raising suspicion. He also didn't want to blind too many cameras or that would also be suspicious.
He could probably get away with blinding one more camera ... ... ...
Tom and Quinn heard a couple more explosions, and they flew over to investigate.
A substation near a hospital was on fire.
The coolant was not exactly the cleanest fuel for a fire, and was belching out thick black smoke, the main thing driving the fire was he power coming in from the 11kV lines.
There was also smoke wafting out of the basement windows of the hospital, but this looked a lot less like an inferno than just the exhaust from an explosive charge.
They entered through the window.
"No generators, no substation," said Quinn. She then flew over to the consumer unit, saying "I'll maintain power, you see if you can use the parts from both transformers to replace the damaged parts of one of them," as she pulled a screwdriver so she could remove the chassis to access the phase bus bars.
"Won't work," said Tom, "all the injectors, the valves, I'll have to find new generators, excuse me," he said just before he flew off.
'Brittany, Quinn, we have a hospital with no generators and no substation, Tom's looking for new generators, I'm providing substitute power, over.'
'Quinn, Brittany, have that, I'm contacting the electricity board to get the substation isolated, Charles from Brittany, we need you to form a barrier over the fire as soon as the power is cut off, over.'
'Charles on task, over.'
Jane and Jodie were focused on removing the transmitters to an inflatable raft out in the lake.
Mack was locating explosive charges on the underground rail network and safing any bombs he could find, cracking any concrete seal that held them in place with thermal shock, he accessed the charges easily, plucked out the detonators. He left the rest of the device intact in case there was unexpected evidence on them that could indicate the involvement of previously unknown members, but it was expected that it was just Harman's mercenaries, the diclonius, and possibly the precog.
Mack heard a roar and some screams and shouts real close.
He emerged and saw an exhaust column rising straight up from a nearby roundabout.
A smoke cloud at the base obscured any casualties, but he would have been unable to do anything for them anyway.
He set out to chase the rocket.
Once he ascended past the point at which the motor had burned out, he found that although the smoke from the remains of the propellant was thinner, it was still fairly visible until he caught up with it.
The fins, four curved stabilisers unfolding around the motor case and four control fins unfolded and rotated from where they were ahead of their shafts. He wasn't really bothered about where it was going, he just wanted it gone, so he hit it with enough heat to incinerate it. He maintained enough of a stand-off to avoid being hit with a lethal shockwave and incinerated it from the tail so there was nothing capable of being projected as shrapnel towards him.
The loss of the stabilisers meant that the drag from the control fins pulled the projectile around, Mack had to get around it, incinerating it from the front would mean burning through the fuse of which none of them had seen the structure.
The warhead eventually cooked off, the shock wave was sufficient to feel to Mack like he had fallen flat on his face from about four metres altitude. He eventually recovered and went back to safing bombs on the underground rail line.
'Stacy, Brittany, how's it going finding those bombs? Over.'
'Brittany, Stacy, no joy, I'm also using their scents, but I'm not finding those anywhere either. Is there anything on those rockets what's going to be unique?'
'Stacy, Jodie, that's unlikely, given the most likely ingredients and components, however, I'll give you the locations where parts of the first rocket fell, you might find something unique, over.'
"Sierra Oscar, Sierra Oscar two two nine, three IC1 males just broke the cordon on the corner of Kildare Avenue and Payne Street, driving a fluorescent green Ford Ka, index X-ray Papa four three Zulu India, heading east on Payne Street."
Betty, having heard the communication over one of the EOD cop's radios, teleported to Payne Street. He saw the car turn onto Kedvale Avenue, and teleported ahead of it, he saw the kid in the front passenger seat lighting something.
They turned onto Simpson Street headed east.
He teleported to the gas station on the corner of Simpson and Crawford, and watched as they arrived and headed for the diesel tank manhole cover. The one with the charge emerged from the car, a manhole removal handle in the other.
Just as the kid had gotten the manhole cover open, Betty teleported over and grabbed the charge, he then teleported away.
"HEY! THAT'S CHEATING!" said the indignant kid.
Betty pulled a pair of pliers and severed the pyrotechnic fuse. He then waited as the cops arrived and pointed guns at the kids, gripping the base of the detonator and pulling it out of the charge.
"DOWN ON THE GROUND!" they started chanting.
"NO WAY! YOU GUYS CHEATED! WE WON THE COMPETITION FAIR AND SQUARE!" Screamed the would-be martyr.
Betty watched in bemusement. He teleported closer to the kid and asked "What competition?"
"THE AMETUER TERRORIST COMPETITION!" shouted the man.
"Dude, calm down, we can appeal this, we'll sue them! ... or something," said the driver.
Betty eventually held up the disassembled charge, glaring straight at the kid with the manhole cover handle, and asked "what's this?"
"Smoke bomb, it's supposed to indicate a victory. We drop it into the diesel tank because it's not going to explode like gasoline."
"Wrong, this is composition C4 and a number eight detonator, I've used enough of these in my life, even the delay element is NATO stock, and in case you've been in a news blackout, the diesel of every gas station in Chicago has been doctored with nitro glycerine to the strength where it would function as a typical dynamite composition."
The formally indignant kid now looked shocked, ashen, and Betty could hear his intestines moving to dump their contents in preparation for massive physical activity. The kid stammered "D ... d ... ... ... as in ... ... ?"
"YOU THREE IDIOTS, VERY NEARLY, ATOMISED, EIGHT, CITY, BLOCKS!" shouted Betty, now channelling Gordon Ramsey.
The cops eventually lowered their weapons as it was now extremely clear that these guys were not hardened terrorists, and probably still lived with their moms.
And would likely become even more dependant of them for some time to come.
"NOW! YOU THREE JUST STORMED AN ARMED POLICE CORDON IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT A TERRORIST ATTACK, SO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY IN PRISON, YOU'D BETTER BE EXTREMELY FORTHCOMING IN EVERYTHING YOU CAN REMEMBER ABOUT THE INDIVIDUALS WHO SET UP THIS COMPETITION!"
Tiffany knocked on the hotel room door and waited.
Lucy was the one that answered.
"There's something we need to talk about."
Lucy stepped back and gestured for Tiffany to enter.
Tiffany saw Callisto and Wanda sat in the room.
After seeing Wanda, Tiffany said "Okayyyyyyyy, Agent Wanda, I need a minute with these two."
Wanda realised what Tiffany was going to do. "What are you up to?"
"I'm sorry, but this is personal, just grab a coffee or something."
Wanda continued to glare for half a minute.
Eventually Wanda stood up and walked to the door, and in perfect imitation of Sgt Schultz, said "I know nothhhiiinnnnng!"
Once they were alone, Tiffany said "In case that wasn't a big enough clue for you, this conversation never happened, we just talked about personal stuff, okay? I need a favour."
"I don't have time- correction, COUNTLESS LIVES, don't have time, for you to be giving me the run around, and forcing me to listen to the theme from 'Friends' over and over again, Harman's mercenaries got resupplied recently, the codes on the delay fuse and the detonator are too recent to have been embezzled prior to his time of departure, and I'm curious about where he managed to find hundreds of cube metres of trinitroglycerine days after breaking out of prison."
"We just can't help you, I'm sorry, but you must stop your activities immediately."
"Stop my activities? Stop trying to save lives? Those activities? You're inciting me to commit depraved indifference? Are you tha- You know what? Bollocks! Thanks for your time."
Betty hung up, "Christ on a bicycle, I swear these bureaucrats are getting worse," he then walked into the gas station shop, pulling out some dollar bills and a notepad, he tore out an empty page and picked up a box of aspirin, leaving the notes and a message describing the trade before swallowing two tablets as he re-emerged from the shop.
He then used the flight ring to thoughtcast 'Jodie, Betty, need you to commit a cybercrime in the name of the law. We're looking for any recent movements of trinitroglycerine where it was either recorded as expended or destroyed, there is absolutely no way Harman's men all together made that much nitro, and the two diclonii CERTAINLY didn't make it on their own, but I can't get anyone on the other end of the line to do anything for me.'
'Betty, Jodie, on task, over.'
Tom finally got the generators replaced, plugging everything in.
"You got the fuel from out of town, right?" asked Quinn.
He eventually got them fired up, and Quinn could finally let go.
"Okay, let's see what else needs doing," said Quinn, she then thoughtcast 'Brittany, Quinn, Tom and I are now available again.'
Circuit boards, polyester resin, hydrochloric acid, paint stripper ... Nothing unique.
'Jodie, Stacy, I got nothing here,'
'Stacy, Jodie, have that, I have an address for you to check out, it's in Rochelle, 32 Westville Drive, you're smelling for nitrated explosives, and any of Harman's people, over.'
'Jodie, Stacy, on task, over.'
"Well, so much for subtle," said Harman as he armed the hellbox. He pressed the trigger and the charges went off, the 400kg of ANFO on the right and under side of the inner flask to eject the inner flask from the outer, sideways off the train.
The braking system had been sabotaged and they were coming up on a bridge across a river, the flask should stop just short of the bridge, and the remaining brakes would prevent the train from stopping until it was at least two kilometres away.
Harman and his mercs were now all on the truck.
They would have no trouble stopping before the bridge.
Not only that, the metajammers were on the train.
Which meant they no longer affected the vicinity of the inner flask.
The flask was built like an adamantium outhouse, so all their loot would be intact.
Stacy arrived at the address and did a thorough external inspection.
Her attention was drawn by the smell of jet fuel and putrescine and cadaverine.
Accelerant plus dead bodies equals probable cause, so she pulled her phone and called 911. Stacy approached one of the windows on the upper floor, those were less likely to be mined.
"911 emergency, what service do you require?"
"I need cops and fire fighters at three two Westville drive, Rochelle, suspected homicides and there may be a time fused incendiary inside the dwelling, I'm Stacy Rowe, I'm a Legionnaire, I'm effecting entry through one of the top rear windows to locate and safe any devices."
"Have that, help is on the move."
Stacy entered the house and was almost bowled over by the smell of kerosene.
She glanced over to the single bed of the bedroom she was in. "One cadaver, ... " she continued on down stairs, the top of the house was not a logical place to start a fire.
She passed another bedroom, with a king sided bed, "two cadaver," and a third bedroom with two bunk beds, "three cadaver, four ... this is one disturbed dweeb."
Stacy continued on down through the house. All the accelerant was in bags.
No explosives around the bags.
She also smelt three scents belonging to Harman's men.
She decided to check the basement.
She eventually found something that qualified as strange.
There was a length of garden wire tacked to the beams holding up the ground floor, and it was connected to a hook lamp that was connected to a series of timers all plugged into each other.
Stacy pulled the plug from the top timer.
The basement hadn't accessed by Harman or any of his men. The scent was female.
There was a strong smell of nitrated explosives down here.
Maybe bags of nitro-glycerine were stored here?
Stacy heard sirens.
She checked the front door for mines and then opened it. "Four bodies up stairs, two adults, two children, three of Harmans men were here plus one unknown female."
Eventually the last of the fuel had been removed.
"Finally," said Jane as the truck pulled away, "we can get back to those damn mercenaries."
"Transport systems are now clear of mines and other devices, no bombs in place at any public gathering points, but there may still be rockets we don't know about," said Brittany, "we need someone in place in case we get any more launches."
"Maybe we could have Quinn here for air defence?" suggested Jane.
"Okay," said Brittany.
They boarded the Gridrunner which was parked in a nearby MFI car park.
"How's it going here?" asked Jane.
"Local cops in Rochelle are working the house, whoever killed that family really played with the female victims, but she was relying on the house getting smoked. Either not he precog we've been after, or she was having an off day," said Jodie.
"She?" asked Jane.
"Scents Stacy picked up around the victims showed the perpetrator to be female, none of the male scents were upstairs. Our thinking now is that the Quartermaster embezzled the explosives because his family was being held hostage, and then the perpetrator went and killed them all anyway."
"DNA's good, but only if we can find someone to compare it to. What we really need is the precog's physical appearance," said Jane, "Wish Daria would pick up her damn phone, she's either in a sulk or on an impulse again."
"I think that's a little disingenuous, Daria has her moods, but she's solid on mission objectives," said Jodie, "she knows it's important she finds that precog and gets back to us with any significant developments at the earliest opportunity, if she's out of contact, there's probably a good reason."
Eventually Jane said "Yeah, I guess you're right."
"You guess? When was the last time you two melded?" asked Jodie.
"The last time was ... ... ... eeeaaaarphhhhh ... ... I can't remember," admitted Jane.
"You've been at each other a lot lately, next time you two have a minute, do it. Before one of us kills one of you."
"Okay," said Jane. She then looked around and asked "where's Brittany?"
"Hi," said Brittany from outside.
Jane and Jodie went out to see a tall white haired man in a suit. This man said "Just the person I wanted to see. Please don't think you can hide from us."
"Who's 'us?'" asked Jane.
"CIA. ... I guess we were too late."
"Yeah, well, better late than ... What exactly could you have brought to this?" asked Jane, "Come to think of it, why show up in person? Phone would have been faster."
" ... You really think you got away with it don't you?" Asked the man.
After puzzling for a second, Jane walked down the ramp to him and said "Lives are at stake. I know that doesn't quite register in your world, but if you hold back on something we need to know right the hell now and someone dies because of it, I will guarantee it to be your problem by any means available."
"You use that uranium, you will absolutely wish you hadn't."
Jane was taken aback, but eventually asked "Uranium? ... Enriched or depleted?"
"Don't play games, if you make us get serious on-"
"CRYING OUT LOUD, WHERE THE HELL'S DARIA?" shouted Jane, now officially over this 'calm and patient' crap.
"You don't have clearance to know that," said the man.
Jane was again looking at him with that surprised look. She eventually said "That's an odd thing for you to respond to. That's an odd way for you to respond to it too. ... DARIA, HAS BEEN MISSING, FOR OVER A DAY! ... WHERE IS SHE?"
"You want to know?" asked the man.
"YOU, WANT TO TELL ME," said Jane.
"Or what?" asked the man. "What are you threatening?"
"What's your name? I didn't catch it," asked Jane.
"Agent Fleming," replied the man.
"Okay. Agent Fleming," said Jane, as she wrapped his jacket lapels around her hands, "I'm arresting you for obstructing an investigation, you do not have to say anything, you have the right-"
"What???" asked Fleming. His incredulous state was priceless.
"You have the right to legal representation and to have someone informed of your arrest," continued Jane.
He then grabbed Jane's shoulders and said "That case I'm arresting you for theft, multiple counts of assault, treason, unlawful use of explosives,"
They continued informing each other of their rights until eventually Jodie shouted "HEY!"
They both stopped, mid struggle.
"MISSING, RADIOACTIVE, MATERIALS! URGENT! DANGER! ... Will Robinson. ... " said Jodie.
"Right," said Jane, she eventually asked "Is, the, uranium, fissionable?"
"Don't play games," said Fleming.
"Okay. I'm arresting you for obstruction," said Jane.
"I'm arresting you for theft," said Agent Fleming.
Jodie rubbed her face in frustration.
Betty then appeared and asked "Where's Brittany?"
Brittany decloaked and said "Here."
"Okay, just to update you, Tom's escorting the trucks with the bent fuel, that's all going to the refinery, they'll add a precipitating agent to knock the nitroglycerine out of the fuel, nitro will be recovered and expended on commercial mining projects or disposed of by controlled detonation, the amateur terrorist contestants are still gibbering wrecks, DA's applying for an extension so that they can still offer to not file charges in exchange for information, Stacy's still co-ordinating with Rochelle LEOs, and ... " He pointed at Jane and Fleming asking "what's going on?"
"CIA's holding Daria somewhere, and they think we stole some uranium," said Jodie.
"CIA. ... Oh for Christ's sake," he then shoved Jane away and took hold of Fleming's lapels, asking "Are we on the watch list?"
"What?" asked Jane.
"The terrorist watch list! WE'VE BEEN GETTING STATIC FROM EVERY FEDERAL AND DEFENCE INSTALLATION WE'VE CALLED!"
"Why didn't that occur to me?" asked Jodie, "I could have checked that sooner."
"Ambient inefficiency masks current inefficiency?" suggested Jane.
"Oh yeah," said Jodie.
"WHAT ARE WE DOING ON THE TERRORIST WATCHLIST?" asked Betty.
"I CAN'T REVEAL THAT, YOU KNOW THAT!" replied Fleming.
Eventually Betty released him and said "Jodie, find out what you can through the net, we need to know what was taken from where. That's what the Precog was up to."
"Right," said Jodie as she re-entered the aircraft.
Betty turned to Agent Fleming again and said "Agent Fleming. We're going to recover the uranium. If Daria hasn't been released by the time we're done, you're going to find out the true cost of all that fun you have as a bad guy, you get me?"
"Good," interrupted Betty, he then boarded the Gridrunner along with Jane and Brittany.
Once the doors were closed, Brittany asked "how are we going to find Daria?"
"We'll worry about that later," said Jane. Her teeth were clenched.
"But we can't just leave her with the-"
"MISSING, NUCLEAR, MATERIAL, BRITTANY!" said Jane. ... "We have no choice. We spare anyone from finding that in favour of anything even finding one of our own ... ... "
"Missing fissile nuclear material," said Jodie, "enough for forty critical masses, up to thirty eight nukes. On the plus side," said Jodie.
"It's an alloy," said Harman's scientist.
"Okay then," said Harman.
"What does that mean?" asked Val.
"It means we need all this," said Harman as he picked up the list and handed it to Val.
"Small industrial plot with at least 300kVA three phase supply, three phase welding gear," read Val.
"Five hundred litres hydroflouric acid," said Sal.
"Twenty 8mm Graphite electrodes," said Val.
"Mass spectrometers?" they chorused together.
"The way he explained it to me was the metals have to be made into metal halides, as metals they're inseparable, but their halides have distinct properties, we'll be able to distil them."
"You also said Uranium is pyrophoric," said Val.
"How are you going to separate the uranium from it's halide?" asked Sal.
"Plasma electrolysis," said Harman's scientist, "we thinly mix the uranium hexaflouride with argon, shove a load of electricity through that, argon will keep the uranium anions and the fluorine cations apart, we then condense the fluorine in a separate vessel."
"We're building our own nuclear fuel processing plant," said Harman, "we can't stick this in a bomb as is, it'll have to be absolutely huge for the same bang, and the tamper we'd need would make the thing impractical to move, you want to try to arrange a police escort for a wide load without revealing it's meant to smoke a city? We absolutely need metallic uranium."
Eventually, Val pulled a phone and called their boss.
"It's all set up," said the boss without needing to hear their question.
"Well, they were wrong," said the assistant, "no sign of Al Qaeda affiliation. In fact, it would be incompatible with their attitudes."
"Yeah, that's because Al Qaeda are a human organisation, the Legion represent the master race," said the interrogator.
The assistant looked concerned. "What should we do then? The CIA will want to know."
"Not until we're ready. I have to prepare Daria to show the world what'll happen if we don't act now," said the interrogator. "I'll have the program ready in about an hour, prepare to wake her and speed her brain as fast as it will go."
The assistant took a final look between the interrogator's and Daria's virtual forms, and eventually said "Okay boss," before he logged off of the VR server.
"You, miss Morgendorffer, are going to make the world demand my sentinels," said Boliver Trask.