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Operation I

The window was smashed into a million pieces as a lone figure hurtled itself through the brittle glass. The figure fell to the ground out of the ground level window. It hit the ground with considerable force, yet managed to get up quickly and started running. The figure wore black jeans and a black jacket with a hood covering the head and a black ski mask covering the face. The figure had landed on the sidewalk of a small road. There were no cars moving on the road, but there were certainly a lot of cars parked around. The figure ran into a small alley opposite to the window it had emerged from. The figure pushed away the trashcans that blocked its path with brute force and made its way through the dirty alley.

Next to the window, a large doorway was banged open and a couple of burly bald men ran out with guns in their hands, presumably searching for the running figure. They stood looking around for a few seconds, when they saw the trash cans and began their pursuit of the figure. More bald men emerged from the building. Some assisted the pursuers by joining their group. The others started packing themselves into the cars outside and drove off, throwing the dust off the road as they left.

The figure kept on running, occasionally looking back to see if it was being pursued. It’s suspicion was confirmed. There were 6 "baldies" following the figure. There were probably at least 5 more behind them. The figure turned right at a junction, knocking more trashcans over. This time it was in a wider alley – one through which a car could pass. Suddenly, the figure stopped as that thought entered its head. It looked behind it and saw the "baldies" emerging from the other alley and then in front of it, it heard and then saw cars with their glaring headlights screeching into view. The baldies turned to see the cars and saw the figure. They began to line up their guns to shoot. The figure had to act fast if it wanted to live to see the light of day. The figure spun and faked to the left, before jumping onto a fire escape on the right. The baldies were turned away momentarily, which gave the figure enough time to climb onto the next floor of the building. When they finally found the figure in their sights again, they began firing, but the bullets just hit the framework of the fire escape. A few baldies started running to the fire escape and made their way up the steel ladder, while some stayed back and tried making a lucky shot.

The first car in the line hit the brakes as soon as the figure made the jump to the fire escape. The other cars stopped in suite. The drivers of all the cars got out. The driver of the first car started barking out some orders and got back in the car. The other drivers got back in their cars and starting backing out onto the road. Some went to the left and others to the right. They seemed to be covering the area.

Meanwhile, the figure had made it up to the 5th floor of the 7-floor building. The baldies were in hot pursuit and most of them were now climbing up the fire escape. The figure was sprinting up for its very life was at stake. When it reached the top, it turned around, pulled a gun out of its coat pocket and began firing down the fire escape. A bullet hit one of the chasers and the others hesitated for a moment, before they pulled out their own guns and began firing. The figure turned back to the building and surveyed the entire area in a few seconds. The figure began running again. This time to the opposite end of the building, towards the building it had originally jumped from the window of. As it made its way across the area, a door was opened in its path and a few baldies emerged from the staircase, which led to the door. The figure tried to stop and then spun round, while pulling out another gun from its left leg and began firing on the baldies before they could realise where the figure was.

One baldy got hit in the shoulder as the ones that had emerged began firing in the direction of the bullets and the ones that hadn’t emerged, pulled out their own weapons and prepared to leave the staircase. The figure rolled on the ground and dodged the bullets with grace and skill unparalleled to anything the baldies had ever seen before. The figure stopped its rolling to throw the baldies off their aim and fired two bullets. One bullet hit one baldy in the hand, in which he held his gun, and the other bullet hit another one in the leg, making the huge mass fall down and fire a few bullets in the air.

The baldies that had remained on the staircase made their way out and began firing. The ones on the fire escape had made their way up and they took their positions and began firing as well. The figure knew that it had to run once more and turned that thought into action and ran too fast for the baldies’ bullets. The figure ran to the edge of the roof of the building and jumped at the very last second. The baldies stopped firing and ran to the edge to follow the figure with their eyes.

The gap was a wide one and the figure knew that it wouldn’t make it. With the two guns in its hands, it fired at one of the windows on the floor beneath the roof and dived towards it and flew, almost like a superhero, straight through the shattered glass. As it entered the building, the figure rolled onto the floor and the sat still to look around, only to see baldies all around. The figure rolled to the left and shot five bullets, each one hitting a light source in the room and the room plunged into darkness.

The room was quiet for a few precious moments. The only light was that of the moon and the stars that did shine that night and their light was way too feeble for anyone in the room to figure out who was where. It seemed like no one was moved, when suddenly, there was a crunch. Bullets flew across the room, towards the origin of the sound. And then everything was quiet again. And then there was a click and a light that was not shot was turned on.

There was the bloody carcass of one of the baldies, which was lying in a pool of its own blood amongst the pieces of the shattered window. A few expletives were muttered as the rest of the baldies looked around the room only to see that the figure had gone. The door hadn’t been opened, so they knew that the figure hadn’t left that way. But the glass window of the door was broken and the pieces were scattered around the door. They ran to the door, but it was locked. The baldies smashed the door open with their powerful legs and poured out of the room. They scattered through the beige corridors of the old building. And then the room and the corridor were empty and quiet.

The figure silently descended from the ceiling, where it had positioned itself on a beam. It looked around momentarily and then proceeded into the room from which it had escaped. The pieces of glass crunched underneath its feet. The figure slowly studied the room and proceeded, with the glass beneath its feet. It stopped and stared all around it. There were cupboards and file cabinets in every part of the room. Most of them had been opened and were in a complete mess. Paper and folders were scattered all around the room. The figure then moved towards the rotting mass of "dead baldy". It stared and then knelt down in the pool of blood and searched its pockets for something, till it found a gun and some ammunition. That would prove handy in the situation at hand.

There were noises from the corridor – voices and footsteps. From the sound of it, there were at least 6 people making their way down the corridor. The figure inhaled a deep breath and then exhaled. It was time to move again. There was no way out, but the window and that was the path that the figure took. Instead of taking the aerial route, i.e. jumping out, this time the figure crawled out and onto the small ledge at the side of the building. It heard what sounded like the baldies, enter the room and start shouting. It hadn’t been a good night for them or any of their partners and if the figure had its way, it wouldn’t be.

The figure carefully traversed the side of the building via the ledge, yet it moved at a rather quick pace. The moon shone in the figure’s face and if it was any brighter, the figure would have to look away. But the full moon was the only calm thing about this night. The figure finally reached another window and this time heard only two voices. It moved as close to the window as possible, without exposing it’s position to hear what was going on.

"I can’t believe the shit that’s going on!"

"The boss is going to be wild. How many do you think are dead?"

"I’d suppose at least 10. That son of a bitch has been on a rampage."

"So do we have to stay here and wait?"

"That’s our orders. After the slaughter-fest in the other room, Prince wants a few of us in each room in case Mr. Ass has any more dumb ideas."

"Shit!"

"What now?"

"If I get my hands on that…"

"On that what? Forget about it! The boss wants him alive."

"Yeah, but…"

"Forget the but, now! We have a job to do and we had better do it."

"Have we sent the bomb yet?"

"No, not yet! There was a bit of confusion that Mr. Idiot took the bomb, but he didn’t. In the confusion, the boss called off the delivery for the next hour."

"Is the mystery man a cop?"

"Listen, if I knew, then I wouldn’t be here answering your stupid questions, now would I?"

"Hey! I like this situation as much as you do!"

"Yeah? Well I’m loving it!"

"Yeah?"

"Yeah!"

"If we don’t stop, then someone is going to walk in and shoot us before we can."

"I’m leaving. I need a drink."

The conversation stopped as one of the occupants of the room walked out and slammed the door behind him. These guys are definitely losing their cool, thought the figure. That was good. They’d make some mistakes if they lost any more of their senses.

The one person left in the room started moving around nervously. He was scared. He did not want any confrontation. He moved around and began singing a little tune to himself "Everything’s gonna be alright, everything’s gonna be alright…" and went on repeating it like a chant. The baldy paced about for a few seconds, before walking to the window and breathing in some of the "fresh" night air of the polluted city. And the next thing that the person breathed was a bit of shoe as the figure swung into the room and hit the face of the person with a strong shoe. The person reeled back as the figure lined up for and then delivered a perfect spin kick to the jaw and knocked the person out. There was a thud as the baldy landed to the ground and blood dripped out of his mouth onto the wooden floor.

Damn, thought the figure. Someone would be coming now. The figure wanted a quiet entry into the building and just didn’t get the chance. The doorknob turned as the door opened and another baldy emerged, ready to fire. Before the figure could pull out it’s guns, a gun was fired and the figure stood there, with guns in both hands waiting. The baldy fell to the ground with a loud thud with a shot in the head. In the corridor behind the baldy, a not-at-all-bald person stood with a gun in each hand, ready to fire. He was wearing sunglasses in the middle of the night. He had a clean-shaven face that sort of shined in the light of the yellow lamp that lit the corridor. His hair had been combed back and light even shined off his hair. The only thing that the light didn’t really shine off was his black suit and even his shoes.

The figure and the man in black stood where they were for a couple of moments, each planning out their next move, if there would be one. They had to wait, for something to happen. That remained for 10 seconds, until a baldy decided to check out the action. The door was at the junction of three other corridors, each at right angles to each other. One was opposite the door, and the other two were on either side of the door. This doomed baldy entered from the left (of the figure) and this was the figure’s cue for action. The baldy saw the man in black and before he could do anything, 6 bullets pierced his body and then he slumped to the floor. The figure performed a back flip and jumped through the window.

The man in black ran to the room to catch the figure, but there was no one alive left in the room. He ran to the window to see where the figure had escaped to. He couldn’t see anything. He turned around and sighed a sigh of sheer disgust, just before two shoes knocked him in the back of the head. He fell to the floor as his sunglasses flew off his head and he dropped the gun in each hand. The figure swung in the room to study the body of the man in black. As it moved closer, the body suddenly turned and with each leg knocked a gun out of each hand of the figure and jumped up.

Both, the man in black and the figure, stood ready to fight in hand-to-hand combat. They sized each other up carefully and, yet again everything was silent.

"You can’t win! You do know that, don’t you?" said the man in black.

The figure remained silent.

"It’s not going to help if you shut up. Everyone’s going to come to check out what all the noise was about and then you’ll be cornered. And everyone is coming back now that they heard about your antics in the other room. You’re going to be dead meat and I eat dead meat!"

"If you like dead meat, you are going to love eating yourself."

And then a baldy walked in front of the open doorway. The figure saw the baldy and in the second that the figure was distracted, the man in black struck. He sent a kick flying into the gut of the figure, who was sent flying to the left (of the man in black) corner. The man in black jumped towards the figure and pinned the figure down and kept it down by pressing his forearm against the figure’s neck. The baldy in the doorway stood with his gun pointed towards the figure, who was blocked by the man in black.

"We’ll see who’s going to be dead meat!" were the words that the man in black uttered, with pride.

"Yes … we … will!" said the figure as it bent it’s legs beneath the man in black and sent him flying towards the baldy in the doorway. The startled baldy fired his gun and ended up turning the man in black into a large mass of dead meat with a hole in its back. Blood splattered over the baldy as the man in black landed near the dead baldy in the doorway and splashed in that baldy’s pool of blood.

That was the opportunity for the figure to jump up, and front flip into the stunned baldy at the doorway. The figure flew with grace and knocked the baldy in the chin and sent him back into the corner of the corridor junction. He was knocked out cold.

The figure took one breath to recuperate and then went around the room to pick up it’s guns. It would be impossible to go through the building without any weapons at this stage. The figure took another deep breath and then jumped across the junction, into the corridor opposite the doorway. It landed quietly. There was no one else in any of the corridors. Everyone was probably just too scared to come out just yet.

Now the figure had to get down. The stairs had to be at the end of the corridor that it was in. It stealthily made its way down the corridor and then stopped at the end. It checked if they were empty and they definitely were. The figure walked down to the staircase, but heard voices through the door. The only other way down was the elevator. It was obvious, but that was the only option left. The figure pressed the button and waited, looking in every direction in case any baldy had a stupid idea. The elevator arrived and the figure walked in, pressed the button for the ground floor and then hit the "Close Doors" button.

The figure waited for the doors to close before it sighed. Then it took out silencers out of its coat and attached one to each gun. This would help the figure if it was to use the element of surprise effectively. It waited as the elevator made its slow descent to the bottom of the building. There were slow elevators and then there was this one. It almost made the figure break out into a fit of anger. Luckily for the figure, it kept its composure and waited.

The elevator reached the first floor and the doors slowly opened to around 15 baldies standing with their guns pointed at the elevator. So much for the element of surprise, thought the figure. The figure stood there with the guns in it’s hands pointed in no specific direction. The figure was not going to put it’s hands up to surrender. It was against it’s principles.

"Nobody shoot! I want this piece of shit alive!" a voice sounded, as a few of the baldies moved aside for the source of the voice to move through.

A short, old man with grey hair walked forward. He had no weapon in either of his hands and just walked in his black suit, calmly and without any fear. He stopped right in front of the elevator as two baldies lined up on either side to keep the doors from closing.

"So Mr. Enigma, we finally meet – face to mask! I am definitely intrigued by your … umm, how shall I put this? … unconventional actions. You come in here, somehow breaching security and then all hell breaks loose and here we are chasing you and finally catching almost right at the point where you started." The short man turned around and looked in the direction of the shattered window. It was a stained glass window, until it was broken. He mulled over his thoughts for a few seconds and then continued speaking.

"That was my favourite window. Did you know that they say that the person who did that was blind. The stupid idiot hadn’t the faintest idea what amazing work she was doing and yet she created something so beautiful", the man turned around "I paid 6 million dollars for that. I don’t care about the money as much as I do that you destroyed such a wonderful piece of art. All I feel now is just despair that the world has such a lack of respect for beauty. I wish I could make everyone realise how much of life they are missing by forgetting about such simple things. So tell me, why on earth are you here?"

"Do you want to hear lies or the truth?"

"Ha! I don’t care what that is supposed to infer, but I do want the truth."

"Let’s just say it was the bomb."

"Oh! That little thing. Do you know how big it is, dear fellow? It is the size of your very hand. Probably smaller. How on earth can you expect to find it here and even so, where would you look?"

"I have my sources."

The old man stared for a minute. His eyes gave away nothing. No anger, not hatred, no fear; not the slightest bit of emotion.

"And your sources must be good. You wouldn’t have ruffled our feathers so if you had landed up somewhere else, but you are correct – the bomb is here. And there is nothing that you can do that can change that. I plan to sell that bomb for a good amount of money. Enough money to buy more than a hundred thousand of those stained glass works of art."

"And are you really going to spend the money on that?"

"Of course not. Maybe I’ll buy 10, 20, maybe even 50. But there isn’t even that much art in the world that is worth the money I’ll get for the bomb."

"Aren’t you aware of the possible consequences of such a sale?"

"Do you really think I’m bothered. So what if it is dangerous? If I’m not mistaken, it can completely destroy an area the size of the state of Texas. That would be a "cool" show to watch. Besides, part of the deal is that I know where this bomb will be used so I can leave or evacuate my men or supplies from there. You see, I’m not as stupid as you would like to think."

"In the words of a … not-so-well-known person – Yeah, right!"

"I’m getting tired of this conversation and fast. I think it is time to bid farewell. Prepare a place for me in hell. I’ll see you there sometime soon."

The old man turned and began to walk away. The guns remained fixed in the figure’s direction. All that could be heard was the sound of the old man’s footsteps as he slowly walked away and then stopped and turned around to speak again.

"On the other hand, I think I’ll stay and watch the show. Besides, I want to see your face under that mask of yours."

He took a few steps backward and waited. Silence had conquered the entire area. You could almost hear the heart of each solitary person beat its own individual beat. Most of the baldies were scared that something would happen. The figure was waiting for that something to happen. That would be it’s only chance to move. And then the figure had an idea.

"Hey, Old man! Do you really want to see my face? Here it is!"

The figure pulled off the mask and left everyone’s jaws drooping with astonishment. The figure was a woman and no one had even come close to guessing that. She had skin so soft, it looked out of place on her face and she was really pretty. Everyone in the room was astonished and that was all the time that she needed to catch them out of their guard.

With hand movements that gave new meaning to the phrase – the hand is quicker than the eye – she pulled a small ball from her coat and threw it into the middle of the area in front of the elevator. Immediately, smoke filled the area and left nearly everyone coughing and everyone’s vision restricted to a couple of inches. When the smoke finally cleared, she was gone and so was the elevator. The old man became the center of attention, as everyone prepare for his orders.

"You idiots! I want two thirds of you upstairs checking each floor and the rest of you down here, She’s tried to give us the slip but she must not succeed. And remember, I want her alive!"

Everyone made their ways after some initial confusion, except the old man. He stood where he was, watching everyone attempt to find the elusive lady who had turned that night into nothing short of chaos for them. He couldn’t believe that the mystery man was actually a woman. He never knew that women were so intelligent and so agile. Maybe he was just sexist, but he always thought that men were better at everything except cooking and he was prepared to stand by that belief. In fact that was one of the few things that he would believe in till the day that he would die. Now he had to catch that stupid woman, whoever she was.

 

The "stupid woman" made her way through the corridors, with silent footsteps as she ran with great speed feeling her way through the place. She had a feeling that the bomb was somewhere here and she wouldn’t have too many chances to guess. All she had was her intuition and it had been pretty "faithful" to her until now. She came across 3 other corridors and chose the one to the right. She slowed down a bit and chose the 2 door on her left. She kept her guns ready, looked left and right and then kicked the door open, ready to fire, if necessary.

Bingo! There was the bomb, or at least what seemed to be a very good "fake" bomb. There was no one in the room. There was a table in front of her and in a transparent cabinet behind it, was the bomb. There was a half-full cup of coffee on the table, which meant that there was probably someone that had left for a short interlude. She wasn’t too surprised that there was no one else guarding the bomb. A smart mind like that of the old man would consider making sure that as few people as possible would know where the bomb actually was. He probably had decoys all over the place. But she knew that this one was the bomb because this was what her information pointed to and she could feel it.

Cautiously, she walked up to the cabinet and smashed the casing. It was just plain glass. It was too simple. Anyone else would have guessed that it was too simple to be the real bomb. No alarm, either. She was almost pulled by the trap, but she was more than sure that what she held was the bomb. The very bomb that could wipe out a small country. Its creator, the late Dr. J.K. Solskjaar, had lovingly called it the I-device. That was partly because the bomb’s explosion was begun by a very minor implosion. It was a fantastic application of the laws of physics. The only problem with the bomb was that it hadn’t been and really couldn’t be tested with the destruction it was supposed to do.

She picked up the bomb. Just as she expected, it was about as big as her fist and probably lighter. It was a good thing that only a detonating device could set it off and only if the bomb was turned on, before the detonator was activated. Before a detonation, all a person had to do to de-activate it was turn off a safety switch, which is what she did. It wasn’t set off by impact of any other reaction other than a message from the detonation device. That was a good security feature that the late Dr. Solskjaar had incorporated into it, even though it was so simplistic.

Now she had to get out of the building. It wouldn’t be easy, but maybe she would be able to use the bomb to get out. She checked out the corridor. It was clear. She decided to use an alternate path from the one she used. This time she turned left into the corridor and turned right at the first chance. She continued to walk down the corridors, which all seemed to be completely empty.

She finally went through as "zigzaggy" a path as was possible, without going round in circles, before she came to the elevator area. It was empty. Everyone was probably looking for her upstairs thanks to her little elevator trick. As she walked out into the area, she saw one lone figure with a gun in its hand. It was the old man and, for the first time, his eyes had emotion in them. But she couldn’t tell if it was anger or fear or both.

She and the old man stood there for a while, before he spoke "Who are you?"

"Jennifer Bradley, Special Forces Division 5650 of the World Government security division."

"How did they find out about this?" The old man was breathing at a quicker pace than usual.

"We have our ways."

"Ok, Jennifer! I don’t want to kill you. I just don’t like the idea of killing a woman. Let me try to explain my position to you."

"From where I’m standing, you seem to be standing with a slight hunch and a gun in your hand, which seems to be pointed in my direction."

"Cut the crap, little miss 5650! I can set off that bomb with this gun and I’m not kidding. Don’t you realise that I am here fighting for the good of mankind?"

"Hmm… I wonder how many lives this bomb will save!"

"You’re just a naive fool! Think about it! All that the World Government is doing is giving the control of the world to a few people, who can rule like dictators, if they choose. This is not good for the world at large. There is just too much of a diversity to limit the world to one government for one people. Don’t you comprehend even a word of what I’m saying?"

"All that I can comprehend is that you are a raving lunatic who wants a lot of money."

"Argh! I pity you, o’ fool! I am trying to save the world and, because of you, I just might not."

Behind Jennifer, a door leading from the staircase opened up with two baldies entering the elevator area. Thinking that they had gone unnoticed, they pulled out their guns and fired. However, to their dismay, Jennifer ducked, turned around and shot each of them straight through the heart. Their blood spewed out from what would be two more rotting carcasses in that building as the bullets from their guns hit the old man in the head. As the two baldies fell with a thud, the old man collapsed to the ground, like his entire empire would, very soon.

Jennifer stood up tall and walked out of the building, onto the road and jumped into a car in which the keys were still there. She started the car and drove off knowing that she wouldn’t be chased any more. She had the bomb and the leader of the baldies was dead. She was safe, for now.

As she drove the car down the empty roads, she could see the sun peeking up over the horizon over the world. She had lived to see the light of day and she would forever be grateful. She flicked a button on her watch and spoke "Jennifer Bradley, serial number 5651095 reporting. Status report for mission to acquire I-device. Backup squad requested to dispatch remaining members of "Golden Diamond Mafia". Boss and second-in-command, both dead. I-device in possession. Making way to HQ. Mission objectives complete. Over and out"