DANTE – It’s the middle of the night when we slip over the wall of the Panama facility. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to sneak in and recover valuable intelligence from the facility’s archive room. Yeah I said we, our mission. The folks back at Langley felt that I couldn’t handle this one solo so they’ve sent me a partner, a maverick, a loose cannon, a man who once knocked me out by kicking a door into my face back in boot camp, Ludo.
I’m not putting up with his crazy antics, I’m telling you that much. No, this operation is going by the book dammnit.
After all, I’m only three weeks from retirement.
LUDO – I can’t believe they paired me with this square. I don’t need a monkey on my back reading me rules and regs, even if that monkey is a highly trained special agent with night vision and a skintight wetsuit. Still, we’re here now so I’d better just get on with things and hope he doesn’t screw up.
That’s the difference between us. When they laid out the rules back in training I only listened because the cap said he’d beat us if we didn’t. When cap gave that order not to incapacitate or kill your teammates, I laughed, quietly. and when I almost intentionally opened that door and knocked Agent Dante out, I didn’t do it because I thought he was an uptight square, I did it because I don’t play by the rules.
We’ve got to reclaim some data from the depths of this mansion. The square’s gonna want to sit around and plan a ‘route of entry’ or some junk. Screw that, I’m just gonna walk out into this open court here and –
<YOU ARE DEAD>
I’m just gonna crouch here and plan a route of attack. Yeah, that’d be best.
DANTE – Godamn greenhorn, he’s gonna get us both killed.
I explain to him that this aint no pinko commie loving democracy we got going here, one of us is going to have to take charge and alphabetical seniority says that’s gonna be me. I order him back behind cover and plan out a careful route past the guards, I’ll use this weird ass gizmo the guy at the lab fixed to my pistol to turn the light off and attract their attention. It ruins the balance something fierce, but it’s worth it when someone tries to put the Killers on the office radio.
Slowly I sneak out from behind the truck and turn off the light, the guards react with surprise, but they aren’t bothered yet, a couple more goes will do it.
“And now we play the waiting game” I murmur to Ludo, over my shoulder.
He doesn’t hear, he isn’t there, he’s several yards away, crouching in the bushes behind one of the patrolling guards.
LUDO – Ah bush, you’re my only friend left in this world, since terrorists killed my family and left me for dead. You will hide me faithfully from the demons of my memory, and that approaching militant.
If only he could see in the dark and knew how to silently choke a man to unconscioussness and hide the body in under 30 seconds, then this might be a fair fight. I drag his limp body into the bushes. The old man Dante is still messing around with the light, best that he stays on the back line, don’t want to risk a heart attack. I don’t want to hide another colleague’s body. Not again.
The blinking light has attracted the attention of a guard. he lights a flare and moves out of view of the camera that was covering him. He makes his way towards agent Dante’s position and I fall into silent stride behind hm. His demise is swift. This thing is on.
DANTE – The rookie is so focused on his target he doesn’t even notice a third guard pass by him on the way to check out our initial hiding place behind the vans. I’ve seen too many good men die that way to make the same mistake and silently knock out the offender. Then I whip out my pistol and turn off the light again, the final guard turns his back on Ludo. Bet the kid didn’t even realise I was involved. I’m just that damn stealthy.
Ludo disposes of the body and makes a series of incomprehensible hand signals he’s taken from some god awful action movie. I ignore him and move to the window, ready to slip into the building proper.
LUDO – I am a master of communication, agent Dante understands perfect when I indicate the open window above us as a good entry point. He crouches beneath the opening and lifts me to the ledge above. Impressive strength, old man.
Then I hang prone as he clambers up me to reach the window. I wince as he gropes for handholds. It’s not a part of the job I enjoy, but an agent’s gotta do what an agent’s gotta do.
We’re in. The room is empty, I run silently to the lightswitch, plunge the room into darkness and lie in wait. Then I realise that during the process of turning the light out I have somehow also opened the door.
“Whuh!?” says the corridor.
To be continued …