Episode 111. Part 1

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Present: Mary, Terri, Bobby and Jay
Air Date: 24 Feb 2009

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Thursday, 03 Nov 2518
The Edge Residence
Memphis, Osiris
White Sun (Bai Hu) System
14:30 hrs, local time

Valerie’s phone call, telling us she’s found a cure for Mike and that she’s washing her hands of us, has put us into high gear. Valerie has stashed a genetically engineered nano-retrovirus, capable of restoring Mike’s DNA via pharmaceutical rewrite, at the hospital where the authorities cannot find it. And we’re going to infiltrate the facility after dark to retrieve it. Even though Arden, Mike and Rina have already been to the hospital and their faces will be on record there, they decide to go, despite. There is a certain safety in numbers and Rina, Mike and surprisingly enough, Arden, all have clandestine skills that would prove useful. To say nothing of all three being able to shoot well. If we’re lucky, we can get in and out without being caught, if not unseen. But before we do anything, we have to find out just where that medicine is hidden, under the name of Brian Tyler, and for that, we’ll need to send someone in for reconnaissance. Christian volunteers to go in under the guise of a Shepherd, delivering words of comfort to the fearful and the bereaved. No one would think it odd if he walked in through the front door and asked after a patient by name.

Christian slicks his hair back, dons the somber garb of a Shepherd and grabs a bible, and goes to OCURC. Walks right in. Inquires if anyone needs his services. Gets the word of a Mr. Whelan on the 12th floor, thanks the receptionist and boards an elevator. He keys the elevator for the 25th floor and starts looking around.

The place is still a research hospital, but Valerie wasn’t kidding when she said something was going on here. There are Federal agents in the hospital. Christian sees them as he rides the elevator to the 25th floor and exits, and then approaches the nurses’ station pretending to be lost, searching for a patient named Whelan. The entire surface of the station is a smart desk, and Christian notices several active windows illuminated, with one window to the side sitting blank. He’s politely informed that this is the Neurochemistry Floor, there are no patients to be seen here, it being mostly offices and labs. Christian thanks her for her time and leaves for Mr. Whelan’s room, 23 floors below, all the while noting the layout and where the medical records and meds would likely be kept. There is someone standing guard at the door of a corner office, someone in a severe suit, looking forbidding. Flanking both of the corner offices are smaller offices with file cabinets, suitable hiding places for the vial of medicine we saw in Valerie’s call. Hmm. Waiting for the elevator, Christian notes the position of the surveillance cameras and eyeballs the incongruous metal door Rina mentioned to him, there at the end of the corridor opposite the elevators. The lift arrives, Christian boards it and rides the lift down to find Mr. Whelan and administers what comfort he can. He is, after all, a former Companion and the ethic to serve is still strong. The family is worried over the fate of Whelan’s soul: he hadn’t had a chance to atone for his sins, but if the family told Christian what they were, would that do? Christian does his best to advise them…but it takes a while.

Arden is getting antsy over Christian’s delay.

Arden: (checking the time) He’s been caught. We’re screwed.
Nika: If he’s been caught, they’d already be here. Be patient.
Arden: Does he have his phone on him?
Nika: Calling him just at this moment may not be prudent. I’m reluctant to make his phone ring since he’s supposed to be stealthy. The longer it takes…it means that he’s evading.
Arden: Well, maybe he’ll be back next week, then.
Nika: Arden. Stop. You’re freaking me out here.
Rina: For once, someone’s twitchier than I am.

Nika gets increasingly anxious as the time passes and starts poring over the floor plans for the hospital, trying to calculate where Christian would be held if he’d been detained by the authorities. Mike finally comes over and pulls her aside.

Mike: I don’t know what the Edges have here in their garage but you might either want to head to the ship or have a back-up plan, in case Christian isn’t able to just walk off with it.
Nika: He’s not going to be able to walk off with it anyway. That’s not what he was going for.
Mike: I’m just saying, we may need more physical means to get to it. I don’t know if you should go back to the ship for that or check the—
Rina: (dropping in) I could get started in the garage. I already know what’s on the ship.
Nika: Depending on what he comes back with, what are the odds that they are going to be guarding the files? Obviously they’re going to be watching Dr. Sampson, they’re gonna be watching her patients, they’re going to be watching anything that she does.
Arden: (coming over) Chances are there are going to be guards on the floor someplace and they’re probably not going to be watching any one thing…but they’re going to be watching.
Nika: What if we make an appointment with her tomorrow?
Arden: Who?
Nika: Someone they haven’t seen yet. Perhaps Christian’s mother and I can go.
Arden: I’m not sure if you can make an appointment with her.
Mike: If she’s under suspicion… (leaves it dangling)
Arden: She was being escorted from her office to her home, and then from her home to her office.
Nika: But is that because they think she’s done something wrong or because they think Carter is a threat to her?
Arden: I don’t know. She was fairly nervous when we talked on the phone.
Rina: Protective custody versus house arrest. There is a distinction there.
Nika:It’s a relatively fine line in terms of distinction, but there is a distinction there.
Mike: But either way, anyone who would seek her out might be under that web of suspicion on the other side.
Rina: Right. I’m hittin’ the garage.
Arden: I don’t suppose you can hack into the hospital computer?
Nika: See if you can find out if Tyler’s actually a patient up there.
Rina: I could try.
Nika: Hospitals aren’t that terribly encrypted, I would imagine.
Rina: Maybe her floor is.
Arden: And there was that big metal door….
Nika: Right, but she left a file for someone.
Arden: The medicine probably isn’t in the file, but the file would have the bin number the medicine is in. Once we have that, we can find the bin and find the medicine.

Which means the meds could be any-damn-where in that hospital.

Nika: Oh, wonderful.
Arden: (Hold on, now…) If Tyler is actually a patient on that floor, the medicine will be in a bin at the nurses’ station.
Rina: Look, I can hack. Or I can gin something up. I can’t do both.
Arden: I….can do a little bit of hacking.
Rina: You hack. I’ll gin. I’m hittin’ the garage.

She leaves.

Mike: Hacking has the potential of—
Mike and Nika together: —alerting them.
Mike: But if they’re not paying attention, it won’t.

At which point, Christian walks in and the matter becomes moot.

Nika: Arden was worried.
Arden: What?!

Right, like Nika wasn’t?

Christian lays out everything he observed of the hospital, the people and the 25th floor. Camera’s here and here in the ceiling….big metal door there…a guard on the door here…nurses station situated on the floor over there, with the entire counter being a computer console with a series of electronic files showing, one of which was dark…

Christian: There are no physical files at the nurses station, but let me ask you this—are we looking for a physical medicine or a written formula which will allow us to make the medicine?
Arden: Physical medicine. In a blue vial.

Christian also tells us that though the 25th floor wasn’t restricted to key access via the elevators, even though the lift had a key-swipe slot on the control panel. We discuss going in under the guise of a cleaning crew, and Christian surmises that after-hours, the crew would likely be using key cards to gain access to the upper floors. It would be too long and involved a caper to infiltrate the hospital, find the staff locker rooms, steal a janitor’s key card and cleaning cart, then go up to the 25th floor disguised as cleaning staff….

Mike: I think it’s a good idea, but we need to work faster than that would allow.
Arden: We could just go there, bust in, have a big gunfight, take what we need and leave.
Mike: If we could avoid the gunfight, I think that would be good. But I think we can expect security will eventually be alerted to our presence and show up.
Christian: Wait a minute. How well does that Chempliance work, anyway?
Rina: (amused) You’re thinking of using it on the staff?
Christian: It can be dispersed along an area, can’t it?
Rina, Nika, Arden and Mike: Yyyeahhhh…..(no!)
Rina: We’d need to wear NBC suits so we don’t get affected as well.
Christian: Is it skin contact only?
Arden: No, it’s breathe-y, skin-y, however you touch it, it gets you.
Mike: The people who were using it were in full protective gear. They were prepared for the use of their own devices.

So that’s out. There’s also the problem of the 25th floor being 25 floors above ground. Distance equals time, and if we’re avoiding the elevators, it will take a metric butt-load of time to go up 25 flights of stairs. To say nothing of taking those stairs down again. We need to get in and out quickly. Looking at the plans, we see that there are five more floors above Valerie’s, for a total of thirty, before they let out on the roof.

Rina: Wait a minute. Wait. Up. There’s only five floors up. And I’ll bet you anything there’s a helipad up there.

Just because we have to travel twenty five floors to get to our objective, there’s nothing saying we can’t take only five floors to leave it.

Nika: We’ve done ‘up’. We can do ‘up’ again.
Christian: We’re not going to be able to land a craft there, but there might be one there to take.
Nika: And if there’s not, there’s always our shuttle.
Christian: Especially if we have someone standing by at the shuttle.
Nika: Just like last time.
Christian: How traceable is the shuttle?

There have to be regs for flying it, patterns of traffic, restricted lanes and such. But still…

Mike: I think that having two possible means of escape is a good idea, but the twenty-fifth floor does make it tricky, because it makes it easy enough for them to seal us up there. At the same time, one set of stairs and two lifts make it easy for us to control that means of access to us. The stairs aren’t that easy to…that might be a good use for that Chempliance. Although Chempliance doesn’t stop people in their tracks, it just stops them from—.
Arden: Ignoring people saying ‘stop’.
Nika: Right.
Rina: Knock out gas will take care of that.
Mike: Yeah, but you don’t have knock-out gas, do you?
Rina: (exasperated) Not on me.
Mike: You keep talking about using it.
Christian: Does anyone have the chemistry knowledge to mix some up?
Rina: No, but how hard can it be to mix ammonia and some bleach together for mustard gas?
Christian: You wanna rip people’s lungs out?

Oh great, now we’re going to be leaving a trail of dead bodies in our wake. Yeah, right.

Mike: Some chains and a lock might be enough to lock the doors to the stairs.

And if we jam the elevator doors open once they arrive on the 25th floor, no one can use them to get to us. All of a sudden, this starts looking more and more like a plan.

Rina: I like the idea of locking the door with chains or a fire axe or something, blocking access to the stairs, propping the lift doors open til we’re ready to use one. We’ll have to override the floor controls on the one we plan to use, so that the minute we jump in and kick the prop out, they can’t call us back.
Nika: We’re not gonna have time to get in there and do all that.
Mike: Of course, we could use the shafts.
Arden: We go up in the elevator, we get out, spray paint the cameras. We chain the doors to the stairs, jam the elevators open, get our stuff, come back. We un-jam the doors so they’ll close, unchain the doors to the stairs and go up.
Christian: And right, spray paint the cameras—shooting them out didn’t work so well the last time we did it.
Rina: All right, we’ll do that.
Arden: If we let the elevators go, they’ll think we’re in the elevators because they can’t see us. Then we unchain the doors and use the stairs. Of course, I’m saying “we”, like I’m gonna be going.
Mike: We probably do want you to go, because—
Christian: —you’re the only one who can identify the medicine.
Mike: And you have the master key. Possibly. The keycard that might be our last way out.
Rina: Okay, we already know what we’re going to do when we get to the 25th Floor, but how do we get to the 25th floor without being caught?

We debate various methods until we find one that seems likeliest to work. We will by-pass the weapons scanners and the security guards by avoiding the normal entrances. Instead, we will disable the alarm on a fire exit door—which are not installed with scanners—and go up the fire stairs to the first floor with elevator access to Valerie’s office. Once we get on Valerie’s floor, we will get the medicine and escape upwards via the roof. The Tolsons’ hovercar is powerful enough to actually fly, not just hover off the ground, and Mike will take us to the hospital in it and circle around the block, waiting for our signal for pick-up. When we’re ready to leave, he’ll fly to the roof and we’ll board and take off.

Also, some effort has been taken toward disguise and Rina’s gone so far as to dye her hair green. Out of character for her, and hopefully it’s enough to fool others that she hadn’t been in Valerie’s office less than 48 hours ago. We go through the garage and then go shopping for what tools and materials we may need for this operation. We also go to the ship to get our gear—our headsets and comms, our weapons and ammo, our mesh vests, our tools and tool kits, and the car. Just as a last resort, Arden fills two syringes with the Chempliance, in case we need to overpower a guard to get away. We also don what protective gear we own, like our mesh vests. We find ways to obscure our faces by turning up collars, or wearing hooded garments or hats. Thus suited up and loaded for bear, we wait til dark, then pile into the car, and leave when it’s time.

Memphis, Osiris
18:50 hrs, local time

Mike drives us past the main entrance of the hospital to the side, where we spot an out-of-the-way fire entrance. The car stops, we bail out and Mike eases off to cruise the surrounding area until we call him back. We haul over the grass to the entrance and Arden gets to work on hacking a bypass on that alarm. He gets that door open and the alarm blares—BWAH!—and quick as a cat, Arden slaps his hand on a contact and there’s blessed silence. We don’t wait around to see if anyone’s heard it but haul ass inside. The stairs begin at Basement Level Two and we end up going up two flights to the lobby, and then bypassing it by going up another flight to the second floor. The corridor is empty when we slip out of the stairwell. Coast is clear, we key the elevators to our floor and when the two of them arrive, Arden swipes both of the elevators with the badge card he’d gotten off the Operative on Hera, override the call commands from the other floors so both can arrive at the same time at Valerie’s office.

Mind, security has probably noted that an Operative is riding two elevators at the same time—an anomaly that is sure to tip them off that something’s going down…but that’s only if they notice it. We ride up. The doors open and we each do our appointed task.

Rina jams the elevator door open with a wedge, goes to the second elevator where Nika is holding the door for her, and does the same to it.. Christian jumps out with the chains and the locks and takes care of the door to the stairs, then spray paints the camera closest to the elevators. Camera done, Christian goes on to spray paint protest slogans all over the walls, with “This ad sponsored by PETA” to throw the authorities off when they investigate.

Meanwhile, Arden takes point. The nurses station is unmanned. So far, so good. Arden advances down the short corridor to the middle of the office floor, reaches the corner at the end and eases his head around it to check right and left. In the office on the right, he can see someone moving around inside it through the clear walls. It’s Dr. Roger Duncan and he’s working on something. Arden ducks back before he’s seen.


He signals the rest of us to wait and fills us in. There’s someone here. Now what?

We could try to jam his door, locking him into his office. His door, however, opens inward, making the job trickier and increasing the odds of being seen and reported. Duncan hasn’t seen us yet, being intent on whatever he’s working on, and the office must be soundproofed, since the noise we’ve made with chains and the elevators seems not to have intruded. There’s still a chance we can get in and get out without him noticing, as long as he doesn’t turn around and see us through the walls. We go forward with our plan to grab the meds.

Nika defers to Arden’s familiarity with hospital procedure and has him decide what to do next. We’ll search the nurses’ station. If Mike cure is going to be out from under lock and key, it would most likely be there. There are usually short term storage bins beneath the counter. Arden breaks cover and goes for the nurses’ station first and Nika’s right behind him, her gun at the ready. Rina stays behind in the corridor, covering everyone else on the team and the elevators and the stair doors, in case someone manages to get the drop on us.

When Nika breaks cover, Duncan sees something in the corner of his eye, turns, spots Nika….and realizes that he’s not alone. His puzzlement lasts the second or two it takes from him to understand that Nika and Arden are not hospital staff at all, but intruders. He makes no move to leave the room and Nika suspects he’s just hit the panic button. Nika tells Arden to move fast.

Arden boots up the nurses’ computer and searches for Brian Tyler, the patient under whom Valerie had hidden Mike’s meds. Tyler’s file comes up immediately, a patient suffering a brain aneurysm that’s being treated with a chemical alternative to surgery and his next dose of the treatment is Tuesday. There’s no mention of where Tyler’s meds are being held. Dead end. Looking around, Arden spies a small room next to the room Duncan is holed up in, that is clearly a pharmaceuticals room—there’s a pharm cabinet visible through the walls inside. The meds we’re after could be in there. Arden quits the station to try the door to the pharm room.

The second Arden starts to move, Duncan opaques the walls of his room—there’s no telling what the man is doing inside now. Major hinks.

Rina is ordered to take Arden’s place at the computer, to sabotage any possible alarms Arden may have tripped. She fumbles a key stroke and a little animated paperclip pops up on screen and the accompanying word balloon asks if she needs help hacking into the computer. She curses under her breath and retraces her steps and tries again. She sees the silent alarm has been activated and security has been dispatched. Great. The cops are on their way. The security alert also has a Federal rider tag blinking on it—the Feds are on their way, too, not just the hospital rent-a-cops. More great.

Rina: The Feds and the cops are on their way. Should we get Mike on the roof?
Nika: You got an ETA on the Feds?
Rina: No.
Nika: We want simultaneous on the roof.
Rina: Hang on a minute—
Nika: No ‘hang on a minute’, we want simultaneous.
Rina: Just be advised.

We’re all working as fast as we can now. The clock is ticking.

Nika goes to Duncan’s door and tries it. It’s locked. Damn. She elects to shoot the transparent door out. The bullet freakishly dents the plastic, in the way that glass cannot bend and survive intact. She pushes the door open with her foot.

Arden tries the door to the pharm room, finds it locked—no surprise there—and notices that it’s a card key door. He starts rigging up an electronic hack around the lock.

Rina uses the computer to set off alarms throughout the hospital to redirect the security forces on fool’s errands, delaying their arrival on the 25th floor. The hospital lights up like a Christmas tree and the alarms start blaring.

Christian listens at the stair door for the sound of people arriving and hearing none, spray paints anti-Blue Sun graffiti on the walls.

Meanwhile, Nika’s got the door to Duncan’s room open and the doctor stands frozen, a databook held defensively in front of him. Nika’s got her gun up and trained on him.

Duncan: What do you want?
Nika: Out here, now. Open the door. Quickly!

Duncan walks out as ordered.

Duncan: Open what door?

Nika points to the pharm room.

Duncan: These drugs aren’t going to sell much out on the street. The neurochemicals—
Nika: Open the door.

Duncan looks again and this time he recognizes Arden. He does a double take, but he also does as ordered, swipes his card through the lock, punches a few keys and the door opens. Nika keeps Duncan next to her. Arden goes in and starts looking for Brian Tyler’s files. Everything is clearly labeled and the search goes quickly.

Duncan looks at all of us, before turning to Nika.

Duncan: (quietly) Are you going to kill me?

Arden responds from the pharm room.

Arden: If appropriate.

And Christian chimes in.

Christian: Ask him what’s in the locked room. With the steel door.
Duncan: (Quietly) Cadavers.
Arden: Why?
Duncan: Medical research.
Christian: (In character) More innocents, led to slaughter by Blue Sun.
Duncan: (Very quietly) Something like that.

Arden dumps the bin he’s looking through and finds a blue vial, marked “MC”. Bingo! It disappears into his pocket. Arden also takes the opportunity to grab some drugs for resale later—brain drugs that have medicinal and entertainment value on the street. He slips them into the backpack that had the chains in it and he leaves the rest behind.

Nika: You have it?
Arden: Yes.

Nika shoots Duncan point blank in the head. The walls behind him go red. Christian spins around.

Christian: What was that?
Nika: Nothing.
Rina: Paint.
Nika: (To Rina) Tell Martha we need him.
Christian: What was that? Why is he on the floor with no head?
Nika: Go.
Arden: We got our stuff.
Nika: Stairs.
Rina: (into her com) We need a ride.

We unchain the stair doors and listen for hostiles. The faint sound of boots coming up the stairs comes back to us. We haul ass up the stairs, knowing our time is running out. We get to the top and push the door to the roof open. The roof is flat, open to the night sky and completely devoid of our ride. Instead we see an armored shuttle, of the sort used by security types and law enforcement, waiting for us. The shuttle ramp lowers. Figures in full body armor start walking off it.

Arden: (on the comm) Where are you, Martha?

Ducking back inside and looking gingerly over the railing to check our back trail, we can see about half a dozen people coming up for us from eight floors down.

Bad guys in front of us. Bad guys behind us. There are fewer bad guys in front of us.

We’ll deal them first.

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