2010-04-11: Corporate Theft



Date: April 11, 2010


Tracy's a chicken.

"Corporate Theft"

Lane Industries - NYC

It's an uncharacteristically bright, sunny Sunday morning, and Lane Industries is quiet. In fact, even the streets are unusually empty for any other day of the week, but maybe not for a Sunday. With few cars speeding down the road, it's strangely eerie for New York, but it's not quiet, just quieter.

Determined to not let Peter down, finish his own mission, and fulfill his own objectives, Micah waits on a park bench just outside of Lane. Not that he couldn't get in, but he's waiting for his cohorts. Together they need to find the transmitter. After scanning through Lane's files, he's come to know it's here. Somewhere. Reaching into his pocket he touches his cellphone to check the time; he's early. Of course. With a sigh he leans back against the bench and checks the traffic cameras in the area. They're on loop now, hiding the identities of the would-be thieves.

There's the slam of booted feet on the bench right beside him as Cody leaps over the back of it to take a place beside Micah. "Hey there Squirt," she greets in a not unfriendly tone of voice. She has a mapcase strung to her back and in one hand there's a takeout bag while the other holds the sloppiest gyro ever to grace this side of the Atlantic. It's dripping tzatziki sauce onto the wood between her feet and without thinking, she holds it over to him. "Bi'? Sh'good" She's chewing her own mouthful.

She swallows and it looks like it's painful because she's wincing, probably because she has a habit of taking too large a bite. In all aspects of her life she's taking of bigger bites than she can swallow, ironic. She sucks on her teeth to get the little strings of meat out before taking a large mouthful of the wrap.

"We goin' in or wha'?"

Hands tucked into the pocket of his jeans, Mark strolls over to stand next to the Park bench. He glances at the building that holds the Lane offices, eyes narrowing behind the dark frames of his glasses. Slowly, his head tilts up to the floors holding the offices of his father and brother, an unreadable expression on his face for a moment.

"Mike." The Lane heir offers quietly, gaze falling from the building to the young boy on the bench, giving him a small smile. "Sure about this?" Mark is about to again, work against his own kin, he wants to make sure it's for a good reason.

Cody's arrival gets a bright grin from Mark, his hand coming out of his pocket with keycard in hand. "If you all are, I am. Mom said her and dad were going antiquing and I know Robert has a new…. interest." A meaningful look goes to Cody. "Not to mention this time of morning, Robby is probably still out cold sleeping off a hangover."

Everyone seems more or less on time. Another "cohort" makes her way toward the park bench and the familiar figure of the young Mr. Sanders and the other pair: another woman, tall with long, blonde, straight hair and a pair of squared, slightly cat-eyed shades that hide her eyes behind solid black. Dressed in a crisp white blouse with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow, tucked into a neat, dark jeans, she's pristine compared to Cody and her takeout.

Tracy Strauss has not exactly been a team player in all of this. She has tried, to varying degrees, someone ought to give her credit for that. Maybe today is that day. Maybe not. Regardless, she's here, and she can help.

She pauses next to the bench, opposite Mark and Cody. More acquainted with Micah and Baker, it's mostly Mark she regards, though it's next-to-impossible to tell behind her shades. "So we meet again."

"Uh…" Micah looks at the gyro a little skeptically, but he takes a bite anyways and murmurs, "'Shanks," before swallowing. Cody is issued a quick smile before Mark greets the young Rebel. He hmmms quietly before he corrects, "It's Micah, actually. Micah Sanders. But you can call me Mike if you want." He smirks. If Mark is helping them steal something from his family's company, he can know Micah's name. Really, it's a small thing considering the Protocols already know too much about him, having caught him once.

"I…" the question is weighed. Is he sure? Is Micah sure of anything right now? His eyebrows furrow before he nods determinedly, "We have to. I can't build more without something to work from — " Or he could, but it would take months, maybe even years. They have days, if they're lucky.

"Tracy," the name is said blandly. Micah isn't sure he can trust the blonde-Niki-triplet-that-is-his-aunt, but he asked her here because he has to believe in the goodness of people; in the end that's the definition of Micahness.

He forces a weak smile. "So… where is Vault 6?"

The shorter of the two blond women drops the takeout bag onto the bench and swings the map tube from around her back. Cody looks up at Mark before she hands it over to him, "I looked them over last night. With every building in New York, you expect a few holes in the archetecture, just because it's an old area. But this… I've never seen a building quite like this one. It's something else."

She grabs the bag again and passes that over to Micah, "Here, you need to eat something. You're going to waste away to nothing if you don't. Have you been eating at all?" Funny questions from a woman that up until a few months ago didn't care for the individual, only the collective. Unfortunately, she's been on babysitting duty for the past couple of days and it's starting to wear on her. She's mothering everyone.

Then she turns to Mark and looks at him with raised eyebrows, "You're sure about this? You can't go back if you do… You know that." Her tone is a bit softer when she's talking to him. Not the harsh Drill Sergeant tone that Micah received about eating.

Tracy, well that woman receives a small nod and a grim smile. Not that she's unfriendly toward her room mate's best friend, she's just wary. Still. "Strauss, how's Gallagher? You killed her yet?"

An amused smirk plays on Mark's lips, pulling it up on one side, when Tracy shows up, "Well well.. If it isn't the Ice Queen. I see you got out of that room just fine all on your own." He glances at the building again, then glances back, brows lifting slightly. "So I guess your a part of all this, too? Could of just said so." He points out helpfully.

"No worries, Micah." Using his proper name this time, Mark gives the boy a slow nod of his head. "We'll find it." His father started it in the caves over a year ago. "Though honestly, I've never heard of a Vault 6. If I have never heard of it, there is a chance I don't have access into it, which I wouldn't be surprised about." his head turns to glance at Tracy again, "I'm not exactly the favored son of Marcus Lane."

Cody's question gets a grim look as he takes the tube, eyes roam the container thoughtfully. "Somehow I think I started this." The eldest Lane boy says softly. "You remember what Adham Sayf Udeen asked me that first day he had us. He asked me about the human weapons. The people on my site. So yeah Cody…" He glances down at the woman. "I'm very sure about this."

After a taut, grim smile to Micah, it's Cody who Tracy answers first, paired with a humourless laugh. "Not yet. I might if she ever comes back. She took off." But that's a story for another time. Right now, they have other problems. She steps toward Mark. "It's Tracy, and I had no idea if I could trust you." She still doesn't, but he at least gets a checkmark in the right column.

"I'm pretty sure I know where Vault 6 is," Tracy goes on to tell everyone. "Lane has a bunch of storage space behind underground parking. It's like a… series of… tunnels." At first she speaks with nonchalance, but importance soon seeps into her tone. Purpose. "I found 'em when I was … looking around." She pauses, tongue between her teeth and glances to Mark, evidenced by a little turn of her head, if not her eyes. She spreads her hands apart. "Big… doors," she explains. "They were numbered. Definitely up to six. I can take you there. Is that a map?" Out goes her hand to the map tube.

His cheeks flush at Cody's question. "I eat… when I remember…" sometimes Micah just loses track of the time in the middle of his rebelling. He takes the bag, and just holds it for the time being. He glances at Cody and then notes, "I figure I must eat enough, I'm still growing." If he didn't eat enough, he stop, maybe? He shrugs.

"Well that's why the team," Micah smirks back at Mark. "I figure someone among us will have the skills needed to break into the vault." Remember the support you have — that's what Kitty had told him. It's advice he's taken to heart.

"Please Tracy," the teen implores his Aunt. This could be an easier job than he'd thought — maybe the support of three adults was overkill?

"Blueprints of the building, so yeah, kind of a map. They don't have much past the parking garage except a little area that's a door. I thought maybe it was something like an access tunnel to the subway that was never finished." Cody looks thoughtful as she gazes across to the building opposite them. Then she gives a quick cursory glance toward the traffic cameras and nods. "It's as good a place to start as any."

Kicking herself off the bench, she starts across the street. Sunday morning traffic in New York City is still fairly heavy compared to most places, but she navigates through the moving vehicles as she would a sidewalk full of pedestrians… or like Frogger.

"Should'a brought Erin…" she mutters, mostly to herself. Then she turns to the rest of the party and raises her eyebrows, "You guys coming or do you like watching my behind as I walk?"

"In the parking garage?" Mark looks a touch surprised, since he's never really had reason to go into the maintenance tunnels down there. The tube is handed over to Tracy without hesitation. "Well, I can't exactly blame you on the trust stuff. Considering I share my name with one of the men we're going up against, I wouldn't trust me either, if I just met me." Half practically naked in a lab coat. But that last bit never makes it past his brain.

"Yeah… with this team… Though I feel woefully inadequate, compared to the lot of you." Being normal can have it's perks and it's downsides, right now it's about the downsides. "We'll figure out when we get there." Mark offers blandly, before turning to watch Cody cross the street.

Mark can't help but laugh, when she turns back to look at them "I am going to plead the fifth on this one." He glances to the others with a jerk of his head. "Come on. Sooner or later they are going to wonder why Mark Lane is standing outside with a bunch of people looking at the building." He motions in the direction of the Parking garage entrance. "Best to go in that way. The weekend guard is an old guy, Barry. It'll be amazing if he remembers us later. Been with the company a long time, probably why dad keeps him around."

Tube of blueprints firmly in hand, Tracy follows Cody as well — perhaps not as boldly into traffic, but certainly with the skill of someone who's used to living in a busy city. "That sounds like it could be it," she says of the door.

Barry the guard sees Mark and just waves him past blearily.

When the sun disappears, giving way to the echoey concrete parking garage, Tracy slides her sunglasses up on top of her head, pushing back her hair. She pauses inside for a moment, glancing around; mostly empty, it seems desolate, abandoned. Nothing good ever happens in parking garages.

Trust her.

Pulling the blueprints out, Tracy unfurls them to find the door to the storage space on it. "Over there?" She heads to the corner that has the small, unimportant looking door. It looks like nothing more than a maintenance closet. Blandly, she looks over her shoulder at the Lane. "Do you have a key or do we have to break in already?"

Catching Cody's glance towards the cameras, Micah grins, "They're on a loop of last Sunday's footage. No one will have record of us coming." At this he winks before clambering off the bench, following after Cody in something between a fast walk and a jog.

An eyebrow is arched at the conversation about trust transpiring between Tracy and Mark, but Micah manages to hold his tongue, instead he addresses Mark's comment as they all traipse into the Parking garage, "Don't feel inadequate. Being a hero isn't about what you can do, it's about what you actually do… A person can seem extraordinary, but if they deny it and waste their talents, then they're just lemmings, acting like everyone else instead of making a difference." At this he nods. "My mom who was the everyday American was a hero." He swallows. "She gave all she had to help others. If you're doing that — well — then you are extraordinary and… not inadequate."

He glances at the security guard rather skeptically, and manages to abandon the bag of food somewhere between the park bench and the Parking garage. Pulling his cellphone out of his pocket, he focuses his ability and scans the garage for cameras.

Once in the parking garage, Cody goes into Funny Platoon mode and strafes stealthily across the blank parking spaces, keeping an eye out for anyone that isn't in their little party. Having memorized most of the blueprints in the previous days, she leads the rest right up to the door that Tracy had mentioned. Just like Micah, her blue eyes are peeled for cameras as well as guards or other intruders.

"This is it, Micah? Did you want to check for an electronic lock? Tracy, when he's done, can you get in to scope out what's behind it before the rest of us go through." Then she looks toward Mark and shakes her head. "I'd get you to do it, but I don't want you to swipe unless you absolutely have to."

Then she stands back, falling into place beside Mark, to allow the aunt and nephew to do whatever it is they do. Using that time, she pulls her trusty firearm out from behind her back and checks to make sure it's loaded and the safety is off.

A sloppy salute is given to Barry as well ass a grin. "Looking good Barry." the same greeting as if nothing is wrong. Then he glances at Micah, studying the kid. A large hand clasps the technopath on the shoulder, giving it a small squeeze. "Your a smart kid, Micha. I'm sure she'd be proud of what your doing to help others."

A somewhat flat look is given to Tracy, hand sliding off the kids shoulder so that can Mark fish out his keys. "Somehow I think…" He flips through the keys, looking for one key in particular. "…this is at least something I can do." The maintenance key found, he hopes that it works for this door as well. Stepping past everyone, he grips the doorknob and tests the key in the lock, giving it a wiggle. There is a satisfying click, and Mark give a short nod before pushing the door open, then glancing at Tracy. "Guess I'm not a total waste, though I'm glad I didn't wear a red shirt today."

Then before stepping into the closet, Mark reaches behind him, under his shirt to pull out his own firearm. He glances at them each, one of Lane's own VP's about to step into this all the way, and simply says, "Time to rock and roll, ladies and gentlemen. Cody you have point, watch out who your shooting." He knows she will, but the concern is still there.

Micah is given a restrained but thoughtful look for his words on American heroes — Tracy's jaw tightens. She eyes Cody's firearm before giving the door a skeptical look. She's not expecting a monster to be hiding behind this door, and apparently neither is Mark.

Inside is…

… a closet? A storage space? Cramped, narrow, and dark, metal shelves line each wall, crammed with maintenance supplies. Several feet later, they give way to storage units full of outdated equipment — nothing significant. It's dusty. Untouched for quite some time. At the end of the room is another shelf cluttered with junk.

Studying the space before she's even stepped foot inside, Tracy's brows knit together faintly. She moves in, laying half of the blueprints down on an unused shelf. A finger runs over the map-like images and she shakes her head. Anyone paying close attention might notice she's tracking the water systems, pipes, not passages. "The entrance has to be here," she insists despite the apparent evidence to the contrary around them. Distinctly unamused by the whole ordeal before it's truly begun, she looks up, at the ceiling, at the walls…

Mark is issued a quick smile. "Thanks." His cheeks flush involuntarily at the notion of his mom being proud; he's not so sure, although recent evidence would suggest this to be true. He steps into the closet and peers about the shelves.

Unlike the adults, Micah carries a taser — his own design based on some schematics he'd found online before Gabriel had kidnapped him. He pulls the device from his pocket as well as his cellphone, attempting to feel his way around the building, but after a few moments he thrusts the cellphone back into his pocket, unsure of where to go from here.

After Tracy and before Micah and Mark, Cody slides into the room and begins examining the area around them. With her hands, she's examining the equipment, with her hair, she's checking the walls for any irrgularities. It's a little slow, but then her head jerks toward the back shelf. Then the safety switch is flipped on the gun and it's tucked back into her pants as she swiftly moves toward it.

There's a crack and a clatter as the shelf comes off the wall and is tossed aside, revealing a door. Her hair unbraids itself and like feelers, it begins to explore the entirety of it.

Then Cody stands absolutely still, her eyes focused on one point in particular. Just like when Mark opened the door, there is another satisfying click before a long tendril of hair falls to the floor.

"I need more food…" Cody says as she looks toward Micah, who is… not holding the bag.

"Well, this is somehow not surprising." Mark says rather lightly, tho his face definitely speaks of disappointment. A glance around, he moves to look over Tracy's shoulder, firearm held loosely at his side for the moment, a small frown on his lips. "Well, couldn't expect a big giant neon arrow pointing to it with the words, 'Secret Place', else it wouldn't be a secret. Would be nice tho."

Stepping back and turning slightly, Mark watches Cody as she searches around, eyes narrowing slightly in thought. When the door is revealed, brows shoot upward and he moves towards it as he hears the click. "This is where it'll get tricky, I think."

His hand goes to the door latch and slowly turns it, trying not to make too much noise as the door is opened, head leaning against it to peek in.

… at a long, narrow stairwell that leads down. It seems completely dark, until one's eyes adjust. There's a faint glow a the bottom.

Tracy, in the midst of rolling up the blueprints in-between staring at Cody (that ability is… unusual, even among extraordinary abilities), lifts her brows when the door is revealed. A hidden door? Her shoulders drop and she very nearly rolls her eyes. "I wasn't aware we were in Indiana Jones." She tucks the rolled-up blueprints back where they belong, and hitches the tube under one arm.


Lit by a few lights built into the wall, the area is exactly what Tracy described: tunnels. A long, concrete passageway extend into God-knows-where, wall curving into ceiling. Bold writing painted on the wall stretching into the unknown will let them know they're in the right place:


"Woah. That. Is. Awesome," Micah's awe is palpable as the secret door is exposed to the foursome in the maintenance closet. An apologetic shrug is given to Cody, "I ate it all?" It's a question in that he's asking if this is an excuse she'll buy more than volunteering random information. "Sorry," he manages, not that he's ever had problems apologizing; it's the asking permission that he's never been good at.

As he steps down the stairwell, he squints while staring at the tunnels. There's probably many secret things stored down here, and Micah knows it, but they're only after one right now. "Vault 6. Remember," he urges while taking a deep breath of the air. And then, whispering to himself he talks to himself, "When I have a secret lair — " it's not an if, it's a when " — I'll have underground vaults like this…" In fact, he's committing it all to memory for some other time.

Cody's eyes are also fairly wide with awe, she's stepping down the stairs just ahead of Mark. Where her hair was quite animated before, now it hangs limp on her head. The only noise she's making is the continual growl of her stomach as she searches through her pockets for something, anything to eat. So far, she's come up with a power bar from one pocket, a few of those free mints from another pocket, and a small handful of Jelly Bellies that may have been loose in her vest pocket since the day she first tried it on.

Saving the bar for later, she begins to pop the bellies into her mouth one by one. Her gun is held at a low angle in front of her and her eyes are wary, even as they focus on the signs they pass.

"Believe it or not… My father is a fan, " Mark says to Tracy with a lop-sided smirk and starts through the door, only to pause and add. "…except for the last movie. Last movie not so much." there is a shrug of his shoulders and he starts down the stairs, his shoes tapping softly, stopping towards the bottom as he sees the corridor.

"Damn Dad…" The explorer murmurs softly, eyes sweeping down the corridor as he takes those last few steps to the floor, but he doesn't move past that last step, arm going out to stop the youngest of them, "Check the security down here, Micah." Mark can't imagine it would be this easy or maybe his father was cocky enough, cause who would believe the people would him would even exist?

Mark himself is considered a joke in many circles.

Tracy takes a vaguely annoyed breath in. Here goes nothing. Behind Mark, she follows down into the depths of Lane Industries, heartened only by the fact that she can make a quicker exit than most if (or more likely, when) the time comes.

It's more spacious down here, but claustrophobic all the same, being underground. The feeling of being closed in is largely fostered by the fact that it's hot, not cold: the same oppressive, sticky quality clings to the air in the same way it clings to the subway system. A not-so-distant rumble shakes the walls loudly.

And a little red light on a camera mounted high on the wall blinks as the device sloooowly but surely starts turns toward the group…

Mark successfully stops the teen, causing him to linger on that last step as he gives Mark a quick nod and reaches into his pocket, connecting to his phone once again, and searching down the hallway for any security measures, his mind searching the hall for them. And there it is, a camera on the wall.

And then another. And another. They are all of the way down the hall — showing the vault doors. The passageways themselves are empty.

Grasping his phone tightly, Micah clamps his eyes closed and focuses. One by one each of the cameras is disabled. "The cameras are off," he says quietly, getting that eerie almost claustrophobic feeling at the rumble of the walls. "I've got a bad feeling about this…"

Pop.. chew.. pop.. chew.. Cody's methodical method of eating might annoy some but she's thinking. "Everything? Lasers? Motion sensors? Pressure sensors attached to the floor that'll let loose a boulder that will either trap us or crush us?" The last of the bellies are gone and she considers stepping down onto the floor.

"Unless there are any objections, I'm going in…" The sticky/hot air makes her feel a little queasy but it's nothing she isn't used to day after day while riding the subway. "Chin up, Rebel, it can't be all that bad… just… stick to the back."

Then she steps down and into the hallway, "Strauss, Mark, make sure I stay alive. I have a terrorist to catch when this is all done."

As the red light on the camera flicker off, the knot of tension in Mark's gut loosens some. "Good job." With a grin and a pat on the teenagers shoulder before taking that last step down, and starts after Cody down the hallway, "Won't have a lot of time, with the cameras off, so we need to move."

A chuckles follows Cody's instructions, "I'll do the best I can Cody, though I hope your wearing the stuff Dr Ray gave you." Mark watches her back in front of him, this isn't the first time they worked together, he doubted the last either. "Alright… vault 6… vault 6…" He murmurs softly, eyeing the vault doors.

Door 1… door 2…

After a door marked 3, the tunnel stops going forward and splits left and right. An additional LANE INDUSTRIES marker is no help at all in determining which way to go.

Tracy, following behind the others and giving Cody a hard look from behind, having not signed on for security guard duty, pauses. Her eyes slide left, then right, then… up. "U-uhm…" She ought to know which way to go, but this traditional method of travel is … not like her other method of travel, and she has a momentary lapse of confidence. Skirting around the others, she lays a hand on the wall to left, peeking around the corner. "I'm pretty sure it's this way," she says. "…Eighty per cent."

"I'm not a kid," Micah responds back to Cody, although the eeriness of the tunnel haunts him some; more than he'd like to admit.

Despite his comment, Micah skirts behind the adults, tailing behind them and listening for any radio signals — or anything really — that indicate they've been discovered. He holds his phone tightly as he peers behind them, not that he thinks they're being followed, but there's a kind of wariness about the whole thing.

He glances from one door to the next. "What do you think is behind those ones?" he asks to no one in particular while still hanging in the back — phone in one hand, taser in the other, poised for action.

"I know you're not a kid, Squirt, but you're also the one without a gun or an ability that you can use to kill people. We need you to keep the security cameras off." Tasers are cute, but really, if they were to face Bishop or anyone like her… He'd be meat.

To Mark, she simply nods and pulls away part of her jacket to reveal the vest. "I wish I had the entire suit, it'd be handy right now." Even if it doesn't resist the cold. The agent begins a light jog down the hallway, her boots barely making a sound as she sneaks through the passage that Tracy indicated. "Eighty percent, you guys hang back just a bit… just in case." Her voice is a whisper but with her head turned in their direction the tunnel echoes enough that it just reaches them.

Then there's the click of her gun as she flips the safety and cocks it, her finger slides along the guard, ready to pull the trigger if she has to. Her hair, still limp from the overuse and every once in a while another long tendril falls away from her scalp. She'll make an easy target if they don't have the time to clean up after themselves.

"Don't know, Micah." Mark admits softly, eyes watch the doors as they pass them, curious. "With hope, we'll be able to find out. Does make me wonder how much I don't know about the family business." There is a flatness to his tone, as they come to the end of the hall and the split.

"I'm willing to take the risk at that percentage," He shifts to follow Cody down the hallway, his own hand gun's safety is flicked off as well. As they approach the vault, he slows some, eyeing it suspiciously. "Well… this will be interesting." He glances over his shoulder at Micah. "What do we got?" He asks, head turning back to the thick door, moving to the locks.

6. The wide, heavy door stands just like the others. Unlike the others, its security system is obviously a bit more advanced. A panel of numbers and a fingerprint reader on the side blinks with a blue light steadily. On the door itself is a more traditional form of security: a combination lock, one of the best.

After hanging back for a moment, Tracy eventually takes Mark's initiative on following Cody, eyeing the passageway warily all the while. In the heat of the claustrophobic underground, and more deniably, the tension of this little adventure, her skin has taken on an unpleasant sheen. She rakes her hair back over one ear as she comes to the vault. She studies the door up and down; namely the edges. The tunnels are old enough that it's as perfect as it could be. Not quite airtight — or watertight. "I think I can get inside if you take care've the rest, Micah."

Micah stares at the vault doors as they pass — there had been cameras facing each individual door, security overkill in a way, but then security fail with a technopath present. Quietly he follows behind, his steps silent as he continues to look forward and behind.

He steps towards the vault, in front of the others, holding out a hand to it. After a second, he says, "Wow. This is… wow." He removes his hand for a second. "Soooo thorough." Biting his bottom lip, and closing his eyes, he returns his hand to the vault.

Quickly his mind navigates the security system, disabling the electronic protocols one at a time. This takes several moments — it's not straightforward, in fact, it's one of the heaviest electronic systems he's come across. Finally he removes his hand, "It's clear electronically…"

Not having much else to do at the moment, Cody keeps watch behind them, just in case someone decides to follow them down the stairs. With camera security this heavy, they probably have a better guard than Barry monitoring, not that Barry doesn't do his job…

"Can you sense any security inside?" If they can't get the door open, it's a very big possibility that Tracy will be on her own. Holding her gun up, next to her shoulder, she stares down the tunnel for any sign of movement. She's got her back to Mark, her heel is touching his foot, just to make sure he's still upright without looking at him. The other two, well since Tracy seems to be a little difficult to kill, Cody's not so worried, Micah on the other hand is Mister Vulnerable.

It's the combination lock that has Mark concerned, standing before it, the Lane heir looks at it with confusion. A hand presses to one side of it, he leans in to study it. "Damn… this could be the sticking point." He murmurs, the hand gun tucked back into the small of his back, confident that Cody has his back.

"Hey, Micah. Anything you found on the computers, especially my fathers that would have hinted to the combination?" His fingers slide along the tumblers, before moving to push his glasses further up his nose. "There is… a lot of numbers." Brows furrow as he tries to fathom what he's seen in the last few months that could fit.

"Don't worry about it. Not yet." Tracy sets the map tube down on the floor, propping it against the wall beside the door. "I don't know that I can do this," she warns all the same, looking down along the edge of the vault entrance. "That's a really small space…" She steps in front of the others, facing the door head-on. "But— if I can get in, 'n'… open it from the inside," she says over her shoulder and plucks the sunglasses off the top of her head and hands them to Micah. "Then you get what you came here for." Saying nothing of herself. She did her part. She led them here.

Turning to focus, Tracy stands tall while her body slowly works itself over. Her form gives way to water: legs, arms, everything, clothes and all, leaving her shape there for a moment before it splashes to the ground. The resulting puddle — just like Mark saw in the bathroom a few weeks ago — thins out as Tracy attempts to sneak beneath the door.

Like Micah disabling the security system, the door provides a challenge for Tracy too, and it takes some time to literally seep into the room beyond, but she's probably faster than going through sequences of numbers. Eventually, the water disappears. A few moments later, there's a crackle behind the lock as metal freezes, the sound of twisting, and the vault opens.

It's dark inside, but cool steel stands in contrast to the dim, eerie tunnel outside. The polar opposite of the small storage room everyone trekked through to get here, the metal stands that line these walls are clean and organized, full of prototypes of projects. Armor, weapons; nothing so classified as anything requested by the Protocol. Every object is tagged with a number.

Yet another door stands at the end of the room. Unlike the rest, this one is the end of the line. Its locking mechanism deactivated when the security system went down, it is ajar. A small glass-and-grid work window is fitted into the door; it provides a shadowy view into the room beyond. It's much smaller. Dark shelves, a table with a lockbox in the center. The rest is dark.

As for Tracy, she's nowhere to be found, save for a puddle skirting along underneath the shelves of the first vault room. Toward the door she just opened. AKA the exit.

"Nothing as of yet, but it's complicated," Micah admits to Cody while holding a hand to the door again. "It's a complex security system, like I said, I haven't seen anything quite like it." He turns back to Mark and shakes his head, "I don't think so. Nothing that would stand out to me." He accepts Tracy's sunglasses and then lets out a small gasp as the vault opens — even if he was expecting it.

Slowly he pads into the room. It seems normal enough until his gaze falls on the other door. Once again he pads towards it, peering through the window and scanning the room for any further security anomalies.

Cody backs in through the door after Micah and Mark are already in. She hangs by the entrance, uncertain whether to close the heavy door or not. Both have benefits. A few more of the long tendrils drop to the floor and this time she looks down with a frown. Slowly, she bends down to pick up the long strands of hair and place them in her pocket.

"Be careful in there, okay? I'll keep a look out, here… Just in case." She's looking at Mark the entire time, though she's speaking to the both of them. Then she gives him a small smile and turns her head to gaze down the hallway, fixing her concentration on any form of movement.

"Damn… I don't think I'll ever get over seeing that." Mark murmurs clearly impressed, stepping back from the door, had moving to the small of his back as the door swings open, his hand catching it to push it further open, so that they can all step in.

"Whoa." Looking at the rows of shelves, Mark shakes his head slowly. "How did I now know about this? I don't recognize any of these, must be some of the other private designs. " He moves close to the lined shelves, looking over various items, fingers lift one or two tags to get a glance at them briefly, before he moves for the door at the back.

"So I'm going to guess what we need is in there." A glance over his shoulder, Mark looks slightly unhappy that Tracy seems… gone. Then his eyes move to Cody and she gets a small smile and a wink. He turns back to the room in question, the smile falling away, looking through the little window. He moves to push the door open, unless Micah says otherwise.

The walls rumble again as a subway train rattles past somewhere underground. The small room is empty save for a single tiny, blinking light that appears in the dark, a foot or so off the floor, when Mark opens the door.

"You're not sosed to be here."

That voice, young and tremulous — it doesn't belong to any of them. They're not alone.


This security device isn't electronic… save for the collar fitted around its neck. Sitting on the floor, head cast down, is a small figure mostly obscured in the darkness. It turns its head and reveals itself to be a little boy, no older than seven. He's pale, with a mess of black hair and wide blue eyes that appear … empty. He has a set of colorful blocks in his hands that he was piecing together, but they now fall to the cement floor.

He starts to scream, a nonstop torrent of loudness, and throw his hands in the air every which way. The sudden tantrum would seem to do nothing but make noise if it weren't for the sudden force that strikes Mark across one cheek. More attacks follow, as if the man is being attacked by invisible claws.

Micah tries to swallow the lump in his throat all the while hanging behind Mark. Eyes widen at what transpires, and his eyes turn towards the light — a collar. He curses louder than he means to.

With the Cody having waited outside, and Tracy having seemingly disappeared, what is left to do? They can't very well shoot a kid, and Micah can't stand there doing nothing. Twitching just a little, Micah knows what needs to be done. He's going to have one shot, and one shot only, his taser still in hand. Taking a deep breath, he slides in front of Mark, aiming said Taser towards the child. He just needs enough of a shock to debilitate the kid — just temporarily — and then he can ask the collar to shut off if he can touch it. It's a bit if.

The scream has Cody running back ino the vault and toward the other two. "Mark!" she yells, unconcerned with the noise she's making. The black haired child in the next room is making enough of his own.

Quickly, she grabs Lane and tries to pull him out of the way of the claws, trying to get in between him and whatever it is that's attacking him. Then she whips her head around, those long tendrils of hair quickly braiding themselves into a long rope that swings around as she tries to gag the young child with a swath of hair. It's her last reserve before she has to eat more, hopefully, gagging him will be enough.

As the door opens, Mark's breath catches in the back of his throat as he hears that young voice, then the figure turns. His whole body turns cold as he sees what is crouched there, "Oh… god… it's just a ki — " The rest of that sentence is cut off as he's hit by something, long lines reddening on this cheek, as he's scratched by the unseen force, jerking his head to the side.

It sends Mark stumbling back with a shout of surprise, arms lifting as he tries to ward off something he can't see. Angry scratched blossom across his forearms, criss crossing angrily, but he can't do much, since he won't shoot a kid.

There is a hiss of pain from the man as he's pulled out of the way by Cody. He's gonna be feeling this for a few days.

The mad explosion of the child's ability doesn't seem to be directed at anyone in particular. It claws at everyone. Dents ping and scrape into the metal shelves all around the boy's circumference. There's a space of about a foot off the ground where nothing is ravaged by the slashing force.

As the electroshock projectile sails toward him from Micah's attempt at stopping him, the thin wires are severed in mid-air and the rapid, haywire telekinetic clawing attacks the teenager — and Cody, whose hair suffers the same fate as the taser. Up close, it's obvious that the little guy is wearing body armor — perhaps not as cutting edge as Cody's, but it's still a Lane design.

The little prisoner of the Protocol keeps sitting on the floor, screaming. The closer they are, the deeper he'll cut.

The noise tears at Micah's skin — producing lacerations around his face and arms. The teen manages to roll away from the door, his face bloodied and his shirt stained from similar cuts underneath it. Ironically it doesn't hurt at this moment, no, there's too much going on and too much adrenaline to feel the pain. Grasping his phone tighter, his thoughts translate into a text message:


His mother would never have ignored a cry for help like that. Not from anyone. But then, Tracy isn't his mom…

Physical pain, it's the easiest to ignore, easiest to push through. Cody steps forward toward the boy, wincing with every scratch and punch she receives to the unarmored parts of her body. All the while, her mind is reeling with thoughts. He's just a kid… I can't… While the other half of her conscience is battling with thoughts of It's for the greater good… I have to do it for my country…

She squints her eyes tight as she holds one arm to protect her face, the other raises the gun. Then in a swift strike, she brings the butt end of her gun down on the kid's head. He's smaller then an adult, so her blow is a bit softer as to not crush his skull. This time.

It takes a moment for Mark to reorient himself, inspecting the scratches, until he notices Micah rolling away from the door. Despite his own bleeding wounds, Mark sees the teenager's wounded and quickly moves over to him. "Micah… you okay, short round?" Ignoring the trails of blood down his own arm, he checks the boy over, expression critical. "Not too horrible, I think we'll live."

He glances up in time to see Cody moving into the room, "Cody… be careful!" Mark shouts the warning, even as he moves to give Micah a hand up, worried about the fact he can't see what is happening in the room.

The kid's power lashes out at Cody close-range, clawing at her hand invisibly as the butt of her gun descends on him. It hits, but slides off the side of his head. Regardless, the little thing's screech is cut short and goes down with a clatter of metal when his collar hits the floor. Half-conscious, his eyes roll around and he lashes against the ground with the same frenetic energy that his ability continues to attack with.

He's barely down a few seconds before he's trying to get back up again, weaving side to side unsteadily on his knees, clinging to Cody's leg: he's obviously being pushed to his limits just to attack them for stepping into the room. "Go away go away go away…"

The kid's power lashes out at Cody close-range, clawing at her hand invisibly as the butt of her gun descends on him. It hits, but slides off the side of his head. Regardless, the little thing's screech is cut short and goes down with a clatter of metal when his collar hits the floor. Half-conscious, his eyes roll around and he lashes against the ground with the same frenetic energy that his ability continues to attack with.

He's barely down a few seconds before he's trying to get back up again, weaving side to side unsteadily on his knees, clinging to Cody's leg: he's obviously being pushed to his limits just to attack them for stepping into the room. "Go away go away go away…"

"I'm… I'm okay," the teen declares to Mark. And then something comes together in Micah's own mind. When he got down, on the floor, things changed. When he was low: he wasn't getting clawed. "GET DOWN! BOTH OF YOU!" he loudly orders the adults as he shimmies on his belly towards the kid in the center of the room. His head is down, facing the ground, his face virtually scraping against the floor. He's under the noise and tantrum of the child!

Pushing himself along the ground, he comes to the child's side and reaches out a hand to the collar, aiming to deactivate it — a task that should be quick considering he's done this before.

Getting down isn't exactly an option for the woman with a child attached to her leg, not without kicking him of course. The best Cody can do is crouch low to the ground and cover her face with her arms. Her hand and arms are almost mangled by this point and she's thankful to the man in the other room for the gift of the armor. It's saved her quite a few blow, considering her jacket is a mess of shreds.

The gun's safety gets flipped on and she drops it to her lap, then that hand is placed on the small boy's head. She's feeling around for his injury without having to actually look at him.

There is no question as the kid shouts, Mark couches low, moving after the kid at a low crawl. Peaking in the door, he watches Micah with concern, his head tilting up to check on Cody. But then his eyes drop to the little kid, brows tipping up slightly. "Calm down kiddo. We're going to try and get you out of here." In that moment, he knows he won't be leaving here without the kid if he can help it.

The fact that his father did this, to this kid, just… kills something within him. When the collar is clicked, Mark makes his way into the room. "We want to get you out of here and safe away from these — bad people, kid. Calm down so we can help."

The collar is deactivated, unlocking, and the young boy reels slightly; the attacks stop, but continue a few seconds later, sporadic and less vicious — due to the knock on the head. Still; he's a little whirlwind to be reckoned with even without the collar, evidenced by a skkksh! of a claw mark that slashes at Mark's arm, and Cody's leg. It's going to take some time for the effects of whatever was making him go crazy to wear off, and looking around at those in the small room, the kid clearly doesn't understand what's going on. He's more animal than human at this point.

Staying low, Micah thinks Mark is indeed doing the one thing to help the kiddie at this moment. He thinks hard on the things that make him feel better when he's upset, and then one occurs to him. It's a move he's used before for someone under the influence of the Protocols' drugs — not this drug, but a drug nonetheless. His voice is soft, quiet, gentl, "Some-times in our lives, we all have pain, we all have soooorrow~, but if we are wise, we know that there's always too-mo-orr-ow~" Yes, Micah is singing. Again. "Lean on me~, When you're not strooong~, I'll be your friend~, I'll help you caarry oon~, For it won't be loong~ Till I'm gonna need somebody to leeeean on~"

Micah's singing is a strange little distraction. Letting go of the boy's head, Cody fumbles around in her pocket for those little restaurant mints that she didn't eat. She's pretty sure the kid wouldn't calm down for a chocolate bar, but candy? What little kid hates candy?

"SShhh shhhh come on kid, we're going to help you find your mom and dad… Sshhh… Come on, here, take the candy." She deals with the child as she would a wild dog… except without the bullets. "Come on kid… we'll get you some uhh.. McDonalds or something, okay? You want to go home?" Her voice is fairly calm, though by the amount of hair she's losing it's quite evident that she's under plenty of duress.

Another hiss of pain as his arm is slashed open, it's brought up to protect his face, though he's thankful he's wearing glasses this morning. As Micah sings, Mark's voice fades off for a moment, mostly in surprise. He glances over at the teen with brows raised, slightly bemused, but then he's talking again. His voice strained with the pain, but calm non the less. "She's right. Let's get you out of here… we'll get you a happy meal." What kid doesn't like a Micky D's happy meal?

"We wanna get you out of here, but you gotta stop hurting us, Kiddo. Gotta calm down, so we can get out." Not much more the eldest child of Marcus Lane can do, with hope something works.

The boy doesn't really seem to comprehend all the promises, his eyes large and unfocused with a sheen that is still slightly wild. He reaches out toward the singing Micah — and the movement of his hand claws the air, knocking things off the shelf to the left. He immediately grabs onto Cody again — with another clawing, "Mnnnnnhhh— " he cries, and the clawing seems to stop. Tentatively.

As the clawing seems to stop, Micah pushes himself off the floor in a sort of push up to his feet, spots of blood have since soiled his shirt in thin lines, particularly as it got pressed into his cuts. The good news is they've clotted some. He looks at the kid and then to Cody, continuing to hum the tune softly, soothingly as he can manage. Rubbing at his face he steps towards the table and the lockbox. He rests a hand on it and then glances between Mark and Cody, his humming silences, but only to observe, "We can take the whole thing. Unless you guys break the lock or something…" after he says the words, he returns to the humming.

"Just grab the whole thing…" Cody says softly, wrapping her bleeding arms around the child and standing with him. The firearm on her lap tumbles to the floor and she kicks it toward Mark. "Ssshhhh… Come on little Skittle.. Let's get you some sun and a happy meal, huh?"

She unwraps one of the candies with one hand and pops it into the kid's mouth, sugar is great for tantrum throwing children with dangerous abilities. The rest of the mints are slipped back into her pocket. "We better get out of here… before the security comes back up." She isn't even worried about picking up her hair anymore, there's enough blood around that if they wanted to DNA test, they'd have plenty of material. So much for blending in.

Once the kid stops, Mark seems hesitant to get off the floor, staying there for a moment. "I think taking it and leaving is the best bet." A glance goes over his shoulder. "We're probably running short on time." Finally, hands rest on each side of him and he pushes himself to his feet. "We need to take the box and kid and get out.

He starts to brush himself off when he remembers how cut up he is, so Mark avoids that. When the firearm taps against his shoe, he quickly snatches it up and moves to grab the box. "Let's go." He's ready to get far away from this place.

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