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phoenyxraine in chosen800

Not your average dive

As her chariot, the UNDINE, dove through the depths of Lake Eerie, Gwen kept one hand on the steering wheel and another on what she had quickly dubbed the ‘joystick’ - for lack of a better term - that caused the underwater apparatus to rise or fall. While she was on the plane to Ohio, one of Wolfram and Hart’s operatives had blathered on and on about how the brassy metal one-woman diving machine was the Initiative’s high tech solution to the human torpedo that originated during World War II. Not much interested in an impromptu history lesson, Gwen had quickly terminated that line of conversation in favor of how to control the submersible beetle.

Now, as she sat alone in her stolen underwater vehicle, it seemed all she could remember were bits of nautical babble and Italian commando frogmen blah de blah blah.

“Good thing I’m ace with video games.”

She rolled her eyes, then pushed the joystick forward and eased further into the murky depths.

After what seemed like ages of sinking, she arrived before the section of the stone-faced wall that she was told disguised the entrance to the Cleveland Initiative’s Headquarters. She blinked the chariot’s headlights in a series of long and short flashes.


In response, wavelengths shot upwards and downwards on her meter as a voice came over the radio.


Gwen punched the numerical code into a keypad on her ‘dashboard’, and seconds later, the voice came back over the comm.

“Lieutenant Marjorie Williams. Welcome back.”

A portal opened up before her as the rock face shifted aside, and Gwen carefully maneuvered her chariot into the waiting holding chamber. Red lights flashed to signal that the outer door was still not secure while she set the UNDINE down. A push of a button extended metal legs which quickly attached to the cement floor.

The lights remained red as the door locked up tight and the water inside the chamber drained. Once the room was dry, they switched over to green, and the glass door which made up the inner door slid aside. Gwen took off her seatbelt.

“Welcome back, Flapjack. You had us worried there for a minute,” came a voice from outside the UNDINE.

Gwen shoved against the porthole above her, grunted, and banged a fist against it.

“Can you give me a hand? I think this damn thing’s stuck,” she shouted.

She listened to the man’s footsteps as he ascended the rungs built into the side of the chariot. He grabbed hold of the circular handle.

“These old clunkers, when do you think they’re gonna upgr—“

Electricity seized his next words, but Gwen caught him before he went crashing down three stories.

“The rate the big G moves? Probably never.”

She heaved his body into the chariot then locked the door on him. She climbed down the side of the UNDINE and dropped down onto the ground. Posthaste, Gwen dashed to a narrow doorway to the left, fried the electric lock, and crept inside. Behind the door sat an older man in uniform half-dozing and half-surveying a multitude of screens.

“What are--?” he started.

Gwen’s hand came down on his shoulder and it was lights out for him shortly after.

Pushing him aside, she gave a quick once over to all of the different screens and matched them up with the map indicated on her mini computer. Once she was satisfied with her route, she put both palms down on the surveillance system’s main display. Buzzing and snapping noises filled the room as it shorted out.

“Sorry, show’s been cancelled.”

Gwen patted the sleeping soldier before tying him securely to his chair and sticking tape over his mouth.

“But maybe if you cry about it enough and write lots of letters, you’ll get a comic book series out of it.”


Gwen closed her eyes as the harsh sound of a dying moose bore down on her. Great. The alarm.

She'd done military bases before, but apparently, besides being twenty thousand leagues under a finger lake, this place had more than just the usual super high-tech security systems. How good of her 'benefactors' to mention that. Her eyes ticked upward. There was the source of the problem - a separate unmarked camera with a lens barely bigger than the tip of her pinky which surveyed the viewing room. It was then simply a matter of reaching up and zapping the lens.

Gwen pulled the crowbar from the pack on her back and cracked open the emergency drainage gate situated near the floor. Once she'd pried it open, she shimmied into the narrow crawl space and set the plate back up. Nimbly she slipped down the drain until she could feel the space open up behind her. She dropped down into an enormous holding tank, in the middle of which were four wide tubes that stretched up into the ceiling, each one equipped with its own massive pump. Each was dormant now, lying in wait for an emergency.

Standing in the dark, Gwen pulled up the illuminated map again. With her free hand, she switched on a flashlight to examine the square holes that lined the wall. Each one was a drainage 'pipe' of sorts leading toward every room in the complex. One. Two. Third to the left.

She placed her computer in her pack and her flashlight in her mouth, then dove into another of the uniformly shaped and sized holes. A short trip and a crowbar later and she was peeking out into a room full of locked crates. Once inside the room, she ran her fingers along the boxes until she spotted #379.

A swift zap from her fingers dismantled the electronic portion of the lock. After that, Gwen pulled out her lockpick and click - the crate opened up.

Inside rested a clear orb that fit in the palm of her hand.

"This is it?" she muttered to herself, "No runes or swirly mystical energies?"
When she heard voices, Gwen stashed the orb hastily inside her pack and scaled the nearest stack of boxes. She listened carefully as what seemed to be a group of soldiers began their search for her. How they'd managed to track her down so quickly she couldn't begin to fathom, but she couldn't sit around being amazed by it either.

Unable to use her flashlight, she waited for her eyes to adjust a bit to the dim light. She would have to make her way back toward her entrance by memory. Luckily, it was a fairly clear shot.

Footfall came in her direction, and Gwen glided across the tops of the boxes quickly and quietly. A pair of eyes glanced in her direction, so she grabbed hold of the edge of the box she was on and dropped down behind it. Whoever it was seemed to speed up to round the stack of boxes, so Gwen let go to land on the floor. She didn't have time to be stunned by how observant the soldier was. She was close enough to the drainage pipe now that she could just make a run for it...

Except for the part where there was someone standing right in front of it. That might be a minor problem.
Gwen's eyes roved over the soldiers that had come to see her off. She bit her lip as she sized each of them up. They didn't have full combat gear, but what they did have on was more than enough. And they all had guns. Guns that were trained on her. She quickly took tally of their personalities based on her limited information - what they'd said, their body language (always more difficult with military types since they were trained to move in certain ways), and their ranking.

Phage - polite, maybe overly so, seemed a little nervous and less willing to blast her to pieces
Roadkill - motormouth, liked the sound of his own voice and joking around.
Guy behind her - serious enough to cut the chatter, might be in charge, might be a second-in-command type
Scotsman - Cassanova, or at least fancied himself one, and likely to underestimate a female opponent, unless he was toying with her

Four total. The odds weren't so bad, except for the fact that she wasn't looking to electrocute anyone tonight. This was a dive in/jump out sort of gig - no soldiers were to be harmed in the making of this heist. Well, at least not made extra-crispy, anyway.

She smiled innocently at the Scotsman.

"Love what you've done with the place."

Slowly she held her hands up as if in surrender. She turned one empty palm up toward the ceiling, making sure that all eyes were on her.

"But it could use some better lighting."

Gwen cracked a smile, threw her hand up above her head, and treated the boys to a light-show - a blinding bolt of electricity aimed for the ceiling. In the ensuing darkness, Gwen immediately dropped down low and grabbed for Phage's legs.

"Sorry, sweetie," she whispered.

But at the point where she should have been knocking the poor guy unconscious, she was holding air instead. With the entry to the grate free, she dove into the tunnel and back into the emergency drainage room. She broke into a run for the pumps. With hardly a glance over her shoulder, she cut open the side of one of the metal tubes with white-hot electricity. Once the hole was big enough, she squirmed into the tube.

A look upward revealed that the pipe went up too far for her to be able to tell if Wes had done his job or not. She unholstered her grappling gun and aimed. She was either about to see sunlight again or get a face full of falling hook when it bounced off the lid. If it was the latter? Wes was going to get a face full of her fist.

When the hook didn't return, Gwen smiled, held on tight, and hit the release on the gun.

Wesley; The entering without the breaking?

He breathed an internal sigh of relief as the third and final security guard handed him back his rather convincing, fake, ID card. It was satisfying to know all that hard work hadn't been for nothing. He'd had to covertly investigate several current staff members, and part with at least good $150 to get them all drunk enough to spill some beans, secret ones that is. Covert and stealth operations had never been Wesley's strong point, well, at least not up until recently. It was more Gwen's forte than his, but out of the candidates available, he was deemed mostly likely to not screw up. He felt more rebellious recently, it was almost as if as he got older, he became immature again.

I feel like a teenager should I suppose. He thought, taking back his ID card, admiring his handiwork (He'd even managed to place on a holographic replica of the logo just like the real cards), smiled, and nodded in thanks at the Security Guard. Breaking the rules, but feeling so bloody good about it The only downside was the Uniform he was wearing; itchier than a flea bag, but painfully necessary if he was to have any chance of looking comfortable. Oh sure. I come here every day

He was glad he was doing this on his own, any more people and the cover would have probably been blown. But then again, despite all his rendezvous with possibly soon-to-be-ex-employees, Vodka, and the several favors he had called in to hack one of the computers at the base, he was beginning to wonder why something hadn't gone wrong yet. Not that he made a habit of messing up, things just rarely had a habit of going right. Chance was a fine thing, and hoping not to jinx himself of Gwen, he hoped luck was with them. It wasn't Monsters or Demons or Vampires they were dealing, this was angry, hairy men, with guns. Lots of guns. And Wesley didn't exactly feel a tingle of joy at the thought of standing off with Military macho's.

He checked his watch; he was on time, so far so good. He'd pause to delve into his memory to remember where Gwen should have been right then, but he was already dawdling and getting odd looks as it was.

He stepped out into the main courtyard of the base, and saw the lake a few minutes walk away, he made a bee line for it. On the way Wes was stopped twice by Men and Women of higher rank looking for someone to ride in their mid life crisis'. Funny. He gave a salute and continued on </i>Hollywood doesn't lie after all. They really are all like that.</i> Wesley couldn't help it, wherever he went he seemed to be analyzing people's characters. Some people were about as obvious as a rainbow colored tie, others he could decipher through body language, the look in their eyes and their tone of voice. Some people, like Gwen, were almost a closed book, but in their line of 'work' you had to be closed, at least a little bit. There was no telling when some villianous creepy et al might try and open you, if not for information, for plain old fun.

Suddenly he found himself thinking of Faith.

But the past was in the past, and right now he had another young 'charge' to worry about.

The lake was big and black in the night, he couldn't see exactly how big it was, but he could hear the trickle and cluster of the currents and waves it was strong enough to create. Wesley realized at that point how lucky he was. Prepared as he was all things considering, he hadn't been able to find a schematic of the base and had no real idea where the drain pipes lay in the base, but despite that, he was in luck.

There was a wooden bridge going across a 'corner' of the lake to another section of the base, and off that wooden bridge lay a steadier metal bridge that led to a cross section, a small concrete building close to the corner, but far enough out to require it's own walkway. The Drainage pipes surrounded the small concrete building like a small army. There were various overhead spotlights being scaled up, down and across the river, and after checking his watch again, he stood for a minute to memories their pattern. Thank heaven for Computer controlled lighting systems.

Wesley; The entering without the breaking?

Somehow, he wasn't exactly sure how, but somehow, after displaying some paperwork to a rather bored looking security guard posted at the metal fencing bordering off the bridges and lake, Wes managed to make it to the bridge. "Clearance to cross-reference the drainage CPU systems with our own. Standard Routine." The Paperwork wasn't entirely accurate, but thankfully his badge had a high enough clearance level to allow him entry anyway. If anything, at least his manly-voice was convincing...Well I thought it was

Once he made it onto the bridge, Wes was plunged into almost-darkness, so he broke into a brisk walk, and made in down the bridge in under a minute, and found the Drainage pipes with ease.

Taking out the few papers he had stashed in the Uniform jacket, he found the code number for the drain Gwen was to be 'popping out of' and began checking the pipes and valves for the matching number. With no form of communication to Gwen, his timing had to be right, otherwise Gwen would have a face not dissimilar to a pancake when she finally managed to get out. So when he found the correct valve- 'C-903' - he crouched down to it and pulled on it like an unattached, albeit rusty steering wheel until it clanged loose, and would turn with somewhat strained ease. He took a glance at his watch admist the almost RSI-inducing turnings of the valve, and turned faster when he saw he was cutting it fine. He didn't want to deal with Gwen if he unintentionally caused a Michael Jackson-like nose to sprout on her face. For once he'd like to perform a 'breaking an entering' without actually breaking anything. You know, just for a refreshing change.

Finally the valve let out a hiss of pressure and Wesley pulled it up and then set it down on the concrete as silently as he could. Looking down he saw or heard no immediate sign of Gwen, nothing but the low cone of silence ominous tunnels down into deep lakes tend to emit oh so effortlessly and eerily. He always found spaces like that interesting, they echoed sound like rats reproduced and yet, even in silence, there was always a low 'hmm' sound. Perhaps even silence could be echoed.

Wesley checked again to make sure he had the right pipe, the codes matched. There were a good twenty pipes lining the top of the platform, but the four very large drainage pipes stood out on the floor amongst all the others due to their sheer size. If he could stand the shoulder ache he'd open up another just to be safe, but the other three pipes were twice as rusty as the one he'd already fought with.

Wesley had nothing to do now but wait, and monitor the overhead spotlights. One of the lights filtered directly across the 4 main drain pipes and the concrete service building, but the passes had minutes between them. Assuming Gwen didn't pop up when it was overhead, they would have ample time to shut the pipe and move.

As the light came overhead it could have caught sight of Wesley, but he crouched behind the taller pipe next to the open drain, and waited. Hearing a low rumbling of sorts, he peered over the gaping hole precariously.

((OOC: Sorry about the Icon; my Subscription just ended and I can't exactly afford to re-pay for it and extra icons so I've lost all my Wes icons for the time being, you'll have to bear with me, ehehe. Also, I assumed it would be night when they were doing this as it provides better cover, if it's wrong I can change it. Sorry about the uber-long comment too. I'm so out of practice xD;;))
Wesley would be forced to snap his head back as the grappling hook end of her gunshot gripped onto the edge of the pipe. Shooting up the drainage pipe, Gwen was up topside within a minute. She crawled out and into the open air, then hit the release, the rope and the hook snapped back into the barrel of the gun.

"We hit a snag," she explained, as she removed a couple of metal bars from her bag. "I got your little ball, but someone left out a few teeny tiny details about this place."

Gwen sent a current through the metal in her hands until they magnetized, then she placed both hands on the drainage lid. The magnets in her hand and the metal lid snapped together. She hefted it back into place and removed the charge.

"So I guess the plan now is... run?" she said.

And that's exactly what Gwen did. She broke into a sprint for the docks, hoping Wesley would follow, especially since he had the keys to the getaway boat.

Edited at 2008-09-24 02:10 pm (UTC)