The 7th Column: Disguise
Posted By: Mainevent<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 4 October 2003, 4:24 AM
Travis and Wilson burst through the large double doors leading to the other half of the building's roof. Large white birds fluttered away in a spooked effort at protecting themselves from any attack that could have come, but didn't.
The click of the door behind them told them it was closed, but they needed to bar it quickly. They combed the all-but-devoid gravel-laden ground searching for anything that would help them. A solitary air conditioning unit lay humming at the corner of the building's handrails, but it was of no use.
Travis bounded to the edge and peered over, cars, people, and police scurried below. Wilson thought they looked like ants under a magnifying glass, but this was no time for his petty musings. There was a small emergency exit gangplank one floor below, and they needed to get to it.
Wilson removed his thick black belt and secured it to the handrail, tugging at it a few times to make sure it would support his weight. He assured himself it would, and slowly inched over the side. If he missed the walk-way, there wouldn't be anymore running for him, ever.
Travis held onto the belt, anxiously watching the door for anyone coming through. His stomach was in his throat and he was sweating profusely as the tension built. The clink and clank as Wilson's boots made contact with the floor below was a relief, and Travis took a firm grasp on the life-preserver.
Wilson urged Travis on, and casually glanced around to be sure they weren't under anyone's watch. Travis was moving to slow for his comfort, and he tugged at the belt. Sweaty palms loosed Travis' grasp on the rope-like object, and he slid uncontrollably until landing on face-up on the heavy grated steel.
"I hate you man." Travis coughed as he rubbed his throbbing skull.
"I know you do, now go. I'm surprised they're not already here the way you move." Wilson locked wrists and pulled Travis to his toes. Their feet rolled in unison as they hurried back and forth, back and forth, back and forth down the steps.
They passed window after window on their descent, Wilson prayed that they wouldn't be spotted, or else. In two minutes they had made it to the third floor, and took a knee as an officer and his partner patrolled the alley.
"I hear they pulled up three bodies. A damn bloodbath up there. Mark says it's most likely a drug deal gone bad, but he's not sure. Said something about military histories and something." One of the cops said to his friend, who had stopped to relieve himself behind a dumpster.
"Aww hell. Everyone on this planet has a military history. I got one, you got one, damn Steve, even your wife has one." His friend made a sort of grunt-like laugh as he zipped up. They finished their round and disappeared around the corner of the alley.
Wilson and Travis inched down the catwalk, making sure that they could find cover at a moments notice. Noone presented themselves, and the duo dangled from the final ladder and then dropped simultaneously to the sandy earth. The shadows of the alley chilled it to the core, and Wilson whirled around as a cat skittered past.
They jogged to the street, and casually entered the crowd. Wilson fell several yards behind Travis, and casually followed him to whatever destination he was led to. Although decked out in full military battle dress, he wasn't all that suspicious in the crowd.
The solar system's governmental homebase was constantly being visited by UNSC ships at port, and the local militia was always on duty. His biggest threat was that someone actually need assistance, and force the unwanted attention on him.
Travis slid slyly into a small cafe, and Wilson strolled in casually behind him. He refused eye contact, and made no recognitive motions. Only staring at the signs on the wall while fiddling at the change in his pockets.
"Good day sir. What'll it be?" The shopkeeper asked politely.
"I'll have a...bacon, lettuce, and tomato, and some fried Bangaro chips." Travis answered as though he had been in the town for some time, when in reality this was only his second trip. Wilson had to give him credit where it was due, he may be a tech-monkey, but he knew how to stay cool in a hot situation.
"Comin' right up. Wierd what happened today 'eh? Some guy shootin up the park and then three guys found dead on the Basserby Bank rooftop. Damn near spooky if ya' ask me." The gray-haired and stubby manager stated in his subtle manner of probing his customers.
"I wouldn't know, I'm here on business. I just got out of a meeting. What happened?" Travis replied with a quick and witty response, any hint of insecurity or falsehood in his lie unnoticeable.
"Which company you say you worked for again?" The squatty man was getting too deep for Wilson's pleasure, and he slowly nudged the barrel of his rifle at the glass display case between him and the man.
"You didn't what."
"I didn't say which company I worked for."
"Oh, oh yea. That's right. I'm sorry. Here's your order." The man snatched the ticket from the small holder and handed it to him with his tray. Obviously disheartened by his lack of personal intelligence gathering. Wilson lowered his weapon and placed his order as well, the man said nothing to him, and Wilson took a seat at the other side of the restaurant, yet close enough to maintain a line-of-site with Travis.
Travis finished his meal in what he believed was the fastest he had ever eaten before, and noticing Wilson's progress on his lunch, decided to buy some time by getting a desert. After the two had finished they left the restaurant.
They found cover in a small street-corner hotel, the kind where nothing's asked and nothing's told. Grimy walls were an unusual site to behold in such a squeaky-clean city. The dark reds and heavy carpeting looked out of date in the contemporary city surroundings. They shared a room.
Travis exhumed obvious displeasure in their choice of board, but Wilson, being accomodated to Starboard quarters, was more than pleased with it.
"I want to know what the hell was going on up there!" Travis nearly yelled as he unbuttoned his collar.
"You think I know? Then your sadly mistaken. Randaford just pulled us along for the Op. I had no idea. Debrose and Rogers were the only ones I know in on it."
"And why did that cop say they only found three bodies? There should be five. Your two partners, Debrose, Rogers, and Randaford. That means that at least two got away. That snake-in-the-grass bastard Randaford took two in the leg from you, and I gave him a shot of XM-90. He shouldn't be going anywhere." Travis' voice was hoarse as he inhaled another deep breath.
"I don't know what happened there, but I know someone we can ask."
"Yea, that lilly-livered son of a bitch is the one who picked us, so I figure if anyone knows about this, it's him. Tomorrow, we hitch a ride out to San Uradine, which is a small village about fifteen miles from Martina Sal Dur."
"Alright, tonight we rest. Tomorrow we find the truth." Travis said enthusiastically, turning out the single light in the already dimly lit room.