Lady Jaye boldly strode
into the light. The four Joes glanced up from the card table, and
Shipwreck swore when he saw who it was.
murmured, placing his cards down on the table.
What the hell are
you doin down here? Lady Jaye yelled. Youre supposed to
be helping to guard the base! She crossed her arms over her
chest, a typical Beach Head gesture.
Were supposed to
behave like its just another night, Ace protested. Besides,
this way no one will sneak in down here.
Thats what Duke
and I were doing just now, Lady Jaye replied with a growl. She
raised her voice. Duke, is that area clear?
Quick Kick replied from
around the corner in a perfect imitation of their COs voice.
Yeah, Beach Head. All clear. Did you find something over there?
Lady Jaye had never
seen the four Joes scramble so fast. Dukes here! Shit, dont
say anything, Beach! Please? Ace looked frantic as he gathered
the cards and chips.
She smirked and
replied, If you yahoos get upstairs and actually pay attention
tonight, I wont say a word.
Beach Head, whos
over there with you? Quick Kick called.
Shipwreck grabbed the
last chip from the table, and the four Joes ran the opposite
direction, toward the back stairs that would take them to the
Quick Kick came around
the corner, doubled over with suppressed mirth. Man, I wish I
could have seen their faces.
A little help here,
guys? Tunnel Rats voice came from one of the grates that
covered a heating duct, and Quick Kick removed the inner bolts from
the frame. Tunnel rat pulled himself out of the small opening and
stood to stretch.
Lady Jaye regarded the
small hole. How did you get through that? she asked
Tunnel Rat gave her a
wide smile. Piece of cake, he replied.
Lets go get
Alpine, Quick Kick suggested.
They headed toward the
roof, avoiding the stairs and hallways that had working cameras.
They had spent a fair amount of time planning their routes, and the
only cameras they passed now were shut off.
Alpine was waiting on
the far side of the roof door. He gave them a wide smile and
finished re-coiling his climbing rope. Excellent timing, he
said. Perfect night for climbing, too.
Wow, Alpine, you
actually got up here, Tunnel Rat exclaimed, peeking around the
climber to the roof surface. How?
I attached a line to
the radio tower and fastened the other end to the trunk of a tree.
He showed Tunnel Rat the ratcheting pulley-like handles that could
be hooked over a taught line and used to slide up even a steep slope.
The tower is high enough that I went right over the fence and
straight to the roof.
Quick Kick laughed. I
had the easy way in, I guess.
Not easier than
Gung-Ho will, Alpine retorted. Why does he get to walk in the
You wanted him maybe
to monkey up that rope or fit through a tiny air vent? Quick Kick
The group moved quietly
back down the stairs. They had a few close calls, but none of their
teammates really expected any of them to have made it into the base
yet, and would assume that the alarms would alert them to a break-in
attempt anyway. In years past, most of the mock attackers had waited
until the middle of the night before beginning their assault.
They ducked into a
storage room near the main offices. Ill send Gung-Ho your way
and then get Duke out of his office. You can download your files,
and when he gets back, itll be done, Lady Jaye told the others.
They settled in to wait, and she closed the door again behind her.
She strode openly
through the base now, not needing to hide the presence of the others.
She headed out to the front entrance again, finding Mutt just where
he had been before. He saw her approach, and stood a little
straighter as she neared his post.
Junkyard. The dog waved his tail and jumped, but she stepped
back, frowning down at the animal just as Beach Head would have.
Take a break, guys. Ive got a sneaking suspicion someones
gonna be heading this way soon, and I wanna be here to greet em.
She gave a wicked smile that showed through the fabric of the
Mutt pulled on
Junkyards leash, and the dog sat, tongue lolling. Cmon,
Junk, Mutt said happily. I wont say no to a little time in
front of the TV. Junkyard looked from his master to Lady Jaye,
but obediently followed Mutt back into the base.
Within moments, Gung-Ho
walked up to the fence, and Lady Jaye let him in. He gave her a grin
and said, Ya know, that was way too easy. I feel like Im
Lady Jaye shrugged a
reply. I could just as easily be Zartan, she said. And he
could just as easily let in Cobra soldiers. But if it makes you feel
any better, you can go back out the gate and get in some other way.
Gung-Ho considered her
offer, looking out into the now dark night. Eh, Id have to
find a way in that doesnt involve going over or under the fence.
No, thanks. This Cajun will take the easy way this time around.
They traced her earlier
path back to the storage room, and the others greeted Gung-Ho with
wide smiles. It was almost done. Not only would they be the first
group to get in, but they would also make it a hard time to beat next
Lady Jaye took a deep
breath and moved into the hall. Three doors down was Dukes
office. They had decided that it would be easiest for the rest of
them to gather there to download their files, but it meant that she
had to get Duke out first. And keep him out long enough for them to
She knocked on the door
and entered at Dukes weary reply. Lady Jaye stood at attention,
but Duke had his eye on the folders in front of him and didnt even
look up. What is it now, Beach Head?
She cleared her throat.
Sir, some of the cameras arent working properly, and Mainframe
claims they were alright earlier. Id like you to go to the
control room with me and look things over.
Duke sighed. Cant
you take care of it?
No, sir. The
computer wants a higher passcode than mine.
Duke finally looked up.
Fine, Ill go. But I dont want you bugging me all night,
okay? I have work to do.
Lady Jaye nodded,
letting Duke lead the way into the hall. Just before the door
closed, she slipped a piece of tape from his desk over the latch,
making sure it wouldnt lock behind them. She copied Beach Heads
long, arrogant stride as she caught up to Duke, letting her boot
steps fall heavily on the tiled floor. They reached the control
room, which was now occupied by both Mainframe and Flint. Lady Jaye
stood behind Duke, not wanting Flint to get a good look at her.
Mainframe, is there
a problem with the cameras? Duke asked, stepping up behind the
Mainframe replied. But I didnt want to bother you, so I got
Flint to put in a passcode.
Duke gave Lady Jaye a
glare, and she shrugged a nonchalant reply. Before Duke could begin
his scolding, the sound of a very, very angry drill instructor could
be heard coming down the hallway.