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Chapter Text

Another day at the office, Tess thought, as she moved in search of a way out, just another day at some shady corporate office, filled with trigger happy employees...

The infiltration into the skyscraper had taken longer than she had anticipated, due to what she suspected was faulty intelligence that was provided from the very start. More guards, more drones, and the lack of wriggle room to move undetected, resulted in Tess eventually being found, with fatal consequences for her initial pursuers. Their blood still clung to her bodysuit, much to Tess' annoyance.

... And I just had this cleaned.

Pistol raised in one hand, and the data drive she was tasked to acquire in the other, she jogged as quietly as she could through darkened hallways, while an alarm continued to sound in the background. Her senses were keen, her eyes made the most of what little light there was coming through the tinted windows of the 32nd floor. She felt prepared, ready to fire at anything that ran at her with a stun baton or rifle. Yet all of a sudden, something moving that didn't have legs caught her attention; a drone, scanning through all the windows of her hallway with a sweeping laser grid. It hadn't seen her yet, but it was only a few windows away as it continued to speed its way towards her!

Without another thought, Tess darts over to the corner of an archway beside a window, tucking in her arms and legs as close as she could to narrowly avoid the lasers that angle past her. The drone flies on by, with no sign of it slowing down, judging by the sound of its high pitched rotors. A sigh of relief is breathed by the quick-thinking spy, but it is short lived when the light strips of her hallway come back to life, as corporate security guards suddenly appear from where Tess had come from. Laser sights fill the area, with Tess in full view of them!

"There she is!!"

The guards raise their rifles to shoot, but Tess is quicker on the draw. She unloads a volley of bullets while launching into a run to get clear of the hallway, forcing the guards to duck from the oncoming bullets. This however has little effect on the drone from moments earlier, which was now racing back along the windows with a deployed turret.

Door! Right!

Knowing that she'd be in the drone's direct line of fire within seconds, Tess fires a bullet into a nearby office door that was made of glass, and immediately dives through it with an arm held up to shield her face. She completes a combat roll to smooth out her landing, just as a burst of pellets whizz on by, narrowly missing Tess' head. Plaster dust hangs in the air, as Tess crawls for cover by a photocopier, past a wall that was now littered with holes. Out of sight for the time being, she takes in her surroundings.

Well... can't say a desk job in a cubicle would be more exciting than this.

It was a large space with a low ceiling, filled to the brim with black office cubicles that were lit by blue light strips over their top edges; all quite boring to Tess' eye. The only thing that did catch her attention, was another exit that was 20 metres in front of her, that was in the line of sight of the door she just smashed through. Shouting could be heard from outside, along with the unmistakable noise of the drone that was coming in through smashed windows.

Surmising that the guards would let the drone take point, Tess crouch rolls over into a cubicle aisle, and grabs a nearby swivel chair. She waits calmly for the correct time to enact what was a distraction plan, which comes moments after she is ready, with the arrival of her mechanized pursuer. She pushes the chair in a open direction away from her, coursing the drone to angle its sensors and turret to track the rolling object, which gives Tess the needed window to lie out of cover to shoot the machine. She empties her remaining magazine in doing so, leaving the rotor disabled drone to crash into a pile of files in a fit of sparks.

Leaning back against a cubicle, she reloads, pulling a fresh magazine out of her jacket with a smile on her face. Slider shut, she dares another peek at the smashed doorway, noting that the drone she brought down was well and truly offline. Ahead, the exit remained clear, which she then starts to move for at a hunched-over run through the cubicles. The guards from behind wouldn't stay content for long with their toy shut down, but neither would the three guards that suddenly came bursting in from the exit! The spy stops in her tracks, not a few metres from the new targets that had just entered the room; she was about to be found! Acting first, she lurches up and out of concealment to lock an arm around one guard's throat, to hold her as a body shield, before effortlessly plugging two shots into each of the remaining guards.

"I wouldn't," muttered Tess, pressing her pistol's hot muzzle against the jaw of her new hostage.

Having dropped her rifle, the guard had attempted to reach for her stun baton, but now she was forced to keep her hands raised, in the face of guards from the other side who were piling into the room.

"Now now boys and girls, let's not do anything rash. May I have one person collect all your weapons, to throw them out the window back there?"

The guards froze, remaining actionless in the face of a calm killer. Tess tilts her head, before pressing the pistol harder into her hostage.

"... Th-throw 'em... god damn it, throw them out!!" cried out the helpless guard.

Reluctantly, one of the guards step forward to collect all their rifles and stun batons, before throwing their pile of gear out of the 32nd floor. Tess keeps a close eye on the disposer through the smashed doorway, to ensure he wouldn't try anything funny.

"Good, now I'm sure you would all like to receive your paychecks after all this is over, so why don't you folks touch that wall over there."

Looking to each other, the guards give mixed expressions of anger and fear at what this striking spy was ordering them to do. Before long, five guards in total comply with hands against the opposite wall.

"Very good. Step this way if you'd be so kind," said Tess to her now mortified hostage.
"Blonde bitch!!" shouted one of the wall huggers, "you can't take all of us!!"
"Oh don't worry, I'm only taking this one."

The pair of late night workers shuffle back out the door behind them.

"Close the door."

The hostage closes the door. Tess holsters her pistol.

"Wh-What are you... what are you going to..."
"Shhh. It's alright. You did good."

And without sparing the guard another thought, Tess pecks the woman's right ear before zapping her in the back with her own baton, leaving her unconscious on the floor.

Not a bad bit of kit.

Satisfied at the electric jolt that was administered, Tess goes ahead to also holster the baton as a souvenir.

Data drive still in hand, she sprints off again along the slickly designed hallways of her floor, meeting no further resistance as she went. She soon finds the reception area that housed the lifts, which she mashes the controls off to call up a ride. She snoops about the receptionist's desk while she waits, as the good spy she was, until a lift carriage arrives for her to board, bringing with it the sounds of its own genre of music.

Ugh, as soon as I'm out of this place...

She shook her head, as her mind drifted into thinking about the first thing she was going to say to the intelligence department about her package, before she moved on to consider how she still managed to pull off her assignment with the added inconveniences. To date, this undoubtedly was Tess' biggest grab, which was enough of a reason to still smile. Yet in her moment of daydreaming, what wasn't reason to smile, was how the lift suddenly stopped around the 14th floor, ahead of where she needed to be; the spy wasn't clear yet.

Ah... guess I could use the extra exercise.

While the surveillance team behind the elevator's one camera were quick to spot Tess, it wasn't that big of a dent in her plan. Best case scenario; ride straight down to around the 8th floor to access ventilation ducts. Worst case scenario; the same as the best case, except with more climbing.

Tess gives a small wave to the camera above her, as she reaches for her stun baton to short out the camera, before turning back to examine the ceiling. Hooking the data drive to a hip belt, she then hops up onto two railings lining the carriage, to then push at a panel that opened to the lift shaft. She pulls herself up and closes the hatch, leaving behind the pleasant elevator melodies.

Climb down fifteen floors, go for a hot shower. No pressure.

She scans her surroundings, looking for a structural part of the shaft that she could use to travel down, before she eventually settles on a vertical steel beam and a wall corner. Back braced against concrete, and feet against metal, Tess carefully begins to slide her way down past the lift carriage, with the aid of Gecko Tape that was laced in her gloves. She soon comes across a horizontal steel beam as an obstruction on the 12th floor, which she hangs off from while repositioning her back against the wall corner to continue sliding. Confused voices at one point could be heard from the carriage Tess abandoned, as she continued her pattern of movement over every level, until finally, she arrived at the 8th floor. She hugs the wall while balancing on a horizontal beam, with fatigue apparent in her legs. Sitting down, Tess scoots over to the small mesh of metal that hid the crucial air duct, and opens it with a creak. A spinning fan lies within to block her route down to the basement, which Tess responds too with another jab of the increasingly useful baton.

Baton - 3... Security - 0.

Fan disabled with last bit of juice from the baton, she enters the vent feet first, before closing the grate behind her, to then descend another nine floors. By which time, in reaching what Tess could assume was a damp utilities room, she was starting to feel the burn in her muscles. She panted for air, in the musty confines of her vent, near a grate that was hidden behind lots of piping.

Ok Tess... stay focused... they might be checking down here.

Slowly opening the grate with a drawn pistol, she hears nothing but the hum of vibrating pipes. But on the other side of the underground room, was a door that was suspiciously wide open, which gave Tess course to listen harder; her instincts win through. Before long, footsteps came into range from the corridor beyond, along with light rays that was being flicked around from a torch. They were getting closer, prompting Tess to find some cover behind a small pillar away from the vent which she leaves open. Seconds later, a lone guard enters the room, who is quick to spot the unsealed vent. He stands still, taking in what he sees, before reaching for his radio.

Oh no you don't mister!

Not willing to have her presence compromised any further, Tess jumps out of hiding to subdue the guard, opting to simply use her hands to keep things quiet. She grabs the guard's left arm with one hand, and the front of his neck with the other, before bringing a foot into the guard's left knee. It twists out of place, coursing him to falter onto his good knee, allowing Tess to guide her target's head into a nearby pipe to knock him out cold. Attack slickly executed, she steps back to observe and confirm that her target was indeed down for the count in a puddle of water.

Hope he's the only one.

Turning to the corridor, she could sense that the final exit was nearby from what she memorized with the floor plans, but she didn't let her excitement get in the way of the potential for more resistance. Fortunately, her hope holds true, as she finally finds the staircase leading to the ground floor, and the service corridor leading to a small side street. Taking in the cold night, she could see to her left the massive cityscape that lit up the sky, and to her right, a homeless man that was giving her a rather quizzical look.

"Evening," Tess coolly remarked, readjusting her jacket before walking off to find her motorbike that was parked on the main street.

Hot shower, here I come...

Mission Accomplished.