Monday, June 22, 2009

Heist, Part Two

Picking up where we left off, as cat burglar Amanda Delacourt plans her latest caper...

She pulled out a heavy black glove and pressed her hand up against the surface of the wall; it sizzled and popped slightly as she touched it, but the insulation protected her from the lethal current running through micro-filament wires baked into the red brick. She rolled her eyes heavenward—or, more precisely, she rolled her eyes up towards the expanse of space above the small planetoid, which Dame Abigail Marsten had bought and gotten towed into a custom orbit around an otherwise barren solar system, then expensively terraformed for the express purpose of holding parties at. It almost made Amanda want to laugh. She went to all the expense of making a planet of her very own, she had more money than the total GNP of some entire solar systems, she was obsessed with holding onto her valuables to the point of spending astronomical sums to keep them, and the best she could do was a glorified electric fence? It was an insult, that’s what it was. Amanda applied a slight amount of pressure to the ring finger of the glove, activating a feedback surge that blew out the generator supplying power to the wall. Clearly, Dame Abigail deserved to lose the Styrax Medallion.

Which wasn’t to say that Amanda deserved to have it. As she pulled off the feedback gauntlet and slipped on a pair of gravity induction gloves, she admitted freely to herself that she didn’t even want the silly thing. A lump of pure gold the size of a clenched fist, studded with rare gems around the periphery and a diamond the size of an eyeball at the center—really, who would want something like that? No, she was in this simply for the challenge. She wanted to steal it, she thought proudly as she climbed effortlessly up the wall, simply to prove that it could be stolen. She reached the top of the wall and swung herself up onto it, then checked to see if her breathing filters were in place. Having done so, she dropped a small glass phial to the ground. It shattered, releasing a nano-atomically engineered chemical essence derived from hot peppers; the chemical, on releasing, immediately began spreading to cover the widest possible area in search of living beings, just as it was programmed to do. Dogs…honestly, what did they think she was, an amateur?

Amanda walked briskly through the grounds, ignoring the occasional strangled yelp of a German Shepard and the not entirely dissimilar yelp of a human being who’d gotten sentient pepper spray up his nose, and headed to a set of sliding glass doors in the west wing of the mansion. They weren’t actually glass, of course—Dame Abigail had spent far too much on security to put glass in her glass doors. No, these doors were made of transparisteel, specially hardened and able to resist .50 calibre machine-gun fire. Amanda knew just by looking at them that she wouldn’t be able to force her way in.

Luckily, she wasn’t interested in trying. As she kneeled down by the lock and pulled out a set of micro-manipulators, she mused on the common assumption among the law-abiding; they always seemed to think, for some impenetrable reason, that the successful criminal was some sort of jumped-up thug with a crowbar and big arm muscles who liked to smash things. Whereas in fact, that description fit far better the unsuccessful criminal, the kind who got caught because breaking glass and twisting metal always made loud, attention-attracting sounds. Successful criminals, she thought modestly, like the one currently and gently convincing the tiny computer in the locking mechanism that emergency evacuation protocols had been enacted and the door needed to unlock itself so that the inhabitants could leave, were the sort who weren’t violent at all, and finessed their way into things.

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