Nobody paid attention to the two men walking into Commonly Bank’s tall glass building in the middle of Melbourne save for a few people at the door walking out. The lobby on the ground floor had recently been redecorated with faux dark wood and modern looking seating areas trying to look retro. The bank was spacious, occupying a third of the building’s footprint which itself was nearly an entire half block square. The lobby area, lined with maroon and yellow carpet, was big enough to put an average two-story home within. The bank wasn’t the largest in the city, but it was unique for its clientele. It was known within a small crowd that four people within this building of four-thousand-five-hundred understood the true nature of the bank’s dealings.
The first man, the older of the two, stood just inside the entrance waiting for the last customer to leave. With the door closed behind them, he casually bent to touch the metal base of the glass door where it met the worn metal foot plate. He stood, glanced at his companion and gave the nod. They walked with purpose to the far left of the six teller windows to a steel reinforced door. The older gentleman placed his hands, one on the doorknob the other on the oversized deadbolt, and turned them to steaming liquid metal with ease leaving only a caustic smell of burnt metal to linger. He nudged the door with his shoulder causing entire lobby to fill with a horrible metal on metal screech.
Walking through the door, they stopped in front of a camera that was pointed at the entrance. The older one look at the other, then to the camera, then back. The younger man nodded once with raised eyebrows and closed his eyes for a few seconds while the other one watched for problems.
“Hey! You- you can’t be back here!” shouted a tall man wearing your average black business suite—average for a bank worker. His gold and black name tag read Ethan and Bank Manager, 2009-2013 below that. He walked up to the two men with his head falsely held high, seeing they were not visually armed, and reached out to push the older one back but was met with a grab of his wrist and a slight twist. “Ow!” howled Ethan.
“Ohh, I wouldn’t touch him if I were you,” said Jasper, the younger one, a hint of taunting in his voice.
The man used his free left hand to try and push back again. He was greeted with the grabbing of this wrist too. Jasper gave an exaggerated sigh through his nose before the man screamed in pain.
The older of the two men, John, heated up both of his hands, only slightly, burning Ethan’s wrists to the point of blistering. The manager started breathing heavy, in obvious pain, eyes darting back and forth between the two men before him.
Jasper placed his finger to his lips, “Shhhh… Now, I did try to warn you.” He looked around the area behind the teller windows using his finger to count the sets of eyes that were now staring at him. “I see we have all nine of you out here, which makes it easy.” He looked over at his brother John.
“So,” said John looking at the other eight employees, “We’re all heading to the lounge in the back. Ethan here will lead the way. Ethan. Ethan!”
“Wa—What?” stumbled Ethan in a strained voice still wincing at his blistered wrists and chard shirt sleeves before looking up at John.
“Lead your employees to the lounge, Ethan.”
“I know who you are! And the police are on their way,” one of the tellers arrogantly interrupted as if she called them herself.
John quickly looked over at Jasper with a furrowed brow. Jasper shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“Thank you, ma’am; I’m sure they’ll be here any minute to rescue you. Now, Ethan, take the lead,” demanded John.
Wearing a mixed look of terror and pain on his face the manager did as he was told. Nobody spoke as they filed down the short hall and into the room. Once the last of them were in John pulled the metal door closed and touched his finger at the door jamb next to the handle melting the door and the jam together. He tried the door- it didn’t budge. He did the same on the opposite side too; the hinge pins were on the inside, and he didn't want to take any chances of them getting loose too soon.
Walking from the employee lounge, just on the employee side of the teller windows, the two walked to an unmarked door on the other end of the row of teller windows and next to the manager's office.
“I never understood why banks use wireless tech,” said Jasper looking at a teller’s family pictures.
“Yah- me neither?” came John’s expected reply of sarcasm.
The door was locked, for only a moment, as Jasper touched the keypad with his index finger for a few seconds before it clicked. Unlocked.
“I could have opened that for you,” said John.
“Yes, you could have,” Jasper replied as he pulled open the door. “But if you had melted the locks-”
“We couldn’t have locked it behind us,” John finished as they walked down the hall together.
Thirty-five feet, and slight decline later, John and Jasper Rain were standing in front of a massive round steel door beneath the Commonly Bank’s 35 story building. John walked up to it, Not as sexy as that Goldfinger one, but it’ll do, thought John. The brothers did their customary homework on this job only to find that the steel reinforced concrete surrounding the behemoth vault was about two and a half feet thick and they didn’t have the time to go in from the sides. After nearly three days of planning, out of the five they were allotted to complete the job, they decided the most accessible route would be right through the front; one way or the other.
The vault room was nothing fancy and didn’t seem to have received the same decorative attention the lobby recently had. On the forward wall to the left of the vault door was a screen with a keypad and handprint reader with card-swipe below it. The walls to the left and right of the vault door had mid-height tables to stand at with posters for the bank behind inexpensive frames. Looking up, the ceiling had three cameras, two pointing at the vault door and the third at the room entrance. The room was only slightly more extensive than the twelve-foot diameter door. To the rear of the room sat two chairs.
John turned from the vault, “You’re- oh, you’ve already started...” He took a seat next to his brother.
Jasper was sitting back in one of the chairs; his eyes closed concentrating on the surrounding electrical systems. As a Modified, he had the power of enhanced technopathy; the ability to manipulate electronics and machines. Everything, especially in a commercial environment, was connected via some electronic device. With the invent of wireless technologies Jasper’s ability to connect to computer networks was exponentially faster than the days of doing so through power connections and corded phone lines. He wound he thoughts over an unencrypted wireless signal that was hardwired to the bank’s system. The router was previously encrypted, however, as the two brothers walked into the bank he started his work shutting down the bank’s security features and phone lines, killing the cellular signals within the bank, and opening up the weak encryption of their router.
He was currently working on opening up the vault through the network. “This is not going to work John,” Jasper said as he opened his eyes running this hands over is short stubble hair. Looking at his brother, “It does require two people. Both of which are not in the building today. One is in New Zealand and the other in India.”
John moved to the front of the safe door. Crouching down with his elbows on his knees, a scene you’d see in an old western movie- it was just missing the blade of grass in his mouth, he began drumming his fingers together as he looked to the floor. “How many of the twenty-four are engaged?”
“Really? Only four of pins are locked?” he said in disbelief standing to look back to Jasper.
Jasper nodded with a slight smile before putting his head into his hands. “One on each side, centered.”
“Oh-kay, this shouldn’t take too long,” said John with an air of happiness.
John placed his left hand just below center and gave a slight push before pulling back leaving his handprint molded into the metal. He was unbuttoning his shirt when he noticed his brother looking at him.
“What? The shirt?”
“Just wondering what you were doing,” Jasper answered.
“It’s a good shirt, and if this is like that wall I put my arm through when we were in Cape Town, well, I don’t want to burn this shirt too,” he said folding his shirt neatly. “Just keep an eye on the news and cameras, ok?”
Standing to the left of the vault door he placed his hand on the seam of the door and wall and pressed in as if he were trying to push in the wall. Within seconds his hand was superheated turning the hardened steel bright red before is rushed over the top of his hand and arm to the floor as a molten metal ooze. Looking into the super-heated hole, you could see the bones of his hand as the brightness of the hot metal shone through. After only two minutes of push and pull with dripping metal, John’s hand was through the outer layer of the door.
The older of the two brothers, John, was granted his power to melt metal on the same day his younger brother received his power. They weren’t born with these powers like some (the Naturals), their abilities were unlocked (the Modifieds). To date, he hadn’t found a metal he couldn’t turn to liquid. Though his hands were the only part of his body that he was able to focus the power through, the rest of his body was impervious to the effects of heat; be it molten metal or fire. His only wish was that he could find clothes that had the same resistance as he did.
“Nothing on the news yet,” said Jasper opening his eyes. “God-damn it John, where’s your mask?! We can’t have you getting a fever here.”
“I’m fine. You do your part; I’ll do mine.”
Shaking his head at his brother stupidity, Jasper closed his eyes tapping back into the bank’s system. He willed the camera’s in the lobby and the exterior to pan around the area. “Only a handful of customers have tried to get in. And one tried to come down from one of the upper floors through the elevator. Nothing's being reported to the police dispatch yet either. And I’ve taken the liberty of erasing the security footage for the past week.”
John was just removing his arm from the wall. “This pin’s done,” he paused readjusting his body to the floor for the next pin. “This shouldn’t take long.”
He worked his way from one pin to another. Each of the four bolts was five inches of hardened rolled steel, yet, it took John only about five minutes to melt through each one. He’s just gotten to the third one when Jasper broke his concentration.
“Someone upstairs in corporate called in an issue with the bank to the police. So far only one car is en route.”
“They called in a robbery?” John asked.
“No, it was called in as a possible disturbance so—oh shit!” Jasper interrupted himself.
“That gal, the… the Asian teller, the one who said she called the cops. She just turned into smoke and went into a vent,” Jasper said.
John, with his hand still grasping at the innards of the vault door, removed his sooted arm turning to his brother who had his eyes still closed and moving rapidly. Didn’t see that one coming.
“What?” said John.
“What’s what?” said Jasper.
“Um, nothing. I thought you said something.”
Jasper, mentally watching the video feeds within the bank, saw as a group huddled around the bank manager and his wounds. Standing in a corner, seemingly waiting for the right moment, he watched as the gal tensed her body for a quick moment then dissolved into a puff of light-grey smoke and into a vent. Disappeared.
“I’m looking for her John; she’s got to show up somewhere. Finish the vault!”
John, lacking anything to add, shook his head with a stern face and turned back to the oversized door thrusting his hand into the melted gash he’d been working on. Jasper studied the dozens of video feeds throughout the building looking for the smokey-gal. He moved from the internal feeds to the external ones.
“Bingo!” exclaimed Jasper. “She just walked out of the 7-11 across the street. Crap! She’s got a phone.”
“I’m almost there Jas. Just let me know if—”
“Son of a bitch. She’s called the cops,” Jasper interrupted.
This is part of my short web-serial, fiVe. Read the rest of the series here.