RECAP: John and Jasper, brothers, are robbing a bank. John, the older of the two, can melt metal with his hands and Jasper has enhanced technopathy enabling him to manipulate and connect with electronics with only his mind. They’re both Modifies, humans who’ve had their powers unlocked for them. One of the bank hostages also has an ability; she’s turned herself into smoke.
“She just told the zero operator she escaped a bank robbery… f—“ Jasper let out an exaggerated sigh, “she told ‘em there were hostages.” He pulled back his mind from the 000 operator’s phone servers and opened his eyes. “How much longer?”
“I’ve got,” John paused grunting while climbing the vault door handle to the top, “one more pin. I need about five minutes to get this done then we open.”
Not two minutes had passed before the sound of sirens could be heard echoing through the empty lobby and bouncing with a muffled tone through the long narrow hallway into the vault room.
“The cops are outside—“
“No shit,” retorted John still working on his second to last door pin.
“Anyway,” continued Jasper. “I see about 11 marked cars and a tactical group is set up in a few spots.”
“A tactical response group- think SWAT,” said Jasper.
“Well stall ‘em, this is almost done. Do what you’re good at have fun with them electrons or somethin’.”
Jasper closed his eyes to watch as the streets outside the bank were being cordoned off and the public being ushered away. He moved the cameras to find that more tactical teams were across the street setting up above the corner 7-11 and a Panini bar. Kitty Corner to them, atop the Aboriginal Art Museum, was another clad-black sniper team.
A metro train was stopped; used as a police barrier along the north side of the building. Jasper cerebrally navigated hundreds of miles of Ethernet cables to the servers of Metro Trains Melbourne’s office to find that it was train number 13 that was paused just outside the building. Hmm, my lucky number, he thought.
Un-pausing the train he increased its power full ahead. The metal and fiberglass train and its five rail cars slowly started moving west becoming a makeshift bulldozer. The sound of scraping metal and glass shattering filled the air as police cars in its path were crushed and moved about. And that’s why we don’t park on train tracks, thought Jasper, apparently pleased with himself. He stopped the train about one-hundred meters down the track, just enough to cut the road.
With mayhem abound he moved onto the Victoria Police dispatch office’s computer array, found a local machine and downloaded Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” a song that he couldn’t help but sing when hearing it. Jasper proceeded to lock out the dispatchers from their computers, the IT department from theirs and routed the Def Leppard ballad to play through every channel the police force used. Through the video feed, he watched bystanders begin dancing and police scrambling to shut off their radios. He made one last sweep of the tactical team positions and noticed they weren’t affected. No matter, they were well out-of-the-way of any sniper fire in the vault room.
Jasper walked his mind back to the vault room as John finished melting the last of the four bolts. John’s arms, chest, and face were covered in black soot, and the smell in the room was acrid with the metallic vapors of metals that were not meant to the melted together.
“You might not burn John, but I doubt those lungs of yours will stand this crap much longer,” he said slightly wincing. He opened up John’s bag took out a bottle of water and towel. John took them without a word and poured some water onto the towel then wiped his face and hands. He continued cleaning as he spoke, “That thing wasn’t that bad. I almost melted the one on the upper one too quickly, that would have sucked to go through the top by that hinge.” John took a swig of his water while pointing then grabbed a second towel to clean what he could. He continued, “Should be good to go through, how’s it looking outside?”
Jasper told him what he’d seen and about the train the radios. All John could do was crack a slight smile and finished with a “Wise-ass.”
After putting his shirt back on John said, “Seeing as they haven’t called us yet, and we have hostages and all, we may as well get this done. You ready to open it?”
“Sure!“ the younger brother answered, “Let me send a quick message to Doc to standby.”
John finished tucking in his worn plaid logger’s shirt and ran his hands through his wavy graying hair before bending over to pick up a crowbar from the greasy leather bag. “Has he sent you the box number yet?” he asked walking to the side of the safe and placing the crowbar into the quarter-inch gap behind the door lip.
“Not yet,” said Jasper standing up. “You need a hand there?”
John was working the bar with the curved end inserted into the crack, “No- give me a minute.” John put the bar down and rolled up his right shirt sleeve before putting his arm back into the hole at the right of the vault. He felt around for a moment, “Got it!” A dull clanking sound could be heard inside the door. He back his arm out and placed the bar back into the crack. “Sometimes I wish it wasn’t just my hands that could do this. It would have been a lot easier to just, you know, walk through the door,” he spoke aloud.
“I’ve said it before John, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” said his little brother Jasper.
“Yes you have,” said John.
Putting the bar back into the small crack he was now able to pry the door with just a little effort; the spring loaded hinges helped do the rest. The door opened about five-inches before he threw the bar behind him and motioned for his brother to come help. John positioned himself to push the door while Jasper curled his hulking fingers around the edge to pull. With only a few seconds of effort, the door was open enough for the two men to walk in.
“Do you think he’s really a doctor?” said Jasper.
John turned with pursed lips in confusion then let them settle. “Oh, you mean him,” he answered. “Haven’t a clue. Nor do I care as long as the check don’t bounce.”
“Fair enough,” said Jasper genuinely pleased with the answer.
The two looked around the vault taking in the sight. It was a reasonably sterile room; about 20 feet deep and 10 feet wide with a thin standing table at the center. Hundreds of little doors lined the three walls as they awaited further instructions.
“Well, while we’re here we may as well have a look around,” said Jasper, “you mind opening this one up for me?” Jasper was pointing at a rectangular box cover with the number 40 on it.
“Sure,” answered John walking over to the box. He placed his right index and middle finger on the side by side keyholes. As his two fingers began to glow, he sunk them in as deep as they would go. Within a few seconds, he had the door open and walked away.
“Hmm, well, we got an antique pistol and some papers,” said Jasper in a bored voice as he pulled out an old wooden handled revolver and a large envelope. “Not really what we need.” He went to number 17 and asked John to do the same thing while he checked his email.
“I got it,” said Jasper opened his eye to see John pulling out a wooden box from the deposit box he just opened. “Not really your style,” he said to John as he was removing a diamond and ruby necklace from the box.
“Perhaps not,” replied John.
“Ok, box fifty-three,” said with his eyes closed again. “And- and be careful not to burn the papers inside,” he said opening his eyes and seeing the look of disdain on John’s face. “I didn’t say that. He did,” replying to the look with a shrug.
John shook his head as he followed the numbered boxes to the back wall third row from the top, the fourth box from the left. “I’ll have it opened in a sec.” He went to work melting the two locks with ease and removed a weighty elongated metal case with a horizontal keypad along with the side.
“Stop!” shouted Jasper.
“He said not to melt the lock on that container. You’ll damage the papers inside.”
“How did he know I was-”
“He knows what you were thinking,” interrupted Jasper. “He’s in my head now.”
So he’s telepathic? thought John.
“He said to tell you ‘yes,’” Jasper blurted. “The code is 8-1-4-2-3. Keep pressing the last number until you feel it click. Then hand it to me.”
John, now a little wary of their employer, placed the case on the table and did as he was asked. Entering the numbers, he then held the last one for about four seconds before one end clicked out. Once opened he pulled the case apart to reveal an envelope inside the one-inch thick steel case before handing it over to his brother.
“I need to transcribe these papers to a server,” said Jasper. “Should be just a few minutes.”
John just stared at his brother for a moment before his eyes rolled back momentarily saying, “I’m going for a walkabout, aight?”
“Since when do you- never-mind. I’ll be out in a few,” said Jasper turning back to the table opening the envelope to thumb through the papers. His brother walked out of the vault as Jasper began reading the documents to himself. Unfortunately, he couldn’t just look at the papers to copy them and be taking a photo was too insecure. Through his mental link, he was able to maintain end-to-end encryption with his and the contact’s server. It took a little more than ten minutes to read the five pages.
The first was a document listing several black-sites for various governments’ gene modification enforcement agencies and departments along with their location, owning government, and country clearance procedures. Some of them Jasper knew about, others were a surprise. Ireland, Paraguay, North Korea? he thought. Those were ones are new. The next three pages were account numbers of some sort. He wasn’t sure who the money belonged to, but he could tell there were six main account holders coded in numbers and about 64 accounts in total. These three pages took the longest to transcribe as he read each letter and number combination of the accounts. The last page was a list of directors around the world and personal contact numbers for each. This last paged seemed a little out of place, he’d never heard of any of these people nor did their cell phones mean much to him. Nonetheless, he read it all to move the information.
Upload complete, he thought, passing along the message to their contact, the Doctor. As he did this, he folded papers and put them into his coat pocket. Understood, burning the papers now, he told his contact. Jasper, leaving the documents in his jacket, walked out of the vault. “We’re done here, time to go, John.”
John didn’t respond. Jasper walked to the front of his brother who merely stood there looking into the hallway to the exit. “Hey, John,” said Jasper with worry. “John? Man, you should have worn a mask.”
“You should have left the papers Mr. Rain,” said John in a slightly lower voice, not of his own. He turned his head to look Jasper in the eyes, but wasn’t really looking at him, but instead, through. “I told you to burn the papers. I won’t tolerate insubordination.”
Jasper stammered but wasn’t able to talk while stepping backward away from his possessed brother. “Who… who are you? Who’s doing this to you, John?” Jasper was sure this was a mind-walker, someone who could enter and control the mind and body of another, he didn’t know any personally though. “What do you want!?” said.
“So many questions Mr. Rain. However, no need for answers, you’ve proved to be a rather disappointment today. All you had to do was listen, and you’d be on your way to the airport right now,” said the person using John as a medium. “Instead,” John’s hands quickly grabbed his brother, “we’ll have to end this relationship now. I have things to do. Say goodbye John,” said the voice through John’s mouth.
“Goodbye!” said a mocking high-pitched voice out of John’s mouth.
“NO!” screamed Jasper as John placed his hands on either side of his brother’s head. He didn’t hesitate to bring his hands to a metal melting temperature instantly dissolving his brother’s curly black hair. Jasper screamed in absolute agony while John continued do disintegrate his head until his hands were touching one another at center. Jasper’s body fell to the ground. The smell of burning flesh, brain, bone, and hair permeated the room. The screaming only lasted about three seconds but John, though unable to stop his brother’s killing, could still hear the screams. He then bent down removing the papers from his dead brother’s pocket and immediately incinerating them to ash.
John remained frozen just after the paper burned, but not on his own accord. In his mind he heard a voice, Mr. Rain, I’m going to let your body back under your control in a moment. However, before I do, I need you first understand that I will not tolerate disobedience in my organization. Though you were not part of our plans, you have finished the job as requested. So, I offer you this, let me help you escape, and I’ll call upon you another day. Or, you can figure it out on your own, and we’ll consider this ‘relationship’ over, your choice. I now release you.
And with those last words, John was himself. It took him only moments to see what he’d done to his brother as Jasper lay upon the floor. He still heard the screams in his head. Looking at his hands, he could only mutter, “I’m, I’m sorry Jes.”
The clock is ticking Mr. Rain, came the voice in his head, as if he were standing right next to him. Shall I help you, or are you to fend for yourself?
John quickly regained his composure. Wiping his runny nose and tears from his face, he exited the vault room to the teller windows to look out unto the street. It was all blocked off with cars, cops, and crowds of people. He backed into the room and ran his blood-crusted hands through his hair. “Get me the hell out of here!” said John forcefully.
That’s a good choice Mr. Rain. Now, walk over to the manager’s office and sit in his chair, upright, with your hands in your lap, please.
John took one last look at his brother and walked to the office that sat next to the vault. He pulled the chair out from under the desk and sat with fingers interlaced into one another on his lap.
It looks like you’ve been spotted. Disregard that red dot on you’re chest and please try to relax. This will feel a little weird, came the voice.
Indeed it felt weird. John began to get the sensation of insects, spiders to be exact, hundreds of them, crawling all over his body at the same time. His bones instantly began to ache, and his vision and hearing went blank. Not black, just paused. Within seconds of the first feeling, John was teleported from the bank manager’s office in Melbourne, Australia to plush seat aboard a private jet. The sense of spiders subsided, and his vision and hearing returned. When he “awoke” he sat across from a woman with her black hair pulled back into a tight ponytail and wearing a blue v-neck t-shirt under a light black jacket. She wore loose blue jeans and flip-flop sandals. As his eyes focused on her and his surroundings, she took it as her cue to ask, “Are you Mr. Rain? John Rain?” Her voice was soft with a light British accent.
He blinked a few times trying to process the six words he was just asked. She was just about to ask again when he held up his hand. “Yes,” he replied, “Where am I and-” he paused to look around and saw nobody else in the small cabin, “and who are you?”
“We are flying at 33,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean and will be landing in Reykjavik in about an hour. I, well, you can call me Cindy,” said Cindy.
“Reykjavik? As in Iceland?” he asked as he tried to stand up. “Well Cindy if you don’t mind, I’m going to-” his statement was cut short as he was pulled back into his seat. “Ow! What the hell was that?” he asked after felling pinch on the side of his left arm.
“That’s my brother Philip,” she said pointing at the blond man holding John in his seat. “And that,” she paused pointing at his arm, “is to ensure my safety.”
Still fresh in his mind, John slurred before falling into a drug-induced sleep, “Whooo, who killed Jaspa…”
“Why, don’t you remember John? You did,” she replied coldly to a completely unconscious John Rain.