5 A.M. - Jay stopped the flower delivery van in front of the main door of the apartment building.
"He just left," Jane's voice reported through the Nextel.
Jay waited until he saw a man leave the apartment building. "Confirmed," he radioed back to Jane. He turned off the truck and motioned to the man sitting next to him to follow him into the back.
"This is a standard retrieval," Jay informed his team as they crowed into the back of the van. He held up a picture for the others to see. "Amber Marie Greenhouse. Aka.- Melody Richards"
"The singer?" Jake asked.
Jay checked the information before him. "It does say here she sings in a local band. Why? Do you know her?"
"No sir, not personally. But my kids are always playing their music around the house."
John jabbed an elbow at Jake. "Be sure to get them an autograph!"
"Yeah. Right," Jake replied sarcastically with a grin as the team chuckled at the joke until Jay silenced them.
"We only have fifteen minutes until the superintendent returns," Jay reminded them. He held up the picture again. "Picture is three years out of date. Subject is currently 18 years old."
"Powers?" Jeff asked.
"Unknown," Jay replied. "The Shop isn't certain she has actually developed any. If she has powers, she has not been active with them. But both her parents were involved in original experiments, so there is high potential. This is precautionary on the Shop's part." He indicated the dart guns on the floor. "Remember, shoot first. Keep her under. They do the testing. If she's clean we bring her back safe and sound, and none the wiser."
The three other men nodded. Each picked up a gun, a vase full of flowers, and tucked his gun into his bouquet. Jay opened the back doors to the truck and the three filed out. Jay followed with a stuffed animal and electronic delivery signature pad. At just after five in the morning there were only a few people out, and the occasional car driving by on the street. But with both 75 and 696 only yards away there were still plenty of opportunities for curious eyes to see too much.
Jake lingered behind the other three only long enough to say a quick prayer the others wouldn't hear. "Please be normal," he whispered to above.
Jay went to the keypad next to the building's door and dialed the superintendent's number. When Jane answered, he said "Flower delivery." A moment later the doors buzzed to indicate they were unlocked.
Once inside, the four quickly made their way to the third floor. Outside of Melody's apartment they put down their deliveries, but otherwise hesitated.
"Sounds like there's a party going on in there," John commented.
The team looked to Jay, who cursed softly. "Only one way to find out I suppose." He turned towards the door, and knocked on it. On getting no response, he knocked louder. He tried a third time by kicking the door. Finally he turned back towards the team. "Move in. Be careful
The three nodded, and retrieved their dart guns. Jay pulled out a standard, deadly gun. All four pulled cloth masks over their heads. Jay turned back to the door, and shrugged. With all the noise, no one elsewhere in the building would hear the door being broken down. He stepped back, and kicked forcefully at the deadbolt. On the second try the door frame gave way and the door swung open.
The team hurried inside, careful to not be aiming in a direction that could have someone in it. They were greeted by the abrupt silencing of the party, as expected, but also quite surprisingly by an empty room! The four exchanged confused glances. Jay motioned for them to start searching. Jake checked the window, to see if anyone had tried to escape. Jeff checked the only closed door leading out of the room, and found a closet. John headed for the open door to another room, but didn't quite make it before a woman stumbled out.
She was rubbing one eye and trying to look around, apparently confused, and clearly having just been woken up.
"What is-" was all she got out before a dart from John's gun caught her in the upper torso. She opened her eyes wide in surprise as she looked down at the thing protruding from her chest. "Huh?" was her last statement before she started to slump over. John managed to catch her, and helped her gently to the floor.
John turned towards Jay. "She startled me."
Jay waved it off. "She's likely the target."
"Can we be sure?" Jeff asked.
John popped his head into the other room, then back out. "There's no one else here."
Jay held the picture next to the woman. "It could be her."
"It could also not," Jeff pointed out.
"Guys?" Jake tried to get the attention of the team.
"We don't need to be sure," John replied to Jeff.
"But we should be," Jeff retorted.
"Guys!" Jake raised his voice so they would pay attention.
"What is it?" Jay asked.
Jake titled his head slightly. "Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Jay asked.
"Yes," they all replied.
"So?" John asked.
"So," Jake answered, "were is it coming from?"
"The radio," John said, pointing towards the stereo system next to the window.
Jake held up the end of a power cord. "Noooo."
"Batteries?" Jeff ventured.
"I'm standing right here!" Jake said as he threw down the cord. "It's NOT the radio."
Jay started looking around. "It's definitely coming from inside the apartment." With that, the whole team began looking and listening around. But Jay quickly honed in on the source. "It's her," he said.
Both he and John jumped away, training their guns on her. "She should be out cold," John said.
"That doesn't mean she is," Jeff replied.
Carefully, John moved toward the woman to check her while the others waited ready to act at even the slightest movement. First John just touched her shoulder. Then he checked for a pulse. Next he gave her a shake. Finally he checked her eyes. "She's out," he confirmed. He looked up at Jeff. "Satisfied she's the target?"
Jeff looked to Jay as music continued to waft around the room. "That's just freaky."
"Come on," Jay ordered. He put his gun away and picked up Melody in a cradle carry.
Being the last one out, Jake closed the door, not that it would latch. The group then headed down the stairs, as they were faster than the elevator.
After they were all piled into the van and Jeff started to drive away, Jake looked around. "Next time perhaps we should try being paramedics. You know, less weird for the way out."
"Oh hell yeah," John seconded the suggestion. "Ambulance and all!"
Jay shook his head softly with a grin. "We'll see."
Labels: Melody, RP