Angus knew that he didn’t have long. There were wild daemons wandering all over the town and he wasn’t exactly in the most hidden area. In fact, he was right out front of the compound where their enemies were holed up. He wasn’t worried about discovery by them, the view from inside would be completely obstructed. It was the things outside of the walls he worried about. If one of the daemons spotted him before he was done, he’d have to abandon his project and escape. He prayed that he even could escape if that happened.
He gently pried the faceplate from the intercom system, exposing the electronics behind it. He wasn’t sure how much juice it would take to detonate the half-block of plastic explosives he still had from blowing the wall, but he was pretty sure that the watch he was planning to use as a timer wouldn’t be enough. It might be, but he didn’t want to take the chance. The intercom was hooked into the local power grid though and that would definitely turn the trick.
He pulled a small roll of wire from the side pocket of his cargo pants. People used to make fun of him for the sheer variety of random objects he kept in those easily accessible pockets, but that didn’t bother him. He had a rule: every time he got into a situation where he thought “Hey, you know it would be great if I had one of those or some of that,” he made a mental note to add it to his collection. Many of the items were self explanatory, but a few were more obscure. People might understand that gum could be used as an adhesive, but probably wouldn’t use that as an excuse to carry a random stick with them at all times.
Angus glanced around to make sure nothing was sneaking up on him. Satisfied that he was safe for a few more seconds, he pulled the back from the watch and unrolled him wire. He pulled a Swiss Army style knife out and trimmed the wire down so that he had the sizes of pieces he needed. Luckily, he’d always worn the same kind of watch, so he knew exactly what parts of the circuit did what. He’d used three or four of these for similar purposes in the past and it didn’t take long for him to have a working detonator.
He fed the loose ends of the wires into the small block, hoping that the Russian power supply was reliable. All it would take was a small power surge and it might overload the watch and blow the thing early.
Very carefully, he pressed the block to the very center of the large double doors into the compound. He set the timer for ten minutes and went to the other part of his plan.
He needed not only to open the doors, but also to attract the swarm of daemons to the area. The explosion would almost certain bring them all running, but he wanted to make sure that they were already there and ready to pounce on their keepers when the doors came down. That’s where the mp3 player came in. The speaker he had with him was smaller than a computer mouse, but could put out quite a few decibels when he cranked to volume to max.
It was as he was selecting the right song that he heard a sound behind him. He very slowly turned to see an oversized leopard staring at him. It wasn’t attacking yet, but Angus knew better than to make any sudden movements. He glanced between the large cat and his music machine, gently clicking his way through the songs until he got the one he wanted. He left it muted while he fast forwarded through the track. It was F.O.D., the final song from Green Day’s Dookie album. It had a couple minutes of silence between the song itself and the bonus track that followed it.
Once he’d fast forwarded the song so that there would be no immediate noise, he cranked up the volume and gently set the player down, keeping his eyes on the daemon before him. It still hadn’t moved, just stood and stared. Obviously it was waiting to see what he would do now that he’d noticed it. He would only have a couple minutes before the song started up and drew every daemon to right where he was.
He stayed put for just a few more seconds before he ran. There was no point in staying and waiting any longer. He took off and ran back the way he’d come. The cat was fast, but it was quite a ways behind him. If what the monk had said was true, and it had seemed to be thus far, he would be safe if he could get behind a wall and hide.
* * * * *
Angel was smiling as he watched Angus. The scope on his rifle was very good and he could see exactly what Angus was doing. He saw the sensei stick the bomb to the doors and smiled. “I don’t think they’re going to like that very much.”
“What’s going on?” Prolier asked. His eyes were sharp, but no match for a scope with the zoom capabilities Angel’s had.
“Angus apparently saved some of his toy from the safe. He just wired up the second half of that explosive block to blow the doors off the front of their compound. I wonder what the-” he stopped and moved the rifle a hair to the left. “That’s not good.”
The rest of the group stood and looked where the scope was pointing. They may not be able to make out the levels of detail that Angel had, but they could see that a large feline daemon was stalking up behind Angus. It wasn’t quite in sight of him yet, but it would certainly make it before their sensei was done and out of there.
“What can we do?” Renala asked.
“Angel,” Lethen said, “you’re going to have to take care of this one. You’re the only one can do anything at this range.”
“You do realize that I won’t be able to do much either don’t you?”
“Look, I know that you guys have weapons that can cut and maim even if they weren’t daemonic, but what I fire still isn’t as powerful as even a normal bullet. At best, I could distract it.”
Lethen swore a few times and he paced around the rooftop. He was trying to think very quickly and was coming up blank. He was used to getting up close and personal with his enemies. He knew nothing of ranged combat.
“Why don’t we watch and see what Angus does?” Marnie suggested. “He’s been at this a lot longer than us and he might be able to win the fight. On the other hand if things start looking like they’re going badly for him, we will do what needs to be done. Angel might not be able to do anything but distract it, but a well timed distraction can sometimes be the turning point in a battle.”
Lethen didn’t like it, but didn’t have anything better.
* * * * *
Angus was almost to the first wall, and he could hear the leopard behind him. It was gaining on him quickly. He would make it to the wall first, but not by much and it wouldn’t do any good if he was just going to trap himself inside a fence with the thing. He needed to be out of sight before the daemon came across and that might not even work. Daemons weren’t quite the same as other animals, but they were similar enough that certain traits bred true. This particular cat would likely be smarter than a normal leopard, and it could still track through scent. He was hoping that just smelling him wouldn’t be enough, that the creature would have to be able to see him to risk the potentially dangerous fences.
Angus vaulted the first fence and kept running toward the second. He would need to get a few between them and then find something to hide behind until his pursuer got bored and wandered off.
As he was crossing the small yard, he saw a flash of light in the air to his right. He recognized that color and was very grateful he’d told Angel to keep an eye on him. It seemed that every time he turned around, he was being surprised by just how well this year’s team was working out. He couldn’t be sure as he’d had quite a few talented classes since he began teaching, but he thought this squad was probably the most gifted bunch he’d ever worked with. He heard a thump from behind and smiled.
He chanced a glance back over his shoulder as he cleared the second fence. The daemon hadn’t come over yet. It looked like Angus might survive this one yet.
He landed in a roll and took in the surroundings. There was a wheelbarrow leaned up against the side of the house. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do. He ducked under it and kept his eyes open and his mouth shut. He should be able to pass a cursory inspection. He calmed his breathing so he could hear.
* * * * *
Angel saw his teacher make a break for the fence line and kept his sights trained on the big cat following. He knew he’d probably only have one shot and he’d have to make it count. It wasn’t going to hurt something as tough as a daemon much, so he had to time it perfectly. Too early and it would just shrug it off and continue the chase, too late and it would already have their sensei.
The sniper forced his breathing to slow. It was a tense situation, but the only thing breathing hard would achieve would be a missed shot. He saw Angus clear the fence and knew that the time almost there. He breathed in deeply and held it. He didn’t want any part of his body moving while he lined up and waited for the perfect moment. When he watched the cat ready for it’s own leap, he fired.
The shot caught the beast in the face just as it’s front paws left the ground, whipping it’s head to the side. The jump was suddenly aborted and turned quickly into a less-than-graceful roll that came to a sudden stop against the fence Angus had just cleared. The cat leaped away from the fence just as it hit. Clearly the monk was right. Any kind of barriers scared the crap out of them.
Angel zoomed out a bit so that he get a wider view and he spotted their sensei crossing the next fence. The cat was prowling outside the first one, sniffing to see it could find another path to it’s prey. He watched for another fifteen seconds and the cat didn’t seem to be having much luck, but he didn’t see Angus moving from the second yard. “I think he might be hurt.”
“It looked like he made the jump just fine,” Prolier said. They had all been watching the events unfold. “There’s no way he would’ve been injured by a small hop like that.”
“Maybe if he landed on something.” Renala said. “He might need help.”
“Just give him a minute,” Prolier insisted. “I think he’s just catching his breath and waiting out the kitty. If he doesn’t move in the next couple minutes, I will go down and get him.”
Lethen was getting used to being the lead and it bothered him that the rest weren’t asking his thoughts, but he wasn’t sure why. He didn’t have long to consider though as music started blaring from the front of the compound.
Apparently, the singer was all by himself.
* * * * *