“I have a plan,” Ben said, leaning over a table in the center of the room, where there was a map of the surrounding city streets.
“I’m afraid,” Rui said. “And I’m not just saying that to give you shit.”
“No,” Ben said, nodding, “me, too. I’ve gotten used to leaning on Rox, and Anita, and Laren; we all have, more, I think, than I really realized, until there was the prospect of us not being able to. We’re all scared. We should be. Those ICE agents will shoot to kill; they’d probably do so just seeing us in the streets, but especially with us busting into their facility. We need to be afraid, at least afraid enough to be cautious.”
“Loving this pep talk,” Rui said; “okay, that time was just me giving you shit.” Sonya elbowed him in the stomach.
“Thanks, Sonya” Ben said.
“I’m just disappointed I didn’t think to do that sooner,” she said with a shrug.
“Cris has gotten us some really useful intel. We’ve got a pretty good idea about guard rotations, typical patrol routes, even some insight into vulnerabilities. Now, this is what I’m thinking. Transformer for this neighborhood is about a block north. Sonya should be able to blow that with relatively little fuss. I took a car around the perimeter, and it didn’t look like they posted anyone near it; maybe they patrol it, but it’s public infrastructure, out in the open. What’s the longest delay you can set for one of your boomlets?”
“I think fifteen minutes, once. But I’d been practicing. Eight’s pretty standard.”
“Then we’ll assume 8. That will get you more than enough time to get clear,” he made an arc with a piece of pink chalk from the generator, first away from the facility, then looping back towards it. “Cris is pretty sure they’ve got an onsite backup generator. It’s going to be big, with a large diesel reservoir; he’s pretty sure he can smell it on the eastern side of the facility. Rui, you’ll drop in from the air, stay as gaseous as possible to avoid detection. I’ll get as close as I can to the building, and about a minute before Sonya cuts the power, I’ll start shaking things.”
“So when they lose power, they think it’s an earthquake,” Rui said. “That’s a solid plan. Or at least a solid start.”
“Yep. You’ll let the generator kick on, then overheat it; it’ll look like the generator blew under the strain. The rest is up to Cris. He’s spent his time there getting to know what people can do. He’s got them organized into two groups he thinks we ought to be able to lead away. Sonya’s going to blow a hole in the south wall here,” he marked the map with an X, “Rui will burn a hole in the north,” he picked up a blue piece of chalk, and marked another. “ If you can safely make sure ICE can’t follow, do it, but either way we meet up on the street side, where we’ll flee underground.”
“It’s the best place to lose them; I can collapse the tunnels behind us, and if I do it right, can even trap our pursuers to slow them up.”
“Are we sure?” Sonya asked.
“About what?” Ben asked.
“That we shouldn’t wait for Rox.”
“No,” Ben said, a slightly mischievous glint in his eye, but it faded. “But waiting comes with a lot of risks. ICE are paranoid, constantly running drills and taking turns testing their security. They also routinely split kids up and take them to different facilities, largely to keep the kids off balance. And, not to put too fine a point on it- but these are kids, some of them toddlers. They don’t know everything, but as a formerly precocious little bastard, I can tell you kids always know more than you think, and may not know well enough not to let something drop in front of a guard. And…” he hesitated, “Cris is in a bad way.”
“I thought you said he was healed up,” Rui said.
“Physically, yes. But this place is full-bore psychological warfare. Being locked in a cage with a sea of weeping children… we need to get him out of there. We need to get all of them out of there.”
“Which we can’t do if we die,” Rui said gravely.
“So we don’t die,” Ben said. “If you want you can try and get Rox on the phone. She hasn’t been answering- which we knew was a possibility, because they are out in the Canadian wilderness. Believe me… I wish this would keep.”
“It won’t,’ Sonya said, touching his arm. “We need to do this,” she said, turning to Rui.
“Okay,” he said, putting up his hands. “I just didn’t want us wandering into this half-cocked.”
They both turned and looked at Ben, who was confused. “Oh… you were waiting for me to make a full-cocked joke of some kind, weren’t you?”
“Yeah,” Rui said. “But the moment’s kind of passed.” “I’ll make two next time, to make up for it.”