20 February 2164. Singapore. Pei Fu Complex, Hougang Industrial Sector.
T hey squatted , caught in the misty open space between their ingress point and target. Heads swiveled as the team sought a consensus. Tendulkar shook his head. Pachnine immediately nodded, as did Nakata.
Rimes hesitated for a moment before shaking his head. This far into such a critical mission, he would normally be in favor of proceeding, but normally he would be with his own team, people he could trust with his life. He didn't know if he could trust Tendulkar or Pachnine yet. There was too much at stake to continue forward with so much unknown.
Everyone turned to Uber. He considered for a moment before nodding.
There was no further discussion, no protest.
Pachnine went into a crouching run, absolutely silent, even for his bearlike size. The others trailed him in a staggered line, carbines out. Pachnine reached the western cement wall surrounding Building 5 and pressed himself tight to the left of the gate. Rimes and Uber took position to his left, with Nakata and Tendulkar opposite. The Pei Fu security teams had showed no deviation from regular patrol patterns, but the four icons inside Building 5 were now dispersed across four floors.
Uber signaled to Tendulkar to open the gate, then waved Pachnine inside. Rimes and Nakata followed, and Uber pulled up the rear.
They crossed the fifteen meters to the front entry of Building 5, at times struggling to keep their footing on the fractured cement. Nakata quickly destroyed the door's lock with a rapid carbine buttstroke, and they entered the building.
The interior was drywall, dust-covered posters proclaiming the company's greatness, and a door-dented and scraped from years of use-that opened onto a stairwell. A ten-meter corridor led to another door, and beyond that was the manufacturing floor. The nearest of their targets was in a room on the manufacturing floor, four meters to the left of the door.
Uber assigned Pachnine to the fourth floor, Rimes to the third. Nakata he signaled to go to the manufacturing floor. Then Uber headed into the stairwell, stopping only long enough to spray silicone on the door's hinges. Pachnine and Rimes followed.
Uber stopped at the second-floor door, once again spraying the hinges. He searched the corridor, then stepped through.
Rimes proceeded to the third floor with Pachnine close behind. At the third-floor door, Rimes stopped and sprayed the hinges, quietly popped the door open, then checked the hallway beyond. According to the BAS, his target was hiding in a room three meters away.
He nodded Pachnine on, watching him until he'd disappeared up the stairs. Rimes stopped just inside the corridor and waited.
The Special Security Council's intelligence agency had identified the LoDu lead agent as Wen Jintao, a Chinese native with political connections. Wen's muscle included Dung Trang, a fugitive Vietnamese gunman, and Akkarat Suttikul, a Thai known as much for his knife-work and kickboxing as his connections to what remained of the Tongs. The mystery man of the four was Kwon Myung-bak, a Korean with an impossibly small background file.
All four agents had combat experience. Whatever advantage Rimes had from his gear would be diminished by the building's tight quarters. He switched out his carbine for his pistol, his eyes never leaving the BAS display, then brought up another overlay that set down a three-dimensional wireframe of the building interior.
Rimes watched his teammates' icons on the display, then focused on the agents' icons.
Why separate? Why not create a single ambush point? There are a lot of great places to attack from. Were our systems compromised?
No, I'm being paranoid.
Uber and Nakata waited, motio