Accession: CATU Book 5 Ch. 07byJoeBarnosky©
The solar facility consists of a large building with a tower and sun tracking solar panels encircling it. They are divided into four sections with an expansive strip of empty land running up to the facility in between them.
Stone and Dupree take the southern route leaving the large crater sitting off to their right. The large feedhorn is still hot from the second blast. Their feet slosh through mud and the occasional puddle of water created from the heat of the blast that in turn melted the snow. The facility is mostly dark with the exception of light cast by a few flood lights from the building. The agents chose the direct route because of the darkness and because it is direct and fast.
Once they reach the edge of the mirror field there is a twenty foot gap between it and the door. They crouch down behind one of the solar panels and wait, looking from one edge of the building to the other.
It is empty. Logically there wouldn't be much needed security out in the wilderness of Siberia, but to have none is far too strange. Neither agent move for several minutes deciding it best to wait and see if any activity was going to take place.
"It's now or never," Dupree says after it becomes apparent there isn't going to be a guard.
"I agree," Stone says. "Wait here."
Before she can object he is up running in a low crouch to the door. Midway he raises the AS Val and fires a single round into the flood light engulfing the area in semi darkness. The clear sky over head allows the stars to shine unhindered giving the agents a gloomy look of the facility.
Stone reaches the wall of the building, placing his back to it against it. He looks left and right before looking at Dupree. She gives him a nod and he reaches up for the door handle and gives it a twist.
He is surprised at the door actually being unlocked at first. He pulls the door open and peers in slowly. Ahead is a lightened hallway. The light comes from hanging lights situated at six foot intervals. He gives Dupree a wave then turns his attention to the door. The lock appears to have been tampered with, tampered to the point of being broke into. "Looks like a hell of a job," Stone remarks.
Dupree looks over to the door frame and notices a few scratch marks. "Looks like a knife maybe?"
He looks to where she is referring and nods his agreement. "I think someone else has the same idea as us."
"Keep your guard up then," Stone says as he slips into the hall.
Dupree closes the door quietly and slips in behind him. The two agents creep slowly down the hall. Stone crouches a little lower than Dupree while she keeps them covered over his shoulder.
They reach the door a find it hinged open. Stone holds up a fist signaling his partner to hold up then he pushes on it. The door parted a few inches before it bumps into something on the other side and stops. Both agents step back with their guns held at the ready, but nothing swings the door open and attacks.
Stone looks back to Dupree but all she gives him is a shrug. He steps back to the door and places his shoulder against it and starts to push. Dupree drops to one knee keeping her AS Val trained at the door. Stone lets out a small grunt but eventually gets the door opened far enough to allow them entry.
Dupree gives him a nod and he steps through. Once through Stone turns to the right investigating what is blocking the door and finds the body of a soldier. He quickly turns around to scan the room. It is large and packed with equipment that he assumes has to do with processing solar energy. Lights similar to the ones in the hall hang high in the air but don't quite cast as much light.
Once satisfied they are alone he signals for Dupree to enter. She steps through the portal doing a scan of her own before turning toward her partner.
Stone pulls his fingers from the man's throat and gives her a nod. "I think you're right about someone having the same idea. The question is: are they still here?"
"Then let's hope the office has what we're looking for before we get interrupted," Dupree says pointing to a set of offices twenty feet past the fallen soldier. She steps over the soldier and begins picking her way toward the offices. Stone stands up and keeping his back to her follows her to the office door. He sweeps his assault rifle left to right and back again scanning the whole area while looking for anything out of the ordinary.
Dupree checks the door knob and for once is surprised to see it is locked. "We have a locked door," she says in a whisper.
Stone picks up the question disguised in her statement. "No need to keep a low profile considering the damage already done here."
Silently she pulls out a small rolled up pouch and unrolls it onto the floor. Within seconds she has a syringe partially filled with explosive pulled out and is placing it into the keyhole. She then puts a wire into the keyhole attaches to a striker.
"Fire in the hole," she whispers and both agents steps around the corner of the offices.
With an almost fizzing sound the job is done, the door cracks open and the door knob falls to the floor. They come around the front and push through the door. It is darker than the main part of the building. A large window covers most of the expanse of the wall and allows for light to pass through. It is enough for the agents to make out their surroundings and another door at the opposite side of the room.
Dupree repeated the same breeching technique and like the first door, the second acted the same way. Dupree is first to slip in and this room is almost exactly the same except it has a computer.
"Same set up. Got a computer," she calls back.
"Bingo," Stone says. "Get what we came for. I'll cover us here."
Dupree slips over to the computer, sets her rifle to the side and begins typing. Within a few minutes she finds the files she needs. The screen shows a list of True Solar's solar energy facilities. She clicks on another file and it brings up a diagram showing how the power plant works to supply power to homes then it shows how it diverts power to a satellite/facility labeled Aurora.
She pulls a USB card from her pocket and places it into the port and begins copying the entire folder. Her work is done. As soon as the information is copied, it will be sent to headquarters and the card itself will destruct.
While waiting she connects to CATU's secure comm center. Her wait time is almost zero. Grines picks up quickly enough that she assumes he has been waiting for them to make contact which is a reasonable thought since Grines' last attempted contact.
His face appears on the screen taking up the majority of it. Her face wouldn't be transmitted to him due to the lack of a camera, but the audio would be.
"Dupree, it's good to hear you are well," Grines says through the audio feed.
"Of course we are. I'm collecting the data we found here as we speak."
"Good," he says. "I have a change of plans to your assignment. Find some way to destroy that facility. Things have changed and we need it knocked out."
"Understood," she answers without hesitation. "We're still using the same extraction?"
"Yes, but you're going to Australia instead of coming back here. I will have all the details for you when you reach the extraction point."
"No problem boss, we'll get it done," she says with a hopeful smile. She doesn't even begin to know how they were going to blow the place without the aid of explosives.
"Good. I'll see you when this is over," Grines says as he reaches up to something outside the range of the camera. The screen suddenly goes black before returning the transfer file box.
She rolls back onto her heels while formulating a plan when the computer monitor blows apart. The sudden impact causes her to roll completely backward onto her butt. The next thing she hears is the roar of a machine gun littering the room just above her head. Stone is shouting something at her but she can't hear over the noise.
Stone stands up and throws a chair through the window and commences firing in the direction of the gun fire. The attack on Dupree is halted long enough to grab her rifle which miraculously remained intact. With her gun in hand she crab-walks from her room into the next, sliding up against Stone. The gunfire has returned, this time from both parties. They time their shots so that when one runs out the other is still firing until the other reloads. It keeps the two agents pinned down and unable to go anywhere.
"How the hell are we getting out of this?" Stone shouts over the loud noise.
"I don't know but either they are going to run out of ammo or they'll succeed in killing us."
"I'm voting for the run out of ammo," Stone mutters.
Just then the USB card completes its download and sends the burst transmission, then explodes into a small flash of light. The light catches their attacker's attention and they divert their fire to the other room.
Stone sees the explosion and notices the change in fire rate and says, "Come on!" He grabs Dupree's arms and runs for the door.
They move fast but not fast enough. The gunners turn and start shooting at the two agents. They stay just feet from the trail of bullets and manage to make it to the door leading to the hall and slip through without getting hit.
"We got to get the fuck out of here," Stone huffs.
"We can't," Dupree blurts. "At least not yet."
Stone stops and spins around. He is totally thrown off guard at what he just heard. "What?" he says. "Are you fucking out of your mind?"
"Grines wants us to blow the place before we leave," Dupree says ignoring her partner's outburst.
The look of surprise leaves his face and is replaced by seriousness. "Damn it," he mutters under his breath. "Alright, we'll have to get clear first and come back. Whoever these guys are they are serious."
Dupree nods and they run to the door and out of it. They don't stop running until they reach the tree line. Only then do they finally look back toward the facility itself. No one is chasing them. No lights have come on to track them. It's like their attackers want them gone from the place but don't want to pursue matters.
Stone drops his gun and put his hands on his knees, his breathing is harsh. Dupree drops to her butt fighting to catch her breath as well. They wait, not wanting to move in case they have a sniper waiting for one of them to move.
Then it happened. The sky suddenly fills up with light, but instead of a beam being shot into the sky from the crater it is the entire facility and crater that shoots flames and debris into the air. A shockwave follows right behind the explosion and it sends both agents reeling back. Their breath is instantly knocked from their bodies and they lay there for another few minutes.
Once they get up and look over at the carnage and don't say a word for a few long minutes. All that is left are a few of the solar panels mostly laying on the ground and burning wreckage.
Stone is first to break the silence. "Nice job with blowing the place up."
"Thanks," she says grinning.