Nuclear Nonsense

Nuclear Nonsense by David Macfie

 James Blind skulked in a dark corner of the attic, well away from the one door into the roof space. It was eight o’clock in the evening and he’d been there for nearly a day. AUNTI had briefed him on the place and he’d studied the layout of the historic French Chateau, very carefully. They’d dropped him, by helicopter, some ten kilometers away and he’d had to run to the locale of the building. His infiltration was straightforward but he ran into difficulties very quickly. Once he was inside, he found that there were people everywhere. He’d had to beat a hasty retreat to the secret panel that opened to a stairway up to his hideaway. Since then he’d been trying to come up with a plan.

The Chateau was the headquarters of a clandestine organization that manufactured nuclear weapons for sale to the highest bidder. Nobody knew who was behind it or where the factories were but, through a piece of blind luck, another AUNTI agent had found out about the Chateau. James’s mission was to search the headquarters for any information on the owners and management of the organization and details of the factories as well as their distribution channels. Obviously, he had to get away with all the info and return to the Allied Unilateral Nuclear Treaty Inspectorate to hand it over. His secondary objective was to destroy the headquarters and everyone in it.

But now he was stuck in the attic with no ideas. The only things he’d achieved since he’d got into his corner were to test the AUNTI field rations, suffer the rather disgusting AHWDS (AUNTI Human Waste Disposal System) and make a sketch of the distribution of humans in the various rooms in the building using a new invention of the AUNTI research and development division. The device was called HIRL (Human Infra-Red Locator) and it could exactly pinpoint numbers of the people in any given area of a location. Its range was eight hundred meters and that easily covered all of his present target. The upside he’d found from this was that the library/computer center had only two people, most of the time, and all through the night. The downside was that the rest of the building on that floor was crawling with people in each room and bustling backwards and forwards between rooms. The second floor was mostly sleeping areas and bathrooms so that area was busy from late evening through to early morning before the communal breakfast. At night, the ground floor had a night-shift so it was still a problem. Outside two security squads, of two men each, patrolled 24/7 so he had to avoid that also. To make things more difficult, the whole of the outside of the building was lit up at night, from the walls outwards to a distance of about twenty meters. Two raised sentry towers fitted with searchlights and manned by two guards each completed the security surveillance.

Obviously he must complete his mission at night, once the second floor was quiet. The challenge was to reach the library, enter, deal with the two staff members, search the paper filing systems and hack the computers to download the files. Then he had to pack up all the information, complete the demolition of the building and its occupants, including the outside guards, and escape.

‘Piece of cake!’ he thought, with a tight and resigned smile.

He climbed out the small attic skylight on to the roof and quietly climbed up to the peak of the roof. There he verified that the sentry towers were located at the midpoints of the long front and back walls of a rectangular building. He studied the guards in the towers and measured ranges to them from the peak. Then he timed the patrols of the guards on the ground. Finally he edged across the roof to the side wall, which had a window to the library. He carefully slid down to the gutter and got his first break of the mission. The roof over the library was out of the line of sight of both towers. He waited for a break in the ground patrols and peeped over the gutter and down the wall. He smiled when he saw the thick ivy all the way down. He dropped a microphone down to the window and listened. Break three was that the window was open. Now he knew what he was going to do. He climbed back to the attic and started his preparations.

He used HIRL to watch the second floor until it was quiet. While he was waiting he placed incendiaries at strategic places on the ceiling beams and explosives over the center of each sleeping area. He fused all with radio controlled detonators. Then he collected all his stuff and exited to the roof. He shot the guards in the towers and the outside guards from the peak of the roof using his silenced high powered night rifle with infra-red sight. Then he quickly scuttled to the gutter over the library window and climbed down the ivy. He dealt with the two people in the room with the same rifle and he was in, in an instant. He used another AUNTI device to hack the computers and start downloads to removable hard drives. He mounted a microphone near the door and connected his WIFI earphone to it so that he would hear someone coming from a distance and then he started to search the files and the desk drawers. He was about halfway through when he heard footsteps. He silently moved to the side of the door. When it opened he grabbed the unwelcome visitor, shot him with a silenced pistol and pulled him inside. He dropped him to the floor and closed the door. Returning to his task, he completed the search of the files and drawers. By the time he was done, the file downloads were complete. He placed the papers he’d stolen together with the drives into his pack and left by the window. With no guards, he quickly moved round the building placing explosives round each window. Finally, he chose the place with least visibility from those windows, and ran over the lighted area. He sent a radio message to the helicopter base to tell them he was leaving the Chateau, moved to a safe distance, pressed the radio detonation switch and started to run.

He didn’t look back to witness the carnage he’d caused.