That One Day You Regret Having a Portal for a Cat Flap
“Armory this time?” asked Rose.
“Probably better. Dude had quite some power. Better safe than sorry now that we can actually go in prepared.”
“Good point. Let’s go then,” she agreed.
“After you,” said Harry.
Rose smiled in reply and the two of them set off towards the armory. A quick walk back to the elevator they’d come through was followed by a two minute elevator ride to the central hub which they’d entered earlier. This time, they took the door labeled 2. After one more elevator trip down, they arrived at another white corridor. Right at the end of the corridor, stood the entrance marked with a plaque that simply said "ARMORY".
It was one of the largest rooms in the entire agency. The training area and the airplane hangar were the only ones that were larger. The walls were constructed from reinforced concrete. It also had one of the most extensive protective runic arrays set into the walls. The metallic grey walls, besides the many weapons, contained no decorations whatsoever. The lighting came from lighting arrays set into the roof.
Harry stepped inside first. The four sides were covered in the four primary types of equipment ranging from, firearms, melee weapons, and enchanted protective clothing, to armor. A door set in the northeast corner led off to ten changing rooms.
Harry took a look around and spotted what he wanted. Need to go for the level 5 stuff this time. He made straight for the enchanted clothes.
“Rose, make sure to grab the level 5. Dude was able to cut pretty deep with that slasher. I have a feeling he would punch right through a level 3,” he advised her as he grabbed a pair of cargo pants and a hoodie to go with a sleeveless t-shirt.
“Not forgetting anytime soon,” she replied, scratching at her side, where the bandage was probably chafing against her skin.
Harry quickly stepped into a changing room.
Two minutes later he was done and headed over to the swords to wait for Rose. As he waited, he glanced at the corner of the wall where the personal weapons of the higher ranked agents were kept. His sword had been hanging there unused for close to a week now. To take or not to take? Last time we had to blend in. Guess this time’s the same. As he continued to mull it over, he heard the door of the changing room close.
“Going sleeveless again?” asked Rose, walking out of the changing room.
“Uh huh,” he replied, turning around,” well it’s not like you’re wearing something new.” She was wearing her usual blouse and jeans along with a pullover.
“ My outfit protects my arms just fine." she said, letting out a sigh,” but yours does NOT!! That’s why I keep telling you to change it.”
“Well...you know...I am pretty good at dodging,” replied Harry.
“I am never going to win this argument, am I?” she said, doing her best to look exasperated. “ So, are we taking any weapons?”
“Probably better to leave them behind. Blend in and all that.”
“Guess so,” she agreed,” so let’s go then.”
“Wait for the…” began Harry but was interrupted by buzzing from both their communicators,” I mean we leave now.” Time to topple the dirt king. Mysterious or no you are going to get paid back with interest. He opened up the message to look at the address.
“Godoguy Lane,” he read aloud.
“Hmm...yaa. I remember the place. How ‘bout you?” Rose asked.
“Think I can. Let’s go.”
“Okay then,” she agreed, giving him a small smile,” let’s get going Mr. I can go sleeveless and not get hurt.”
It was Harry’s turn to sigh.
“Come on. We have a dirt king to catch,” he said turning and leaving, Rose beside him. The two of them made their way out to the entrance. The door marked with the number 1 was opening as they stepped out.
“Glad I caught you two,” came a voice. It was Jenna. She emerged from the door to the Healthcare division, holding a bottle. She was breathing fast. “I wanted to give you something.”
She handed Rose the large yellow bottle, which was full of some gelatinous looking liquid.
“What’s this?” asked Rose, opening it and giving it a whiff,” smells like cotton candy.”
“A little something I cooked up Miss McNamara. Perfected it a couple of days ago and now that I have it bottled, I’m delivering it to everyone going out to the field. It’s a modified painkiller potion. Since you are going out to the field so quickly, without waiting for that to heal up fully, I think that you might especially appreciate it.”
“Ohh...thanks so much Jenna,” said Rose,” I’d hug you but I have...you know.” She gestured to the bulge from the bandage.
“You're welcome. Now I don’t want to see the two of you again tonight.”
“And here I thought you actually liked us,” said Harry, mimicking tears.
“Oh you…,” she said, trying and failing not to laugh,” get out of here!! Come back safe.” Harry and Rose exchanged a look. Identical grins were exchanged.
“Yes MOM!!!” the two of them chorused, charging out of the wall before Jenna could come up with a reply.
They spent a few moments laughing before the seriousness of what they were about to do sunk in once again.
“Let’s go nab a dirt king,” said Harry, rubbing his hands together in his best supervillain impression. This will be fun.
“Teleport outside or in here?” asked Rose.
“Anything’s fine by me.”
“Here's probably better.”
“‘Kay,” agreed Harry before he disappeared in a flash of blue light. He appeared in the corner of a deserted looking street. The street lights were all off. Looks like the council still didn’t get around to replacing those.Typical. In the rapidly fading light, it looked like every human in the neighborhood was either already inside or hurrying to get there. The only occupants of the alley were a few stray cats and the occasional bird.
“Let’s get to that address,” began Rose,” and find a way to get to... apartment…uh...lemme check...501.”
“Great. That means the 5th floor right?
“Um… I think so. Maybe. Probably.”
“ Let’s go check it out I guess. Get the lay of the land.”
“‘Okay,” she said, nodding, and the two of them made their way along the quiet street and towards the large white apartment building looming out of a side street.
It was a five minute walk and soon they were in front of the rusted iron gates of the complex, sitting adjacent to the River Zarate. The white building rose twenty stories into the air. The paint was chipped and peeling off in several places and if it wasn’t for some tactically arranged runic arrays the large cracks that ran through some of the walls would probably have caused it's collapse a long time ago. There was a small balcony on each floor. Behind them and in front of the building was a small park surrounded by several alleyways. The park was deserted although the various bits of trash scattered about showed that it had been in use until very recently.
Harry studied the walls. Despite the crumbling nature of the building itself the perimeter walls didn’t appear to be in a similar state. The concrete was holding strong and there didn’t appear to be any obvious weak points. There was a massive sign painted on the wall proclaiming it to be Vemlanyen's Residencies. That is when he spotted a possible ticket in.
Right under the sign, several hand painted labels of various apartment numbers were laid in orderly rows accompanied by small rectangles marked by tape. They were all glowing a faint white. Portals. Cat Flaps. Oohhh.. this one is going to be even more fun than I thought.
As the two of them strode past them, Harry pointed out the glowing portals, indicating the large neon 501 that was somewhere right in the middle of a row of portals. Rose gave him a wink in return.
The two of them continued all the way to the banks of the sluggish river. Then, making a turn, they kept a close eye on the portal marked 501 to look for anything that could give them away if they wanted to enter through it. There didn’t appear to be any cameras pointed in the direction nor were there any guards at the entrance to the complex. Well this is almost too easy.
“Alright I’ll transform into something and sneak in there. I’ll try to get a window or the small balcony doors to open, and you teleport right in…” began Harry after a few minutes of observation.
“...to the balcony to cause a distraction and then you do your surprise reveal thing and nab him. That’s the seventh time you came up with the exact same plan.”
Harry raised his eyebrows.
“What? I can remember tha…” she shot back.
“No not that. You actually counted them.”
“Yeah,” she said, shrugging,” now shall we break into this house already.”
“Yes indeed,” agreed Harry, deciding that now was not the time to tease her about that. Time to give this guy a taste of his own medicine. Harry slowly walked towards the building, keeping a cautious eye out for any hidden cameras that he hadn’t noticed earlier.
As they approached the cat flap, a large ginger cat came bounding out of the alley adjacent to the park, heading right for the portals. Who’s is th...ohhh...we got lucky. He thrust out his hand and a small blue rectangle of light appeared, blocking the portal marked 501 just as the excited cat attempted to step through it.
He gestured to Rose, who got the message and ran for the cat. She picked up the cat, quickly murmuring a spell, and causing it to instantly fall asleep in her arms. She held it up to Harry who took a good look at its features.
Concentrating, he pictured the cat in his mind. As soon as the mental image solidified, he gathered up his magic, feeling the smooth flow of energy within him and willing it to change. The magic began to fluctuate rapidly and he felt a slight itching sensation as his body began to rearrange itself. Ten seconds later, Harry the cat held up its front paw to dispel the blue force field. Harry charged into the portal.
He felt the usual tingle and soon found himself stepping through a rectangle of tape onto a balcony. The door was open and there was nothing stopping him. At least nothing that I can see. Okay well...let’s see what’s inside.
Harry walked in as stealthily as he could. Inside, sitting on a couch, and casting spells on the briefcase, was the dirt king. He took a few seconds to get a better look. He was a bit taller than Harry remembered from the courtyard. He had piercing grey eyes and looked like someone who had missed a couple of meals in the past couple of weeks. Dude is definitely working alone. Well...time for payback. I wish I was the one punching him first. Oh well...let’s get this done fast.
Harry slowly edged towards the briefcase taking care not to disturb the dirt king from his work. He hid behind a large chair and began to survey the apartment for signs of any defensive spells. The only thing of note was the overly bright bathroom door which appeared to be a cleverly disguised escape portal.
After deciding that Rose should not encounter any issues with teleporting in and attacking the dirt king, he sent her a ping on his communicator. It took him a second in cat form as he had to strike a bit of a yoga pose to get one of his paws of the ground to tap the watch. Okay Rose. Do your thing.
There was a bright flash of hot pink as Rose appeared on the balcony and proceeded to march right in through the door. He heard a surprised shout as their target was most likely levitated up and blasted against a wall.
Showtime. Harry silently emerged from his hiding place. Their target, wearing a pair of faded black jeans and an old blue shirt, was held tightly against the wall; Rose, hands glowing pink, was holding him in place with what looked like a localized containment shield.
Harry bounded straight for the briefcase. He arrived at the table that it was kept at and transformed back into a human. He smiled at the man and gave him a cheeky wave.
“Good Evening,” said Harry, waving his hand in a large U shape over the briefcase looking for any booby traps that had been added by the dirt king.
“Evening,” replied the man, a look of recognition on his face. “You’re those two from the courtyard? Well I have to say, this was a neat plan.”
“Thank you,” replied Harry, giving an elaborate bow. Well. That’s a first. Someone who replies with something other than every cuss word known to man. Doesn't mean that he is going to get off easy though. Harry ran another basic detection spell on the case before looking up at Rose, who was busy concentrating on keeping the dirt king afloat.
“Yes Wings?” asked Rose, turning towards him.
“Do you…” began Harry but a large thump interrupted him. He turned to see the dirt king, glowing a midnight black, pick himself off the floor. Oh crap. Freaking aura. This guy knows his stuff.
Rose whirled around just as the man erected a hasty black shield and sent out a shower of blue sparks. Harry prepared to dodge, but as the sparks got closer, he realized they were not aimed at him. The twisting and turning sparks flew through the air, starting to vibrate as they passed by him, and struck the case with a nasty hiss. The case began to glow an angry shade of purple.