Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fence Jumpers: Part 36

(Image courtesy of Pinterest.)

Skyler's legs buckled under the weight of Kip, but he didn't dare move with so many guns pointed at him. Hannah and the Coyotes who carried firearms slowly surrendered them, putting them on the ground before straightening up, hands raised.

"On your knees," a guard snapped. Skyler scowled at him, but slowly began to obey. Kip moaned.

The guards closed in just as a handful of inmates exploded out of the doorway behind the Skyler and his team. The inmates shoved past them, knocking Skyler down, and the inmates took down the security guards.

"Skyler come on!" Hannah tugged his arm. Skyler and Jonah quickly hauled Kip up and hurried to the fence.

"No!" Skyler yelled at the Coyotes with the fence cutters. "Leave the fence intact! We shouldn't give the prisoners here any more chance of escape."

"Skyler how are we gonna get Kip over?" Hannah asked, glancing at the altercation a ways behind them.

"I can do it..." Kip's voice was exhausted. "I can get over."

"Kip you're in no condition to climb!"

Kip straightened, but still leaning heavily on Skyler and Jonah. They helped him to the fence, and he struggled up it. Two Coyotes scaled the fence and straddled it to help him over. Shouts from behind made Skyler frantic.

"Time to go, guys!" Skyler said hurriedly. More Coyotes were filing out. And more inmates.

Kip dropped over the other side. Skyler vaulted over with his team and shooed them all away from the facility. They fled to a safe house a ways south of the facility. Wes showed up a few seconds later with another batch at the rendezvous.

"Yo." Wes nodded to him. "Bravo unleashing the terrors of the town."

"Shut up." Skyler scowled. Alarms blaring at the facility could be heard even from here, but the Coyotes all escaped. Unfortunately, so had several if not all of the prisoners there. "We got Kip out. That's what counts. The prisoners will cause more problems for Horatio, so he'll be too busy saving his image to focus on us."

"Yeah, but--"

"Wes I'm not doing this with you right now!" Skyler snapped. "We need to to get Kip to Madison's car and we all need to split up."

"You go with Madi," Wes said. "Whatever reason Horatio's looking for you, you need to clear out."

"What about the rest of you?"

"We'll be fine," Wes replied. "Just go."

Kip was more conscious as Skyler helped him through the streets. It was a long walk, and Kip tried to speak as he walked until Skyler told him to stop talking. They turned the corner and saw Madison's car idling, with Madison snapping photographs nearby. She turned when she saw Kip and Skyler, and if her camera hadn't been hanging around her neck, it would have broken when she dropped it. Her hands went to her mouth in shock.

"Kip!" Madison rushed to them. Kip smiled tiredly as she hugged him. "You're alive!"

"We can talk later?" Skyler urged, feeling antsy. "We need to get him out of here."

"Of course." Madison helped Kip into the car. He sat down with a moan. She felt his forehead. "Get in, Skyler. I'm calling Emma."

The Coyotes who had remained behind at the cemetery crowded around as Madison and Skyler helped Kip into their midst.

"Back off, guys!" Skyler yelled. "Give him room!" They set him down in the shelter that had been made specifically for Kip. The man was half-conscious again, his fever getting worse.

Emma arrived very soon. She had even picked up a few Coyotes on the way. Madison intercepted her before she went in to see Kip and explained to her how he was. But even being prepared that way didn't seem to prepare her completely. Emma nearly cried when she saw him. Skyler, from his position in the corner, watched as she knelt by him, stroking his unwashed hair. Kip stirred at her touch, and she spoke softly as she got to work. She employed Skyler's help while Madison drove around for any kids to pick up (her words. She immediately realized it had sounded a lot better in her head).

Emma did her best not to cry as she tended to Kip's wounds. Skyler felt a surge of anger when he saw knife wounds in Kip's side and back, and the wounds from a needle were seen in his neck and arms. Very gently and carefully Emma injected the soothing medicine she had once given Skyler into Kip, to flush out any remaining traces of Horatio's work. Kip tensed when the needle went in.

"Shh," Emma soothed. "You're okay. It's okay... there we go." She stroked his hair again as the medicine did its work. Kip relaxed, sighing. He fell asleep, not stirring. Emma stayed right by his side. Skyler silently slipped out to check on the others. Most of the rescue party was back, and unhurt. They all had smiles on their faces, talking about their mission. Unfortunately, a lot of the inmates at the facility had escaped into the old sector. Skyler wasn't terribly worried. Either Horatio would round them all up again with a Nabber sweep, or the security over the workers would find them.

Hannah and Wes didn't think it was that easy, but there wasn't anything they could do. After making sure everyone was in bed for the night, Hannah examined Skyler's neck for bruising.

"Why do you think Horatio wants you?" she asked, rubbing a bit of ointment on. Skyler winced at the pressure.

"I don't know. But he wants us both." Skyler looked at her. "Whatever it is, it's probably not good."

"When is it ever?" Hannah smiled. "You're all set. Now sleep. You need it big time, little brother."

"But there's still--"

"Skyler so help me if you do not sleep I will pump you so full of sedatives you'll sleep for days." Hannah glared. She pushed him gently back against the pillow. "Sleeeep."

Skyler was about to protest, but his eyelids felt heavy. He let sleep pull them down and take him away.

***

A little later, Hannah met with Tag, Kate, Wes, Victor, and Madison. All Coyotes and Jumpers were accounted for. It was a record best as far as missions went, but the concern was on the fact that Horatio had specific targets.

"What could he want with you two?" Kate asked. "Besides the fact Skyler's been his biggest pest?"

"I don't know." Hannah shrugged. "Right now I'm a little more concerned about the man who mentioned it. He didn't look like any guard or Nabber. He looked... higher up."

"So you think Horatio's got his own personal attack dog?" Tag asked.

"Maybe," Hannah replied. "Maybe he's where those guns have been coming from."

"Did he look like this?" Madison turned her tablet around to show a picture of a man included among the text of an article. "Osborne Hayes?"

"That's him." Hannah nodded. "Who is he?"

"He head up these new programs," Madison said. "The work in the old sector, the facility. He's like co-director."

"Well, looks like we have ourselves a new friend," Wes huffed. "Horatio getting bored of his other execs?"

Madison shrugged, skimming the article. "No idea, but the gun idea probably isn't far off. This guy is serious business. Police force up in New Detroit. He actually made security there tighter."

"Wow." Wes grimaced. "So he's the real deal. But why down here?"

"Something happened up north," Madison mumbled, reading on. "A drug bust, I think? But things went poorly, and Hayes' eyesight was affected by fumes or something. Too much to work safely there again."

"So we need to get this Hayes lad out of the picture for you lot to work right," Victor spoke up.

"Skyler's going to be hard to convince to take this detour," Hannah said.

"Yeah, well if he knows this new danger involves you too, he'll join our new quest." Wes rolled his eyes. "I want to rescue our friends too, but we need to lie low. We're all exhausted and emotionally drained. Again. Give a few days to recuperate. Horatio's gonna be busy trying to retain his image with the public to worry about us. We can snoop on the new guy while we plan rescue mission number two."

Everyone looked up as Emma approached the small fire, supporting Kip. Wes and Hannah hurried to their feet with excited cries.

"Hey guys." Kip smiled tiredly, pulling them both into a hug.

"What are you doing up?" Hannah asked as Emma helped him sit down.

"Being helpful," Kip replied. "Spent two years doing nothing but be a pin cushion and a punching bag. Someone give me something to do or I'm going to lose it entirely."

"Start by eating." Madison rolled her eyes. She smiled. "It's good to have you back."

"Good to be back." Kip smiled. "Alright, someone catch me up."

"Kip--"

"Wes." Kip looked at him. "I'll be fine. I'm not going to get up and get to work. I want to be around my kids and hear them talk." Kip smiled at Wes and Hannah. "I want to hear all you've been up to, because I'm pretty sure you haven't been idle." He looked at Tag and Kate. "I don't believe we've met."

"Kate. This is Tag," Kate said simply. But she did manage a smile. "It's great to meet you. We've heard a lot about you from the Jumpers."

"You're not Jumpers?"

"Coyotes." Tag grinned. "Hardcore version."

"Oi!" Wes looked at him. Kip laughed. Hannah's heart nearly soared. It had been so long since she had heard Kip laugh. Hearing it now made her feel that they had a chance at winning.

"Someone start talking," Kip said as Emma passed him a bowl.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DIY Fondue

This isn't the kind of story or writing exercise I would normally put up, but it's a funny true story.

So, last Saturday I was at my cousin's wedding. At the reception, my family, grandpa, and aunt were all at one table. While we waited for the bridal party to arrive, we eventually began a quest to make fondue. It started by using the little wrappers for Hershey Kisses to boil water and melt cheese cubes. Eventually we set out to make a proper fondue pot. I have pictures, but please excuse the poor quality.

Here's our equipment:




Yes, our fondue pot was a Sprite can cut in half. Yes, we had a knife on us to do it (we're cool like that. ;) ). The top half would go over the candle, with holes pierced into it to let air in, and the bottom half was our pot.






With the bent tines of a plastic fork, my dad could hook it through a hole in the can's holes to remove it from the candle without burning.


This is our finished work. Ready for fondue.


5:47 PM: We place the cheese cubes (3) into the pot.


5:49 PM: Our genius plan is working!


5:50 PM: Slowly melting...


5:52 PM: Making good progress!


A minute later my mom covered it with a napkin to trap the heat.


5:56 PM: Nearly done!


5:59 PM: Fondue! :D





Four minutes later we dipped pretzels and crackers into our fondue. This picture was taken a half hour after, but it still shows our successful results. The fondue was delicious, and passed the wait time quite nicely.

So if you find yourself at a wedding reception, or some similar function (just don't try it at restaurants!) with a candle and the right items, you can make yourself a nice appetizer.

Have a lovely rest of the week, and I'll see you all here again on Saturday for another installment of Fence Jumpers! :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Piece of Dialogue

This is another writing exercise I did for a college course. The section focused on dialogue in writing, hence all of the dialogue.


"So, how does this work, then?" Kathryn asked warily. "You and I just... duke it out and see who comes out alive?"

"If you want to put it that way, yes," Harry replied.

"Come on, Harry!" Kathryn exclaimed. "You and I have been best friends since forever! What happened to you?"

"Lots of things happened to me, Kat. I was shown how dark and cruel and cold this world is." Harry circled Kathryn. "I saw the things people do to others. This plan will put an end to all of that! Why won't you see the brilliance of it?"

"I never said I don't see the brilliance of it. It's brilliant. But Harry it's mental! You're no better than the people you claim to be cruel." Kathryn never let her eyes stray from Harry as he paced. "Stop this Harry. We can fix this-"

"No! We can't fix it Kathryn! It's already a smoldering ruin! You and your... pals haven't made anything better. If anything you've made it worse!" Harry stopped walking and glared at Kathryn. "You will die right along with them if you won't join me."

"I can't let you do this, Harry," Kathryn said softly. "I won't let you murder hundreds of people who didn't have anything to do with this in the first place!"

"Didn't have anything- Kat, they had EVERYTHING to do with it!" Harry's tone rose with his frustration. "They tainted our home! They polluted the air, destroyed forests for no good reason, and made the water around here about as toxic as the mushrooms!"

"We can fix that," Kathryn tried to sooth. "We've made our mistakes, but killing everyone won't fix them."

"How do you know?!" Harry approached her. "It would stop them from doing any more damage. We can start again. Please, Kat, help me do this, and we can be together too."

"You... what?" Kathryn's brows furrowed. "Together?"

"Yeah." Harry smiled and reached for her hand. "You and me, Kat. We can find a place in the mountains, with a lake as clear as glass. We can start a family, like you've wanted. As many kids as you want."

"Really?" Kathryn looked up at Harry.

"Really," Harry affirmed. "Help me do this, Kat. If we do this, what couldn't we do afterward?"

"Be normal people with a clear conscience," Kathryn said.

"We wouldn't have anyone on our tails trying to put us behind bars," Harry pointed out. "What do you say, KitKat? Will you help me?"

"It's not right, Harry," Kathryn whispered. "All those people."

"They nearly killed our planet. If they don't care about that, how will they treat each other?" Harry reached for Kathryn's energy pistol.

"No." Kathryn backed away from Harry. "No, Harry. This isn't you. My Harry wouldn't do this. They're controlling you."

"No they're not," Harry protested. "I'm me. Same old Harry."

"The old Harry wouldn't have betrayed me." Kathryn lifted her pistol. "Get out of here, Harry. I don't want to do this."

"I can't let you live." Harry pulled out his own firearm. "You wouldn't shoot me, Kat. I know you."

"No you don't," Kathryn said, tears in her eyes.

"Yes I do." Harry smiled. "You can't even threaten me without crying. C'mon Kat. We can both get out of this alive. No one's here. One of us shoots into the ground and walk away, and the other side thinks we've killed each other. We could run away together."

"What?" Kathryn blinked in surprise. "Where's this coming from? First you wanted me to join you, now you want me to ditch my friends and just... run off with you?"

"Why not?" Harry said. "This will be chaos no matter who wins. We can get out before it gets really ugly."

"You would shoot me in the back first chance you got," Kathryn said.

"Ow, Kat." Harry looked genuinely offended. "Would I do that to you?"

"You shot Kyle," Kathryn stated.

"He was in the way." Harry waved the matter away. "I appreciate him saving me then-"

"Go away, Harry," Kathryn said. "You're making me sick, listening to you."

"I can't just let you go." Harry lifted his pistol. "Sorry, Kathryn."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fence Jumpers: Part 35

(Image courtesy of Pinterest.)

Skyler and his team vaulted over the now barbed wire-free fence when the guards' backs were turned and dashed out of sight. It had taken days to finally clear it. Little by little when guards were changing shifts or when they weren't looking, they cleared away the barbed wire enough to allow for safe jumping.

The Coyotes on his team jumped the fence with all the grace and fluidity of a Jumper, and he felt a flare of pride. They and all the Coyotes had been training for days until they could jump with ease. They would need it.

Their second team of Coyotes jumped the fence, ready to cause chaos. Kate lock picked their way into the backdoor and they slipped inside, hurrying down the safest halls, using the knowledge of Fred's inside spies. 

Tag busted a door open and stepped in, two pistols drawn, and fired into the air. Skyler smirked as guards and inmates alike in the cafeteria were startled out of their wits.

"Ladies and gentlemen you have yourselves a takeover," Tag called out, and Coyotes exploded from behind at a run. Guard drew weapons, but as expected the inmates decided to join in on the fun.

While Tag oversaw the chaos, Kate and Skyler escorted Darcy to the control room. They burst in and were confronted with two guards, who had been too heavily involved with handling the situation in the cafeteria to be in full alert mode. Kate and Skyler knocked them unconscious as Darcy sat down to work.

"Go." Kate looked at Skyler. "Get started on finding Fred's inside man and find Kip."

Skyler nodded and ran. After days of visits, Fred had finally gotten a rough blueprint of the facility, and Skyler and his friends had spent hours memorizing it. So far, it had worked.

Suddenly someone grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and yanked him down a side hall. Skyler choked and twisted. A man with black tattoos down his right arm stared down at him. The man let go of him. "You with Fred?"

"Yeah." Skyler steadied his alarm. "Let's go."

The spy led him down halls and stopped at an intersection. Any guards had been called to handle the situation downstairs. "Saw him be taken down that way the other day. Haven't seen him since."

"Thanks." Skyler nodded. "Can you cause chaos in the halls?"

The man smirked and headed off. Skyler trotted down the halls, glancing at the small plates bearing the names of rooms. Most were numbers, and after peeking inside a few unlocked ones Skyler realized they were inmates' cells.

His pocket started vibrating, making him jump. He skidded to a halt and read the text:

It's down. Others coming.

Skyler smirked and kept running. Darcy, a fifteen-year-old girl, had made the city's best security system go down. She never ceased to impress.

Skyler turned the corner and slammed into someone. He fell back with a yelp and looked up. A man with curly brown hair and hazel eyes stood before him, a nasty-looking pistol already drawn and aimed at Skyler's chest.

"Well, are you the cause of all the racket?" he asked. He motioned with his gun, and Skyler stood slowly, hands raised. "Now, slowly turn ar--"

Skyler ducked and lunged. The man fired and missed and went crashing down under Skyler, who slammed his knee below the belt and tried to disarm him. He managed to get a hold of the gun, but the man punched him, sending him reeling. The pistol clattered and slid across the floor. Skyler was forced onto his back under the man, whose hand closed around his throat.

"So you're one of the infamous Fence Jumpers." the man smirked. Skyler gasped and clawed at the man's hands. "You guys have a lot nerve coming here. But with my guns as security... you'll be seeing the rising sun behind bars. I can guarantee it if you're one of those Peltons Horatio wants so desperately."

Skyler made the mistake of freezing and staring at him in confusion. What did Horatio want with him and his sister?

The man smiled, but didn't let up on the pressure on Skyler's throat. "Skyler Pelton... guess I can't kill you. Horatio specifically asked for you alive."

A sickening thud sounded, and the man crumpled. Skyler grunted and gasped, able to breathe fully again. He shoved the man off and looked up to see Hannah standing over him, the pistol in hand.

"If I had a quarter for every time I saved your butt--"

"Thanks," Skyler wheezed, accepting her hand to pull him up to his feet. "The others all in?"

"Running rampant in the halls like good little delinquents." Hannah nodded. "They make this momma proud. Where is Kip?"

"Still looking," Skyler replied. "I ran into that guy and got kind of interrupted."

"I'll join you."

Together they began searching. Skyler tried the first door, and it opened easily. His heart skipped at least five beats.

In the room was a reclining chair that looked like a dentist's chair. But this one had restraints, and it held Kip, strapped down and seemingly unconscious. He had a pained grimace on his face, like he was barely holding back a yell. He looked awful. He was gaunt and looked sick, and his normal stubble was now a beard and mustache. He almost looked like he had been deserted on an island.

Hannah gasped when she saw him. Skyler pulled her into the room and shut the door. He hurried to loosen the straps.

"Skyler, he's burning up," Hannah said. "We've got a to get him out of here."

"I'm trying," Skyler muttered. "See if you can wake him up."

Hannah tried. Skyler's instinct began to urge him to get moving. He had been in one place for too long. But he refused to move. He struggled with the straps while Hannah nudged Kip, smacked his cheek lightly, anything to wake him up. She got results at last with a moan.

"Kip!" she said urgently. "Kip, wake up. It's me."

Kip was slowly coming to. Then the door opened. Hannah whirled, drawing the both the pistol she had swiped from the man outside the door and the one she had brought with her.

"At ease!" Jonah held up his hands. He stared. "You found him!"

"Yeah, come help. It's time to go."

Kip was blinking groggily. His eyes found Skyler's face, but didn't focus. Kip groaned.

"Easy, Kip," Skyler said. "We're gonna get you out of here." He and Jonah pulled Kip out of the chair. The older man slumped, nearly dragging the boys to the floor. Hannah peeked out and motioned the all-clear, and Skyler and Jonah began the long trek down the halls. With horror, they realized the inmates were running as rampant as their crew was.

"Guess Fred's buddies aren't the most trustworthy," Jonah grumbled.

"Just keep going," Skyler grunted. "They'll be trying to take over the front. We need the back. The others will know to clear out soon."

They rounded the corner and found themselves facing security. Guns were pointed, but Hannah fired first. Skyler stared as she shot two in the leg and the third in his upper arm.

"Go!" Hannah urged, pistols at the ready. Skyler and Jonah half dragged Kip down the halls. They met up with a few Coyotes, giving them a better escort to their escape. Skyler blinked in the daylight, relief washing over him. They were almost out. They had done it.

But they were met by even more security. They froze, guns pointed at them. Skyler slumped. They had been so close...

Fence Jumpers: Part 34

(Image courtesy of Pinterest.)

Skyler slept little in the following days. He helped make the large cemetery more defensible, and reviewed possible plans to rescue Kip. Being outside the city, Madison and Emma couldn't come as often, but they would leave notes, and Coyotes acted as runners to send and collect messages.

Strategies were hard. Fred was able to "persuade" a few of his old buddies to get into the facility, and through Fred they passed information. The place was indeed a correctional facility. Nothing torture chamber-esque about it. One of them had even seen Kip be escorted down a hallway. He had looked tired, but relatively unhurt. Security, however, was top of the line. Human guards, but there were robot drones prowling the perimeter and the halls too. Not to mention the password codes, number codes, various identity scanners. As well was cameras outside and electrical fencing. Nobody was getting in, and nobody was getting out.

Victor and his crew had a few thieved firearms, and they helped the Jumpers and Coyotes learn how to properly hold them. Among the Coyotes, they had maybe a dozen firearms, but a third without ammo for them. Skyler tried to mark out potential places where they could find ammo, and with Fred's help Skyler was able to barter with a few of Fred's friends for a handful of ammunition.

Via Emma, they had heard Conway was now very often seen in the city. She had been called when he finally came home with a cut cheek after missing a family dinner. Horatio had been genuinely worried, but Conway seemed to have said nothing. Skyler began to wonder if they had been wrong about him, but right now they couldn't risk letting him come back.

Living with the homeless was an interesting experience. The homeless were primarily older men, older than Kip. It was obvious the kids hadn't had interaction with their elders, but the homeless were either patient, or didn't care that the kids seemed disrespectful at times. Habits from life at home prompted Skyler and Hannah to remind their peers to be respectful, however.

One week into life at the cemetery found Skyler poring over maps with possible marked routes of rescue and escape. Scouts into the old sector reported the areas being cleaned up by guarded criminals, and were marked down. There were very few places they could make an escape through. Skyler refused to sleep as he examined the maps. There was too much that needed to be done.

"Skyler." Hannah approached. "You need to sleep. You can't keep doing this to yourself. Go to bed."

"I can't, Hannah," Skyler said, looking at her. "We're so close."

"I know." Hannah laid her hand over his. "But that doesn't mean we should be exhausting ourselves over it. We do that and we won't have any energy to do anything else. Go to sleep."

Skyler shook his head. Hannah tried to pull him away from the maps. "Hannah, stop it. I don't have--"

A strong hand gripped his shoulder. Skyler jumped and twisted to see Fred standing over him.

"Your sister has a point, kid," Fred spoke firmly. "You're going to make yourself sick. Go and lie down."

"Let go of me," Skyler said quietly. Fred didn't move.

"You need to rest," Fred said. "Depriving yourself of sleep won't help your friends. Your sister will drug you again if she has to."

Skyler looked at Hannah. She watched him silently, her eyes pleading. Skyler sighed. "Fine..."

Fred released his arm. Hannah took his hand and led him away from the flat gravestone. Fred began folding away the maps.

"I'm sorry for snapping," Skyler said. Hannah turned and hugged him. Skyler blinked in surprise, but hugged her tight, burying his face in her shoulder. He realized he was a bit taller than she was, only by an inch, if that.

"We can do this," Hannah said, stroking his hair. "We will do this."

Skyler nodded. Hannah went on. "I know you've become something like a big grown up leader and everything, but you are still my little brother, and it's okay to act like it sometimes. I miss him."

Skyler held her even tighter. "I don't think I can remember what he was like..."

"For starters," Hannah laughed, "he would have gone to bed when told."

Skyler laughed. "What else?"

"He wouldn't be so freaking tall,. Hannah poked his neck lightly. "But I suppose we can't change that... He wouldn't be afraid to let me know what he's feeling, instead of acting all tough and stubborn."

Skyler smiled. "He's scared... more scared than he's felt... and he just doesn't know what to do..." the smile wavered. "He's really scared, Hannah...."

Hannah held him tighter. Skyler felt tears prick his eyes. "He doesn't know what he'll do if he loses one more person, and that scares him too....." he swallowed a sob. "It scares me a lot."

"Shh, shh..." Hannah held him, stroking his hair soothingly. "You know what the Skyler now would do? He wouldn't let that stop him. He would make it make him stronger. He would fight harder."

Skyler nodded. "I'm trying...."

"I know you are," Hannah whispered. "And I know you can. You don't have to lead alone. You have us." Hannah pulled away and smiled up at him. "But it starts with getting some sleep, okay?"

Skyler nodded. He let Hannah push him down on the overgrown grass and cover him with a blanket. He slipped into unconsciousness.

When he woke next, Jonah was leaning over him. He jumped in surprise. Jonah held him down. "Just me. I think we have a plan."

"Serious?" Skyler pushed away the blanket and got to his feet. "What is it? How long has it been a legit plan?" Skyler paused. "Let me rephrase: Is it a legit plan?"

"No, I woke you up to tell you we have yet other idea that's going to be trashed," Jonah feigned a glare. "Yes, it's a legit plan. Come on."

"Morning sunshine." Wes looked at Skyler. "Gosh man you look--"

"Shut up."

"Enough." Fred looked at them. "Hannah, you weren't kidding when you said these two bicker like an old couple."

"Oh, this isn't even at their best," Hannah muttered. She looked at Skyler. "Okay yeah, you look awful."

"The plan, guys." Skyler glared at her. "Tell me this plan."

Fred, Tag, and Hannah briefed Skyler on the plan. He listened, his eyes roaming the map wherever they pointed. He nodded in approval. It would take a few days to train and prepare, but it was worth it.

"It's our best shot," Skyler said. "Let's do it."

***

Sneaking back to the Coyote hideout was fairly easy. Noontime, the old sector became quiet while the working prisoners went to eat. Not as ideal as at night, but it would be the best time. Skyler and Darcy slipped through the alleys and jogged along the streets to the Coyote hideout. Skyler was thankful there wasn't a Nabber sweep.

The two ducked into the Wal-Mart at last. Darcy plopped down and opened her laptop as Skyler started up the generator, praying the solar panels were still functioning. He grinned when things began to work. Darcy connected the old exec device to her laptop and typed furiously, her eye flicking over the screen.

"Ready?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Hit it and let's run."

Darcy punched a key, waited five seconds, yanked the plug from the device and took off, slipping the device into her bag and leaving her precious laptop. Skyler ran after her, leaving the generator running. They dashed across the empty parking lot.

"How's it look?" Skyler asked.

"Looking good." Darcy looked at the device. "We're in."

They stopped at an old gas station and Darcy worked quickly on the device, plugging a memory stick into it. Skyler kept watch as she worked, infiltrating files and downloading them before hacking.

"Done!" she cried, tossing the device away and taking the memory stick. She and Skyler dashed off again, doubling back on their path, a few blocks from the Coyote hideout, and back up near the cemetery, where Tag and Kate awaited them.

"That was fast," Tag said, running after them. "Everything done?"

"Got the files," Darcy panted. "Electric fence is down."

The four ducked and wove around criminals and security, making their way inward and to the facility. It stood near the outskirts, and it was big, shiny, fenced in, and very official looking.

What better environment for a Fence Jumper?