Are we there yet?" whined Jane for yet the millionth time - from the backseat of the helicopter. She hadn't shut up since we'd gotten ourselves airborne. Somebody shut her up before I punch her, I thought murderously.
"No, Jane, we're not!" Ella replied, in that disguisted and annoyed voice she normally reserved for Jane when she was being her usual self.
Not even ten seconds had passed when she spoke up yet again. "How about now?"
"Put a sock in it, Janie," Rickie told her, annoyed as well. "Don't make me get the duct tape.." he threatened.
Jane folded her arms around herself and pouted. Finally, she shut up so I could concentrate.
"We shouldn't be far now..." Jax said from his navigator seat in the cockpit, checking the radar on Mr. Smith's computer screen.
"About freaking time!" Jane rejoiced.
"SHUT UP, JANE!" We all said together.
Jane closed her mouth, looking absolutely pissed and agitated, but remained silent. For once.
"So, what's the plan again?" Jackie asked.
"Okay, this is it; Jackie, Jane, Ella, Rickie and I are the Ground Team that will be infiltrating the mine. Jax, we'll need hacking equipment, lock picks, and a couple smoke bombs and stuff to make a quick gettaway of we're caught. Much like the bomb factory, we will get in, find out where their products are kept, plant the explosives, and get out of there as quick as possible. Jax and Blake will be up in the chopper at a safe distance until they're needed. Blake will fly it and Jax will help navigate us through the maze."
Blake nodded, understanding his role.
I turned to Jax in the co-pilot's seat. "Jax, use Mr. Smith to direct us through the mine with the map you got from those "Top Secret" documents. Once we've accomplished what we've set out to do, Blake, come pick us up at the Extraction Point." I glanced around at everyone. "Everyone got that?"
"Yeah. Sounds easy enough..." Ella looked a bit doubtful about that.
"Guys, we just need to move fast. If we run into any guards, just beat the crap outta them like we did last time. No biggie." I told them.
"Oooo! Rickie rather likes that idea!" Rickie cooed, a goofy grin crossing his face.
Jackie shook her head at her brother. "Twin, you're weird."
"Tell us something we don't know," Ella giggled.
"Can I talk yet?" Jane piped up. I about made a start at the sound; I almost forgot she was even there - which was a first.
"NO," we all chorused, speaking at the exact same time again. Jane frowned, lapsing into a pouting silence. I could practically see smoke billowing out of her ears. Probably just my imagination.
"Alright. Everyone get everything you need before we land. We should be almost there." I said ordered.
Jax handed his backpack to Rickie that held all of his equipment inside. "Everything you'll need is in there. If you need to hack into the mainframe or bypass any security doors, there's a handheld datapad in one of the smaller pockets. All you have to do is plug the central cord into any access keypad or computer and you'll be able to hack into it with no problem. I imagine there will be plenty of booby traps and security systems, so watch out. You can shut some of them off by doing that through their system." He explained.
"Sweet!" Rickie whistled, pulling out one of those old Palm Pilot-sized pad. "You sure know your tech stuff. How do I work this thing?"
While Jax showed him, I went through the bag full of equipment we'd need for my Ground Team; rock-scaling equipment (like rope, halters and caribeeners), tweezers, wire cutters, a blow torch (seriously? What would we use that for?), detonators, flashlights, hard hats, and a pick axe. We'd definitely look like miners on a mission down there.
Ella and Jackie had been looking over my shoulder as I'd rummaged through Jax's backpack and had seen some of the items that were in there. "A blow torch?" she inquired as Jackie dragged it out to examine it. It sure looked like a mean little thing that could cause some serious burnage; the thing looked more liked a handheld gun than an actual welding blow torch. "Where would we use that?"
Jax looked over at us and seeing what we were looking at. His face brightened proudly as he went on in a lengthy description. "Normally, welders used that to fuse metal pieces together, and the bad guys often used it to get through thick metal doors in the movies. But that baby can blow through ANY kind of metal - whether it be titanium or some flimsy alloy." he described, his voice full of pride and reverence for his cool dangerous 'toy.' "I use it from time to time in my lab."
Rickie whistled in awe. "Damn, that looks pretty badass!"
Jax smirked (which caused his bright yellow-green eyes to glow even brighter - it made him look even more devilishly handsome and made Jackie drool), looking quite pleased with himself. "I know."
A loud *ping* came from Mr. Smith Jax had on his lap, making everyone turn their heads towards the sounds. Jax looked down at the screen. "Uhp, we're here!" He nudged Blake in the pilot's seat with a hand and pointed with the other. "Hover just above that weird rock formation over there." He indicated his 1 o'clock.
Blake did as he was told, maneuvering the chopper nice and easy over the mountain plain. Rickie undid the safety latch on the chopper door, holding it open as we all began to file out. "Good luck, guys. Be careful out there." Jax cautioned as we started jumping out; Jackie went bravely first, then Ella and Jane. Before I could position myself to jump out, Jax stopped me with a hand on my arm.
"Here, put one of these in your ear," He deposited 5 small pieces of translucent rubber, that resembled the size of an eraser at the end of a pencil, into my hand. "Give the rest to the others. This special built-in radio earpiece that I invented will allow me to communicate with you guys down in the mine. It's hooked up to the helicopter's radio headset. I'll give you directions on where to go and what to expect. Unfortunately, I can't hack into their mainframe from up here because the mine's security is super tight and nothing can penetrate it's defenses from the outside - only my datapad can." Jax called over the roar of the helicopter blades above us. He smiled, holding out his fist and I bumped mine with his in a little encouraging fist-bump. "Good luck down there, Rox. I'll meet you at the Extraction Point."
After both Rickie and I jumped out, landing on the rocky top of a mountain, Jax closed the chopper door behind us and the helicopter flew away. As the sound of the blades slowly faded into the distance, I surveyed our surroundings. I could see nothing but rocks, mountains, and more rocks stretching for miles in every direction that I turned. It was desolate and quiet, save for the crazy wind that howled in our ears. It whipped Jane's face-length hair into her eyes. Jackie, Ella and I had come prepared, with our long hair tied back in ponytails. Jane and Ella put on the yellow hard hats. Not a bad idea... Rickie was busy messing with the datapad Jax had given him.
"Where do we go now, Mr. Map Guy?" I asked him.
He tapped the screen a few times before answering, reading the map. "We need to go... 7 kilometers northeast and 2 more kilometers west." he replied, looking up at us with a grin on his face.
I rubbed my hands together, feeling anxious out there in the open. "Alright, let's start moving." I fell in behind Rickie as he led us forward, following the GPS device.
After a few minutes of walking in the harsh winds, Ella spoke up above the roar. "I think we should have given Jane weighted boots or something, the kind I've seen on some of the NGO soldiers, or else she might just blow away."
Rickie and I looked back to see Jane struggling to remain on her feet. Rickie let out an amused laugh. Jane gave him and Ella a contemptious look, narrowing her eyes at them. Her expression changed and she burst into laughter when Rickie almost tripped over his own two feet, almost landing on his face.
He had been too busy laughing at Jane to even watch where he was going, therefore causing him to stumble. Rickie was the poster child of 'The Most Graceful.'
Out of nowhere came the amused voice of Jax in my ear, almost startling me and making me jump. "Was that the sound of the Rickster making a complete fool of himself again?" Jax inquired in our earpieces.
Rickie made sure the ground was still under his feet, his face looking very red as everyone giggled around me. "No! That was just Jane being her annoying, clumzy, and short self." he quipped, grouchy. He sad attempt at making himself feel better did nothing to make,the situation better, failing miserably.
"Alright, let's keep on moving. I wanna get this over with." I said before they all started World War III.
"Yeah, Rickie," Jane cooed in a snarky tone. "Keep moving and try to remember how to walk this time." she smirked.
Rickie shot her a 'just-wait-I'll-kill-you-in-your-sleep-tonight' glare and whirled around, his back to her, leading the way.
"I kinda see what you have to deal with every day now, Roxy," This time, it was Blake's voice that came through my earpiece.
I laughed humorlessly. "Yeah, this ain't the half of it. Trust me."
"Yeah, usually everyone's at each other's throats and stuff; it's pretty bad." Jackie told him - and she wasn't exaggerating, either.
"Wow..." Blake sounded a little nervous, if not scared. No doubt he was wondering what kind of crazy he had gotten himself into.
"Should have thought this through before you joined us, huh? Having any second thoughts?" Jax said, amused.
Blake chuckled. "I don't know. Maybe."
"None of us blames you. Me? I have no choice in the matter. I'm stuck here - I'm tied to Rickie for life." Jackie said. Poor girl.