52: YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET

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Everyone moved like clockwork, falling together and bouncing off of each other with familiarity that can't be manufactured. The only person who even stumbled once the plan was explained was Desmond, but he found his niche soon enough, and once he did, he threw everything he had into it.

We didn't take a lot of prep time. We didn't have to.

The plan was thoroughly analyzed, contingencies were formed, and everyone went to work.

The brilliant thing about our meeting taking place in Howler's former safe house was that every field agent had a backup field suit waiting for them. Clean and clearly labeled, all hanging up in a section of the building that was far more high-tech and secure than the rest. Everyone punched in their numbers and received their suits, with the exception of Gunner and Imitate, both of whom had become accustomed to wearing modified civvies. They hit Howler's huge basement closet and went to work making sure everything they donned was either bulletproof, militarized, or both.

Being conspicuous was no longer a concern.

Making sure the world's leaders stayed alive was top priority. That, and eliminating Aim and Gambler . . . and the Kinetic in whole.

Everyone's departure from the safe house was staggered. It was only after everyone else had gone, with the plan solidified in their minds, that Rebel and I left the building. Rebel locked the door after us as I went off to the little garage Howler had tucked away in one side of the building. 

Rebel and I left Howler's safe house behind with the roar of a motorcycle. 

Rebel held tight to my waist as I drove, weaving through the streets with practiced ease. Part of me longed for a sniper rifle for this particular mission, but the greater part of me was after one thing, and one thing only -- revenge

When we reached the blockades that had been set up to prevent any civilians from entering the street with the building the United Nations leaders were meeting in, I didn't even hesitate. I had just enough experience under my belt to navigate the mess of cars and barriers with ease. The shouting and calamity that arose from the action was whisked away by the wind, and soon enough I guided the motorcycle up the stairs. The momentum carried us straight through the already open double doors, and I briefly caught a glimpse of the guards who stood there staring slack-jawed before we burst into the building. 

One-handed, I forced the visor of my helmet to slide up, steering the motorcycle down the hall where the elevator was supposed to be. The few people who were in the lobby shouted upon spotting us, most of them jumping out of the way even if they weren't in our path. When we reached the elevator, I twisted the motorcycle to a screeching stop. Rebel leapt off it first, one of his hands sliding down my arm to steady me as I dismounted soon after. Rebel smacked the button for the elevator and I yanked my helmet off, dropping it onto one of the bike's handles, before taking his and depositing it on the other. 

"The building should be on complete lockdown in nine more minutes," Rebel recalled.

I gave a short nod but otherwise remained silent, stepping into the elevator car as soon as the doors slid open. It was sheer luck that no one was inside waiting to get off ... and as soon as Rebel had punched the button for the appropriate floor, we could see guards sprinting our way, guns in hand, shouting at us. Rebel flashed them a toothy smile and I gave a slight wiggle of my fingers with a smirk as the doors slid shut. I could hear bullets pinging on the metal as we began our ascent.

Rebel removed his handgun from its holster and cocked it. He glanced over at me, arching a brow in silence as the elevator continued to faithfully ping with every floor we passed. "Miss your rifle?" he asked, his index finger resting above the trigger. 

"Not very useful inside," I remarked, my hand resting on my own gun, still resting in its holster. 

Rebel grinned. "This is the better call."

"I know," I retorted.

"Ever the know-it-all," Rebel hummed, not without affection. He had the pleasure of getting the last word in this time, our conversation coming to a halt with the elevator.

The moment the doors slid open, Snag appeared with a breeze, a cheeky grin still claiming her features. "'Bout time you two showed up," she said, tossing her purple locks out of her face. "I saw Charlie goin' into the meeting room, but so far as I can tell nothing's happened yet. No sign of Gray, or any of his pesky minions."

Rebel and I both ducked out of the elevator before the doors could slide shut once more. I opened my mouth to ask where the others were, but didn't get a chance. The sound of gunfire exploded down the hall Snag had come from. 

"Guess the party's starting," Snag chirped, retrieving her own small pistol from her hip. She winked at me, "Let me know if you need a ride anywhere. For now I'm going to make sure Gunner doesn't have all the fun!" Just like that, she was gone, leaving nothing but a blurry trail of purple and black in her wake.

Rebel and I barely exchanged a look before we both sprinted after her. Hardly capable of going anywhere near her speed, it took us a few seconds longer to reach the commotion. When we did, I did a mental head count-- Gunner, Snag, and Rage were all positioned in different strategic locations immediately outside a large set of double doors. Snag was less blurry now, crouched near Gunner, popping up to fire off a few shots before dropping down once more. Gunner didn't even bother ducking -- and with good reason. He stood there, taking several dozen shots without so much as flinching, his typically dark skin now glaring steel. 

It didn't take the Kinetic agents long to notice Rebel and I, but before any of them could turn their aim toward us, Rebel squeezed off a few shots. 

That was all he had a chance to do. I stretched out a hand and flicked it up toward the ceiling, disarming all of the agents that stood between us and the meeting room. As the shock registered on their faces, I separated both of my hands swiftly, sending them flying off their feet and into the walls with loud crashes from body armor and heavy weights collapsing on the floor.

"They'll have heard that," Rage said gruffly, straightening and doing a quick double check of his own handgun.

"Don't care,"  I returned, moving toward the double doors. Rebel was hot on my heels, his physical presence familiar, one arm almost brushing against my shoulder as we walked. 

For once in her life, Snag wasn't the first to leap into action. She stood by with Gunner and Rage as I pushed my hand through the air, the forceful mental shove sending the doors flying open. 

The UN leaders were all standing around a giant ring of a table. When the doors burst open, their attention flickered toward us, their expressions already betraying their fear. That didn't come as a surprise to me, given that Aim and Gambler stood near the center of the space the table enveloped, both of their heads snapping toward the doors when they heard the sound. I saw the familiar twist of Gambler's lips, her brow furrowing, anger igniting within her as quickly as her ability would manage. 

Had we been back in HQ, I would've made a smart aleck remark about smoke coming out of her ears. But we weren't in HQ anymore. We weren't a part of LASAR anymore. We were no longer forced and apprehensive allies ... and we all knew it.

When a sliver of a throwing knife flew through the air toward me, Rebel's hands clapped down on it, right before it could hit my nose. A move he'd had to perfect over the years, given Gambler's affinity for knives, and her extreme hatred of us both. And yet, for that moment, it was as though time stood still. Both Aim and Gambler scowled at Rebel and I as though we were the scum of the earth -- and to them, we were -- while Rebel and I stared right back.

The difference between them and us? 

They couldn't change the way the hatred creased their faces if they tried

Rebel and I? For that brief, impossibly still moment, we grinned.

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