Stanton's smug lace from his mind.
Concentrate on the mission,
he reminded himself.
Only the mission matters.
"I just hope some of Stromfeld's goons get in my way," Jennifer warned darkly. "I'vegot a lot of tension I need to work off."Jake frowned. "Forget it. We need to access the core as quickly and quietly as possible. We don't want any diversions.""Says you. Me, I say what's a mission without the chance to break some faces? Hey,Jake . . ." Jennifer stopped, rapping her fist on the surface in front of her. The sound rangmetallically. "We're in.""We're in." Jake allowed himself a grim kind of grin, nothing too elaborate or emotional. They'd reached the fringe of Stromfeld's headquarters, as the steel plating of the tunnel now testified, but there was a long way to go yet.They slithered across the polished metal plates. The light improved as they nearedthe main body of the complex, allowing Jake a rather more explicit view of his partner'srear as she wriggled her way forward. Jake was relieved that Eddie was not in his positionat this particular moment.Jennifer paused again — this time because she couldn't go any further. A wire grille blocked the intruders' path. She coiled back on herself and hissed to Jake: "Where's thissupposed to lead again?""An empty storeroom," he supplied, "according to the blueprints.""Then send the blueprints back," Jennifer whispered. "And make that a veryoccupied storeroom." She indicated with her thumb.Jake peered through the grille. A guard, uniformed and helmeted in black and, moreworryingly, equipped with a large and probably well-serviced laser rifle, was settlinghimself down on a packing case. They hadn't planned for this.
One problem at a time,
Jake reminded himself.
Take nothing for granted.
"What's he doing?" Jennifer mouthed.By way of answer, the guard eased off his helmet and felt in his pocket, drawing outa packet of cigarettes and a lighter."Unscheduled work break," chuckled Jake. "Naughty boy. Well, we've only got towait, sit quietly, and —""You can forget that," scoffed Jennifer. "I'm out of here.""Wait!"Jennifer didn't. Her feet smashed into the grille, sent it spinning across the storeroomand slamming into the far wall. The guard choked on the first drag of his cigarette,struggled to stand, and groped for his gun. He wasn't quick enough. Jennifer droppedlithely from the vent, smiled at the gape of astonishment on the man's face, and thenlashed out with her right leg, pivoting on her hip. The kick struck the guard squarely onthe side of the head. With a faint groan, he clattered to the floor. He didn't get up."Somebody should have told you," Jennifer tutted. "Smoking's bad for your health."************************************They dragged the dinghy up onto the shingle and over to where the angle of alurching rock would hide it, and then crouched in the shadow of the same rock to takestock.