COPYRIGHT Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder. All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.
Part Eight: 86 (Cont'd)
The walk back took forever. An office door swung open just ahead, and a middle-aged guy came out. He was wearing brown double-knit polyester slacks and a short-sleeved yellow shirt, and he looked like an old-line mechanical engineer. Getting an extra-early start on the day, or maybe he'd been up all night. The guy glanced at me, then looked down at the carpet without saying anything.
I was a cleaning guy. I was invisible.
A couple dozen surveillance cameras had captured my image, but I wasn't going to attract anyone's attention. I was a cleaning guy, a maintenance guy. I was supposed to be here. No one would look twice.
Finally I reached the mechanical room. I stopped in front of the door, listening for voices, prepared to run if I had to, if someone was in there with Seth, even though I didn't want to leave him there. I could hear the faint squawk of the police scanner, that was all.
I pulled the door open. Seth was standing just on the other side of the door, the radio near his ear.
He looked panicked.
"We gotta get out of here," he whispered.
"The guy on the roof. On the seventh floor, I mean. The security guy who took us to the roof."
"What about him?"
"Must have come back out to the roof. Curious, whatever. Looked down, didn't see us. Saw the ropes and the harnesses, and no window cleaners, and he freaked. I don't know, maybe he got scared something happened to us, who knows?"
There was squawking over the police scanner, a babble of voices. I heard a snatch: "Floor by floor, over!"
Then: "Bravo unit, come in."
"Bravo, suspected illegal entry, D David wing. Looks like window cleaners—abandoned equipment on the roof, no sign of the workers. I want a floor-by-floor search of the whole building. This is a Code Two. Bravo, your men cover the first floor, over."
I stared at Seth. "I think Code Two means urgent."
"They're searching the building," Seth whispered, his voice barely audible over the roar of the machinery. "We have to get the fuck out of here."
"How?" I hissed back. "We can't drop the ropes, even if they're still in place! And we sure as hell can't get out through the mantrap on this floor!"
"What the hell are we going to do?"
I inhaled deeply, exhaled, tried to think clearly. I wanted a cigarette. "All right. Find a computer, any computer. Log on to the Trion Web site. Look for the company security procedures page, see where the emergency points of egress are. I'm talking freight elevators, fire stairs, whatever. Any way we can get out, even if we have to jump."
"Me? So what are you going to do?"
"I'm going back out there."
"What? You're fucking kidding me. This building is crawling with security guards, you moron!"
"They don't know where we are. All they know is we're somewhere in this wing—and there's seven floors."
"I'll never get this chance again," I said, running toward the door. I waved my Motorola Talkabout at him. "Tell me when you find a way out. I'm going into Secure Facility C. I'm going to get what we came for."