Sunday, May 1, 2011

#SampleSunday-The Crystal Facade

Dyla and Eclair stood across the street watching the activity on the grounds of Sir Henry’s mansion.  They had positioned themselves along one of the side streets to watch both the front and the back with minimal effort hiding themselves in the numerous shops that dotted the street.  It seemed a typical day at the mansion, quiet with a few delivery trucks entering and leaving through the back gate.
Eclair did one more survey of the front and turned towards Dyla.     
“Do you think we should chance a look inside?”
Before Dyla could answer, she spotted Munroe coming out the front door.  He hopped into his car parked in the driveway and headed for the street.
“Look, it’s Munroe.  Let’s see where he goes instead,” Dyla replied.
“I’ll grab us a cab.”
Eclair stepped into the street, waving his arms trying to attract a cab driver’s attention.  Two black cabs sped by him without slowing down.
“Eclair, stop.  Let me handle this,” Dyla said.
She stepped off the curb, pushed her hip out and raised her hand at a passing cab.
The driver screeched to a halt.
Dyla looked at Eclair and grinned.
“Men are all the same no matter what planet they’re from,” she said and they climbed into the cab.
“Where to Miss?” the cabbie asked.
Dyla pointed to Munroe’s car exiting Sir Henry’s driveway.
“Can you follow that car without getting spotted?” she asked, handing the driver a wade of money. 
The driver took the money, glanced hungrily at the bills, and nodded vigorously.
“No problem, love,” the cabbie replied.  “That fellow will never know anyone is following him.”
Dyla sat back and leaned over to Eclair.
“This could prove interesting.”
Eclair watched Monroe’s car speed off, noting the direction he took. 
“If he heads back to Soho, he’s probably going back to his flat.”
“Yeah, but I’m hoping he’ll lead us somewhere new and we’ll learn something useful.  I don’t like the idea of sitting around watching and hoping for something to happen.”
Eclair nodded and kept a close eye on the car.
It wasn’t long before Munroe turned off the main thoroughfare and headed down a secondary street along the Thames River.
Dyla leaned forward to talk to the cab driver as he took the turn and followed Munroe.
“Where does this lead to?”
“Goes to the Port of London,” the cabbie said over his shoulder.  “It’s where most of the container ships dock and off load their goods.  Not exactly the nicest part of town.”
“OK, stay close, but don’t let him see you.”
“No worries.”
Dyla watched Munroe drive along, eventually slowing when he approached an indistinct row of warehouses.  When he turned in, Dyla leaned forward.
“Stop here.  We’ll get out now.”
After they got out, the cabbie leaned out the window.   
“You want me to wait?”
Dyla felt waves of greed emanating off the man while he questioned her, obviously hoping for another big payout. 
“No, that’s all right, we’ll be fine on our own.”
“Suit yourselves,” the cabbie replied. “Lots of nasty folks hanging about, you can easily get into trouble in the blink of an eye.”
“Thanks,” Eclair said, “but I got things under control.”
The cabbie gave Eclair a once over and grinned broadly. 
  “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he said, driving off.
“What did he mean by that?” Eclair said, looking at Dyla.
“Nothing dear,” Dyla said, patting his arm.  “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“Neither do I.”
Dyla smiled at the double meaning behind Eclair’s comment. 
“We tracked them to the mansion and then followed them to the docks.  They followed Munroe right to the warehouse.”
The team had easily followed the cab Dyla and Eclair took.  The streets were crowded enough that they were able to stay well behind without ever losing site of the cab.  Once the cab stopped at the warehouse, the team drove past and stopped further down the street.  It afforded them a good view of anyone leaving the warehouse parking lot without being spotted themselves. 
The team leader listened for further directions. 
“Roger.  We’ll sit tight and follow them when they come out.”
Dyla and Eclair headed down along the row of warehouses and spotted Munroe’s car parked near the end by one of the entry doors.  They moved slowly, keeping close to the side of the building looking for a clue or idea of what was going on inside.  All they found were blackened windows and locked doors.
“We have to get inside somehow.”
“Come here,” Eclair motioned to her.  “I’ll bend the light and we’ll go in the door near Munroe’s car.”
As soon as Dyla slipped her hand into Eclair’s, they vanished.  Though she had done this many times before, it was still disconcerting to look through the slight distortion of Eclair’s shield, knowing no one could see her.  Eclair gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and the two moved toward the door. 
“Do you sense anyone nearby?” Eclair whispered.
Eclair opened the door and they went inside.  On the far side of the warehouse, the bay doors facing the docks were open and workers were busy unloading smaller containers from the ship.  Munroe was nowhere to be seen so they continued moving forward and looked around.  Eclair noticed an office at the other end of the warehouse and headed off in that direction.  It seemed the most likely place for Munroe to have gone. 
Carefully the two approached the office, treading lightly to minimize any noise or sign of their passage.  They glanced inside the lone office window and noticed two desks with stacks of paperwork on both.  Fortunately, no one was sitting at either.  In the back of the office, there was an impressive looking vault.  The door was opened revealing a large lighted interior room.  The door of the vault looked as if it weighed a few tons.  They also noticed shadows of movement inside.     
“Munroe must be in there,” Dyla said.
“Do you want to go inside?” Eclair asked.  “I can easily hold my shield that long.”
“No, we better not test our luck.  Wait until he leaves and then open a portal to the inside.  Can you do that?”
“Yes, no problem, I’ve seen the inside,” Eclair replied.  “If Munroe stays in there too long, we’ll have to hide somewhere so I can drop my shield and rest.”
Dyla pointed at the vault.
“Looks like we won’t have to wait after all.  Here he comes.”
Eclair and Dyla moved away from the office and hid behind a stack of boxes watching Munroe leave the office.  He stopped momentarily outside the office and looked around.  Dyla instantly threw a shield around them, hiding them from an empathic search.  Munroe stared in their direction for a moment, shook his head and then walked out of the warehouse.  Eclair waited until he heard Munroe’s car start up and drive off before he released his concentration and dropped the invisibility shield.  Checking to make sure none of the dockworkers were looking their way, they entered the office. 
“That was close,” Eclair said.  “Let’s get inside that vault and get this over with.”
“The sooner the better.  Let’s find out what Munroe was doing in there.”
Eclair nodded and opened a portal inside the vault.  As they stepped through, the automatic interior lights flashed on.  Looking around, the two gawked at what they found.
“Damn!  Look at all those crystals.”
The vault walls were lined with rows of shelves from top to bottom and on every surface were clusters of raw crystals.
Dyla exhaled loudly.
“I’ve never seen so many crystals in my life.  Why do they need so many?”
“Maybe there are more Otharians living on Earth than we know,” Eclair replied.
“There is enough here to outfit a small army of PSIs.  There’s no way they would use that many crystals on this planet.” Dyla said.
“Maybe they’re for jewelry.  We’ve seen quite a few Earth people wearing them in necklaces and rings.
“Could be.”
“Whatever the reason, we need to get out of here before we get caught.”
“You’re right.  Let’s go back to the flat.”
Eclair opened a portal back inside Cat’s living room.  They stepped through confident that they had discovered an important piece of the puzzle.