Enforcer Wade frowned as he entered the main security center for the Ark Tunnel Reactor. The room was dark except for the computer screens which cast strange shadows all around the room. The room shouldn’t have been empty. Even if the guard was stronger elsewhere there should still be people in this room. It was where all the security camera footage was and it contained the entire alarm system. If there was a security breach in the reactor then this room would be the first place that would know about it.
However nobody would know about it if there was nobody here. Wade lit several floating fires before continuing into the room. It was a large room, big enough for plenty of people but that meant even with his light the room was still covered with shadows. He tried flicking on the lights but there was no result. He could feel crunching under his feet and he understood the reason.
Shards of glass covered the floor. Looking up Enforcer Wade saw that the lights had all been broken out. Was this caused by Phantom Thief Rose, or maybe Lynn and that other girl, or was in something else. He moved over to one of the computer terminals and checked the monitor. Everything seemed to be working correctly. Why would somebody break the lights and make all the officers that were supposed to be here disappear but leave the computers functioning.
“This is quite a conundrum isn’t it?” Said a silky voice from behind him. He spun around to see Phantom Thief Rose standing in the doorway. She was wearing a Security Officer’s uniform, although how she had managed to get one which seemed tailored for her she didn’t know. She seemed preoccupied with looking around the room.
“Is this your doing? What happened to all the guards that were supposed to be stationed here?” Asked Wade. The balls of flame hanging around the room pulsed and grew bigger. Wade would be capible of cutting of Rose’s escape path instantly but he wanted her to feel that he was dangerous.
“No idea. I just got here myself. Maybe the found out something they shouldn’t have and then Professor Gray’s crony had to deal with them before they told you about it.” Rose messed with one of the computers and one the first try got the name and password of a security officer who had been too loose with his money in a bar several weeks ago.
“What are you doing?” Asked Enforcer Wade menacingly. The balls of fire grew hotter momentarily, changing color several times before settling down to red again. Suddenly all of the screens in the room were displaying the same same video. It was off the primary room of the Reactor. The reactor’s power gauge was already well into the red section which signified a dangerous level of power. Nearby the reactor was Professor Gray. He was connecting the Euclidian Key to the reaction using lots of cables and strange devices.
“I see. Professor Gray is just preparing the Euclidian Key to use against Lynn. The power overload must just be a coincidence. I’m so glad that you were right. I will cease by thief attempt immediately and turn myself in.” The sarcasm in Rose’s voice was very difficult to miss.
Enforcer Wade glared daggers at Rose and then back at the security camera feed. Those power levels were incredibly dangerous. Wade didn’t know much about how the Ark Tunnel Reactor worked but even he knew that what Gray was doing was foolish. Nobody would go through that much effort to stop an Esper, there were ways of dealing with even a level 8 Esper that didn’t require that much power. If there was the slightest mistake then the entire power plant would be destroyed, no even if there wasn’t a mistake it was likely that there would be nothing more then a crater in the ground when the Key activated.
Wade looked back toward Rose but she was gone. She had slipped away while Wade was looking at the screens and now that she was out of sight Wade wasn’t able to do anything to her short of melting the entire building. Leaving the security room, Wade began heading toward the Reactor Room. He had a few choice words to trade with Professor Gray. The first would probably involved a punch to the nose but he wasn’t sure how he wanted to follow that.
Once Enforced Wade had left the room, Phantom Thief Rose stepped out off her hiding spot. That trick worked so many times it was silly. Step into a hiding place while somebodies back is turned and they automatically assume that you managed to leave. Inspector Grim was getting better about checking places before he expanded the search but other people continued to make the same mistake. Well, you only learn from mistakes if you know you made one.
Rose stepped back toward the computer and flipped through several different security camera feeds. Eventually she found one that she was looking for. It showed two Student Council members walking though the hallways. Good, it looked like they were on schedule. Things were probably going to start going bad very quickly but they should have some time to spare.
She flipped through a few more of the video feeds before spotting the other person wearing a school uniform walking through the halls. It was the mysterious Esper Svenn. That person was turning out to be more of an issue then she had though. She had only barely managed to avoid running into him three times. There was something different about that youth. If Svenn and Wade were the only Espers here that were sent to deal with Lynn then one or both must be extremely powerful. From Rose’s experience, Wade was powerful and while he might be able to meet blows in a fight with Lynn, he would never be able to stop her from stealing something.
Therefore it must by Svenn which Professor Gray was banking on being able to stop Lynn. For that to be true he either needed to have a power which would neutralize a teleport or be of approximately equal strength with her to neutralize her long enough for the Euclidian Key to activate. Rose didn’t know how to effectively neutralize a Teleport so that must mean that he was a high level Esper. That made things difficult. She needed to avoid powerful Espers for her plan to have a chance at success.
However that was still step two. The first step was about to happen. Enforcer Wade would distract the unknown Esper Svenn so that Rose would be able to put the first plan into motion. She searched the controls for a minute before she found it. Then she pressed the fire alarm. There was an ear shreeking sound throughout the entire facility as the alarm went off and then the spinklers began to spray water everywhere.
Rose lifted up the umbrella which she had found in the locker room with the uniform she was currently wearing. It was there conveniently, many things were convenient for Rose because she planned for them. In this case she had bribed a security officer yesterday to convince them to bring the uniform and umbrella to work.
The computer were all beginning to shut down now. They were set up to shut down and preserve data in case they got wet. There had probably never been a real fire here otherwise those in charge off the building would probably have removed the sprinklers from the computer room. Rose sat down on one of the chairs which was still mostly dry and waited.
It didn’t take very long. Soon Inspector Grim and a half a dozen Security Officers burst into the room. “Hello Grimmy. I’m taking a back role in this theft so I thought we should have some fun together before everything exciting starts happening. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Rose.” Shouted Inspector Grim, forgetting to even add her title of Phantom Thief to her name, “I have no idea what you are planning, but attempting a Theft in the University District is against everything that you have previously stood for. I may have occasionally been lax on you in the Entertainment District but that isn’t going to happen here. This time you will really be arrested and the University justice is less forgiving then the Entertainment justice.”
“Arrest me? There are lots of things you should be more concerned about then arresting me. Things like, I don’t know, maybe the demolition charges that I have set all around the building.” Rose looked at her watch casually. There there was a loud, far off explosion. The building slightly shook like it was during an earthquake. “There goes the first one. It is only a matter of time before the others ones start to go off. You should probably get out of here now.”
“That’s it.” Said Inspector Grim. He was literally quivering with rage. He stepped forward and with one quick movement slapped a handcuff around Rose’s hand. The other end was connected to Grim’s hand. “I don’t know what changed but you are no longer Phantom Thief Rose, you are just a criminal. And since you are a criminal it is my duty to arrest you.”
Rose slowly stood up and straightened. At her full height she was just a hair taller then Grim when she stood like that, something Grim always resented. “Your right, I’m not a Phantom Thief now. I’m just a person, doing what needs to be done. What are you Grim? Are you an Inspector, arresting a criminal or are you a person who is doing what needs to be done.” She looked over his shoulder at the Security Officers behind him.
“Grim, get those people out of here. Once you have done that you can come back for me if you want. I won’t stop you then. However right now there are things that I need to do. I’m not playing by the rules right now, neither are you. So decide. Either continue to chase me or make sure this building is empty. If you don’t then a lot of people are going to die here.”
Rose lifted her handcuffed hand and held it so that Grim could see, “Sorry Grim but today I’m cheating.” Then slowly the handcuff passed though her hand and then dropped, swinging back and forth with the other side still connected to Grim. During that one moment Grim was dumbfounded. Then he realized that Rose looked shorted, no, she was shorter. He looked down and then watched stunned as Rose slipped through the floor and was gone.
There was a long moment while Grim considered what happened and what Rose had told him. The reason she had called him out here, the reason she wasn’t acting like a proper Phantom Theft, the reason why was acting with assistants, the reason she had started the fire alarm, the reason she had set the explosives, and the reason she had spoke to him. Then everything clicked into place like the gears in a large machine finally in the correct position.
“This building is rigged to explode.” Yelled Inspector Grim at the security officers. “Make sure to get everybody out of here. You have ten minutes. Find anyone you can and make sure all off them leave. After the ten minutes are up I expect all of your to leave the building yourself.” Some of the officers looked at him in surprise, “Come on, do it. Lives come first man! Go! Go! Go! I’ll deal with the Phantom Thief. You work on making sure that everybody survives.”
Finally the security officers began to obey his orders. They are began running in different directions. Inspector Grim ran with them for a couple of minutes giving new orders to security officers which they came across. Soon most off the officers in the building had gotten the message.