Foster and his cronies find themselves as participants in an alien experiment. - - - "The weapon will fall upon cities / Unless theives deliver humanity from woe / The enemy of triumph is intellect / For faculties failure requires sence anew". I spent my early years in a top-notch thief crew, so this Nostradamus quatrain peaked my interest. But touching base with my past quickly collided with my present. Suddenly, I was back in the game, working as a break-and-enter man for a score going down in Silicon Valley. And the people I worked with were no strangers. Harley Daniels, more than an old friend, a statuesque blonde with brains to spare – she finds the scores and makes sure they get set up right. Ritchie Black, a wild boy who happens to be the best alarm-bypass man around – it always felt good to have Ritchie by my side on a job. And then there was Dex – the taskmaster of the unit – took "Crew Chief" as his title. Dex had a special love for giving orders – he kept us on track. Thing is, Dex didn't like me. Welcome to the club. Before I met Hannah these people were my family. On this job, out of necessity, they become my allies, with one difference between us – they were there for the money, I was there for a bigger score – aliens. Had we been hired by the Gua to steal computer weaponry that'll someday be turned against human-kind? The only way to find out was to take it from them. Security was tight. But we were the best there is at what we do – still were. Some things you never forget. Working as a team we were able to get into the first room. Things got ugly fast. I don't know what kind of security system this place was trying to run, but when Dex got skewered by an iron blade from the ceiling, I knew there was nothing normal about this job – we were in for trouble. The vault had sealed shut behind us. Wanted to cut bait, but Harley wasn't having it. Thing about the best, they don't give up easy, especially with a buyer willing to pay millions for the score. With Dex out of the picture, Harley gave herself a speedy promotion. Said we keep going – seemed to get off on bossing me around – guess she still had a score to settle. We were sealed in, not like I had much of a choice. Time to play follow the leader. Next obstacle was a simple key lock – gut told me that wasn't right. No trip wires, no motion sensors – just something even more odd in the room – an arsenal. What does a computer company in Silicon Valley need with a room full of guns? My partners didn't have a clue but Ritchie wasn't taking any chances – he went back to tried-and-true thief basics, lifting a double-barrel as some extra insurance. Door slammed shut behind us. No where to go but through the next. Ritchie wanted to know how I could have given this all up, thought I missed the rush of the ride. Told him I missed a lot of things about my old life – this wasn't one of ‘em. Got into the next room and things got really spooky. Harley and I started getting into it, seems our past was creeping up on us. Harley's true feelings about me and Hannah came into play. Shoulda known better – never scorn a woman on the job. The room ignited in fire, we booked double-time through the next door to find the last person I ever expected to see… Crazy Eddie Nambulous. Times two. I knew it was a hallucination. Had to be. This was no ordinary building. Altered reality was my best guess. Harley and Ritchie looked exactly the same – like Eddie! We were being set-up. The floor plans were suspect, there was no military technology, no score – nothing. Ritchie seemed to be coming around, knew it wasn't right – Harley finally agreed. This gig had gone bad. Time to back track through the towering inferno and get the hell outta there. But once we were through the door again, the flames were gone – the room wasn't even hot. Harley and Ritchie looked like themselves. Now the walls were seeping blood. The guys finally knew nothing was normal here. They got me talking about why I'd come back. I told them I wasn't there for the score. Everyone thought the next guy was to blame for the job going sour. Nobody was happy. Our personal histories started playing out again. Old issues, long resolved – everything was muddled. Ritchie'd let me take the wrap and do his time in the past. Maybe I'd never forgotten that. He pulled a gun on me. Harley and I got back into it. She told me she hated me. I grabbed her neck. Tried to crush her esophagus. That wasn't right. In all the muck it started making sense. Anger, confusion, paranoia, laughter, guilt – the rooms were affecting us. Playing with our emotions. It had Gua written all over it. I'd thought the weapon is what we were hired to steal, but I had it wrong. We were in the weapon. Now I just had to get us all out alive.moreless
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