The atheist crouched down low, taking one last drag on his cigarette. He knew, of course, the damage cigarettes do to one’s body. He just didn’t care anymore. They calmed his nerves, and he was about to go into the devil’s den. He was about to enter the creationist museum.
He had a simple task: get to the head guy’s office, Dr. Ben Bacon’s secret interior hideaway. Crack the safe, take the documents, and get out. Someone in the Great Atheist Conspiracy HQ wanted those docs. It could make a difference in the War on Christmas. Something has to break their trenches, then the atheists could move on to Easter.
The atheist hated Easter the most. Coming back from the dead after three days? He makes sure people can never come back from the dead. The museum was still waiting. He ground out his smoke and started to move forward.
It was surrounded by a chain-link fence, with three strands of barbed wire running along the top, angled towards him. He had been observing the guards all night; now it was 3 AM. He had to make his move. The guards moved into a guard hut at the side of the museum. Only two guys were left, and they were each walking a dog.
The atheist had already set up his trap. Using a remote detonator, he set off a tiny charge. The pop didn’t reach his ears, but it did alert the dogs, who turned, their black-and-brown snouts pointing in the direction of the distraction the atheist had rigged. Air was whistling out of a bottle after the tiniest charge went off, whistling high enough for dogs to hear.
As the guards moved off in the direction their hounds indicated (dragging the suddenly unwilling dogs with them), the atheist started to climb. He scaled the nine feet of chain easily, and then took a bottle, spraying the barbed wire at the top with it. The liquid nitrogen quickly froze the steel, and the atheist snapped it with his fingers, rolling it back. A quick look told him he still had time, and after vaulting over, he straightened the curls out, sealing the ends together with zip-ties. Not pretty, but he could undo it easily later if he needed an emergency escape route, and it should stop it from avoiding detection.
He dropped the nine feet, tucking and rolling, ending up behind one of the cluster of trees that spotted the museum compound. Seven minutes to wait until the next hole opened – he’d have all of forty seconds to cross the compound, scale the side wall, and get onto the roof of the museum. It would be tough, but he knew he could do it.
The guards left their meeting just five or six seconds after the atheist took his cover. He watched as they started to patrol around, splitting up. They were dutiful. No doubt they were pious (he suspected the hourly meeting was to pray that an atheist never showed up, sneaking into their compound). But they weren’t particularly good. They were fat police academy rent-a-religious-cop, happy with a gun and a flashlight and a regular supply of doughnuts and coffee. The eight flatfoots dispersed slowly, following the well-defined walking routes in the museum compound.
His heart beating, the atheist counted off the seconds in his mind. He stayed as low and as still as possible, trusting to the light grey he wore to help him blend into the shadows. His face was smeared with grease, sweat beading down over his cheeks and foreheads gently. Short hair concealed beneath a bandana, red and green striped. The atheist waited still.
The seven minutes passed, and then this entire side of the compound was vacant. The atheist was moving before the guard had fully disappeared around the side. Every second counted. His footfalls were as small as he could make them, but they still pounded in his ear. Someone would hear.
His rubber-soled left foot hit the wall, and he pushed up, leaping, grasping a window ledge. Hand over hand be pulled himself up, free-climbing the twelve feet of wall. Window ledge. Window sill. Top of the window. Loose brick. Outcropping. Eaves. Roof edge. He was up, kicking his feet over and rolling, landing on the flat roof.
For a moment, the atheist rested. He caught his breath, but then he was up and moving. Now he had to infiltrate the building itself. Internal security was rumoured to be just as good as the external coverage. Originally, he had thought this meant the whole thing would be a joke, but then he realized: the guns and dogs were just for show. The real security was inside.
They want to catch atheists trying these sorts of things. They wanted to lull him into a false sense of security. The game’s afoot.
He reached into a pouch on his belt and took out his night-vision goggles, popping them over his eyes. The world was illuminated in green pixels, all of a sudden. The miracles of science, the atheist thought. Split the atom, flew us to the moon, and lets me see the laser beam resting on the skylight. Can’t cut the window.
The window was protected by a laser beam. It could detect the vibration of the glass being cut, as the diamond blade etched over the pane. Clever. A quick scan of the rest of the roof told him the other obvious covert entrance point was protected by lasers as well – an exhaust duct.
So, that meant he had to get original. The atheist moved over to the roof door and looked at it. It didn’t appear to have any special locks, but it would surely have the usual protections – automatic alarms and such. You couldn’t open the door without setting off an alarm. He pondered.
And then he made his decision, and moved to place a shaped charge on the roof, as far away as possible from the motion-sensitive skylight. It was just a small explosive, enough to blast a hole in the ceiling and let him peel back some of the roof. Counting the paces, he confirmed his first judgment. This should drop him into the Ark exhibit.
There was a tiny whoomp when he detonated the charge, and a hole the size of two fists appeared in the roof. The atheist reached into the hole, and grasped at the fractured planks, peeling them slowly back. He could hear cracked stone snapping as he exposed a man-sized hole into the subceiling. He removed chunks of insulation, and then pushed aside a bundle of wires, sliding down into the hole.
Supporting his upper body weight with his arms wasn’t easy, as it was about four feet down until he reached the soft foamy subceiling. He twisted his body back, grunting with the effort of supporting his weight till he was spread out over the light ceiling. He could feel the soft metal of the subceiling straining, even though he didn’t weight that much. Slowly, he removed a panel.
Night vision goggles on, he gazed down into the Ark room. A recreation of the bow of Noah’s Ark spanned one wall, an animatronic Noah on top, welcoming aboard any number of creatures. Including dinosaurs, noted the atheist, seeing one of Noah’s helpers loading a pair of rather docile-looking velociraptors aboard the Ark.
However, the Ark did have its uses, and the atheist (after looking for more laser detection) swung slowly out of the sub-ceiling, feeling the faintly-built installation give a little, he dropped down onto the Ark. It was eight feet down, and he landed heavily on the wood planking. The noise was amplified by the fact that the Ark itself was hollow.
“What was that?” a voice echoed. Dammit! The atheist moved quickly as flashlights flicked up over the Ark. Grasping onto the edge of the false boat, the atheist leapt over the edge, fingertips desperately grasping at the very last bit of boat available. He could hear footsteps.
“I swore I heard something.”
“It was nothing, Charlie. Come on, let’s go get some coffee.”
“Alright, John.” The atheist breathed a sigh of relief, waited another minute, and slowly hauled himself back into the Ark. Ignoring the throbbing of strained fingertips, he moved quickly down the Ark’s ramp, and then vaulted the small fence designed to cut the display of adoring animatronic animals from small, easily impressed children. Not for the first time did the atheist wish this mission involved a serious quantity of C4.
But those weren’t his orders. That’s not how this war is being fought. He moved towards the main atrium of the museum. Animatronic dinosaurs playing with cavegirls. A triceratops with a riding saddle on it. Mastodons and t-rexes drinking from the same water hole. His head hurt.
The guards had a station up front, and the atheist hunkered down into the shadows to observe. They weren’t particularly discreet about their job. He wondered if perhaps there was only the one layer of decent security after all. But then he noticed a camera in the security booth. Who watches the watchers? This is all for show.
Slipping on his night vision goggles once more, the atheist started to look around the room. He could see the lasers permeating the skylight, and noticed a few more, pressing on windows around the atrium, and criss-crossing over small, locked side doors. Wherever the real security department was…he didn’t know. But he suspected he would need access to it.
Which meant that he needed to lure them out. Without making them so suspicious as to press the big red button. The atheist moved into the atrium, sneaking into the brontosaurus display, and lowering himself behind the replica ferns. He pulled out a hand-held listening amplifier, jamming the earphone into his right ear. He pointed it at the guard station and started to adjust it, listening.
It took a few minutes, but it quickly turned out the guards were discussing Big Brother. Great. Fucking Big Brother. After five more minutes, the two guards from the Ark room toddled off, heading off down another open hallway. One older, fatter guard remained. Then the guard’s radio hissed and crackled.
“Are they on their rounds?”
“Yessir. All is quiet.”
“Alright. We’ll call back in twenty.”
The athiest moved quickly, stuffing away the listening device, sneaking rapidly across the shadows on the side of the wall. The guard wasn’t paying attention, so he moved to the area beside the guard station. Readying a heavy, leather-coated sap in one hand, the atheist tapped on the wall.
The guard sat up with a jerk. The fat old man had been nodding off. Stupidly, he looked around. The atheist couldn’t see this, but he could hear the grunts of disbelief. The atheist tapped the wall again.
Moving towards the door, the guard started to grunt. “Whozzer?” he said, opening the door and stepping out. The atheist swung the sap, and the guard topped. Quietly, he drug the body out of the line of sight of the camera, sneaking into the guard hut to wait.
The camera in the guard hut wasn’t particularly brilliantly placed, and the atheist was able to sneak a doughnut from the box. It wasn’t as good as the ones from Tim’s, back home. But they brought him in to do a job, and they were paying top dollar.
The radio crackled about twenty minutes later. A voice probed for the fat, old guard. There was no response, and the radio went dead. Watching the monitors from the corner the atheist was curled into, he could see the other two guards were redirected from their patrol. Quickly, the atheist moved to hide.
Moving as fast as they could, the younger guards returned to the atrium. The door to the guard room was open. The two men were confused. “Go check the washroom,” one said to the other. One of the guards peeled off, and moved towards the guard room. He stepped in, cautiously. “Frank? Frank?” he called. But there was no response. Moving in a little further, the guard peered at the open doughnut box. He reached towards it. The atheist dropped down from where he had spider-climbed to the ceiling above the door, rubber soles of his boots touching down softly, and brought the sap hard down onto the guard’s skull. He crumpled, into the line of sight of the camera.
The other guard was off to check the washroom, but the atheist watched the cameras. Then he saw two men in dark suits moving along a hall. It was a floor down, by the “eye” chamber. Moving quickly, the atheist left the guard room, running across the atrium, soles tapping gently on the tiles. With the plans for the museum memorized, it was easy enough to choose the second-shortest route to the eye chamber. He dashed down that hall.
The next room the atheist entered was a display of Jerusalem, discussing the historical evidence for Jesus’s resurrection. He wanted to mock it, badly. But he had a job to do. He continued forward. He passed down another hall, and turned, walking into the room that attempted to disprove evolution. The eye chamber was at the end. The atheist slowed and moved to the door to the eye chamber, and peered in.
This room was circular, and basked in an eerie glow. Quickly, the atheist looked for cameras. There were two. He dropped himself into the room, behind a stand, crouching as small as possible, hoping the rather more useful guards had not yet reached the guard’s room in the atrium. He hoped they were the only guards, otherwise he would have been caught while dashing along the hallways. Sometimes you have to take risks.
His hand patted the hilt of his pistol on his side. It was still there. Good, he might need it yet. He hadn’t needed it in a long time, he tried to avoid such things. But he might need it tonight.
The camera in the eye room panned left to right slowly, and the atheist noticed that, if he was quick, he could get behind one of the long tables. Just maybe, that would let him scan the room. There had to be an access door here. But where he was, he couldn’t see it.
He could see the large glass case on the wall, with a many-times magnified human eye inside of it. Lit up from inside, it was the source of the glow slowly filling the chamber. There were various buttons around the case, each with an arrow pointing to the wall, and a speaker. No doubt pressing the buttons would fill the eye chamber with propaganda about how the eye was too complex and perfect to evolve, explaining in very scientificy-language about how it would require an intelligent designer.
His fingers itched to reach for the gun. But he didn’t. Instead, he rolled out from his cover, tucking in under a long table. He didn’t know what was on the table, and he didn’t want to know. But he could see a thick security door on the other side of the room. It was ajar.
The atheist inched to the edge of the table’s cover and prepared. He listened to the sound of the camera panning, the faint sound of the tiny electronic motor. He’d have three seconds to cross the chamber and enter the room. Three short seconds. He ran for it, dashing across the room, grasping the door and pulling it open, leaping inside.
A man in a suit stood up. He was wearing sunglasses. Inside. At night. He was clearly a bad guy, and he reached into his jacket. The atheist kept running, crossing the seven or eight feet of the rather more secure security room, and slammed into the guard, knocking the wind out of him. The momentum of the impact carried both men back towards the wall, and the atheist rammed the museum security guard into it, heavily, bringing his knee up with the speed of impact and jamming it into the man’s groin. He doubled over, and then the atheist brought his fist down on the back of the suit’s head. The fellow crumpled.
The commando went through the guard’s pockets, finding his pistol. It was only a simple matter of taking the gun’s slide off to remove the spring behind the firing pin, effectively disabling the gun. He put the weapon back in the guard’s pocket, and took something rather more important: the man’s keycard.
Then he looked at the security screen. Ben Bacon’s office was up two floors, near the back. A scan of the various display screens told him the other suits were in the atrium, looking at the cameras there. There was a radio on the display panel, and the atheist picked it up.
“Saw some motion in the Ark chamber,” he said. “You guys better check it out.” The static on the radio hid the change of the voice, and the two men stepped out of the guard room, moving into the Ark chamber.
Then the atheist hit the lockdown button. Gates slid into place, isolating the various chambers from each other. Corridors were locked and thick steel bars slid over the internal security doors. It was designed to capture people from the central control room. But with the atheist in control….the museum was his to run.
It was a system he was familiar with. It only took a few minutes to familiarize himself with the basic parameters of the doors, and he began opening up the appropriate gates to get him to Ben Bacon’s office. Then he was off at a run. No guards could get in from outside, the ones inside were isolated. Finding a stairwell, the atheist charged up, two at a time. He turned on the halfway landing, to dash up to the next floor, only to see the guard from earlier pointing his standard-issue Glock down the stairs.
“Stop right there!”
The atheist stopped. He didn’t believe in an afterlife, and he wasn’t ready to die right now. The flatfooted guard was holding the gun in both hands. He may have fired it before, but probably had never pointed it at a human. Seems like he’s an honest bloke. “Whatever you’ve done, you’re gonna undo it.”
“Can’t do that,” the atheist said in his deep voice, a scratchy growl made worse by a life of cigarettes and alcohol abuse. Really, he wasn’t a good poster child for atheism. “Gotta job to do, pal.” The guard’s hand was shaking. And maybe he hadn’t noticed….
“I don’t want to have to shoot you,” the guy said. The atheist started to move up the stairs slowly. The guard was sweating, but he tried to straighten up and aim his gun more accurately.
“Sure you don’t. But I know you won’t. Safety’s on.” The atheist pointed to the gun.
The guard turned the Glock and looked at the safety, which was certainly off. The atheist closed the distance, grabbing the gun with one hand. The other hand moved to break the man’s trigger finger, and he howled in pain. Pulling the Glock away, the atheist swung it like a hammer, bringing it down on the side of the man’s head. He crumpled.
The atheist checked the man’s pulse. Oh good. He’s alive. Then he continued, heading to the target floor, and along the row of offices. The one at the end said “Dr. Benjamin T. Bacon, PhD”. He opened the door with the guard’s keycard, and moved in quickly.
No time to be subtle. He took off the painting of God creating the universe from the wall behind the desk, and looked at the safe. He could crack it. He would have cracked it, if he had the time. However….he didn’t have time. He took out the can of liquid nitrogen from earlier and sprayed down the lock, then hit it as hard as he could with the hilt of the Glock. It cracked. He repeated the process, spraying nitrogen into the crack. The next hammer split the lock open. He reached in and manually fit the tumblers into position.
Opening the safe, the atheist emptied it of contents, putting the flash disks and the burned dvds into a pocket of his vest. He then thought for a moment on how best to escape the museum. It didn’t look like his plan of pretending he was a guard and walking out with the day shift would work. This was going to need to be more dramatic.
He headed back to the main guard room and lifted all the internal doors. The external doors remained locked. The suits were heading for the eye chamber right away, and the atheist slipped out of it before they arrived. He wasn’t heading for a door, or back to his original entrance point (which the guards damn well had better be aware of by now). He was, instead, heading for the employee parking garage in the basement.
The parking garage doors would be the most reinforced doors in the building, and the rest of the garage would be underground. However…he reached the garage quickly, and found exactly what he was looking for. Jamming on the green helmet over his bandana, the atheist hotwired himself a Kawasaki Ninja, in bright green. He kicked the engine into life and drove over to the elevator.
There was a ding as the elevator opened on the main floor, followed by the high-pitched roar of the Kawasaki’s engine as the atheist kicked it into gear. He could see the men in suits come running out of a side room as the bike charged through a high, arched hall, diving between tables covered with various displays. Bullets sparked as they slammed into glass cases or skipped off the walls, and the bike swerved more.
Another suit popped in front of the atheist and lowered his pistol, but when he squeezed the trigger, nothing happened. Grinning, the atheist gunned the motor, heading for the large, glass double-doors at the entrance. Switching over the pistol to fully automatic, the atheist shot a burst at the doors, shattering the glass. The Kawasaki zipped through the shattering fragments, and ripped along the walkway.
More shots rang out, as the bike headed for the gate. It was closed, but that wasn’t a problem. The bike turned and ran along the parking lot quickly, till it reached the employee parking lot. A few guards were running his way – they had congregated around the main entrance, obviously trying to get in since the security locks engaged – but he had distance. He shot of a burst of three or four bullets at them, to make the guards think twice, before he whipped the bike around and took aim at the other end of the parking lot.
The atheist tossed something over his shoulder, and the bike revved again as the atheist pushed it to its limit, and charged down the line of guards and suits. Pistol recoils filled the air, and one or two sparked off the bike itself, but the little Japanese bike kept going. Another burst from the pistol caused the parking lot to clear, and the atheist passed the line of guards, squealing the tires as he whipped the little bike around in a semi-circle, to charge the group again.
This time a bullet bit, and he felt a searing pain in the small of his back. He could still wiggle his toes, though. So it was time to leave. He pressed the detonator and the charge of C4, his last, blew. It wasn’t huge, but it ripped a hole in the chain link. The atheist aimed the bike at the hole and bent down. He felt sharp steel scrape his helmet, rip at his shirt, scrape and rip open his skin, but then he was free.
He hit the main road and turned at high speed. Headquarters needed him, needed what he’d found. The bike revved as it vanished into the night.
(wow, that got out of hand.)