The mission clock switched from itâ€™s negative countdown to an active operation mode. Suddenly the two secure comm units, connected to implant monitors, came to life. Drick opened the support comms and blinked an overlay of the building into the optical parts of the brain. The implants in Drickâ€™s head transmitted a signal directly into the lateral geniculate nucleus to combine it with the imagery being received via the cranial nerves. Data and images appeared over the world drawn by Drickâ€™s eyes, seamlessly augmenting reality. It showed the schematics, important details and the positions of organics. Also highlighted in a more strident fashion were the security systems for the roof, and the floor directly below them.
Drick did a moments quick check to confirm that the view could be moved in and out to show other floors, and to give a view of what the other team members could see on their display. Drickâ€™s system was the operational commander and could change the direction of the assault if needed.
The second comms unit came into life and an image of the rest of the team scrolled onto Drickâ€™s view, the images displayed any recent messages from that operative and their current mission objectives. Drick flicked a go command to the ground team; an acknowledgement to the situation report from God; an order for the roof support to hold position; and an instruction to Rodero to deactivate the door three seconds from Drickâ€™s signal.
Drick looked at the stealth suit of the other figure on the roof access building. Marsh had made the leap from the pod to the wall look easy. He had trained well with them in the simulation, but there was also the natural reflexes, and training, that he had been given in his constructed history. They had made him a good soldier. Drick idly wondered how close to the original Marshâ€™s experience the training they had given to him could be? The history of that time was sketchy in places. The military combines often dabbled in advanced training and manipulation. It could be that the original Marsh was augmented in some fashion which had been replicated in this version. It was hard to think of Marsh as a clone. He was so much more. He wasnâ€™t an easy facsimile, more a precise replica.
Drick would not have brought him along if they had not thought him able to manage, but it was satisfying that he was competent and not just confident. It was also a comfort which Drick found intriguing. There was some inner sense of balance to the decision. A notion of a natural justice. But there was also something else. However, Drick knew that now was probably not the best time for further introspection.
The door signal was given and Drick waited three seconds before reaching to open. Drick hoped that the security was deactivated as requested as they reached down and placed an auto-pick on the keypad panel. The device took a few seconds to analyse and punch in the combination. Drick noted that it was a little under fourteen thousand attempts before it got the correct code. A grim smile flicked over lips, If the doorâ€™s security system had been active that would have triggered alarms. The systems showed clear on the monitor overlay. Drick reached down and flicked the door release and smiled as it slowly slid back. A moment later Drick and Marsh had slid around the corners of the doorway and into the machine room at the top of the lift shafts.
Drick did a quick visual examination of the lifts, making sure they matched the schematics. The lifts used a magnetic propulsion system to guide them up and down their shafts. However there were two safety systems in the shafts as well. The first was a set of brakes that would clamp around an I-beam that ran the length of each shaft. The second was a cable on a drum that acted as a mechanical hold in case all the power and auto braking failed. It was a standard system fitted because the floating cities could have all their power diverted to maintaining altitude in a crises. In such a situation the whole of the magnetic system would go offline, but the mechanical brakes and pulleys could be used with emergency batteries.
For Drick and Marsh it gave them a way of using the cables for a controlled descent down the lift shaft, this would allow them to conserve their own precious battery power. Drick and Marsh attached harnesses and auto-brakes to the cables and stepped into the lift shaft for the ten storey drop to the secure command level.