"Connect, damn you!" An tense thirty seconds later and Jacob stood. "I've had it with this moving all the time! Can't we just get a safe house and have a secure connection there. Every other internet connection I've found has been atrocious." He sighed and walked from the desk to the window. It wasn't much of a window, but a small slit in the wood. So they'd hidden in the rather large tree house of someone who'd gone on holiday for a few weeks. Using their house was a stupid idea, so the tree house had proven to be a better option.
Jacob pulled the purple cloth curtain back over the slit and fastened it down with the nail gun they'd found. He sighed and sat back down at his laptop. With one hand in his hair, and the other tapping the touchpad, he remained silent. He was their techguy. The one who knew how to hack, to fix computers, to build programs. He'd spent the last six months hacking into peoples' routers and using their signal to access the information the rest of them were providing. Normally the information was trivial, but now he needed to contact them more than ever.
Time was of the essence.
Sometimes, Therese feels more like an office secretary than a proper researcher. That, or a glorified organizer with a neuroscience degree. She has a grim feeling that her desk has more paperwork than anyone else in the team. "Why is it I always get the boring stuff..." she grumbled as she tried to organize the clutter on her desk. Somehow she ended up being liaison of the research team to...everyone else apparently. It baffled her.
Request and response letters from the both the research team and the engineering department formed the thickest stack. That wasn't counting the literal thousands of emails ranging from informal chat to online copies of memos and such. Communication between the two groups had been frequent ever since the final blueprints had been laid out and their neural engineer finally reached an agreement with the engineering department. That had been...what, a week ago? That was the last time she had a proper look at their machine.
Then again, handling the paperwork meant she was away from where the tension was the thickest. Beyond the glass in front of her, Therese could see the other scientists crowding around their prototype. Even if she wasn't inside, she could feel the pressure making her stomach squirm. If it goes anywhere like the last time, Abstergo would have very little charity to spare on their project.
Time ticked on, and the sun moved lower. Jacob managed to finally connect to the internet, send and check emails when an Asian girl appeared at the bottom of the tree house.
"Tonight. They've located it."
"We'll be there by 2." She knelt by her bag and pulled her hair into a ponytail and started to tidy up. As did the other three. There was five of them altogether: Jacob, Amy, Masue, Dean and Neil. Each had a role, each had a talent. Each would be put to use tonight.
Jacob moved to pack his laptop when Dean stopped him.
"We'll need that. We're going to need to shut down the CCTV and the locks." The man nodded and collected his things, following the group towards their van. They prepared and set off. It was going to be a long journey, but they needed it. They needed to be ready.
The Animus looked like a coffin.
Others called it a 'bed', but Therese called it a coffin. Or, if she wanted to be lighthearted about it, a fallen refrigerator. For something so cutting-edge, it looked blocky -- almost 2 meters long, rising 3 feet from the ground and the 'lid' half a foot in thickness. The chrome plating made it look a bit more futuristic. Wires connected the machine to several consoles not far off. There had been other suggestions for the design, including a chair and tube-like enclosure, but the 'bed' (or 'coffin') design won. Comfort, they claimed, but Therese doubted anyone would want to see a lid shutting in their face.
The test subject was already inside. She remembered seeing his dossier - he had been a volunteer, supposedly. Someone who was curious about his genealogy. Therese watched as the researcher manning the consoles gave an thumbs-up sign and someone started punching on the small control pad on top of the Animus lid. The linings of the machine lit a bright blue.
Animus 0.45 was up and running. The console monitors began to flash images, although Therese was too far away to recognize what they were. So far, so good. She wasn't sure if she believed in a god, but if there was someone up there, she prayed that this won't mess up.
Jacob sat in the back, loading up the first of his many decryption programmes he'd created for this project. He'd tested it a fair few times and it was likely it would work. It would take a few minutes at the worst. Or reveal their arrival. He sighed and plugged in a silver box, placing a blank disc inside. That would record any data they took from computers, CCTV, and the locks. Just incase they broke in again.
"You lot better get some sleep. Better to be awake than sleepy." The lot in the back nodded and tried to relax. Jacob finished loading and rested his head on the wall of the van. Sleep was going to remain illusive for a while. Especially with the weight on his shoulders.
They needed this boost in battle. More than anything.
Therese was compiling the sources for her latest report to the higher-ups in Abstergo when the screams began. The Animus lid muffled the sound, but the horror was unmistakable.
Oh, shit. She stood up and ran over to the windows. She wanted to barge inside the labs itself, but she didn't want to add to the chaos, which was already plenty. A huddle of scientists hid the Animus from view. Static filled the console screens. And the screams hadn't stopped.
What was the problem now? A hundred possibilities entered Therese's mind. But for the love of God, why weren't they opening the lid?!
Despite the smoothness of the car, Jacob found it difficult to drift off. Things ahead of them were rough and complicated. There was no way he'd fall to sleep. Not unless he hadn't slept in the few days, or he really concentrated. He gave a sigh and sat upright, turning to his laptop once more. A few button clicks and a minute or two later, he gave up, bored.
They needed to be prepared. He moved to the grey box to his right and opened it. They had enough weapons should they need them. Not all assassins used blades. Someone had suggested that silenced weapons would work better for this job, no one had disagreed.
When the frantic sounds of hands beating against the lid punctuated the screams, Therese just cannot have the heart to stay still any longer. She rushed inside the lab, pulled away one of the scientists from the console, batted away the hands from the control pad and entered the 'open lid' code.
The moment the lid eased, it violently flew open, hitting Therese in the face. The wails were now clearer, louder, in between words that sounded like a mishmash of Italian and English. She staggered back before hitting the floor. A siren was ringing. Scientists were shouting at intercoms. Therese tried to stand up despite the growing numbness on her face. Maybe releasing the subject wasn't the wisest course of action. Where the hell is security?!
As if right on cue, Abstergo's security personnel finally arrived. The subject had become far too gone to even put up too much of a fight. He eventually quieted down with the invaluable help of a taser. Somehow, in a numb corner of Therese's mind, she thought that the only reason why the man hadn't been shot on the spot was for the sake of the fragile, expensive equipment within the lab. He was of no use now.
He would be disposed of more 'neatly' later.