In the warm stuffy atmosphere of the reception area, the night security guard stretched, rubbed his tired eyes, and laid the book he was reading back onto the desk. He looked up at the big clock on the wall; it was nearly time for his external rounds. He quite looked forward to it, it gave him a chance to stretch his legs, have a smoke, and above all relieve the terminal boredom.
In the area beyond the back of the desk, a bank of CCTV monitors glowed eerily in the dimmed light. Had he been watching them at that very moment, it is just possible that he might have noticed the image on one screen flicker and change very slightly.
One minute, nothing except an empty car park clear all the way to the shrubbery border. The next, the most subtle of movements behind the bushes as a dark vehicle inched into view and stopped.
From outside the van, the grey tinted glass made it virtually impossible for normal vision to penetrate the internal gloom. But to the people sitting inside, things were just as they should be. They all sat quietly patient and still.
Of the two figures sitting in the front of the van, there was a strange almost alien look about them. Clothed entirely in black, even their heads and hands were covered, but most sinister of all was the one single green eye just above where the nose on a normal face would be.
“Time?” The question came from the figure sitting in the front passenger seat.
“Zero Two Twelve, Sir.” The reply came from somewhere in the black interior.
“Insertion on my mark, check external scanners for movement.”
“External scanners clear, no visual or heat readings, Sir.”
“Insertion team ONE, you have a GO!”
Eerily silent, an opening appeared in the side of the van and three black shapes slid out keeping low as they disappeared into the bushes beside the van. The van door closed just as quietly as it had opened.
Once under cover, the figures moved with stealth through the shrubbery until they reached the wide open space of the empty car park with the low lying buildings beyond. For the most part, the buildings were in darkness except for a few external lights and an area that was clearly the front entrance and reception area. Within that lit area, they could see movement. One of the crouching figures raised his right hand and made a quick signal that sent a team member off in that direction. To the other, he held up a fist and pointed to the ground… the pair settled and waited.
They didn’t have to wait long before a tallish man wearing a security uniform came out of the building and stood off to one side. The flare of a match and a telltale puff of smoke told them that he had just lit a cigarette. A couple of puffs later, and he wandered off around the far side of the reception building and out of sight.
As they watched him go, they saw the dark shape of their colleague leave the protection of the shrubs as he moved fast and low towards the main door. One of the watchers smiled under his mask as he saw the door open almost immediately. Obviously, the guard had not bothered to lock the door behind him, careless but useful.
Two static clicks in his earpiece confirmed what he already knew, his man was inside.
Thirty seconds later, two more clicks told him that the computer recording device linked to the CCTV cameras had been deactivated but the cameras remained on. You would still see everything, but only if you were right in front of the monitors.
Another minute passed before the next two clicks, this confirmed, “in position and concealed.”
Outside, they watched as the guard came back into view, he wasn’t hard to spot, he was whistling loudly and waving his large torch around all over the place. It was one of those big brash yellow contraptions with a beam so big and powerful you could practically climb up it. Nevertheless, even accidentally, it was a major threat to anyone on night operations; getting caught in the beam of that thing would seriously bugger up your night vision for a goodly while. The two concealed figures flattened themselves to the ground listening rather than watching. Neither moved until they heard two clicks announcing that the guard was now safely back in the building.
Security officer Jim Stephens, having completed his external walk round inspection of the buildings under his care, went back through the front door locking it behind him. He walked back behind the front desk and put the heavy torch back in its cupboard. He tossed the keys in the drawer, scanning the bank of CCTV screens as he did so. These screens showed certain key areas of the building complex both inside and out and, as usual for this time of day, they showed no activity whatsoever.
He crossed over to a small fridge that stood concealed in the far corner of the reception area. On top of the fridge sat a microwave oven and an electric kettle, in fact he had all the necessary paraphernalia to make his rather boring job just that little more comfortable. He flicked the kettle on and started to make himself some tea.
Over on the desk area there were a few more comforts of home. He and the other regular night guards had clubbed together to make their fairly monotonous lives more tolerable. There were books, a good quality radio, a decent TV set with built in DVD player, and if there was nothing worth watching he had brought along his lap top computer stuffed with enough games to last a lifetime.
Mug of tea and a large packet of McVitie’s chocolate digestives in hand, he gave the CCTV monitors a quick look as he settled down behind the desk sipping tea and casually flicked through the TV channels.
That would be the last thing he would remember doing that night.
Outside in the bushes, a further ten minutes elapsed before they heard an open language message, “he’s out.”
By the time they returned to the van, the side door was already open, and they were joined by four others similarly dressed figures but without the night vision goggles. Between them, they carried two heavy canvas bags across the car park and quickly disappeared inside safe in the knowledge that there would be no record of their visit
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