Chapter 13: Kaitlyn’s Solo Mission
I was hanging off the trunk of the tree, my feet in the soil at its base, recharging my magic reservoir, catching my breath and gathering my courage. I was nervous as hell! I had no idea how Davie did this so calmly last month when he was the one running around Moab and I was the one hanging back under concealment, on a different mission, to track down a high-end bike thief.
It was time. I let go of the tree, now fully running off of my recharged reserve of internal power, those reserves having been almost completely depleted by the difficult invisibility bubble spell and the short sprint to the tree. This was just barely do-able with my current level of magical reserves. What was going to make it possible is the fact that maintaining the invisibility spell takes a lot less power than initiating it.
I’d pushed on the bar of the revolving door with my forearms to avoid leaving fingerprints, then was through the revolving door, slowing quickly on seeing a security guard at a standing desk down at the far end of the lobby, guarding the elevators. His attention was on the front door, doubtless wondering why it was spinning. He shook his head and returned his attention to something glowing down on the desk.
I padded quickly but quietly towards him, knowing I’d have to sneak past him to my left, seeing the stairwell entrance off that direction. I could open the door quietly behind his back and hopefully close it without him hearing. It couldn’t have been more than 20 feet behind him. This was going to be tricky.
Then I heard a “Ding!” from the elevators, and a new plan came to me. I padded over beside the elevator as the doors were opening and watched a woman in an upscale pant suit exit. As the guard was saying good night to the woman, I slipped into the elevator as its doors began to close. The IR door sensor didn’t even see me, its beams sent around my body and out just like visible light, so I had to turn to the side and dance through quickly to avoid the bumpers that detected objects caught in the door.
My haste in getting into the elevator caused it to rattle a bit in its shaft, the doors closing shortly after. I sure hope the guard doesn’t get too curious about that sound!
I dropped the invisibility spell as soon as the doors closed. I could have maintained it for a few seconds longer, but I’d need to shepherd the rest of my magical reserve for the mission proper on the floors above me. I poked the “2” button with one knuckle, again concerned with fingerprints. I knew the guard wouldn’t be surprised at the car going up on its own — that’s what the call button does, after all — but would he connect it with the sound of me getting into the car? I breathed deeply to calm myself.
As the elevator moved up to the next floor, a new worry began gnawing at me: I was naked and visible now, with no way to re-establish the invisibility bubble, my reserves now being too low. What would greet me when the door opened?
The answer? Nothing. The central area’s lights were all off except for a few low safety lights, similar to what was used in movie theaters. A few of the offices around the edge were still lit, but the cubicles in the center were all dark and quiet. I slipped into the nearest cube and wiggled the computer mouse. I was startled at having my nudity lit up by the screen, but as my heart revved up and then calmed back down, I recognized the Windows login screen. I looked around the monitor and under the keyboard for a password note or something, as Davie had suggested, but I found nothing, so I moved on.
Around the floor I went, lighting the cube up, bathing myself in blue monitor light, looking for a way into the LAN via these idle computers, but site IT had policed logins well enough that I found nothing.
I decided to go into one of the nearby offices, noticing on the way that several of the first computers I’d tried had gone back to sleep. I decided that the privilege of power and an office door might lead some to ignore the IT rules on passwords and such. Every door I tried was locked. Darn. I was approaching one of the lit offices when I saw it go dark and knew the door would be opening in just a second. As I heard the latch click open, I was diving into a nearby cubicle, hiding between a low 2-drawer filing cabinet and the desk on the side toward the office so that the worker would not see me in the cubicle if they exited towards the elevator, as I expected.
As I waited, I heard the sound of the office door latch shut, then the rough sound of a key being shoved into the lock, a shik-shik, and the reverse sound as the key was removed from the lock, jingling against the other keys the worker carried.
Then I remembered that I had the ability to sense life presences with my magic, so I slipped into a quick trance and sipped at my remaining reserve of power to take a quick peek at the presences around me. Sure enough, the worker was coming towards me, with only one other presence on the floor, through the open door into the other lit office. I dropped the trance and shortly saw the worker walk past my hiding place, this one a man in a conservative business suit.
After I heard him get into the elevator and the doors close, I relaxed and started to gain some confidence. I am Kate Fisher, I told myself, daughter of the famous fictional spy, trained up from birth as his designated successor. I am a stupendous badass! I can do this! Go, girl!
Bolstered by my role-playing fantasy, I took another magical peek at my surroundings, saw that the other office worker hadn’t moved, so I crept out to check more offices and cubes. Nothing.
I’d made it all the way around the floor by this point, so I was back near the stairwell. I hadn’t searched the cubes in the center or the private offices, but I decided to give up on this floor before the last one still here decided to leave, potentially discovering me.
I crept quietly into the stairwell, fully lit, my nude body painted in a pale greenish fluorescent light. I made my way up the stairs, padding on my quiet bare feet, the chill concrete of the stairs and landings sapping their heat.
I’d planned on skipping the busy 3rd floor for the 4th, but there was a narrow window next to each door out onto the office floor, so I decided to peek in there to see what was going on as I passed. I saw that all of the people were off in the far corner of the office, gathered around some equipment in industrial racks, which were partitioned off from the cubicles by glass walls. None of them were wearing the sort of business clothing I’d seen on the few workers I’d dodged so far. There was a lot of cargo pants, tee shirts, hiking boots, button-down casual shirts… They were all geeks!
I’d learned to recognize the species while growing up, of course, but Davie had sharpened my awareness, pointing out the varieties around town like an experienced bird watching tour guide. I’d eat my hat if there were even two extroverts in that room. But I didn’t have a hat, I reminded myself. Or anything else.
This must be the IT department’s floor, and that must be all of the equipment they were in charge of there at the back of the floor. I decided they were engaged in some kind of big project, trying to avoid disrupting daily business by doing it at night, off hours.
That changed my plan entirely. The 3rd floor had changed from must-avoid to must-do! This was the best place to access the network in the whole building! And, I’d have a better chance of finding a still logged-in computer here.
Resolved, I cracked the stairwell door open enough to take a life-peek at the floor, the tendrils of my senses snaking among all of the tech barriers, probing into cubicles and through the free air above them. I was reassured: no one was concealed near the stairwell door, all of the nearest cubicles were lifeless. The cube farm was probably lifeless during the workday, too, I thought to myself sardonically.
I quietly stepped out and started creeping in a squat down an aisle that was completely unpopulated and which had the most space between it and the busy workers at the back of the floor.
I returned to wiggling mice to wake the computers up, this time not being bathed in blue monitor light, already under the overpowering fluorescent overheads as I was. Still nothing.
As I was approaching the center of activity, I took another life-peek at my surroundings and saw one of the cube dwellers moving. I darted into the nearest cubicle and hid, much as before down on the floor below, but this time under full overhead light. I scooched up as close to the wall as I could get without bumping anything to make a noise. I stared down at my bared knees, calves, feet…and now my exposed crotch, a sculpted wide patch of auburn fuzz drawing my eye towards it, my only cover tonight. Please, please, please let my eye be the only one to see it here at JRE tonight!
A set of cargo pants clad legs walked past my spot towards the break room I’d noticed earlier. He was off to get coffee or an energy drink, I was sure of it. This was my chance!
I took another life peek, saw no one else nearby, so I scooted out and around to the guy’s cubicle, his fancy office chair still spinning slightly from his decisive exit. Davie had also turned me into something of an office chair snob, showing me how you can gauge the quality of a chair by how well it continues spinning after you let it go, it being a sign of well-engineered bearings and careful attention to tolerances.
Putting that thought aside, I looked up from my squat and saw that his PC was still logged in. At last! I carefully got up into the chair, keeping my head below the cubicle line, made a note of what all was on the screen, then started opening Explorer windows to see what was visible from this work station.
The first thing I noticed was an icon in the sidebar for the professional version of the same Internet service we’d used to set my free email account up earlier that evening, so I clicked on it and was greeted by a folder full of shared files. I immediately hit Control-A to select them all, right clicked them, and selected “Share with…” and put in my new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. That email name put a smile on my face: extract this!
I took another life peek, saw that the guy wasn’t coming back yet, so I looked around on the desk, but I didn’t see a USB key. I turned around in the cube and saw one on the desk of the facing cube, so I streaked across the aisle in a low crouch, grabbed it, scooted back, and jammed it into a port in the back of the PC, where the guy would hopefully not notice it. Then I went back to Explorer and started going through the attached network drives looking for something suitably interesting looking. I chose one, selected everything at the root of the drive, dragged it all to the USB key, waited until it decided it was going to start copying and not gripe at me about lack of space or something, then closed or minimized all the windows I’d created and streaked back into the neighboring cube to wait for the file copy to complete. These geeks…always with the biggest USB keys! It’d worked out well for me tonight, so I wasn’t complaining.
As I was settling down, I took another life peek and saw the man coming back to his desk. I’d cut it awfully fine!
As he passed, I noticed a small cup in his hands which was emitting a pungent aroma. Espresso! That’d be the reason he took so long. Ritchie bless the coffee snobs, for they will inherit the night, or something. Davie was better at such invocations.
My tension and fear slowly bled off as I hid in the cubicle, listening to the guy typing and mumbling occasionally, so my thoughts began to wander.
I thought about this morning in the dress shop with my mother, me in my plain everyday white cotton underwear as we did the measurements and fitting, her sitting in a chair nearby.
“I really did like the show you two put on the other day, Kaitlyn,” my mother put in as the seamstress worked around my nearly naked body, utterly professional.
I looked down and saw that I’d blushed to my upper chest. “Mo-om! Not here!”
“Oh, relax, Kate,” my mother said, waving away my concerns. But she did hold off pursuing the subject until the young woman walked off to take care of something. Then my mother had resumed, “I’m just saying that I’d like to see some more, if you can arrange it. Maybe back at the room?”
“You’re embarrassing me, mom!” I complained. “You want me to put on a…” I lowered my voice to a whisper, “…private sex show for you?”
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “I was talking about the picnic! I was just hoping you’d show Davie off to me again. He’s very nice to look at, and the nudist picnic out in the field was a lot of fun. I want more of that, Kaitlyn.”
“Okay, maybe,” I said, temporizing. My blush receded.
“Although if you wanted to give me a repeat of the prior night’s show, I’d like that even more!” she said, breaking into a girlish giggle.
My blush was back with a fury now. “Mo-om!!”
Luckily at this point the helper came back to resume fitting the dress.
My reverie broke when I noticed that I was rubbing between my outer labia, my middle finger quite wet on one side, the other fingers and palm of that hand caressing gently over my soft fur. I kept my outer labia shaved, the better to facilitate cunnilingus, but I liked the look of a full-width but well-trimmed bush, especially as light-colored as it was.
“Stop that, Kate!” I scolded myself.
Did I want to give my mother a second show, full contact? Showing off Davie’s tight bicyclist’s body was one thing, but an intentional sex show? For my mother?! Wow.
Shortly after getting myself back under control, I heard the guy across the aisle get up again. I life-peeked the area after giving him time to get down the aisle, then seeing no one around, I streaked back across the aisle, turned down his computer speakers, reached around, and pulled the USB stick. This caused a few complaints from the OS to come up about the aborted copy and the ungraceful removal of the USB stick, but I cancelled those and returned his volume level to where it was, the annoyed “Ding!” noises from the OS having been silenced.
That last peek had exhausted my power reserve. I was dry, but that was fine: I was done here. I immediately started toward the stairwell door.
About halfway there, I heard from behind, “Hey! Who are you, and why are you naked? What are you doing here!?”
I bolted, not looking back.
I was down at the 2nd floor landing when I heard the 3rd floor door open, but I was through the door and streaking across the now wholly darkened floor. I decided to make my way towards the break balcony I’d seen from the parking garage, escaping that way instead of down the stairs or elevator, knowing I wouldn’t have invisibility or ignorance of my presence on my side this time.
I was halfway to that side door when I heard the stairwell door crash open and multiple sets of feet pounding behind me. “See? There she is!”
I pushed out the door, which gave no alarm, thank goodness. Then I looked down, saw a concrete picnic table in the larger break patio area off of the ground floor below me, so I rolled over the rough balcony parapet, slid painfully down and over the far edge, let go, and landed on the table, absorbing the shock by completely collapsing and rolling off the table onto the ground beside it, landing painfully.
I got up and saw a tree in a planter at the edge of the enclosed patio, but I decided it’d probably be just an overgrown flower pot, no real connection to Gaia. The patio was fully paved, so I had no access to nature here. I had to keep running.
I jumped up onto another concrete table nearer the outside wall, the patio being designed to keep outsiders out, not insiders in, so I was able to parkour my way up to the top of the wall, scraping my toes and hands badly, but I vaulted over the rough-textured wall the same way I’d done above, and landed harder this time in the asphalt alley between the parking garage and the JRE building, my fall illuminated by orangey mercury vapor street lights sparsely lining the alley.
I didn’t look back, just ran on, barely having hung onto the USB key in my flight.
I heard the voices of two of the geeks excitedly behind me, “There she goes!” Then I heard a series of grunts, probably them trying to push their sedentary muscles into getting their overweight bodies over the wall before they gave up, saying, “Go get security! She’s going out towards the street!”
I’d toughened my feet considerably since meeting Davie, a combination of magical and natural callus building, the latter from being naked outdoors so much these days. Still, the dirty asphalt alley was hard on my feet. I ran on anyway, not caring how much damage I was doing to my feet. Escape first, heal later!
Being city center and early in the night, there was still a fair bit of traffic on the street that the JRE building fronted, but I was lucky and saw a break in the traffic as I approached the sidewalk, so I didn’t even slow, I just shot the gap. I was across so fast that I’d bet some of them just thought I was wearing light-colored clothes. They couldn’t have seen much detail.
Those on the sidewalk were another matter. I dodged through the scattered pedestrians still on the sidewalk, giving good shows both coming and going.
Most of those I came up on face-to-face smiled at my display, though a few looked less happy to see me. Some saw me well enough to look worried. I wonder if they thought I’d been attacked, what with all these scrapes and scratches?
Those I passed from behind all gave some kind of startled cry as I darted past, my buns retreating from them at high speed.
Behind me, I heard a more insistent cry, “Stop! You, girlie! Stop right now!” He was running after me! It had to be the security guard, who’d finally made it out from behind his desk and across the traffic. I had a good lead, but I aimed to keep it, so I turned the run into a flat-out sprint, my breasts wobbling uncontrolled, lacking any restraint, my arms fully engaged in the motion of running as fast as I could.
The park was a few long city blocks down from the JRE building, which was about the limit of my sprinting endurance. I turned into the park and used the last of my endurance to dive for a shadowed spot under a bush, where I shoved the USB stick into the decorative bark surrounding its base. I then began to re-gather my calm as quickly as I could in order to slide into a trance, recharge, and disappear.
I saw the security guard enter the park from my partial concealment behind the sparse bush. He didn’t see anything more than a bit of skin, but he knew he’d found me. “You! Stay right there!” He drew a collapsible baton and started jogging raggedly toward me as I disappeared.
“Wha? Da fu…?” He was incoherent with confusion.
I quietly stood and crept away from where he’d seen me, careful to stay away from the technological outcroppings in the park: sprinkler access panels, concrete walkways, playground equipment. I stayed on the grass, weaving among it all, naked but invisible, my heart calming both from relief and from the nourishing feed of nature’s power refilling my reserves. I healed my scrapes, my scratches, my battered feet, and my bruised…everything. Then I walked quietly into the night, the darkness concealing my footprints on the grass.
“Where’d you go?!” I heard the guard cry, long behind me now. “Get back here!” he cried impotently. I just smiled and walked on calmly.
A ways back into the park, I saw Davie sitting on a wooden bench, so I thought I’d give him a bit of a scare. I crept over to the front of the bench, my back towards it, and sat down hard, saying, “Boo!” loudly as my butt hit the bench.
Davie leapt like a startled cat, limbs flailing. “Turing preserve me! You scared the hell out of me, Kaitlyn!” he said, in a quieting voice, turning to a loud whisper by the end.
“Yeah, well, I’ve paid for it already. Got a splinter in my ass from this bench. Gimme a sec to go get healed again.” I waddled gingerly over to the grass again and used the power of Gaia to push the splinter out and heal over the puncture. “I’m gonna write a letter to the city parks commission tomorrow to complain about their maintenance.”
Davie was laughing by now, hard. “Serves you right! This isn’t Splinter Cell, it’s splinter tail!”
“Funny man!” I responded, slightly amused.
I sat back down, gingerly this time, still invisible as he got himself under control. Eventually he turned thoughtful. “How are you maintaining the invisibility bubble on this bench? It’s pretty far up the tech scale, and it’s bolted to a concrete pad besides.”
I’d just come up with the idea moments ago, so I was still rather proud of the trick. I told him, “I took a hit to my reserves on first sitting down, but now that I’ve got my feet planted in the grass, I’m able to maintain a trickle charge to my internal reserves that’s faster than the bench is draining away my magic. I’m back up to 100% again already.”
“That’s a really neat discovery,” my Davie admitted. “I’ve done something similar, walking barefoot outside to recharge my magical mojo, but I’ve never done it while actively running a spell like that, feeding the spell from the trickle charge rather than my reserves.”
I proposed, “We could call it floating, by analogy with a battery float charger.”
“Yeah,” he said, “that should work. Yeah, that’s actually really good. It’s a net balancing of forces that keeps the spell up if the ‘weight’ of the spell is less than the force of Gaia’s buoyancy from below.” Then, shifting gears, he asked me, “Do you have the goods?”
“Yes,” I said, “I was able to swipe a USB stick, but I hid it under a bush near the park edge. The front lobby guard was chasing me, and I needed to disappear. There’s no way I could have created an invisibility bubble while holding it, even while in contact with Gaia. I don’t think I could even have carried something so far up the tech scale here that way. Not at my skill level, anyway.”
“I doubt I could, either,” Davie told me. “No worries, we can go get it as soon as you’re dressed.”
“I don’t see any clothes, Davie,” I said, a little concerned.
Davie replied, “I decided that a dark-skinned guy loitering at night in a city park with a complete woman’s outfit sitting beside him was liable to attract unwanted attention.”
“Good thinking!” I replied, drawing the first word out, imagining the trouble he could have gotten into on my behalf. “So, my clothes?”
“Under the bush behind this bench, way back by the roots.”
I got up again, squatted down under the bush, and found my things. I’d dropped the invisibility bubble now, unable to maintain it with all of the tech products so close at hand, even with my new floating scheme. I certainly wouldn’t be able to maintain it once I started getting dressed, which I proceeded to do. Dressing naked in a park at night is quite the experience, almost as thrilling as shucking in the parking garage!
Davie quietly asked over his shoulder, “So, how did it go?”
“I completely ran myself out of my reserves, and I was seen leaving, but I think I might have gotten away reasonably clean. I just gave out a few free shows along the way is all.”
“Oh, wow, that’s quite a mental image, Kaitlyn my love!” He paused for a few seconds to savor this, then said, “We’d better get back to the car and scrub any recordings made of your exit.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. Then I just started laughing with relief, leaning on Davie for comfort, sliding into the deep dark Indian pools he had for eyes. “Oh, wow, that was amazing! I hope I never have to do that again, but I’ll treasure the memory forever!” Davie just put an arm around me, and we relaxed a bit on the park bench, the literal truth of things laid bare now, two lovers on a park bench at night, comforting one another. No more deception.
“C’mon,” I said, standing up. “We’ve got to go retrieve the package, then get to the garage and finish cleaning up. Let’s save the Q&A for then, okay?”
“You got it,” he said. Then we walked out through the park together, arms around each others’ lower backs, out to the edge of the park where I retrieved my USB stick, the security guard now long gone, doubtless back at his desk making uncomfortable phone calls.
We took a roundabout path back to the garage, crossing the street at the next light away from the JRE building, then walked back to the garage, re-entering it from the opposite street-facing corner from the one I’d exited from earlier tonight. We walked up to my car, and I got in, me in the drivers’ seat this time.
Davie got in, picked up the laptop, and started going through the security camera’s DVR web interface, finding revealing shots of me and deleting them.
“Can’t they un-delete those, Davie?” I asked.
“Um, maybe, but they’re just fleeting shots, not showing your face. About all you can tell is that you’re naked and have short light hair. At the very least, this’ll make their job harder. With any luck, the DVR will begin recording over these parts of the hard drive soon anyway.” After a second, he said. “Oh, hey, check this out. I found a ‘scrub’ function.” Click. “That’ll squish those recordings hard. You’re clear, Kaitlyn.”
That was reassuring. I didn’t even want fleeing pics of my bare ass leaving the scene in JRE’s hands.
“Did you see any cameras inside?” he asked.
“No, nothing above the lobby level, and I was still invisible through the lobby. And believe me, I was looking,” I told him.
“Good. Well, I think we’re clear, then. So, spill!”
“Before that, I also managed to email out a bunch of shared documents via the free email service. Go grab those,” I told him.
As he started pulling those down using JRE’s own WiFi connection, I proceeded to tell him The Adventure of Kate Fisher, Splinter-Tail.
As my recount was winding down, Davie reported that the shared docs were all downloaded. Then he tabbed back over to the security DVR and looked at the live feeds one last time. “Check this out,” he said to me, and full-screened one of the front entrance cams, which was showing several people out by the front door to JRE looking rather upset.
“Hah!” I said, with a fair bit of triumph. “Stew on that, Jurkovich!”
Then I pulled out of our parking spot and finished my story as we drove back the short distance to the hotel. We left through a secondary exit onto a side street, so we didn’t even see the JRE building again that night.
And they didn’t see us.