Amadeus suddenly wished that he was carrying a watch on him. Where the hell was Francis? It wouldn’t be so long before one of the Director’s lackeys outside plucked up the courage to check and see whether he’d dealt with the threat yet. Price had fewer braincells than most of the rest of them put together, he’d probably come in after a while.
Francis’ tannoy message had not been convincing, but that wasn’t the point. It didn’t matter if everyone knew the announcement wasn’t from one of them. They all trusted Amadeus to a fault and the place was being stolen from.
The only one who could see through to Amadeus’ motives was the Director. That was why he’d taken the liberty of tying her up and gagging her during their little meeting. He only hoped she wouldn’t be found before everything could slot into place.
“Hi guys,” Francis said, snapping Amadeus out of his musings. He had walked through the wall to the left of the door and stood their grinning at them.
“What took you so long?” Sam raised and irritable eyebrow. They had been pacing up and down the room, their face changing constantly from shape to shape as it seemed to when they were stressed, rippling with each shift.
“Sorry,” Francis shrugged, “listen I think there might have to be a change in the plan.”
“Excuse me?” Sam gave Amadeus a look. They had disagreed with having Francis on the team from the start, indeed had been unhappy with Rick as well, and this seemed to confirm their distrust.
“What do you mean?” Amadeus asked. He kept his calm, Francis was super-human after all, he was a friend. Besides, he could have something useful to impart.
“Well,” Francis said, “I ran into someone on the way here. That was why I was a little late. They need help escaping this place. So we’re going to help them.”
Amadeus felt like putting his head into his hands. Francis evidently had neither a sense of perspective nor a hasty bone in his body.
“Why?” He said, trying to keep the annoyance from slipping into his tone, “Francis we are here to steal the Source, not on some kind of jailbreak.”
“Hey,” Francis looked a little wounded, “hear me out, hear me out. If Rick and Sam are going to get out of here without getting captured you’ll need some excuse to not attack them. If they have a hostage, fantastic. They can get out alive and unharmed, with the added bonus that my new friend can escape as well.”
Sam stopped striding and gave Amadeus a look. He nodded to himself. That wasn’t actually such a bad idea.
“That’s…” he paused, “that’s not stupid.”
“You sound surprised,” Francis rolled his eyes, “I’m not completely stupid.”
“No you’re not,” Amadeus rubbed his hands together, suddenly enthused, “so who is this new friend of yours?”
“She’s called Rachel. She’s…”
“Rachel?” Amadeus raised an eyebrow, “You met Rachel?”
“Yes,” Francis said, “I ran into her containment room after some guard attacked me.”
“I see,” Amadeus breathed in through his teeth, “you do know she’s mad right?”
“Oh yeah, insane. That’s what having your brain lifted out of your body and put into a robot shell generally has a pretty weird effect on your brain. I’ve talked with Rachel before. She’s beyond sanity my friend, trust me.”
“What, no,” Francis shook his head, narrowing his eyes, “she was… she was… of course she was sane. Don’t be silly.”
“She’s been cooped up in there for a long time,” Amadeus replied, “very little human company. It does things to you. But I like the plan. Mad though she may be, she’s pretty harmless. Question is, how do we get to her?”
Francis turned and rapped heavily on the wall behind him. There was a moment’s quiet, then a resounding crunch. Cracks spread like weeds up the wall and a section of it buckled and caved in. Stooping to fit, Rachel stepped through. Rick and Sam both took an involuntary.
“I told them the plan,” Francis said to her. Amadeus noticed the odd look he gave her out of the corner of his eye when she wasn’t looking.
“Good,” she looked around at them, her neck motions mechanical, “thank you for agreeing to help me.”
“Let’s go then,” Sam gestured to Rick. They walked over to the door, body shifting, changing to that of a muscular man with a scar running down one eye. Sam couldn’t change their clothes or their body mass and they looked a little out of place wearing a suit. It would have to do, though.
Rick was holding a plastic bag containing the cage with the Source in it, tied up at the top. He handed it over to Francis, who went to look inside it.
“Don’t,” Sam said, “it took me ages to tie the knot on that.”
“Fine,” Francis scowled, “at least tell me what’s in there. What is it?”
“No time,” Amadeus shook his head, “we need to move.”
“Fine,” Francis turned and stepped through the wall opposite to the door. At first it looked as though the plastic bag wouldn’t come with him, but then he gave it a firm yank and it passed through the wall with the rustle of plastic.
Amadeus turned to Rachel. She was looking at him oddly, with her head to one side and her little red dot eyes boring into him.
“What did you tell him?” She asked.
“Nothing,” he smirked, “what do you take me for?”
“I…” she stopped, unsure of what to say. Sam grunted impatiently.
“You don’t like me,” Amadeus said, “you don’t trust me. Well you shouldn’t. I’ve got plans for you, my dear. We could work together, you and I. Something new is coming, trust me. Something new, something big. Something that will change the world.”
“What?” Rick said. Sam glared at him and he shut up.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” Rachel said, her voice low.
Amadeus gazed at her for a few seconds. Then he shrugged and looked over at the others.
“We ready to get going?” He asked.