When: Earlier...

The door swung closed behind Jay and I with a soft, reassuring heaviness; the swoosh of the smoke seal and the oiled click of the latch, muted by the expensive red and black carpets in the corridor outside
I felt as though I had butterflies in my stomach, and I’m almost certain Jay must have been able to feel me shaking, because he let his arm slip from my around shoulders almost as quickly as I pulled away from him
Why the hell did Boyd have to say what he said?
I suppose I’m at least partly to blame - As soon as I realised that he was reading my mind, I couldn’t help myself; I panicked and started worrying about how much of my psyche he was actually privy to, which in turn made all the bad shit bubble up to the surface
I might as well have just shouted it at him
Even after all these years, the memories of the horror and the shame still make me feel sick to my stomach, and it’s distressing to think that a complete stranger now knows the things that I’ve only ever told three people in my entire life
It pisses me off
Nobody should need to know what my piece of shit father did to me
I'm not a victim and I don't need anybody's pity
I don’t want a single soul to know, but Boyd will no doubt spill his guts and tell an eager and inquisitive audience absolutely everything
The only solace I have, is that as real as the memories are for me, I know that it wasn’t really me - It wasn't actually me or my body that was abused
It just feels like it sometimes
You know: I resented Jay for ages for forcing the truth of my awful childhood out of me when we were trapped in the Doombringer’s hells; but after what just occurred, I’m kind of glad that he did – It’s comforting to know that there's one person who won’t just revile or pity me, and that there's someone here who knows and understands me well enough to help me out like he did
And now... it seems that he has feelings for me after all
Katrina is going to want to kill me - and him; which is stupid, since this is nobody’s fault
Anyway, regardless of what he feels, I doubt it'll make any difference – Jay hasn’t exactly been overly communicative, let alone demonstrative towards me, since the 1700’s (time traveller humour); so I imagine this will just give him an excuse to retreat even further from me.
I don't want that though - I mean, with Katrina around, it’s not like there’s even the remote chance we could get drunk and wind up in bed together like you usually do when you fancy someone.
Heh... Even after everything that has occurred between us, I still don't think I'd say no
Fuck's sake
You know, I think I’d be happier not knowing that he "really cares" about me (whatever the fuck that's meant to mean) – Boyd has forced me to confront a load of shit that I thought, or at least had hoped, that I was well on the road to getting over
Bollocks to it all
I hate having feelings sometimes - It makes me feel weak (Ha! See what I did there?)
As I turned back to face Jay, out in the hotel corridor, our eyes met for the briefest of instants before we both looked away – He’s got gorgeous eyes; almost a golden brown, shot through with a darker radial pattern out from the iris; you can lose yourself in them
"Thanks" I croaked, my heart feeling like it was about to swell up and constrict my throat
I hope I didn’t look as nervous or as terrified as I felt
Jay shook his head
"Cass..." he sighed, his brow furrowing
There it was: Get back in your fucking place, you stupid little girl!
Wouldn't it be great if life was like the movies?
He would have swept me off my feet and up into an embrace that would make my heart flutter. Our eyes would have met for a breathless, aching moment before we kissed; and oh, what kiss it would have been - A kiss like a supernova; a kiss, during which, nothing else in the whole universe would matter.
A kiss for happy ever after
Who am I kidding?
It's embarrassing to even admit that I sometimes think like that
Real life's shit
"Katrina will be waiting for you" I managed "You should probably go"
Jay blew out a heavy sigh and to my intense disappointment, turned (gratefully? reluctantly? thankfully?) to leave.
He pushed the door open again and with a brief but silent backward glance, I was left alone out in the corridor, feeling stupid and utterly unwanted

I hadn't smoked since Fernando's, but having been mind raped by an uncontrolled psychic who had torn open a whole load of ugly wounds, right then and there I didn't think it too unreasonable to indulge in a stress relieving cig. I cadged a pack off one of the other guests as he walked past me in the corridor, paying him fifty dollars for his eight remaining fags and a cheap plastic lighter with the Emperors Palace logo on it.
Jaxx came out to chat to me a little while later and then Jade who gave me a hug and a drink, and tried to make me feel a bit better
I’m afraid I was a little rude to both of them - I shall have to apologise
Feeling somewhat obliged to, I drank some of the drink that Jade had made me, but when she had gone back inside, I strolled down to the lift foyer at the end of the corridor, and tipped the rest out into one of the pot plants – I didn’t really want to get drunk and lose control; bad things might happen
I sat out on one of the sofas in the foyer after that, watching the occasional comings and goings of the other guests and the staff, while I collected my thoughts
Right now I’m feeling like I should probably have waited another few years before I escaped from Brittany, or maybe I shouldn't even have bothered?
Maybe I should leave for good?
I’ve got this crap to sort out first though
Take a deep breath
Put your Bitch Queen mask back on and fire up the communicator
“I’m heading the stealth squad; anyone wanting to help out, come meet me down in the bar...”

Cassandra interrupted as she dug into her bag and pulled out a small mini camera and looked at Jaxx as she said, “Hold still Jaxx while I put this on you.” Skutter Jaxx held still as Cass attached the camera and asked, “What’s that for?” Cass replied, “Now I can see what you see to make this easier on me.” Then Cass had everyone get closer as she said, “Ok here is the plan.”
“I’ve got my own fairly watertight ideas about this,” Cassandra began “but a consensus is always best in case something gets overlooked, so I want to hear your opinions first
“The entrance to the vault is accessible through the casino via three sets of armoured security doors, each manned by armed guards
“Immediately outside the vault, is a further security station, with guards watching over the staff working in the machine room; which contains a series of banknote counting machines that are used to process the monies sent from the teller’s desks at the front of house, via pneumatic tube”
She paused to pull her terminal out and placed it down on the table between them, amidst the bottles and glasses, and tapped to highlight the security gates
“The vault is kept locked at all times, and is accessed via a very thick combination locked door, of which there are no live camera feeds so, irritatingly, I haven’t been able discern the code to unlock it
“Now, I have complete control over the security gates, but there are a range of isolated security overrides on each of the security desks that I’ve no access to, and if any one of these are triggered, the vault door gets locked down on a timed override - If that happens, the combination won’t work for a few hours and we might as well give it all up as a bad job”
“Fuck’s sake” Katrina snarled sullenly “The assault squad got the easy job”
“Agreed” Cass nodded “It’s not all bad though – We’ve the Oyabun’s wife sat getting stoned upstairs, complete control over all the security systems other than the vault, my nanosuit comes equipped with a stealth field, Boyd here, for better or worse, is a telepath at the moment, and weirdly: three of us look like minor celebrities from this era”
Cassandra’s green eyes flicked between the faces of her companions
“Now,” she said slowly “We need to have the pulse rifle out of the vault by 4 p.m. this afternoon to rendezvous with the assault squad, so let’s hear your ideas...”

Over to you guys - let’s hammer a plan out
Feel free to add any other details you fancy for the security, but let’s not make it too easy eh? ;-)

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