"Welcome on board, Mister Dart. Your seats are on the left, near the front of the cabin." The hostess offered with a voice full of fake warmth and sincerity.
The blond Elven man simply nodded to her and offered a quick thanks as he took his seat on board the Federated-Boeing Commuter, glancing out the window once he was in. Outside was a typically dreary evening at Sea-Tac airport, the tarmac busy with the bustle of operations. Service vehicles and drones buzzed around, tending to the various aircraft and their needs.
"How's it looking out there, Mister Dart?" An Elven woman began as she sat down next to him. Her black hair was a contrast to his blond, but like him, she was dressed in professional casual attire, much like everyone else on the flight.
He glanced out the window again, noting the two men, a human and a Dwarf, heading towards the Commuter. "It's looking good, Ms Dart," he shot back with a small smile. "Especially the flight crew." Moments later the pair of them also entered the cabin, having a short discussion with the hostess before heading into the Commuter's cockpit.
"Well thatís good to hear, mister Dart," she offered. "It's good to know that our flight will be in the hands of such professionals."
"Speaking of..." he trailed off as he nodded again to the door and the next two passengers entering. A middle-aged Japanese couple, both crisply dressed as if they were heading to a board meeting, rather than the corporate retreat that was the flight's destination. He barely acknowledged the hostess before the pair of them headed to their seats near the back.
"There's Doctor Nakamura, right on schedule" the Elven man spoke. "And i can only presume that apparition with him was his wife."
"Did you see the look she gave us as she entered?" The woman replied. "Like we should be ashamed to be stealing her oxygen or something."
"If she knew her pilot was a Dwarf, she'd probably demand that he be replaced," he joked. ďHold on a moment..." Two more men entered the cabin, another pair of Japanese sararimen dressed in near-identical off-the-rack suits.
"Renraku security, masters of being bleedingly obvious," the woman shook her head. "But also expected for a top-flight AI researcher."
"No big deal, we included them in the plan," he shrugged as the pair of them took up seats across the aisle from the Nakamuras. "Stick to the plan, and be ready for the worst."
The woman smiled. "And when it happens?"
He raised a brow in reply. "It's me. You know what happens next."
It was another five minutes before the tilt-rotor craft took to the air, banking slightly before taking up a steady cruising altitude. Below them was the blinking neon web of the Seattle metroplex, the bright lights of the Sprawl clear even through the drizzle. The airspace around them was packed with all manner of other craft, from small utility helicopters to powerful LAVs, each one of them assigned to their own carefully directed flight planes. Even one of them out of place could put the whole city's airspace into chaos.
Inside the cabin was comfortably dull, with the Elven couple either quietly talking or sparing small glances around at their fellow passengers. "Nakamura looks bored out of his skull," The woman offered. "And the Hag looks mortified. Most importantly the goons don't seem to be at all perturbed."
"Good," he replied as he glanced out the window again. The lights were thinning as the craft was heading north of the city, towards its intended destination. "Things are going to get hot soon, so be ready."
"Aren't I always?" She smirked.
"Itís what I love about you," he replied. "Okay, consider this go time." The commuter banked again, beginning to slowly and carefully descend. "Sooner or later, they're going to notice."
She looked over them again. Sure enough, the two obvious security guards did seem to be a lot more alert now, the pair of them glancing around their cabin before looking to each other. Neither spoke, but it was obvious that they were concerned about what was going on. "The chickens are restless," she quietly commented. "Nakamura Is getting fidgety too."
"Of course he is," the blond man replied as he pulled a pair of gloves out of his jacket pocket, putting them on. He flexed his fingers, and then looked back. "I'll take lefty, you take mister right."
One of the goons was just getting to his feet, but even then he had no time to anticipate or react to what happened. The blond Elven man leaped out of his seat and over his partner, landing in the aisle with the speed of a predatory bird and the grace of an Olympic gymnast. Another bound saw him launch himself towards the first man, who seemed to be moving in slow motion by comparison.
His outstretched hands reached the man's face, a sudden crackle of electricity erupting on contact. His body shuddered as the shock gloves did their work, the surge of power stunning him and sending him crashing to the floor.
The second man turned towards his fallen partner, only to be hit in the face by a brilliant bolt of blue-white energy. He reeled under the impact, slamming back into his seat, every bit as unconscious as his partner.
Glancing black, the blond Elf nodded to the black haired one before standing. "Can I have your attention, please!" He called out in the middle of the isle. "This flight is now under our control. We will be landing shortly and taking what we came for. If the rest of you play nice and don't do anything stupid, then none of you will be harmed."
"If course, before you reach for a Panicbutton or try any amateur heroics, do bear in mind that there's only one person here that we need alive. So if youíre not them, I strongly advise sitting down and staying quiet, and you'll get to walk away from this with nothing but some mild inconvenience."
That wasn't entirely true. Doctor Nakamura was their target, but his wife had been listed as 'extract if possible'. No doubt the employer wanted to use her as leverage to ensure his cooperation. Me, I'd want to be as far from her as possible, he considered as he looked at the pair of them. Nakamura did look more than a little afraid for his life, trying to make himself look as small and unobtrusive as possible in his seat after reaching the conclusion that he was, indeed, the target of this whole operation.
Conversely, his wife looked mortified at the idea that she might have to come into contact with filthy Metahumans. Just wait till she reaches the rendezvous... he told himself with a smirk.
The next fifteen minutes were mercifully quiet and uneventful as the Commuter headed towards its new destination. Zip-ties, makeshift gags and a couple of Stunbolts for good measure had kept the two security goons quiet and secured, and the rest of the passengers had followed his advice to play nice. None the less, the two Elves had kept watch over the cabin all the way. With one of them clearly being awakened and the other obviously wired, they made an intimidating presence on their own.
The craft landed with barely a bump, the whine of its engines coming to a slow halt as they powered down. "Okay, folks, we're going to be offloading our priority passengers," he began as he headed down the aisle. "The rest of you remain seated until we are done, and then feel free to move around the cabin. We'll leave a distress beacon running for you and Iím sure somebody will be along for you sooner or later."
"Ohm and just in case you get any ideas, bear in mind that there are armed Runners waiting to meet us," the woman added, almost casually.
The cockpit door opened, a pair of figures stepping out. The first was a Dwarf, decidedly scruffy in spite of his crisp airline pilot's uniform. Behind him was a human man, his uniform seemingly too big for his gangly frame. "Everything go well out here?" The human asked.
"Frakking brilliant," the Elf replied. "Not one problem at all. You two?"
"Not to rush you, but we've been getting a few questions form Sea-Tac air traffic control," The Dwarf replied. "I think they noticed how far off-course we got."
"Figures," the Elf finished. "Okay, Stumps, Normie, you get outside and Make sure everything's good. We'll be along in a moment.Ē He headed down the aisle as the pair of them exited the craft, a sudden gust of cold, wet air accompanying them.
"Doctor Nakamura," he began. "I strongly suggest that you and your lovely wife come with us right now. You're getting off this plane one way or another, so you might as well do it in the way that results in the least bruising." He placed a hand on her shoulder to prove the point.
"Unhand me, you barbarian," she hissed back in heavily accented English.
"See..." the Elf sighed as he all but pulled her out of the seat, his augmented strength making it practically effortless. "This is why we canít have nice things. So, ignoring the shrill harpy, Doctor Nakamura, are you going to come peacefully or not?" A trio of blades extended from his wrist, hovering right next to his wifeís face.
"I..." he looked around, his face full of fear. No doubt he was considering all his options, balancing loyalty to Renraku against an uncertain future and the thought of what these clearly violent and dangerous people were going to do otherwise. "I will," he finally finished as he stood, offering no resistance as he left the seat and was escorted off the plane.
Outside was dark and starkly cold, made even worse by the driving rain. The weather only added to the desolate feel of the area; a small strip of land with few signs of civilisation to be found outside of the Commuter itself. A GMC Bulldog van waited by the side of the plane, seemingly guarded by a bulky Ork with an assault rifle in hand. "Youse coming or what?" he barked.
"Sorry about that. Had a problem with a reluctant passenger," the Elf replied as he stepped out, all but shoving Ms Nakamura at the Ork. "She's all yours, Stomp."
The woman looked positively aghast at the huge figure, stepping back and stammering a moment, before Suddenly exploding into a burst of high speed Japanese. "What did she just say?" He asked.
"You're better off not knowing," the Elven woman replied as she walked past the pair of them, climbing into the van.
"ooh, lippy," the Ork finished with a toothy grin, before all but throwing Ms Nakamura into the van. Looking around for am moment, Doctor Nakamura simply gave a resigned sigh and climbed in after them. "You really know how to pick the winners, Slicer," Stomp added.
"Always," he grinned. "So letís get the hell out of here, Chummer. Sooner or later, somebodyís going to come looking for them."
"Can they have her?" The Ork asked, eyeing the Japanese woman.
"Tempting," Slicer replied. "Very tempting."