“Joe 90 to Sam Loover, I’ve reached the perimeter of the embassy. Radio silence from here on. I’ll report when I have it!”
“Understood Joe, be careful.” Sam Loover replied as he clicked the radio receiver to standby.
He knew that Joe, having received the brain pattern of a security systems expert, would have little trouble breaching the Latanzian Embassy high-security vaults in which the stolen list of WIN agents was being held.
In his mind’s eye, he could see Joe creeping stealthily to the control box for the first set of lights and alarm systems, disabling them with a miniature cutting torch and proceeding in near-total darkness thanks to night vision lenses that fitted snugly over his glasses.
Professor McClaine would be waiting a few streets away in his incredible hovering car to whisk Joe from the scene as soon as the precious documents were recovered.
In the meantime, there was nothing for Sam to do but sit back and wait for the news to come in. He took a sip from a cup of coffee and sighed.Looking around the large equipment-filled laboratory, dominated by the huge computer known as the BIG RAT and the strange ball-shaped device called the Rat Trap, Sam found himself thinking for the hundredth time how extraordinary it was that the whole setup was located deep below Professor McClaine’s otherwise ordinary country cottage.
He smiled to himself, knowing that criminal agencies around the world would give almost anything to be where he was at that very moment and to learn the secrets of Project 90.
Five minutes passed.
Joe had estimated that it would take between fifteen and twenty minutes to get in, retrieve the documents, and get out again.
Sam picked up the mission briefing and flicked idly through it, trying to imagine at what stage Joe might be.
Another five minutes ticked by.
Then, as if alerted by a sixth sense, Sam sensed danger. But not for Joe 90, far away in another part of the country, but closer. Much closer.
He glanced over at the bank of electronics near the door to the lab. An amber light flashed urgently, one that had not been illuminated before.
Swiftly, Sam got up and crossed to the wall panel, checking the indicator. It was the perimeter proximity sensor, a security system that the Professor had rigged up only a few weeks before. It meant that someone had just driven through the front gate and was making their way to the cottage.
Sam flicked on the television monitor connected to a camera outside the door of the cottage. At first, he thought it could have been Mrs Harris returning to collect some item that she had forgotten, but the thought vanished as quickly as it arrived when he saw the sleek lines of a dark convertible pull to a halt by the door. Two men quietly got out. One was short, stocky and clean-shaven. His associate was lanky, with curly hair and a beard.
The door camera had a built-in limpet microphone. Sam activated the audio feed.
The taller man spoke first, “Are you sure there’s no one around, Sykes?”
“Will you relax, Murphy?” the shorter man replied, “The Professor and his kid left hours ago. Carrera’s watching the main road a couple of miles away. We’ll have plenty of warning if they suddenly come back. The housekeeper ain’t due back until the morning. We got this place to ourselves.”
Sykes gave a small chuckle, “He must have millions worth of inventions inside!”
“Right! So let’s quit wasting time and get the door open!”
Sam Loover grinned tightly and switched off the screen. He snatched up his WIN transmitter and pressed the button that connected him directly with the head of the agency, Shane Weston.
“Hello Chief, it’s Loover. Look, I’m still at Mac’s cottage. I’m about to have some company. A couple of cat-burglars. They’ve got an accomplice parked somewhere a couple of miles down the road keeping a lookout for Mac and Joe coming back. Could you send a few local police officers to say hi?”
“Sure thing, Sam. Need any help sent to the cottage?”
“No thanks, Chief. I’ve got it under control.”
“I’m sure you do. I’d hate to be in their shoes right now. Be seeing you.”
In seconds, Sam was in the elevator and ascending to the level of the cottage. He emerged moments later and, moving with well-practiced silence, got himself into position beside the front door.
He didn’t have long to wait.
There was a high-pitched whine as some sort of electronic cutting tool was used on the front door lock. After perhaps 30 seconds, the lock dropped off the door and the door itself swung gently inwards.
“Alright, that’s the first hurdle. Let’s get inside and start looking.”
The pair of crooks moved cautiously into the room, shining their torches ahead of them.
When they were a good ten paces clear, Sam quickly slammed the door shut and hit the lights.
“Wassat?!” cried Murphy.
“Good evening!” Sam said easily, “I think you two must be lost.”
Sykes recovered his shock first, “Oh yeah? What’s your game then?”
“I play a lot of games. Roulette. Backgammon. Poker. But I think tonight my game of choice is Monopoly since I’ll be sending you both directly to jail.”
Sykes laughed harshly, indicating Murphy and the crowbar he was holding, “And just who do you think you are? The tooth fairy?”
“Close,” Sam replied, “I’m the sandman.”
Before either of the pair could take a step, Sam had drawn his pistol and fired off two knockout rounds with the speed of a coiled viper striking.
With hardly a sound, the two men crumpled to the floor, fast asleep.
Sam glanced at his watch. Nearly twenty minutes had passed since Joe had entered the embassy. Knowing the criminals would be under the effect of the powerful sleeping agent for at least three hours, he made his way back to the lab.
Sam had just replaced the headphones on his ears when Joe’s voice came through clearly.
“Joe 90 calling Sam Loover, mission accomplished! Will tell you all about it when we get home!”
“Congratulations, Joe!” Sam said with a grin, “And I’ll have a little story to tell you in return! Over and Out.”
Want to learn more about Joe 90? Watch our Joe 90 Primer!
If you’re enjoying revisiting the world of Joe 90, then check out our 2022 Audio Annual: Anything Can Happen. It features 7 stories from across the TV21 universe, including Joe 90: The Cracksman!