Entry 31 – Rome Calling
The plan we had in mind wouldn't quite frankly be possible without Perihelion's nearly endless resources. First, we managed to obtain a series of fake Italian IDs. I have no idea how, to be honest. A typical 'ex machina', if you ask me, but it saved our hides and I promised myself that one day I was going to learn how exactly was Murdoch doing these things. At the same time, I knew he wasn't perfect so I assumed the alternate reality technology nobody seemed eager to discuss outside of the HQ (or knew nothing about) played a part here, but it wasn't a universal remedy. Things still could (and occasionally did) go terribly sideways.
The plan was as follows. Ferguson was to proceed with the original idea of attending the conference, only without us as her honor guard. She'd take Jim and the rest of the team with her to just sit there and look pretty the entire time. Meanwhile I, Espinoza and a couple of hand-picked Perihelion operators were use a small boat to make the insertion. Then we'd infiltrate Rome under the cover of night. We'd act as tourists but with our forged documents, we'd be able to freely go to the vicinity of Vatican without triggering any facial recognition alarm as that's where our papers said our legal residence was.
If things went sideways, the authorities would first waste valuable time combing through the tourist visa looking for suspects. They'd definitely target the expo as well but Ferguson's entire team would be present and accounted for in case of any inspections. Our advantage was that the Rome security system was designed to compensate for a small number of loyal officers, which meant most sensors were automated and a "fire brigade" would only be dispatched to a hotspot upon setting off an alarm. If we managed to avoid that, it would be smooth sailing for us until we reached Vatican.
But that was the easy part.
Infiltrating Vatican is no small feat. The Church is rich beyond belief and can afford the best of technologies. Since Italian citizens had no business entering the Holy See city-state, our forged IDs were not only useless – they'd actually draw attention to us. Our way in was through one of the unused renaissance-era buildings for which Ferguson obtained detailed plans. Again, I have no idea how; she probably saw it built on screen or something like that. We'd get in, climb all the way to the attic while avoiding several nasty surveillance devices, use rope to rappel down to a quaint square in front of the archive building, get in, hack into a computer terminal somewhere, get out and all that without alerting one of the most effective fighting forces in the world – the Swiss Guard.
Yeah, those guys may look funny in their orange and red striped uniforms but make no mistake, their training is cutting edge and so is their gear. You name it, they have it, including one particular piece of equipment specifically designed to counter such incursions. A piece of equipment I was actually dreading to go up against. Nobody else on the planet uses it, there are no tactics developed against it and it only works for Vatican's specific environment. Power armor.