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The dim light of the fading Moon : Lines in the sand part 2
Wepp picked up the phone, the captain of the guards sounded breathless and echoes of an ongoing battle had the doctor push the phone away from his ear.
“Sir, we are outnumbered and outgunned, we cannot hold much longer, I suggest evacuation at this point.” Spoke the Captain, almost screaming. Wepp remained silent, taking the scope of the news, all it implied into consideration. The captain would not request this lightly. It meant that they would have to abandon the facility, leave behind proof of its existence to enemy hands. But, what was more important here, was the people doing the work, not the work itself. They would rebuild on its foundation in due time, as long as the core data could be saved and carried away, the future of the project would be protected.
“Very well Captain, once the personnel is out of the facility I will send word for you and your men to rendezvous at the secondary location. Let me be clear Captain, you hold that line until the last man, there’s too much in stake here for us to simply evacuate, we need time to implement the procedure. Understood?”
“Sir, yes sir.” Came the sharp reply on the telephone. In other words, Dr. Wepp had ordered him and all of his men to die. What were they in comparison to the project. Nothing but cannon fodder.
Wepp hung up, then dialed another extension.
“Staff Sergeant.” Spoke a female’s voice on the other end.
“Execute order gamma-3 Staff Sergeant, authorization W609, the password is Countess.”
“Very well doctor, fifteen minutes and counting… now.” Came the reply, after which the line was cut, and Dr. Wepp was left to his thoughts. Would this be a major setback to the project, he wondered. In a few minutes, the news of laboratory 1203 being compromised would reach the high instances of the company, along with his name being mentioned in the same sentence where the word “failure” could be heard. Already, all around him, every screen in the facility had begun flashing a red alert message along with the gamma-3 inscription. The Crey personnel, at first stunned by the sight displayed, busied themselves gathering all essential data, while others scurried about with materials and other sensitive documents. Most of which would be destroyed in the next few minutes. Wepp just hoped not too many of them would confuse what was to be kept from what was to be erased.
A computerized voice came on the intercom system of the laboratory: “Self-destruct procedure implemented, fourteen minutes and twenty seconds remaining. There will be no other warning. Evacuate… Evacuate… Evacuate…” Wepp looked down into the main facility, at the two water tanks containing Icy Heart and Ghost Starr, and felt sadness at having to destroy them so soon.
Fifty yards under the base, in an enclosed chamber, a timing device had begun a countdown a few seconds ago. Less than fifteen minutes from now, it would go into a nuclear reaction. Located where it was, it insured maximal destruction of the laboratory and would create a small crater inside Crey’s Folley of about one hundred yards in every direction. Being underground guaranteed that a minimal amount of radiation would actually permeate the area, although no plant life would survive for the next one hundred years, most in Crey’s Folley wouldn’t care much about that. And if it killed a few Freaks in the long term or prevented them from procreating, it was considered a bonus.
Moon Psyche had listened to the intercom message, had felt the heightened tension in the minds of the people in the laboratory, and right on the edge of his powerful perception, something wicked coming their way. A few minutes ago, his mind had twitched when Bear Cat attempted to fight the Envoy of Shadows, the meat grinding process the huge tanker had gone through had him thinking that getting a trashing from the guards had been a mild event. Concentrating hard, he searched and found the minds of his friends close by, and tried to relay calmness and confidence that all was happening according to a greater purpose than they could fathom. Although he found agreement within the mind of Metal Core and Jade Rade, his friends did not agree wholeheartedly, especially Cavalier’s mind, who firmly believed that men and women made the difference, not some preordained force managing the universe. Ironic, Moon though, that those who are willing to rely more on faith, are those that did not have any hopes to begin with. Time was running out though, less than fourteen minutes until the explosion, they needed to act.
“Apocalypse Assemble.” Mindspoke Moon to everyone. He felt them struggle to rise up, against their power shackles, against their injuries. “Frank, can you free yourself yet?” Moon asked Winter.
“Working on it Moon, our new recruit is helping me with this issue as we speak.” Came the reply that had everyone in the circle of minds wondering whom Frank Winter was referring to. Moon squinted his eyes at the mental image that Frank sent him.
“Lab Experiment will betray us in the end, Frank, be wary of your words and actions with her.”
“Oh I know Moon, she can’t go against the genetic engineering that created her, but I think she can help for a short amount of time before it kicks in. When you pit it against her need to belong, to be part of something greater, she finds it in herself to resist what she is. A very interesting theory applied, I’ll have to compile notes and some data on this case later on, no amount of genetic manipulation can truly prevent us from being human, she is flawed.” Winter’s thoughts breathed satisfaction at this realization.
“Can we leave the mumbo jumbo for later guys, and work on getting out of here?” Cavalier’s mind was clear and true, his purpose was decisive.
“I’m free… I just need to figure out how to bust down the door.” Frank Winter replied through Moon’s mind relay. “Lab is going to free Sun Heat.”
“Make your shots count!” Yelled the Captain of the guards as he aimed his sub machinegun into the corridor and fired a volley into a passing acolyte of the Circle of Thorns. The brown clad shape spun on itself then fell limp to the ground. He took the safety pin off a grenade and sent it rolling deep ahead, towards the double doors leading into the main corridor he and his men were defending. They needed to hold, had to hold, no matter what, until they were told to fall back. The grenade exploded and a rumble ran through the floor under his feet, several cries of pain were heard from the enemy’s position, and the captain winced at the images they brought. Smoke filled the doorway, guns ceased to fire after a while, silence followed. The captain saw an occasion to replace his ammo, made sure his men were doing the same, while looking at the doorway quizzically. Then, then it came. A hissing sound, faint at first, but growing each second. An orange glow began to wash the bend of the corridor beyond the door, the hair behind the back of his head rose.
“Five grenades into that doorway, now!” He screamed teeth clenched, lips curled back. A moment later, he counted seven impact sounds of grenades rolling against the floor into the doorway. A generic order brings a generic reaction, he reminded himself. He just hoped that seven would be enough to shatter the entryway at this point. He had no clue what was coming, but rarely had he felt this sensation in his life, maybe once or twice. And every time he had, something bad, really bad occurred. The concussive explosion that followed rattled the soldiers, debris came flying towards them, shredding apart pieces of concrete walls, creating more projectiles as it sped from its momentum. With a loud sound, the ceiling above the doorway fell across the entrance, a sight welcomed with a loud cheer by the soldiers.
The men and women patted themselves on the shoulders, looked at their captain, nodding approval for his decision, once again recognizing his leadership and skills. But he kept his eyes on the blocked doorway, still not satisfied. The concrete and stone began to glow orange in the dark, brighter and brighter, until it liquefied, and a small river of molten rock started to spread itself across the floor. The troops were far enough from it to be safe, but the heat was palpable. A brighter glow could be seen beyond the shimmering, it was about to fill the melted doorway. The soldiers expertly took aim towards the opening, eyes fixed on the center of the hole.
A small shape appeared, no taller than a child, covered in flames. Squinting his eyes, the captain defined the outline of it as that of a monkey, a flaming monkey…
“Fire!” He screamed to his troops.
A second monkey shaped flame being jumped onto the melted rocks, and both were met with a hail of bullets that send them flying backwards against the wall behind them, where they ungracefully died. A third came racing through the entrance, jumping its way towards the nearest soldier, but never made it. It met the same fate that the others had. The captain’s eyes grew wider, his mind did not accept what his eyes were seeing.
Liquid flames were creeping on the floor now, washing like the tide across the broken flooring and melted rocks. Silent and hot, the fire was breathing gently, pushed by a soft wind unseen. The walls and ceiling were soon covered by them, blurring the view into the doorway, the river of flames seemed to stall and wait.
“I came here to rescue Turbo Starr, my mission is not complete.”
Slowly he rose in the cage. Carefully and as gently as he could he tried to remain up, but fell. The impact send a cry from his lungs, a spurt of blood exploded from his mouth and he racked with coughing and pain. His right arm was limp and broken on his side, the right area of his ribcage felt shattered, he could feel the bones loosely poking his lung. His right eye was shut and swollen, he was having a hard time to swallow. His right leg had trouble supporting him but he managed to stay upright by using his left hand and holding on to one of the heavy bars of the spilled over cage. Looking up with a heavy sigh, he wondered how in his condition, he would be able to lift the iron door wide enough to crawl out.
His attention was taking away by the pounding of a heavy drum. The sound came from the other side of the gymnasium. The cage being on its side and the flooring of it hiding the view in that direction, he had to lean his head against the bars to catch a glimpse of what was going on. About seventy yards away, Envoy of Shadows was pounding heavily on the double doors that had let Bear Cat into the combat area. The beast alternated left and right pummelling motion onto it, oblivious to everything else. The pure rage animating the motions reminded him of how much he was in pain at the moment. He backed away from the sight, a creeping sensation in the pit of his stomach made him do so. Bear Cat was very much afraid of going into another round with the monstrosity. Turning around, he stopped short. There, outside the bars, pressing a finger against his lips to signal silence, was a guard armed with an air pressure gun. His face was covered in sweat and he was not alone. Nine more Crey Security Guards accompanied him, all armed to subdue the Envoy of Shadows. They were scared, all using the cage as a shield from the beast. They would have to covered seventy yards of open ground, at the very least forty to fire their weapons, to put the monster under. Why was Crey Industries hell bent on keeping it?
The pounding went on, and the lead guards made hand signals to split the team into two units, moving left and right of the cage, creeping quietly closer to their target. Bear Cat began to think, while removing his belt to begin fastening his limp arm to his chest. The five thousand years old Chinese proverb stating that the enemy of my enemy, is my friend, had just gained a new light here. With a restrained grunt, Bear Cat finished fastening his useless appendage along his chest, with the forearm across the belly to provide more defence to an already weakened area. He looked once more in the direction of Envoy of Shadows, saw that the monster was still attempting to break through the far door, saw that the guards were still silently creeping to get to a firing position. He looked down and around him, took hold of one of the bars, let out a long breath accompanied by a silent prayer and yelled :
“Yo! Fugly! We ain’t done yet!”
The beast stopped its pounding and turn around in one swift motion. The ten security guards’ faces went from sweaty to pastry white during that same motion and Bear Cat made ready for what would surely be a hell of a bumpy ride. Envoy of Shadows started to race after the retreating guards, some of which were screaming for their mothers. Many managed to fire their tranquilizer darts, but none hit the target as they were killed horribly and quickly by the beast.