Cumulonimbus cloud system detected. Engaging operating procedure Tesla.” A
woman’s robotic, simulated voice echoed throughout the enclosed operating room.
“Automatic hydraulic systems for sector
four have been engaged. ‘Big ass lightening rod’ will be fully functional in
T-minus ninety seconds.”
I couldn’t help but let out a quiet chuckle as the lab-coats
in the room gave their own unsatisfactory responses towards the emotionless A.I.
program. But really, their disgruntled sighs and snorts were directed at one of
their own. Ruben, the chief computer nerd, or as his company labeled him, the
Head Programming Specialist, tried his hardest to contain the small fit of
laughter escaping from his lips. He was failing miserably, and I had to look away
to avoid anyone seeing his own cheeky grin. After all, as head of security, I
was supposed to be the most composed person in the room.
“All units, check-in” I whispered into the walkie clipped on
the front pocket of his standard, military grade combat vest.
“Hallways are clear.” A strong feminine voice crackled back.
“Nothing new to report.”
“Sub-sector one is vacant of activity.” A younger voice
responded. “Everyone’s pretty much with you. Resuming patrol.”
“Sub-sector two is bloody well fine.” A more than agitated
middle-aged man replied gruffly. “Now, would you quite ‘checking in’ every ten
minutes. We’ll let you know if something comes up!”
“Ignore him.” A fourth, slightly congested agent cued in.
“All security monitors are still fully functional and the feeds are coming
uninterrupted. Sub-sector three is clear and the, ahem, ‘lightning rod’ is
nearly fully expanded.”
“Thank you Greg, Rebecca, and CJ” I said, pausing for a
second before pressing the input button on my walkie one last time. “And Ted too,
“Why you little-“ Ted started raving, but I’d already
reached for the volume control and turned it down to a negligible level before
it attracted too much unnecessary attention. It probably wasn’t professional to
be provoking one of my own co-workers like that, but sometimes even I couldn’t
help himself. At least, not when it came to Ted. He was never too keen on the
idea that I had been put in charge monitoring such an important project such as
this. Especially since I was just, in the absolute tamest words that had ever
left Ted’s mouth, ‘some punk kid’. Now, I knew I couldn’t really blame Ted for
voicing his concerns, and I didn’t. The other head supervisors, not just those
on the security team, had more than questioned my ability from the moment I
arrived here too. However, Ted was still the only one opposed to me even after
I’d proved myself to be more than capable of handling the situation. So, since
Ted was always so intent on giving me a hard time in every aspect of my job, a
little payback every now and then didn’t feel unwarranted.
I turned my focus back to control room. It felt strange
having so little to watch out for. One door acted as the sole means for
entrance and exit and I was stationed by it. A breach was unlikely from the
outside, since the sectors, halls, and every single room in them was monitored
by state of the art surveillance technology. Not only that, but the doors to
each of the sectors were designed to handle just about any kind of explosive,
with many layers of rock, thick titanium laced steel, and both manual and
electronic locks. About two hundred trained and combat ready guards were on
duty in the expansive underground facility, their ranks split into about ten
different security teams. I was the leader of team Echo.
But, even with all the exterior protection, there was always
the potential of an interior threat. Though, in this section of the facility,
it probably seemed the most unlikely.
The control room of Research Sector C was packed pull of
monitors and computers more than anything else. Potential weapons were limited
down to the coffee cups and pens that the computer nerds and scientists around
the room carried on their persons. While I was certainly prepared and open to
the possibility for one of them to suddenly snap or turn and start murdering
his fellow employees, I labeled the threat as pretty unlikely. The only
exercise most of these guys had was in the form of punching in characters on a
keyboard. The only other person of interest in the room was Director Patrick D.
Thomas, who was sitting in on this little test run of theirs. He was talking
with Ruben, obviously trying to ridicule him for his choice of pre-assigned
codenames, but it came out as more of light warning. Director Thomas, while
certainly hard working and serious when the time called for it, wasn’t exactly
the most aggressive or strict otherwise. Most would think that this would play
against him with his work, but his kind demeanor and leniency towards the rules
so long as it didn’t disturb a high ranking company policy or hinder the
project at all, earned him the respect of everyone that worked under him. But
of course, he had to at least attempt to keep up appearances. Even if he was
horrible at it.
Incidentally, Director Thomas was actually the main reason I
got the position I was in now, despite my obvious age difference. Our meeting…hadn’t
been one of the usual sense. Then again, if it had been, I doubted Thomas would
have taken such an interest in my special talents.
I could still remember it clearly. It was a day in late
September. I had just got back from teaching the advanced class at my local
dojo. I wasn’t really tired at the time or sweaty, but I was thirsty. Teaching
martial arts is very different from practicing them. For starters, you don’t do
near as much work or training. Instead, you’re there to pretty much show the
various forms and combinations that your school teaches, then watch closely and
check for errors in the student’s technique and posture. Don’t get me wrong
though, I do enjoy teaching those who are willing to learn. Kids, anywhere from
elementary to middle school are always more than eager to learn and that’s what
makes it fun to teach them. On the flip side though, that same eagerness leads
to a lot of inefficient and sometimes sloppy form when it comes to performing
punches and kicks. I couldn’t count how many times I had to instruct many of
them to slow down. Speed would come with time, it was best not to rush your
attacks. While they didn’t always tend to follow this advice, they at least
attempted it for a bit first. I wasn’t overly concerned though. They were young.
When they grew older, like the adults, they would come to understand the
importance of my words. I still loved working with them.
The one demographic that gave me the most trouble,
unsurprisingly, were the teenagers. Every time I was assigned to teach the
intermediate age classes, I’d always get at least two upper belts in the group
that dismissed my advice almost immediately. I’d hear it all. I was still the
same as them. I was close to their age, I didn’t look like I earned the belt I
wore, anything they could pick out to justify that I wasn’t better than them.
And truly, I wasn’t, speaking metaphorically. But I did have more training,
more drive, and more skill. That made me more qualified and I did not hesitate
to show it in the many sparring matches and attribute demonstrations that were
spaced out in our course curriculum. Some were able to accept it easily and
move on with their ambitions. Others fought tooth and nail to best me every
single day in anything they could. Whichever path they chose though, it guided
them to my overall goal. Getting them to be better fighters. Now, I also wish I
had been able to change their attitudes too, but you can’t win every battle.
Back to the matter at hand, I had acquired a very unsettling
dryness in the back of my throat due in large part to the fact that my
overeager kid students hadn’t let me take a smidgeon of a break during the last
hour and a half. And then staying late to clean up and close up. So, I decided
to take a detour on the way home and stop by the local convenience store for
some tea. Even though it wouldn’t be anything like the herbal mixtures I kept
at home, sometimes even I still enjoyed the overly-sugarized and partially
artificial tastes of company brand tea. I remembered looking at the clock on the
dash as I pulled into the freshly painted and smooth parking lot of a brand new
7-11. It was around half past ten.
Something else I noticed was that the location and position of the gas station
was horrible, speaking in terms of tactics. The nearest police station was
twenty minutes away, fifteen if you really pushed it. More than enough time for
criminals to be in and out. And in a rotten part of the neighborhood like this,
it was a wonder the store hadn’t been robbed yet.
The location could only be the pitiful product of the
chain’s hunger for profit and low cost of the lot in which the station sat.
Hardly smart, but then, what could I do about that?
I tugged on the metal handle of the glass frame door, the
sharp chime of a bell announcing my entrance. The attendant gave me a quick
glance and brief friendly greeting before going back to stocking the back wall
with cigarettes. At least the staff was pleasant. I wandered past the packed
shelves of the slightly overpriced snacks, catching my reflection walking by in
a single, flattened, circular mirror above the soda machine. It was located
near my destination, the coolers, carving out a straight path from the entrance
and the right corner of the room and back to it. I made note of it and moved
Upon reaching the back of the store, I noticed one of the
cooler doors was already opened and another person was crouched, perusing
through the bottom rack of gallon milk cartons. Despite his form being half
covered by the fogged translucent glass, he wasn’t someone I had expected to
see. Not necessarily because I knew him, but rather, the type of person he
appeared to be. I noticed a well kept charcoal suit jacket hung around tight
shoulders, a wrinkled white dress shirt and loosened tie poked out from around
the gray edges, charcoal pants to match, and black dress shoes. What convinced
me of their worth was the style. They were Oxfords. No doubt the rest of his
outfit was worth just as much as those shoes. Strange to see someone with money
shopping here for milk, but then, I suppose even the wealthy had to make quick,
unexpected grocery pickups just like the rest of us.
I finally saw him pull out a gallon jug with a red top. Hmm, whole milk huh? Good choice.
I was just about to search for my own drink selection, when
I heard the bell at the front of the store let out another high pitched ding.
My eyes immediately snapped towards the mirror. Three men entered the store.
One was white and bald, dressed in a battered old white tank top and jeans. The
second one was black, dreads hanging loosely down his back, wearing a dark
black jacket that looked way too warm for the weather. And the last one was
white too, a thick scar carved across his cheek, dressed in much the same as
the black man. Something in the back of my mind told me that they weren’t here
for the candy and I reached out to put a hand on the suited guy’s shoulder to
stop him from getting up.
The guy stopped and looked at me quizzically. I had to think
of something to justify myself quick or he would give our position away. “I’m
not sure you want that one.” I half whispered, so as not be overheard by the
new customers. “The expiration on that is a little too soon, don’t you think?”
I asked with a smile, trying to appear as friendly as possible. The suited man still appeared confused at my
actions, but a look down at the jug he was holding brought forth a moment of
clarity. It expired next week instead of the week after, the optimal time you
wanted on your dairy products.
He opened his mouth to say something, but was abruptly cut
off by the harsh clip of a gun at the front counter. “Alright lady, cash in the
bag! Now!.” This was soon re-enforced by one other click and the screech of
something metal being unsheathed. Looking back up at the mirror, I could spot
that the guys were armed with two semi-automatic pistols, the one on the far
left with a machete. How in the world did
he manage to sneak that in?
The leader, the one with the scar, directed the gun at the
frightened lady’s head and thrust a plastic bag in her face. “If you don’t want
to be filled with holes, empty the register! Come on! Move it!” He ordered.
I watched as the lady hastily opened the drawer and started
throwing bills in, all the while the leader was pressuring her be faster. The
other two, seeing that the situation was handled, started pilfering whatever
snack item they were craving. I broke my watchful gaze, my mind running through
all the available information I’d collected when I walked in. There wouldn’t be
much time before the girl was finished and the wannabee gangsters thieves would
be on their way. I don’t know if you could tell, but I had a severe distaste
for crime. Plus, I needed some of those bills. I sure as heck wasn’t about to
hand over a ten for a dollar tea without getting any change.
Plan already in place, I reached over and snatched the milk
jug from my business acquaintance. Twisting the cap about halfway off. I
watched the mirror and waited until the leader was rejoined by his two
compatriots, then, I lobbed the jug over my head and out towards the front
counter. The sudden splash and surprised cries covered my rush from one end of
the shelving units to the other, sticking low and looping around the back to
the one ahead of it. I kept my eyes glued on the single ceiling mirror,
monitoring the movements of my targets. Apparently, I’d managed to splash the
black guy’s new shoes and pants, from the way he was raving about it. He
started advancing towards the coolers, shouting all sort of obscenities and
threats of what he was going to do once he caught me. Heh, like he was the man
in charge of the situation.
He passed the third shelf, the fourth, man this guy clueless.
He wasn’t checking down any of the shelving units he passed, only interested in
the one where the milk had come from. And to top it off, he didn’t pay the
slightest attention to the mirror by the soda machine. So when I jumped out,
maneuvering my left hand behind his forearm and the right over the barrel of
his gun before he even had time to blink, he had no time to offer any sort of
resistance. Pushing both in their separate directions, there was a small snap as his finger was violently bent at
an unnatural angle. The black man let out a cry of pain, but it didn’t stop
there. I quickly wrapped my free arm around his neck and brought him into a
headlock while my other hand spun the gun around, my pointer finger sliding
into the trigger. I threw it over the guy’s left shoulder and fired once, the
bullet sinking into the leader’s left kneecap. It was now his turn to shout out
as he fell to the ground clutching his knee, dropping his gun on reflex. The
machete man, now starting to react to what had just transpired, turned tail to
run, but slipped on the white liquid that was still spewing from the milk jug.
Before he could get up, I pushed the black guy away and delivered a fast snap
kick to his spine, sending him flying forward before collapsing on top of his
colored companion. As a last act, I raced over to where Scarface had dropped
his pistol, kicking it behind me and firing off a shot at the tile by the
machete man’s face, who was struggling against the heavy wait on his back. He
froze after that.
In less than a minute, the confrontation was over.
“Agh! You bastard! You shot me in the leg!” Scarface shouted
violently, clutching his bleeding appendage.
“You shouldn’t have robbed the store.” I replied calmly,
taking out my phone and palming 9-1-1, gun still trained on the three of them.
“Hello, I’m here to report an attempted robbery. Three armed assailants at the
7-11 on Brooker street. They’ve all been successfully detained, but please send
an ambulance for two of them. Thank you.” I said to the operator as soon as she
got on the line, before hanging up the phone pointedly and turning to the still
shocked and frightened store attendant. “It’s alright miss, they can’t hurt
you.” I said to her as soothingly as I could. “But would you mind please
grabbing me an Arizona sweet tea from the cooler. I’ve been dying for a drink
for about two hours now.”
Whether it was because she was grateful for me taking out
the goons or because I was still the only one left in possession of a firearm,
she went and fulfilled my request. I reached for my wallet, pulling it out, but
she shook her head vehemently. “P-Please, j-just take it.” She said, voice
still quivering, but more from the excitement than the fear.
I smiled at her generosity, flipping the gun around and
offering her the stock end. “Thank you. Would you also mind taking this and
keeping watch over these three. The police should be here in about ten to
fifteen.” I asked. When she didn’t take it from me, I simply set it down on the
counter. This wasn’t really a request, more as it was a polite order. Like
those parents give their children.
The guys below me started to move again, seeing I wasn’t in
possession of the weapon anymore, but halted once the now overzealous store clerk
snatched it up and pointed it at them shakily. I had to hold back a laugh. She
looked a lot like a caged animal, a bunch of unsettling emotions put on show
for everyone in the room. That’s probably why the decommissioned robbers on the
ground stopped moving. They didn’t want to be the ones to set her off.
Criminals, after all, were mostly just desperate cowards at heart.
I popped the aluminum tab on my tea can and proceeded to
take a sip. Yep, just as sugary as I remembered, though it seemed that they cut
down a little. Thirst satisfied, I turned and walked to the store’s front glass
“Wait! Where are you going?” The store clerk nearly shouted.
I turned my head to her, flashing her with my best smile.
“Well miss, the situation’s handled. There’s no need for me to be any more
involved. The police can handle the rest. Just say some stranger came in to
help out.” I said. “And keep your focus on them.” I pointed, as the machete guy
had started to move again. She refocused her attention instantly and I pushed
on the door handle labeled ‘Exit’, about to be on my merry way.
“Wait!” A different voice beckoned. I sighed, but complied.
“What is your name?” He asked, much to my surprise. I had expected someone like
Mr. Business to tell me how irresponsible it was to leave the scene of the
crime instead of exchange pleasantries. Interesting.
“Just a good Samaritan sir.” I responded, walking out and
leaving the protesting man back in the store.
Of course, little did I know that this same man was the Director
for some top secret, hush-hush, government facility who was just happening to
put together another security crew. I don’t know the details, but he managed to
find me again, popping in at the dojo and requesting to speak with me while I
was directing a class. At first, my sensei didn’t want my class to be
interrupted, but a quick flash of a badge changed all that.
Long story short, we talked and he offered me the job I now
held, provided I could pass a few tests for him. Some were written, some involved
testing my fighting skill, but most were simulations of security breaches for
different situations. As you might’ve guessed, I passed them all. Even when
some of the people on my supposed “side” in the simulations decided not to
follow some of my plans/orders and made it much more difficult than it
should’ve been. But then, I suppose that was something I had to be prepared for
Much like with Ted.
“Everything in order Axel?” Patrick asked, snapping me away
from my trip down memory lane, clipboard in hand. Funny enough, he was wearing close
to the exact same attire from the store raid. Except his suit was black now.
“All units are currently patrolling the sectors. Nothing out
of order sir. Though it does seem Ted’s throwing another, ahem, fit.” I
responded, turning the volume back up on my walkie. Thankfully Ted had finished
whatever rant he’d been spouting off on.
The director shook his head. “You shouldn’t push him so much,
you know. It makes it harder for me to vouch for you when he complains about
you every day.”
“Yes sir. I’m sorry sir. I will refrain from doing so.” I
said, trying to fight back against a betraying smile that was urging to make
itself present across my lips. Both of us knew though that I probably wouldn’t
and Ted would most likely complain either way.
“I suppose that’s the best I’m going to get from you.” He
said with a tired sigh. “I just hope this test run goes smoothly. The entire
budget for the next term relies on this.”
“I hope so too sir.” I agreed.
Through the thick glass window of the control room, we could
see the result of the team’s latest scientific achievement. Two giant circles
of metal, interwoven with all sorts of electrical wiring, glowing lights, and
circuitry that was far beyond my comprehension, stood grandly on the floor
below. Off to either side, the latest power storage units hummed lightly with
the incredible energy harnessed from the thunder storm.
I was no scientist, but they did manage to explain the
machine down to a basic level for me. Or rather, Ruben did. Everyone else was
just too busy to explain it to a
non-intellectual human. The machine below was some kind of new prototype
transporter, something that could take an entire cargo hold of supplies and
move them across the world in a matter of seconds. The two metal rings were
called gates and when they were switched on, they produced some sort of energy
field that connected them. The items went through one end and came out the other.
Pretty simple concept. Not so simple execution.
It was powered by another one of their inventions, the long
sought after Telsa Rod. That’s right, we’d finally figured out how to harness
power from lightning. Again, I don’t know all the details, but somehow, when
lightning strikes the tip, it spreads out over the dome, where its spread out
and stepped down by transformers and other electrical modifiers until it can be
used for energy here. Since it produces such a great amount of power in such a
short time, it was only used every couple months to power this facility. But
now that we had a power hungry machine, it could finally be used for a bigger
“Power storage cells fully charged.” One of the lab coats
called out from behind his computer. “Initiate startup.”
“Initiating startup.” A.N.G.I. echoed.
Down below, the storage containers began to hum loudly,
their bulky forms illuminated by the standard lights in the area. Fiberglass
transfer wires started accepting energy, shining a brilliant sapphire blue,
directing a path straight to both of the gates. Small bolts of electricity
sparked around the edges and another sound pierced through the thick glass. The
whine from the machinery started out low, slowly growing in intensity until it
was almost deafening. Then, a bright light suddenly flashed across my vision,
forcing my hand to rise towards my eyes, rubbing them as white spots dotted
behind my eyelids. When I opened them again, I was…speechless.
The hallowed out space in between the gates was now filled.
A murky, semi-transparent and wavy field was now pulsing lightly, like a sort
of faint heartbeat. Both me and Director Thomas marveled at the sight.
“It worked…” He muttered softly. “Good god, we’ve done it…!”
I clasped a hand on his shoulder. “I knew you all would
sir.” I said with a smile. “But maybe sending something through it for the
cameras would cement your project in stone huh?”
He snapped himself out of his stupor and cleared his throat.
“Yes, of course. Send in the drone.”
“Way ahead of you boss!” Ruben exclaimed, swiping his remote
control from his desk and hurrying over to the glass window. I heard Patrick
sighed again next to me and mutter something about how they needed to at least
appear professional while the higher-ups were watching. I smirked. Like anyone
could every get Ruben to act professional. He was much like me, in the fact
that he too was gifted in his own field, mainly computer programming and
robotics. He was actually the main man behind A.N.G.I.’s creation and had
certainly earned his right to be here, just like the rest of us. However, his
personality went about as unchecked as mine probably would’ve been if my role
hadn’t been for security work. Needless to say, we got along pretty well.
From the back of the room, I watched as Ruben expertly
piloted his own custom made black drone took to the skies in the lower room.
When I say custom built, I don’t just mean that he built himself and made it a
much better, faster drone. He did that, but there was so much more to it. At
least, I’ve never seen a drone with a fully functional machine gun, bomb
attachments, and a fully integrated camera with geographical scanning and
mapmaking technology that would put the military’s to shame. I don’t think anyone
else has either.
Ruben expertly piloted the black aircraft over to a small
metallic crate that had been chosen for the test run, hovering over it before
activating another one of his drone’s cool features. The super magnet.
Suddenly, the box jumped up of its own accord and latched itself to the drone’s
underside, the strong magnetic fields maintaining a tight hold on the precious
cargo. Ruben looked back at the two of us and smiled, before edging his drone
closer to the first gate’s energy field.
We all held our breaths. If that drone went in and appeared
out on the other side of the gate, man will have achieved its greatest
accomplishment yet. Teleportation.
“A-Axxxel!” My walkie buzzed and crackled by my side.
I had that walkie in my hand almost before his broken call
had even concluded. “Greg! What’s wrong?”
The walkie picked up so much static when I let go of the
button that I barely made out his response. “S-s-someone
My eyes went wide and I shouted at the top of my lungs.
“Shut it off! Shut it down Angi! N-”
Another, much more powerful and bright flash shot through
the room, effectively blinding everyone once again. Several loud pops of electrical breakers and safety
components tripped off, taking out the lights and computers in the room.
Between the white film over my eyes left from the flash and the sudden dark
contrast, I almost didn’t make out the blue glow that still shone from down.
Accompanied by the highest pitch of screeching electrical circuitry I’ve ever
heard. It was the alarm system.
My protective instincts kicked in and I slammed my fist on
the emergency lever by the door, thrusting it down. The door behind us hissed
open and I was already shouting at everyone to get out. The scientists in the
back had regained enough sight to make their way towards the exit, but ones
closest to the flash were still stumbling about, trying to find their way
amongst the chaos. I rushed to the front.
“Angi! Give me a status report!” I shouted to the A.I.
“Control room power
systems have been overloaded and shut down. Second gate has been deactivated.
First gate…malfunction, cannot terminate function.” She said. “Energy field growing. Danger level is at
Alpha. Evacuation of sector is in progress.”
Damn! That was not
what I wanted to hear. And a look back at the teleporter did nothing to alleviate
my fears. It worsened them
Inside the room, the first gate’s energy field was out of
control. Its original light blue glow had turned much darker, the particle
waves inside it now swirling inwards like some kind of atomic whirlpool. Sparks
and bolts of electricity, way larger than what was considered safe, shot off
from all corners of the machine. But that wasn’t what made me worried. The fact
that that same energy field was sucking in anything that wasn’t bolted down
did. I watched in awe and terror as crates, tables, papers, TV monitors, almost
everything except for the power storage units was shot into that blue void.
Then, the glass started to crack.
“Move!” I yelled, trying to get my voice above the sound of
the machine’s fury. I didn’t care about being gentle now. I was practically
throwing scientists to the door left and right, Director Thomas grabbing them
in turn and getting them on the other side of the door. Soon, most of them had
regained their sight and didn’t need my help, but some of the elders were still
going much to slow. I started escorting them one by one as fast as I could,
picking some of them up in some cases. As soon as I got the last one to the
exit, Director Thomas shouted something and pointed to the back.
Ruben was getting up behind a row of computer monitors,
looking around crazily and confused. I shouted for him to hurry and beckoned
for him by the door. His head moved towards the sound of my voice, but he
stumbled forward with his hands out, seemingly unsure of which direction to go.
The small crack on the glass from before had now splintered out into a spider
web, only fueling my cries for Ruben to get the hell back here. Then it hit me.
Ruben was the closest one to the blast of light…he was blind. I raced to the
front once again, ignoring the protests of the Director and grabbed Ruben’s
arm, yanking him back in the direction of the door.
The glass behind us shattered, shards clinging and breaking
as they were sucked into the hungry portal behind us. I had barely managed to
secure my hand on one of the desks in time as computer monitors, keyboards, and
all manner of office supplies flew past us at breakneck speeds, forcing me and
Ruben to duck down to avoid being hit. The pull from the portal felt like a miniature
tornado twirling behind us, getting closer and gaining power with each passing
second. The strain on my arm to hold on was intense, but the adrenaline that was
now coursing through my veins beat back against the pain. We needed to reach
I pulled on the desk in front of me, fighting against the
growing tension in my arm, taking a step against the attraction of the behemoth
from behind. We were already halfway through, which gave my body hope as I took
another step. Then another. Through grunts and growls, I pushed myself harder
than any training exercise I ever attempted, making it past desk after desk,
the door drawing ever so close. But, the portal wasn’t giving up. My ears
caught the sound of wood splintering and I dared a look back to see the closest
desk get ripped apart from its nails and bolts careening violently into the
blue field. The second soon followed. My venture had now turned into a time
attack event, panic running through my veins as I took more risks. I pulled
myself up harder, I jumped from desk to desk, anything to gain so much as a
second more on the portal’s progress.
By the time I reached the closest desk to the door and
pinned myself against it, there were only four more rows separating us. I grasped
Ruben’s arm with both hands and tugged against the gale force winds, my
progress passing by in slow motion while the fourth row was obliterated. As
soon as I got him up with me, I positioned him in front of me and pushed,
shouting for him to take the Director’s hand. The third row gave up and banged
around noisily before being sucked in. Patrick finally got a hold of Ruben’s
hand and pulled him to safety with the help of the other scientists. He then
turned back for me, outstretching his hand as much as possible.
Planting a foot on the lip of the desk, I stretched out my
leg and reached out with all my might, but was still a good three inches shy of
his hand. The second row fell away, much too close for comfort. I had to make a
decision fast, as I already felt the desk my foot was against wobble a little. I
quickly placed both feet on the lip and put my full weight against the bench
for a brief second, the desk bending under the combined strain of me and the
portal. I leapt off just as the nails gave out, desperately lunging for the
Our fingertips merely brushed and we barely had time to
exchange looks of equal shock and horror before I was ripped away from them and
my world was tossed into a series of shocks and blue swirls.