Chapter 18

Neil watched Tom as he unlocked the security door from inside AET. He had decided to follow Tom and talk to him again. He didn’t want their friendship to end this way. Just as Tom was about to leave the building, he noticed Tom fumbling for his keys. Tom turned around and wandered back into the building.

Amused, Neil thought of all the times his friend had misplaced his keys and all the strange places those keys had wound up. After a few minutes, Neil started to get more and more concerned. He looked around for security guards. He didn’t see anyone around. He walked up to the front door and noticed that Tom left it unlocked. He snuck inside, locking the door from the inside.

Shots rang out from the hallway to the silo. Neil immediately turned towards the hallway and started running.

“Well, best case, I fry all of those bastards with my death hands,” he thought to himself. “The world would be better off without Conrad.”

Halfway down the long corridor, Neil realized that he probably needed to handle this situation with some stealth. He assessed the situation as he kept sprinting.

“Okay, Neil,” he thought to himself. “First off, we don’t even know if those were gun shots. I mean, they probably were, but they might not have been. And even if they were, there’s no guarantee that Tom was the person that got shot. And even if it was him, he might still be alive and running in like a madman without a plan won’t help him.”

At this point, Neil figured he was about three quarters of the way down the hallway. The slight downward curve made it hard to determine how close he was. As he ran he could hear each footstep echo loudly down the corridor, so he stopped sprinting and started taking slower quieter steps. He arrived at the entrance to the silo. He could hear the cannon generator sequence running. There was blood in the hallway. A lot of blood. It was on the walls, it was on the floor. Suddenly a set of keys caught his eyes. A sick feeling settled in his stomach.

Masked by the hum of the generator, he opened the silo door and crept into the room. He could see Conrad and some other guy fiddling with the control panel. Quickly, Neil looked toward his old office.

“If I can make it there,” he thought to himself, “I can stay safe and out of sight and watch them on the closed circuit monitors.”

He made his way towards the door. Worried he may be spotted, he dove behind a large piece of debris. Sheepishly, he looked up to see Conrad and his lackey still fighting with the controls. Rolling away, he snuck into his old office uneventfully.

Inside the office, Neil looked at the monitor. The security feed showed him that Tom was on the ground, but he couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not.

Neil watched as the two villains started to load Tom into the cannon. Neil’s head started spinning. Could they be trying to recreate the failed test? Were they trying to create more people like him? The prospect of other people with this curse chilled Neil. He could only imagine how terrible Conrad would be with an army of weaponized men. On the other hand, he realized that this might be a bit of a silver lining.

“If the test is going to work, they’ll need him alive, but not for long. I have a window of opportunity, but I’ll need a plan,” thought Neil. He leaned back a bit. A flicker of light caught his eye from the table behind him. He turned and looked. The prototype handheld version of his cannon sat there.

He picked it up, wondering if he could use it as a prop or make it into a distraction. As he lifted it, he realized it looked like it was active. Cautiously, he put the prototype down. It didn’t seem active anymore. “Funny,” Neil thought to himself, “I could have sworn the indicator lights were on, but they aren’t.” He stepped back from the prototype and looked at it. It didn’t look like it was plugged in. Resuming his plan, he picked it up again just to see the indicator lights turn back on.

He put the prototype down and the indicator lights turned off again. Suddenly it dawned on him. “I’m not cursed, I’m a giant goddamn battery!”

Neil looked at the prototype. He remembered that he purposely disabled it prior to building the cannon, but with a couple tweaks he figured it should still make a decent flash and a blinding light. This could be a good distraction. He needed to move.

As he stepped outside of the office, he noticed the cannon was starting to pivot upward. Neil ran out of the office shouting, firing the prototype towards the two of them, taking great care to not hit them. They needed to believe the weapon was lethal for this to work.

One of the beams struck the shielding mesh and bounced off toward the console with some explosive force. “This mesh must work on the same principle as the phase control we made. I can use this,” thought Neil as he fired the prototype wildly at the mesh, spreading bolts of energy in every direction.

Conrad and Scott dove behind some debris. Scott pointed his gun over the machine shooting wildly. He hit Neil a few times. Undeterred, Neil healed immediately as he made his way across the room.

As Neil approached the console he shouted out to the duo.

“Conrad, listen to me. You can’t hurt me. You can’t stop me. I’m here to retrieve Tom. Get in my way and you will die. You’ve seen what I can do.”

“Good luck, Neil. You can’t stop the sequence now.”

“This isn’t a sophisticated system, Conrad. This isn’t the movies. There’s no redundant trip wires. I just have to tear out this wiring harness and it’s done. Just watch me, Conrad.”

Reaching his hand under the console, Neil felt around for wires – for anything. Finding a handful of cables, he gripped firmly and pulled down, ripping out a bundle of wires. The cannon screeched to a halt, leaving the cannon pointing somewhat upwards. Shrugging, Neil glanced at the console.

“Good job, Neil,” he thought to himself. “Now how are you going to get him out of there while fending off Conrad and Scott?”

Scott jumped out from behind his cover and fired the rest of his clip into Neil, allowing Conrad to run away. Unaffected, Neil turned and looked at him, making sure to maintain eye contact with Scott as he healed. Scott dropped the handgun and ran out of the silo after Conrad.

Now that the Conrad and Scott problem was taken care of, Neil managed to fiddle with what was left of the control panel, tilting the cannon down, dumping Tom out, unceremoniously. Tom, clothes covered in blood, let out a quiet sigh and a moan. Neil leaned forward to grab him and realized that any contact would likely kill him. Tom’s face was pale and his breathing was shallow. He did not have much time. Neil looked around and saw some extra construction material. Some lumber, a decent chunk of vapor barrier. “That’s polyethylene,” thought Neil. He continued aloud. “I bet that would work as an okay insulator if I folded it over a few times. Just hang on buddy. I’m gonna get you out of here.”

Neil ran over to the poly, throwing it over Tom, awkwardly trying to get him on it without making contact. This was harder than he thought it was.

“TOM. TOM, Can you hear me TOM? Listen, I need you to push down hard here on your stomach. Push down hard with your hands. I’m going to find something to wrap you up. Just push. Fight and stay with me.”

Tom coughed. Blood spilled out of his mouth. He managed to look at Neil.

“I heard them shoot. Lots. Many bullet holes in clothes. You weren’t lying.”

“Tom, don’t talk. Just take it easy. Hold on. Hold tight.”

Neil packed some of the plastic tight around Tom’s gut and found a bungee cord to wrap around him tightly. He wasn’t sure if that would keep him alive.

Wrapping his hands in some of the plastic sheeting, Neil ran over to the golf cart and laid some of the extra sheeting over the pedals. He hoped he wouldn’t blow the damn thing up. He got on and managed to move it towards Tom.

“Tom, we have some good fortune today, I can drive this thing. Just keep holding on buddy!”

Neil loaded Tom onto the cart and took off down the hallway. He might just save his friend after all.

<- Previous chapter
Next chapter ->


1 comment:

Richard Belzile said...

Insert clever here.

Post a Comment


I am Sinewave: Spark

Written by Richard Belzile

Updated semi-infrequently

I am not a professional author, this is my novice attempt at creating a novel in an episodic fashion. Comments, critiques and compliments accepted.

Richard Belzile and, 2015-2018.

All rights reserved. This book/blog content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.