Nic took charge, "Now for Plan A. To the stairs!"
be hundreds of other lab coat clad scientists exiting the building. All
they had to do was keep their heads down and pass through unnoticed. At
least for Plan A.
Immediately out the door they were greeted with their first day time, lights-on view of the interior of the research center. Like many hotels it had a columns of open space surrounded by rooms, though the rooms were much large and the column smaller. Two twin elevators ran in a metal black shaft that obscured the column of air. To the left was their stairwell.
They moved quickly but quietly, trying to look as though they were afraid of fire and not capture. They passed the fire alarm. It was behind a pane of glass that read, "In case of emergency, break glass." Next to it hung a metal baton a few inches long, obviously for use in breaking the glass. Smyrna smashed through the glass and pulled the alarm, then yanked the baton off the chain. In close quarters, he at least had a skull-cracking weapon
They pushed through the normally locked door into the emergency stairwell, but before they were down even to the first landing they were challenged by a man in uniform. "What's going on here?"
Nic barked through his mustache, "Explosion went wrong! Tenth and ninth floors," he feigned a cough, excellently, "chemical fire. Your officer needs you."
The soldier seemed confused. "Where is he?"
"Tenth floor, the lab on the diagonal opposite these stairs. Just came from talking to him."
The guard leaped up the stairs three at a time. Nic and Ephesus forged ahead down to the next floor. Another fire alarm. Nic smashed that one open and pulled the alarm down. Down two more flights of stairs they ran, until they met the crowd.
Surging down the stairs in a slow and organized fashion was a jam packed glut of scientists, moving at barely a stair every second. Smyrna nudged Nic, "We could just go for going down with them. Safety in numbers."
Nic sneered, "Before this slew of aged medicine-men gets to the bottom they'll be on to everything, and they won't let a single of them out, let alone us at the back of the group. Plan B."
They charged out of the stairwell and went of the elevator shaft, elbowing scientists and peace-keepers left and right. No one asked questions until they stopped in front of the elevator doors. One of the scientists who was on his way out accosted them, "Can't you read? In case of emergency, use stairs?"
Nic stepped next to him and said, "Nope. Can't read." In an instant he smashed the man's head with the butt of his gun. Then another door opened and a flood of scientists poured out of that lab. Ephesus took his father's baton and pried the elevator doors separate just barely an inch, then Nic shoved in an explosive tube. Ephesus whacked it the baton and leaped away. as the doors blasted apart. They looked in and saw the elevator had stopped one floor down. They wanted the ladder in the shaft.
Looking at the wall too which the ladder they had seen on the floor plans was affixed, they were sorely disappointed. It was surrounded by a metal casing, meant to keep climbers in. In this case, it functioned to keep escapees out.
Smyrna shrugged. "Plan C." That plan meant jumping.
Nic vetoed it. "We had that plan in case we got a few more floors down. Dropping eighty-four feet is not conducive to escape."
Ephesus whispered, "New plan."
Next post is Crook Q: Part 41