The Fire Suppressors - The End of the Old Order - Part 10

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The End of the Old Order

 

Part 10:
The Fire Suppressors

We climb quickly. My hands burn as the fiber hawsers dig into my palms. I reach for the rafter above me and pull myself onto it.  The prince is right behind me. I grab his outstretched hand and pull him up alongside me. I hand my coat to the prince, who puts it on over his own. Our wives will get a bit of dignity back.
 
We move quickly across the steel-plated rafters following different fiber hawsers until we find an electrical box that leads to the media-board on Equis’ desk. The electrical box is covered in bright blue lights and has a Prescient Labs logo on it just below the entry port for the inbound fiber hawsers. The three outbound fiber hawsers hug a rafter that ends at a nearby wall. If I’m right, these fiber hawsers drop down in between the wall and the vertical supports, then cross underneath the floorboards, and come up into the media-board on Equis’ desk. If we follow them, we should end up at a wall that faces the guards’ backs.
 
Before we drop down to attack, I locate the two main fire suppressor lines. Once ruptured, they will serve nicely as our main distraction. I pry the controllers off the spigots, and using the flex-secateurs, puncture the pressurized fiberglass cylinders in different spots. With each puncture, a powerful jet of water shoots out from the cylinder and breaks through the drop ceiling. I quickly hear shouting and the sounds of confusion below.    
 
The prince and I each grab a fiber hawser and lower ourselves down on the inside of the wall to their studio. We move quietly being careful not to make any sounds. We reach the bottom in no time. I take out the flex-secateurs and cut a square just large enough for us to crawl through. I hand the prince the flex-secateurs. He will need them more than me.
 
I quietly pull the cutout into the space between the wall and vertical supports and gently place it alongside the wall. I peek out and see that we are behind Equis’ raised desk and the seven armed guards. They are no more than 10 meters away. The prince and I step out through the cutout and crouch on the floor. Trina and Avir are on the other side of the room. I point to them and motion for the prince to get going. The prince stays low to the ground and hugs the wall to avoid being detected. He moves fast. There is water and broken ceiling falling from above and most of the production staff are looking for cover. The lights are short-circuiting and the crackling from the electricity mixes with the cries of people being pelted with water and falling ceiling tiles. 
 
I run towards the guards. I splash through the puddles of water, but the guards don’t hear me. They have no idea I’m coming. I leap up onto the raised platform and tackle the guard in the middle. He hits the platform hard. I take the back of his head in both of my hands and slam his face into the platform. He is instantly motionless. Blood pours from his nose. I take his weapon and immediately fire on the other guards. They dive to the ground as I keep firing. I make sure to fire a kill-shot into each of their heads. None of them is moving.
 
Someone has managed to stop the water from pouring out of the ceiling. The crackling of the lights has also faded. I look to see where the prince is. He has Trina and Avir covered in our coats. Holding both of their hands, he runs towards me. No one fires a single shot. No one makes the slightest move. The only people in sight are production staff, but they seem frozen in place. Most are drenched, hunkered down with their hands covering their heads from the falling debris. They simply watch as the prince, Trina, and Avir run toward me. I scan the room looking for Equis. He’s nowhere to be found.
 
Trina lets go of the prince’s hand and sprints ahead. She runs up to me and throws her arms around me. The force of her running into me knocks me back. I had almost forgotten precisely what this woman means to me—how essential she is to my very existence.  
 
“Are you okay,” I ask Trina. She doesn’t answer. She shouldn’t. It’s a stupid question. She just looks into my eyes, and with great effort, smiles. I take her hand—the one missing its thumb. I kiss the place where her thumb should be. I pull her close to me and hold her for what feels like a lifetime. I don’t want to let go yet, but we need to get going. I locate a single egress door with a yellow light above it and the four of us start running toward it.
 
“Take one more step and you’re all dead,” a guard shouts from Equis’ desk. As I slowly turn around, I notice a man running to a studio camera and powering it up. I turn to face the guard who is talking. All the guards—except the one I knocked out—are standing with their guns pointing at us. It makes absolutely no sense. I fired clear kill-shots to their heads. Even with the latest high-tech mecharmor, there is no way they could have survived. I don’t see any headwounds. No evidence of trauma. I can’t make sense of this.
 
I see a red laser from one of their guns is fixed on my forehead. Bright red dots are painted on each of us. As Trina’s head slumps, the red dot moves with it. I pull Trina close and whisper in her ear. “Keep your head down as low as possible. Count thirty seconds from the moment I start talking to the guards. At around that time, I will start firing. Not a second earlier than the first shot—you hit the floor and sprint to the door like you’re an animal. On all fours, staying close to the ground. Tell the prince what I’m doing. Got it?” Trina nods. I tell her I love her and take a step forward.
 
I take a few more steps before one of the guards tells me to stop. I still move forward, but my steps are small. I inch towards them. I throw my gun forward so that it lands at the base of the raised platform. I put my hands over my head. “I surrender,” I say, taking a larger step forward. “I obviously can’t kill you guys. You’re demigods of some sort. Indestructible.” I move closer. Trina has started counting. In twenty seconds, I will hit the floor, roll, and pick up the weapon. But I won’t be firing at their heads this time. They’re somehow protected. It’s their hands and weapons I’ll target. I don’t want them being able to fire back. “You guys have to share this technology with me. Soldier to soldier. I fired clean shots into kill-zones in your skull. And somehow you miraculously managed to—”
 
I hit the floor, roll, and pick up the weapon. I get off my first few shots and hear Trina and the others running for the door. The guards barely flinch as I fire on them. They just smile and keep their hands at their sides. Not a single shot is fired back at me.
 
All the lights in the studio turn on. They’re hotter than a summer sun. Sweat instantly seeps out from my every pore. The guards part in the center, and almost magically, Equis appears. An even hotter, even brighter spotlight shines down on Equis like he is the Son Savior himself. Maruvian music fills the room.
 
Equis is beaming. He starts clapping. The guards drop their guns and bow in unison. The entire production staff claps. The cameraman turns his camera toward me.
 
All I can think to myself is fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Part 11 >


 

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