Rogue (Book 2) (The Omega Group) (18 page)

BOOK: Rogue (Book 2) (The Omega Group)
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Chapter
38

The noise emanating from the hangar told Carter that they
didn’t have much time. The helicopter sounded as though it was ready to lift off
and, judging by the fresh air flowing from the entrance, they’d already
retracted the roof.

“We can’t let them take off.” Myrine had to yell to be heard
over the engine noise and sirens that were still blaring throughout the
facility. “Can we close the roof?”

Captain Hancock laid Mirissa gently on the floor. Her eyes
were beginning to flutter as the sedative wore off. “The control switch is on
the other side of the room. If you can cover me, I can get to it,” Hancock
stated as though it were a simple task instead of a life-threatening
proposition.

“Still nonlethal force?” Carter asked.

“Hell, no. These guys are here by choice, not coercion,”
Myrine said.

They took positions on either side of the door and began
firing rounds at the helicopter. Hancock took off at a sprint, cutting left and
right to reduce his risk of being targeted. Carter felt splinters of wood
impale his cheek as a bullet embedded itself into the wood frame of the door.
Instinctively, he dove inside the hangar and rolled behind a stack of crates.

With his back to the crates, he took a deep breath before
spinning to the side and unloading his rifle at the chopper. His second shot
took out the shooter sitting behind the pilot. His third narrowly missed a guy
strapped into one of the back seats. The look of fear on that guy’s face
stopped Carter’s heart.
Lou.
“Hold your fire! Hold your fire! There’s a
hostage in the chopper.”

Carter watched in horror as Hancock reached the wall on the
far side of the hangar. He had no cover in that position and the rifle barrel
jutting out of the chopper’s window turned towards him. “Hancock!” he screamed
as a flash from the rifle’s muzzle signified he was too late. Hancock crumpled
to his knees. Two more flashes and he was an unmoving heap on the floor.

Anger streamed through Carter as he ran toward the nose of
the helicopter. If they were going to shoot him, they’d have to do it through
their own windshield. The whir of the rotors increased and the wheels of the
landing gear rose from the floor. Carter surged forward, squeezing out every
bit of speed he had, but it wouldn’t be enough. The copter’s landing gear was
already well over six feet in the air and rising fast.

With one last, futile effort, Carter jumped. There was no
way he’d make it, but he had to at least try. He reached his hands toward the
small rubber tire at the height of his leap, but grasped only air. He’d lost
them. He’d lost Lou.

An unexpected wave hit him in the back and drove him
violently upward. The tire that was easily out of his reach a second before,
slammed into his chest with enough force to knock the wind out of him. The
shock almost caused him to forget to grab hold, but he looped his arm through
the metal gear and held tight.

Over his shoulder, he saw Mirissa on her knees just inside
the doorway, smiling up at him.

********

Myrine stared helplessly
as the helicopter carrying the general and his men disappeared into the night
sky with Carter dangling below. She had no way to track it. No way to give
Carter any backup. No way to help her team member of five years in any way.

Steve slid his fingers
through hers and said, “It was the only way.”

Myrine turned to him and
forced a smile. “I know, but he’s on his own now.”

Her husband gave her hand
a squeeze before kneeling beside Mirissa. He brushed the hair from their
daughter’s face and kissed her forehead. “Rest easy for a while, sweetheart.
You’ve got a long way to go before you’re fully recovered.”

Mirissa looked up at him
through hazy eyes and smiled. “You said not to use my powers unless absolutely
necessary. I figured that qualified.”

Myrine reached for her
walkie-talkie to get an update from Myrick on the captives. She pressed the
button but stopped before speaking.

Myrick, Ken, Asteria, and
a man she didn’t recognize emerged from the corridor and walked slowly toward
them. The looks on their faces told Myrine something was very wrong even before
she saw the group of armed men following them. The men were carrying rifles,
not tranquilizer guns, so it appeared their nonlethal-force-only order had been
lifted.

The soldiers herded
everyone to the center of the hangar. Myrine saw Mirissa raise her hand with no
affect. She’d used every last bit of control she had in her drugged state to
propel Carter to the chopper. She had nothing left.

“It’s over, boys,” Myrine
said to the soldiers as she moved herself to the front of the group. “Your
general’s gone, your mission’s ended. There’s no need for you to do anything
else.”

The blank stares of the
men reminded Myrine of the creatures from zombie movies. They weren’t just not
listening to her, they weren’t even aware she was speaking.

As a unit, the soldiers
raised their rifles and took aim. Myrine straightened her shoulders and stood
tall, as did her husband. The rest of her group, including Mirissa, did the
same. At that moment, Myrine was as proud as she’d ever been. If they had to
die, they’d at least do it with the grace and power she’d grown to expect from
them.

But they didn’t.

Before the first trigger
was pulled, every soldier in front of them dropped to the floor, unconscious.
Confusion set in as Myrine glanced around the hanger for some sort of
explanation, yet found none. The sirens that had been wailing since the
explosive released Gina and Kell suddenly stopped, and a familiar voice came
over the speaker system in their place.

“Sorry that took so long,
guys. Their system was seriously good. Not as good as me, of course, but I have
to give credit where credit is due. Even with an internal network they still
had wicked firewalls, and don’t get me started on the code they wrote for those
brain chips. It was—”

“Julian,” Myrine
interrupted his monologue. “Your timing was perfect. Thank you.”

A groan from across the
room had everyone reaching for weapons, but Myrine called them off with a smile.

“Damn, that hurts.”
Captain Hancock struggled to his feet.

“How is that possible?”
Steve asked.

Hancock gave them a
crooked smile. “Did you forget where you are? This is a DARPA research
facility. I’m one of their guinea pigs. What would be the point of developing
computer-controlled liquid body armor if we didn’t actually use it?” He took a
step forward and winced. “There are still a few kinks to be worked out, though.
My cracked ribs can attest to that.”

“All right everyone, we
need to secure these soldiers in case their chips reboot.” She looked up and
quickly added, “I know you wouldn’t let that happen, Julian. I’m just being
overly cautious.” Myrine returned her focus to the room. “Let’s go through the
facility room by room and round up every last soldier. I don’t want any more
surprises.”

“Hancock, are you in good
enough shape to point me in the direction of some explosives?” Myrick asked.

“Hell, yes. If a few
cracked ribs put me out I wouldn’t have made it very far in this program.
Follow me.”

Myrine raised an eyebrow
at the Scotsman. “What exactly are you up to?”

“I’ve got a promise to
keep.”

********

“Are you sure about
this?” Hancock asked as Myrick stripped off his clothes and donned the liquid
body armor he’d been given.

“It’s the only way.”

“Why don’t we just blow a
hole in the interior wall?”

“Because the pipe that’s
now full of gas might ignite. This way, if that happens, any fire will be
doused immediately.” Myrick looked down over the northern edge of the canyon at
the Colorado River below. It was a long way down, but the river was more than
deep enough at this point to keep him from hitting bottom. “Are you positive
we’re in the right position?”

“Yep, the holding cells
are directly under us. Once you jump, I’ll shine my flashlight downward. The
current is fast, so you’ll need to swim hard against it. Just make sure you’re
under my light before you plant the explosive.”

Myrick checked the
container that held the device one last time. It was secured with a length of
paracord tied around his chest. “Here we go.” He walked away from the ledge so
he could get a running start. Being a merman wouldn’t do him any good if he
crashed against the canyon wall before he hit the water. A few long strides and
he was over the edge, plummeting to the rushing water below.

He crossed his arms over
his chest and locked his legs, toes pointed to lessen the impact. Even so, when
he broke the surface of the water, he sent a silent thank you to Hancock for
lending him the armor. He felt the suit change from soft fabric to steel the
instant he hit.

The rope around his chest
pulled violently upward as the container struggled to float while his body
continued to pull it down. His gills formed and opened on his neck at the same
time the webbing between his fingers and toes grew. Once his downward momentum
slowed, his powerful arms and legs pulled him to the surface. He scanned the
ridge for Hancock’s flashlight, but saw nothing.

He could feel the current
pulling him away and realized he was looking in the wrong spot. He turned to
his right and saw a pinprick of light waving back and forth at least a hundred
yards east of him. Myrick set the spot in his mind and dove.

Although a current that
strong would be impossible for a man to swim against, it was child’s play for
Myrick. This was his world. His gills filled his lungs with ample oxygen to
power his body, and the webbing allowed him to push massive amounts of water
with each stroke. It took him less than a minute to surface directly underneath
the waving light.

Myrick used his hands to
pull the container to him while his kicking legs kept him from drifting
downstream. He pulled the explosive out and did a quick check for damage. Once
he was satisfied it was still in one piece, he dove.

If Captain Hancock’s
calculations were correct, he needed to blow the wall twenty feet below the
river’s surface. The holding room would flood within seconds, but the airtight
door would keep the rest of the facility dry. He only hoped he could get the
captives out of there before they drowned. In their animal forms, they would be
powerful swimmers, but there was no guarantee they’d be able to find their way
out in the dark.

Myrick found a spot on
the canyon wall and attached the explosive. The waterproof detonator Hancock
had rigged flashed red when he depressed the button, signifying he had thirty
seconds to get to a safe distance.

Swimming away with the
current would have been much easier than swimming against it, but he refused to
do that. He was more than capable of getting a relatively safe distance
upstream before the device detonated and wanted to use the current to speed his
return to the men. Every second would count for them.

The blast was muted by
the rushing water, but the concussion it caused was unmistakable. Myrick spun
around and powered back the instant it went off. The jagged hole in the rock
wall was acting like a drain in some macabre bathtub, pulling the water and
Myrick into it so the river could accomplish its goal of filling the new space.

Underwater, Myrick’s
eyesight was no better than anyone else’s, but that didn’t matter. Just as his
gills and webbing formed when he submersed, his eardrums and voice box mutated
to give him natural sonar. Like a porpoise, Myrick opened his mouth and emitted
the high frequency sound that would bounce off every surface and return to him
all the information he needed.

The bears and wolves were
floating near the ceiling, taking in their last breaths from the quickly
diminishing air pocket. Myrick swam through the cell’s open door and broke the
surface beside them, but before he could get a word out, powerful jaws clamped
around his forearm. “Hey! It’s me.” The suit once again protected him from any
serious damage, but the delay cost them valuable air. “Follow me. Swim hard and
don’t stop for any reason.”

Myrick dove toward the
jagged opening in the wall. He stopped at the cell door and held it open for
the beasts as they paddled through. The closer they got to the hole, the slower
their progress against the new current. One of the wolves looked panicked and
tried to swim back up to the ceiling for air. Myrick grabbed his tail and
pulled him back down. There was no air up there anymore.

He placed his hands on
the backside of the lead bear and kicked with everything he had until he
disappeared into the raging river. He grabbed the panicked wolf and threw him
through the opening, followed by the next one. The last bear, however, looked
to be swimming away.

Come on, you’re
running out of time.
Myrick grabbed the beast by the scruff of his neck and
pulled, but the bear didn’t move. He looked at him with his huge brown eyes and
shook his head as though saying, “No.” Myrick got the feeling that his
reluctance wasn’t caused by fear. Instead, it looked as though he was making a
conscious choice not to be saved.

Myrick stared into those
sad looking eyes and screamed through the water, “If you don’t come, I can’t go
out there and save your friends’ asses. Now move it!”

Finally the bear swam,
with Myrick pushing from behind. He didn’t know how long the beast had before
the lack of oxygen caused him to lose consciousness and his body forced him to
suck water into his lungs, but he guessed it would happen quickly. As opposed
to allowing the bear’s natural buoyancy to bring him to the surface, Myrick
propelled him there. He was rewarded by the hacking sound of a waterlogged bear
taking a long overdue breath.

“All right, buddy. Let’s
catch up to your friends.” Myrick grabbed the end of the cord that was still
attached to his chest and placed it in the bear’s jaws. “Same routine as with
the door, except swim.” One by one, he picked up every wet animal in the river
and deposited them on a large plateau on the river’s edge.

BOOK: Rogue (Book 2) (The Omega Group)
9.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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