He stopped. Sniffed the air. Motioned forward.
The three-man squad was deep within enemy territory. A single wrong move could mean the end for any one of them or alert the enemy, who would be sure to provide them with a fate far worse than death.
The leader of the group, a massive lion, held up his hand, signaling his fellow teammates to halt. He put his hand to his ear and spoke to the guide on the other end.
"We've reached a three-way intersection. The hall on the left has smooth walls and ceiling, while the one on the right seems to be undergoing renovation of some sort and is half-finished."
"Alright, the easiest way to make it to the central core computer room is through the hall to your right, but be careful. At this far into the base there's bound to be a trap or two," said the female voice on the other end of the line.
Makes sense, thought the lion. Just need an easy way to spring the trap early is all. Lucky thing we have one. He reached beind him and motioned for one of his teammates to hand him one of many rocks they had collected earlier for just such an occasion. Once he felt the object weigh down his palm, he calmly tossed it into the hallway.
The lion sighed. No traps in this hall, but that didn't mean there wouldn't be others. Taking point, he slowly walked into the hall. A floorboard creaked, and he froze in place, eyes darting about as if waiting for something to happen. When nothing did happen, he sighed again.
Then hundreds of blades flew out of several places at once and diced him to bits.
"Well, shit!" exclaimed Chrias, as the Great White averted his own eyes from the scene.
"Nasty way to go," said Blix, the black cat standing next to him.
"Yeah, no shit man." Chrias put one hand to his ear. "Fèi Lín, you there hon?"
"Sure Chrias, what's up?" came the guide's voice from the other end.
"You know those traps you mentioned? One of them just sliced Lexington to ribbons," Chrias said, desperately trying to keep his gaze off the gory scene.
well, fuck me."
"Another time hon, right now I need to know whether or not it's safe to keep going through that hall."
"Should be. Schematics are sketchy on trap locations, but information we have suggests that traps have to be reset manually once they're triggered, which means that they probably have some sort of method for keeping tabs on which ones have gone off," explained Fèi Lín.
Blix jumps into the conversation. "So the best course of action now would be
"Getting the hell out of there before they send someone to investigate."
"Right. Okay Blix, let's-"
"Wait!" yelled Fèi Lín into the microphone.
"What is it now?" asked Chrias.
just test for traps one more time before heading out."
Chrias nodded to Blix, who threw his entire supply of rocks into the hall, setting off several more blade traps.
"Really didn't skimp on the security, did they?" said Blix.
"Apparently not." Chrias put a hand to his ear. "Nice call babe, talk to you later."
The tiger shark leaned back in her chair as she sat in front of her computer, twirling her black hair around a finger as schematics of the enemy fortress displayed on screen. Sighing in relief, she placed her foot on the edge of her desk and used it to rock herself back and forth in her chair.
It had been pure blind luck that landed her the job of guide on the same mission her boyfriend was taking part in. Every minute of it made her nervous as every possible outcome ran through her head. Lexington getting torn to pieces didn't help to quell her fears either.
But they had a job to do. Get to the computer room, set the core up for a meltdown, then get the fuck out of there. One of those jobs that sounds so simple at first, with "at first" meaning the first half a second you hear about it, which is then followed by the realization of every major complication.
Luckily though, this enemy planned for a core meltdown should it happen by accident. A vehicle depot located in the very next room was installed in case such an event occurred so that the core staff could get out quickly. Fèi Lín always wondered why they didn't just install some sort of escape pod system, but then realized that the leader was the kind of sick fuck that got a jolly out of putting people in danger, whether that be an innocent man running through a maze riddled with booby traps or watching his own employees desperately gunning a vehicle down a large stretch of metal corridor in what could possibly be an ultimately futile attempt to survive.
Her musings were interrupted by a burst of comm static as Chrias contacted her. "Uh, baby? We've got a small problem."
Chrias looked around. Seven identical hallways, each with a door at the end. Chrias noticed that most of these hallways did, in fact, have the exact same structure as every other hallway in the building. It was like something out of a video game designer's nightmare.
"What is it, Chrias?" Fèi Lín asked.
"Well, I'm staring down seven identical halls with seven identical doors
"This one over here has a scratch on it!" Blix pointed out.
"Forgive me, hon, that was false information. The third door from the left does, in fact, have a scratch on it. Clearly the fact that these guys might not get the deposit back on this place is more important than the fact that we have no idea which way to go," Chrias said, a sarcastic tone noticeable throughout.
"Oh, fuck you, chum-sucker."
"Bite me, fuzzy."
"Alright boys, settle down," said Fèi Lín. "Now, the door smack-dab in the middle is the door to the computer room."
"So we should head that way?"
"Not finished babe."
"As I was saying, that door with the scratch on it is actually the door that leads to the vehicle bay, where you'll need to go to get out of there once you've set up the meltdown sequence."
"Told you it was important," said Blix, a great feeling of accomplishment in his voice.
"The second door from the right, however, is the door you need to go through first. In there, you'll find the workers' quarters, where you'll need to get uniforms to get into the computer room."
"Thanks hon. Call you once we've gotten the uniforms."
"One more thing. You've got your camera on you, right?"
"Take a couple pictures while you're stripping down?"
"Talk to you later, Fèi."
Chrias and Blix made their way through the door to the workers' quarters, but stopped dead in their tracks when they saw an enemy soldier stationed outside the door.
"Shit, okay, we're going to have to take him out," Chrias whispered to Blix.
"Alright," said Blix, brandishing a knife. "What should I say?"
"Right before I sever his spinal column, I need something cool to say."
"I just do, alright! Should I make something up or should it be a reference to something?"
"Dude, I don't give a shit, can we just kill the guy and get it over with?"
"Y'know, there was that one pretty old movie that humans are quite fond of
"Yes, okay, awesome, reference that, just go!"
Blix snuck ever-so-silently up behind the soldier (who happened to be a sheep, funnily enough), and tapped him on the shoulder. "Excuse me," he said.
The sheep turned around to face the spectre of ill fortune.
"You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
Before the sheep had a second to answer, Blix shoved the knife into his throat and severed his spinal column, killing him instantly.
Chrias walked up next to Blix, who was slightly shaking from the rush of adrenaline. He looked him dead in the eye, saying, "You are such a fucking nerd."
Blix looked right back at him, saying, "You're a bigger nerd for getting the reference."
Not in the mood to argue the obviously true point, Chrias pulled Blix into the workers' quarters. The two found a couple uniforms about their sizes and moved into separate changing rooms to shed their clothing and replace them with the newly acquired threads. Blix happened to notice several camera flashes coming out of Chrias's changing room.
When they exited, Blix looked at Chrias. "You know, I think when she asked you to take pictures while you were stripping down, she was only kidding."
"Trust me Blix," said Chrias. "When Fèi says something like that, she is dead serious about it. Now come on, we'll split up here."
"You head into the vehicle bay, secure one of the high-speed transports, and make sure the gas tank is full. I'll head into the computer room and upload the virus that will destroy the core and take out the whole base."
"Why do I have to find the vehicle?"
"Do you know where to upload the virus to?"
the C drive?"
"Go find the scratched door, fuzzy."
As Blix made his way to the vehicle depot, Chrias ever so nonchalantly made his way to the computer room, thumb drive in hand. When he reached the central console, he noticed there was already one of the technicians operating it.
"Hey, buddy, I was sent to take over, go take a five-minute break," he said.
but I just got here," responded the technician.
"Really? Well, I don't know man, I mean OH SHIT WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!?" Chrias yelled, pointing in the direction of the console.
The technician turned around, frantically surveying the console for whatever may have cause his percieved coworker's alarm, only to go unconcious as he is punched in the back of the head.
Searching the console, Chrias finally found the correct port to plug the thumb drive into. He did so, and the virus was instantly uploaded to the core control.
I wonder how long it will take to work, thought Chrias. His question is answered almost immediately as alarms begin to blare all around him, and red warning lights flash on and off.
He bolted out of the computer room and through the third door to the left with a scratch on it. Inside, Blix was anxiously waiting for him in the driver seat of one transport, made even more impatient by the security alarms going off.
Chrias hopped into the passenger seat, screaming at Blix to get going. Blix floored the gas pedal and the transport peeled out, traveling at breakneck speeds along the road out of the base.
Amidst all of the sirens and screeching tires, the pair didn't even notice the sound of the explosion that took out a section of the bridge leading away from the base and toward the mainland. As the destroyed section of road came into view, Blix fumbled for a proper word to convey his feelings.
"Oh balls," he said.
"Fèi Lín!" Chrias yelled into the headset. "We've got another problem!"
"What is it?" the tiger shark asked.
"The bridge leading to the mainland is out and this place is about to go critical! What do we do!?"
"That bridge is the only way out of there," Fèi Lín responded. "If you want any hope of getting across the gap, you'll need to do something drastic. You've got your seatbelts on, correct?"
"And you have grenades, right?"
Chrias looked to Blix, who held up one of the grenades he had on him earlier. "We have one grenade!"
"Okay, listen carefully. You're going to need to blow up the gas tank."
"Beg your pardon?" Blix asked.
"If these schematics for the transport are to be believed, the front seats should be protected in the case of a gas tank explosion. The detonation should also propel you forward enough to make it across the gap in the bridge, but only if it detonates right at the edge," Fèi Lín explained.
Chrias and Blix looked at each other. They didn't exactly have any other choice.
Blix handed Chrias the grenade. Chrias undid his seat belt and reached back to the gas cap. Turning his head, he looked to the road in front of them, wanting to make sure the timing was just right. As soon as they hit a certain point in the road, Chrias dropped the live grenade into the tank and closed the cap. He quickly made his way back to his seat and strapped himself in. The edge of the road grew ever closer
As they hit the edge of the gap in the bridge, the grenade detonated. As Fèi Lín predicted, the front seat was protected, while the entire back half of the vehicle was a ball of fire sailing through the air. Chrias and Blix closed their eyes, and reopened them as soon as they felt the transport hit the ground.
Not wanting to stay in the screaming metal deathtrap that was on fire, the two exited the vehicle as soon as they judged that they were safe. As they stood next to the flaming transport, they watched as the enemy base erupted in a bright, white light and then imploded in on itself. There was little left to do now but to start walking to the extraction point.
As they made their way to the extraction party that was no doubt waiting for them, they took one look back at the smoking wreckage of the base and the still-burning vehicle they had made it out in. The two bumped fists and continued walking.
"You realize what this means, right?" Chrias asked Blix.
"Yeah," said Blix. "I am so getting laid."
"You're not the only one," Fèi Lín said, causing Chrias to chuckle into his headset.
It had been a good day.