“You just broke protocol number five-twenty!”
“Seriously?! We’re trying to cheat death and you’re worried about protocol?!”
“Well, pardon me for trying to keep us out of jail if we survive this!”
Anya paused to catch her breath and jabbed her finger in her friend Melanie’s face, “No if! Only when! If you let yourself think in terms of ‘IF’, we won’t survive. And who cares about jail right now!”
Before the other brunette woman could comment, they both stopped breathing when they heard footsteps coming down the hall they’d just come from.
Without speaking, it was agreed that they needed to keep moving.
Protocols or no protocols, the main mission right now was to survive and get their prize out of these walls. If they didn’t get this paperwork to their higher-ups, there would be thousands of people who paid the price.
They waited until the footsteps had faded, Anya peering out once it was quiet for a few moments. Seeing nothing, she dashed down the hall, Melanie on her heels.
Anya kept her eyes peeled for any signs of whoever the footsteps had belonged to or one of their buddies. There was nothing. It was as if they’d vanished into thin air.
Finally, the door to their freedom came into sight. Melanie hesitated long enough to put a little distance between her and Anya, worried about how easy this escape had suddenly become.
That paranoia saved her life.
Anya ran full-tilt towards the door, never seeing the ax wielded by one of the guards they’d been avoiding come around the corner of the last hall before the door. Her head was removed from her shoulders before she had a chance to realize her death was imminent.
Melanie, who was, fortunately, carrying the paperwork in the first place with her protocol obsession, dodged under the ax. She kept running, slamming into the door, praying it wasn’t locked.
Someone up above was looking out for her as she burst out the door, narrowly avoided falling down the stairs leading down from it, and bolted for the dilapidated fence that surrounded a deceiving broken down laboratory. She vanished into the woods surrounding the lab producing the gas currently poisoning hundreds of her fellow humans.
Melanie didn’t let herself stop to think about what had happened to Anya, what must’ve happened to the others, what could happen to her, she focused her mind and adrenaline on making sure their mission didn’t fail.
Only once she’d managed to make it back to headquarters and pass over the paperwork detailing the poison and antidote did she let herself break down. Five had gone into the lab, only one had come out.
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