The hours of the job never got to Kit. She knew that when the time came, and she was needed again to head the command center, all these late hours would pay off. She couldn’t afford to get tired. She knew that. With her, it was life or death, and a split second could be the downfall of any decision. It was simply how it was. It was her goal in life. It was one she had worked years for.
It was, of course, dark when she piled into her SUV that had all her spare gear in it. It took up most of the backseat though it wasn’t like she ever needed that seat in the first place. Her job had come first in everything. Relationships were almost out of the question, and jokingly, the guys on her team had come up with the idea that the viruses she worked with daily were her only real friends. Though the statement had hurt, she could understand where it was coming from, and in time she started to agree. She could understand them much more than she could humans. They were comforting in a way.
As she drove, she felt her phone go off in her pocket and then the speak broke the silence with it’s ringing. She hit the button to receive the call. “What?” she asked as she looked at the screen as if it would give her some answer.
“Sorry, Doc, we have a slight problem.” One of the techs that she worked with said. She looked at the number again, and though it was the right area code, it wasn’t from work.
“Slight problem?” She asked.
“WE have a break in protocol with transport.” He said softly, “At the warehouse.”
“A breach in the protocol? We were supposed to get anything in,” she said as she went over the list in her head of deliveries. She would know if something was coming in on any specific day. That was her job, after all.
“Not coming in, but going out.” He said as the panic in his voice was coming through.
“We had nothing going out.” She said.
“Doc, We had a breach.” He said.
“Someone went into our warehouse?” She asked. Her tiredness was there in her voice, but she was waking up quickly. She had been in the lab that day. For eight hours wearing the suit, most could never get in. It was heavy, and it was airtight. Being in that confined area was something most couldn’t do for any time period. She, however, liked working in it though she was different, as most would say. She found it comforting being there with some of the world’s most deadly viruses with only a layer of plastic between her and certain death.
“Doc, we need you here.” The tech said as he hung up the phone, and she turned her car around and started to go to their warehouse. It was further than her building that housed her lab. She had a few minutes before she got there, so she tried to zen zone, so she didn’t completely lose her mind when she got there to the site. As she got closer, she saw the cars piling up from different response teams, and she moved to the front as she dodged people walking everywhere. She got out of her car and looked around. This was a madhouse already. As soon as she was spotted though she also saw three of her minor teammates putting on their suits. This was not for them if she was being called back. She tried to signal them to stop, but no one was seeing her. She ripped her suit out of her car and began to undress quickly and thrown her clothes in the backseat. She had lost all sense of modestly, and though her shorts stayed on, they did not hide much of her. She had her shirt off, and then she looked up. She was in a tank top and boy shorts as she kicked off her shoes.
She saw that two of the people had not secured the back of their suits. She grabbed her comms in the suit, which was not on the channel they were using. If they went into the building, they could be exposed to anything. “I don’t have time for this.” She muttered to herself as she took off running. She could feel the slicing of her feet as she looked down to the ground. “Glass really?”
As she approached the people, she ran right into the leader, knocking him down and then turned to the others. “Morons! You didn’t follow any procedure correctly!” She yelled at the top of her lungs. “Stand down.”
“But.” One of them started as they pulled their helmets off.
“No! Stand down!” she demanded as she looked over the four people now standing before her. “You didn’t fasten the backs you would be exposed. Now get the hell out of the way.”
Kit stormed back to her car, and she was now the center of attention. The fact this five-foot woman who couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds could tackle a grown man was at the forefront of everyone’s minds as they watched her. The fact she was half-naked was also a major factor. She put her suit on and zipped it up completely. She saw the other member of her unit gathered and waiting for her to even out the numbers.
The number one rule in this field was work in pairs. She placed her com in and turned the air on. She then moved to the team. She glanced up to find her normal partner. Who cracked a grin as he looked down at her, “You having fun yet?”
“Screw off, Aaron.” She replied.
“After you.” He said with a motion.
“Fine, does anyone know what we are looking for?” She asked.
“Thought you would know that Doc,” Sanchez said through the comms.
“I was just told there was a breach.” She said. “I didn’t expect this.”
“Weird,” Ortiz said.
“What is weird?” She asked as they now had their flashlights on and moving throughout the main rooms.
“This.” Ortiz said, “It isn’t like you allow anything to sit here. Did you get a sample in that you don’t know about?”
“No, I know about every sample.” She said. She was getting more tired and weaker the further they went into the building. “She was turning the corner when she stumbled. “Guys are your readings good?”
“Actually, I think we should back out,” Smith said as he pulled out the meters for the oxygen. “Something is not right. It is almost like something is suppressing the air and making it heavier.”
“Pull back,” Sanchez said as they all started to move. She was trying to stay upright through that was proving to be more and more difficult. She stumbled as the seven men in front of her made their way out of the building in a single file. She turned her head as a light caught her eye. She walked over to it and pulled the sheet down that was covering it.
“Get the hell away from the building!” she said into her comm.
“Why?” Ortiz asked.
“Get everyone away!” she said again. “Bomb.”
“What?” Aaron asked as she could see the seven-stop and turn back to face her.
“Go!” she said as she tried to move. She found her legs had stopped working well, and she was tired even more. “come on, Johnson. Move.” She said to herself. She was finding it harder and harder to breathe, as well. She got to the wall and knew she only had a minute more. She pulled herself to the door, and step by step, she could see the outside world more and more. The only thing that mattered was getting out of the building.
People were being pulled back and told them to get into their cars. The idea that the building with the chemicals they used was going to blow was enough to get people to listen. People were moving. She got to the doorway and pulled herself out. She saw her team off to the side and took three steps when she felt the blast hit the suit. She went forward and hoped she was far enough away.
It seemed the building was made to implode rather than explode. It fell onto itself. She felt the dust waves hit her. When the time was that it was done falling, she felt someone roll her over. They were trying to get into her suit. The zippers were stuck.
She tried to open her eyes, but even that was too much. She cracked them enough to see it was her team and one of the special ops that had a field medic. “Get her out of that thing!” he yelled loud enough for her to hear.
“Trying!” was the response from one of the men on her team. It was becoming too difficult to even try to separate the voices. She could feel the tugs to the suit. “The heat melted some of them together.”
“She is dying!” The medic yelled.
“Screw this. I will take her wrath.” She felt the rush of air in her suit as the knife cut through the outer layer. As soon as he was done, they could get to her. The medic was looking her over, and her pale skin was even more pale. One of the men lifted her up, and they saw instantly one of the problems. Her feet had been sliced open when she ran to stop the other team. She was pouring out blood through them. “Her boots are full.”
“God damnit!” the medic said. “Where is the ambulance?”
“On its way.” Someone yelled.
“Doc!” Someone said as she was still just laying there. “Even the blood loss would leave her this unresponsive.”
“There was no hiss,” Aaron said.
“What?” One of the others asked.
“No, hiss from her suit. The O2 tank wasn’t working.” Aaron said.
“There was no leak.” The one who cut the suit into ribbons said as he looked down at the woman. “Someone was trying to kill her.”
“Ouch.” She said softly as they looked on her on the ground. Her color had begun to come back. “What the hell happened?”
“Don’t try and get up.” The field medic said. “You have a serious blood loss.”
“Was I shot?” she asked.
“No, your feet. They look like hamburger right now.” He replied as he almost laughed. “Was your air tank full?”
“Yeah.” She replied. “Why?”
“Because it failed.” He said.
“That isn’t right.” She said as she looked at him. Her gaze was now becoming more focused. “I checked it last week.”
“Well, sweetheart, it did fail. Who knows how long you went without O2.” He said softly.
“I’m fine.” She said as she tried to sit up. Everyone around her went to keep her on the ground. As she sat up, she looked over and saw her suit, “What the freaking hell?”
“Sorry, my dear. It was the only way.” He said as she glared at him with the knife still in his hand.
“Zippers.” She said.
“Melted.” He replied with a grin that would have been charming if it hadn’t been covering up the glint in his eyes as he looked at her.
“You destroyed thousands of dollars.” She said.
“And you will live another day. I think I will be fine with that.” He said as he turned away to answer someone else’s questions.
“Well, this is going to be fun to put out.” She said as she glanced back to the building.
“You have to go to the hospital, though.” The medic said. “They need to stitch these up or something.”
“Wonderful.” She said as she flopped back onto the ground much to the amusement of the men around her. The doctor they all liked though she was a tough one to crack, was acting like a toddler almost to the point of kicking and screaming because she didn’t want to go to the hospital. “As if it couldn’t get any worse.”