Saxon waited at the stoplight. Chambers Street straight ahead. He could see FBI headquarters just a few blocks away. This was the perfect area to park to avoid suspicion from outdoor security. He drove the car behind a fish market and parked it in an alleyway. Walking through the deserted district, getting closer to the building, he was surprised not to see an army of armed cops crowding the lobby. Instead, it was filled with pure white smoke swirling behind the glass. He maneuvered behind the trees in Thomas Paine Park. Taking cover behind some bushes, he spotted two cops on a cigarette break. Their radios brushed with feedback, followed by Khalil’s agitated voice:
“Agent Vasquez. I got some valuable news I thought you’d be delighted to hear: the bomb has been loaded and is set to detonate by morning – unless you stop being a coward and surrender! And by the way, don’t bother looking to root or hack into it because there’s a second bomb looming close by! You still got
time to decide, but I’m running out of patience…and I don’t know how long good ol’ Lloyd can hold up. Ta-ta.”
With the odds heavily stacked against him, Saxon chose to move ahead, holding to the promise he made to Gina. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he thought. As the two cops joked about the building being blown to
smithereens, Saxon ran onto the courtyard, undetected. He searched around the buildings for an alternate entrance, an open door or even a window small enough to crawl through. No such luck. The place was sealed like a can of sardines.
Unknowing to him, white smoke coiled out from the sidewalk drainage,
curling by his feet. Increasing in density, it started merging into a giant puff cloud, sprouting out a set of giant fangs, a forked tongue and a set of serpent eyes.
Uneasiness crawled up the veteran’s shoulder, sensing he was being followed. He turned around. “Oh my God!” he shakingly shouted, trembling in absolute terror. The misty killer cobra started swaying back and forth before his eyes. Its tail rattled louder than a tower crane trapped in a hurricane. It hissed at the new prey it wished to devour.
Saxon ran as fast as he could. The cobra closely slithered after him, craving for the taste of veteran blood. Then unexplainably, a supernatural feat occurred as Saxon quickly gained momentum, moving with the speed of a jaguar! But, how? Blurred buildings and motion lines came into view. Distance from the cobra greatly grew. Failing to see a low flat staircase, however, caused him to
trip and roll down the stairs. He laid on his back, woozy. No energy left to climb up and continue his run.
The cobra quickly approached, hungrier and angrier than before. As Saxon attempted to crawl away, another wall of thick fog emerged from an exhaust pipe and blocked his path. A second cobra began to take form. He was surrounded! Both cobras roared as they drew closer, steaming his face with showering vapor.
On the bink of a heart attack, Saxon buried his face in the ground, praying for his demise to be fast and painless. All of a sudden, he saw an Infrared image through the concrete! A nervous woman pacing back and forth. Long hair. Glasses. Alex! He had to get to her. So close. Miraculously, a flashing light consumed him. No moonlight. City surroundings and evil cobras had vanished. He only heard the sound of his breathing. Seconds later, fluorescent
lights radiated above him, surrounded by rows of cars and a driveway ramp. He looked around in shock. “OH, MY GOD!!!” he shouted, bewildered. Somehow, someway, he got transported into the parking lot.
In a rage, Alex ran up to him with her firearm drawn. Saxon immediately threw his hands up and begged her not to shoot. “Captain Davis?!” she gasped. Saxon smiled and lowered his hands. Alex hyperventilated. The landslide of insane occurrences may’ve finally pushed her off the edge of sanity. Saxon ran over and gave her a tight hug, shushing her to calm down.
“Glad to see you’re safe,” he said while opening up his arms.
“I’m not gonna ask,” she said with her hand up. “After what I’ve gone through with Gina, nothing should surprise me anymore. Just tell me what the hell are you doing here?”
“Gina sent me. Actually, I volunteered.”
“Why the hell would she bring in YOU of all people into this?!”
“Umm, she came to see me earlier, thought I could help in making sure the local cops got the right story with the raid and all. But she has enough on her plate with stopping John, so here I am.”
“So... you’re not like her?”
“What do you mean, ‘like her?’”
“Ya know? Pulling off the whole superhero act? Jumping over buildings? Punching through walls?”
He shook his head and shrugged. “Not that I know of?”
“Then how the hell can you explain getting down here undetected? Unharmed at that!”
“Alexandra, your guess is as good as mine. One minute I’m being hunted by smoking behemoths and the next I’m down here with you. I don’t know what to think at this point.” Alex titled her head and squinted. Saxon continued. “Well, there I was, moments from being devoured. I closed my eyes…and then I saw you. Through the ground! I was wishing for a way to reach you and…I don’t know. I wound up here. Can you explain to me how that’s even possible?”
“What I know for sure is only Gina can pull something like that off. Oh, I don’t know Sax! It could’ve just been a freak accident, but we’re dealing with unearthly elements that go beyond our rationality.”
“You’re telling me. Anyway, I’m glad your safe.”
“Nobody is safe. Whoever’s behind this has armed two bombs somewhere in the building, threatening to kill everyone unless I surrender.” She fell against the wall and slid down on her heels. “They plan to use me to lure Gina here. But...I can’t risk so many lives by calling their bluff.”
“Based on my years of expertise, these guys are doing the basic ‘bad guy movie’ routine. It’s a bluff. And since they’re giving you time to think it over, let’s take advantage of their stupidity. We’ll find the bombs and defuse them ourselves.”
“That’s impossible. Even if there wasn’t a countdown working against
us, do you know how many corridors and operational stations we have in this facility? I saw a guy down here earlier and he wasn’t carrying a humongous device. He went and grabbed…” Just then, Alex recalled what Khalil said. “Wired. He said the bombs were wired.” She pondered for a minute. “Yes!! That’s why they shut off the Wi-Fi! The bombs have been integrated into our main grid, either uploaded from a portable drive or operating under Bluetooth technology. Once we find the source, then maybe I can corrupt the files thus rendering it powerless!”
“Why don’t we just shut down the power?”
“They wouldn’t have gone through this much trouble if it were that easy.
A self-destruct mechanism must be programmed as its last line of defense. This is too technical for the Bomb Squad to handle. So, I agree - we need to do this ourselves.”
“Roger that. Do you know where we need to go?”
“Energy and Generations on the seventh floor seems like the best bet. I need
to tell Christine to stay put until we get back.”
Alex ran back to the lounge to check on Christine. She was gone! Not in
the bathroom. Not hiding under the tables. She didn’t answer to her name being called.
“Shhhh!” Saxon ran over with his finger against his lips. “Our cover might
be compromised. Now, who’s Christine?”
“What’s happening to me?!!” Alex shouted, on the verge of a panic attack. “I’ve been attacked by zombie guards – chased by smoking snakes – talking to girls that don’t exist – I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!”
“Calm down,” Saxon pleaded, grabbing her shoulders. “This night has been
a huge burden on both of us, but we can’t crack under the pressure now. If this bomb is as technical as you believe it to be, then I need you to get it together. Innocent lives are at stake, as you said. I can’t do this without you.” Alex wiped her watery eyes and took some breaths. She nodded to Saxon, indicating she was okay. “Good. Now I just wish I could get us up to the seventh floor and –”
Suddenly, another flash of light appeared! Wired dashboards and computer hard drives stood around them. Alex recognized the large room. They wondrously appeared at the Energy and Generations facility. She almost fainted.