Eight minutes to go…
Delaney was carving his way around the bug’s roof with the circular saw.
It cut quite easily, and he was able to make a smooth line about six inches below the roof all the way around the vehicle. The blade sliced through the last few inches to the point where he began, and the roof dropped slightly on itself with a clunk.
Delaney put the saw down, then reached up and lifted one side of the dome shaped roof. He dragged it towards the edge. He got a better grip with both hands, then hauled the roof completely off the bug until it landed with a heavy thud on the hangar floor.
Then he flipped it over.
Suddenly, Delaney saw something flash past his eyes—at the rear of the hangar. Something was moving about amongst all the machinery and computer banks and piles of spare parts and junk.
He remained still, crouching over the big black bowl, leaning on it with both hands as it rolled about under his weight.
Delaney turned his head slowly, trying not to move. Or breathe.
A stack of wooden crates collapsed against the far wall near the gearwheels. The thing moved again, raced across the hangar darting behind some machinery.
Delaney carefully stood upright. His heart pounded in his chest.
He unclipped his right-side pistol from its holster as silently as humanly possible, then took a couple of steps backwards as he brought his gun up and clasped it tightly with both hands.
His eyes flicked left and right, up and down. Trying to keep a view on the entire hangar.
Delaney heard some footsteps in the distance. The acoustics in the hangar made it impossible to get a fix on the exact location.
Delaney realized he was standing in the open, and he crouched back down again, started moving towards the group of black vehicles to his left. Hidden amongst them, he figured, he’d have the advantage.
He paused for a second, not moving a muscle. Then, very gradually, painstakingly, he stretched his neck upwards to peer over the roof of one of the bugs.
A bullet whisked across the vehicle’s roof, missing Delaney’s head by an inch.
“Fuck!” he hit the deck and crawled between the vehicles along the floor. He popped up again, and this time he saw it. A yellow uniform.
A Chinese soldier.
It was one of the soldiers who had been following Lena, Simms and Wells when they were descending the cave.
Somehow, this soldier had managed to survive the rock fall, and was now hiding out in the hangar, most likely oblivious to the significance of the tunnel’s purpose.
And, he was causing a headache for Delaney, who was all too aware of what was about to happen inside the tunnel.
Delaney looked at his watch again—three minutes until Armageddon.
He had to finish this guy off fast.
He rested his pistol on the roof of the bug he was now standing behind and fired six rapid shots in the direction of the soldier.
The Chinaman fell backwards in shock at the marine’s sudden volley of shots. He rolled along the floor behind some drums and returned fire with his automatic rifle.
Bullets sprayed the cars all around Delaney.
He retreated behind the cars, staying low, and slammed another clip into his Desert Eagle as he scurried about on his haunches. He was safe enough here for the time being, but he was concerned about the time—or lack of it.
This guy was becoming a real pain in the arse.
Time to unleash hell.
In a sudden burst of new found energy, Delaney raced towards the workbench and dived through the air, rolling like a gymnast so that he landed in a crouching position—on top of the bench, shooting at the soldier with his Deagle as he did so!
He emptied the second clip in two seconds, and tossed the gun away as the Chinese soldier came out into the open and strafed the benchtop with his automatic.
Delaney rolled again, this time picking up the M4 he had placed on the bench earlier, in mid-roll, and fired off a burst of searing rounds, hitting the soldier in the leg.
The soldier fell hard.
Delaney reached the end of the bench and vaulted off, landing right near the large heliox bottle he and the others had used earlier to refill their own canisters. He looked across the floor and saw the soldier reaching for his weapon.
Delaney grabbed the top of the tall bottle and pulled it over, causing it to crash to the ground with a loud clang!
He swiveled the bottle around so it was facing the soldier, side on, then kicked it hard.
The steel cylinder rolled along the hangar floor.
Just as it was about to hit the man, Delaney shouldered his M4 and took careful aim down the barrel.
“Welcome to hell,” he said, and fired.
The bottle exploded in a ball of blazing, molten gas and metal, blasting the Chinese soldier and bits of yellow uniform all over the hangar.
There was no time to look at his handiwork, though.
The clock was ticking.
Less than one minute.
Quickly, Delaney dragged his makeshift boat out through the hangar door and into the centre of the tunnel.
He looked around at the huge pipes that were embedded in the wall at the end of the tunnel. He guessed that the best position for his boat would be about fifty yards down the tunnel.
That way, the force of the water exiting the pipes wouldn’t kill him on impact, and with a little luck, he’d be able to surf the boat along the front wall of the massive wave as it pumped out.
You’ve gotta be fucking kidding, Jake, Delaney thought, as he realized just how insane his idea was. Still, if anyone can pull it off, it’s the Devil.
A hideous gurgling noise came from inside the pipes.
Delaney dragged the boat the required distance down the tunnel, keeping his eyes on the pipes the whole time.
Small splashes of water spilled out from the four massive pipes. The hangar throbbed with noise and light like a demented discotheque.
Delaney’s head was spinning as he climbed into the upturned vehicle roof.
He gripped the edges of the boat.
The tunnel throbbed loudly, blurring Delaney’s vision.
The noise stopped. The hangar door slammed shut. The lights in the tunnel flickered, then everything went pitch black and deathly silent.
“Oh shit,” breathed Delaney.
And then, with a gutwrenching, horrific sound, a torrent of water like nobody had ever witnessed erupted from the pipes behind him.