It is currently 5:30 in the morning and I have a full day of programming at RavenCon ahead of me. But hey, at least we're closer to caught up.
You can find A here.
“It won’t open,” Brody yelled, heading further into the tunnel. He stopped before the doors and looked up.
Libby blinked, there was some kind of shaft that led up from the ceiling there, with ladder rungs along it. “What is that?”
“The emergency tunnel escape. It’s got a bulkhead, but it’s manual.” He made a stirrup out of his hands. “Ladies first.”
Her stomach rolled. It wasn’t that she had a problem with the climb, and the steadily increasing water was an issue, but Brody… There was no way he was going to get himself on that ladder until everyone else was up. “Not until you do.”
His eyes narrowed, and he looked like he really wanted to argue with her.
Inspector Hussein pulled her men over then, apparently convincing them they actually weren’t going to manage to get the security door open right now—either from the door or from the control room, not until the flooding indicator stopped. Brody boosted the first one, and he stepped on someone’s shoulder and pulled himself up the ladder. Inspector Hussein went next, and then the other man from PD.
Brody held his hands up for her again. “Step on my shoulder if you need to.”
The water pulled at her waist, and sucked at her. She planted her foot in his hands, and stood up. She just managed to get her fingers around the ladder rung, and had to step on Brody’s shoulder to boost herself enough to get up it. She climbed high enough to be out of his way, but didn’t go further. She could hear the others opening the hatch above her.
Brody sprung up, and managed to get his hand on the ladder. The other joined it, and he pulled himself up another rung, and another, and Libby felt like the water was almost at the edge of the shaft now.
“Go,” he grunted. “I’m coming.”
Libby started climbing, looking up. It was further up than she’d thought it was, and Inspector Hussein was just lifting herself through the hatch. She glanced back down to check on Brody, he’d almost caught up with her. But the water was in the tunnel and it was rising fast.
“How much water can come through this before it locks this down too?” Inspector Hussein yelled down.
“Not a lot,” Brody called back, right below her. “But as long as we still close the hatch we’ll be okay.”
She climbed faster, almost there, and once she was within reach someone above grabbed her by the back of her shirt and someone else grabbed her arm and they’d hauled her up through the hatch and slid her across the floor like a fish pulled out of a frozen lake. She turned, and started back for Brody when his hand fastened on the side of the hatch. They pulled, and he pushed off of the ladder, and then he was slamming the hatch shut and locking it, water just starting to spray out the sides as it closed.
“Well that was close,” one of the cops muttered.
Brody huffed, and stood up slowly. He glanced around, they’d come up into one of the storage pods. He stood, and walked over and hauled Libby up off the floor. His arms crushed around her and he hugged her tight, just for a minute, before he took possession of her wrist again and headed for the door. “We probably don’t want to stay here, they don’t use those hatches anymore because sometimes they fail.”
“This is storage, that door is probably locked,” one of the cops grumbled.
Inspector Hussein rolled her eyes at him, and spoke into her communicator. “I need a triangulation on where I am.”
“We have you,” came the immediate answer.
“Open the door to this storage pod.”
There was a clicking noise, and a beep, and Brody pushed the door open.
“Is there any chatter from EMR?” Inspector Hussein asked, shutting the storage bay once we were all out. “Relock it.”
“No, Ma’am. Systems is draining the tunnels now, and Search and Rescue is on it’s way.”
Brody led them straight to the lift system, holding the door open with the hand that wasn’t holding Libby until everyone else was on.
“Good,” Inspector Hussein sighed. “Call Tech, I want to know what triggered that.”
“The system says—”
“Call them,” she interrupted. “Whatever the system says.”
Inspector Hussein stepped on the elevator, Brody pulling her in last, and the inspector hit the button to take them back to the surface. “I suspect you two want to go back and change your clothes.”
“Do you need us for something?” Brody asked.
His fingers were still warm and firm around her wrist, and she almost wanted to lean into that. She was getting colder by the second, in wet clothes. Probably not helped by the back side of the adrenaline surge. She was going to have nightmares about water racing up that tunnel after them.
“I’ll need a statement, but it can wait,” Inspector Hussein glanced at Libby, and gave her a supportive smile. “Tomorrow morning. If I need something before then I’ll let you know.”
The lift doors opened, and Brody gave the inspector and her men a jaunty salute, before dragging her toward the nearest door. They were out of the building and on the street and he was expertly dodging people as he pulled her along. He walked with purpose, and there was a tension in him she hadn’t seen, and Libby was about ready to dig her heels in when he ducked between two of the buildings and stopped. He seemed like he had to force himself to let go of her wrist, and he rubbed a hand over his face. “Libby…”
She folded her arms over her chest, the breeze making her pants feel freezing cold and stuck to her. “What?”
He watched her for a second, and suddenly he was hugging her again, close and tight. “There’s no point in me telling you to go next time, is there?”
Libby pressed her face to his shoulder, and shuddered. “No.”
He sighed, and rubbed her arms as he pulled back. “Okay. Let’s go get you warmed up.”