Shot In The Dark : (Part 14 of 18)
Shot In The Dark : (Part 14 of 18) postapocalyptic stories
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ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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Finny gets more than she expected.

Shot In The Dark : (Part 14 of 18)

Finny examined the laser tripwires. Not good. The bit that fired the laser light and the bit where it went were both embedded in the woodwork of the door frame.

Nothing she could do about that but the gap between the beams was comfortably wide enough for her to get through... Once she got the door open.

After examining the door lock in minute detail, thanks to the goggles' macro mode, Finny decided that whoever was in charge of security had blown the budget on the fancy laser thingies.

She was even a little disappointed to find that it was just a simple three lever lock. Job done; Finny pushed the door open. Her goggles revealed not very much.

A simple office with pretty much just the bare essentials of furniture. Except for, Finny frowned, an expensive-looking 'Welcome' mat directly after the entrance.

Finny knelt down and, careful not to trigger the laser trip, examined the mat closely. Although nothing was visible, Finny was ninety-nine percent certain the mat hid a pressure pad.

She curled her lip derisively. So obvious.

She was just about to ease herself between the middle and bottom laser trips and stretch her leg over the welcome mat trap to the carpeted floor beyond when she stopped and sat back on

her haunches again. The mat was just so obvious. Finny knelt forward, adjusting the goggles in minute increments as she leaned into the room.

Almost imperceptibly, like eyes adjusting to the dark after coming in from outside, the goggles started to reveal slight variations to the overall green glow that was the office floor.

Without the goggles the carpet was just a smooth field of average office carpet. With the goggles the carpet was shown to be a minefield of shallow humps. Finny swallowed.

She counted ten pressure pads in all, the first just beyond the welcome mat and exactly where she would have put her foot.

Finny remembered the sudden, heart-stopping, bladder opening, bang in Joe's cellar. A chill tingled down her spine. This wasn't a game anymore.

It took Finny five full minutes to cross the floor to Hanne's desk. Then another five minutes carefully examining every surface around the drawer she was here to open.

Only then did she unroll her tools and get to work.

Again, the lock itself was just a simple lock, a standard barrel lock that took Finny all of twenty seconds to open. Inside the drawer was the folder she had been told to look for.

She lifted it out and checked the title to be sure. It read: 'Silja Henningsdottir' Finny flicked through it briefly. Lots of writing, most printed but some looked like old handwritten letters.

There were photographs too. Finny stopped on the ones of a little girl and saw the resemblance to the Silja she knew.

Finny suddenly felt like she was eavesdropping and felt guilty for looking. She was about to shut the drawer when she noticed another folder. Joe never said anything about another folder.

It was way thicker than the other one. Finny lifted it out and looked for the title. Her eyes widened when she read it. 'Anneka Kjaer-Spivey. Case Closed.

' Lots of thoughts raced through Finny's head. The two lead contenders were: Why is there a thing about Annie here? And: Should I take it?

From the information, Joe had given her Finny knew that this person who worked here wasn't nice and that Silja was in trouble because of it. Finny liked Silja.

She also liked Annie, so if there was a folder here about Annie too, then Annie might be in trouble as well... And Annie was only little, which wasn't fair.

Consequently, both folders were shoved down the inside of Finny's new suit. Joe would know what to do.

Then it was just a matter of doing things backwards until Finny was at last screwing down the wingnuts to fasten the ventilation cowling back in place over the shaft she just climbed back up.

Then Finny untied the rope and wrapped it around her middle, tying it off with a nice neat bow.

Finny looked up at the sky. She sniffed the air and listened to the sounds around her.

Only then did she realise that all this was unnecessary because tucked in her wrist pouch was a tiny clock Joe had put there.

Finny used her finger against the scratched glass to work out how close it was before she had to jump off the roof.

With only a vague idea of how long a minute actually was, Finny realised she had six of them left.

She scooted over to the far side of the building where, below the parapet, the much lower roof of the entrance colonnade stuck out over the sidewalk.

Not daring to risk seeing if there were still Union guards patrolling the street, Finny sat down cross-legged behind the parapet and waited.

Six minutes later there was a loud explosion from the area of the pond and Finny watched in awe as a vast column of water rose up into the air from the other side of the building.

Then all the lights went out, everywhere. At the same time, burglar alarms started going off all over town as the power failed. Finny counted to thirty and then leapt into action, literally.

The drop to the colonnade below was about four metres, high, but the roof of the colonnade was wooden so it should take most of the force out of the fall. Finny landed hard on both feet.

Fortunately, she knew from since she could walk to bend her legs, and the remarkable non thingy jelly in the suit took care of most of the rest.

Even so, Finny's feet stung like crazy as she hobbled to the edge of the colonnade. Where was Joe?

Joe was just turning the corner, at speed. The flatbed truck raced down the now empty road and mounted the pavement outside the Ranyhyn Building. Joe slammed on the breaks.

Above him, Finny bit her lip. Joe said it would work. He promised. Still, the large pile of neatly tied empty boxes looked very small and far away to Finny. He had promised.

Finny closed her eyes and jumped.

Mick Fischer was probably one of the closest people to the pond then the bomb went off. He had been dozing against the wall of the entrance to the Life-net bunker.

The shock made him leap to his feet then he found himself gazing at the column of water erupting thirty or forty metres up into the air.

Like in old naval movies, the nature of underwater explosions is that the force of the blast takes the line of least resistance.

Ergo the shortest route to the surface, vertically, taking everything with it. Water, floating garbage, fish, ducks. Happily, no U-boats.

Fischer was so awestruck by the column of water that he forgot the old adage. That which goes up, must come down.

Which is why, instead of running, he was collected by the falling deluge of water and swept down the stairs into the Life-net bunker by the torrent.

He didn't see the hapless clone who had just opened the door. One can surmise for the clone it was a case of here we go again, back to the pod.

Had he not opened the door at that critical point it may be reasoned that Flagstaff's residents could have been spared a power outage, but the water, naturally seeking the lowest level,

poured in through the doors and shorted every circuit it came into contact with.

The bunker bar actually fared better than the cloning bunker, it being served by a narrow entrance tube rather than an open stairway which deflected a lot of the deluge.

The pagodas were fairly well damaged, and Rodney's auction pedestal was reduced to matchwood.

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