Malcolm Locklear leaned against the far wall of the lab where his scientists along with those from the Air Force currently worked the new design of the improved Art-GRAVE. There was still a part of him that didn’t trust this new ‘plans’ from Rhel Valentine, the known hacker and criminal mastermind. He most likely pawned them off of some struggling engineer from who knows where, China, Korea, Russia. The countries with their own space program was growing and such secrets were kept close to home. There was no way that the man across the room had come up with the idea himself. He didn’t even do any of the hard work, or calculations, he just stood there, a phone to his ear talking to whomever, most likely this secret genius partner of his who Malcolm would rather have on his team than him.
Yet, Malcolm couldn’t deny the logic of the science behind it all. It worked, plain and simple. With Frazier breathing fire down his back, Malcolm had no choice but to proceed at a rapid pace to implement the changes. He had to put the two groups together, there was no getting around that anymore, and surprisingly things progressed at a much quicker pace than anticipated.
Of course… thanks to that Engineer in Nevada, Malcolm had managed to scoop up the old gravity field device from the original ship. The shape and size of the original pretty well matched the plans Rhel had shown him. With new guts, and the old shell, th new Art-GRAVE would be ready before the end of day. A week to test it, and work out the bugs, then it would be ready for the real ship. That would give Frazier some whiplash, Malcolm thought with a dark grin.
“Who was that?” Malcolm asked once Rhel put his cell phone away.
“My comrade in arms.” Rhel hinted at. “Just got some good news is all, how’s the new prototype going?”
“Why don’t you-“ Malcolm never got a chance to finish. The walls, ceiling and floor began to shake. Everyone froze what they were doing.
“Does your place shift like that often?” Rhel asked, raising an eyebrow.
“More than you may think… but…” Malcolm glanced over to the elevator across the room through the glass walls. The doors opened and Malcolm’s jaw dropped. Three creatures stepped out with massive cannon like guns slung over their shoulders. They had oversize long arms, a yellowish, to greenish coloured skin and their face… Malcolm knew there was something wrong with the face, it wasn’t quite human but he couldn’t get a close or good enough look as Rhel shoved him forcefully down to the ground. Seconds later, glass exploded around them, sirens flared to life filling the labs with an unnatural whine and flashing yellow lights.
“Get off!” Malcolm said, pushing the criminal off. More shots were fired, as Malcolm grew even more angry at every passing second. Where was his security guards? What the hell happened in the lobby? He had set his system up air tight, any foul play upstairs and everything would close down, even the elevators. Somehow his security had been overridden, but by whom? He shot Rhel a dark look. “Is this you? God dammit, I should have tossed you out the first day!”
“Fuck…” Rhel hissed under his breath, not paying any attention to Malcolm or his allegations.
One of the intruders, thief or whoever they were, passed by their position. Malcolm couldn’t take it, or Rhel any longer. He jumped up from the floor and grabbed the nearest weapon, a blow torch and aimed it Rhel. “Get out! You and you’re boys, get out of my lab now!”
The intruder heard Malcolm and turned his gun towards him. Rhel jumped up between the two, pushing the gun out of his face just as the weapon fired a shot. It wasn’t any sort of gun Malcolm had seen. It didn’t even shoot a bullet but some sort of red electrical energy stream. It passed his ear with a burning sensation and hit the wall behind him. More glass shattered, along with concrete and steel. If they kept going like this, they’d destroy his entire building. He looked back just as Rhel punched the unusual looking creature in the head, taking the gun.
“Not a smart move genius.” Rhel shouted over the alarms. “I’m not with them. We’d better get out of here.”
Malcolm looked around, his staff along with the military scientists were running around trying to reach the fire escapes without being noticed or shot at in the process. There were a handful of bodies lying around, motionless, and covered in blood. Malcolm’s stomach turned… if these things managed to reach is basement labs…
“Avis.” Malcolm whispered, running towards the elevator.
“Hey wait!” Rhel shouted through the growing chaos. Malcolm ignored him, his mind was set on his daughter, and who these people where. Some of them didn’t even look human, one looked as if it had four arms! It was like some bad science fiction movie being played out in front of his eyes. This couldn’t be real? Please let it be a dream, he thought secretly. He reached the elevator and slammed the button to the penthouse, the doors were almost closed when Rhel pushed himself through, a cannon gun in one hand, the new Art-GRAVE in the other. The elevator moved at an unusually slow pace for Malcolm, it teetered and creaked which wasn’t normal either.
“What the hell are you doing with that!” Malcolm yelled and reached out towards the Art-GRAVE.
“Damnit.” Rhel said, letting Malcolm take his precious equipment. The elevator seemed unstable, and grinned to a halt not much later. “Doesn’t your emergency evacuation code state not using an elevator?”
“Shut up, Avis should be home by now… I’ve got to make sure she’s alright.”
“She can look after herself, you should be more worried about your own safety. I think you got burned by that shot.” Rhel said with a laugh, setting his gear down to push the elevator’s metal doors open. They were halfway up to the ground floor. He tossed the Art-GRAVE and cannon like weapon out onto the floor, then lifted himself up and rolled towards cover.
If Malcolm thought they were destroying his labs, it was nothing to what they were doing to his lobby. This elevator was busted, and he knew Rhel was right, the risk of using one of the others was too high. With a frustrating sigh, Malcolm pushed himself up to the main floor and rolled over towards Rhel.
“Don’t talk like you know her.” Malcolm said, his anger continuing to grow. This was turning into a nightmare. There were more of those odd creatures, maybe they were just wearing masks? But the weapons, they all emitted that strange energy pulse. Thankfully it seemed something had distracted them all towards the street. Police and Fire sirens sounded in the distance and Malcolm hoped they would be able to take care of this crazy goons. There was a shot, and Malcolm saw something fall from the sky. It was a body, female… young. Wide eyed, with heart ready to burst out of his chest, Malcolm watched as the body hit the ground. The ground brook beneath the body, the ground shook and Malcolm almost jumped over the overturned table. Avis… it was Avis!
“AVIS!” Malcolm shouted, then was thrown into silence as his daughter stood up, looking relatively unharmed. He saw her dark hair flow loose down around her shoulders, and the red colour of her uniform skirt and jacket. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing, his mind wouldn’t connect the dots. He knew she just fell over twenty stories, but was still alive. For the moment, all he could do was push that fact to the back of his mind. She was in danger, and his only concern at the moment was her safety.
The strange weapons the creatures had fired upon her, she seemed to defy gravity and jumped several feet in the air, landing down on top of one of the creatures. Malcolm heard a squish, perhaps a set of bones breaking upon impact, and saw her continue on to the next creature.
“See… she’s doing fine.” Rhel said, his eyes scanning the scene and looking for a way out.
“Damnit, what the hell is going on!?”
“That is what we would like to know.”
Malcolm turned to the sound of the voice. One of Frazier’s scientists aimed a gun at his head. There was another one behind him, that one had it’s gun aimed on Rhel. Malcolm turned to Rhel and saw him eyeing for an opening to escape, the Art-GRAVE just out of his reach. He turned his attention back to the street, Avis was gone, instead a group of military vehicles began to arrive, blocking the road and much of his building. Police cars, reports, helicopters were gathering quickly.
“My daughter?” Malcolm asked.
“We are tracking her now sir. Now, if you’d please come with us. Both of you. The Lieutenant Colonel wants a word.” The second soldier stepped forward and took the Art-GRAVE from both of their grasp.