Troy could feel his heart beating more than ever, the organ pounding blood through his veins. He felt like they might have burst if not for the pure act of will that was being displayed in his speed. It was more than he could fathom that he was still somehow moving. The dodging of a possible shooting, the fact that they were being actively chased, the fact that they were going downstairs three steps at a time… it was more adrenaline than he had ever felt.
Even the altercation with Dr Fidelis so long ago couldn't hope to match the sight seen moments before. That had only been one man, after all, even if he had been strong. This… this was somebody able to kill them if they got the chance, would kill them if they got close. If they slowed down, the other officer would get them from behind.
Oh, the adrenaline never stopped. Even after so many minutes, it just kept coming. Human limits had been reached long ago, yet the man was still going on strong. His heart might have been feeling the effects, but nobody truly cared about that fact. It was all good in the end.
The end of the stairs allowed them access to a rather large hallway. It was made of cement, lights matching just how strong a feeling it gave. It was closer to an underground tunnel than anything, made for cars to drive through. It was certainly made with the temperature in mind, it being close to freezing down there. It had to be under ten degrees celsius, the man able to see some outline of his own breath. At least the low temperature helped with the overheating.
“Don’t slow down,” Charlie commanded. Troy became instantly aware that he had, in fact, slowed down his legs. His body was becoming slower, not able to use the same effort from the same intensity. The man needed to press so much harder for mediocre results. The change was instant once pointed out. Maybe adrenaline truly was a bad thing to have in larger amounts. Nobody could be sure. “We have to get through this part before the other officer reaches the stairs.”
The long sentence explaining things was clearly not working in favour of Charlie. Even if Troy had been the one slowing down, the young man knew he was the person in the group with the greatest stamina. What he lacked in bulk and strength he made up for through the power of being able to run for a longer amount of time. That he was beginning to be tired only showed itself as proof that Charlie had it so much worse. Having trouble breathing would equal being unable to breathe at all. Such might even have been able to show how much the older man was wheezing. Troy would have suggested that they slowed down to let the lungs rest, but it wasn't like they could do as much.
There was no pause as they had through the tunnel, going into a small side-tunnel within a minute’s time. There wasn't space for a car inside that one, only a motorcycle having a chance of such a thing. Not that the young man imagined it being used as such, the rooms further in hinting at it being made for humans more than anything.
Or more humanoids, the walls lined with automations hanging on hooks telling another story entirely. Their calm, dead-eyed faces made the man almost falter in his steps, the head turned to the sides being the leading cause behind the man nearly tripping on his own feet. It was hard to not look at them, even if they would be the cause for such a heavy loss. So many automations looked ready to be activated. The two had trouble dealing with a single automation. What would ten be like? To Troy, it was like an army was ready to be deployed at a moment's notice. It scared him.
It also gave him more than enough of an adrenaline surge to continue down the hallway. No matter what the rooms beside him showed, no matter what tools, pools of blue blood, or weird looking organs were shown lying around, Troy refused to slow down. The straight corridor looked him in the eye, and he stared right back. Charlie was beside him through it all as well, the two running together at the same speed, having the same focus. Both knew how much depended on them. The moment they escaped was the moment they would leave the country. Everything was ready, after all. Everything needed to be done. Dr Hale was ready for everything, already halfway in her suit. The woman just needed work done on her, and they would be able to take the final steps into the dark and leave the god-forsaken ground they stood on. But first, they had to get out of the station.
And that was exactly what they got even closer to. Within a minute of straight running forward, the light from an opened door came into their field of view. Or, it had always been there per se. It had just never been close enough for them to truly make out. It was a miraculous door that would put them over five hundred meters away from the entrance to the station. It was an emergency exit meant for those who had sought shelter in the station during a war, but Troy and Charlie were planning to use it for something else entirely. They would use it to avoid the war altogether.
One foot in front of the other, the young man could feel his breath evening out. While adrenaline was beginning to leave his body, he didn't dare slow down. They were so close that he could start to feel the air from outside, the small current of air being bliss to his eyes. Surely, it would-
Troy wasn't exactly sure when he hit the floor. He only knew that it happened at some point. He also knew that his left leg hurt a lot. It burned, actually. Every attempt to move it sent pain through his body. In fact… yup. Tears were going out of his eyes at a rapid rate.
“Get up!” Charlie shouted at him, trying to get him to stand up. Troy only looked up at him, knowing that wasn't happening.
“Plan C, Charlie,” Troy said, looking back. “Add Plan E on that and run.”
Troy would have liked for the man to look conflicted, but they both knew that doing such would be their run. Nodding instantly, the large man ripped the earpiece out of Troy’s ear, sent a pellet back at the officer who had gotten closer to them, and ran as fast as the man possibly could, their needed box in hand.
Looking back into the hallway again, Troy looked upon the opaque forcefield. Behind it, the man could see the woman standing around. It seemed the officer had decided to wait the time out, likely knowing how long it would take before things would turn back.
That was fine with the young man. Charlie had all but disappeared from sight, leaving the young one to lie on the cold floor all alone. It was quite a painful experience. Even with regained awareness of his body, it was obvious that his legs had been shot. Not by a tranquillizer dart but an actual gunshot. It seemed that more drastic choices had been taken to make sure they wouldn't escape. Though, that did leave the young man wondering why there hadn't been multiple shots made. If Troy had been shot, wouldn't it have made for Charlie to have been hit as well?
Troy winced in pain as he finally got up to a sitting position, his back against the nearest part of the wall. The questions from before were without any need for answers for now. It was too hard to think properly at the current time. Pain, blood, and many other things Troy didn't wanna think about were coming out of him. Even if pressure was begun to be applied, the man could most definitely still feel the wound in his leg. There was a more than dull throb on it, his heartbeat matching the bouts of pain. It was weird. Even if the wound was in his leg, the man could still feel it in his entire body, the pain seemingly unsatisfied with remaining in place.
How bad was the wound? Troy had trouble truly seeing how worried he needed to be, his vision a small bit blurry from the constant pulse getting through his eyes. His blood pressure felt through the roof in intensity, his mind feeling clouded. Though, that might have been blood loss. His hands were wet, at the very least, so there was a chance of either being true.
Nevertheless, the man did really need to know his own life expectancy. Bringing out a smaller knife he had found a while ago, the man did his best to delicately slice off a piece of his pants. It was more than large enough to see the damage done.
Nothing had hit the bone, luckily enough, the bullet that had hit coming cleanly through the side. Which meant there was actually two holes in his leg, one in the front and one in the back. Troy supposed he should have realised that fact, seeing as he was holding the front side of the wound and that he had been shot from the back, but things like that weren't up to his standards of priorities. The man just wanted expectancy and nothing else. Was that too much to ask for?
The answer to that was yes. It was definitely too much to ask an uneducated man who knew nothing about how much blood leakage was okay and how much wasn't okay. Blood was dripping from the exposed part of his leg, but not enough that it was spurting out of him. Maybe a drip or two each second and not a continuous stream. Nothing serious in his own mind, even if the pain was more than most things he had ever tried before. Even the knife to his shoulder had been easier to handle than this.
Deep breaths were had, a few swears were uttered, and sweat was not lenient in how much came out his back. Troy was actually sweaty already. The previous run had done him no good in that aspect. However, the liquid was pouring out of him, and the man having no real clue where the stuff was coming from. Even if his heartbeat was feeling pain, the actual rhythm wasn't that high anymore There shouldn't have been any reason to sweat to such a degree.
Yet he did. And… there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. The man just sat silently, pushing his hands onto his leg with as much force as he could muster, only grimacing slightly at the severe pain. Not that it was that extreme anymore, the shock of the thing likely have been more of a catalyst than the nerve response. Sure, he would likely gall into tears and fall over, if he tried to walk at that very moment, but it wasn't like he would faint when sitting. He had a higher pain tolerance than that, and the blood in his peripheral wasn't that bad anyway. Troy had seen a man gutted previously without blinking. It wasn't like a few droplets would scare him off that much. His damned dad would have beaten him for that. Maybe his uncle would even join in on that action. Their left hooks always packed a punch.
Troy laughed a little at that, his brain suddenly able to look back at this childhood with positivity. Was it due to his position or due to the state he was in? Stress or blood loss? It was likely both having some effects with synergy because the man had tried both previously without similar effects. Troy certainly hadn't ever looked back at his physical beatings with a small. Was… was he feeling nostalgic.
He supposed he could have slapped himself at that point. Maybe not for the nostalgia part but instead to just make sure he wasn't having hallucinations. The man had a right to be worried, after all. He was in quite the predicament, stressed out of his mind and with a bullet wound in the leg. It would make sense for his mind to make some form of a delusion to keep itself alive. Maybe a dog would come soon. If so, Troy was sure he would name it Laika. He had always wanted a dog called that, even if he had never actually seen a dog in person.
They were quite rare after all. Most animals of that class were rare. Only the rich had pets, and even those were restricted to lizards or a few rare breeds of cats. They were rich, after all. Why have a pet commonly had by the commonwealth a century before when one could simply attain a rare breed or even just make their own? There existed thousands of one-of-a-kind cats for the sole reason. People wanted their own breed and wanted to make sure that nobody ever had a chance of getting it for themselves. Ah, the things Troy had witnessed on the net.
It was truly beautiful enough to stop the man from realising that the force field had disappeared, the officer stepping through calmy. He barely spared her a glance as she came forth, and neither did she give him a single one. Instead, the woman looked through the entrance to the outside. Finding nothing, a loud sigh was uttered before she came back for him.
“Guess you got left behind,” the officer commented with a sense of distaste. The weapon Troy had learned to be the tranquillizer came out of the woman’s pocket, the thing aimed at him with patience. “I suppose it had to happen at some point for you.”
Then the darkness was upon him.
Support "Artificial Mind"
- MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1
- Disliker of France
Is the prominent holder of duck-pictures. Also a Gallophobe