DeMarcus does as he’s told and finds Big Man standing behind him with a gun pointed at his head. “Figured out your little trick with telling people what to do. Not sure how you do it but you’re not getting in my head again. You’re going to do the listening now. I know that terminal can open this place up and I assume you know how to use it. Nod if I’m right.”
Slowly DeMarcus nods his head.
“Thought so. When I woke up my head felt clear. Well, for the most part. Still had to fight to do the things you told me not to but I could get through it. For the most part. Still couldn’t pick up my gun, but I found a way around that. Grabbed one of the other ones. I don’t know who or what you are but here’s the deal. I’m walking out of here. I have a plan to make that happen and I even have good news for you. I need your help to do it so you get to live. If I’m not getting out of here though I can assure you I’ll let you die with the rest of them. Nod if you understand.”
Once again DeMarcus nods his head. He has to press his lips together to avoid yelling something out. He wonders what would be faster, Big Man’s bullets or his words. He doesn’t want to find out if he doesn’t have to.
“More good news for you. None of my men are walking out of here with me, clearly. So I’m not getting more than I can carry. I have an escape waiting for me on the roof though. Helicopter I can call in any time. Right now though this place is locked down and I can’t get to them. You can change that. I could change that for that matter, but I’d never get from here to the roof after opening the place. The cops will catch me on the way and I’ll be dead. I need you to give me a head start.”
DeMarcus cocks his head, trying to get the okay to speak. Big Man sighs and rolls his eyes. “You can speak if the first word makes it a question. Figured out the questions don’t work earlier.”
“Why,” he pauses after the first word, “would I help you get out of here?”
“That’s easy. You’ll be dead if you don’t. Not just you either. I can open all the doors from here if I want. I can make sure those three you tucked away end up dead. I heard you mention a girl in a lab somewhere. I’ll make sure she’s dead. I’ll even make sure the people you locked down at the start of this are dead. I might not get them all before the cops get me but I’ll get enough. You wanted to protect them. Now’s your chance. You give me eight minutes. That’s all the time I need. After eight minutes you open the doors. I’ll be gone before the cops know it, you all live, most of your stuff’s safe here. You blow the doors early though and I’ll be even closer to those labs and kill a lot more of them before the cops get to me. Do what I say and it’s a win for everyone.” Big Man stands there waiting on a response. “You can speak. Question word first.”
“If,” he again pauses, “I do this, how do I explain where you went?”
“You don’t even have to tell anyone about our deal. Who knows where I went? Slipped out in the confusion. Your call but I need an answer. No words this time, just nod your head.”
Closing his eyes, DeMarcus thinks about seeing Jesse again. He thinks about all the people he wants to help in this place. With his eyes still closed, he nods his head. When he opens his eyes again Big Man’s holding a grenade.
“Don’t think I’d leave without a little insurance do you?” He takes a few steps backward. “I’m backing out of here. You say anything while I’m in ear shot and I throw this back in here and you’re dead. Done. Keep your mouth shut and we both get what we want.” He starts backing out step by step. DeMarcus looks at the time on the phone in his pocket to know what time to open the doors.
After two minutes he starts the process of logging in and trying to disengage the red alert. His first attempt to type in the password leads to a message saying the password’s wrong. He starts to freak out but a second try goes through. It’s hard to type with only one working hand.
Time keeps passing and DeMarcus tries to use it to familiarize himself with the system. He finds the basement’s on a separate switch from the upstairs but there’s no way to unlock the outer doors without also unlocking the inner ones. Unless the tied up attacker he left locked in with Alexis got free that’s not an issue. The only attackers he’s worried about are down here. He waits until the seven minute mark before calling Grady back.
“What the hell’s taking so long? Get this thing open.”
“Good to hear from you too. You try typing with one working hand. I figured it out and I’m about to open things. Get everything ready. I’m leaving the basement sealed until your men get down here. I’ve got a few of them locked up down here and I’m nervous they can still be a threat. Upstairs you’ll find one tied up in C wing with a girl named Alexis. A and B wings both have a bunch of scientists locked up. There might still be an alive attacker in B wing though I don’t think you need to worry about them. Get down here fast.”
He desperately wants to tell them to watch the roof as well. If Big Man figures out he’s been double crossed though he might run back inside and go after the scientists. He can’t risk it, not after everything he’s done to get this far.
“We’ll be down as soon as we can. Just hang tight. I’ll send a doctor down for you too.”
“Thanks Grady. See ya soon.”
Eight minutes are up so DeMarcus overrides the code red. On the phone he can hear excited cheers in the background as he assumes the shutters are going up. After a moment Grady ends the call.
With nothing to do except wait, DeMarcus kicks back. He puts his feet on the desk and tilts the chair backward. This is a great chair. The vice president has good taste. He starts getting excited at the prospect of seeing Jesse. A nice shower sounds nice too. Looking at his wrist takes away the joy of that a bit. He knows he’s going to be in a cast and won’t be able to fully enjoy a shower. “It’s not a big deal.” Immediately he stops worrying about it. He’s alive, it could be a lot worse.