“This is the place,” Adelaide stopped next to the building and looked up from her phone. They were standing in front of a large, concrete building with a pair of sliding double doors. There were no windows on the building at all. Adelaide remembered the building from the time she’d walked out, leaving a stunned Price behind her. She’d proceeded to get helplessly lost in the surrounding streets and had to hail a taxi to get home, so the exact positioning of the place was vague. Nevertheless, she knew it when she saw it.
The others crowded around her. Each carried one of the weapons from Francis’ garage. Emma had taken the little flamethrower and had it slung over her shoulder on a clip-on-strap she’d found. Lee was carrying what looked like a frisbee made out of metal attached to the top of a slingshot. Lydia, who’d been immensely worried about picking anything up from the garage, held a small hammer with a number of little plastic capsules tied to it. Francis himself, travelling light as it was difficult to phase carrying too much stuff, had a pair of boots he dubbed ‘the vindicators’ for reasons known only to himself. Adelaide had stuck with the rocket bat.
Turning, she raised a finger to her lips and motioned at the door. Francis stepped forward and tried the to pull the handles apart and slide the doors back. He turned back, shook his head curtly and phased through. There was a silence as the others waited. Eventually there was a click and the doors swung back. Francis peered through the gap and gave them a thumbs up.
Moving in they spread out, looking around. They were in a low-ceilinged room with a concrete floor and bare walls. A pair of more appealing looking wooden doors stood opposite them in the wall at the other end of the room. Hastening over, Adelaide looked through the glass of each. One led to a descending staircase fading into darkness, the other a hallway ending in another door.
“Which one,” she said over her shoulder.
Moving over Emma glanced between them.
“Well,” she said, “didn’t you say that Director person was keeping the Source ‘in her basement’, so my guess is we go down.”
With a noiseless nod, Adelaide opened the door. She looked back at Lee. He read her thought before she could suggest it and moved to go first, feeling around him for minds ahead as he descended. Lydia went next, tasting the air with her tongue for any unusual changes in heat as they walked down. Adelaide, Emma and Francis followed after.
After a while they reached the bottom of the stairs. There was a door, which Lee pressed his forehead to.
“There’s no one close to the door,” he whispered back, “it’s pretty thick, so I guess there could be people in there I’m not feeling.”
“We’ll have to risk it,” Adelaide muttered. Lee nodded, and tentatively opened the door. The room they entered was without decoration. It seemed like the Director wasn’t big on ornaments. One wall was taken up by what looked like a huge screen, currently lifeless. Rows of seats stood before it, facing it.
“A cinema?” Lydia said, her voice still a whisper.
“Maybe,” Adelaide looked up. There was a projector hanging down from the ceiling, like the sort they had at school. Walking over to one of the chairs, Adelaide hopped up onto it and reached up. She wasn’t quite tall enough to reach the on button. Emma stepped over, shouldered Adelaide out of the way and easily reached the button standing on the chair. Adelaide scowled but her annoyance was quickly forgotten when the screen on the other side of the room flickered and an image appeared.
The picture was of another room, this one swarming with people. They wore white hazmat suits and held a variety of scientific implements. Their attention was focused on something on a pedestal at the centre of the room. So many of them surrounded it that it was impossible to see what was inside.
“I think it’s footage from somewhere else in this place,” murmured Francis, stepping closer.
“Who are they then?” Lee said.
“Scientists,” Adelaide said, “and I think what they’re looking at is the Source.”
“Great,” Emma frowned, “so we not only need to find where that room actually is, we then need to fight through a horde of scientists to get a look.”
“If only there was a way of making them get out of the way,” Francis put a hand to his chin.
“There might be,” Lydia had walked over to a little side table the others hadn’t noticed. On it sat a little intercom microphone, “I think this probably communicates with that room. It would make sense.”
“Great,” Adelaide stepped over.
“Wait a second,” Francis held out a hand, “we don’t know for certain…”
Adelaide ignored him. It was becoming a skill. Pushing down the button with one finger she put on her most serious sounding voice.
“Warning,” she intoned, “hostile presence within the facility detected. Please evacuate immediately.”
“There’s no way they’re going to believe you’re for real,” Emma said.
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Lee pointed to the screen.
The crowd of scientists in the picture had suddenly become a whirling melee as each fought to be the first to get out of the door. They tripped and fell over their own baggy hazmat suits, thrown into confusion. Eventually one of them threw open one of the doors in the room and they surged out. The few stragglers became trapped within the doorway, struggling and twisting, trying to escape.
With the scientists gone, the room was empty, and the object sitting inside the cage on top of the pedestal in the centre of the room now stood clear. Adelaide squinted at it.
“Is that…” she stopped, not sure exactly what it was she was seeing.
“It’s still pretty hard to see,” Francis said, “we should get down there.”
“Or,” said a voice from behind them, “and this is just a suggestion you understand, you could get the hell out of here.“