Chapter LIII: Breakout
The next room comprised a series of electrical conductors placed in the ceiling and on the floor, the room flooded. Sparks flew from the conductors in the roof, causing shocks to move through the water. The man behind the window began to report once more, considering the impacts of this environmental hazard on my survival. I ignored the voice, instead focusing on the conductors. There was no way that I was going to get wet, not to satisfy the man's agenda.
Drawing the shotgun from my coat, I raised the gun to eye-level and fired at the two electricity conductors, fusing the systems. Thick smoke filled the room, and the smell of burning technology. Smiling nonchalantly at the window, I stepped into the centre of the room, the water swishing harmlessly around my ankles as I moved.
'Very impressive', the man muttered. 'Now on to the final experiment.'
As I stepped into this final chamber, the door closed behind me, electronically locked. The flamethrowers shot jets of flame at rapid intervals, filling the room with an acrid smell and unbearable heat. Reminds me of the kitchen in the haunted hotel...
An unpleasant memory, of seared flesh, of agonisingly pulling myself into the elevator shaft, feeling my skin dripping onto my clothing before I was able to heal the wounds.
'The test subjects kind, we have found, is vulnerable to fire. Not only must the test subject fight his surroundings this time, but he must also fight instinctive panic.'
I growled, feeling my hackles rise. Obviously this was to be the test that I was intended not to survive. The room continued to heat up, the flames coming in each burst slightly greater than the last. The man smiled humourlessly, watching me from behind his red-tinted sunglasses. Abruptly he turned, as several newcomers entered the room.
The voices were indistinct from behind the glass, so thick that not even I could perceive the words coming from the other side. Using their inattention to my advantage, I raced past the first two flamethrowers as their flames ceased, pausing momentarily as the flamethrowers in front lit up. Once extinguished, I raced to the opposing door, and looked carefully at the flamethrowers. Each was connected to a liquid-fuel cannister, a highly-pressurised steel container. No eyes were currently on me; it was obvious they had expected me to still be pressed against the doorframe contemplating my dire situation. Instead, I took the colt from my pocket, and aimed carefully at the cannister closest to the observation window. Pulled the trigger...
The resulting explosion sent me flying back against the wall, slamming my head against hard concrete. My vision swam, my ears ringing after the massive soundwave, my flesh singed and muscles aching. The window blasted outwards, sending sharp shards of reinforced glass into the spectators, blood spraying from shrapnel-peppered flesh.
One of the men lay dead on the floor. The scientist who had been observing the experiments knelt on the floor, trying to compress a heavily bleeding wound in his forearm. Seizing the opportunity, I sprinted towards the shattered window, vaulting over the ledge and throwing myself at the security guard who was raising his weapon. His head slammed viciously into the wall, leaving crumbling plaster and a blood smear as his legs gave way, his body sliding down the wall. I turned, firing at the second, hitting him in the stomach and leg, the man giving a wrenching cry as the blood pulsed from his lower intestines, sluggish and thick.
I turned, my eyes alight with repressed pain, savage hunger, and cold revenge. The scientist blubbered as he saw me coming, the blood flowing freely under the hand pressed over his arm.
'You don't need to worry about that anymore.'
I grabbed the man, pulling his head to the side with such force that I heard the bones snap, the blood gurgle in his throat. Ignoring that final cry, I bit him deeply, wrenching my head to separate the meat from bone, drinking the spraying fluid with an exultant moan. I could feel the Beast raising its head, seeking control. It wanted to tear, to eviscerate, drink, feast on the lambs that sought to corner the wolf...
No!, I thought harshly. If I was going to live through the night, I had to keep my sense of reason. I tried my best to ignore the voice, forcing it out of my mind until it was no more than an irritating buzz. Looking around, I growled again, this time in frustration. The mysterious man had disappeared. Looking around quickly, I saw the large drops of flesh blood leading from the end of the corridor. It was him, I knew it. Hungrily, I gave chase.
Coming through a second corridor, I slammed my shoulder against a locked door, breaking the simple lock. I kicked the door out of the way, my eyes searching for the white-haired man.
I stood at the top of a flight of stairs leading into a warehouse. The bloodspots continued down the stairs, and behind a shelf full of large boxes, accompanied by the sound of laboured breathing. My prey was close. I ran down the first few stairs, watching intently as the man stepped out from behind the shelves, tightly gripping an automatic rifle.
'You may have escaped, vampire!', he spat, the word filled with venom and distate. 'But I will not let you go without a fight. You'll kill me, but I fear you less than my employer's wrath!' He yelled the words, spittle flying from his mouth, dripping from his chin as he opened fire, several bullets hitting my bicep and shoulder as I moved to the side, firing a return shot. It missed, the man jumping to the side, hiding again behind the boxes. I reloaded the gun as I jumped down the final stairs, hoping to catch the quick man off-guard. As I turned, passing the shelves, the man was waiting, gun raised. I powered across the floor, feeling another wave of bullets penetrate my torso, ignored the pain that wracked my body in my desire to reach the man. I closed the distance, the man throwing the gun aside as I barreled into him, his arms closing around mine as if in embrace. One of my hands was in front of my body, in between us. The hand holding the colt. I looked into the man's eyes then, the sunglasses still skittering across the floor from the impact of the blow. Looked into his eyes as the gun was placed under his chin, the bullet fired. Looked into his eyes, until his eyes were no more.
I stepped up from the gore that covered the floor, again feeling that clinical detachment. I reached into the man's jacket, searching for anything he might have held, and finding a heavy key. Stumbling slightly, my feet slipping in the crimson mess, I quickly surveyed the room, seeing the small cell in the corner.
Through the observation window I could see a humanoid figure with the sallow skin and yellowed eyes of a Nosferatu. 'Barabus', I murmured, unlocking the door. We'd have to get out, and quickly. I had a sneaking suspicion who the man's employer was, and when she found out about what had happened here, she wouldn't be happy.
'Barabus, Gary sent me. He really misses you', I called from the doorway.
'You can beat yourself up over it later. We need to get out, fast.'
'Research? Where's it all being kept?'
'Lead the way, B.' I grinned, bowing theatrically as the Nosferatu walked past. He looked at the large oak door leading from the room, roaring as he forced his hand through it, ripping off the knob. He retracted his arm and gave the door a solid kick, ripping it from it's hinges, sending it hurtling into the marble wall on the opposite side of the corridor, the wood fragmenting from the force. Gary roared again as two security guards ran from the right, firing at his body. He moved quickly, in a way resembling Brother Kanker as he jumped on the first man, his deformed Nosferatu claws tearing the flesh from the mans face, drinking deeply as the man struggled. The other guard stepped backing, firing at the vampire's prone form, yelling wordlessly in horror.
Meanwhile, I turned to the left, firing at the guards who had approached from the left. The first bullet hit the first guard in the chest, sending him sprawling across the floor, the second taking the other security guard in the knee, his leg bending at a nauseating angle as he fell to the tiles shrieking. I walked up quickly, holstering the gun, drawing the katana. As I walked past, I thrust down quickly, through the mans chest, stopping his heart. I lifted the blade again quickly, flicking the blood off the blade.
At the end of the corridor was another large door, labeled 'Mandarin's Office'. Feeding on the same rage and exhilaration as Barabus, I slammed my foot heavily against the door, breaking the lock. The security alarms going off throughout the building meant their was no need for secrecy. The office was sparse, although a large monitor dominated the desk.
I stepped around to the monitor, quickly cracking the password.
Elimination: Password accepted.
A single email was left on the server, from earlier that night, from the sender 'Priestess'.
A new Kindred has entered our domain tonight. Find all the useful data you can on it before eliminating it.
So, Ming Xiao knew exactly where Barabus was...probably gave him to the bastards as well. If it was her intent to find the best ways of killing vampires, then my presence in her territory would be as short-lived as my existence unless I got the hell out. I ran out of the office, following the sounds of Barabus's conquests into the server room.
A single terminal was connected to a large mainframe, rows of hard drives on shelves on either side.
'Password's 'autopsy'', Barabus called, slamming a guard repeatedly into a door until it gave way, and throwing the corpse skidding along the tiles. 'Wipe it! Quick!'
I followed the command as Barabus raced into the lobby, the sounds of gunfire echoing the staccato of his shoes on the tiles. Finding the Species-X folder was simplistic, and permanently erasing all files not much harder. For good measure, I tore the shelf down, sending the series of computers crashing onto the floor. It wouldn't be perfect, but putting together any data that may have been accessible would hopefully take longer than it would for Ming Xiao to have an accident.
'Don't have to tell me twice, it seems Ming Xiao is in charge of this entire operation. I don't think China Town is going to be safe for a while.'
'Yeah, I'll tell Gary. He'll be able to pass the information on.'
'Do that. Look after yourself.'
'Will do. And thanks.'
With that the Nosferatu and I ran outside, Barabus quickly disappearing, his image wavering slightly before fading. I could still feel his presence however, my eyes turning to the manhole cover being lifted by the side of the building, being replaced. The sound of police sirens echoed in the background, coming closer. I jumped slightly as the phone on the wall beside me started to ring.
'And that info would be?', I asked the smug Nosferatu.
'The Giovanni? Who are the Giovanni?'
'I appreciate it. What do I need to know about them?'
'Brilliant', I sighed. 'Mafioso necro-vampires. I suppose I'll have to go there if I want the sarcophagus. Where are they?'
'Thanks. I think I might pay them a visit tomorrow night, I love a good reunion.'
'Will do', I said. I paused, and spoke with sincerity. 'Thanks again Gary, I'll be in touch.' My only response, a single tone as Gary hung up. Despite his appearance and off-putting demeanour, the Nosferatu wasn't that bad. I put the phone on the receiver as I listened for the sirens. A block, maybe two away. I raced towards the taxi that pulled up outside the Fu Syndicate building, wrenching the door open and jumping in fast.
'Get me back downtown, and fast. I don't think the Kindred are welcome here anymore.'