“Shit. Grab your stuff, let’s go.” The voices were low, just above a whisper, barely audible in the dark, smoky room that was now loud with the rustle of bags and weapons being hastily snatched up.
“Wait,” a third voice interjected, “who’re coming?”
“We don’t have time to explain, they’ll be here in minutes, get your bloody stuff together.” The door of the room was suddenly lit from behind. A man with a torch was evidently moving along the corridor outside. “Let’s get out of here.”
There were twenty men straining to leave the room. All were armed, most with battered and old autoguns, but with the occasional lasgun or a pistol. In the wall opposite the door was a hole, large enough for a full grown man to squeeze through. One of the armed men was doing so now, turning on the small torch attached to the barrel of his rifle as he did so. The weak light peered into the gloom to reveal another corridor. The man crept along it as a second squeezed through the hole. And so the men escaped. Or at least, most of them did.
Five men were still in the room, their gaze darting between the small light creeping through the hole, and the ever intensifying light coming from behind the door. They had to wait patiently for each man to silently slide through the cracked hole. The men outside still kept low, moving along the narrow passageway slowly. Silence and darkness ruled. Back inside the room, the sound of footsteps approaching the door echoed across the walls. Five weapons turned to aim at the doorway. The footsteps were slow, somehow confident and inexorable. Dust fell from the ceiling before the line of men. The small light from the torch at the front swept up to meet up. The tiny illuminated patch was empty. The light swung back level.
The sound of the explosion rocked the walls, shattering dust from the concrete. The men in the corridor’s heads snapped back to the hole, which was suddenly lit with a flickering red light. The sharp bark of autoguns rang out from the gap, but was suddenly replaced by a mechanical roar, and then all-too-human screams as dark flames burst through the wall into the corridor. The column of men sprinted away from the hole, down the passage as fast as they could go. The screams faded to nothing, and only the sound of hurried footsteps and shallow breath could be heard. The torch showed a small ladder. The men crowded around the bottom of it, unsure of what was above, too terrified to find out. They aimed their weapons back down the corridor.
“Up, we have to get out of here.”
“What was that?”
“Shut it and get up the ladder” The first man slung his weapon onto his back and scrambled up the rungs. One by one the men climbed. The man who seemed to be giving the orders stayed at the bottom, wanting to make sure everyone got up their safely. He called up as loudly as he dared,
“What do you see up there?”
“There’s a hatch!” came the reply, followed by the screech of old hinges. “There’s an old street outside!”
“Everyone, into the street, quick!”