I was right.
Alright. Summaries going up... about a week later than we had thought. That's fine. Everything's been a mess at the House with Amanda's shattered legs, (Doc still isn't sure we'll be able to fix her, causing both she and Spencer to call in every favour they can think of in order to do what we can. Losing somebody is not high on our priority list right now.) Spencer's shattered fingers and a good amount of loopiness all around. Sam's sleeping in front of the East Wing again, Sybil and Grov are acting up (thankfully more Sybil, less Grov.) and everybody's got a fair amount of injuries. Doc's really done a fantastic job of taking care of everybody, and I'm doing what I can.
We've settled, at least for now. Readjustment's mostly passed and we're all back to our mostly normal selves (though I'm still sleeping with a bucket by my bed, and the stench of tar and mustard gas probably isn't going to leave my room for weeks) and even mostly recovered. A few bumps and bruises here and there, but that's fairly par for the course in our case. But to alleviate the worries of the small number of you who care, (god knows why you do it) we're all doing okay. A little worse for wear, but we're surviving.
(And that's worth a lot right now, isn't it?)
But, the delivery. Todd and Doc have covered a bit already, but there are some gaps to fill.
Firstly, we got into the building (and yes, it was a skull fortress. Teeth set in an angry scowl and sockets that cried lava and everything. In the middle of a forest.) by method of high explosives. Probably not the brightest of ideas - but we don't exactly have a reputation for being the brightest, do we?
(It would have been a shame to waste it, anyways.)
That's when the alarms sounded. Right overhead by the sounds of it, too. It didn't take long for us to be surrounded, no way of getting out of it without either killing or straight running.
We chose the latter.
I ended up in a crawlspace somewhere a ways away from where the fight had broken out. Radioed around. Couldn't get anybody until I heard Todd shouting, then tried to get him to calm down before he got more people on him again. You know what happened from there.
I needed to find somebody else. Todd was with Amanda and Sam at that point, but the others were still missing. Something about this place (I'm guessing it was the walls that seemed to be made of solid concrete and the fact that we were in a Loop) caused our radios to cut out if we were more than roughly 50 feet away from somebody, (something Doc and I tested once we had found each other) so I stumbling upon each other was more sheer luck than anything. Steele and Spencer were both silent, but Doc was somewhere not too far away. I could hear the hiss of interference but still managed to hear her loud and clear.
She said she'd overheard a couple guards. Something along the lines of 'taking the blond to...' and then she hadn't caught the rest. We slipped into a nearby break room (and raided one of the vending machines while we were there) to hopefully get out of the line of sight when a thought hit me.
Massive, needlessly complex fortress with military-level security?
Guards in identical uniforms with helmets that shield their faces?
Unfurnished hallways with dim, flickering lights and eerie suits of armour lining each corridor?
"What do you think are the chances of this guy having a dungeon?"
Realization dawns on Doc's face. "Very... very high."
There was some exploring after that. I'll save you the details and say that we found a guard, interrogated him, took a literal skeleton key off him and made our way down the nearest set of stairs, dim florescent lights eventually turning to torchlight (real torches with real fire. I had honestly stopped being surprised at that point) and the cold of the concrete walls upstairs turned to a damn, icy chill that sucked the life out of everything around us. Moss grew from the walls and there was an unidentifiable dripping somewhere in the distance. Something scurried and I tried my hardest not to see the figure off to my right.
Made our way down to the second level of cells. As we turned the corner, voices drifted from somewhere further down. I felt Doc grab my hand, putting a finger over her mouth. Hush.
"...that should do him for awhile. We'll check on his stupid ass later."
"I can't believe he tried to bite my ear..."
"I can't remember the last time we had a British dude in here."
Doc frowns. I grin. If that wasn't Steele, I didn't know who it could be.
We approach the cell. Sure enough, Steele's bound to a chair and out cold. No response to anything. Doc tries to unlock the door and...
The next thing I see is her convulsing and falling to the floor. I manage to catch her before she hits the ground, softening the thud. She's dazed and her eyes roll for a second before she focuses on me again. It's only once I'm sure she's alright that we decide that the keys are floor-specific and that we'll need to find somebody with a key to this floor if we're going to break Steele out of there. And there was still the matter of Spencer...
It's then we hear a scream. Spencer's scream, actually. Blood-curdling and followed by too-high, too-loud laughter, to the point where I'd have been terrified if I wasn't so used to them by now. My only thoughts were 'it'd better not be his fingers' and 'oh, you have got to be kidding me.'
So we find Spencer in what I think Doc later described as 'the mother of all S&M dungeons.' And she's not too far from the truth on that one. We basically find Spencer chained to a chair with his hand in a... I don't even know. It looks like a clamp with five perfect holes for fingers and there's three of them around him and one is tightening it around his hand and there are already two bodies mutilated on the floor and he's laughing and laughing and...
I don't want to talk about it.
We manage to get him out and Doc drugs the remaining three. They'll be out for a solid twelve hours, she says. More than enough to get us out of there. Spencer's mostly incoherent and his hands are in ruins. Doc's got some basic first aid on her and we manage to wrap his fingers so they don't fall apart when he tries to move them and head on our way. From there it's a little bit of a blur - Steele's broken out, we escape and meet up at the rendezvous... there's an explosion somewhere along the way that I'm guessing is what happened to Todd, Amanda and Sam...
Something black drips on Sam's shoulder. There's this sick silence that hangs in the air for a second before we hear this... this noise. I can't really describe it. Almost a... a distant thunder. A rumbling that starts somewhere off in the distance, slowly growing in volume and intensity before the air around us seems to shake.
There's a loud crack somewhere far, far above us.
We look up.
Somewhere off in the distance, a piece of white falls from the sky.
Correct, a piece of the sky falls.
The sky is falling.
The sky's falling and a massive torrent of pure black comes down after it.
We watch it for what feels like forever, and there's a tiny, utterly terrified laugh from one of us - I think it's me. It doesn't take long before the crack spreads across the entirety of the white expanse above us, black lines clawing and tearing and spreading across the sky so fast that it takes less than a second for the entire view above our head to be marred with black lines line a spider's web. It's cracked like glass. The sky is cracked like glass and not a second after this happens, more pieces begin to fall.
That's what somebody calls. Somebody grabs my hand and rips me away, and suddenly we're all moving as far and as fast as we can. The cracking echoes around us and the entire world is screaming, tearing itself apart at the seams. The trees shrivel and turn from bark and leaves to flat lines on an endless white expanse. The world is vanishing and collapsing and we're going to collapse with it if we can't find a way out of here.
The ground disappears. More and more pieces of the sky, the distant edges of the world and the ground below our feet fall away. Nothing but blackness behind them. Nothingness. Pure nothingness. A crack, the loudest and closest yet. Right above our heads. Still running.
Darkness. Everything vanishes. No light. No noise. No gravity - I'm floating. No air - I'm choking. Try to call out. Nothing.
The ground rushes towards my feet.
We're in a field, the cars not far away. Somehow, we're out. We're out and we're alive and we have no idea how, but that's not what matters, is it?
It takes us a few minutes. We just sort of... sit there. Revel in the moment. Can't really believe it at first. How could we have possibly...
Slowly, mechanically, we get to out feet. Everybody's stunned to silence. Nobody wants to talk - or is it because we can't? How do you express what you're feeling at that moment? A jumble of relief, terror, joy, fear, anger and worry overall - worry for everybody else. Are they alive? Is everybody okay? Did we all get out?
We did. Amanda posted later and I'm sorry if we worried you. I'm going to cut this off here because... well, that's really all there is to it. I've already spent too much time on the computer. Doc'll need my help with something and I should really go make sure everybody's doing alright.
It's good to be home.