Hello guys, #TeleTuesdays here! Things are finally coming to a head. This is the last piece before our grand finale next week. You’ve met all the major players now – Tracy, Lewis, Jeremy, Enrico, the Colonel, Kwamena – the board is now set for action. We get a little more background today with a heartstopper or two, as usual. 🙂 Make sure to catch up on the previous series before you sink your teeth into this one. Enjoy!
The Colonel was still in thought when Lewis knocked first briefly on his door, walking in almost immediately, telegraphing stubbornness in his gait.
“Have a seat,” Onyina directed him to a chair, which he took.
“I think we need to go in,” Lewis began. “We have a narrowing window of opportunity but I think it’s the best shot we’re going to get. We need to move fast now!”
“Go on.” Onyina said, his face an unreadable mask.
Lewis raised his eyebrow slightly then. He’d expected a blistering argument from the Colonel from the onset and this was totally unexpected.
“I, uh…I also believe that we can trust the AI. She has even more at stake than we do.”
“Okay, Dr. Koomson. I’ll do what you ask.”
“But, but..!” Lewis sputtered, still amazed at the complete about-turn. “I thought you were…I mean, I thought you didn’t–”
“No, Doctor. I’m a reasonable man. The AI is in contact with you and you alone: now if you don’t feel fully certain of the support from your AI enough to stand up for it – her – in the face of logical reasoning, wouldn’t it be sensible for me to distrust her too?
“And before you ask, I’m deciding to follow your recommendation because I knew it was our only play on this board…providing your AI could be trusted, of course. Now that is out of the way, I believe we can move forward?”
Lewis relaxed in the chair at last. Things seemed to be shaping up.
“And what about the red tape Colonel? I know it takes days for such operations to be effectively mounted and executed without stepping on anyone’s toes.”
“That’s my decision to make, my friend. Yours was to do the math, but mine is to place the bets. I can get an elite strike force ready in 12 hours. We’ll mount the raid now, and ask for permission later! That’s one of the fringe benefits of being me – everyone expects me to do the extraordinary, thereby making it easier for me to get away with the outrageous!”
Thank you. And thank him for me. The voice spoke up within Lewis’s mind.
“The AI wishes to extend her gratitude to you. Her decision to help us puts her at a great risk too so she’s counting on us also.”
“She’s welcome. I spoke to my secretary outside. She’s arranged for accommodation for you at our 4-star Guest House. Get some rest for tomorrow.”
“Yes sir. Thank you very much.”
Dr. Koomson then got up and left the room, leaving Onyina to himself.
The Colonel got up from his chair and strode to the glass doors that led to the balcony. Stepping out, he took in the sight of Accra at night as he slowly breathed in the warm evening air, and let it go, tightening his grip on the railing. Ghana my happy home…he thought.
Dr. Lewis Koomson was just about nodding off to sleep for the second time when he heard a knock on the door to his flat.
Somewhat groggily, he got out of bed rubbing the sand out of his eyes.
He’d managed to catch about 8 hours of sleep once he collapsed wearily in less than 15 seconds into the Queen-sized bed after checking in at the front desk of the Guest House the evening before.
He’d finally given himself the permission to feel the full weight of events of the last 24 hours – and feel it he had! He’d been so tired that he’d initially drifted off into a dreamless sleep, waking up only when he thought he heard someone calling his name and knocking. It turned out to be an annoying false alarm but then he couldn’t get back to sleep. And now it was about 8am with the sun fully out, he noted through the slits between the heavy expensive-looking curtains of his bedroom.
Hey, are you there? He thought inwardly.
Mind if I call you ‘Mel’?
Go right ahead Lewis. I guess it’ll make you more comfortable that way.
Do you still go to sleep? A strange thought to wake up with, I know, but I was just thinking you should still be human enough to need to sleep every day.
Well, since I’m in sync with the machine – and in the stasis pod – I hardly expend any energy at all and so don’t need as much sleep as most people would. Besides, with my mental faculties now firing on all cylinders, I can hardly ‘slow down’ enough to sleep. So what happens is that, based on energy expended during the day, an optimum length of time is calculated per day and somewhere close to midnight, I’m automatically put into REM sleep throughout that time period.
Lewis whistled softly. Quite efficient isn’t it?
Pretty much so I guess.
She sounded like she was smiling now. Lewis couldn’t even to begin to fathom what sort of person in such dire circumstances could even think of smiling in a situation such as this. Not for the first time, he found himself wondering what sort of young woman she had been before she was taken by the Association. Instead of walking down that path of reverie (that might end up spoiling her mood instead) Lewis decided to get up and prepare for the Strike Team’s departure from IFAS HQ.
So what else can you do apart from crunching massive amounts of data and running simulations? He asked the AI as he stepped into the washroom to make use of the brand new amenities provided.
Well, communication between us is just the most basic of functions we can potentially share. I think it’d be best if I showed you instead of describing the technical details. Do I have your permission?
Lewis paused at that, lifting an eyebrow with a hint of apprehension as he briefly considered declining. Shaking the feeling away a moment later on a whim, he agreed. Sure, what will ‘we’ do next?
Just a second.
A sudden feeling of pins & needles swept over Lewis’ body from his head to his toes, causing the hairs on his arms and legs to stand up briefly. He sucked in his breath reflexively but the sensation was over in just over a second.
Okay now. I believe you had some teeth-brushing to do?
Before he could answer in the affirmative, his right hand expertly moved forward seemingly of its own accord to grasp the new toothbrush as his left hand in turn went straight for the toothpaste tube, applying precisely a pea-sized glob of paste to the bristles!
“Wow! I –“, he began, but right in the middle of whatever he was going to say, to his abject surprise, his mouth suddenly presented a toothy grin!
Talking whilst brushing your teeth may be hazardous to your health. Mel quipped with a hint of that naughty smile in her ‘voice’.
In 3 minutes’ time, Lewis felt as if he’d just had his first ever experience with a toothbrush.
Could I have my mouth back please? He thought at the AI, still partially in shock at how easily she’d taken over his actions.
Gladly. There are 3 modes to this process of Neuromuscular Augmentation, the first and last of which can be overridden by just reinforcing mental control over your own actions, without physical separation from the biomechanical transducer. This was a demonstration of A-Mode.
Dr. Koomson’s eyes practically bugged out at what she said.
You mean this function has a B- and C-Mode?! The Association thought of all of this?
She sighed in a typically human manner of resignation.
In truth, most of these functions were theorized by Association scientists and as such they are eagerly awaiting the testing phase of Project MEL-1A. There are also a few…other functions they are hoping this Syncing between man and machine may be able to achieve.
Hearing an edge of sadness enter her voice, Lewis tried to stir their conversation back to more jovial pursuits.
Okay, let’s forget about all that for a moment. I’m more interested in what happens when we take my morning preparations to another level with B-Mode!
At this, she seemed to brighten up slightly. This time there seemed to be a hint of something else very human in her ‘voice’ which Lewis couldn’t place a finger on immediately.
I noticed that even with 8 hours of sleep, you still feel a bit ‘out of it’ this morning. Luckily, B-Mode operates optimally with the subject in an unconscious state – simply put, you can ‘sleep’ some more whilst I finish preparing you for the day! I’m guessing that would come pretty handy when you’re tired but still want to beat the time.
Or when you’re not supposed to be aware of the full details of whatever tasks have been assigned to you by the powers that be…a field day for the paranoid! Lewis added drily.
I guess so too…So Lewis, I guess you’ll be having the full treatment this morning?
Sure! See you in a bit then Mel.
Sweet dreams Lewis.
When Dr. Koomson ‘woke up’ an extra 40 minutes later, he was surprised to find himself seated at the small dining table with a healthy breakfast of oats, wheat bread and a side of fruit in front of him.
I took the liberty of ordering you up some breakfast before we tackle the rest of the day.
He barely heard her words as he got up in amazement to walk over to a full-length mirror tastefully hung in the hallway. He started slightly at his own image before gaining control of himself.
He was wearing a brand new navy blue Express polo shirt tucked into a pair of black Tom Ford jeans, showing off a pair of sturdy Timberland boots. He also noted a dark grey blazer hanging off the back of a chair and his jaw just dropped open.
“Mel!,”, he whispered out aloud, staring into the mirror. “Which Mall did we rob??!”
I also took the liberty of ordering a fresh set of clothes from the Accra Central Mall – apparently they deliver all goods ordered online as long as it’s within the limits of the City. Good thing I picked up the Colonel’s credit card details just before we left the HQ
You what?! Lewis sputtered.
Hahahah! I can only imagine your facial expression now. I’m just kidding – I actually called IFAS and asked about access to an expense account to deal with your lack of a suitable wardrobe and got access codes to do a bit of online shopping.
“Whew!” he exclaimed outwardly. I don’t know much about the Colonel but I don’t think he’s the right man on whose bad side I’d want to get so soon.
Copy that! Also, a car will be sent to pick you up at 10am so you can relay information from the Command Centre to the Strike Team about the Association offshore base before they leave.
I thought it’d take at least a day to organise a Spec Ops contingent for the raid. That was fast!
From my analysis of IFAS Response Protocol, I learnt that a dedicated strike force is always on standby and trained to be battle-ready in 35 minutes or less from when the order is relayed down the chain of command.
Wow! Who would have thought that the Ghana of old could have reached this level of sophistication?!
Hmmph! Lewis, do you really want us to go through the political and socioeconomic upheavals that finally pushed the whole sub-region out of Third World status in the late 2010s?We probably won’t reach HQ before late noon then!
Okay okay, I get the drift. Eat and shut up, isn’t it?
Lewis, I’m the one who’s supposed to be putting the words into your mouth, not the other way around, remember?
“Hahahaha!,” Lewis burst into laughter. “You win Mel! I believe I at least have enough sense to recognise when I won’t win an argument against a woman determined to win.”
Aww Dr. Koomson, you sure know how to indirectly flatter a woman.
No serious tour of the township of Elmina was ever complete without a visit to Fort São Jago da Mina. One could usually identify the tourists, if not by the general ‘tourist-y’ wear, then by their attempts at sounding out the name of their destination as the Portuguese would have it instead of the locals – Fort Saint Jago. Tracy seemed perfectly in place, taking in the early afternoon sun on the ramparts of the Fort…were one not to notice that she had her binoculars trained on the rig that could just barely be seen from the high elevation point.
A plan had slowly started to form in her mind on how to infiltrate the Rig in order to extract Dr. Jeremy Aruba from the Association’s clasp. ‘Slowly’ being the operative word… Every scenario she ran through hit a snag somewhere along the line. For example, entry onto the Rig pretending that all was still well between her and her employers wasn’t going to fly anymore. And even if she somehow managed to get to him, getting off without attracting any undue attention would be a challenge of significant proportions. It’s not as if we can both jump off into the sea now, is it? She thought in frustration.
Leaning against a pillar in the cool shade of an archway, her thoughts drifted to Jeremy…
Funny how they met actually. At that time, Tracy knew nothing about the illicit activities of the Association and just believed she had some seriously well-padded but a bit quirky employers. She had been undercover on the Rig as a research assistant and had noticed a discrepancy in the amount of data being cycled through the Microsurgery Department – there seemed to be a chunk of data missing each day from the archives which did not show up anywhere else. Not willing to believe that her boyfriend of 2 years was the culprit here, she gathered even more damning evidence and more heartbroken than angry decided to confront him before going to his superiors to report his shady business.
Entering his office abruptly without knocking, her first surprise was to find him leaning on his desk, almost as if he had been waiting for her.
“Hi Tracy, I was wondering how long it would take you to get here”, he said with a little smile on his face. He then depressed a button on his office stereo system and took a step closer to her, raising his hands to show them empty as Mozart’s Don Giovanni overture filled the room.
She raised an eyebrow in some surprise but did not step back, fully confident that she could take him down if it became necessary to do so. He stopped just short of her personal space, leaning in slightly till she could smell the pleasant aftershave he used that she loved so much, and spoke in just short of a whisper.
“Miss Opoku, just give me 5 minutes and let me tell you a story. Afterwards, you can decide what to do with your findings, deal?” Not waiting for an answer, he continued.
“2 months ago you were assigned the task of finding out the source of leaks from the R&D department when a prototype of a new mobile distillation unit was found in a competitor’s lineup for patent approval. You traced this leak to 3 factory workers and within a day they were fired and legal proceedings were begun, right?” Stepping back to his desk, he lifted up some papers and drew out a newspaper clipping, handing it over to her.
8 WORKERS PERISH IN ELECTRICAL FIRE read the headline. Scanning through the article, she stopped short at the names of the 3 she had identified for the Global Oil Group, confused. She lifted her head, shaking it from side to side as if to reject the possibility as he continued.
“But wait, there’s more!” He proceeded to hand her a number of other clippings of different demises, apparently ruled as accidents, but always containing the details of some personnel she helped finger for the GOG. Her blood ran cold as she stepped back, leaning against the door for support as her true role in the whole matter dawned on her. “No, no, no, this can’t be true!”
“There is no GOG sweetheart, there is only the Association – a massive criminal operation using legitimate businesses and criminal alike to pursue its own agenda. I work for the IFAS, and I want you to help us.”
“It’s not your fault, it really isn’t,” he kept repeating in a soothing tone now. “You were supposed to do a job, which you did. The results were abused in a most horrible way for sure, but it wasn’t your doing.”
She stepped out of his office an hour later more determined than she had been about anything in her life to bring down the Association from within. Her next trip to the mainland led her to meet Kwamena, and then her relationship with the IFAS began.
“Kwamena!” she exclaimed suddenly. About 3 men turned round at that, clearly the equivalent of shouting “John!” on an NYC subway line. Smiling as she covered her mouth and waved an embarrassed sorry at them, she looked out over the township and noted the position of the Head Fisherman’s house before beginning her steep descent.
Surprise, surprise…she thought to herself as the gates came into sight.
“Dr. Aruba, could you please report to the Flight Deck?”
Jeremy Aruba was lying on his bed, having just come back from his evening Ward Rounds only half an hour before. He was enjoying some classical highlife tunes playing from his aged Home Theater System in an effort to forget his stressful day, when the summons came through the PA system speaker at a corner high up in his room.
Annoyed at the intrusion, he got up from his bed and instead of slipping into more formal clothes, decided to button up his white coat over his t-shirt and jeans with sneakers to go up to the Flight Deck.
Barely a minute later, he stepped onto the Flight Deck at just a few minutes past 9pm. It was nearly pitch dark, save for the centre of the helipad area lit by floodlights.
“Dr. Aruba,” a man’s voice called out warmly from one of the dark corners on the farther side as he stepped into the light. Lewis would have recognised him as the ‘Doctor’ from his brief incarceration on the Rig.
“Yes, what do you want Mr. Calder?” Jeremy felt more irritated now than before. He’d had a number of run-ins with Calder when he first came to the Rig. Apparently the Chief of Security’s most important task was to be suspicious of everybody. In spite of the numerous suspicious glances and snide comments since, Jeremy had always managed to cover his tracks well so he didn’t feel the least bit threatened by now.
“Oh Doc, I just wanted to have a short discussion with you about a potential problem that recently came to my attention. I was a bit curious. Is there a problem with our phones or Internet service? How come you prefer to use your own means of communication and not ours? On behalf of all ancillary staff of the Rig, I’m really hurt!”
“What are you talking about? I have no–” Jeremy cut off in mid-sentence when Mr. Calder brought out the right hand that he’d been holding behind his back – a dead rock pigeon dangled from his hand!
“Funny how Old School beats New School sometimes eh?”
Something flashed brightly just out of the range of his sight as Lewis stepped out of the Cab that dropped him off at the imposing metalwork gates of IFAS HQ. He turned his head to get a second look – it was just the gardener’s shears, carefully but rapidly at work as he trimmed the hedges in front of the Nigerian consulate next door. Nothing weird about that.
“Dr. Lewis Koomson, here to see the Colonel,” he intoned as he depressed the COMM unit by the gate to gain entry.
“Gate 1, Open”,” the mechanical voice replied in a monotone as the main gates swung open to admit him. The guards within threw him a professional salute in greeting as he walked past.
Why do I feel as if someone is looking at me though no one is outside here?
He’d felt that familiar itching sensation between the blades of his shoulders from the moment he stepped through the gates till he’d gotten to the marble white steps of the main building.
Give me a minute. Just carry on as normal while I check out the building’s digital chatter.
Every area with at least one interactive device connected to the Net gives off some chatter – extraneous data, whatever you want to call it. The ability to tap into this seemingly useless data can actually yield surprising results: often-used passwords, itineraries, email data – you name it. All supposedly inaccessible, but not so far away in reality. The challenge was always a means of tapping into that potential payload – until now.
Lewis paused as his hand rested on the chrome handles of the glass door.
MEL, you amaze and scare me in one single breath sometimes!
I know. She replied in a smug tone. Now leave me be for a few seconds while I do my thing. But be careful.
He nodded to himself as he stepped into the lobby. Stopping short, he realised that with the adrenaline rush of the previous night, he hadn’t taken any particular notice of his surroundings when he arrived at the facility.
Lewis let out a low whistle as he surveyed the 10-meter high stone sculpture of a woman standing proud and tall in the atrium, a spear clutched upright in her left hand with her right hand outstretched in a gesture that bade a cautious welcome. It was apparent that even in attempt to make the façade of the warrior Queen Yaa Asantewaa more welcoming, no craftsman could do away with her inherent nature of war and still maintain her identity.
The lobby was a beautiful but austere creation in shades of grey, black and white. The standard 150-inch VuWall® was to his left with nearly muted tones on with a few formally-dressed men and women sitting reading or watching the news feed – probably waiting for their appointment, he guessed.
There was an indoor floral enclosure at the opposite end of the lobby, even now being carefully manicured by a pair of workers bowed over the exotic plant life. I see where my taxes are being spent – and I approve, he mused to himself smiling inwardly.
A number of elevators were to his right, colour-coded silver to staff and copper to visitors as indicated by the legend stand by the front doors. Mandatory beefy security personnel were posted every 10 feet or so around the lobby. Though not a single one abjectly frowned, somehow Lewis felt sorry for the miscreant who would dare disrupt the sanity of this lobby.
A single guard sat stoically at the monitors within a small booth ensconced in the corner just to the left side of the floral enclosure, no doubt reviewing footage from the numerous CCTV cameras that were virtually impossible to make out against the clean monochrome hues of the walls.
Paranoid much? Lewis thought to himself inwardly.
Scanning the lobby for a receptionist’s desk, he finally noticed a smartly-dressed young lady waving at him from just a few feet out from the last of the silver-hued elevators. Turning to walk briskly towards her, he stretched out his hand in greeting.
“Hello. Sorry I didn’t notice you for a second there,” he began with a warm smile. Her inviting fragrance was just on point, he realised pleasantly.
“Good morning Doc, I’m the Colonel’s aide Anice Offei. He asked me to meet up with you to escort you upstairs to his office” she said with a small smile playing to the side of her mouth as she depressed the Call button for the elevator.
“Why, thank you for meeting – “ his words were cut short by Mel1A’s harried voice interrupting him mid-stream.
Sorry to interrupt the friendly tête-à-tête there but we’ve got a problem Lewis.
He frowned as she began before tossing a half-hearted smile to the Colonel’s aide as he turned around, scanning the lobby instinctively looking for anything out of place – of which he found none.
I think the Colonel wanted to keep you out of the fray for one reason or the other because the Strike Team left 30minutes ago for the Rig, but that’s not even the real issue. I was trying to triangulate their location but all communications within a 30km radius of this facility are mysteriously down. Lewis, there’s something about to happen at the HQ!
Trynig to maintain his calm, Lewis excused himself from the aide’s company. “Just a minute Anice.”
Walking over tho the booth, he tapped on the glass and the guard lifted up his head with a quizzical look on his face.
“Excuse me sir,” he began with a serious look on his face, “I believe there is about to be an attack on this facility. I think you should clear this lobby right now!”
“Huh? What do you mean?!” The guard was now looking suspiciously at Lewis and was just reaching for his shoulder-mounted comm unit when a commotion began at the main doors. They both simultaneously turned to identify the source of the noise and saw a party of 2 struggling to open the main doors that led outside.
“What’s the meaning of this?! What’s wrong with your doors?!” the stout man in a smart business suit exclaimed angrily. His shorter female companion was also trying out the handle now but with no budge of the door in response.
Turning round to complain further, his words were abruptly cut short as a neat round hole appeared between his eyes and he froze for a full second before toppling to the ground. Then, all hell broke loose.
2 men and a woman got up from the waiting area and began firing with precision at the security guards stationed at random! By the time the first 3 had toppled to the ground, the others had dived for some cover and started returning the fire as the civilians milled around between trying to open the still jammed door and piling into the elevators to escape.
Jumping out of the way of a fresh stream of bullets aimed at the booth, Lewis pulled the frozen Anice out of the way and into the open elevator before jumping out to grab another man who had been shot in the thigh and was bleeding out on the floor. Pulling out a bandana from the man’s breat pocket, he applied pressure to the point with a tourniquet and dragged him also into the elevator. “Put some pressure on it!” he barked at Anice to snap her out of the shock she seemed to be in. Luckily it worked and stabbing a button on the wall panel at random, he leapt out of the elevator before it closed, only realising too late that he didn’t have any plan on what to do!
The shock of recognition then dawned on him when one of the caps fell away and he noted the Gardeners’ white overalls slowly bleeding into red!
Bending down and crawling behind some other shrubbery, he now counted 3 remaining security guards returning fire at the attackers from behind the receptionist’s desk whilst about 4 other people lay motionless around the lobby. Looking through the glazed windows outside, the security post was empty with a single Gardener in red standing at ease outside, his blades dripping a trail of blood that originated from within.
With communications down now, any help from outside seemed like quite the tall order indeed.
Lewis, the Gardeners won’t be affected by the bullets much, and seeing how they are moving towards the desk, I’d say the guard only have a few seconds before they are underrun.
But can’t we do anything?
There is…one possibility: C-Mode. Have you watched Equilibrium?
Yes. By calculating most likely trajectories your opponents will use, I can approximate an ideal response to pull off some gun katas if you’re game.
Now all you need to do is to liberate some hardware from the fallen guards…
Pursing his lips, Lewis stretched out from behind the chair he was hiding and grabbed a .45 Colt that the closest guard had dropped. Looking around, he noticed another one lying about 5 feet away and gingerly crawled out to snag it before ducking behind the furniture once more. He was spotted by the gunmen because a sudden burst of gunfire spread in his direction, smashing the glass windows behind his position and spraying pieces of glass all over his position as the shots continued.
Okay, now what? The heavy metal grips felt cool against his palms. He couldn’t remember the last time he touched a gun. He found himself also hoping it wouldn’t be his last action in life.
Now, you relax and take a deep breath.
Lewis felt himself calming down as the world that had just gone crazy with flying bullets and gunfire also slowed down.
He exhaled in tandem with the fall of his shoulders and then all at once, he felt himself wake up as his eyes snapped wide open. Because everything seemed so slowed down, he actually saw his own pupils reflected as they dilated and then constricted, all in a microsecond as a shard of glass lazily tumbled to the ground from the blown out glazed windows.
We’re online now Lewis. Dr. Koomson idly noted the hint of excitement in her voice this time. We’re in sync and I’ve got 95% of your musculoskeletal framework in my control as I tap into your nervous system to inhibit your vagal stimulation. I’m also balancing that out with an even baseline of adrenaline. You’ll be able to make efficient use of 85% of your muscle mass and – oh hell, just try something out on the Gardener to your right!
His head snapped up as the word sped up to normal once more. A Gardener was in mid-lope not 6 feet from his right hand side, his/its left shear-arm dripping with something that looked like someone’s fresh blood, as his/its white coveralls completed the change slowly to red.
He/It lunged forward in sudden acceleration just then, shear-arms outstretched and aimed at instantaneous disembowelment – an action only avoided by a lightning fast curve backwards that Mel threw Lewis into!
Gardener Class III; Biomech Chimera; Human-based –
“Huh?!”, Lewis exclaimed half in response to the insane manoeuvre he’d just performed and half at the information Mel was now feeding him.
Just reading from the file I just accessed from the Research & Developments database here. Basically he/it is a genetic mixmash with a human ‘base’ the scientists at the Association were given full rein to develop, all aimed at bringing the much darker dreams of modern warfare to light; a fusion of man and beast with a hefty sprinkle of technological know-how resulting in the ultimate soldier (…or cannon fodder).
The Gardener silently picked him-/itself up from the ground and spun round quickly, preparing to make another run at Lewis.
It’s about time you got your head in the game now Lewis. Mel’s voice sounded concerned now that the Gardener’s clothing had turned completely red. There’s no point in Level C if you’re not going to utilise it adequately. The complete change in colour means the Gardener is now fully in ‘combat mode’ and won’t stop until all mission parameters have been achieved.
Lewis backed over a short glass coffee table as he warily watched the Gardener for any sudden moves and scanned the rest of the lobby out of the corner of his eyes.
The second remaining guard’s gun just clicked empty and the 3 attackers had just started to advance, evidenced by the new crunching of glass by their heavy footfalls.
Saying another short prayer, Lewis’ grip on both guns tightened as he depressed the triggers…
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