Fresno Institute of Synthetic Research
They observed the large black Ōkaminingen pace the small room. Every so often he would stop and look at the tiny CC camera located out of his reach and glare. None of the alpha had been to happy with being isolated from the rest of the remaining Ōkaminingen. The room was a standard patient recovery room, only the door had been modified with a lock. The human hybrid wolf threw himself into the rooms only chair. He closed his yellow, predator eyes and laid his head back over the backrest. He stayed that way for a long while.
Domic looked at his mate. “Is he asleep?”
“No. Look at his breathing.”
Domic moved his paw over the view screen and splayed his fingers out in an expanding motion. The monitor zoomed in on the wolf-man hybrid’s chest. “Yes, I see that. It’s too bad the camera can’t see his aura.” He zoomed out again and found the Ōkaminingen was looking straight ahead. A savage smile, full of sharp white teeth gleamed wetly.
Shari commented, “I don’t need to see his aura to know that he is up to no good with that look.”
Domic cocked an eyebrow at her. “He can’t get out of a fifth-floor room with a locked door. So I wonder…” A loud thunderous boom shook the observation station and rattled the lights overhead. “What the hell was that?” The building fire alarm system started to blare its distress and green arrows appeared on the floor started to pulsate.
A female voice from a ceiling speaker said, “Please exit, following the green arrows. Stay calm, building emergency response is handling the situation. Please exit, following…” The power suddenly dropped out, and the emergency lights flickered on. The ceiling speaker started again, “Please exit, following the green arrows. Stay cal…” Another explosion rocked the walls around them, and the emergency lights went black, leaving them in near total darkness. Only the faint green arrows on the floor pulsed, giving the room an eerie sickly illumination.
Sharri touched Domic’s arm. In his head, she said, “What is happening? Are we under attack?”
Domic pulled her close to him and pulled her to the floor under the desk that they were sitting at. He said to her through their wetwire connection, “I think we are. I think I hear heavy boots running in the hallway.”
Sharri asked, “Do you think it is the Neo-technics?”
“Yes, and I think our guest knew they were attacking.”
“What do you want to do? I don’t think a bone knife and a small railpistol is going to be of much help.”
Sharri’s eyes had adjusted completely to the green illumination, and she watched her Domic look in the direction of the door opposite the desk they sat under. She could easily guess what he was deciding. He turned towards her out of reflex, through their link, he said, “If we stay here, we can’t help. But if whoever is attacking is attacking with overwhelming force, then we are liable to become casualties at worst or taken to be slaves.”
Sharri didn’t get the chance to answer, for the burst open and beams of bright white light flashed in and swept the room. One beam paused over the top of the desk, and Domic realized the screen still displayed the Ōkaminingen alpha. Both Sharri and Domic held their breaths and stayed as still as possible. A gruff voice said, “Nutt’in here, next room.” The lights turned, and the booted soldiers left the room. The door swung closed on its hinges, and the latch made a pronounced loud click at it shut completely.
Domic sighed and said to Sharri silently, “That was too close. I counted four pairs of boots.”
“I also did.” He felt her shiver in his arms. He had never known her to be afraid of anything, but then, this wasn’t just something they might encounter in the woods. These soldiers were Ōkaminingen warriors. Easily ten times stronger than a human, maybe stronger than a syntec or sapesyn.
He assured her, “We’ll just sit tight right here till things get quieter, okay?”
She nodded her agreement, but added, “I hope this is proof enough for Quinn that he should have used the pacification protocol nanites on the leaders. Now they are most likely out of our control and will pose a threat to others.”
“I should have kept pressing the issue.”
She gently squeezed his arm she still held. “You tried. It was all we could do.”
A few sonic pops could be heard, and a pained voice screamed out. Domic stood up to in response, but Sharri pulled him back down and urgently whispered, “You’ll only get shot, you know that.”
He settled back down next to her and leaned into her. Together they waited as the sounds of boots and muffled orders faded. Then everything was silent. He asked with his wetwire link, “What do you think? Are they gone?”
She craned her ears towards the door on the other side of the desk. She offered, “I don’t hear anything. Let’s take a look.”
Domic pulled his small rail pistol from its holster, checked the charge, and flipped the safety off. He stood up again and walked to the door. Sharri with her pistol in hand followed closely behind him. Domic turned the knob and pulled the door open a crack and peered out into the dark hallway. He saw no movement and pulled the door open some more to get a better view. The corridor was clear, so he stepped out of the room.
He twitched his sensitive ears in each direction of the hall. He turned to Sharri and touched her with his free paw. “I think I can hear someone breathing heavily down towards Quinn’s office.”
“You don’t think they shot Dr. Quinn do you?”
“I don’t know. I hope not.”
Together they walked down the dark hallway to the short side corridor that would take them to Dr. Quinn’s office. Domic realized the heavy breathing was getting strong and he quickened his pace. Fear began to creep firmly into him as he feared the worst. They found Quinn’s office door open and entering they found the medical syntec sit on the floor leaning up against his desk. His pain stricken face looked at them. His arm was wrapped around his chest holding his blue, green blood soaked shirt against himself.
In a shaky voice, “All I ever offered to them was kindness, and this is their payment.” He coughed, and a small amount of blood dripped from his blue lips.
“Oh, doctor!” Sharri announced and rushed to his side.
He smiled at her and said, “Aren’t going to say, I told you so?”
“Why on earth would we say something like that?” She countered back at him. Sharri pulled his hand away from his wound and gasp at the gaping hole left behind the railgun slug. She looked the doctor in the eyes. “What do I need to do?”
Another laugh escaped him, and he said, “It passed straight through, I also have a sizable hole in my back too. If I were human, I’d be dead from the trauma alone. But I need blood and emergency medanites to supplement my own.” He coughed again, and more blood leaked out of his mouth. He reached and took Tomiroc’s arm and said, “You were right about the three alphas, I should have listened.”
Domic shook his head and said, “I doubt very seriously it would have stopped the attack on the facility. I have a feeling that in was planned the moment that the Neo-technics found out what happened here.”
The doctor nodded. “But it was the lead alpha and his two buddies that beat and shot me.”
Sharri asked, “I do I need to do to help you?”
Instead of telling her, he asked, “Have you seen any of my people? Are they okay, did they escape?”
Domic said, “You’re the first person we’ve seen since it got quiet.”
He coughed again, and Sharri said, “We have to get him some help.”
Domic asked, “Where can I find blood and emergency medanites for you?”
“Main surgery. Further down the hall on the left, double doors. Glass cryo-cabinet, let me send the unlock code.” He closed his eyes for a moment then snapped them open. “I can’t touch it. Is the power out throughout the building, including backup power?”
“Yes.” Domic nodded.
“Damn!” A look of hopelessness crossed his face. “I’m afraid there is no way to get into the cabinet then.”
Domic asked, “Is it armored?”
“Well not in the military sense, but it will not be easy to get into.”
Domic showed the doctor his railpistol. “This should do the job, then.” He smiled and then asked, “Can you move?”
“If I do, the blood will start flowing again.”
Domic nodded and looked at his mate. “Sharri, you stay with the Doc, and I’ll go get blood and medanites.”
She nodded, reached across the doctor’s knees and pulled domic’s muzzle to her. She kissed him deeply and while touching him, said, “You be very careful and hurry back. I love you.” He pulled away from her reluctantly and gave her a slow blink. He stood quickly and left the room.
Domic kept his ears perked up, listening for others that might need help on his way to the main surgery. Most of the institute employees must have managed to escape or were still in hiding. The place was ghostly quiet, and soon he found one reason why. He pushed the double doors open to the surgery and found five humans cowering at the back of the large operating theater. The room was somewhat lit from half a dozen battery-powered emergency lights.
A woman whimpered, and a man shielding the lot of them asked in a shaky voice, “Please don’t hurt us.”
Domic said, “I’m not here to hurt you. “I’m Otokononeko, not Ōkaminingen.” The several of the huddled humans relaxed a little. Domic asked, “Which cabinet has emergency medanites and blood for medical syntecs?”
The man shielding the other stepped forward and gestured to Domic’s right. “That one, but without power, it can’t be opened.”
“Leave that to me.” Domic aimed the railpistol at the cabinet hinges and touched the firing stud. As the first sonic round smashed the hinge, he heard the man began to protest his action, but rather than acknowledge him, he fired at the second hinge. With it gone too, the cabinet door slanted open on its locking mechanism. He turned to the wide eyed employees and asked, “Are any of you hurt?” He observed shaking heads, so he continued, “Doctor Quinn is hurt, and I need to get these supplies to help him. Also, we need to search the building for others and help where needed. Can you all do that?”
The man turned to his colleagues and looked at them before he answered, “Yes, I think we can do that. Where is Oliver, is he hurt badly?”
Domic stepped aside as one of the women started to pull supplies from the busted cabinet. He answered the man, “Yes, bad enough that he can’t be moved from his office.”
The man turned to the woman beside him and said, “Trish, you and Beth go fetch a gurney and meet Frea and me at Oliver’s office. Now hurry along.” The man moved to another cabinet and started pulling items out and putting them on a roller cart. He asked over his shoulder, “Your name is Domic, right?”
“Tell me about his wounds.”
Domic watched the remaining two women load another cart with the items they pulled from the cryo-cabinet wrapped in towels. He said to the man, “He was beaten first then they shot him in the abdomen. The shot entered the right front and exited out the back right. He most likely has lost a kidney.”
“Damn! Come on girls, let’s go.” He put his words into action and pushed his cart out of the room with the two women in close pursuit.
After a moment, Domic followed, still keeping a watchful eye for any institute employees needing help or Ōkaminingen that might still be in the building. But he doubted that any of them were still on the property. When he reached Oliver’s office, Sharri met him at the door and wrapped her paws around his waist. He asked, “How is he?”
“Branden thinks they got to him in time. But Oliver kept fading in and out on me. I kept him conscious in VS.”
Trish and Beth arrived pushing a gurney before them and battery powered portable lights. Domic and Sharri stood back to give them room to pass by into the doctor’s office. The two women received praise for the portable lights. Domic seeing that they had this situation handled, suggested, “Sharri, let’s go see if we can restore power or find other that might need help.”
Sharri glance back in at the medical team working on Oliver. “Yeah, they got this. Let’s find power first. What do you think, the basement?”
He nodded and started towards the elevators. He said, “I think I saw a door marked utilities around the corner wall of the main elevator shaft.”
Domic and Sharri came to the double doors that led into the front waiting area. Domic looked through the small square window into the sunlight lit area. It appeared to empty, so he pulled one door open and looked around. One of the glass entrance doors was smashed, and only the frame of the door remained attached to the entrance hinge.
Domic asked to the empty room, “Is anyone here?”
When he got no response, he checked behind the reception desk for the receptionist. But the man that normally sat there was not hiding under or behind the large curved counter. Domic pointed towards the elevators, where a dark corridor disappeared behind them. “Let’s see if that door goes down stairs.”
Together they passed the front desk and approached the elevator tower. Domic and Sharri both wrinkled their noses as the acrid smell hit them. As they reached the dark corridor, the smell of burnt electrical equipment was nearly overpowering. Domic stopped at the open, broken door and looked down the concrete stairs into darkness. “I’d say, based on this smell, there is no point in going down into the darkness. What do you think?”
“I agree. Besides, we don’t have anything to light the way, and there might be some live wires still down there in the dark. Better let a professional handle getting the lights back on.” Sharri was already backing away from the entrance and away from the nose burning smell rising from the dark basement.
They retreated to the front reception area and heard distant sirens approaching. Domic commented dryly, “Here comes the cavalry. I guess better late than never.”
“Do we stay and greet them?”
“No. They might think we’re the attackers.”
She looked at her mate hard. “That’s an odd thing to say.”
“Think about it. They see a non-human face, they’re going to make certain assumptions, and they might shoot first with those assumptions.”
She looked out the window at the street where people were beginning the gather as they became aware that something had happened in inside the institute. She was sure that the people could see them, but she could pick up voices. She thought she heard someone say hybrid trash, and another say furred garbage. She quit listening and took her mate’s paw. “You’re right as usual. Disappointing, though.”
He nodded and led her back down towards Oliver Quinn’s office. “I think we’ll be safer with the people who know us for the moment. But once we can make our way out of here, we should maybe go to San Fran and meet up with Kan and the rest.”