Guns and Angels

By Jane Bishop

Nobody had ever really known what lay behind those walls. Nobody except the few scientists who were working on… whatever it was. And nobody except the people who had commissioned this project. The number one rule: secrecy. Secrecy was observed at all times, no exceptions. Not even the security guards knew what they were guarding. No one was allowed to enter without permission. No one was allowed to leave without permission. Over the top safety measures had been taken, including many precautions in case of attack. Many more in case of… escape… What was all this? What was this large, closed off, restricted building? Not many knew. Not many at all. But for the few who did, it was obvious. This was no ordinary building. It belonged to BioTech, the largest genetic weapons manufacturer of the modern era. They were creating something. Something dangerous.

And that something was about to get out.

– – –


Sirens. Loud sirens. The sound was everywhere, deafening the scientists that were scrambling to escape the hallways bathed in the unwavering red of the emergency lights. The normal ones had shut off, as was the norm for a drill or some such event.

This was not a drill.

"Attention all security personnel: there has been a breach on Level 3," came the calm, automated voice of a woman over the PA system. "Please proceed to the designated area immediately. Repeat: please proceed to the designated area immediately."

One young woman stumbled through the red-flooded halls, seeking the nearest exit. Her brown hair was in disarray and one of the lenses of her glasses was broken. Nervously, she glanced around as she ran and then, suddenly tripping on something, she fell to the ground with a small cry, twisting her ankle. Then, she screamed when she realized that she had fallen over a body, the dead man staring blankly up at the ceiling.

"Shh! What the hell do you think you're doing?" hissed a voice from the shadows. Terror immediately silenced the woman. She was going to die! She was going to die! But… the person there wasn't who she thought it was. It was only a young man, around her age, with medium-long golden hair coming over his eyes. His lab coat was stained red, and not from the light, but he otherwise looked unhurt. Only scared.

"What's your name?" asked the man over the blaring alarm, crawling over to her.

"C-Christine Sommers."

"Jake Morgan," said the man, helping Christine up. She could see the anxiety etched on his face, and he was shaking slightly. "Can you walk?"

Christine winced but nodded. "With help. What's going on?" she added. "Do you know?"

"You heard the announcement," replied Jake, grunting as he slung her arm over his shoulder and then started guiding her down the hallway. "Something got out."

"I know that, but what got out?"

Jake hesitated. Finally, after a long pause, he said, "Project 19."

"Oh God!" Christine's hand flew to her mouth. "That was top secret! The techs working on it, are they…?"


"We have to get out of here," whimpered the frightened woman, her eyes darting around. "But they've blocked all the major exits."

"Not the service tunnel," said Jake, taking a right turn and heading down another red hallway. This one was a mess, with overturned carts, dead bodies, and blood spattered on the walls. "I was heading there just as you came along."

They skirted around a burning lab, carefully picking their way through the debris. Christine looked with a mixture of fascination and horror at the carnage.

"What could have caused all this?" she asked, thinking aloud.

"19, that's what," growled Jake.

"We've created a monster."

"You're wrong," replied Jake, taking a left and heading towards a metal door with a round porthole in the middle. "We're the monsters, for having made the thing. Damn!" he suddenly exclaimed.

"What is it?" asked Christine. She looked back nervously.

"I lost my key card!" groaned Jake. He swore again and frantically searched his pockets, but all he came up with was lint.

"Take mine," offered Christine, handing him the small rectangle of plastic with her image printed on the front, proudly smiling out at them.

"You have enough clearance?"

"For a service tunnel? Maybe."

"Cross your fingers," mumbled Jake and he stuck the end of the card into the slot next to the door. For a few heart-stopping moments, nothing happened. Then, the small red light next to the slot turned green and there was a snick as the door unlocked.

Jake yanked the door open and helped Christine through, before going himself and then pulling it shut behind them. Immediately, they were swallowed up by darkness that was only interrupted by the small stream of red light that came through the porthole. Meanwhile, the blaring of the sirens was very faint now that the door was closed.

"Now what?" asked Christine, feeling uncomfortable. Here she was in a dark room with a man she barely knew. Sure, this was a dangerous situation and they were both caught up in the middle of it, but she just couldn't help but feel that something wasn't quite right.

There was a metallic noise from off to her right, and the sound of things being removed. Then a small paused, followed by a clicking sound and a beam of light.

"Take this," said Jake, handing her the flashlight. She took it and watched as he rummaged around in the small plastic emergency kit that he had taken from a metal case screwed into the wall. Within seconds, he had gotten a second flashlight of his own.

"Down the stairs," instructed Jake. "We have to go down a ladder to get to the tunnel. Think you can manage?"

"Yeah," said Christine. She took hold of the railing and eased herself down, Jake trying to help as best he could. At the bottom, they took a U-turn and Jake popped open a hatch in the floor. Quickly, he scrambled down the ladder and instructed for her to lower her legs into the hole.

"Just take it easy," he said. "I'm here."

Carefully, Christine inched into the hole, keeping hold of the rungs. Once she slipped, producing a curse from Jake. Finally, Christine made it to the bottom.

"Left or right?" she asked, her voice sounding muffled in the confined space.

"Right," replied Jake. His boots rang against the grilled floor. "Follow me."

Stooping, the two made their way down the tunnel. The flashlight beams revealed wires and pipes all around them, extending into the darkness. Neither said anything. A cold, creeping fear kept them quiet.

"What… what lab are you from?" asked Christine when she couldn't bear the silence any more.

Jake went rigid at the question. "Why do you want to know?"

"I… I was just curious," she answered, startled by this sudden change. He was so tense all of a sudden, angry almost.

"I'm from Lab 19," grunted Jake, relaxing slightly. "I'm… the only one that got out."

"So you worked on Project 19!" exclaimed Christine.

"No. I… was just in charge of keeping track of stuff."

"So you were a lab hand?"


"Did you ever see 19? In person?" inquired Christine. She couldn't help it. The question had just slipped out. For a moment, she thought Jake was going to get mad, but to her surprise, he chuckled.

"You have no idea," he said simply.

Christine furrowed her brow. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Ms. Sommers, I was nearly shot by him. I think that qualifies as 'seen,' don't you think?"

"Oh. Yeah." Christine felt extremely stupid, and she blushed as a result. Thank goodness that Jake didn't notice.

"Where are you from?"

"I'm one of the major project supervisors," she said. "I worked a bit on everything. Except for 19. Only one guy knew about it, I think. I forget his name but if what you said is true, he's dead now, so it doesn't matt–."

"Here." Jake stopped so abruptly that Christine ran into him. Quickly recovering, she looked to where he was pointing: another ladder. "This one leads to the administration offices."

"How do you know this?"

"I hacked into the system. It was the only way to find an exit."

"I don't think I can climb up…" she began, but never finished. Jake took her arms and hooked them around his neck, then wrapped her legs around his waist so that he was giving her a piggyback ride. It happened so quickly that she had no chance to protest.

"Hold tight," he told her, taking hold of the first rung. Squeezing her eyes shut, Christine complied, tightening her grip on his neck.

Several seconds later, there was the sound of a hatch being opened and they emerged at another dark stairwell. Jake gently eased Christine off his back and shut the hatch again, latching it securely. Meanwhile, Christine examined her ankle, which now looked slightly swollen.

"How did you do that?" she asked absentmindedly.

"Do what?"

"Carry me like that." Christine looked in his eyes, which were a deep, stormy grey. For the first time, she got to scrutinize him thoroughly. He was handsome and strong looking, but… there was something else about him. She just couldn't put her finger on it.

Jake shrugged. "I'm a lab hand, remember? I move heavy stuff."

Christine nodded. No wonder. They had a ton of heavy equipment in the labs. It was a hard job to move it all, but paid fairly well and you did a lot of exercise so you never were out of shape.

"You ready?"

Christine nodded, and he helped her up again.

When they emerged from the stairwell room, they found themselves in another red-lit hallway. It was completely empty but in pristine shape, which meant that Project 19 hadn't yet found his way here. Jake shepherded Christine past the door and hung a left, his brow furrowed in concentration while he tried to remember where to go. By this time, Christine had no idea where she was but she trusted Jake and so kept following him.

About five minutes later, they reached the lobby of the BioTech Complex. It was posh, with black leather seats and a dark granite floor. Huge windows opened up to the outside, filling the room with a slightly tinted natural light. It was also crawling with soldiers.

"Hey there! Stop!" yelled one, running over to the two beleaguered scientists. His gun was cocked and aimed at them. Several other soldiers stopped what they were doing and looked at the two also.

"You gotta get us out of here!" exclaimed Christine. "Please!"

"I'm going to need to see ID," stated the soldier. "We can't just let anybody out."

"Here's Christine's," said Jake, handing it to the soldier. The man took it, shone a bluish light on it briefly, and then handed it back.

"You're clear," he said. "Yours, sir?"

Jake shook his head. "I lost it! It's somewhere back in the lab."

"You're going to have to come with us, then," stated the soldier. "Please don't try to resist. We're doing this with everyone who can't show ID."

"But…" began Jake, but he was taken by the arm, while another soldier came over to help Christine.

"Wait! What are you doing? He's with me!" said Christine as they started to lead Jake away.

"Ma'am, there is a dangerous weapon on the loose. I'm sorry, but this is necessary."

"You think that I'm the weapon? That's crazy!" exploded Jake.


Jake jerked his arm away. "What do you want me to do? Go back in there and go find my ID, while risking running into that… that… thing? Look, I just want to get out of here! I've nearly been killed, and I've had enough done to me today, thanks."

The soldier seemed lost at that statement. The look of anger and fear on Jake's face was unmistakable. It was easy to imagine what this man had been through but orders were orders…

"If Jake were a bioweapon, he could have killed me back there," stated Christine in a flat tone. "Yet he helped me, even though I twisted my ankle. That's proof right there that he's fine, so would you please just let us go through already?"

The soldier grunted but lowered his gun. "How'd you make it out?" he asked.

"Service tunnel," replied Jake. "It's one of the only ways in that aren't sealed."

"Miller!" shouted the soldier. "Get a detachment to the service tunnel, ASAP! Don't go in until we give the go ahead, got it?"

"Yes, sir!" snapped the apparent Miller, and he and a group of soldiers disappeared back into the Complex.

"All civilians are to head to the parking lot," said the soldier, turning back to the two. "No one is to leave the premises, understand?"

The two scientists nodded and then left the lobby as quickly as they could.

The sun was scorching hot and the heat could be seen rising from the black asphalt. Nevertheless, Jake and Christine quickly cleared the front steps of the Complex and dashed across a small strip of grass, heading into the parking lot. There were a few dozen scientists all grouped together and talking in hushed voices, a few occasionally glancing back at the building that Jake and Christine had just exited. The first one to notice the new arrivals was a man with grey hair and blood leaking from his temple.

"Christine! You made it out alive!" exclaimed the man, walking forward to meet the two. "Who's that you've got there? I've never seen you before."

"Greg, this is–"

"Jake," said Jake. "The only survivor from Lab 19."

"Good Lord…" Greg's eyes widened. "You've seen it, then? 19?"

"What does it look like?" asked a scared-looking woman with her platinum blonde hair tied back in a painful-looking bun. She looked like she had been biting her nails.

Jake winced. "It's big and scary."

"Do you think the mercenaries can handle it?"

"No." Jake closed his eyes. "I don't think anyone can stop it." There was something in his voice that sounded like pain. "Listen, I have to go find my car. Can you manage, Christine?"

She winced and looked at her swollen ankle, but nodded. "Think so."

"Bye, then."

"Oh, hey, Jake?"

He stopped and turned around, looking at her.

"Thanks," she said. "For saving me, and all."

"…You're welcome."

And then Jake strode away.

The sleek, blue car was on the other end of the parking lot. Pulling the keys out of the pocket, he unlocked it. In response, the car's lights blinked twice and it emitted a chirping sound. As quickly as he dared, Jake opened the door and slid inside the driver's seat, closing the door again, locking the car, and stuffing the key into the ignition. With a twitch of the wrist, the car roared to life.

Tick, tick, tick…

Keeping an eye on his watch, he carefully counted the seconds that went by.

Tick, tick, tick…

It was almost time. Jake eased the car into reverse and backed out of the parking space, all the while counting.

Tick, tick, tick…

He pulled up to the guardhouse, where the security guard stationed there would usually deal with ID and letting people through. The man eyed Jake skeptically as the lab hand pulled up.

"Can I help you?" he asked in a burly tone.

"I'd like to get through, please."

"Can't let you," grunted the guard. "Orders. Something got out."

"Well that's too bad," reflected Jake, before he pulled out a gun and fired.

The Complex exploded right at that moment, sending shrapnel and debris flying out at high speed. In addition to this, it drowned out the sound of the gunshot. Coast now clear, Jake dove into the guardhouse and smashed the glass case under the table, where the dead guard was slumped over. He then proceeded to take a duffel bag and fill it with the weapons that were in the case. It only took a few seconds to clear the guardhouse of anything useful and then press the button to lower the gate. Now armed and dangerous, Jake was back in the car again as the vertical metal poles that were blocking the way lowered into the ground. Nobody paid any attention to the blue hybrid making its getaway, as they were too preoccupied with dodging raining debris. Jake didn't look back to see the aftermath.

The blue car sped away into the distance, quickly losing sight of the smoldering building that had once been one of the most secure locations in the world. What it left behind was a group of terrified scientists and mercenaries, trying to figure out whether Project 19, the most dangerous weapon ever to exist, had made it out alive.

He just had.