Mechanical Mayhem

Charlie dashed out of the room as the mech started forward toward us. Something was weird about it. It seemed to have forgotten the guard in its manipulators and it didn’t seem to see the low counter in front of it. It hit the counter with a crash of splintering wood. It nearly stumbled, unbalanced by the limp body in its manipulators. It hesitated, swinging back and forth as if trying to decide what to do with the weight it carried. Charlie grabbed my shoulder and spun me toward the security doors. I took off running just as the Patrol unit dumped the guard on the floor and lifted a foot to step over the counter.

I hit the first door at a dead run, slamming it open, Charlie hard on my heels. He swung the door shut behind us. My ears rang with two loud cracks in rapid succession as something hit the glass of the door. Twin spider webs of cracked glass radiating from shallow pits had appeared at Charlie’s eye level. He swore softly. I stood looking at the glass with a detached curiosity. I had never been shot at before. Charlie cursed again as the mech advanced up the corridor toward us, a long barreled handgun gripped in its manipulator.

Charlie ran his card through the lock and the outer door buzzed. He grabbed me by the collar and swung me through the door as he slammed it shut behind us. I heard glass shattering and felt another pair of dull thumps against the steel at my back.

Charlie pointed toward the elevator and shouted, “GO!”

I ran. Behind me, I heard more thumping on the reinforced steel security door and a wrenching sound as Charlie ripped the electronic card reader out of the wall. I reached the elevator and punched the call button. The call light glowed red but the elevator doors remained sealed.

Behind us, the screech of tearing metal echoed down the bare hallway. The battered security door rocked and twisted on its hinges and the edge of a steel manipulator appeared between door and the jamb.

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