"Clear," said Mouse.
My end of the corridor led to an elevator bank.
"Elevators," I said.
We headed toward them.
The bank had two cars. One had warning tape criss-crossing the doors. The other door was unmarked.
I tapped the call button by the unmarked door.
It lit up.
We stood at angles on either side of the door.
As distant machinery thrummed, I checked my optic clock.
Forty-two minutes left.
* * *
The elevator doors opened onto Level Two, a T-intersection, and automatic fire coming from straight ahead of us, gouging out chunks from the door frame and the back wall of the elevator car.
I dropped to a crouch and unloaded with the Twins, the pistols bucking and roaring in my hands.
Heard Mouse sheathe her sword and pull the MP5 from the duffle.
"Go!" said Mouse.
I fired off four more rounds each from the Twins then hooked around the door into the corridor on the left.
Mouse swept fire down the corridor with the MP5 and ducked right.
I'd gotten a quick look down the passageway just before hitting cover.
Just one figure.
I dropped to one knee next to the wall, holstered Clyde, then drew a smoke grenade from my cargo pocket, pulled the pin, and rolled it down the corridor. Heard it clatter and bounce off a wall.
"Grenade!" a voice called out.
A faint hiss. Then white smoke began to flood the corridor.
Mouse crouched and sidestepped toward me, loosing several quick three-round bursts toward the spreading smoke cloud. She got to my side of the corridor and hugged wall.
We both reloaded.
Pan and scan, our hallway.
Empty. Same lighting scheme as the ones below. Five doors on the left, two on the right. At the far end, it went right.
Tapped Mouse on the shoulder and pointed. "That way," I said.
She nodded. "I got our six."
Twins up, tracking.
* * *
After fifteen meters we reached another T-intersection and the figure leaped out from around the corner, screaming, a submachinegun held in two hands at waist level.
He managed a short burst of fire before the Twins roared and blew four holes in his upper chest and face.
His feet flew out and he thudded onto his back, the subgun arcing fire up into the ceiling.
Then another mook charged around the same corner, hot on the heels of the first, his subgun also blazing.
Mouse clipped him low. Two short three-round bursts from the MP5 into his pelvic girdle. The mook's legs crumpled and he dropped face first on the floor with a crunch of cartilege.
A bullet in the head finished him.
I looked down at the two dead mooks.
One bald wearing a sleeveless t-shirt with a frayed collar, tribal tattoo design along the length of his left arm. The other with blond spiked hair wearing animal teeth necklace and a faded black leather vest. Both well-muscled. Both armed with MAC-10 machine pistols.
Both Wyld Boyz.
"Crap and a half" said Mouse. "That means--"
"I know you're there, girlie," he said, his sandpaper voice echoing along the corridor.
"I'm going to carve my initials on your insides," Dreadlocks said, his voice echoing along the corridor.
"Careful," I called back. "I bite."
He laughed, hollow and humorless.
Cocky piece of shit.
"Bastard's in our way," said Mouse.
"And he'll be exactly where we need to go," I said.
"Waiting near the next elevator."
"What's the plan?"
"Got the other smoker?"
"Pop it down here," I said, inclining my head at the intersection. Then I nodded toward the corridor in front of us. "And we go there."
Mouse pulled out the smoke grenade from the duffle and lobbed it down the hallway.
I jabbed the muzzles of the Twins around the corner's edge and began firing.
Mouse did the same with the MP5, loosing several three-round bursts.
Bursts of automatic fire replied, punching holes in the wall across from us.
When the smoke cover in the hallway thickened enough, Mouse bolted across the opening.
I waited until she got to the other side, then fired off four more rounds, and bolted across, sliding to safety just as rounds tore chunks from the corner near us, raining dust and plaster.
Caught my breath, reloaded the Twins, and pointed toward the end of the hall.
Mouse reloaded the MP5 and nodded.
We headed forward.
(to be continued...)