3:32 a.m., Lemtech Pharmaceuticals Research Laboratory
For the past 23 minutes, a gray Chevy van has been parked outside the laboratory building. The lone man in the vehicle, the driver, throws his spent cigarette out the window. He grows impatient at how long it is taking his companions to get out of the building. "Cripes! What's taking them so long?" he mutters.
Inside, two men and two women, all masked, hold hostage the two lone security guards for the small installation. Both guards are down on their knees, one of them already wetted himself, the other crying his wits out. One of the male intruders kept jumping about, taunting the guards and calling them names. He stood on one of the desks and goes on his rant, "Capitalist animal torturers will not be shown any mercy. You're both going to suffer the same pain and humiliation that you've inflicted on our furry little friends!" He holds out a piece of stick and twirls it about like a piece of baton.
"Please, don't!" the crybaby guard pleaded.
"Take your clothes off!" so said the self-appointed judge. His female companions have already opened the cages and released all the cats, dogs, rodents and monkeys held for research and testing. They heard his verdict and one said, "Yeah, do what he said."
The bespectacled member of the intruders looks at the reports and the medical storage cabinet to see what Lemtech has been up to. "Ahh, more evidence of man's cruelty towards his animal brethren. All in the effort to better himself and to put himself ahead of all other species. Did you seriously think we would believe there's a heartworm epidemic?" He points to the bunch of papers he holds in his hand.
The guards are now down to their underwear. "Please, no more. Just let us go," they plead.
"Oh, we'll let you go," said one of the girls, "But not before we give you something in return for our canine friends." She takes a couple of the syringes her bespectacled friend took out of the medicine refrigerator and stabs each of the guards in the back. They both fall to the floor and start writhing while she looks on and laughs gleefully.
"My god! Ally, did you have to do that? I thought we were just gonna free the animals…" the other girl starts saying.
"I thought I said no first names," said the man with glasses.
"I'm sorry, Emilio. But I just thought no one was gonna get hurt…"
"Ggrrr! I said no using names during operations!"
"Look, there's a vault of some kind. Someone forgot to close it," their rowdy companion points to the steel door. He quickly goes inside only to find a Labrador retriever caged in an ultraviolet-lighted room. A room filled with more medicine cabinets and more vials. "I knew it. I knew what you people were about!" he sneered at the two guards.
Minutes later, dogs, cats, monkeys and chimpanzees run out of the lab. They are followed by the four intruders with the rowdy one carrying the lethargic retriever. The driver of the Chevy van asks them, "What took you guys?"
"Never mind, Anthony. Let's take this poor pooch home," Emilio tells him.
The van leaves quickly before authorities could arrive to catch them. If only the intruders knew that their activity for the night had not gone unnoticed. If they could see in the dark and had looked at the window of the top floor of the laboratory, a man had been watching them leave.
4:05 a.m., LightLabs compound
Once again, Securiteam is called into action. In the wee hours of the morning no less and the timing is a much source of complaint from LightLabs' own security group. Two of the loudest complainers were, and this is no surprise, Junior and Bogart. Elmer and Jane both meekly look on.
They are situated in the briefing room. All of them roused for this latest emergency. They sit by the conference table. For one member in particular, this is a surreal hour. It was not so much that Elmer hated the hours or his job but the anticipation to whatever they were going to face next. That feeling was something he could never get over with. He is glad that Junior is always there to help him out yet he knows there are always times that he would not be always around for him. This gave him an endless worry.
Elmer looks to his friend who is too grouchy at the moment. No point talking to him right now. He has never been close to Bogart and would rather keep his distance from the man. Nothing to do with Bogart's race but some people you easily become friends with, some take some more warming up to. That leaves Jane. How he would like to talk to the only approachable woman on the team, only he is too shy.
The commanding officers finally come in. Jill Bright enters the room first, followed by Billy and finally Mr. Turner. As soon as they are in, Junior airs his grievances, "Hey, why do we gotta get up at four in the morning? You had us go training all day yesterday. And then we gotta know how to file our paperwork? I thought we have secretaries for that? I must have had only two or three hours sleep, I think… Dammit! I can't even tell if it's two or three!"
"Mr. Falcone," Jill replied, "Please do bear in mind that you're hardly irreplaceable."
"Yeah, you keep on believing that, baby."
"Let's not waste any more time," Billy tell them both.
Jill clicks on a remote and the plasma screen flickers on to life. A scene of the Lemtech laboratory is on. The police is already on the scene. One can see that two men are being attended to by emergency technicians. "This is Lemtech Pharmaceuticals' research laboratory. About a half hour ago, it was broken into by several intruders. Based on what our security cams can see…" She clicks to an image about 30 minutes old, "There are five of them, including the driver of that Chevy van."
"Uh, yeah but what this got to do with us? I thought we only protect LightLabs?" Bogart asked.
An irritated look shows up on Jill's face, clearly annoyed at their ignorance, "Duh! If you reviewed your manuals carefully, you would have seen to it that Lemtech is a subsidiary of LightLabs. Very small, but a subsidiary nonetheless. And such, they also earn our interest and attention."
"Alright, let's cut to the chase and get to the point," Mr. Turner commands.
Jill continues, "Clearly, our intruders are a group of animal-loving activists. They broke free all of them out of their cages. Precious research and medical progress have been wasted. Vaccines in development, all trashed. All this in the name of their cause." She says the last sentence with disdain and then continues. "Our culprits are the ERA, which stands for Equal Rights for Animals, one of the more extremist animal rights group." An enhanced image of the Chevy van's plate shows a logo of a cartoon dog with an equal sign held like a gun.
Then, the image zooms out and pans to one of the intruders carrying a retriever. Turner takes over. "The city's Animal Control will assist us in recovering the rest of the escaped animals. Your assignment, however, is to locate that group and recover that dog."
"What's with the dog?" Jane asks.
"The dog is infected by a rare form of heartworm. Without the treatment it is receiving, it will certainly die and the parasites in its heart will certainly infect other dogs and cats. If we don't recover that dog, we'll have an epidemic."
"What? People will start to have heartworms too?"
"No," Jill answers. "It means it may spread the disease to the local cat and dog population. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. The longer that dog is outside, the greater the risk that heartworm larvae will be collected and eventually expose other dogs. And gentlemen, this particular heartworm is very virulent. I won't go into too much specifics but it can quickly mature than the normal species collected in North America. It'll eat through not only the heart but other organs too."
"Wow…" Junior said.
"Wow what? You didn't think a little creature can do so much damage?"
"No, that cats and dogs get bitten by mosquitoes, too. You'd think that with all that fur they have, they don't get bitten. Hmmm…"
"Guh! Grr! Just make sure you get that dog back! The last thing we need is someone connecting the epidemic to us." Jill's face becomes an angry red.
"And you want us to keep this as low key as possible? Wouldn't that be a crime?" Bogart muses.
"Maybe, but I doubt you would want to be unemployed," Mr. Turner sneers.
Billy steps in to give them a PDA, "The dog is equipped with a GPS tracker. Do try to keep LightLabs' name out of this."
That feeling of apprehension grows stronger in Elmer. What Billy said, did it sound like what it sounded like? He finds the courage to ask, "Mr. Cobretti, you're not coming with us?"
"No, Datsun's in charge of you. We've other matters to attend to."
"Me?" Jane asked in disbelief.
"Listen," Billy pulls her and Elmer aside. "Right now, your strongest teammates are both loose cannons. You two are the only ones I can trust. Jane, you're the only one I can trust to have initiative over this mission and that's why you have the ball." It still amazes Billy's teammates at how he can say this all too matter-of-factly. "I really have to be somewhere else. I'm sorry."
And at that, Billy leaves the two to the day's fates."
4:19 a.m., LightLabs compound garage
Elmer, Bogart, Junior and Jane walk out of the elevator to head to their vehicle. Due to the sensitive nature of the mission they are embarking on, the IDs and corporate logos normally emblazoned on their uniforms are gone. The stylized white body armor is replaced with dark, dull gray jumpsuits with armor patching on strategic areas. Despite the change, the suits are still designed for great mobility and accentuate their body rather nicely. Something that Junior has a thing to say about, "Man, I like this new suits. I really hate wearing white."
"Yeah, 'cos you're a white dude trying to pretend to be black," Bogart tries to annoy him.
"Yeah? You're gonna pay for that remark. Wanna fight?"
"Knock it off you two," Jane commanded them. "I'm in charge here. Elmer, go get the Hummer."
"The Hummer?" the two brawlers asked in unison.
"Yes, the Humvee. Is something wrong?"
"Well," Junior tries to say. "No offense to the Hummer but we got our asses kicked the last time we rode in them. And as much as they're fun to ride in, they're really boxy and ugly."
"Yeah, and it don't have air conditioning," Bogart adds in. "It's been really hot lately."
Elmer could see that this early on they are already starting to get on Jane's nerve. He summons up the courage and hopes the situation is defused quickly, "Umm, there's always the SUV. We can take that, can't we?"
"Alright, I guess the SUV is less conspicuous," Jane had to agree after taking a couple of seconds to think.
"Yes! Yes! That's what I'm talking about! Utility and beauty all rolled into one! I love you!" He jumps around doing somersaults of joy.
Soon, they all got into one black SUV and rolled out of the Lab's compound. Jane let Elmer take control of the wheel to the protestations of their two more rambunctious teammates. Elmer, though, is glad for the assignment. It gives him something to do rather than worry the whole ride through. He thinks about road trips and how he would have wanted to be on one but never felt he could afford it.
Ten minutes driving towards the city, Elmer steals a few looks at the passenger to his side as she accesses the computer installed in the SUV. He wonders about his feelings for Jane. Is she just beautiful or is he just attracted to strong women? He admits to some attraction regarding Miss Bright. If only he could summon the courage to ask either of them out. For now, he asks, "So, umm, where are we going?"
A picture of ERA's Chevy van's plate shows up on screen. "The van our animal-loving friends rode in belongs to an Anthony Johnson. Mr. Johnson lives in Washington District. Huh… they live in a rat hole. I used to live in that rat hole. I don't believe this."
"Uh, I thought you used to live at Port Darby?" Elmer asks her. Then, he winces a bit. Not because of pain or something stung him but rather because of guilt. He knows that she never liked to hang out with them and, so, they don't talk much. He knows he is a bad liar. Should he tell he happened to have stumbled onto her dossier? No words would come out of his mouth, his throat feels dry. How? What now? What to do?
"I was in Washington before I moved to Port Darby," Jane replies, apparently not too concerned at the moment about how Elmer managed to gain knowledge of such information. "I used to work there, too, until the squatters and shanties came in and there were drunken brawls every night."
"I don't want to hear your life story. I want coffee!" Junior tried to stretch his neck and arms around to release the pressure in his joints and make those cracking sounds. "The coffee at the office sucks. Sucks ass! I want real coffee. I can't go fighting without coffee. Hell, I don't want coffee, I need it!"
"You want coffee? I want to get some sleep! It's 4:30 in the morning. Shut up!" Bogart jabbed Junior on the shoulder with his palm. Junior responds with a growl and the two start hitting each other. Jane has no choice but to acquiesce to their demands. "Alright, we go to a coffee shop first. But you leave Bogart alone." Elmer tries not to look, feeling sorry for her.
The suburban slums of Washington District, this area of San Angeles have not enjoyed the same sort of enrichment as the other districts. No one is quite sure why Washington was terribly neglected. Many speculated a dispute over the property or something like it. Others think that the city has no place for vagrants, the unemployed and the homeless and San Angeles government has chosen Washington to become the garbage dump for useless people. Whatever the reason, its inhabitants are more or less happy they have a place to call home.
Many of the homes resemble shanties, some are trailer parks retrofitted for residential purposes while others are houses that have run down since. If it were ever possible, some of the homes managed to have a small yard. For a suburban area, it has become rather crime infested. Even law enforcement has given up all hope of maintaining peace. A chapter of the Equal Rights for Animals group has chosen this area for that very reason. Without the police hounding them, they could do as they please.
In one of the roomier shanties which resemble more a shotgun house, a Labrador retriever lies on a bed. One of the women of ERA, Molly was her name, pets the dog and turns to her comrades. "Hey, his breathing is really shallow. I don't like this. I think we should bring him to the vet. Really."
"No, we can't. If we bring him to some vet, he'll call the cops on us," Emilio refused. "We… we gotta try something else."
"We've got to try. Don't worry, I'll pass him off as my own dog," Molly assured him. "Trust me, baby." She draws closer to him and they hold each other. She gives him a peck on the lips and he returns the favor. "You take care of the situation here."
"You take care, babe." Emilio turns to Judd, "You go with her, Judd. I trust you won't let anything happen to her."
With a smirk on his face, Judd says, "Don't worry, I won't."
A few minutes later, outside the home, Molly carries the retriever to the 1968 Chevy Impala that Judd owns. Molly tells Judd, "You know I could get you a much better car than that. It'll be safer for the environment, too."
"Nah, there's always something about American classics that you gotta love. 'sides, diesel is still cheaper. Let's go." The engine gives out that rattling sound that lets you know despite the car's age, it's still alive. As soon as Molly got it and shut the door, Judd gets the car moving. "How much does Emilio know about Dr. Harriot?"
"Why do you ask? It's not your problem."
"He's your boyfriend and he's my friend. He's going to find out sooner or later. I just don't want either of you getting hurt."
To this, Molly could not make any counter or refutes. The rest of the journey to the vet's office is spent in silence.
The time it takes to travel from the city outskirts to the city proper normally takes quite a time from thirty to forty-five minutes. This being dawn and with minimal traffic, Jane's team reached the city much faster. However, it did not make them arrive in Washington District much sooner. Having stopped for coffee and some buns for breakfast, it still took them more than one hour. No one is complaining though, hunger was starting to seep in since their time of wakefulness. The time discrepancy did not go without notice.
Jill's voice crackles over the radio, "What's taking you so long to get to your destination? At this hour, traffic is only starting so you can't be using that excuse!" As usual, she says this in a haughty and bitchy manner.
Before Jane could respond, Junior quickly replied, "Sorry Ma'am but we had a slight engine problem but it's okay now. Everything's okay now. Isn't that right guys?" Elmer and Bogart gave their uh-huhs while Jane had to stifle a snicker. "Just a busted carburetor but we're okay. In fact we're going to the Johnson right n-…"
"Don't give me that bullshit!" Jill's voice rises, "Those cars are all maintained every single day so don't give me any crap about defective parts. We have tracers and according to your route, you stopped at Joe's Coffee Shop for ten minutes... You stopped for coffee?! What if our culprits have gotten away by then?"
"Umm, you can rest easy now, we're here and we're looking for the Johnson house… Somewhere…" Elmer tries to placate her. He is disappointed with his own attempt and sighs.
"Don't bother us right now, Jill. We're almost there," Bogart tells her.
Being told off does not sit well with Jill, she continues ranting. "That's Miss Bright to you! This is going on record. Heads will roll…" The rant is stopped by a push of the button.
Everyone looks at Jane who responds, "What? You can't shut her up, you'd have done the same thing."
Elmer continues his drive through the suburban section of Washington District. It is a mix of third world-style shanties, shotgun houses and down-trodden village homes. But this is not a third world country, they are in America and the sight was something that would make one think. Garbage was strewn about as if the garbage collector has not bothered to pick them up. One could see some drunks walking about. Someone indeed turned his little shanty home into a mini-pub. Nobody had thought it could actually become this bad in so short a time.
"Umm, which is the Johnson home? I can't tell," Elmer asks.
"According to the GPS grid, it should be…" Jane pauses as she double checks the data on her monitor and then she points to a small house with a front yard. "Yes, that should be it."
"So, how sure are you, fearless leader?" Junior asks with a mocking tone.
His friend thought quickly enough to change the subject lest a fiasco happen too soon. Elmer quickly asks, "Umm, what do we do?"
"We should try to do this in a professional manner. Junior, you and Bogart position yourselves to the windows of the living room. Elmer and I will go to the front door and block their exit." Jane nods to herself, apparently assured that she had come up with a good plan.
"Hey, what about the back door? That's another exit. Did you think about that?" Bogart questioned.
"Oh." Now Jane looks disappointed.
Once again, it is up to Elmer to save the day. "Umm, there's only four of us. If Mr. Cobretti were here, he'd have that covered. So, umm… I guess, umm… we're… we're just gonna have to make do. Right, Miss Datsun?" When she didn't answer, he asks again, "Umm, Ma'am Datsun? Jane?"
"Yes," finally she piped up. "We've no choice, we just have to make do with the situation. So, let's go!"
A few minutes later, the team takes their positions as planned. Junior and Bogart each take a position at the two windows on either side of the living room. How so fortunate, they thought, the owner did not bother to put bars outside them. Elmer now stands with Jill at the front door. He ponders as how strange it feels to be someone's right-hand man. It is a wonderful feeling. He has always been a scaredy-cat but this break of dawn feels indeed what it should, the beginning of a new day.
"Oh, my god!" exclaimed Jane. Elmer had to ask her what was wrong. "I can't kick down this door. Can you kick this down?"
Elmer had to nod no as an answer. "Umm, maybe we should just ring the bell?" He pushes the doorbell button before Jane could stop him. Oops! Perhaps that was not such a bright idea after all, he thought.
"What? Whuzza?" Somebody's voice boomed. It sounded like an elderly woman they just woke up. The two teammates had to look at each other in the eye and wonder if they had the right address. Before either could react, the old woman inside the house asks loudly, "Somebody there?" Now she sounded truly grumpy. A loud crash sound follows and this being a small house, Junior's voice from the side could be heard, "Alright! We're going in!"
The sound of glass smashed through emanates from inside. The woman inside could be heard panicking, "What's going on?!" A follow through of the other window being smashed through is heard and Bogart's voice could be heard, "Drop your weapons! Hands in the air! Man, this so cool!"
Panic sets in for the two team members standing at the front door. Elmer is simply frozen in his tracks so Jane banged on the door. "Hey! Open up! Let us in!" The commotion from inside is more than enough to be heard out the doorway, it is loud enough to wake the neighborhood. The fat old lady inside is shouting and can be heard throwing objects at the two intruders, "Who are you?! Get away from me! Police, help!"
Jane and Elmer ran to the side of the house and simply went through the already broken window. They don't find any people other than their two teammates manhandling the old lady, no one else. This time, the woman is not screaming as Bogart had the presence of mind to put his hand over her mouth. Jane tells the two men, "Guys, guys! I think we should let her go."
Junior whines, "But she's gonna start throwing stuff again!"
"Ma'am, we're the authorities. Obviously there's some mistake here…" Jane tries to say.
Junior interrupts her, "Mistake?! What the hell? I thought you said…"
"Shut up!" Jane pointed a finger at Junior and then she went back to talking to the old lady. "Is this the Johnson residence?"
Bogart slowly lets go of the woman but she did not hesitate to quickly belt him in the abdomen. He fell down to the floor looking more startled than hurt. The woman replies, "Yes, it is."
"Do you know Anthony Johnson?"
"Tony? Yes, he's my grandson. He's always running off with his friends."
Now, this is an awkward situation. "Do you know where he is? It's important that we find him."
"He's probably hanging out with dog-lover. I think Emilio, that's his name. Anthony is always over there." Grandma Johnson apparently does not care about her grandson. "Who's going to pay for all this?" She points to the mess the team has just made.
"City Hall. City Hall is going to pay for the damages. We'll follow it with a report. Guys, let's go." Jane is the first to exit out of the embarrassing situation. Elmer quickly follows her. Bogart and Junior also got out when grandmother Johnson is screaming expletives.
Elmer feels sorry for Jane. He can see just how frustrated she is as she mutters, "Of course, just because the van's owner lives here doesn't mean their headquarters is here. Stupid, stupid, stupid!"
"We just have to find this Emilio, right?" Elmer asks her, hoping she is distracted from her foul mood. "What's his last name?" Instead of an answer, he finds his teammates looking at each other for an answer and the realization they ought to have asked that question earlier. They looked back at the Johnson house and the angry old lady coming out the door still continuing to curse. The answer is obvious, they'll just have to look up in the computer.
Dawn has passed. The sky is now bright and will grow ever brighter more. Leader of this ERA's chapter cell, Emilio Clarke steps out of the house to get some air and stretch his legs. Thoughts of last night's events run through his head. A coy smile runs through his lips as he basks in the rising sun, satisfied of their success. The happiness is short lived, however, as he spots a black SUV making its way along the street and slowing down as it passes by.
Odd that an expensive car like that would be in a neighborhood such as this and odder still at the action it is taking. Having experience with surveillance encounters, Emilio starts backtracking to the front door of his family's bungalow-like house. His own actions, too, do not go unnoticed to the occupants of the SUV.
"Oh, shit! He's on to us," Bogart tells his companions. He takes out a baton equipped with an electrical discharging unit. "Time to boogie."
"God, this wouldn't have to happen if we got to the right house in the first place," complains Jane.
The first one to come out of the SUV is Junior who quickly runs towards the Clarke residence as fast as he could. He sees the ERA man manage to get in and closing the door. He screams a war cry, able to get on the porch and ram his shoulder against the door as only an inch is left before it fully closes. He actually got the door off its hinges with the force and momentum he gained.
An elderly woman who appears to be 75 years of age and medium-built for a person her gender and age starts hitting Junior with an umbrella. She calls him a bastard and all other sorts of obscenities. The umbrella hitting is continuous and he is unable to fight back. He had to cry out, "Oh, mother of God. Aaarrhhh!"
Bogart just got in and is ready for action. "Don't worry, man. I got your back." He has until a crowbar hits across his midsection and forces him out the door. Emilio knocks the baton out of his hand. Bogart quickly moves and narrowly avoids having his skull crushed in by another hit from Emilio's crowbar.
The neighborhood is starting to get attracted to the commotion of the fight. Jane decides to make her move and aims her Taser gun on Emilio. Just as she is about to pull the trigger, she hears a romping sound and the barking of a dog. A Rottweiler jumps in on her. Instinctively, Jane puts her right forearm up to block the dog's attack. The force of the jump falls her down. The Rottweiler chomps on her forearm. Fortunately, she is wearing a communications gauntlet which prevented the dog from biting all the way in but it could wear it down in little time. Being a right-handed person, Jane dropped the Taser and is unable to grasp it effectively with her left. She cries out, "Somebody, help me!"
Never gifted with the power of speed, Elmer arrives at the scene too late. The sight makes him panic. All three of his comrades is in some sort of gauntlet. He is not certain where to start first. He brandishes out his pistol. He could fire a warning shot, make all of them stop fighting or that could just bring in the cops. But they already are in trouble so what's the use? Scare the dog? What if it decides to attack him instead?
Before he could even decide on the course of action, he hears a woman scream at him. "You're not gonna kill Chucky!" It was one of the ERA women and she is brandishing a shotgun aimed at him. It was like she appeared out of nowhere. In a moment of a greater panic upon panic, he ends up shooting her on her right calf. The pain causes the woman to pull the trigger on reaction and it was only on great fortune that the pellets all miss Elmer.
The moment gave Jane the opportunity to push the dog away far enough. Apparently undaunted by the sound of gunfire, the Rottweiler continues its attack. She is now in a position to put some sort of fight. Every time it comes near, she kicks it on the snout. But she is still lying down and it is only a matter of time before it will gain the upper hand. She pleads to Elmer, "Shoot it, Jones! Shoot it!"
It is never in Elmer's nature to hurt even animals. He winces as he aims his pistol and closes his eyes as he pulls the trigger. It took only one shot and the animal limps down and whimpers. He could not help but feel sorry for the animal. Jane, apparently, is not satisfied that it is still alive. In a fit of rage, she takes out her own pistol to kill it. Elmer quickly holds her arm back and this causes her to miss her shot. He is amazed at the speed at which he did this.
"What the hell…?" Jane exclaims.
Uncertain what to say, Elmer nervously says, "Umm, I think one shot was enough…"
During this moment, Junior uses the distraction the sound of gunfire afforded him. He takes a hold of granny's umbrella. She tries to slap him but he blocks it with his arm. She uses her other hand but he blocks it too. Then, he hits her in the abdomen, followed by an uppercut and a punch in the cheek. He ends it with a double palm hit then sends her flying across the room.
"You bastard! That's my grandmother, she's just an old lady!" Emilio screamed. It was Bogart's turn to get the upper hand in his situation. He sticks the electro baton right into Emilio's abdomen. Emilio falls down to the count.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Bogart sarcastically says and then spits on him.
Jane races up the porch's steps. "Okay, we've got to find the dog and burn down the house." She, Junior and Bogart all take out their pistols and search the house, leaving Elmer to watch outside.
Elmer sees the woman he injured on the leg. She is crying from the pain. He rushes to her and takes out a cotton pad from his first aid kit. He presses hard on the wound to stop the bleeding. "I… I'm so sorry. I didn't mean… to hurt you."
"You did, you bastard! And you killed Chucky! Oh, god!" she moaned.
"I'm really sorry. But it was going to kill my friend, I had no choice… I think."
"Yo-you're not going to call the cops?" A look of panic washes over the young woman's face. "That's it, then? You're from the corporation. You're trying to cover up some secret experiment."
"Yes. I mean, no. I don't know. You're right, I gotta call 911. You could go into shock or something." Elmer takes out his cell phone. "Umm, my name is Elmer. What's yours?"
"Ally." She winces from the pain. "You're not all I imagined to be. I thought corporate henchmen would be more like brutes."
"Well, umm…" Elmer tried to think of a witty comeback but nothing would come to him. He hears a crunching sound from behind him. He turns around only to see another of the ERA members sneak up on him. It was long-haired Anthony Johnson who hits him with a piece of wood. It was strong enough to disorient Elmer but not knock him out.
"Come on, we're getting out of here," Anthony tells Ally. He takes the pistol out of Elmer's hands and hands it over to Ally. "You take her to the van or she blows your brains out." Then, he heads over to Emilio and helps his ring leader friend up.
Elmer isn't sure he has the strength to lift her but somehow he manages to. His amazement is cut short as a threat to life ends it. Ally whispers to his ear, "You try any funny stuff, I shoot you. Okay?"
"Okay…" Elmer replies meekly.
Junior's voice could be heard from inside, "Hey, one of them's outside! We gotta stop them!" He jumps out takes out his pistol. He releases a couple of shots but not really aimed at anything in particular. That didn't scare the escapees who promptly drove their van away from the scene. A scream of rage pierces the morning air as Junior races after the van all the while shouting, "Come back here, you! I'm not through with you! I'm not…"
"I… I think… you'd better stop the van," Elmer tells his captors.
Ally grabs him by the collar, "Oh? And what makes you say that? Huh? Huh?" She asks this question while poking a gun to Elmer's face. She is clearly annoyed as Elmer can tell but his worry is not about her putting a hole in his head. Junior is still shooting at the van and one of the shots eventually hit one of the windows of the Chevy van's back. "What the hell?!" Ally panics, "He coulda killed both of us!"
That worried look crops up on Elmer's face. Deep down, he wishes his captors knows the truth about Junior. "We've got to stop, please. It's for your own good," he pleads his captors once more.
"I got a van! A vehicle! I'm gonna outrun him!" Anthony bragged. He floors the pedal and the van speeds up. A quick peek at the rear view mirror indicates they lost their pursuer. "Ha! Told you so!"
A figure quickly smashes himself against the right door of the Chevy van, causing Anthony to momentarily lose control. It was Junior and the way he is trying to reach in is like a rabid animal. Anthony panics and takes his gun out and shoots Junior right in the chest. Junior falls off the door but not without banging his head at the door's window frame.
Anthony goes faster. Junior is left back once more but the gunshot and the hitting of his head does not seem to have fazed him. A great scream of anger rings through the air and Junior runs after the van. Anthony panics, "What the hell is he?"
"He's…" Elmer tried to answer.
They pass through an intersection. The van seemed to have wanted to turn right but at the speed it was going, it overshot the middle of the intersection and now had no choice but to stick to its route. Anthony cursed, "Dammit!" He looks back at the rear view mirror only to see their pursuer as relentless as ever. A wave of fear finally washes over Anthony. At that exact moment, Junior himself is in the middle of an intersection when a FedEx van passed through and colliding with him. Windshield glass breaks, fender bends and bone crunching sound follow.
Anthony whooped in joy, "Thank god we lost him!" And he whooped some more.
It was at that moment that Elmer rethinks what his friend is capable of. He is told by Ally, "Looks like your friend wasn't so tough after all."
The words reverberate through his head. Maybe he was wrong after all. All is lost and he is still their prisoner, his friend is dead and the day went off to a very bad start. But he starts thinking about the past. From when he started this gig with Securiteam, then to some scuffles before and to situations like this. One memory in particular makes him stand up and face his captors, "No you're wrong! You don't know him like I do!"
A surge of courage flows through Elmer and he tries to wrestle the gun away from Ally. "What you think you're doin'?!" she cries. She accidentally pulls the trigger of the shotgun. The shot hits the passenger seat but some pellets managed to reach the windshield and shatter it. The event surprises Anthony who loses control of the van and this happens in the middle of another intersection.
As Anthony regains control, a truck passes and hits their van.