Art Adkins
Author & Leadership Instructor
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Mindwalkers - Chapter 48

Chapter 48

“The other two teams are pinned down,” said the radio man, crawling next to Slade.

“Tell the First Contact to focus on the gun emplacements for the other teams.  We need to hit them before they regroup.  We’ll have to take out the remaining machine gun.”  Slade turned to a Colombian soldier next to him.  “Take three men and position yourself away from us and draw their fire.  We’ll assault their position when they focus on you.”

Without a word the soldier grabbed three others and crawled quickly out of sight.

“You ready?” asked Slade, looking over at June, Dustin Zane and Jones.

“Of course,” replied June, smiling at Slade. 

Before anyone else could respond, the diversion team opened fire on the machine gun nest.  The mercenaries thought they were being flanked and turned their attention away from Slade.  Without hesitation, Slade and his cohorts jumped up and ran toward the remaining machine gun.  The fight was brief.

Waving to the diversion team, he waited while they joined him.  The door to the compound was locked and made of heavy steel.

“Move.  I’ll blow the lock,” said Jones. 

Jones grabbed the machine gun the team had just secured and trained it on the door.  A long burst blew through the metal and when he stopped firing, Slade kicked it off its hinges.  It clattered into the hallway.

Piling through the door, the men were confronted with corridors.  Splitting into two groups, Slade, June, Dustin Zane and Jones went left, the rest of the team proceeded to the right.

The first several doors were unlocked and the rooms were empty.  The next one was locked and they shot the lock off.  It was a research lab, but not being utilized. 

“We have to find the operations center,” said Slade.

“It should be toward the center of the facility,” said Jones, taking point and leading the way.

Rounding a corner a quick burst of gunfire indicated they had found the right spot.  Gunter had placed mercenaries at the front door and they were positioned behind sand bags.  Jones removed a hand grenade and tossed it toward them.  When it exploded they rushed the men who were dazed and trying to see through the smoke.  The ones not killed by the explosion died when they reached for weapons. 

“There may be others on the other side,” said Slade.

Testing the knob the door was locked.  June was carrying a shotgun, his favorite weapon and when he fired two slugs into the lock, the door swung open. 

Dr. Zofel was the first to turn and confront them.  He was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

“No!  You don’t know what you’re doing!  Years of research,” screamed Dr. Zofel as he rose to fire his weapon.  Slade killed him before he could get a round off.

The remaining technicians and assistants were placed on the floor, searched and a guard was posted over them.  Slade looked out the glass and saw Jimmy attached to the array.

“That’s what we have to stop.  Let’s go,” said Slade.

Running to a side door, they leaped down the stairs.  Dustin Zane reached Jimmy first and started flipping switches. 

“Can you pull the helmet off of him?” asked Slade.

Grabbing the helmet, June and Dustin Zane tugged it free.  Jones pulled the IV from Jimmy’s arm. 

“The cables.  They run to the array,” said Jones.

“Stand back,” ordered Dustin Zane.

The big man grabbed a small desk, lifted it above his head and crashed it into the assembly where the cables entered the connector chair.  Sparks flew as some of the electrical cables were ripped free and a small fire burst inside several consoles.

“That should do it,” replied June.

Bullets whizzed past their heads and they were forced to the floor.  Gunter had disappeared out a back door of the lab to arm himself, but now returned with a vengeance.  They all started shooting back and Gunter had to retreat. 

“That’s Gunter,” said Jones. 

“We still need to find the hostages and the computer bank.  Where would it be?  Gunter is not going any place,” said Slade.

“The main data banks should be near here.  Probably in a connector room.  Come on,” said Jones, leading the way to the rear of the complex.

The second set of double doors emptied into the computer room.  Banks of computers and data bases were before them.  Selecting a terminal, Jones started accessing the memory banks. 

“Encryption codes.  It will take a moment.”

“We don’t have a lot of time,” said Dustin Zane.  “I’m sure some of the security force will come to protect this place.”

“We still need to find the hostages.  June, you and Dustin Zane go look for them.  I’ll stay with Jones for back-up,” said Slade.

Slade watched his two friends enter the corridor and start a search.  Turning back to Jones he saw that the computer technician had gained entry.

“Did you find it?” asked Slade.

“Got it.  Downloading now.”  Jones inserted a data stick into a terminal port and hit download.  It’s going to take a moment.  A lot of data is here.”

“Okay.  Let me know when…” Slade was cut off by gunfire.

Gunter had double back.   The explosions he could hear could only be caused by artillery fire and it was probably coming from a warship.  So the assault team invading his island had help.  Gunter knew they would want the information in the data bases.  The computers contained valuable research.  When he entered the data vaults he was shocked to see two men accessing ‘his’ data banks.  Raising his weapon, he fired at the two men and saw one fall forward.  The other returned fire.

Gunter tried to enter the room, but was unable to do so.  Retreating he fired again, before turning to run.  He could access the terminal from his office. 

Slade grabbed Jones.  Gunter had been luckier than he thought.  One of his rounds had hit Jones in the upper chest, near his heart.  The man only had a few moments to live.

“Take…the data..stick to Hal…..thanks.”

Slade watched as the man died in his arms. Lowering Jones on the floor, Slade looked at the terminal screen.  ‘Download Complete’ appeared in the center of the monitor.  Slade pulled the data stick free, placed it in the water tight case Jones had supplied and dropped it into his pocket.  Whatever secrets the stick held would be revealed later.

Grabbing his rifle, Slade left the computer room and started to search for Gunter.  The explosions outside the facility were less frequent and the gunfire more sporadic.  The assault team must have been successful or the First Contact would have continued to fire their artillery. 

The research facility was not as large as he had thought.  The floor he was on was mostly labs and research areas.  One room was a cafeteria, with a kitchen area and supply room.  Slade moved to a higher floor, surmising the rest of the assault team would be searching the lower levels for prisoners. 

Leaving a stairwell, Slade proceeded down a hallway.  There were only two offices on this floor and he focused on the last one as a light was spilling through the door into the hallway.  There was a computer running.

Entering the office, Slade cleared the left and right side before easing forward.  Someone was trying to access the data bank from the terminal.  This had to be Gunter’s office but where was he.  Realizing too late it was a trap, Slade started to spin to his right.  Gunter had been hiding behind some file cabinets and sprung at Slade when he turned. 

Gunter was taller than Slade and knocked the rifle out of Slade’s grasp.  Gunter’s weapon was empty or he would have shot Slade when he entered the room.  Punching Slade on the side of the head, Gunter knocked him over a low table.  Slade was immediately on his feet, but had no time to draw his Beretta.  Gunter was on him, punching and kicking as fast as he could.  Slade countered most of the blows and struck back, but the strikes he landed seemed to have no effect on Gunter.  It was as if Gunter was impervious to pain.

Slade finally freed his handgun, but Gunter grabbed the barrel and jammed it against his shoulder.  By shoving back on the barrel, the weapon was taken out of battery and would not fire.  Gunter laughed hysterically and wrenched the gun free and tossed it onto the floor.

“You cannot kill me!  I’ve been made indestructible!” 

Gunter tore his shirt off and Slade saw the countless lesions. They were all over his upper body and back.  Two new growths had appeared on his neck and they were bright red from the exertion.

“Zofel thought my body was growing weak!  The fool.  I am what we should all become,” said Gunter.

“A madman.  No thanks,” replied Slade, trying to gain an advantage. 

Being called a madman infuriated the German and he charged, yelling as he grabbed Slade.  The two men rolled to the floor and Gunter ended up on top.  Opening his mouth he tried to bite Slade and Slade had to use his forearm to keep Gunter from reaching skin.  Slade placed his forearm on Gunter’s chin and shoved as hard as he could.  Slade had Gunter’s other wrist and was keeping him from striking him.

Gunter looked up and saw the syringe he used to inject the stimulant with.  There was a slight amount left in the tube.  Reaching over with his left hand, he grabbed the syringe and aimed the needle for Slade’s arm.  Even a little dosage to a non-psychic could be lethal.  Gunter tried to slam the needle into Slade’s arm, but Slade countered and blocked it with his forearm.  That left Gunter’s mouth free and he bit down on Slade’s shoulder, wrenching his head from side to side, trying to tear flesh loose.

Slade felt the pain and arched his back, attempting to throw Gunter off.  Using his head he slammed his forehead into Gunter’s almost knocking himself out in the process.  He succeeded in getting Gunter to free his grip with his teeth.  Gunter was slightly stunned and Slade was able to toss him off.

As Gunter was being thrown clear, he lashed out with his left hand and slammed the needle into Slade’s thigh.  He had kept his thumb on the plunger and he injected the mind cocktail into Slade’s leg. 

Slade could feel the effect immediately.  The room started to spin.  Half rising to his feet, he fell forward into a table and onto the floor.  He could hear Gunter gaining his feet but he was unable to stop him.  Rolling over, Slade tried to crawl away but only succeeded in falling onto the floor again.  His mind was on fire and lights danced in front of his eyes.

“You are weak.  You pitiful scum.  My men failed to kill you, but I won’t.” 

Gunter kicked Slade in the ribs and sent him sprawling forward.  Throwing a table out of the way, Gunter stalked toward his prey his breathing heavy.  He was indestructible. 

Slade felt the pain in his ribs from the kick, but it was a dull ache compared to the fire in his mind.  He knew he was losing consciousness and he knew it would happen quick.  Metal beneath him.  A familiar feel.  His Beretta!  Using what strength he had left, Slade forced his hands beneath his stomach and grabbed the gun.  From instinct, he found the trigger.  Rolling over he racked the slide to feed in a round.  Aiming chest high, he sighted on Gunter and opened fire.

Gunter was approaching Slade when he saw him turn over and aim his weapon at him.  Gunter smiled crazily.  He was indestructible and could not be killed.   The first round hit him in the upper chest.  The others that followed stayed close to the first.  Gunter’s eyes flew open.  He was wounded.  But how?  Why?

Slade kept pulling the trigger until the magazine was empty.  When the slide locked back, he let the gun fall from his hand.  He watched as Gunter staggered backwards, blood pouring down his chest.  Gunter looked one last time at Slade, tried to speak and fell forward onto the floor.  He was dead.

Slade tried to move, but found he could not even lift his hand.  His mind was entering a slow down stage and darkness was coming, looming over the horizon.  Focusing was becoming difficult and objects directly in front of him were hazy, blurred.  He was losing the fight to stay awake.

Voices.  Familiar voices.  They were calling his name but he could not answer.  Hands touching him, pulling something from his leg.  That was all he remembered before darkness settled over him.

“We’ve got to get him to a doctor.  I can’t wake him,” said June, the concern evident.

“Move.  I’ll carry him.  Call ahead for a boat.  The First Contact should have a doctor on board.”  Dustin Zane scooped Slade up in his arms and ran for the door with June in tow.

When they burst into the open, June found the radio operator and had him call Captain Richardson.  A boat was running and waiting for them when they hit the beach.  Within seconds they were speeding for the First Contact.

The efficiency of the crew was evident as they hoisted Slade aboard and took him to the doctor.  The ship’s doctor started an IV and asked to see the syringe.  Tests were conducted immediately to identify the compound.

It was over an hour before the doctor left Slade and joined June and Dustin Zane.  Captain Richardson was there with them.

“I’ve done all I can.  His condition has been stabilized, but I don’t know the particulars of the compound he was injected with, how much or the effects.  I need better equipment and a better analysis of the compound.”  The doctor drank from an offered cup of coffee.

“Any luck on getting the remaining medical staff on the Island to talk?” asked Captain Richardson.

“They said they did not know the particulars of the stimulant.  Only Dr. Zofel, Gunter and two others knew the complexity of it.  The people who knew the ingredients of the compound are dead,” replied June.

“What about an antidote?” asked the Doctor.

“They said there isn’t one. All we can do is wait and hope he makes it.”

Dustin Zane looked at June as he spoke. 

“I’ve already contacted my superiors.  A jet has been dispatched to take him to the mainland for treatment.  We’ll find a cure,” said Captain Richardson.

“Thanks.  And thanks for your help on the Island,” said June, looking at a man he thought he had lost as a friend.

“Thank me when your friend gets better and we can all have a beer.”

Everyone turned to stare at the corridor leading to Slade’s room.  

Chapter 49