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[personal profile] fredbassett
Title : Silk and Steel, Part 90
Authors : fredbassett & munchkinofdoom
Fandom : Primeval
Characters : Lacey, Abby, Stringer, Connor, Miller, Lester, Nick, Stephen, Helen, Becker, Finn, Ryan, Thomson
Rating : 18
Disclaimer : Not ours, no money made, don’t sue
Spoilers : None
Summary : Abby and Tanya Lacey are in a difficult position, and they aren’t the only ones.
Warning : Slave!fic.
A/N : The links to all previous parts can be found HERE. Captain Thomson appears by courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] deinonychus_1 and Tanya Lacey by courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] reggietate..

8.35am. Bunkroom. Anomaly Research Centre.

“That really went against the grain,” Lacey commented.

“It didn’t work, either,” Abby said.

She was right. They’d yelled at the top of their voices, but there had been no answering shouts.

Judging by the scraping and snuffling sounds outside the door, the predator was still there. Lacey had debated firing a shot straight through thin wood, but the chances of getting a killing shot un-aimed weren’t high enough to justify the expenditure of a bullet. She had 18 left in her clip and no prospect of getting more unless they could make it as far as the armoury, but with predators loose in the ARC that seemed a slender prospect.

Staying holed up wasn’t an appealing prospect either. It was early in the morning, but there were still plenty of civilians in the ARC and one of them could easily walk straight into the current stand-off. Lacey knew from her previous experience with the creatures that they were inhumanly fast and agile, but for the moment at least, they knew exactly where it was. Outside the door, trying to get in. A head shot would be fatal and at close range she stood a good chance of getting one in. She only needed a moment of surprise and she could nail the ugly bastard.

“Determined little sod, isn’t he?” Lacey said as the predator slammed itself against the door again. “How about we let him in and I teach him some manners?”

Abby raised her eyebrows questioningly but didn’t argue. Lacey knew her well enough to be sure that Abby always favoured taking the initiative where possible.

“On the count of three, you open the door and let it in and I shoot it in the head.”

“Sounds simple enough,” Abby acknowledged.

“And if I miss, you get the hell out of here while I keep it occupied.”

“Not liking the sound of that bit very much,” Abby said. “What happened to all for one and one for all?”

Lacey shrugged. “I varied the script, so sue me.”

“I’m not leaving you, Tanya, so you can forget that idea.”

Lacey pulled a knife out of her leg sheath. “Don’t argue with me on this one, Abs. What if someone comes along that corridor? They’re toast, that’s what’ll happen. If we play it my way, I’ll have surprise on my side and you can get a head start.” She handed the knife over, hilt first. “Humour me, OK?”

“I don’t like it.” Abby’s mouth was set in a hard line.

The scraping noise of claws against the wooden door told them that the predator hadn’t given up.

“You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. Anyway, trust me, it won’t come to that. You know I’m good enough to take it.”

“You’re bloody suicidal.”

Lacey grinned. “No way. I took a tenner off Finn at cards last might and I want to make sure I collect my winnings. On the count of three, OK?”

She backed away from the door.

“One…”

Abby pressed down on the handle, but kept her weight against the door.

“Two…”

Lacey set her feet apart, her Glock held in both hands, ready to snap off a shot as soon as she had a line of sight on the creature.

“Three…”

Abby threw her weight backwards, dragging the door open, clearly hoping to unbalance the predator.

The trick worked. The predator staggered slightly, momentarily disorientated and off balance. Lacey snapped off a shot and saw a spray of blood fly up from the creature’s bony skull. Her finger was already squeezing the trigger a second time before it had even started to topple over. Blood and brains sprayed the open door.

Lacey let out a long slow breath, lowering her arms but still keeping the barrel of the pistol trained on the twitching form.

Abby stepped out from behind the door, the knife clutched firmly in her hand. “You’re right,” she said with a slightly shaky smile. “You are good.”

The second predator that appeared behind Abby was as ugly as it was unexpected. It reached for her throat with one bony, three-clawed hand. There was no time to shout a warning. No time to do anything other than react.

Lacey brought the pistol up again in one smooth, practised movement. The first bullet went wide and slammed into the wall on the other side of the corridor, but the second took the creature in one open, snuffling nostril even as Abby dropped to the floor to get out of her field of fire. A third bullet was overkill, but by then Lacey didn’t care, she just wanted to make sure it stayed down. Adrenaline was coursing through her like a drug, making her hyper-aware, with every sense running on over-drive.

She heard a scraping noise in the corridor. Avoiding the quivering bodies of both predators wasn’t easy, but she needed to know what the hell was about to come at them next. “Watch my back!” she told Abby as she kicked one of the dying creatures out of her way and scanned the corridor. The legs dangling from the dislodged ceiling tile were very nearly next on her hit-list.

Stephen Hart dropped lightly to the ground, a broken chair leg gripped firmly in one hand.

Above him, Nick Cutter stared down at her, his hair standing up in sweaty, dusty spikes. “We thought you might need some help, lass.”

Lacey glanced behind her at the two dead predators and shared an amused smile with Abby. “Good job we yelled, wasn’t it, Abs?”

Abby rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right. Typical men. They’d be late for their own bloody funeral.”

8.45am. The Atrium. Anomaly Research Centre.

Stringer put the last bullet from his magazine squarely between the giant crocodile’s eyes, ejected the clip and slammed home another one.

He now had a total of 19 shots left for whatever else the anomaly would throw at them.

Something was now jamming their radio transmissions and from what he could tell, the attack on their computer systems had successfully disabled internal communications as well. Connor had tried to use the tannoy system, but to no effect, and from what Stringer could see, the security cameras were down as well, cutting him off from what was happening in the rest of the building. Whoever was behind the cyber-attack had taken advantage of the diversion created by the monstrous beast that had waddled out of the anomaly to slip past Connor’s defences.

All he could do was keep watch on the anomaly and hope he could drop anything that came through before Thomson arrived back with something that packed more of a punch than his Glock. And if Thomson didn’t make it back, he had to decide whether to abandon the atrium and hope he could get Connor and the other technician to somewhere safe, even if it mean giving up any hope of monitoring what was happening with the anomalies. But on a purely practical level, while the onslaught on the ARC continued, they were in no position to field a team anyway.

“Connor, can you get the cameras back on line?” he demanded.

“I’m trying.” Connor’s nimble fingers were still flying over his keyboard and Stringer’s hopes were raised as the relevant screen flickered into life, showing the aftermath of an explosion in one of the science labs. The picture then cut to a corridor somewhere in the building and he saw what looked like a pack of raptors busily closing in on a group of three people, two of whom he recognised as lab technicians. The third was Finn. The young soldier was firing a pistol left-handed as his other hand, running with blood, was dangling uselessly at his side. His forearm had been laid open to the bone and his movements were sluggish as he fought the pain to keep fighting.

One of the raptors launched itself at him down the corridor, but the camera feed chose that moment to black out.

The defensive possibilities churned over in Stringer’s mind. They were close to the internal garage, if he could get Connor and the other technician out there and into one of the vehicles, maybe they’d stand more of a chance. At least that way there would be a hard shell of metal between them and any attackers.

“Conner, Ali, I want you both to stay with me. We’re going to make a dash for the garage.” Taking a detour past the gruesomely dismembered body of the dead woman and the carcass of the monster en route, but he thought it was probably better not to mention that.

Connor shook his head stubbornly. “We can’t abandon the ADD.”

“There’s no way we can handle a call out in the middle of this…” As Stringer spoke, he recognised the slight flare from the anomaly that usually preceded an appearance. “Incoming, stay where you are…”

The black uniformed figure that stepped out of the heart of the swirling fragments of time made Stringer wonder for a moment what the hell had happened to enable Sergeant Miller to have got on the other side of an anomaly. Miller held a pistol in his hand and was pointing it at Stringer.

Before Stringer had a chance to object, another soldier stepped through behind Miller, then another and another…

And they all wore the same face.

8.50am. Corridor Outside Sir James Lester’s Private Rooms. Anomaly Research Centre.

“Stay behind me, Sir James.” The young guard was doing his best to remain calm, but wasn’t succeeding in banishing the fear from his voice, and Lester couldn’t blame him.

The creature that was staring at them down the length of the corridor looked like something out of a vision of Hell. Lester had seen the bodies of the dead predators that had previously swarmed through the ARC and read the reports. But nothing had quite prepared him for the sight of one in the flesh.

He looked around for something to use as a weapon but the corridor was bare.

The guard, Franklin, if Lester remembered his name correctly, was armed only with a semi-automatic pistol. As he brought the weapon out of its holster, the predator sprang forward, its long, gangling legs covering the ground as it propelled itself up and off a wall, like a mutant squash ball bouncing around a court.

Franklin got two shots off, both of which missed. One long, clawed forelimb shot out and raked at the man’s face, drawing blood. The third shot did some damage to the creature’s abdomen, but not enough. They hunted by echo-location like bats, Lester remembered that much from the pages of copious description he’d been subjected to by Cutter after the post-mortems. He needed something that might confuse the creature, but the corridor was devoid of anything even potentially useful.

Time seemed to have slowed to a crawl as he watched the predator scurry towards the young guard again. Unable to simply stand and do nothing, Lester surprised even himself by standing and yelling loudly, “Oi, you ugly bugger!”

The predator stopped, titled its head and listened.

A sudden thought struck Lester and he fumbled with the strap of his watch. The only thing he had that was capable of making a noise was his watch. It was able to emit a high-pitched bleep that he found exceptionally irritating, which was why he hardly ever used that particular function. All he had to do now was remember which particular buttons he had to press and in what sequence to make the wretched thing go off.

“Get back to your room, sir!” The urgency in Franklin’s voice was unmistakeable, but Lester was damned if he’d leave a young man barely out of his teens to be ripped to pieces by the nightmarish creature with bloodied claws that was now stalking towards them.

Lester succeeded in getting his watch off his wrist, pressed what he hoped were the right buttons and threw it towards the predator. The noise, when it started, as every bit as irritating as he remembered. The shrill alarm caused their attacker to turn towards the source of the sound. The momentary hesitation gave Franklin the chance he needed to fire another couple of rounds at a momentarily stationary target.

It was the best chance they were going to get.

8.52am. The Atrium. Anomaly Research Centre.

Pain was dulling Stringer’s senses and slowing his reactions. He’d taken a bullet in his left shoulder from Sergeant Miller, or should he say one of the many Sergeant Millers that were now swarming through the ARC. Several of them were ringed around the ADD, ordering Connor and Ali Khan to shut down the remaining defences, and another was standing over Stringer, staring down at him with Miller’s trademark sneer, the same sneer that they all possessed.

Looking up into a gun barrel was not one of Stringer’s favourite things, but he knew that the man – if that’s what he was – had made the mistake of getting too close. But with at least five replica Millers thronging the atrium and at least two more on the upper levels, herding several members of staff into Leek’s office, he knew it wasn’t the time to pick a fight when he was hopelessly outnumbered and even more helplessly outgunned.

He’d been relieved of his Glock and his fighting knife, but the replica hadn’t searched him very thoroughly and he still had a blade in a concealed leg-sheath that he hadn’t removed when he’d checked his heavier weapons back in after last night’s shout. His wrists had been cable-tied behind his back, sending waves of red-hot agony through his nerves from his injured shoulder, but his legs were free, and if he could change position to bring one leg up under him at some point he would stand a good chance of freeing his hands.

“Turn your firewalls off, Connor.”

Stringer looked up at the sound of Helen Cutter’s calm voice. She was standing in the middle of the atrium wearing a black leather jacket, a short black skirt and ankle boots. He would have heard her approaching footsteps if she’d come from somewhere within the ARC, so he could only presume that she’d come through the anomaly, the same way as her replica army had done.

Connor stared at her mutinously and didn’t reply.

She gestured to one of the Millers who stepped up to her side and pointed his pistol at Connor.

Helen whispered something to the man and stepped aside with a smile.

Stringer guessed the man’s intentions and squirmed on the floor, ignoring the pain from his shoulder in his attempt to get the knife sheath on his leg in reach of his fingers.

The noise of the gunshot echoed around the atrium.

The screaming came next.

8.55am. Various Corridors. Anomaly Research Centre.

“I told you they were good against monsters,” Becker commented as the second shotgun blast reverberated in the corridor.

Ryan had to admit that the raptor certainly looked more than a little worse for wear, and the rest of the pack had scattered after the first shot, leaving just one – either braver or just more stupid than the rest – to continue to face off against them.

“They’re not bad, I’ll give you that,” Ryan commented as he reached down and hauled Finn to his feet by his good arm.

“Thanks, boss,” Finn said, staring ruefully at the ruin of his right arm. “That’s my sex life buggered for a while.”

The calm acceptance the men formerly under his command had displayed at finding him alive had surprised Ryan, but after coming face to face with several of the multiple versions of the late and decidedly unlamented Sergeant Miller, he thought they were probably already beyond much in the way of surprise. The policy they had all adopted was to shoot first and not worry about asking questions. They had no idea how many clones were swarming through the ARC, but it was their intention to pick off as many as possible, along with any creatures that got in their way.

They set off in pursuit of the remaining raptors. From the damage they’d managed to do to Finn with their wicked beaks, Ryan knew it wasn’t safe to leave them to inflict more mayhem.

The few members of staff they’d met so far had been dispatched with Kermit in an attempt to reach the sanctuary of Norman’s domain. They’d come across two dead security guards so far and three dead civilians. Thomson wanted to get back to the atrium with more fire power and Ryan wanted to make his way to Lester’s rooms. In another few moments they would reach the parting of their ways. Finn would remain with Thomson, ready to help with the evacuation of civilians if needed. Even one-armed, Ryan would still back Finn in a fight against Helen Cutter’s clones.

They reached the junction that would lead Thomson to the atrium while Ryan went up the stairs to the top floor of the ARC on his way to find Lester. He just hoped his lover had retained enough sense to hole up in his quarters and barricade the door.

As he took the stairs two at a time, the adrenaline that had flooded his system still acting as the world’s most effective painkiller, Ryan heard pistol shots ahead of him and increased his pace. He pumped a shell into the barrel of the Mossberg 590 and dragged open the door.

To his left, from down the far end of the corridor he heard a thin, tinny bleeping and saw a leathery-skinned, skeletal creature crouched ready to spring. The noise, whatever it was, had seemingly provided a brief distraction as its head was turned to one side and it appeared to be trying to focus on the bleeping. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the option of simply blasting the thing out of existence as he could see one of the security guards, his face smeared with blood, on the other side of the beast, trying to shield someone else from the predator’s attack. The sudden scrape of claws on the hard vinyl flooring of the corridor alerted him to danger from the other direction as well. He turned as a sudden blur of movement came at him, reaching for him with its claws as it sprang for him, jaws open and claws flashing.

Ryan held his ground and fired the combat shotgun from the hip, immediately racking the slide to chamber and then fire a second round. The blast slammed the creature into the wall, leaving a trail of dark blood down the once-pristine white surface. The other one turned towards him with a snarl, saliva dripping from its bony jaws.

The security guard promptly pushed the person behind him back against the wall, doing his best to get them both out of Ryan’s field of fire. Ryan realised with a degree of shock that the other man was Lester, dressed as casually as he’d been when Ryan had last seen him.

Ryan stuck the first finger and thumb of his left hand into his mouth and let out a piercing whistle. The predator cocked its head again and snuffled wetly. It took a step towards him, knuckle-walking like a hideously mutated chimpanzee. Ryan stepped back and whistled again, hoping to draw it on.

The ruse was successful. It sprang. Ryan went down on one knee, brought the barrel of the shotgun up and fired, twisting aside at the last moment as the creature’s own momentum carried it over and past him. He spun around, ignoring the stabbing pain from his ribs and fired again. The second shot struck home and spun the predator around in the air to land with a heavy thud.

With two creatures down, Ryan took hold of the pistol he’d taken from Miller and pressed the muzzle against the predator’s head. He’d read the reports of their original attack on the ARC and although these creatures were subtly different to the ones Lyle and the others had faced, they were alike enough for him to be sure of how hard to kill they were. A coup de grace to each ensured that neither of them would present any further threat.

“Your timing is as impeccable as ever, Ryan,” Lester said. He sounded calm, but Ryan knew him well enough to see beyond the light words to the maelstrom of emotion beneath the surface.

Lester took a couple of steps across the corridor, bent down, picked up the object that was still emitting the high-pitched bleeping noise and strapped it back on his wrist.

Ryan stared at him in amazement. “You took on one of those buggers armed with a wrist-watch?”

Lester sniffed. “The aim was to distract it for long enough from Franklin to teach it the error of its ways.”

The young security guard wiped the blood away from his cheek with his sleeve and grinned, fairly cheerful for someone who he looked like he’d seen a ghost.

Silence stretched between Ryan and Lester as taut as a high-wire. Then Ryan covered the ground between then in three quick strides. Any attempt he had been intending to make to drop to his knees was forestalled by Lester hooking his hand around the back of Ryan’s neck and pulling him down into a kiss, heedless of their audience.

When they drew apart a moment later, Lester sought Ryan’s left hand and drew his wrist up to his mouth to press a light kiss onto the burn mark on his skin.

“Even without this I wasn’t totally sure,” he murmured, blinking back the tears that glistened in his eyes.

Ryan pulled Lester into a hug. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever see you again, but at least I knew you were still alive.”

The sound of distant gun shots followed by a louder explosion was enough to remind them of the dangers they still faced.

“I need you to barricade yourself in your room, James,” he said quickly.

“Most certainly not,” Lester said, drawing his most haughty demeanour around him like body armour. “You’re carrying enough weaponry to wage a minor war, so I imagine you can spare me one of your multitudinous firearms.”

Recognising superior force when it stared him in the eye, Ryan handed over the Sig Sauer P226 and a spare clip. “No heroics, understand?” He had little confidence in Lester’s ability to keep himself out of harm’s way, especially after a mad stunt like taking on a vicious armed with nothing more that a watch.

“If you insist, but no getting killed, understand?” Lester’s voice was flint-hard, but the look in his eyes betrayed his feeling.

“I’ll do my best,” Ryan said quietly.

He just hoped they would both be able to keep their promises.
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