Rook’s control room sat near the middle of the dome, and like the other rooms at the center, the ceiling rose to the top of the dome.
The rooms on the second floor shared a transparent wall with the corridor below. People on the second floor could look down into the labs and control, but they weren’t just then.
I gave the Rocket suit a little thrust, and I hovered a little higher, out of the Rook suit’s reach.
On the second floor, people in blue jumpsuits and masks lay down or crawled on all fours.
Out in the first floor’s hall, pieces of concrete fell. On the second floor, a monitor fell off a desk, throwing sparks as the screen shattered.
With the tearing noise I’d heard came a popping noise. I couldn’t place it, guessing it might be the sound of the rivets that connected the roof to the beams popping out.
I had no way of knowing for sure though, and I didn’t have time to follow up on it.
While hovering out of reach kept me out of a wresting match, it also turned me into a target for everyone in the room.
I was already taking fire from the lightweight Rook suits with submachine guns.
I gave the suit more thrust, shooting up, but generally back in the direction where Rook slumped in his chair, and the second heavy Rook suit stood over him.
Really generally in that direction though—I wasn’t trying to go back there. It was just the only direction possible without flying toward the roof or trying the shatter the transparent wall in front of the room.
Then it dawned on me that I had no reason to stay. Cassie wasn’t here, and Rook wasn’t threatening to kill my friends. It was time to leave.
I flipped over, turned the sonics on at full blast, and aimed for the transparent wall. Cracks appeared in front of me even before I reached it.
I gave the suit more thrust, holding out my arms in front of me, and hoping I hadn’t misjudged the material’s strength. Sure, it looked like glass, but I knew it didn’t have to be.
It broke, but not quite the way I would have expected.
I felt the impact in my arms, and it felt solid. It hurt. I blasted through the material anyway, taking huge chunks with me into the hall. No big deal, right? What’s a wall when you can lift tons?
I tried to flip over to slow down, but still hit the wall on the other side of the hall. I didn’t break it even if I did leave holes where my elbow and knee hit.
That wasn’t the worst of it.
I turned around to check if anyone was following me, and was in time to hear a loud noise as a spiderweb of cracks appeared followed by a huge crash as the entire wall fell into the hall while part of the the second floor bent, falling inward.
It stayed mostly in one piece, bending, but staying six feet above the floor on the far end.
People shouted, screamed, and cried as they fell. Some fell into the control room, others on the shattered material in the hall.
I stared. I should be doing something. Helping them? Tending to their wounds maybe?
I couldn’t. I had some bandages in my utility belt, but not enough.
Plus, if went back in there, people would probably try to shoot me.
How could I have known a transparent wall would be structurally significant?
Then I noticed the heavy Rook suit—the one I’d damaged with the sonics. He wasn’t moving much, and he had to be able to see me. The Rocket suit didn’t exactly blend in.
He leaned against a computer station, holding himself up.
The nerve gas. He was dying.
I’d basically killed him.
I didn’t know what to do next. I ran down the hall. Cassie had to be close. If I found her, maybe I could get Alex to heal everyone when I got out.
The next section of the core of Rook’s base was a total loss.
Except for a few cracks, the transparent wall was still intact, and the second floor was still in place. That was the good news.
Human-sized cylinders filled most of the room. I didn’t know what they were used for, but I couldn’t see anyone inside, just blue liquid.
The people I could see were dead. Two men and a woman in lab coats lay on the floor next to the chairs they’d fallen out of.
The computers in front of them were on, and open to a lot of windows.
I didn’t have time to find out more.
The gun flashed. It lit up the hall.
Two quick flashes.
“The next section?”