Daphne wakes up in her cell, stirred by the door snapping open and Boober informing her that her friends escaped. Her arm is burned terribly by the wall. She gingerly gets out of her cell, investigates the unconscious guard left there, and explores the rest of the floor. After finding little of interest, she enters the elevator where she’s greeted by a voice that sounds like a sped-up electronic version of Emily’s voice. It helps her move the elevator to the bottom floor, where she joins the others.
John explains to the party that he had been held captive in the facility for the better part of five years (and he confirmed to Margaret to be the friend that Ezra mentioned to her prior to her capture). He also explains that the other principal captive, a werewolf named Henry, had gone mad in captivity and was extremely dangerous.
When asked how John could help in the escape, he shrugs and says if the party does escape, he can get them to a place that even their captors won’t venture to.
Emily picks this moment to inform the party that she may have accidentally unlocked every door in the facility, and they should probably get moving. Their prisoner lashes out and manages to take Emily’s weapon away and take a shot at John, but Hugo kills the prisoner before he can do any damage.
The party travels up the elevator (with the help of the bubbly Emily-bot) and exits onto an empty hospital floor. There are a number of operating suites, storage rooms, offices, etc. A security station at the end of the hall appeared to have been overrun by a large creature and a number of soldiers lay in tatters beyond the security doors.
Up a flight of stairs, the party finds themselves trapped in a security foyer, pinned down by soldiers, however, the soldiers appear distracted by a creature attacking them from behind. Cole and Hugo provide covering fire for the party to make it into a nearby office.
Before Cole can escape with the rest of the party, he transforms into a large werewolf and proceeds up the hall to assault the soldiers. John also wades into the fray and provides aid. The party flees through a series of offices until the shooting stops and returns to the scene of the battle to find a dead werewolf (presumably Henry), and an exhausted Cole and John.
‘Hello. My name is John’.
Margaret could not help herself. She stepped up to the glass, tilted her head slightly, and said, trying to get the tone and voice right: ‘Are you my mummy?’
The man, no, John, looked confused. So, not a fan of the Doctor, then. She grimaced. ‘Sorry about that.’ It came out as little more than a mumble. Then, louder: ‘I have been looking for you. I am Margaret.’ Granted, she had not had much time to look for Ezra’s friend, though she had been looking for a way to find the presence in her head ever since she woke up.
The cage, because no matter how cozy it looked, it was a cage, was locked with a bolt on the outside. Rational Margaret was wary; she was not certain that letting this man out would be safe. Other Margaret agreed that it might not be safe, but at this point, she did not much care. Rather, she did care, bhere was no way she would leave anyone behind here if she had the chance to let them out. Furthermore, he might, perhaps, help her figure out her new powers and limits. There were changes, she knew that. For one, she was dead. Or undead. She felt different too, not just in not having a heartbeat or having to breathe.
Did she have to breathe? That was something she had not tested yet. Not that she had any intention of trying that right now. Not with people watching. Instead, she slid the bolt back, and stepped away. John picked up something; it looked like a book or a journal of some kind; then he walked over to the door, pushing it carefully. He stepped outside with the look of someone who had spent a long time imprisoned, as if he could not quite believe that he was free.
Her group had been here for a few days, that they were aware of, at least. Ezra had said John had been missing for five years. Though he had clearly been treated better than they had, five years was a long time, and she doubted they had been kind years. He confirmed that by mentioning, somewhat casually, the other principal prisoner, he had not remained sane after what their captors had put them through. His name was Henry, and he was, of course, a werewolf. But of course it had to be a werewolf.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Her life was over, ruined by this clandestine organisation, or rogue black ops, or whatever they were. There was also the possibility that this was a black ops, not a rogue one. Granted, that would have like taken right out of a Hollywood action movie; Margaret had always thought they were just as realistic a depiction of the US as James Bond was of British reality. If this was a government sanctioned operation, she would be seriously disappointed with the country she had chosen as her new home.
She studied the man who had just stepped out of his cage. There was not really any doubt at all in Margaret’s mind that this was the John that Ezra had mentioned. Still, she felt the need to get a confirmation.
‘I believe we had a friend in common’, she said. Had. As if it did not really matter. She was aware at some level that she was doing it again, what she had done after Brandon died, distancing herself from what had happened. Someone had commented to her once, after Brandon, that it was not healthy, what she was doing. This time, however, she felt that she had a good reason to push it away, to keep Ezra’s death at a distance. At the very least until they were safely out of here.
‘I doubt that’. Of course, he would have no reason to think she knew anyone he might know, or might have known five years ago. She had no idea how long it had actually been for her, still. Stupid, really; she should have checked if the phones they were picking up showed the date; her phone did. No matter, she could look into that later.
‘He called himself Ezra’. She doubted it was his real name. If he had been as old as he had claimed, and she had no reason to believe otherwise, he would most likely have had to change his name several times.
‘Ah, Ezra. Yes. I felt him die’, he said. Not surprising. She had been more surprised if he had not known about Ezra’s death; Ezra had, after all, known that John was alive. Mildly surprising was the fact that he Ezra had used his, probably not real name, but the name that John knew him by.
‘I was there’. Even to herself, her voice sounded small and vulnerable, like a lost child. There were tears threatening; she forced them back. A few years in the US had not weaned her of the British ‘do not cry in public’ mentality. Instead, she lifted her head, trying to find something properly distracting to say.
John made it easy for her by suggesting that they should all find somewhere else to be, sooner rather than later. He and Margaret, together with Hugo, headed towards the elevator and the rest of the group.
There, Daphne had somehow managed to find them and join them. That was a relief; much as Margaret did not like the girl, no one deserved being locked in here. Well, she could think of a couple of people she would not hesitate to leave behind, locked inside the cells here. Mr Jones, for instance. Not that she would have killed him even had she been given the opportunity; at least, she did not think she would have.
Emily had been busy with the computer in the glass cage, but now she came out, looking slightly uncertain. She told them she might have, accidentally, opened all the doors in the complex. It was definitely time to get out.
Then John spotted the sole surviving guard. He pointed at the wounded man. ‘He is not what he appears. Kill him!’ Several of them, Margaret included, protested, but before anyone had time to actually do anything, the man managed to grab the gun that Emily had taken. He succeeded in firing one single shot at John, then Hugo turned the question of whether killing him was unethical into a purely academical question.
They bundled into the elevator, and Emily did her magic to make it accend. All of them, maybe with the exception of John, seemed tense when the elevator stopped, and the doors slid open. However, the room in front of them was empty, to Margaret’s surprise. The people in the complex were aware that her group had broken out; the team guarding John had certainly been waiting for them.
They started moving through the rooms, but did not get far before they heard the voice of a man, telling them to go back to their cells, and they would not be harmed. She could not quite help herself. She raised her voice.
‘Does that ever actually work?’ Not that she really expected an answer, but she truly was curious.
No answer, as expected. Instead, the message was repeated in French. She was half tempted to repeat her question in French, but the fact that they spoke French seemed important enough to distract her. That meant, most likely, that the guards did not know who had arrived at their level. Interesting, and definitely to the escaped prisoners’ advantage. But that also suggested another thing; either there were several French-speaking prisoners here as well, or they might be in Canada. Which would, again, suggest French-speaking prisoners. Of course, perhaps Henry was French. Or Canadian.
‘If we get out of here and find ourselves in Alberta, I am going to assume I am actually locked away in some mental ward’. Also, she would have to track down Clive Barker and explain to him that he had gotten it wrong, and that monsters would definitely not find any refuge here. But Midian had been destroyed, so maybe…
She was more than half tempted to ask if any of the guards were named Eigerman or Decker. The thought almost made her giggle, which would probably be a very bad idea. If nothing else, then because her companions might decide she had lost her mind, and at least some of them might decide that was sufficient reason to kill her.
Her amusement vanished instantly when they heard a roar from somewhere behind the men. From what John said, that would be Henry. And if that was Henry, Margaret intended to go in any direction but his.
Seamus darted across the corridor before them; she heard a shot, but he seemed to get unharmed across to the room opposite the one they were in. Margaret sighed and followed, more or less throwing herself across the corridor. They were hearing gunfire now, along with more roars. There was no telling, really, for how long Henry would keep the soldiers occupied, but then, it was not a given that the direction they were headed now would lead to the outside. From the roars, it sounded as if the soldiers were at least hurting Henry. Of course, that meant that if he killed them all, they would have a wounded, insane werewolf on their hands.
Cole had taken up a position by the door, clearly trying to cover the people who moved across. Everyone else managed to get across safely enough, then Cole was about to follow. Except that as he rushed towards the door, something happened. Margaret was unsure if he was actually hit, or if it was the roar of a clearly wounded Henry, or some other reason for it, but Cole changed. During the time it took him to take the four steps or so across the corridor, he grew, so much, in fact, that he no longer easily fit through the door. His head slammed into the top of the doorframe. His very much no longer human head.
As she and at least some of the others moved from room to room, they could see clear indications that someone, most likely Henry, had passed through here. The damage was impressive. Impressive as in terrifying and in no way reassuring. She was trying to move away from the shooting and the roars, but their path seemed to circle around and bring them closer again.
Then they heard something that sounded very much like a final, dying roar from Henry, a few more shots and screams, then quiet. The others were heading towards where the sounds of fighting had come from; Margaret trailed after them, not wanting to get separated from them in a hostile place, even if everything in her screamed to get away from big nasty furry thing with teeth.
They entered the room where most of the fighting appeared to have taken place, and it looked like a scene from a horror movie. Dead bodies; she would guess that four, maybe five men had died here, apart from the very dead werewolf, but it was actually difficult to tell; a couple of the men had been pretty much torn apart.
She did feel a bit sick, then. She had seen dead bodies before, in various conditions, even before the guards they had left behind at the level where they had found John, but this was different. The other guards had been shot, not torn apart. And before that, most of the bodies she had seen had been dead for hours, if not days.
There was one man there, facedown, naked. Since it was definitely not Cole, she assumed it must be Henry. So, at least that part of the stories were right; werewolves reverted to their human shape when they died.
And then she spotted Cole. At least she thought it was Cole. He did not look hurt, much, and he had fur, and big teeth, and he growled something. Probably something in the line of ‘Just let me get my wind back, and then I’ll eat you lot’. Or perhaps ‘don’t get too close, or I’ll rip your heads off and snack on your entrails’.
Keeping as far away from him as she possibly could without leaving the room, she watched as the others milled around, not seeming to care about the big monster that was probably just seconds from ripping into them like a … well, angry werewolf.