John staggered through the corridors of Five, bracing himself on the walls as another wave of dizzyness hit. He struggled onwards, knowing that if he stopped he was dead. He had to get to the central control panel, or maybe even the data core. He had to purge her.
“Stop fighting John,” EOS’s light voice echoed oddly through the still station. “You can not defeat me.”
John didn’t dignify that with a reply. He’d reached the door at last but it was refusing to budge. Or more accurately EOS was refusing to open it. But he couldn’t let them win.
A firm press on the access hatch and the control panel slid open, all neat wiring and blinking lights. His vision swam with two or three versions of the control panel the made bile rise in his throat.
No. He wouldn’t give in. He reached through the circuitry, feeling for it when he couldn’t rely on his eyes.
“He is trying to circumnavigate the door mechanism.” EOS spoke to the others, who were even now at the docking port, stepping out the space elevator. Intruders, invaders, coming for him and his station. Sparks flew as his ripped out wires, shorting the lock. With a heave he was able to push the door open just enough to slip through, but he lost as balance tumbling to the floor.
The enemy was coming, he could feel their hurried footsteps echo through his Bird’s structure. A ringing in his ears covered up most of their conversation though so John couldn’t hear their threats, just their reassurances to EOS that they were nearly there, they nearly had him.
Like hell they were. Not able to stand anymore, the walls twisting and curving in, John crawled on hands and knees to the master consol. Everything could be controlled from here. He could shut down the AI, vent the atmosphere – then he would be safe.
John heaved himself up on the console, to find it blank and dark. He hit it with the palm of his hand, as if to wake it but nothing happened. Blinking stupidly John locked his knees and tightened his grip to stay upright.
“I can’t have you doing that now John.” EOS directed a camera to right in front of him, the green lights steadily staring into his soul.
“John?” His head whipped around to the stranger, the invader who had squeezed through his hastily open doorway. He held up his hands in appeasement but John knew that was an attempt at deception. They were here for him. Here to take him away. To take Five away and.....
The man was talking but John couldn’t hear it, couldn’t concentrate. Couldn’t focus on anything clearly, couldn’t see his face. He was just a blue blur. There had to be another way, even with EOS doing their bidding there had to be another way.
John took a step back as a third man entered the room. Damn he was now outnumbered. Nausea ripped through him, his stomach clenched so hard he doubled over.
“Come with us John. Don’t make us hurt you.” John took slow steps back as the two men moved forward. Sweat was dripping from his forehead, his hands were clammy: two men, no four men, no six. Three? His vision settled as the three men approached.
All in matching blue uniforms. Some sort of military maybe, here for International Rescue’s secrets. They had different colour utility sashes which was odd, but maybe that denoted some sort of rank.
“I don’t know that he can hear us” One muttered.
“I can hear you,” John bit out. Of course he could hear them. Mostly. The ringing in his ears as loud as passing traffic on the motorway. He clutched at his head. “You can’t have her.”
“We don’t want anything John. We just want you to come with us. Can you do that?”
“And leave you with direct access to all IR’s communications and networking satellites? Go to hell.” John was in hell right now, heart beating like he had just run a marathon. It was too hot as well, EOS must have tampered with the climate controls to make it more difficult to fight back.
“We don’t have time for this.” One of the men said shortly and with a shared glance they moved forward purposefully .
John tried to run but his feet wouldn’t obey him. They turned traitor too and tripped him. He sprawled hard and painfully on his back. That was all the edge they needed – the men were on him. One on each arm, holding them out so he couldn’t get back up. John shook and bucked as the third knelt by his side.
“How much do I need to give, EOS?” he asked the air, getting a large syringe out of his pocket and tipping it with a horrific needle.
“He will need the entire dose.”
“You sure? Alan didn’t need that much.”
“Ok then.” The man readied the syringe and bent over towards John.
“ Nooooooo ” he wasn’t having that, they weren’t going to take him so easily. With an unexpected and forceful movement John smashed his head forward, into the man’s face. He drew back with shock and the others loosened their grip just enough that he could wriggle free. He lashed out with arms and legs, kicking and flailing and hitting anything within reach. He made a little headway, was able to turn around and to make a furious crawl away, but something heavy landed on his back.
“You ok Gordon?” it said, easily pinning him down with a hand to the back of his head.
“Yeah, I think he broke my nose though. He kicks like a mule.”
“We’ll look at it later. Let’s get this over with.”
John couldn’t see, pressed as he was against the cold hard deck but he could feel. Oh, how he felt the long sharp needle piercing his skin, sliding through the layers of muscle till it rested deep inside his neck. There was hot agony for long moments as his attacker paused there but John knew if he struggled he would likely rip his own artery out. That didn’t stop him clenching and unclenching his hands, grunting in time with his thundering heart. Not that he could have stopped that.
“Here goes” muttered the monster above him. The burning pain of the needle was replaced with freezing instead, as whatever contents of that syringe were injected directly into his blood stream. He could feel is spreading with each heartbeat, infecting his entire body, the freezing pain of frostbite spreading like a wave that left numbness in its wake.
The man got off him but it was too late. It was too late for John. He could barely move now. He tried to push up but his limbs wouldn’t respond properly. They twitched and shook but wouldn’t move. He lifted his head but had to immediately let it drop, the freezing creeping up his spine and through his skull.
One man gently turned him over, so he was laying on his side. Now they were gentle. Now they had poisoned him.
“EOS vital signs?”
“Within acceptable parameters considering.”
His vision was getting dark, fading round the edges.
“Will the one dose be enough, he doesn’t look much better.”
“Another dose may be necessary, but I advise waiting to see his response before administering anything more.”
His hearing was fading too, someone had turned the volume down way too low.
“Gotcha. Virgil, can you take a quick look around see what the damage is - I don’t want to leave without knowing exactly what the status is up here.”
Now he was no longer even twitching, helpless as he was carried. They had won. He was unconscious before they had even reached the airlock.