Sometime around the sixteen hour mark, in the desolate white room, Nyko realized he had to pee. In an attempt to take his mind off of the urgency, he started planning.
“What do we have for assets,” he said, breaking the long silence in the room.
“My skills,” said Jonas.
“We’re a strong force,” Said Derrick.
Nyko laughed. “My brains, your strength and his skill versus sixty men. If only I had a holocaust cloak.”
The men stared at him blankly as Nyko laughed out loud. “Come on,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes. “The Princess Bride?” More blank stares. “Fuck all of you, that shit was funny.”
Eventually the door opened, four men walked in. It was impossible to tell if they were the same four as before.
“You have been deemed clear. Come with us. Form an orderly line. Do not break the line. Failure to comply will result in termination.”
The six of them lined up. Anything had to be better than the quarantine cell. Nyko knew his men. They were holding it together, but several of them had to be going crazy on the inside.
They were walked down a hallway to a lift, two masked men in front and two behind. The doors opened, and they proceeded in. The four masked men took the corners, while Nyko and his men were shoved together in the middle.
Nyko turned around to face the back of the elevator. One of the masked men ordered, “Turn around. Eyes down.”
Nyko smiled. “Hey Brian, how’s that rash doing?”
The two men in the back turned to look at Brian. Nyko seized the opportunity. He reached out and yanked the mask off the nearest man. The rest of his crew had just been waiting for the signal. Andy followed Nyko’s lead and ripped the mask off the nearest figure. Behind it was a beautiful blonde.
Nonplussed, Andy punched her squarely in the nose, while behind him Brian was locked in a headlock by the third. Beside him, Terrell and Derrick bounced the final guard’s head off the wall as gas started pouring into the car. Nyko put the mask in his hand on his face. “Terrel, Derrick, Andy, mask up!” he shouted, punching the guard in front of him again.
“But…” Shouted Brian, just before he slid down the wall, unconscious.
“T, carry Brian. Andy, get Jonas. Derrick, you take the rear.” Nyko picked up a rifle. The visor in the mask immediately displayed a crosshair. “Aim for their masks. If they gas the hallway, even if you just crack it, they’ll go down. Save bullets, go straight for the masks. If you have to shoot, aim small. When the doors open, we’re going to pay for what we just did. Derrick, grab one of the guards, prop him in front of you. Stay low and to the sides.” The men moved to the sides.
The elevator dinged, and the doors opened just Nyko pulled one of the guards in front of him. The sleeping guard was shredded with bullets the instant the doors were open. Nyko pounded the “door close” button, and hoped his meat shield would last until the door was closed. All of them were splattered with blood and gore by the time the doors closed, and Nyko pushed the button marked L.
Nyko bent down and swirled his finger on the blood on the floor. He put a bloody fingerprint on the left cheek of each of them. “So we know who not to shoot,” he said.
The elevator descended for less than a minute, but it felt like ten to the men in the car. The sound of gunfire started before the elevator even stopped. Dozens of dents appeared on the inside of the doors.
Nyko pulled the red alarm button, stopping the car and sounding a buzzer which could barely be heard over the sounds of the gunfire. Several seconds later, the gunfire stopped, and Nyko pushed the button back in. The doors opened to two dozen men standing in the lobby reloading their weapons.
Four of them stepped out of the elevator and opened fire, mowing down the masked people.
A man’s face appeared in Nyko’s visor. “That was clever, Nyko. But I can’t let you leave like this. You’ve killed people in my city.”
“I only killed in self-defense,” said Nyko. “I was taken hostage at gun point, gassed, held prisoner, and then threatened.” Nyko ripped two masks from dead soldiers and tossed them to Andy.
“You came to my city in a train designed for war, then rode around stirring up the locals, looting and pillaging. You were setting up a forward operating base just outside my walls,” said the man in the visor. Nyko slowly looked around the corners of the mask for a way to disconnect the conversation
Andy slipped a mask over Brian’s head, then Jonas while Terrell and Derrick stripped magazines from the soldiers and their rifles.
“Had you spoken first, like a civilized fucking human being, I would have been more than happy to explain. But you choose instead to abduct us. So now you will get no fucking explanation. If you let us walk, no one else has to die.”
The face sneered. “Where would you go? I have your train and your dune buggy. And in a few days, I’m going to follow the tracks you came in on back to wherever you came from.”
Nyko’s head screamed ‘Charlotte!’ but somehow he managed to keep a fairly straight face. “We came from the desert. The only things you’ll find are a bunch of dead marauders, who tried to attack our train barn. Where is my train?”
Nyko walked to the doors of the building. There were nearly a hundred men outside, taking cover behind their vehicles. He walked around the lobby, looking for any sign of train tracks through the windows. From what he saw of the wall, they’d run bulldozers around the entire perimeter. Everything was torn up. There’s no way he got the train inside the walls.
“What is it you hope to accomplish here,” asked Nyko.
“Killing you,” replied the face.
Nyko wanted to keep him talking to give himself time to think. Jonas was sitting upright. Brian would be waking up soon. “What’s your name, and rank, or position here?”
“I’ll ask the questions,” the pudgy faced man said. He was tan, setting off his perfectly cropped silver hair.
“Fine, ask away,” said Nyko, staring out across the parking lot. The men weren’t in shooting position, their rifles hung at their sides. He was looking for a way out, and being careful not to tip the man in his visor off to his plan.
Nyko waved his hand behind him. Andy handed him a pen and paper. Nyko turned his back on the crowd, and studied the room for cameras. He was looking for a dead spot. When he found it, he walked towards one of the cameras and stood looking up at it while he wrote a note.
“Find a high value target in this building.”
He folded the note several times and then jumped up and grabbed the camera, using his body weight to rip it from the wall. Derrick followed suit on the other side of the room. One of the things Nyko was most proud of was how well his men were functioning as a team. They were watching him and following his lead without verbal commands. The slick fucker in his visor had to be a little worried.
Nyko handed the note to Terrell. He sat down at the desk, lifted up the keyboard, and entered the password on the post-it stuck to the desk under the keyboard. He clicked furiously for a few minutes, ducked his head for a minute, then stood and walked over to Nyko. Without looking, he put Nyko’s hand on his own and held up three fingers and then one.
Nyko patted Terrell’s hand to signal he got it and moved back to the area in front of the elevator, out of sight of the people in the parking lot. He pulled his mask up and set it on top of his head, and the men followed suit. Brian was still looking a little woozy. “We’re going to the thirty-first floor,” he whispered. Stairs or elevator?”
“Why not both?” whispered Jonas. “You all go up the stairs. Thirty one floors, that’ll take you twenty minutes. Pile me in with a bunch of corpses. I’ll take the elevator. No one shoots waist high. They’ll be waiting for you in the stairs, thinking we’re a bunch of idiots for sending dead bodies up the elevator. When the elevator opens, I’ll open up from behind them.”
“I can do it, Boss. I won’t let you down.”
“See that you don’t. I’m gonna be pissed if you get fucked up. Brian, how are you feeling?”
“I’m good as can fuckin’ be man. Feel like a god damn bull danced a god damn jig up inside my brain hole, but I’m ready to throw down on these frosty the fuckin ghost recon bitches.”
“Snowman,” whispered Derrick.
“Fuck you. That was some deep mashup kind of shit. Let’s go kick some ass, I’m ready, boss.”
They all pulled their masks down and made a big show of dragging the corpses into the elevator. Jonas slid in behind one of the bodies.
The other five men ran for the stairs. On the tenth floor, they were all huffing and puffing. Nyko, taking the lead, said “Starting tomorrow we’re instituting a fucking fitness regime. We’re all god damn joggers now.”
He slowed the pace slightly on the twentieth floor. “Sixteen minutes, boss. We gotta hit that door before Jonas does,” said Terrell, and Nyko spend back up.
Derrick seemed to be the only one not winded. “How many do you think are gonna be on the other side of that door?”
“No idea, but we have two minutes to go through it,” said Nyko, stopping just inside the door to the thirty first floor. He bent over and took a few deep breaths. “Ready?”
“I’ll go first,” said Derrick, stepping in front.
“Nah,” said Nyko, moving him to the side. “My plan, my risk.” He heard the elevators ding. Gunfire started. Nyko booted the door yell, open, stepped in and was firing as he stepped to the side. Derrick was next.
The elevator doors opened. Half the group turned towards Nyko, but immediately turned back when Jonas stood up out of a pile of corpses with an assault rifle in each hand and opened fire like a miniature version of Rambo. He let out a guttural yell, and swept his upper body side-to-side, cutting the enemy down at the knees.
If you are enjoying Hell on Rails, check out my other work What Zombies Fear