“Molly! Molly, listen to me! You need to tell me where you are!”
Clint rummaged through the drawers of her lab desk looking for some clue. He had seconds before the Doctor’s assistants stormed in, guns blazing.
Nothing. Or nothing he recognized in his frantic sweep. He glanced at the two doors, then around the room. Clint’s desperate hope was that Molly had left him some clue. She was exact, conscientious, and sometimes severe in work mode, but her mind worked on several levels at once, and Clint had been subjected to more than one of her sly pranks. She planned ahead. If she had any help for him, she would have left it. But where?
Immediately, he turned to the metal cabinets and wrenched open the door of the corner one. On the second shelf, behind old reference books, she stashed a wholesale bag of M&Ms. She guarded it jealously, but sometimes she shared a few with Clint when she was especially pleased with herself.
Inside he found a scrap of paper with a complicated alphanumerical code and a half-bag of peanut butter M&Ms. He stuffed a handful of the candy in his mouth and considered quickly. He heard footfalls echoing down the empty halls, at least a dozen men. Clint pulled down three of the cabinets, forming a makeshift foxhole. It wasn’t much.
Glancing at the code again, he saw that regular slashes. A special directory code?
“Open command prompt,” he said. On a computer screen, he would have seen a blinking space, ready for keystrokes. Instead, he felt a sense of revulsion, a precaution to ensure he didn’t mess in his core systems without reason.
The soldiers stationed themselves outside the lab, a row of gun barrels lining the broken frame.
Speaking loudly, he began to recite the code, enunciating each character with more force and confidence than he felt. The soldiers hesitated. He started rattling the code off faster. It was too long.
He had no idea if it would work, or what would happen if it did.
The last digit hung in the air. Nothing happened.
“Are you going to kill me?” Clint shouted, looking frantically in his systems for some change. “It doesn’t matter now. I’ve started a chain reaction that will detonate the nuclear generator that keeps me going.” It was complete nonsense, but the Doctor’s minions didn’t know that. “If you run fast, you might survive the worst of the blast.”
All his systems seemed normal. Well, as normal as they could be after repeated beatings. He heard muffled talking from outside the lab. Swiftly scanning through frequencies, he picked up the end of the conversation.
“…does not house a nuclear reaction.” It was the Doctor’s voice. “It’s a bluff. Continue—”
Clint took the moment. Pushing his battered arms to their limits, he grabbed the metal cabinet at his feet, stood, and heaved it toward the window. The joints of his arms groaned, but the cabinet crashed against the frame. Bullets peppered the metal with holes, filling the hall with din. His bad arm no longer responded to his commands.
Above him was a vent. He positioned himself behind the upright cabinet, studying it. Manually positioning his left arm with his right, he tried his cable hand. It launched; the fist smashed into the grate, sent a shiver of pain down the long cable, and fell back to the ground, leaving the vent as secure as before. That was a no go.
The bullets were pounding against the cabinet now. Clint ducked low, making himself small. His fist lay helpless on the ground. The cable refused to retract. Pulling it hurriedly in by hand, he tossed it rapidly around the edge of the cabinet, grasping blindly. It caught one of the soldiers across the chest. As he pulled away, the fingers of his thrown hand grabbed ahold of his automatic. Clint yanked hard, pulling the gun free and clattering across the floor.
The cabinet was a collection of shrapnel now, the unrelenting hammer of gunfight tearing it apart. He moved the last cabinet into a better position, though it too was already partially demolished, letting fly round after round in blind retaliation.
The faintest shimmer of a thought. He sensed it and knew she felt him.
That settled it. If he was going to die, he might as well go out in a blaze of glory. And if he survived…. It wasn’t worth getting his hopes up.
With a primal shout, he kicked the cabinet forward. It landed on the gunners in front of him. He spun in a powerful circle, gun blazing nonstop, his loosened cable flying in a wide arc. It flung behind the backs of the men of his left, reached the end of its path, circled tightly around the last man’s neck. Using his thrusters, he pulled back, the taut wire bringing the entire left section to the ground.
Quickly, he raced forward into the midst of those on the right, taking the bullets that tore at his legs and chest. The metallic alloy of his bones slowed some, the metal plating beneath the skin others. But some found flesh. They hardly slowed him; he did not feel them.
The soldiers on the right broke before his fearless charge, and he gunned them down. A man fell before him, and bending down, he ripped two grenades from his belt. Pulling the pins, he threw them into the lab as he left. Limping away, he passed the window of the lab as they exploded in a thunder of fire and sound.
“Where, Molly? Tell me where.”
It was two labs down. Doctor Destructo had played it cleverly, expecting that if Clint somehow survived, he would search for Molly in a completely different section of the Island.
The door was locked. He blasted it to pieces with a short burst of the gun, and pushed it open.
There she was.
She covered her mouth in horror at the sight of him. He looked down. He was soaked with blood.
“It’s just a flesh wound.” He forced a smile. Then he stumbled to the ground. He was beginning to feel the pain now. It was going to hurt.
“Glad to see me?” he managed.