Everyone froze. One blast of the siren meant an important announcement. Two was an emergency. Three was an attack. Ryan and Theo were moving as soon as the third blast started. Two-thirds of the students, those with military training, were rushing for the door.
Dr. Marcus held it open for them and they sprinted through the lab. Ryan almost tripped when he looked over at the tanks. All six captives were awake, and banging at the glass. As soon as they turned off the hallway leading into GTR, they met a wall of bodies. People were leaving work and home to try to figure out what was going on. There were a few adult soldiers in the halls trying to keep them clear, but not enough to have much of an impact.
One of the soldiers caught sight of Ryan and his classmates. He shouted something they couldn’t hear, but Ryan saw where he was pointing.
“The hangar,” Ryan said.
“What?” Theo asked.
“We need to get to the hangar.” Ryan yelled as loud as he could. Theo nodded.
“Make a hole, people.” Theo could yell a lot louder than Ryan, but still, only those nearby heard over the shouting and the sirens.
Ryan dove into the crowd, pushing and shoving his way across the hall. Minutes dragged on. He could count them exactly because the triple alarm rang every ten seconds. Sweat stung his eyes by the time they got near the hangar. The crowd thinned out and there were enough soldiers here to make a lane.
Theo sprinted the rest of the way in. Ryan kept up despite his legs and lungs burning. He’d never seen the place this busy. Being an adult soldier was a pretty rare work assignment, so they operated in shifts so the defenses were always manned. Right now, all of them must be here, minus the ones in the halls.
General Stewart’s eyes locked onto Ryan and Theo as soon as they entered.
“Thank goodness you’re here. Your suits haven’t been recalibrated yet. Get them on while we hold them off.”
“Hold them off?” Ryan asked. “Are they inside?”
“Not yet,” General Stewart said.
The hangar doors above their heads rung like a gong. Something heavy was hitting it. Ryan could see a dent forming in one section.
“Now,” General Stewart said. They didn’t need another reminder.
Suits were another thing in short supply. Three and sometimes four kids shared one. They needed to be carefully adjusted, so while Ryan and Theo weren’t the first young soldiers to make it here, they were the first to be able to suit up.
Dr. Vargas, the woman responsible for maintaining and calibrating the suits, spun them around and shoved them into their suits, immediately sealing them up. Ryan felt pressure and tingling all over his body.
The suit squeezed against him, forming so tight to his skin it was uncomfortable for a moment. An electric charge ran from his toes to the top of his head, making him shiver. He grit his teeth as the needles automatically stabbed into the plugs under each ear. It didn’t exactly hurt, but it did feel like being knifed by strangeness. Lights flickered on at the corners of his vision. He was ready. He looked up to see the hangar roof collapsing.