My mods keep me conscious despite the impact. Travis isn’t so lucky. I pull him from the car and start swimming down, looking for the hatch Sig noted. I spot it after a tense minute, starting to feel the burn despite oxygen conservation. The lid is heavy, taking the last of my strength to open. Travis floats down gently as I pull the hatch closed and slam the button next to its latch.
The water empties quickly, faster than I anticipated, leaving me gasping as I climb down the ladder. Travis is coughing up water. I raise my eyebrows as he retches. You’d think someone that made it all this way would have a stronger stomach.
Sig pings me a moment later, his voice a dull echo through the pounding headache I’ve just acquired.
“I see you found our boy. Head into the tunnel and I’ll meet you. This place is probably compromised by now.”
I nod, forgetting he can’t see me. Or maybe he can. I’m too tired to check for cameras. Travis is wiping his mouth as I pull him up, slinging the bag of charges over my shoulder. For a moment I consider blowing this hatch in case someone tries to follow. Too risky. I might need it later.
As a precaution, I set a trigger on the door while Travis pulls himself together, making sure we’ll get plenty of warning if anyone tries to sneak up.
He nods, still dazed from the impact.
“Then off we go.”
I shake the water off my blaster and check that it still works before opening the door. No need to play it safe; I’ve already got the asset. The hallway is seemingly deserted, sloping steadily upwards towards the next chunk of land. This should be a long walk.
As luck would have it, the long walk is uneventful, the pinnacle of action coming when Travis tripped over a pipe. Sig meets us at the first split, pinging me well in advance to avoid an adrenaline-fueled round to the face. I give him a smile and salute, slumping against a wall and resting my eyes for a moment.
“Yeah. Oxygen deprivation really takes it out of me. How far to the safe house?”
He gives me a sympathetic look. “Everything in me wants to say it’s just around the corner, but I’m afraid it will be another hour or two.”
“Lovely. How’re you holding up, princess?”
“Don’t call me that.”
He’s still shaken from his brush with death. At least that’s the excuse I give for him, hoping he isn’t losing his nerve. Sig gives him a nod.
“Mr. Dalton. Never expected to see you at the heart of this. Call me Sig.”
Sig grins. “It’s short for Signal.”
I raise an eyebrow as Sig rolls his eyes. “Play nice, you two.”
Sig gives me half a bow. “As you wish. Shall we?”
He gestures down the branch to the left, taking up the rear as we begin the next leg of our trek. Let’s hope it isn’t the last.