Burning in the Void – Chapter 41

a feast _Dominic

The glowing blue trail ended at the base of a ladder, deep within the royal castle of the Kingdom of Humanity. According to Dominic’s internal mapping software, the prison cell was in the forward-most ring of shaft three, four levels out from the central area Sera had called the Spine. Dominic slipped down the ladder and waited inside the panel for a moment, allowing his enhanced senses to scan through the thin wallboard and take in the empty room beyond. Once he was sure that the space was unoccupied, Dominic palmed the switch set into the wall above the access panel. He slipped through the opening and stepped aside, making room for Max and Natalia to follow him through.

>> We’ll go through the hallways from here, Dominic sent to the others. He opened a connection back to the Spider and asked, Can you open the door for us?

There was a short pause, then the reply came scrolling across his vision. > I’m a little busy. Later.

Dominic nodded. The Spider must have finished its preparations and begun working to infiltrate the Captain’s secure partitions. He sent another message, this time to Raven in the monitoring station. >> Can you find us on the video feeds from the monitoring station?

> Yes, she replied, speaking over an audio link. But the coverage in here is spotty. Nearly all of the wireless network relays have been destroyed, so I’m working on what bleeds through to the relays here in the monitoring station. It’s patchy at best.

>> Tell me about it. Kamon and I spent months watching those video feeds, trying to understand how these Luddites lived.

> Nobody is in the hall outside.

>> See if you can locate the king. If it isn’t obvious, pull him up in the visual search.

Dominic turned to Natalia. He could see her in his thermal imaging overlay, but in the visible spectrum her camouflaged skin was blended perfectly with the background. >> Once we are out of the cell I want you to take point. Scout the passage in either direction and let us know if you find a way up.

> And we are going to get out of here how? Natalia asked.

Max stepped up to the door and glanced at Dominic. He nodded. She braced her feet against the floor, pulled a hand back, and slammed her hand into the thin metal of the door. Her rigid fingers pierced the door and she twisted her fingers around the lock assembly, then jerked her arm back, ripping the lock out of the door with a squeal of twisting metal.

> Oh, yes. Completely in stealth mode tonight aren’t we, Natalia sent to both of them before pushing the twisted metal aside and slipping through the gap.

> Good call on going up, Dominic, Raven sent.

>> Go on.

> The king is holding court right now four levels up, almost directly above your position. I’m uploading the chamber identification code to you now, but don’t trust the mapping tools from here out. I’m sure you already know that they’ve hacked this place to bits.