Laser EyeThis is the second part of an adventure series where YOU determine the next step in the story. Read Part 1.

Last time, you were given the choice to head southeast to the armory and medical floors or northwest to the helipad. The vote was nearly a landslide to head southeast.

Southwest: 11 votes
Northwest: 6 votes

So let’s get to it!

You decide to head southeast, toward the armory and garage. A nagging feeling in the back of your mind tells you this is the wrong move, but you’re pretty cut up from the lab explosion—a stop at the medical floor sounds good too.

You walk over to Tankwald, who’s still squatting on the floor, giving you a look that says he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. As your shadow falls over him, his lips purse into a tight, thin line, and in his eyes you see what you were hoping for:

Fear.

You may have lost your weapons in the scuffle, but you’re still physically threatening in your body armor. Unlike Tankwald’s, your profession requires physical strength, stamina, and a willingness to use tactics your opponent won’t.

On second thought, that last one applies to Tankwald too. The only difference is that you have morals.

You grab the scientist by the collar of his lab coat and haul him to his feet. By the way he pulls against your grip you know he’s not going to come willingly, so you drag him all the way over to the ladder and shove him against the metal rungs. He stares at you, mouth agape, like you’re the monster. In your mind, you see your six-year-old niece at her birthday party, sporting a pink dress, tiara, and a new pair of black leather wings.

Unfortunately, the wings don’t come off like a plastic tiara does.

You weren’t able to get the serum that would reverse her transformation, but you’ll be damned if you don’t bring her the one person who can. You glare at Tankwald, the threat of violence heavy in your voice.

“Climb.”

You wait while he mounts the ladder and, with awkward movement, pulls himself up on the rungs. When his legs reach your head height, you watch his right knee pull up a little higher than necessary and his hands grip hard—

Tankwald kicks out hard, trying to drive the rubber heel of his shoe into your head. Your reflexes kick in and you lean to the right, well out of the way. You grab his ankle and jerk down hard.

He lets out an agonized cry. One hand slips off the rungs and his other foot flies out from under him. He throws a flailing arm around a ladder rung and clings for dear life.

You decide not to tell him how ridiculous he looks hanging only five and a half feet from the floor.

“You do that again and I will throw you off this ladder. I don’t want to carry you home with a bunch of broken bones, but I will if I have to.” You release his ankle and let it fall back against the metal rungs. “Now climb.”

You spend the next twenty minutes staring up under Tankwald’s dirty, torn lab coat at his flabby backside. You’ve passed countless hatches, some with names, some just numbered. Tankwald’s upward movement is getting slower. You can’t blame him; even you’re getting a little winded. You don’t want to give him any ideas about escape, but you don’t want him passing out and plummeting to the bottom, either. You grab the next rung and step up—and that’s when you see the blue text on the hatch above Tankwald that reads “Armory.” You feel a surge of elation and relief with a side of ache and nausea from your injuries. But mostly elation.

You allow Tankwald to keep climbing until you’ve reached the door. Tankwald notices you’ve stopped and does the same, hanging on while panting from the exertion.

You give him a minute to catch his breath, then reach over and grab the metal lever. You push down—it’s stiff, like it hasn’t been used in a long while—and feel the lock mechanism release. You lean over, put your shoulder against the door, and push.

The door swings leftward and its hinges grind out a high-pitched squeak. You freeze, straining your ears for the sound of shouts or armored boots moving toward you, but you hear nothing.

You glance up at Tankwald to make sure he isn’t planning on going anywhere, then stick your head out.

The hatch opens to a utilitarian hallway: dingy, off-white walls, concrete floor. You can’t see very well over the hatch to the left side of the hall, but the coast seems clear. The hallway to your right is short and splits off in a T. There’s a door in the middle of the T, slightly ajar. The hall is quiet, save for the thrumming of the air circulation system.

You duck back inside the shaft and descend just far enough to make room for Tankwald. You look up and point at the door. Words aren’t necessary. You see the relief on his red, sweaty face.

As he climbs out, you hang onto his pant leg, making sure he doesn’t run off. It makes getting out difficult, but you manage.

You glance around the hallway and see that the left side is much longer than the right and also splits in a T. A few closed doors line the hall.

As you start to close the hatch, a red flash at the edge of your vision catches your attention. You look to the right and catch a glimpse of a laser sight sweeping across the floor and disappearing behind the corner. You hear the soft rebuke of two sharp finger snaps and the shuffling sound of body armor.

You realize you’ve just walked into an ambush. And you have mere seconds to decide what to do.

What do you do?

A. Grab Tankwald and jump back into the shaft.
B. Use Tankwald as a hostage. Retreat to the open door on the right.

Vote in the comments or on Twitter. Voting ends Saturday night, August 10th. The highest vote will be the next step in the story, posted in two weeks.

Laser Eye photo courtesy of Gerard Fritz

UPDATE: The voting is now closed. The B’s have it, so on August 19th you’ll use Tankwald as a hostage and press ahead!